Tate Martell came to Miami from Ohio State to start at the quarterback position. However; from practice reports, scrimmage reports, and the little bit of film I have seen- he doesn’t look like more than a backup quarterback compared to N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams. Perry and Williams have their faults, sure, but Martell just doesn’t have the consistency when throwing the football necessary to be an ACC Championship caliber quarterback.
Dan Enos has worked magic with his quarterbacks in the past but I think that magic is showing its dividends with Perry and Williams over Martell. Enos greatest quality as a play caller has been his ability to get the most out of his players while also adjusting his scheme to fit the talent and mask their weaknesses while playing off their strengths.
What if Martell, an extremely athletic football player, wasn’t just a quarterback at Miami. What if he played a diverse role that maximized his strengths and covered his weaknesses. Dr. Tim Elmore writes quite a bit about getting the most buy-in from people, and the best results, when you put them in a position to utilize their strengths. It’s a common theme of his book “Generation iY.”
Martell could be to Miami what Taysom Hill is to the New Orleans Saints. What if Martell lined up in different spots on the punt team, played in the kick coverage game, and had special packages designed to get Tate on the field with the quarterback and athlete Deejay Dallas? With Miami’s woes on the offensive line it could be the best way to slow down defenses and give the quarterbacks time to make reads and release the football.
If you don’t remember Hill in college, he was the uber-athletic quarterback at BYU who ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day while also picking up a 38” vertical jump. Hill struggled throughout college with turnovers and injuries but has made a niche for himself with the Saints in the kicking game and as a special package player on offense. Hill is six-foot-two, 220 pounds while Martell isn’t as tall but has a stocky build that could fight for a yard on 4th and one.
When Martell signed with Miami via the transfer portal I said he had positives and negatives. When Hill was drafted he too had positives and negatives but a great offensive mind like Sean Payton, or Dan Enos, will find the best way to utilize their talent. Case in point, look at this graphic from Pro Football Focus below.
I think what Miami has been missing since Sean Taylor left for the NFL is someone willing and able to “Be The One.” Martell will be used to the phrase “Be The One” as it’s an Urban Meyer’ism about being trusted, having a refuse to lose attitude and being a tough prick. Meyer described J.T. Barrett as “THE ONE,” and the one can describe key assistant coaches as well as valuable players. Taysom Hill is “The One” in New Orleans, and Martell needs to be the one for Manny Diaz.
Inside Zone Read
The first GIF is of Hill running inside zone read for the Saints. Compared to the pocket passing Drew Brees, Hill is a great change of pace quarterback who offers a different package and forces defenders to game plan for his speed and style.
Below is a GIF from Martell at Ohio State. Martell, like Hill, offered a change of pace from his starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins. With Perry or Williams at quarterback Miami has mobile but not pure runners in the backfield. It could be a nice change that teams have to game plan for and focus on defending.
As a skill guy
For New Orleans, Hill has lined up at receiver, running back and h-back as well as quarterback. Hill is obviously a little taller than Martell, but Tate’s a stocky, cocky, strong kid that could line up in the backfield, in the slot, or in the wing and add to the adjustments and game planning defensive coordinators will have to make for him.
Never seen a 3rd string QB block like this before. Of course, Taysom Hill is so much more than a QB. Haven't used him as much lately but given Baltimore's success with Lamar Jackson vs PIT, think we'll see lots of Hill Sunday. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/9rWIuXK4Fo— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) December 20, 2018
Having players like Dallas and Martell on the field at running back and slot receiver will cause defensive players to freeze. It works on NFL teams, it works on college teams. Just having Hill run the jet motion and faking to him freezes the defense, Martell could offer that same “look at me” reaction from the ACC.
Saints running the 2017 copycat NFL Play-of-the-Year— Josh Cohen (@jco3215) October 9, 2018
Fake jet sweep, RB vertical - w/ utility knife Taysom Hill involved for good measure
Complete with more WASH coverage breakdowns#WASvsNO pic.twitter.com/PmsJ9ciFDV
SB Nation’s Adam Stites was equally as enamored with the Saints use of Hill as I was. In my research I stumbled upon his post called, “The Saints’ breakout third-string QB is doing everything to help but throw.” This is a concept New Orleans used a few times with Hill and I could see Dallas as the swinging back with Mallory or Jordan lead blocking as a slot for Martell at quarterback.
How about Tate lined up in the backfield and Dallas split wide with Jeff Thomas? Miami needs to be as multiple, varied and hard to predict as possible until the offensive line improves their play.
In the kicking game
For years Miami has failed to get players involved all over the field due to bad coaching. If this staff is going to flaunt yachts and keggers they have to be ready to coach their asses off with these players. South Florida predominantly has terrible high school coaching and the South Florida kids don’t come “college ready” like kids from Georgia or Texas. Where Devin Hester was never more than a return guy at Miami, even with all of his talents, Martell has to be more than a back up quarterback if the worm turns that way.
Like Hill, Martell can get involved in the kicking game in a variety of ways. Hill is used in kickoff coverage, punt coverage, and on punt block and return. Guys with football IQ, speed, and ball skills are needed all over the field and Hill has provided a spark for New Orleans in the kicking game.
The Saints have bigger backs, and they have even more dynamic of backs in Alvin Kamara, but Hill is “The One” when it comes to 4th down conversions. Not many backup quarterbacks slash special team’ers are the one in the NFL but Hill is and that’s a guy Martell needs to start texting on a weekly basis for inspiration and motivation.
Hill is a mainstay on the Saints kickoff coverage and on their punt block and return squad, too. Hill even blocked a punt against Tampa Bay (video below). There’s no better momentum swing than a big time kick or punt return, or a blocked kick. They’re game changing moments and Miami is in need of game changing moments all over the field.
Part of being the one is being a trusted player. There’s no one more trusted than a player that is willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of the program. If Martell can drop his ego and Coach Enos can capitalize on his athleticism the ‘Canes could have a secret weapon on their hands. Part of being the one is being a refuse to lose player- those guys don’t sit the bench, they find ways to get on the football field and score touchdowns.
The final part of being the one is being a tough prick. Toughness is part of grit and growth. Angela Duckworth might not use the same verbiage as Coach Meyer but if you read about grit it’s defined as passion and persistence. Martell will need to show grit and show that he wants to win the ACC Championship in any way he can.