It’s not fun to say, but it’s true, D’Eriq King has struggled at times the last two games for Miami. Against Clemson and Pitt, King threw a combined 4 interceptions, and is completing less than 50% of his passes. In the Canes first three games, King was looking like a Heisman candidate, throwing 6 touchdowns with no picks.
But that’s football, every quarterback goes through a little bit of a rough stretch. It doesn’t have me concerned about King’s ability the rest of the season, and I have complete confidence in him leading this offense and putting points up on the board.
Mendenhall said run defense has been great, but inconsistencies have been in the secondary. Focus is there right now. #UVa— Norm Wood (@normwood) October 19, 2020
Against the Virginia Cavaliers this upcoming Saturday, King will have plenty of opportunities to bounce back and light up UVA’s defense. So far this season, Virginia has not been sharp on defense, giving up 35.6 points per game, ranking #43 in total defense (allowing 413.5 yards per game) and #56 in pass defense (277 passing yards allowed per game).
Oof this is a terrible start for Virginia, great start for Wake Forest. Virginia has trailed by at least 10-0 in every game this season. You can't live that way...especially when you're relying on the backup QB.— Caroline Darney (@cwdarney) October 17, 2020
In their last game against Wake Forest, Virginia allowed Sam Hartman to throw for 309 yards, while averaging 19.3 yards per completion. On six occasions, UVA allowed plays going for at least 30 yards.
To make matters worse for the Cavs, two safeties and a cornerback left the game early with injuries, and head coach Bronco Mendenhall is skeptical if all three will play next Saturday against Miami. Mendenhall said he’d address later in the week.
With UVA having some problems in the secondary, King and the Canes offense needs to take advantage and light up the scoreboard, especially through the air. Tight end Brevin Jordan is expected to be back against Virginia, after sitting out in this last game versus Pitt. Having his most reliable target will definitely be a boost to King.
Watching film, and knowing Mendenhall as a coach, you know that they’re going to bring pressure and blitz with numbers. They’re sneaky in their blitz packages as well, whether it’s a delayed cornerback rush, masking blitzes with the linebackers, or just sending 7-8 defenders at the quarterback, they’ll keep your on your toes and always guessing. And with UM’s offensive line struggling pass protection the last two weeks, you know Mendenhall is planning to pressure King and breakdown the Canes o-line.
"The way the defense is playing is very comparable to last season, there's just one difference and that's in giving up way too many big plays." @UVAFootball's Charles Snowden (@csnoww3)#GoHoos | #THEStandard pic.twitter.com/z2BcdkB2z8— Virginia Cavaliers (@VirginiaSports) October 20, 2020
However, the Cavaliers don’t have nearly the caliber of pass-rushers that Clemson or Pitt has, and their sack production has been up and down this season. So, this’ll create opportunities with mismatches in the secondary in man coverage, which could result in big gains for the Hurricanes.
UVA defense torched on the game's opening possession by Wake Forest.— Anthony Romano (@ARomanoWDBJ) October 17, 2020
Cavaliers' 1Q struggles continue, it's an early 7-0 lead for the Demon Deacons.
For this to happen, I'd like to see Miami run more quick routes with their receivers, and have King get the ball out quickly. We didn’t see too many of those passing concepts against Pitt, it seemed like it was either a swing/screen pass, King throws it deep, or it was a touchdown. Those timing routes will help King get in a rhythm quicker, as well as help out Miami’s sporadic offensive line.
This means that this is the game, hopefully, King finally connects on deep throws with his wide receivers. It’s also the game, hopefully, we start to see real production from the older WR’s for Miami, namely Mike Harley, Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins. Or we could potentially see true freshmen Keyshawn Smith and Michael Redding III finally start to see more action in the passing game.
D’Eriq King hits Mike Harley Jr. for his third passing touchdown of the day. pic.twitter.com/93Fuzs8r6k— Anthony Yero (@AnthonyYero1) October 17, 2020
After two straight games playing top-tier defensive teams in Clemson and Pitt, Saturday we should see King and the Miami offense put up big numbers, on their way to a comfortable win and a 5-1 record.