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Film Review: UNC 45 - Miami 42

The ‘Canes are now 0-3 against Mack Brown under Manny Diaz.

NCAA Football: Miami at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes lost a heartbreaker to the UNC Tar Heels Saturday night in Chapel Hill. North Carolina came out on top 45-42 over Miami, who was down early and had to fight back into the game.

This marks six straight losses to Power 5 opponents for Diaz’s Hurricanes. Does Diaz get fired this weekend? Probably not. Miami Athletic Director Blake James doesn’t want to fire Diaz, and the team fighting their way back into the game will keep Diaz on the sidelines another week.

The data

Miami improved in some areas and backslid in others. 3rd down conversions on offense were up as the ‘Canes finished 8-of-16 on 3rd down and 1-of-2 on 4th. 3rd down defense allowed UNC to convert on 7-of-15 and far too many Sam Howell scrambles.

Miami turned the ball over three times, and only took the ball away once. The Turnover Chain is all but dead in South Florida. Miami’s lone interception was returned for a TD giving the defense some points on the board.

NCAA Football: Miami at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The offensive line allowed three sacks, eight tackles for loss, and 10 (good lord) hurries from the UNC defense. The Miami defense came away with four sacks, eight TFL’s, and only three hurries.

On the back end, UNC finished the game with nine pass breakups while Miami had only two. Manny Diaz’s Havoc stats includes PBU’s and forced fumbles which neither team put on the box score.

Finally, penalties. Miami committed nine penalties for 81 yards, a stat Diaz had been working towards reasonable numbers that ballooned up as the game got closer and the pressure ramped up.

The offense

The offensive line woes in pass protection equalled Tyler Van Dyke’s woes throwing the football. Van Dyke averaged only 5.9 yards per pass attempt while throwing one touchdown and three interceptions. Jaylan Knighton scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) while running for 92 yards and hauling in 73 in the pass game.

Four Miami receivers hit double-digit yards per catch totals. Van Dyke spread the football around to seven receivers on the afternoon.

Shades of Gus Malzahn came out in Lashlee’s call sheet at times. We saw the sugar huddle, which is when the offense huddles right in front of the football, turns quickly, and runs a play as fast as they can line up. Typically Malzahn would also do this in a heavy formation (extra linemen or tight ends).

Above- Here Miami calls Power G, an old school wing-t play. The play side guard wraps, the two tackles block down on their defenders, and the fullback’s job is to kick the defensive end. Makes for an easy TD run for Miami.

Above- This is a messy play. Guys for Miami aren’t set, UNC is adjusting. The play looks broken but Cody Brown powers through for a TD. To no surprise Will Mallory quits blocking before hearing the whistle.

Above- Rhett Lashlee finally opens the book a little and gets his young QB to throw over to his young and fast RB. If you put speed in space it creates time. The more space a defender has to close on and the longer it takes to get there will lead to horrible missed tackles like you see above. UNC defenders hadn’t faced acceleration like this yet and once they did it was lights out.

Above- Van Dyke stares down his receiver but delivers a rope in there for the first down. It was a big throw in a big moment.

Above- Another big time throw on the 2 point conversion. Van Dyke creates space which gives him time before throwing a ball perfectly dropped in over defenders. If this is a couple of inches lower it’s an incomplete pass.

Above- The play call is fine, the offensive line gets worked and the back doesn’t try to make contact off the play fake. In this situation the pass pro outweighs the play-action. Slot fade was a good call, even if there are better calls. I think they were aiming to pick up the first down, clock it and kick.

The defense

Miami held Sam Howell to 5.9 yards per pass, forced a turnover that was a pick six from Jahfari Harvey, and missed an ungodly amount of tackles once again.

Above- I can’t emphasize enough that Miami is the worst “finish” team in the country. The ‘Canes don’t close space, pursue, or tackle well. They’re also weak at forcing turnovers and breaking up passes- both havoc stats. Bolden takes a terrible angle, he’s the alley guy and should put his body directly into the football. The other defender that comes in late takes a poor angle that puts him behind and chasing the runner.

Above- I’m aware this is a Miami blog, and I popped for the Jahfari Harvey pick 6. Harvey played that swing pass perfectly. Here’s a coaching point regarding Howell and possibly UNC OC Phil Longo. Howell should be reading Harvey, the play side defensive end to the swing. If Harvey plays the QB, throw the swing. If Harvey plays the swing, pull down and run. Some people will have back side smoke screens off this and others will have the QB run either where the DE vacates (Harvey is too athletic for that) or to the back side (wide open).

Above- You can see Harvey play this perfectly and Howell sells the deep throw, flips, and some how doesn’t see the end in his window. Howell is regressing.

Above- Miami chases the counter pull from the guard and tackle, it’s a read play so Howell pulls when the defensive end chases (turns and runs down the line). Howell has a TE arc blocking to the linebacker as a lead blocker and benefits from Gurvan Hall’s poor tackling.

Above- Rub concepts inside the 5 yard line are brutal for defenses. UNC gets the play side TE up on a linebacker, it’s a play-action pass (PAP) and the back side TE runs a split zone flow into the flat for a slide route and TD.

Above- UNC calls a play-action at just the right time. Miami’s safety has his eyes on the TE (#2 threat) and when he blocks it’s fill the alley time. The Miami CB is outside leverage on the WR (#1 threat). But with the safety in run support the middle of the field is open (MOFO) and the post is an easy hit for Howell.

Above- Tackling is two things: confidence and technique. You build confidence to achieve tasks via Self-Efficacy: mastery experiences (done it well before), vicarious experience (see your teammates do it well), affirmations (being coached up in a positive manner), and emotional status under pressure (staying calm and collected, not emotional).

I’m not sure what or how Miami is teaching tackling. Tackling can’t be something you finally do once the pads come on. It has to be a year-round initiative in your Strength and Conditioning program. Are you tacking year round? You need to be. That goes for parents hanging around on here, the “C’mon! Tack-L!” dorks in the stands and any coaches lurking around.

Above- As much as Tar Heel DC Jay Bateman has struggled at UNC at times, he’s considered a master tackling expert in the college football world. He uses a rugby tackling style like the Seattle Seahawks which is both safer and more efficient.

The idea is to shoot the eyes to the thighs of the ball carrier and drive your feet for five steps. It’s a lot like a double leg takedown in wrestling.

Shoulder to the thigh, grab and squeeze the legs, drive for five and roll once he’s down.

Above- I have no idea why James Williams launches himself into Howell’s upper chest/shoulder area. 1- It’s a risk for targeting 2- it’s not a proper tackle 3- you see the result. Howell isn’t a scout QB, he’s a big strong dude that has always bounced off would be tacklers even with how awkward and clumsily he runs.

Above- More missed tackles. Amari Carter tries the high-shoulder throw tackle thing, Kamren Kinchens completely misses to the point he falls and rolls over. DJ Ivey and James Williams both go high with the John Cena shoulder block thing and Howell scores again.

The wrap

Miami is 2-4 and 0-2 in the ACC. Manny Diaz has the team still fighting, but starting games behind the eight ball by giving up early leads isn’t what the head coach, who doubles as defensive coordinator, should be doing. I was worried that a struggling head coach like Diaz wouldn’t be able to juggle being the head coach and DC. Diaz’s defense was struggling under Blake Baker so Manny took over rather than bringing in someone with outside perspectives.

Now with Miami giving up 40+ points to UNC and leading the nation in missed tackles, Diaz has no one to blame but himself. The roster is his, the coaching staff is his twice over, and the strength staff is his. The Miami BOT has spent for Diaz to bring in Dan Enos and Rhett Lashlee.

It’s time for a new regime, the question is how long will Blake James and/or the Board of Trustees wait to make it happen?