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Film Review: Miami 25 - North Carolina 28

The Tar Heels edged the ‘Canes in Chapel Hill

Miami v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes should have defeated the UNC Tar Heels on Saturday, September 7th in Chapel Hill, NC. The ‘Canes lost to the Heels by three in front of a sold out crowd in the triangle. However, Miami left seven points off the board with kicking woes and The New Miami starting to look like a “get rich quick” infomercial from the 90’s. You know the one with the guy on the fancy yacht proclaiming he got rich and you can too, right?

The New-Old Miami still has issues with penalties and stupid mistakes. Just look at Jeff Thomas flipping the ball up to himself nearly costing Miami any chance at this ball game. Or how about the seven penalties including an unnecessary targeting from Amari Carter at an already weak safety position? Thomas was also the victim of killing opening field position with his indecisiveness in the return game.

Coaches always talk about controlling the controllables but penalties, mental errors, clock management and kicking game woes are the bulk of the category. Looking deeper into the stats, Jarren Williams threw three touchdowns with no interceptions but again fumbled twice (Miami recovered both) and averaged under eight yards per attempt. Eight yards is the minimum standard and UNC’s Sam Howell averaged 11.4 with two scores of his own.

The leading rushers of both squads ran for 7.6 yards per carry but look at the receiving stats; UNC’s top two pass catchers averaged 20 and 23 yards per catch while Mike Harley lead Miami with 15.8. And Jeff Thomas? He averaged 7.3 yards per reception and an underwhelming 15 yards on his lone kick return.

Third down offense is where Miami is still struggling going 3-for-11, 0-1 on 4th down, and a lot of that is the poor play calling on 2nd down. Dan Enos put Miami in bad positions on many 2nd downs that led to 3rd and long situations. OK I’ve been wordy enough, let’s get to the film.

How UNC went up 10-0

First, Phil Longo is drastically underrated. Against what’s supposed to be a top-10 defense in the country he came out with two great early drives giving UNC a 10 point lead. Here, it’s only a two man route against what looks like cover 3 match. What match means is that it’s not a “spot drop” or where the cornerback drops into a zone space. He’s playing his third of the field, but if the receiver runs a hitch or slant, the CB will cover that too and not stay in a space.

Trajan Bandy bites on the double move, UNC has plenty of time to throw, and actually both corners are burned on this play. They have a safety in the middle of the field defending against no one and no help over the top. That usually implies never letting someone deeper than you in your third of the field but not this time.

Dan Enos and Williams

I think Dan Enos has a really good quarterback in Jarren Williams. Besides his penchant for fumbling, Williams makes smart, safe throws and is improving every week on pocket presence and avoiding the rush. However, he’s obviously behind Sam Howell in that regard and that shows 2018 was a wasted season for Mr. Williams under Jon Richt and co.

I just can’t fathom why Dan Enos is so hell bent on having Williams under center, and on having him turn his back on play-action passes while under center. You can read more of my concerns in my piece about Williams’ debut agains the Gators. On 2nd and 10, down 10 points early in the ballgame, Miami chooses to go back under center, and have their 350 pound guard run across the formation to kick out a speed rush linebacker.

I personally thought this offense would look more like Alabama 2018 than Arkansas 2017 but it’s all Razorbacks and limited Crimson Tide. Navaughn Donaldson is a good interior lineman, there’s no reason he should be out chasing rush ends from a back side guard position. None. Let him do what he does best which is maul guys across from him.

Lack of eye discipline

Along with a lack of regular discipline, Miami is showing a great lack of eye discipline. It’s been there the entire Manny Diaz defense era. Shaquille Quarterman has hardly improved as a linebacker in four years. Case in point, he has no idea where this ball carrier even is. He just jumps on top of a pile of humans and Javonte Williams slips out the side of the pile. It was obvious on the double-move touchdown from earlier, too.

Jonathan Garvin looks like he’s never taken on a kick out block here, too. He plays finesse and tries to go around the tight end instead of through him which causes the gap that Williams scores through.

Deejay Dallas

Deejay Dallas seems like the most draft-ready player Miami has had in a long time. He can do it all and most importantly he’s not a down at first contact guy. Dallas is the versatile weapon that NFL teams need a running back to be in the pass happy NFL. On this play alone he shows vision, burst, and power. Dallas picked up 107 yards on only 14 carries and is a reliable blocker in pass protection, too.

Case in point, in the image below, the Will Mallory touchdown doesn’t happen without Dallas’ key block on the outside rush. He steps up, sees the outside and runs to kick the defender out and away from Williams. Zion Nelson is improving, obviously, and he still lunges and loses form but it was enough time to get the ball off.

4th & 17

When your defense holds UNC to 4th and 17 with 2:55 to go and up five points you have to be thinking well this is it. The ‘Canes have ‘em. I mean Manny Diaz is a defensive minded head coach. Defense has been the strength of the Hurricanes. Well, all of those 110’s didn’t lead to much here as Miami gives up a huge tube of space on what looks like a post and out double move. The slot gets the nickel and safety to commit inside, the outside receiver runs off the cornerback, and the slot settles in the open space for a first down.

The most appalling thing isn’t that he got open, UNC receivers had been getting open all night. It was the lack of pass rush. Miami came away with four sacks but only two hurries. UNC on the other hand had four sacks and seven hurries- oh and the turnover chain didn’t make an appearance in Chapel Hill.

Eye discipline strikes again

As a team, the eye discipline is weak at Miami. The drops have definitely decreased which is a plus but on defense it’s atrocious. Receivers are running right by guys and we discussed the ‘jump on the pile, miss the ball carrier’ issue from earlier in the game already.

This is a smash concept where the outside receivers run hitches or whips or drags and the inside receiver runs a corner route. It’s a great way to trick the eyes and put a cornerback and safety in conflict. It works. Gurvan Hall is burned here and proves there’s a long way to go for Miami’s safety room.


Miami has a lot to work on and it will be hard to tell if any improvements were made against Bethune Cookman or Central Michigan. However, maybe in the next three weeks (Miami follows the CMU game with another bye week) the ‘Canes can get some depth issues worked out and can compete for jobs. I feel like almost every job should be open for competition coming out of that bye and facing Virginia Tech at home.