The Hurricanes struggled to do much of anything right against an outmatched Central Michigan squad on Saturday evening. Miami beat the Chips 17-12, but even Las Vegas had Miami as a 30-point favorite (I had them as a 28-point favorite, so what do I know?).
Miami’s offense continued to struggled finishing 1-for-10 on 3rd downs, 1-for-2 on 4th down, and turning the ball over as well. The ‘Canes leading running back, Deejay Dallas, finished with only 2.4 yards per carry while the Hurricanes committed 13 penalties for 93 yards. Oh, and Bubba Baxa missed again but was given a second chance after a penalty on a missed field goal.
This is not a football team that looks prepared to win ACC games and finish out a season. At times, Manny Diaz looks lost on the sidelines with a blank stare reminiscent of an early tenure Butch Davis. Coach Davis also struggled through penalties, clock management and offensive woes until the light came on around the end of the 1998 season.
On the bright side Jarren Williams averaged 10.4 yards per passing attempt with a touchdown and no interceptions, but he did fumble again which has to be on Dan Enos radar moving forward. Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory came alive averaging 23.3 and 29.5 yards per catch, respectively. Jeff Thomas continued to be a non-factor averaging only 9.7 yards per catch and 2.5 yards per carry. Not quite the breakaway player we all expected in 2019.
2nd level RPO
Miami continued to flash a new RPO, this time against Central Michigan. Here, Williams reads the inside linebacker. Brevin Jordan will come out like he’s going to block the linebacker or safety and instead run a seam. Williams is reading that inside linebacker to Jordan’s side. If the linebacker runs up to play the run (which he does) Williams throws, if he sits or drops it’s a give to the running back.
To the bottom of the field there’s also an easy bubble concept that could have been connected on, even though I’m fairly certain it’s a decoy to clear the safety out of the path of the seam, which he does.
The safety was on Enos
The safety was on Dan Enos and his scheme or lack their of. In the end zone, backed up, first there’s no back for protection which is fine, use him as an outlet threat- if the QB feels a rush he can dump the ball off to him. But the RB doesn’t have a quick or even easily visible route for Williams. He’s just floating around out there (see below).
So now Williams doesn’t have a quick “rush route” (click here to read more about open grass reads) to hit in case of pressure or if no one is open. So what is the QB’s progression? Well there isn’t a single receiver open on the end of his drop. Williams takes a 3-step drop and no one has broken off yet, as you can see above.
Standing in the end zone how do you game plan and call a play where the QB doesn’t have anyone break into a route until his 2nd hitch up. The QB should have a 4th progression available by then and honestly should have already taken off to run by a 2nd hitch up. End of his drop he needs someone looking for the ball on a rhythm route and the back available for the rush. After a hitch an additional threat should be open. If all three are covered he should “release” or run.
Now- the part that is Williams’ fault is his lack of an internal clock. He has to know after the first hitch up that it’s time to “release” or run the football. Instead he hitches two more times and then freezes his feet.
Strip sack and Zion
There are so many bad moving parts to this play that it could take a 10-page paper to go over what’s wrong. It’s 2nd and 16, so most OC’s are trying to get 8-yards back here to make it 3rd and semi-reasonable. Here, when Williams hits the last step of his drop, not a single receiver is looking for the football. His “rhythm” route doesn’t exist. So he has to hitch up with a bad offensive line protecting for him.
For Zion, I’m really impressed when I see him run block. On the Dallas touchdown from inside the 5-yard line, Nelson drives his feet on his down block and opens a small hole for Dallas to score (and Donaldson’s kick out block is solid, too). In pass pro his issue seems to be body control in space.
Zion is routinely off balance. I would have thought his woes would’ve been in run blocking do to his youth and lack of size but instead it’s in body control and space. In past film reviews, Zion has been in the same position- lunging. If he uses the drive-catch method he will be balanced more, with his weight evenly distributed and his chest up and back with hips back and down as opposed to leaning and lunging his chest over his toes.
I would say that four sacks and four hurries on the quarterback is an improvement in the pass rush, except Miami’s supposedly aggressive and talented defensive line hardly did better than the Chips’ pass rush against Miami (four sacks, three hurries). The turnover chain finally bounced back into use with two fumble recoveries and an interception, but the chips won the battle of 3rd downs, 4th downs, first downs, time of possession, and tied the ‘Canes in tackles for loss.
There is a lot to build on heading into Miami’s second bye week. This is when Coach Diaz has to lay down the hammer. The weight program needs to up their stress levels with there being no game on Saturday. Practices need to be focused on controlling the controllables like penalties, bad snaps, fumbles, and losing sight of receivers in the scramble drill.
The schedule was set up for 10-wins but with Miami struggling this badly I can see it slip to seven or eight unless there’s drastic change in attention to detail and game planning on both offense and defense.