In order to win football games, the Miami Hurricanes are going to have to control the controllables. I said this in the round tables leading to the game, and I’ll say this about any coach, including myself, forever and ever. Those controllables on offense are: dumb penalties like false starts, bad snaps, wasting timeouts on personnel issues, ugly interceptions or fumbles, and blown assignments.
Jarren Williams avoided throwing an interception but he was sacked 10 times and hurried on five other plays. Many of those were the fault of the offensive line but Williams also seemed to be holding onto the ball far too long, and too far away from his body.
In the kicking game, the controllables are personnel issues and wasted timeouts, allowing fakes, dropping punts or kicks, kickoffs out of bounds, and allowing touchdowns or blocked kicks too. Miami gave up a fake punt, missed an easy chip shot field goal, and muffed a punt at quite an inopportune time.
Rub and pick
I love this concept on both sides of the formation. At the top, slant arrow is a great man press beater because as the cornerback runs the slant the flat defender is picked, kind of like a pick and roll in basketball. At the bottom, the receivers aren’t in the route concept as anything more than blockers as the tight end, Brevin Jordan, runs a speed out. Williams chooses Jordan’s side and he makes a nice play.
Deejay Dallas is a bad man
Deejay Dallas ran plays at wildcat quarterback, as a traditional running back, he caught screens and here he’s solidifying an NFL Draft selection with his pass blocking. A softer back would have cut down and possibly whiffed on the block but Dallas puts half of his body into the block which pins the Gator defender away from Williams.
The wildcat run
It’s the overall leg drive that impresses me here. Dallas isn’t going to stop on initial contact, even lower body which can often cause players to trip or slow down and be grabbed from behind. Dallas barely gets knocked off balance as he drives through ankle biters and arm tacklers.
Here, he keeps the play alive by securing a high screen pass. What I really like is how fast his shoulder rotation speed moves from zero to 60. He’s at a near complete stop after the jumping catch and turns his shoulders on instantly. This allows him to run through tacklers and his balance and leg drive turn this from a negative play into a big gain for Miami.
A great way to be an NFL draft-worthy back is to show you can pass block as well as catch the football. Against a confusing zone pressure Dallas steps up and makes a key block on the Jordan touchdown.
Picking apart Dallas’ block to the finest points, I would like to see him run his feet through the block as opposed to ‘pop up’ which is what a lot of smaller guys do on impact (H-backs against defensive ends comes to mind).
Oh and there’s the wildcat run for a touchdown to give Miami the go-ahead score in the 4th quarter. Go ahead and count the amount of broken tackles, you’re going to run out of fingers and toes.
Technique on the offensive line
Obviously the pressure packages the Gators threw at a new starting center and quarterback threw Miami for a loop. 10 sacks and five more hurries- that’s a combination of pass protection, the quarterback not throwing away the football, and the scheme not allowing for rush routes to be thrown early in the progression.
On the Jordan touchdown, you can see where a true freshman in Zion Nelson has work that needs to be done. Nelson knows that he has a faster defender coming from the outside. His initial step leaves his base too wide to gather himself. The defender could’ve gone inside of him and beat him there even easier than outside which takes more time.
Because of the wide base, Nelson is forced to take a gather step which has him beaten on the outside. That gather step puts his feet too close together. In the first two pictures you can see Nelson leaning to the left, and then having to full on dive at his man.
Here in the third picture. You can see a lot of what happens to him. He’s susceptible to the speed rush, a bull rush and an inside cut hand slap move. Nelson is on his tippy toes, his feet are nearly clicking together, and his hands are down. These are three huge technical flaws for an offensive tackle on a speed rush.
This wasn’t a struggling game of three and outs where the defense was left on the field. If you care about time of possession as a stat in any way, it’s that the Hurricanes offense held the football long enough to let the defense rest. However, Manny’s scheme is still an all-or-none approach and the ‘Canes came away with only one sack, three hurries, and five tackles for loss against the Gators’ sixteen tackles for loss.
Bill Connelly (now of ESPN) has attributed Diaz to “havoc” stats such as tackles for loss, passes defensed, and fumble recoveries but that wasn’t where Miami excelled on Saturday night. The ‘Canes defense still came away with turnovers, four total to be exact, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Gators.
The middle of the pass defense is open both on long throws:
And in the red zone:
Below- there are six missed tackles on this play and two alone from Amari Carter. Miami has to do a better job of defending the middle of the field, and of finishing tackles in order to win the ACC Coastal.
With all of Miami’s woes on the offensive line, the kicking game, and in tackling- the ‘Canes were still in the game until the very end and even led the game late. This game reminded me a lot of the loss to Washington in 2000 and hopefully Williams can go full Kenny Dorsey and come out with a great finish to the season.
After a bye week, Miami faces the UNC Tar Heels here in Chapel Hill on September 7th at 8pm on the ACC Network. I may be there, depending on my coaching schedule so hope to see some of you there if I can.