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Film Preview: Miami at Virginia Tech

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The ‘Canes travel to Blacksburg to face the Hokies on Saturday afternoon

Virginia Tech v Virginia Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

The Hurricanes are 5-5 and facing off against the 4-5 Hokies on Saturday, November 17th at 3:30pm eastern time on ESPN. Miami’s week 11 wrapped up with a loss to Georgia Tech while Virginia Tech was pounded by the Pitt Panthers. The Hokies are 75th overall per the S&P+ with Bud Foster’s defense a lowly 93rd in the same metric. Miami is still ranked 30th overall by Bill C’s analytics but the offense is 69th. This will be a proving ground as a bad Mark Richt offense faces a depleted Bud Foster defense.


QB Power Read with bullet motion

Quarterback power read is a fun play and this isn’t “inverted veer” version but a running back swing version of the play. Like power the defensive tackle with his hand down gets blocked, different from power, it’s the H-Back that wraps up field to the second level linebackers.

The flat defender (he’s the circled up linebacker) is the read. If he plays the run, the QB throws the swing. If he runs out and plays the swing, the QB will run behind his H-Back.

As you can see above, the defensive backs run to the two decoy routes and switch coverage where the safety runs down on the swing route. With the swing covered, Willis knows his option is the QB run. This is a pass-run option.


VT defends 11 personnel with 4-2-5

Miami has to find ways to eliminate the over hang player (in the red circle) from being able to play the run and pass on every down. In the screenshot he’s playing the apex (about 6 yards deep and in between the OT and the slot WR) so he accounts as the .5 of the 6.5 in the box. He’s not truly an in the box player like in a standard Miami 4-3 Over but he is able to play both from the apex.

The best way to manipulate him is to run some form of, you guessed it, an RPO. If Miami can have the slot run an arrow route (a zero out) or bubble and the outside WR (not pictured) crack down on the flat defender or the safety- the bubble can go for five yards. Bud Foster likes to play quarters pattern match coverage which gives some cushion to the WR’s.

Look at the screenshot above from another play later in the game. The Hokies allow the Irish to take the flats. Instead, Book throws into danger on the top of the screen.

I have no idea why Ian Book forces the throw to the top of the screen when he has leverage to the bottom but he does and it’s an interception by the Hokies.


Flood type layered concept

The Hokies trip up Pitt on a flood layered concept. The CB on the top of the screen should have his original read on the outside WR. As the WR runs a vertical he will pass him off the to free safety. The CB will then play the arrow route from #2, the tight end.

The twins on the bottom of the screen are also interesting. The #2 or inside slot drags across the field to pull the linebackers up and give some window dressing for the free safety. Yet the #1, the outside WR runs a post. That’s a ton of traffic coming around the free safety.

Miami had a tough time in coverage against similar looks against Georgia Tech. If a little play-action was added in on the play the Hurricanes would really bite down underneath and allow this to come open. With Miami’s penchant for blitzing and leaving holes in coverage you can only assume this will score.


Summary

The Hurricanes are the better football team on paper, but both programs are in a massive slump in 2018. With Miami on the road in Blacksburg I’m leaning towards the Hokies. Miami has lost four of their last five on the road against Virginia Tech. Mark Richt will have to prove he can get some offensive output against the Hokies while the defense will have to slow down a mobile but not that dual threat of a quarterback in Willis.

Prediction: Virginia Tech by 2