Miami and Notre Dame is a primetime Game Day match-up on Saturday, November 11th at 8pm eastern time. In my household, it’s for who has to pay for the pedicures on Sunday. In many it’s not such a house divided (although neither of us attended Miami or Notre Dame so...). Growing up a Canes fan in Miami there were two teams you hated and one you had a hate-respect for. The two most hated were Notre Dame and Florida, and the hate-respect was always Florida State; back in the 80’s and early 90’s FSU fans weren’t so FSU Twitter about themselves.
I watched some extended highlights of ND/UGA and I think Miami can utilize the buck sweep as well as a 4-man rush to hurt the Irish.
UGA’s Outside Zone Pin Pull and Miami’s Buck Sweep
The Georgia outside zone pin pull and Miami’s buck sweep share desired results which is getting more bodies to the point of attack than there are defenders. If you can’t tell, I love Miami’s buck sweep play but feel it needs two things: 1) a run pass option or RPO off of it (throw your visor at the ground like Kirby if you hate RPO’s) and 2) Travis Homer to cut under the blocks and take a 5-6 yard gain versus always trying to get around them and take a possible loss.
Buck sweep needs a running back with the vision and patience to cut underneath the pulling guards (or guard and center) and then lower his shoulder pads and get yards. It can’t always go for 20+ and be an “explosive play” for the stat sheet. At times backs have to settle on 4 yards and a cloud of field turf tire particles.
Re the RPO off of buck sweep; as I’ve drawn above- my plan is to read the backside linebacker. After a few pulls from the guard to his side he will get antsy to turn and run to help play side. That’s when you read him and throw a “pop pass” that replaces his positioning. Christopher Herndon IV would be the perfect body to throw it to because he has the size to box out a safety coming down hill.
Check out how UGA’s OZ pin pull worked below:
UGA’s 4 Man Pass Rush and Miami’s Blitzing
Manny Diaz’s Miami defense has used blitzing to their advantage numerous times throughout the 2017 football season but it’s also come back to bite them on a few occasions. The issue is the holes blitzing leaves in the secondary. The “old school Miami” defenses of the 80’s and 90’s didn’t need a lot of blitzing because the front four defensive linemen got to the quarterback on their own.
Here, UGA shows that same old school Miami mentality of bringing only four, covering up the Notre Dame wide receivers, and getting pressure on Brandon Wimbush. Wimbush played a horrible game against UGA and has drastically improved as the season has progressed. However, a strong pass rush is something Miami will have to bring into Wimbush’s face in order to cause him to make bad decisions.
If Miami can get tackles for loss and sacks without having to blitz, it will greatly benefit their back seven in coverage. Notre Dame is going to protect with 6 either using a running back or the tight end for help and Miami will have to out run tackles or out muscle backs. This is a huge game for Chad Thomas and Trent Harris on the outside, and for Kendrick Norton and RJ McIntosh who will have to secure the inside and not allow Wimbush to escape up the middle to outside pressure.
Hopefully Miami can use the buck sweep more effectively as it’s slumped off in effectiveness in the past few weeks, and they can get a 4 man rush against Notre Dame and not have to blitz defensive backs and linebackers. Check back Thursday for part 2 of the Notre Dame film preview featuring Notre Dame and Wake Forest.