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DURHAM, N.C. — Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee is expected to be Southern Methodist University’s next coach for his first opportunity as a college football head coach, according to multiple reports.
Footballville first reported on Friday the expected departure of Lashlee, who’s been UM’s offensive coordinator for the last two seasons. The Action Network and 247Sports later also reported that the Mustangs will hire Lashlee as their next coach.
Sonny Dykes is still the coach at SMU, but he’s expected to leave the Mustangs for Texas Christian University, an impending move that was first reported on Friday by an ESPN radio affiliate in Dallas.
UM didn’t respond Friday evening when contacted about the reports by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The Hurricanes (6-5, 4-3 ACC) play their regular-season finale at Duke (3-8, 0-7 ACC) on Saturday (12:30 p.m.). Lashlee is still expected to be the team’s play-caller for the matchup.
The Mustangs, who are 8-3 and 4-3 in the American Athletic Conference, will wrap up their regular season on Saturday against Tulsa.
Before joining Miami as the team’s offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in January 2020, Lashlee held the same position under Dykes at SMU for two seasons (2018-19).
The Mustangs ranked No. 54 nationally in scoring offense during Lashlee’s first season as offensive coordinator in 2018 before ranking in the top 10 nationally in both scoring offense (No. 7 at 41.8 points per game) and total offense (No. 9 at 489.8 yards per game) in 2019 en route to a 10-3 season.
Lashlee, a Springdale, Ark., native, was an offensive coordinator for seven seasons before joining SMU: Connecticut (2017), Auburn (2013-16), Arkansas State (2012) and Samford (2011).
Lashlee was a semifinalist for the Broyles Award, which honors the nation’s top assistant, after rejuvenating Miami’s offense during his first year with the program.
The Hurricanes jumped to No. 26 in scoring offense (from No. 90 in 2019), No. 32 in FBS in total offense (from No. 98) and No. 17 in red-zone offense (from No. 122) in 2020 with Lashlee and former starting quarterback D’Eriq King leading the offense.
Before this week’s games, UM ranked No. 36 (32.9 points) in scoring offense and No. 30 in total offense (442.6 yards) in 2021 despite losing King to a season-ending shoulder surgery three games into the season, losing its two top running backs in Cam’Ron Harris and Don Chaney Jr. to season-ending injuries and the offensive line’s shaky start.
The Hurricanes have averaged 34 points in conference play, which ranks fourth in the ACC, with second-year freshman Tyler Van Dyke starting at quarterback.
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Van Dyke has gone 158 of 263 (60.1 completion percentage) for 2,280 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions through seven conference games, emerging as the leading ACC Rookie of the Year candidate under Lashlee.
Running back Jaylan Knighton is the only ACC player with 500-plus rushing yards, 250-plus receiving yards and 10-plus touchdowns, while Charleston Rambo, an Oklahoma transfer, is having the best season of his college career (71 receptions for 1,070 yards and five touchdowns through 11 games) under Lashlee.
Even before SMU’s reported interest in bringing back Lashlee, his future at Miami — along with the rest of UM’s coaching staff — has been uncertain amid the intensified speculation about coach Manny Diaz’s job security after former athletic director Blake James departed from UM.
“Look, we know what we signed up for,” Lashlee said on Monday. “You’re playing for your job every week pretty much. I’ve learned in this business if things are going well and you relax, it can switch in a hurry. It’s just part of it.
“You have to do the best you can to focus on what you can control each day. Every week has been like our backs are against the wall this year. For our guys to win four out of the last five games and play really good football down the stretch shows where everyone has kept their head at.”