The Miami Hurricanes dominated the UNC Tar Heels on Thursday, September 27th by a final score of 47-10. I wrote a halftime film breakdown, and this is my breakdown of the full game. N’Kosi Perry finished with 10.4 yards per passing attempt and tossed a touchdown but did throw an ugly interception and lost a fumble. There are ways that the fumble can be fixed as well as his near impeccable timing can become even tighter via some mechanical fixes.
Pre-throw Perry versus Tom Brady
If I’m going to coach a position I try to find the least naturally gifted person who turned out to have a great career. This is the epitome of that example in Tom Brady. Brady was hardly a starter at Michigan, looked like a 38 year old divorced dad that drinks at Blue Martini while at the NFL Combine, and turned himself into the greatest professional quarterback of all-time.
Perry gives up strip sacks because of where he holds the football, and his elbow positioning pre-throw. Look how far out his elbow juts. This means if he’s hit by that defensive end that’s working Navaughn Donaldson- the ball will come loose. The elbow will be struck and that causes the fingers to loosen grip.
Then look at where Tom Brady holds the football. The ball itself is just a shade higher than Perry but it’s the elbow that is key. If Brady is hit he can easily tuck the football into his chest and hold on during a sack. Over his illustrious career, Brady has fumble on 10% of his sacks and rushes. In comparison, Brett Favre (who was an option quarterback in college and a better athlete) fumbled on 14% of his sacks and rushes.
The elbow positioning makes a big difference on the quickness of the release, too. Brady’s release is so fast in this clip from 2017 that I had a hard time even getting a screenshot. Perry has a smooth release but with his elbow jutted so far out it will cause him to need more force into his throw and it will slow his timing.
With that said, Perry has really good timing for a redshirt freshman and will only improve with college coaching and more playing time.
Above- This is a really bad rep for Michael Pinckney. Look at the difference between his stance pre-snap and Shaq Quarterman’s. Quarterman is even a tad too high but Pinckney is standing up. That’s bad football. A good linebacker stance is one where his forearms are on his quads and you can rest a beer on his flat back.
Above- right away Pinckney turns his chest down the line, instead of keeping it parallel to the line of scrimmage (LOS). This means that if the back cuts back across the formation, Pinckney has to completely flip his hips and start his momentum over.
You can see the result of over pursuit here. Pinckney is “caught in the trash” which is coaching lingo for the offensive linemen that are piling up and working to the linebackers can bump him. This allows a big cutback run from UNC.
Power Read (Inverted Veer) vs. ‘Canes
Miami has struggled since 2016 to stop the power read aka inverted veer. We’ve covered this play before on SOTU. The read is the play side defensive end. As the back crosses the formation the quarterback reads the DE. If the end takes a step down and in or freezes the QB gives to the running back. If the defensive end steps out the QB pulls and keeps behind the pulling back side guard.
Surratt is really good at riding out the read and pulling the football. For all that he isn’t as a passer, he’s not a bad runner.
Surratt sees the defensive end step out to the running back and pulls to score against an eight man box (four down linemen, four guys posed as linebackers between the tackles).
The cure for the power read is to:
1) Hit the quarterback hard enough that he doesn’t want to keep anymore
2) “Scrape exchange” or switch responsibilities where the defensive end plays inside and the linebacker plays outside (pictured above)
I’m definitely hard on the defense because I don’t believe blitzing is a cure for bad football. If Pinckney can’t make a read either teach him or hire someone who can. If a Miami front four can’t get pressure on its own then why recruit all of these tall, lanky, fast defensive ends in the first place or why not run a true 3-4 where blitzing 2-3 players on every play fits into the scheme?
However, they forced a really bad UNC offense into making mistakes and that’s what counts. Miami should be able to dominate FSU’s offensive line with just a four man rush but I doubt that will be the game plan.
The offense is doing much better with Boulware at left guard and Perry at quarterback. If Mark Richt can fix his special teams woes this could be an ACC Coastal winner once again.