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Clinic Talk: Miami beats West Virginia 31-14

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How 2nd quarter adjustments changed the game

NCAA Football: Russell Athletic Bowl-West Virginia vs Miami Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Miami played three great quarters after starting out extremely rusty and slow. How did the ‘Canes adjust?

One of the first adjustments I saw on offense was a move to RPO’s and 6-7 man protection. Instead of swinging the back out, which WVU was able to scream to stop for a loss anyway, Miami started keeping Walton in for pass protection and it benefited Kaaya not only keeping him upright, but also seemed to calm his nerves. The RPO game forced WVU to make a decision to stack the box or to widen out and cover the flat.

Below is the Power RPO that Richards scored on. If Miami runs power and stalked that CB, this is at best a 2 yard gain. WVU fills the alley in a hurry with the safety over #2 and the power is eaten up. But, Kaaya is allowed to read the backside safety who walks into the box and is going to throw the hitch to Richards.

The other RPO that helped Miami work its way down the field in the 3rd was a simple inside zone with stalk/bubble we’ve seen all year.

That’s what Kaaya is reading pre-snap, and post snap his eyes are on the flat defender. As soon as he brought pressure Kaaya knew to pull and throw. Njoku does what he does and turns 6 yards into 6 points.

Below, in 7-man protection Kaaya still gets hit under pressure but is able to have enough to time find Berrios who luckily hangs onto the football. You can run 3-verts (even if all you hear about is 4-verts), it’s in the air raid book, and Leach has been using it with his 2-back sets as has Dana. The WR’s will work #, hash, #.

When you start to establish a run game you can use play-action to your advantage. Whether it’s for deep shots or like here by the goal line, it’s such a useful part of your game.

Above, that’s a beautiful job of faking the stalk block and ripping inside to run a nice sit down in space. Beautiful.


On defense, WVU’s biggest threat was Howard the QB, as we previewed. Where Miami stopped him in the passing game he did run for 60 yards and WVU abandoned power read for an unknown reason. Miami really hadn’t figured out how to defend it but guys often get caught up in going away from what works.

Above, there’s power read from the diamond pistol I previewed before the game.


The one thing I hoped everyone noticed was the selfless behavior a good coaching staff can illicit from its players. Walton and Homer in the kicking game, and Coley’s blocking down field like below are signs of good things to come.

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