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Clinic Talk: Miami beats NC State

How the ‘Canes prevailed against a tough Wolfpack team

NCAA Football: Miami at North Carolina State
Fan repping the 305 in Raleigh
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

If you were relegated to watching your #Canes on the wonderful world of the ACC Network you probably kept hearing “zone read” every time NC State ran the ball. You have to appreciate the laziness of the announce crew that loves to say “we watched hours of film” but what were they actually watching?

The play in question is inverted veer or dash read, which was oft-mistaken for zone read. It’s extra lazy because:

1st- the difference between zone and power is no pulling guard and a pulling guard. The minute that guard pulls from the back side and wraps... it’s no longer zone.

Your typical inside zone above

2nd- the difference is who the QB is reading. In zone read it’s the back side defensive end (5-technique), in dash read it’s the front side defensive end.

As you can see in the GIF below, as soon as the DE sits on the QB, the QB gives to the RB. The pulling guard is actually for the QB to follow if he keeps the ball.

The past few games teams have started to notice and capitalize on the Hurricane DB’s inability to switch in coverage. The ‘Canes have been caught on different types of wheel routes weeks in a row now. Below, take a look at a snag (slant and sit) and wheel. When the CB jumps the snag, the S can’t get over the top to the wheel fast enough. That’s why they should ‘switch’ their coverage with the CB switching to #2 and the S switching to #1 (snag).

The curls work great against the soft coverage of the NC State safeties on the inside receivers, but Richards’ curl also works because of his speed and amount of deep balls he’s caught as a freshman. Corners have to be worried about getting beat deep, especially without safety help, and he takes advantage of it with a hard break off of his route.

This is a nice look to run a post/bubble concept. Miami has been throwing the RPO bubbles to Njoku and I’m sure Kaaya felt like the play-action fake would make the ILB bite. However, he doesn’t and Kaaya is stuck threading the needle over the ILB and under the CB, who is left again without safety help because he’s playing the bubble. This would’ve been a good time for NC State to trap Miami and play cover 2 to that side. Perfect route, throw, catch and hell- even some pass protection. Kaaya sets for 1-2-throw and gets the ball out quick.

Below is an example of everything going wrong. Miami calls up a 5-step drop (3-step in the gun). Has a Sabanesque 5-man line to handle with 7, which shouldn’t be an issue. Herndon actually handles his man well and the back picks up the delayed blitz. The greater issue is Kaaya holds the ball for 4 seconds or more- he has to get rid of the ball or step up behind the back.

Too many QB’s will drop an extra step or sit and create an easy lane for the DE to rush. It’s kind of like blocking a field goal, you don’t want to allow the easy angle to the holder so you create a protection scheme and a distance from long snapper to holder that cuts down the angle.

As a Hurricanes fan you have to be excited about the freshman class. It’s really been a boom class with Richards, Johnson, the Bermuda Triangle vol 2, Homer in the kicking game, and Malek Young has played in 10 games including a start and has improved every week. Here he reads this perfectly and makes a great play on the ball.

We covered this play in our game preview, a nice little toss play. They’re letting the play side DE come up field and just toss around him, but it also looks like a shovel could come around from the TE on the back side and NC State did run the shovel against Miami at one point in the game.

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