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Film Review: Hurricanes Bye Week Edition

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Reviewing more issues from UVA during the bye week

Florida State v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Miami lost to UVA and we’re all depressed about the product displayed on the field by the offense. Oh, and the kicking game needs a complete overhaul as well. Today’s post reflects on more situations where the scheme didn’t benefit the personnel, situation, or coverage shown by the defense.

Perry interception

They say film don’t lie and boy that cliche is a true statement. Cue up the link to the 5:30 mark for the play in real time. Above, this is a 1st and 10 play down 3-0 in the 2nd quarter. The ‘Canes scheme is to run deep route into soft coverage and to throw on 1st and 10 around midfield.

My number one complaint about Richt’s antiquated offensive scheme is that if you aren’t going to run tempo, and you aren’t going to run motion and shifts, you have to employ post-snap run-pass options (RPO’s). You’re currently looking at RPO heaven for the scheme that I use as an offensive coordinator.

A basic stalk-bubble RPO that Richt uses is ‘there’ as the flat defender is on the line of scrimmage showing blitz, the cornerback is 7-8 yards off and the safety is at almost 15 yards. My favorite RPO is “snag” for me and called “stop for others” which is a stop route and bubble combination.

I’ve coached this up on SOTU before here and here. It’s one of my absolute favorite concepts. The QB will read the flat defender (in the red circle). If he brings pressure throw the bubble, if he runs to the bubble (2 steps in that direction) throw the stop route, if he bails throw the bubble. It’s a great concept because the flat defender and cornerback have to communicate mid-snap and “switch” responsibilities or give up a 5-10 yard gain.

Meanwhile, back in Charlottesville...

Gino Torretta even got involved

1992 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Gino Torretta even gets involved in the conversation. This time, it’s Malik Rosier’s strange misfire that could be read as a route issue or what it really is- the receiver recognizes cover 3 and breaks his option route off into a comeback.

As Mr. Heisman says, it should be an easy completion on a deep out or comeback. It looks like the receiver to the bottom of the screen runs a comeback or some form of break off route to the outside. He’s settling into space which is what good receivers do.

Instead, Rosier still throws a vertical even though his receiver has stopped running. For a redshirt senior, that is a complete misdiagnosis of coverage and it looks like he knew right where he was going with the football.

Gino is right- the QB should never throw directly into the free safety on a middle-seam route. However, he also shouldn’t throw a vertical into two defenders with his receiver standing at 10 yards.

Game plan for 3rd and 13

With all the spacing given from the defensive backs, Miami’s passing scheme was to run deep routes into DB’s starting around 10 yards off the man. Rather than run the routes deep and right into their waiting defensive backs, why not employ a double screen that can get the ball to the receivers and let guys with speed like Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley make a play in space.

Cornerbacks aren’t exactly known for their desire or ability to tackle and receivers that are used to running and making a move in space should be able to get yardage after the catch on a double screen.

A double screen is an easy read. The QB will read the swing, if it’s clear he throws it. If the defensive end or an outside rush linebacker can get to the swing he flips his hips and throws the tunnel. Here, the tunnel will obviously be open and an easy route to complete.

Instead, Miami takes another high risk deep shot. This is the equivalent of the red zone fade which doesn’t work, especially with an inaccurate, weak armed quarterback.


Miami’s offensive scheme doesn’t befit the personnel or the looks they’re getting from defenses. UVA knew they were less talented and played soft coverage to avoid giving up deep fades, corners and seams. Miami didn’t take advantage of that and instead threw deep routes into their soft but well executed coverages.

If Mark Richt wants to move the program from a Coastal also-ran and into an ACC Champion he’s going to have to figure out what he wants from his offense and find a quarterback that can read coverages and adjust routes.