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Film Review: Clemson 42 - Miami 17

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Miami was outclassed by the top team in the ACC.

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Nine first downs, 4-of-15 on 3rd down, 4.2 yards per passing attempt, 3.6 yards per run, 15 penalties, and three turnovers. “We back” just needs to stop already for both Texas and Miami- the two most “we back” we backs that aren’t back in college football.

My Canyonero keys to victory for Miami against Clemson were Key 1- to play flawless but not scared. You can toss that out the window. Miami played scared, and coached scared. The pre-snap penalties show mental toughness deficiencies. I would love to know if Miami is a situational practice team or a “run it again” type during the week.

15 penalties for 135 yards is abhorrent. The Discipline was lacking and Discipline is a top-down Core Value. It’s not one you can slap on a poster or t-shirt and say, “Go have that.” It’s a choice that requires modeling, training and preparation to become excellent at performing.

Key 2 was to be patient. Miami might’ve been a little too patient at first, and then opened it up too much late. But that’s mixed words so I’m sorry. Key 3 was to get pressure on Trevor Lawrence. One sack and one QB hurry does not constitute pressure. Miami’s highly regarded defensive line of Jalean Phillips, Quincy Roche, and Nesta Jade Silvera came up empty against the Tigers offensive line.

D’Eriq King’s Heisman Trophy season has come to an end unless Miami makes the ACC Championship Game and wins the re-match against Clemson. King finished the game completing less than 50% of his passes, for only 4.3 yards per attempt and two interceptions. He ran for 84 yards and a score but it was too little too late.

Above- King has to put some damn air under this throw and lead Mallory. He’s 6-foot-5 against a 5-foot-11 cornerback. Put it where only he can catch it. It’s under thrown and the game is a wrap.

I’m really surprised that King doesn’t have more designed runs. I’m assuming it’s the lack of faith Rhett Lashlee has in N’Kosi Perry and Tyler Van Dyke as quarterbacks. Perry came in and did what Perry does- he went 0-for-1 with an interception.

I’m not sure why Manny Diaz and Lashlee are hell bent on getting Perry more reps when he obviously doesn’t have “it.” It’s time to get a freshman prepared much like Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State have done the past few seasons. In three previous blowouts in favor of Miami, how many passes has Van Dyke attempted?

Above- I have no idea why Miami didn’t run more split zone, or use the H to kick the other linebacker rather than arc up more. It’s more important to eliminate the 1st level defenders (people on the line of scrimmage) than to work up to the 2nd level (linebacker depth).

Above- on 4th down Miami goes with an inside zone run and gets stuffed. Again, split zone might at least slow down linebackers reads, and clean up the trash that gets through on pressure.

Miami only handed the ball off 10 times all game. Of the ‘Canes 25 “rushing attempts,” five were sacks (the NCAA is stupid) and the other 10 were split between scrambles and a small amount of designed runs with King. Clemson on the other hand had 44 rushing attempts and Miami only had one sack.

Clemson’s defense ran up five sacks, 11 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and two hurries against Miami’s offensive line.


The defense

The Miami defense held the Tigers to 8-of-17 on 3rd downs, but 1-of-1 on 4th downs. Clemson only picked up 6.6 yards per passing attempt against Miami, but 5.9 yards per rush were another story. Clemson only turned the ball over one time, and committed half of the penalties that Miami did.

Above- you have the chance to get off the field. You’re the dude lined up over the ball. How are you this noticeably lined up offsides?

Above- for years Clemson has had a “you’re offsides this is our shot play” shot play with the frozen throwback TE screen. Imagine how good they are at this one play when it’s the one play they work on for this situation... Bruce Lee’s theory on 10,000 kicks rings true.

Lawrence was limited to only 7.1 yards per passing attempt but did throw three touchdowns with zero interceptions and ran in a fourth score.

Above- this is that “what are you even teaching?!” moment that happens to Miami in every game. That dude has to be the outside force player and he comes inside immediately at the snap of the ball, leaving no one else outside and Etienne easily cuts out and scores.

Travis Etienne averaged 8.8 yards per carry with two TD’s including a 72 yarder and hauled in another 73 receiving yards against the ‘Canes defense. He did what you knew he would which is make big plays, ala Dalvin Cook, when he had to.

Above- on the slide route TD, McCloud had no idea what to do. Again, another example of what development has he really had in FIVE years? These are the same mistakes he made as a freshman that caused Baker-Diaz to change the scheme from a 4-3 to a 4-2. McCloud ran over to cover him, then turned completely around and let him slip by for a TD.

The ‘Canes secondary gave up explosive plays to four different receivers, but I really didn’t think they played poorly during the game. The defense lacked a pass rush but did come away with nine tackles for loss.

Above- Clemson running counter is basically them running their base play. It’s funny to do that but that’s how it is for the Tigers. Miami gets annihilated on this counter and Etienne breaks a beautiful run with perfect running form. McCloud gets hit so hard he almost breaks in half. You have to play football in control.


Summary: Culture

Dabo Swinney has an instilled culture at Clemson. The Tigers are going to play hard, fast, and they’re going to be ready to re-load season after season. It’s how they’ve managed to lose this many NFL Draft picks but still be in the College Football Playoff year after year. Their backups are prepared because they get them real reps in real time.

Albert Bandura would say the way to have true self-efficacy (the confidence and conviction to achieve your goals) is to have mastery, modeling, affirmations, and being in control of emotions. Clemson can’t get that next crop ready for possible 2020 playing time (COVID, injuries, etc) or 2021’s championship run without Bandura’s theory in motion. So suck it up QB of a team that ran it up and danced all over San Diego State and FAMU’s grave for four years. You’ll be okay.

The true test of Miami’s culture will come with how well Manny Diaz has his team prepared to play Pittsburgh at noon on October 17th. I love King’s quote above and believe it’s why for the most part he’s played so well. He understands what leadership is, and knows how to project that to the media.

After last week, Pitt was ranked 25th per the SP+ (new rankings aren’t out yet), but they lost to Boston College in overtime so I would imagine they’d slip down a bit. The Panthers struggle to score but Narduzzi is a defensive mastermind and will have his 4-2-5 ready for Miami. If the ‘Canes bounce back and beat the Panthers, I have faith the culture is changing. If the ‘Canes come out and commit penalties, look selfish and sluggish, and turn the ball over- The New Miami is The Old Miami. Let’s hope they’re ready to play on Saturday.