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Film Review: UNC 62 - Miami 26

The Hurricanes were outclassed by the Tar heels on Saturday afternoon.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Duke Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes were steamrolled by the UNC Tar Heels on Saturday by the tune of 62-26. I had the pleasure of live tweeting the game for the SOTU account, and it was brutal. Miami failed to show up for senior night and the first home game at Hard Rock Stadium in seven weeks.

Miami trailed 34-10 at the half and could never catch up as UNC’s offense continued to roll over the Miami defense. Rhett Lashlee’s chance at a head coaching position hit a massive speed bump as the ‘Canes only converted 4-of-12 on 3rd downs, and went 0-for-1 on 4th down.

The Hurricanes also committed seven penalties for 68 yards, and their hurry up offense had the ball for 19:41 compared to UNC’s 40:19. As Jerry “The King” Lawler once famously said, “Why do funeral processions go through red lights? What’s the hurry?” That was how I felt about Miami’s tempo after the 1st quarter.

Miami now has to re-group and hope those mid-level bowls still exist (if they’re played in Florida they probably will exist) in 2020.

The offense

Miami quarterback D’Eriq King finished the game with eight yards per pass attempt, two touchdowns, one interception, and 53 rushing yards (counting sacks). King was once again the major bright light on the Hurricanes offense. King led the ‘Canes in both passing and rushing.

Above- Lashlee dials up a great legal pick here on the sprint out at the goal line. The motion forces UNC to adjust their coverage last second and as the outside WR runs a pick inside the inside WR runs a quick arrow route and is WIDE OPEN for a TD.

Tyler Van Dyke came in and threw two passes, one that should’ve been caught but was dropped by Will Mallory. You could see that Van Dyke needs timing work but his arm looked elite.

The run game struggled against a UNC defense that’s typically been Swiss cheese in 2020. After King, Miami’s backs ran for 29 yards on 14 carries. Cam’Ron Harris averaged 2.4 yards per carry but did score, while Don Chaney Jr averaged 1.3 yards per rush.

Brevin Jordan and Mike Harley had themselves good games in the receiving department. Jordan caught six balls for 140 yards and a 76-yard touchdown. Harley caught six balls for 77 yards and a TD of his own.

Above- This is a good call, right? Get Jordan 1-on-1 with a smaller defender, hit him in stride, let him slap that little guy off and finish his run. Nice running form from Jordan, too.

The offensive line got bullied by UNC’s defense. The ‘Canes O-Line surrendered three sacks, seven tackles for loss, and one QB hurry.

Remember, Rhett Lashlee’s big season at SMU wasn’t in year one. In year one the players were just learning the offense and Shane Buechele wasn’t on site yet. While Lashlee does have King at Miami now, the rest of the offense has to be re-tooled from the Richt-Enos way into the modern times. As much as 26 points against UNC isn’t much, it’s better than what happened on the other side of the football.

Did Lashlee make some eye popping decisions on Saturday? Yes. I have no idea why he chose to just ram Chaney into the waiting UNC defense on 4th and short. Or why every 3rd down he would slow down, giving UNC a chance to adjust and catch up, and having slowed down only to run inside zone again and again anyway. There are areas of improvement on the offense but if King does return, Miami has a chance to have another good season in 2021.

The defense

Where to begin... the concerns we’ve all had all season shined through against UNC. The defensive line being too undisciplined regarding penalties (both pre and post snap), angles, and in run fits. The linebackers for being non-existent all season, but especially against quality competition, and the defensive backs for giving up big plays and not fitting the run as they should.

UNC figured out Miami’s very obvious rotation and kept motioning to get the look they wanted and running counter back after the rotation. Phil Longo is a ‘do what we do best’ guy and counter is a bread and butter Longo play.

Above- Tar Heel Special to put Sam Howell on the 2021 Heisman Trophy Watch List. This is the play that summarizes the afternoon at Hard Rock.

Sam Howell averaged 11.7 yards per attempt with a touchdown and added one short rushing touchdown plus a goal line receiving touchdown, too. The guy is only a sophomore and that move both ended Willie Taggart’s time at FSU and may not get Longo a head coaching position at somewhere like Texas Tech or Virginia Tech.

This truly was Blake Baker’s “Manny Diaz vs BYU” game. If Baker is back I’m not sure what the justification can be. Baker’s defense has first round talent, or so I’m told, in: Quincy Roche, Jaelan Phillips, Nesta Jade Silvera and Bubba Bolden. I don’t believe any of those players are first rounders, yet for Silvera or Phillips (if he returns) but that’s what fans tell me.

Above- Ford does a great job of getting across his man’s face and makes initial contact. Williams is a load and will take more than one guy, even at 300 pounds, to bring him down. Bradley Jennings Jr shoots the gap but can’t make a play under control. Williams just pushes right through Jennings. Frierson and McCloud stand by and watch Williams power through. UNC is a quarter-yard short but scores on the next play.

Above- From the GIF above-above, you can see a summary of the ‘Canes season on defense in a nutshell. Following an explosive play, Miami is completely whooped here with a lack of effort.

Baker has his senior linebacker in Zach McCloud, and three of the top four coaches in the program are linebackers coaches (Diaz, Jonathan Patke, and Baker). This is a defensive staff that prefers to play Ryan Ragone and Bradley Jennings Jr. over more capable players.

Above- UNC dials up outside zone. See below for more info.

Above- This is what happens when you don’t play sound defense. It’s a “contain” type of technique meaning the defense is trying to funnel the play back inside. The issue is 1- Miami has no inside linebackers and 2- the safeties never get onto the screen, ever. I don’t think Amari Carter shows up until the play has already gone 12 yards.

Above- It’s the OZ/Stretch play again. I’m not sure what Baker is teaching, but his weak side linebacker always seems to not only over-align but then over play the zone schemes. It leaves cutback lanes for days. Also their safeties want no part in tackling anyone head on unless it’s a cheap shot.

The ‘Canes allowed Michael Carter to run for 308 yards on 12.8 per carry and two touchdowns. Oh, and Javonte Williams to run for 236 yards on 10.3 yards per carry and three touchdowns. In the end, Miami gave up 554 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground alone.

Above- Brown torches Ivey for a huge gain in the 1st quarter. If you want to play press man you 1- have to be thick enough to press and 2- then have to be fast enough to run with a man. That’s press man.

As I projected- Dyami Brown got his. Brown was matched up across from DJ Ivey and torched Ivey for four receptions for 167 yards. Ivey did intercept Howell on a short-armed throw but that was his big moment on Saturday.

The Hurricanes came away with one sack, five tackles for loss, two pass breakups, and no hurries on Howell.

Above- this is that soul crushing game, isn’t it? You were sold ocean front property in Iowa and just found out there are no oceans in the midwest. Amari Carter isn’t sure how not to tackle unless he goes full Friday Night Tykes spear job so he just gets blown apart here. Jennings is scared of contact. Phillips runs himself into a chest rub so that “motor” is worth what now? Soul. Crushed.

Above- he’s never figured out to shoot the near hip, head behind the play, and roll a guy like this. Trying to go shoulder to shoulder with head across is a knock out blow, and it’s a knock out blow here.

Blake Baker has proven over the past two seasons that he wasn’t ready for ACC football. It’s not like the ACC has great offenses by the dozen, either. Outside of Clemson and UNC- the rest of the ‘Canes schedule has sputtered through injured QB’s or just bad overall play on O.

Miami has been extremely predictable on defense, the way they rotate to shifts and motion, Phillips and Roche always coming inside on every play and playing too deep, the linebackers are never lined up properly and the safeties don’t fit the run allowing huge gashes. The Manny Diaz formula has been boom or bust since Texas, and today it hit not just a bust, but it probably cost a man his job.


Well... this was one that should change the program. Either recruits are going to come in and have more fight in them or Manny Diaz will be done in a year or so, like Mark Richt’s 2017 season. Diaz needs to clean house on the defensive side of the ball, the issue is, will he allow someone the freedom to run their defense or does he need a yes-man type that will just run his defense 100%. If Coach Diaz wants this to work out long term, he might want to focus his efforts on kicking and culture and leave the defense to someone else.

I hope the class sticks, and Miami can clean house with the defensive staff and bring in guys with similar but new ideas from new places. Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling.