I’m going to go a lot of different directions in the article so please stay with me. We’ll start with a look at Miami and GT then ahead to the showdown Saturday night and then again back to Miami. Let’s get going.
Miami played a solid, well coached game on Saturday morning. Going into the contest my main key on defense for Miami was to stop the dive play. Essentially to the football novices out there, I wanted Miami’s defense to stop the fullback (called the “B back”) run up the middle play. If Miami could stop that play, it would make Georgia Tech’s flex bone option offense severely limited and less creative. To the dismay of many Miami fans during the contest was that Miami stacked the line in a 34 formation on almost every play. This was done to stop the pitch, NOT to revert back to the 34 defense in the future. As the game progressed it became very evident really early on in the game: GT was only going to gain yardage on offense by using their pitch plays and the occasional roll out pass. To the dismay of all of us, it seemed GT was faster to the perimeter plays then the Canes linebacking unit as well as the secondary players. Watching the game, I would agree with that sentiment but besides a handful of plays, the pitch was held in check as well. Overall, the defense was able to achieve their main objective in completely negating the dive and made GT almost one dimensional. Were the Yellow Jackets effective in spurts throughout the game? Sure. However, it wasn’t enough to negate the turnovers forced by the Canes once Manny Diaz and his defense dictated what was and wasn’t going to happen on Saturday afternoon.
On offense I thought Miami was a little off during the third quarter but besides that, they were fine. I didn’t necessarily agree with running the no huddle offense in the second half as the game really didn’t dictate it with GT swallowing up most of the time of possession but the Canes had relatively good success with it in the previous games so I digress. The last note I’d like to say about the offense is that I’d like to see more running plays dialed up than what we saw. I felt like one of the main reasons Miami “got out of of sync” in the third quarter and seemed to stall out was because Richt seemed to get too enamored (at least in my opinion) with the short to middle distance passes instead of running the ball at will. GT’s defense is nothing special from what I’ve seen. Exert your will on them on the ground with the two headed monster of Yearby and Walton; no need to get cute.
Now to change gears to FSU and to look ahead to the matchup next weekend… I’m going to put this statement out there not to rankle people or for click bait, it’s just my honest opinion. No, I’m not a huge Miami homer. Heck, many commenters on this site call me too pessimistic or have “PTSD” from the “Golden Years.” What I’m getting at is that over the course of the last four years writing for SBNation I’ve been critical and pessimistic on many fronts when it comes to Miami and their outlook. So, with that said: Jimbo Fisher is an above average coach, he is not an exceptional coach. He’s been the FSU coach the last six plus seasons and yes he’s won a national title and brought the Noles back from relative mediocrity that was seen in the twilight years of coach Bobby Bowden’s tenure.
I think the thing that rankles me the most is those “fans” who say he’s an elite coach, top 4 in the country. Well, if your team recruited a once in 5-10 year talent as Jameis Winston and all world runningback Dalvin Cook I think you’d win a lot of games too. Unfortunately, he had Winston for three of his six seasons so his winning percentage is “skewed up” if you will. In his three plus seasons without Jameis his record is a “good” but not “great” at 32-13 which isn’t bad at all, quite the contrary, it’s very good. However, taking a microscope to those numbers, in his last 12 contests the Noles are just 7-5. Take that for what you will.
I guess what I’m getting at is that without those hugely, supremely talented players my opinion of Coach Fisher is that he’s an 8 or 9 win a season coach. Maybe every few years the team will jump up and win 10 plus games but he’d have to hit on another Winston-esqe player. 8 or 9 wins is a fine season, is it good enough at FSU though?
Getting back to Miami now, I think this game is hugely important for the Canes. Richt got fired from Georgia for coming up short in games just like this one: a rivalry contest against a high level opponent. If he can pull this game out against a wilting Seminoles defense, then this could very much springboard Miami into their second half of the season. It also wouldn’t hurt the coaching staff’s confidence to get the proverbial monkey off their backs when it comes to the current rivalry losing streak with FSU…
Thoughts? Comments? Leave them below!