Miami started off slow, giving up some big plays in the passing game to fall behind 14-0, and then against 21-14. Miami’s passing defense was porous at best allowing Benkert to throw all over the ‘Canes.
Kurt Benkert was looking every part top overall NFL draft pick early on against the Miami Hurricanes. It was more so Miami’s confusion in coverage, and lack of tackling, than anything great from Benkert. However, execution is a big part of football and Benkert executed at one point being 12 of 12 with 2 TD’s.
Here are three plays where we’ll take a look at the pass coverage of the Miami defense.
UVA’s Sluggo and Arrow Combination
This is less coverage confusion and more bad pursuit. Malek Young’s job seems to be to switch coverage with the safety. The safety will take the deep route from #1 (outside WR) that breaks inside. The CB, Young, will take the flat route from #2 (the inside WR). Young breaks on the flat route and is there to make a play, but McCloud, the LB, should play it inside out to help Young and instead he over runs the play (which he’s done a lot this season) and he can’t help him inside.
The safety is ran off deep to take the deep route and there’s no help inside for Young. This is a good coverage switch unlike on the play we’ll breakdown below which there’s no switch and the deep route comes free.
UVA’s Hook and Go Double Move
On this touchdown there seems to be more coverage confusion that Miami suffered through earlier in the season. Toledo took advantage of Miami cornerbacks being caught in between man and zone coverage in a state of confusion (see: above).
Against UVA, Malek Young is caught in the middle where his technique is zone but someone forgets to cover the man. Young has his hips and eyes inside and on the QB. That’s zone technique. To me, Young was expecting to take the curl/flat and not a deep route. Sheldrick Redwine jumps the hook (the little curl on the inside seam) and the WR runs right by after the double-move. No one outside of the defensive meeting room is sure what went wrong but it looks like Young expected to stay short and he thought Redwine would take the deepest route.
Jaquan Johnson Pick 6
On the Jaquan Johnson pick 6 UVA’s offense made it easy for Miami in coverage. Johnson would normally be over the #2 receiving threat but the TE doesn’t come out on a route. Then he looks to the RB but he too stays in to max protect. Malek Young, who has been “beat” at times during the game, plays very deep on the curl. Johnson has his eyes on the QB all the way and when Benkert flips and throws the ball to Johnson’s side he attacks the football.
This aggressive style of play, bringing 7 men on a pass rush and allowing your DB’s to make football plays is the stark contrast to what Mark D’Onofrio did at Miami under Al Golden. Diaz is letting athletes be athletes and it gets quite frustrating when the coverages are blown but it’s a huge payoff when they create 19 turnovers in 5 games.
Miami has one game left, a road game against the Pitt Panthers on the Friday after Thanksgiving before heading to face Clemson in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, NC. After the Notre Dame beat down there are a lot of distractions out there for Miami between senior day against Virginia, Thanksgiving Friday, and now the ACC title looming. The ‘Canes must stay focused and come out faster than they did against the Hoos.