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Film Review: Virginia Tech 42 - Miami 35

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‘Canes comeback effort falls short at home,

Virginia Tech v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Miami lost, again. It hurts. It sucks. There is massive room for improvement in this program. Recruiting has to be through the roof good, and not with “star” power but with hard working, dedicated, high ceiling kids that the strength staff can mold and develop. If coaching football is acquisition, development and deployment- the Miami staff has a lot of work to do to make this thing a competitive program again.

It also felt like another under prepared effort with no enthusiasm. The ‘Canes had two weeks to prepare for a bad Virginia Tech squad that was smoked by Duke and came out flat, uninspired, and unsure of what to do. Victories only exist through clarity, confidence and conviction. I’m not sure Miami has any of that right now.


Jarren lost his job, or did he?

Jarren Williams has been efficient if not painfully safe throughout the first four games of the season. Then the doors fell off. Williams started the game against the Hokies but finished 4-for-7 with three interceptions. He was pulled for 2018’s part-time starting QB N’Kosi Perry. Perry threw for 422 yards and four touchdowns with only one interception.

Williams looked confused as Perry slung the ball down field with his receivers averaging 19.4, 20.7, 16, and 22.5 yards per catch from Brevin Jordan, Jeff Thomas, Dee Wiggins, and Mark Pope, respectively. Thomas entered the game averaging under 10 yards per catch but with Perry behind center found his rhythm and caught two touchdowns, too.

I don’t blame Williams for the first interception, that’s just football. However, the scheme does have partial blame. I’ve been telling you for weeks that Williams running under center play-action on “and long” situations is bad. My reasons are he turns his back from pressure, coverage and his targets. On his second interception he misses Jeff Thomas in the flat on 2nd and seven, which is an easy pick up.

The third interception is all on Williams. He forces the ball in between two defenders for the short-armed interception. There wasn’t a lot of gas on the throw that looks like a 12-yard out which is a tough NFL level throw. He also misses a wide open receiver in the middle of the field in Mike Harley. It’s 3rd and 13 and a forced mistake by Williams.

N’Kosi Perry interception

Perry comes in and hits a deep ball to Brevin Jordan on a fake screen and go. It was a nice play (one I like and utilize, too). Perry forces the ball in with no outlet available and it’s not far enough wide to be only his guy or out of bounds. However the concept is confusing. The #1 threat runs the out / comeback?, #2 runs to the corner. That’s fine, but why not try to shake the cornerback at least with a whip route? This feels too easy to defend because the routes are ran obviously and coverage doesn’t have to change from playing man inside the 10.


Goal Line

This play is almost identical to the one that Duke ran against the Hokies in the Blue Devils blowout win. I told you in the film preview (read that here) that it could be successful in this game. Miami’s design is risky. Perry has his back turned, pauses to sell the hand off, and gets lucky there’s no pressure or he’s completely blow apart.


Defense

This is a simple man coverage beater. The Hokies offensive staff saw that Miami defensive backs weren’t switching receivers and took a shot at a slant wheel type of concept here. Miami’s nickel ran up for whatever reason and set a pick on his own teammate. There’s really no reason for Trajan Bandy to not stay over the top of the coverage. The safety is playing the apex (around 6-8 yards splitting between the slot and the offensive tackle) far too tight to the formation. He is completely useless in any deep coverage to the sideline.

Zero improvement

When watching Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney play- I have seen limited improvement in their game. I’ve been saying this since Manny Diaz took the defensive coordinator job that I don’t think he nor his scheme teaches players how to play football. I also don’t think they do a good job of teaching fundamentals or football to the linebacker group at all.

It’s an all or none scheme and the actual tools to play linebacker don’t exist. Case in point (and one for why Dan Enos can run the same plays he likes from the gun) the red zone touchdown to go up 35-14. Michael Pinckney never sees the tight end release right in front of his face. His eye discipline is poor. If he’s on that player in man coverage, he does a terrible job of identifying him as a threat. I’m also not sure who is on the fullback who gets to the flat because two players could’ve scored here.

Where is the improvement in linebacker play? I just haven’t seen it and next year they’ll be even worse with senior leadership leaving for graduation. I hope that Blake Baker does a better job than Diaz of finding Zach McCloud’s strengths and of coaching up the linebackers.


Summary

A Hail Mary and a screen and go aside, Miami’s offense is in desperate times. Throughout the game I thought Zion Nelson improved in pass protection but maybe the Hokies rush just isn’t that strong. I liked what I saw from Perry in spots but he didn’t look much better than what he offered a year ago. I wanted to see more development but that might just come from incoming freshman and not guys who have been on the roster developing bad habits.

One shout out I want to give is to Deejay Dallas. Dallas is an NFL-ready back that was only given six carries. Sure Miami was behind early but you have to feed a back like Dallas and let him work. It would’ve cut down on four interceptions had the running game gotten going and doesn’t make sense to run so much play-action when you never run.

This team is struggling and the focus turns to a ranked UVA Cavaliers team that’s given Miami fits for a decade. This game has a 5-5 split over the last 10 including a Miami loss a year ago. Hopefully Dan Enos can get more points on the board than 13, and Blake Bakers defense can improve their tackling and poor coverage quickly.