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Film Review: Virginia 30 - Miami 28

The Hurricanes dropped the ball against a 2-2 Cavaliers team on Thursday night at The Rock.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 30 Virginia at Miami Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes hosted the Virginia Cavaliers on Thursday night for the ESPN primetime game. UVA came away victorious with a 30-28 win at Hard Rock Stadium. ESPN made sure to show that Miami legend and is it “Chief of Staff” Ed Reed was right next to ‘Canes Coach Manny Diaz the entire way.

Coaching scared is a hell of a thing. I’ve done it. Every coach has done it. And when you’re having meetings with the AD, Board, and President of the university- you can either coach in a blaze of glory or scared. Coach Diaz chose scared. With two minutes to go instead of trying to score a touchdown, Diaz set up a field goal. Diaz’s former mentor, the late Bobby Bowden, insisted on never leaving a game up to the refs or the kicker. And Bobby knew something about kickers and big games!

Virginia v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Diaz’s body language on the sideline was all you needed to see. A true lack of confidence was prominent on the aura of the ‘Canes head coach. In Trevor Moawad’s book, It Takes What it Takes, he discusses the power of our inner voice being ten times more impactful than exterior noise. In the imagine above, that doesn’t look like a man with confidence, and a strong self ad campaign.

The stats

Miami finished a lowly 5-of-15 on 3rd downs to a Hoos team that was 82nd in the country in 3rd down defense. Miami allowed UVA to finish 9-of-18 on their 3rd downs. The ‘Canes also committed eight penalties for 70 yards. Miami recorded one turnover to break out the chain for, the Corey Flagg interception. UVA forced no Miami turnovers on the night.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 30 Virginia at Miami Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The ‘Canes special teams looked bad, once again. Coach Patke’s squad missed the game winning field goal, but also muffed another punt return. They also allowed a punt to be downed on the one yard line which resulted in a safety on Miami’s offensive series.

The coverage units were improved on kicks and punts, but it was more of the same for a program that lacks attention to detail.

The ‘Canes offense

Tyler Van Dyke averaged only seven yards per pass attempt against a UVA defense that has been porous to put it nicely. Cam Harris had a great day in the backfield averaging 7.9 yards per carry, scoring twice, and having a couple of explosive plays.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 30 Virginia at Miami Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Miami had only two receivers with double-digit yards per catch. Those were Xavier Restrepo who caught one pass, a 45 yard bomb, and Charleston Rambo who averaged 19.8 yards per catch.

The Miami O-Line allowed four sacks, one hurry and six tackles for loss. Van Dyke looked painfully unathletic, including his throwing motion but he got the ball there. Van Dyke, a second year QB out of Connecticut, lacks the ball placement and accuracy to be a major Power 5 quarterback.

Above- Lashlee sees a three down front and can’t just line up and wedge a QB sneak? I did it last night with my middle school squad. It worked every time. It worked as a high school OC. Tom Brady made a living on QB sneaks. I know Van Dyke isn’t athletic but damn just push out of your own end zone.

Above- DJ Scaife turns his entire body to a defender that his center is picking up. That’s just dumb bad football. He then has a twist ran on him and he’s unable to get back square to pick it up. Garin Justice’s guys are struggling.

Above- I hate Van Dyke’s throwing motion but you can’t deny he dropped this one in. I would prefer the receiver, Rambo, would turn back to the ball and high point it with his chest and eyes back but the “never do that s*** again” Lou Brown moment works too.

Above- Van Dyke drops this one in the bucket right next to two tears. Great catch and throw, protection held up, I love the smash concept with the zig-out from the outside WR as opposed to hitch. Having the WR run the zig forces the CB to commit either to the corner route or the zig. On a hitch he can give a cushion and take away the window on both.

Above- Smash again, this time with the hitch from the outside WR. Van Dyke hangs this one really high and Rambo grabs it but this is a murder ball against real DB’s.

Above- Outside Zone. Harris makes a great read and cuts it up on UVA. Their linebackers went full in on the outside track to the D gap but Harris’ cutback burns them. You can see some linear speed is still there, great run form from Harris.

Above- Set your sundials on this Van Dyke scramble turned TD run. I like seeing him take it in his own hands and finishing the run hard for a score. Gusty young fella.

The ‘Canes defense

The Miami defense produced a turnover! THEY DO EXIST. The ‘Canes also had three sacks and eight TFL’s, but no hurries. Miami did come up with five PBU’s on the evening which is a massive upgrade from the first three games of the season.

Miami allowed five UVA receivers to come up with explosive plays, including Dontayvion Wicks Steiner Recliner end zone catch. The U also allowed 5.2 yards per carry and two TD’s on the ground. Brennan Armstrong was held to just 6.1 yards per pass attempt but threw one TD (the Wicks catch) and an interception.

Above- There are many faults on this explosive run play against the Diaz defense. Leonard Taylor works hard not smart here. He gets too deep, and just falls over. He’s a Jaelan Phillips in the plays with tons of effort but sometimes it’s wasted energy category. But, he’ll learn and develop if the new staff retains Jess Simpson which they should.

Then you see the Miami Magnet Machine doing the clogga beat. Miami defenders are often running into each other in pursuit, and are often stuck with three defenders in one gap, with a giant running lane to the other.

I like that Jahfari Harvey (12) at least knows what a pursuit angle is. He doesn’t chase it directly from behind, he takes a nice angle and gets down there to at least be there for support.

Above- It’s a simple run play but it shows many of the flaws in the defense.

Above- Here’s more ‘way too deep’ pursuit. Deandre Johnson has the Football IQ of a JV defensive end. He also has poor agility as he’s slow to react to the visual cue of Armstrong moving the pocket and boy does it take a long time for him to change directions to the stimulus.

Above- Manny, the entire world knows when you’re blitzing strikers or safeties. THE ENTIRE WORLD. Also your D-Ends play extremely flat footed when they’re the Curl/Flat drop guy.

Above- The obvious blitz is coming, UVA is ready for it. Their OL communicates it. Both defenders run themselves out of the play and Armstrong keeps. Miami DB’s wait for contact versus meeting the QB and he runs them over down to the one yard line.

Above- I love interior pressure, especially if the ends can stay wide and force the QB to step up. Armstrong steps up and Taylor slams the door shut.

Above- It’s really a shame how bad Miami has gotten at pursuit and finish.

Above- The Miami defense is lined up in the old Power-I formation. This results in a TD run because the safety, Williams is in the box, stacked on a linebacker, on the same side that his other safety, Bubba Bolden, is on. Bolden then shoulders the runner into the end zone.

Above- It’s just a comedy of errors. The head coach is the DC. He’s a linebacker coach. Linebackers over running plays, not able to get off blocks, basically blocking themselves off plays. Then the tackling.

Above- I’m sure you guys were hoping to see a safety blitz from 15 yards deep that not only didn’t get any pressure on the QB, but also left the hole where this ball was dropped in. All I heard about was Bob Shoop, Manny Diaz taking back over, a “T-Rob” fellow, etc etc but same ol’ same ol’.

The wrap

Coaching, coaching, coaching. It wasn’t Manny Diaz’s fault he was hired by the University of Miami to be the head coach. He should be the head guy at Temple as I type this. However, who is turning down the Miami job to go to Temple? No one.

However, the way he presented himself after taking the job left a lot to be desired. Much like the cocky jit in gym class that says “I didn’t want to play for y’all, y’all sorry” but in fact tried out and quit after the first hour- Diaz tried to pump up the flaccid feeling of his hiring by saying he wouldn’t go 7-6 like Mark Richt, and that The U had the talent to win the Coastal.

Now Diaz is hoping Blake James doesn’t fire him after losing to a much less talented UVA team on Thursday night in front of the college football world. Miami has a top 15 Blue Chip Ratio while Virginia signs classes between 30 and 50 in the nation. The Hoos signed one four-star player in 2021. Just one.

Diaz is right, in order to beat Clemson and Alabama consistently Miami does need better players. But to beat Michigan State and Virginia- that’s just another smoke screen to hide that he’s just not cut out to be the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes.

The FIU loss told us that. The Louisiana Tech loss told us that. The UNC loss told us that. Now losing to MSU and UVA has told us that, once again, Coach Diaz is not the guy.