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Clinic Talk: Coach Diaz’s Defense in 2016

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What we can expect from Coach Diaz in the bowl and beyond

Pittsburgh v Miami
Canes defense shut down stud running back James Conner
Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

When Coach Diaz came on board we knew his defense would be a boom or bust style of defense that wanted to be aggressive and play for turnovers, tackles for loss, sacks, and also give up big throws over the middle and on deep balls. We got exactly that.

Coach Diaz cut down the points against from 30 to 20 in year one with a lack of defensive line depth, three freshman linebackers, and a lack of proven defensive back depth. The ‘Canes finished 22nd in the country in sacks, and 6th in tackles for loss, and 15th in turnover margin although only in the 80’s for interceptions.

Speaking of those linebackers, ‘Canes fans better be excited about the trio- especially Quarterman and his Ray Lewis ability to run the defense and work sideline to sideline.

Coach Diaz really mixed up his fronts running 4-3, 4-2-5, and a 30 front in certain situations and against certain teams (Georgia Tech, for one). Back in the spring, we saw an attacking defense that had holes in pass coverage, just like we saw throughout the year. However, one thing I noticed was a weakness to spread option schemes.

Above, you can see his base 4-3 against 21 personnel

Odd front against FSU


You can see that defense playing hard and aggressive against toss in the spring, with a safety walked up in the box. Carter definitely went for the big hit and would hit or miss on occasion.

Fall foreshadowing in spring, take a look at Corn Elder, MY ALL-ACC CORNER, playing sticky man coverage.

Young defenders like Chad Thomas, Joe Jackson, and Gerald Willis applied the pressure


However for every boom play: a sack or interception... Miami did give up the middle of the field against Virginia Tech much like here in the spring.


Against FSU, the Noles hit Cook on the wheel play to get some momentum back into the game.

Then there’s a blown switch call against NC State on the wheel route below.

But when you play boom or bust you’re going to give up some big plays and as the back 7 gains experience and talent- you’re going to see a return to top 5 level defense for the Hurricanes.

My only real issue was in some of the option defense where the pitchman was ignored at times against GT, and Notre Dame.

Pitt also used some shovel option to get to Miami and the Irish QB Kizer had a few nice runs as did the Tech QB. I would like to see a better recognition of option, especially QB pulls and situations with pitchmen, but that’s getting pretty particular considering the woes on defense in 2015 that he has managed to fix with an extremely green depth chart.

I talk a little cover 6 defense below, which is what a lot of the 4-2-5 split field DC’s are running including Miami at times.

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