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Clinic Talk: Breaking down the Blue Devils for the Hurricanes

Rivalry Saturday match-up between Miami and Duke

NCAA Football: Miami at Duke
Can the Canes top the Devils again?
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

With Miami taking on Duke on rivalry weekend, no one would call this a classic rivalry like Oregon/OSU, FSU/Florida or Ohio State/Michigan. But after last year’s “miracle” ending- this game could be fun.

That was then, this is now. The Larry Scott led Canes edged out Duke in a comeback thriller. The 2016 version led by Mark Richt should fair a little better. Miami is coming off a win while Duke is coming off being destroyed by Pitt on the road. The Blue Devils though are a team that can’t be predicted as while they’ve lost to Wake, UVA, and Northwestern; they’ve also knocked off UNC and Notre Dame both of which beat Miami.

How did Pitt beat Duke? They brought pressure from a 4-man rush and well timed blitzes. They could run with them in man coverage in their 4-2-5 scheme, a precision passing game from Peterman (61% and 3 TDs), and on the legs of James Conner (100 yards rushing and 2 TDs). Conner has only been held under 4 yards per carry against two schools- Miami being one.

Above, Pitt keeps the back in to block (Gus Edwards had some great blocks in pass pro against UVA) which gives Peterman time to find a deep threat in the end zone. I can see Coley getting open against Duke all night if Kaaya has this kind of time.

Above, Duke does what you hate seeing which is having to block little on a big. What that means is instead of the RB either double-teaming with an OT, or picking up a blitzing DB or LB, he has to block a D-End solo. This leads to what you see- he cuts the DE who then makes the play.

If you look at the GIF above, this another 4-man rush that gets to the Duke QB. This time, the back is asked to work with the OT but the LT is beat with a speed rush move off the edge. Miami has to be able to get to the Duke QB without needing to blitz and open holes in the secondary.

Now how did Duke beat a UNC team that Miami couldn’t stop?

As you can see above, you don’t have to have blazing speed to be a QB in the run game. Jones, who has ran for only 400 yards all season, reads the play side DE on dive option and when the DE crashes down on the RB, he pulls and goes untouched into the endzone. This is a key 3rd and goal play down 14-21 where Miami often slams a back into a stacked box and settles for a field goal.

Above, Duke uses the old school Tebow jump pass as Jones throws into traffic. I would think the Miami linebacking corps would close on this and intercept it. I trust the Bermuda Triangle 2.0 will be ready for Jones’ to pull and to throw the jump pass.

Duke really used some well timed interceptions and the ground game to propel the win. Jones threw for 240 and ran for 90 and 2 scores. Miami has to be aware of Jones and as we saw with Manny Diaz game planning James Conner (and even Cook for a half), he knows how to shut down the ‘star’

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