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Clinic Talk: Breaking Down Miami vs Virginia Tech

Another hard loss for the 2016 ‘Canes

NCAA Football: Miami at Virginia Tech Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Another Thursday night showdown in Blacksburg, VA... another loss for the Hurricanes. Our #Canes slip to 4-3 after dropping games to FSU, UNC, and now VT. Things come in threes: Fisher, Fedora, Fuente. 3 straight losses. Is this the third straight week with a blocked kick as well? Hmm.

If you go back to my article previewing Manny Diaz’s defense, where I used the spring game for my examples, I foreshadowed some of these issues we saw against the Hokies.

With all of the odd front Diaz has ran against GT, FSU, and UNC- against empty he decides to keep a 4 man line and only one inside linebacker. He then aligns the ILB out over the offensive tackle and doesn’t have anyone in the low hole.

In the 2 GIFs above, you can see the glaring issue- the MLB isn’t covering the low hole- the space in the middle of the field about 6-8 yards deep. Dropping there eliminates slot slants, shallow crosses, digs, drags, screens, and even QB draws. It’s part of the Tampa 2 philosophy coaches Kiffin and Dungy made famous. And it was a glaring weakness in scheme back in the spring.

Above, Miami’s playing what looks like split field coverage. Cover 2 to the bottom of the screen and quarters to the top. Cover 2 is dependent on the linebackers taking their pass drops. The SAM and WILL have to drop in a 45 degree angle covering the HCF or hook-curl-flat. the MIKE has to play the low hole I explained above. It’s again, Tampa 2. The freshman linebackers do what we all feared they would, bite on the play-action and the H-Back comes free on the seam. It’s a play they burned UNC on as well in my film breakdown of the Heels/Hokies back on Tuesday.

Above, this alignment by the DB’s to the top of the screen led to many easy vert/out combos for the Hokies. Miami never adjusted and Va Tech completed a series of 5 and outs to the slot.

For all of those couch coaches talking about not wanting to be one of those gimmicky “spread” teams or a team with a “mobile” QB... here’s why that system is getting OSU, Oregon, Auburn, Clemson, and Bama into the national title game- the QB isn’t a sitting duck and has to be accounted for.

Pre-snap everything looks accounted for. This looks pretty damn sound to me. But it’s post-snap where you’ll see the breakdown.

#93 is the issue here. He squeezes down, and against Miami that’s fine because #15 isn’t going to pull and run. However, against Mr. Evans and the Hokies, that makes you unsound. The H-Back rips past him and up to the alley defender that’s obviously not there (look at the CB and S on top of each other) and Evans has sort of one guy to beat but really the H can pick him up. Ready to be a gimmick offense yet?

I couldn’t find a video of the play-action flood they used to score but I previewed that as well... just sayin’

On offense, Miami did catch VT in a no-switch call against slant-wheel which was beautiful. 4-2-5 teams use tags to tell their DB’s if they’re staying man, playing zone, or pattern matching. Pattern matching means switching off a WR if they cross each other. The 4-2-5 guys will call that “Banjo” when you have a man but can switch. As the #1 (outside WR) slants in, the DB’s should’ve man an in-out switch call. The wheel isn’t picked up and Miami’s most dynamic threat runs free for 6.

Bud Foster is a guy that’s going to bring a variety of blitzes and coverages and Brad Kaaya didn’t look prepared to handle them. Below he throws into triple coverage.

Above, here’s a 6 man rush and Miami can’t pick them up. Looks like man free coverage.

In the preview we talked about Syracuse using a nice little trick running back pass to score on VT’s defense... VT uses one against Miami’s winded and young defense here. Miami- maybe learn from the other film and try something out?

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