The Miami Hurricanes scheduled up and faced the Alabama Crimson Tide in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. The ‘Canes came in ranked 14th while the defending National Champion Tide are holding onto their 1st overall status.
Miami was outclassed from the jump as Alabama rolled to a 27-3 first half lead and finished the ‘Canes off with a 44-13 drubbing in front of a neutral site crowd in Atlanta. The ‘Canes only forced the Tide to punt twice all afternoon while showing the nation Nick Saban’s Bama squad ain’t slowing down.
I’m disappointed, but I’m far from shocked. My Summer Scheming Canyonero 3 keys were to play flawless football while not playing scared, and that King had to play with his hair on fire. Coach Diaz’s squad made too many mistakes while the coaching was too cautious and King looked like anything but a “Top 5” QB in FBS. Let’s breakdown the game from a coaching perspective.
D’Eriq King looked pedestrian against Alabama averaging only 5.7 yards per attempt and tossing two interceptions. The ‘Canes run game was also subpar averaging only 2.8 yard per carry. While Xavier Restrepo caught a nice deep ball and averaged 18.5 yards per reception, Will Mallory and Mike Harley were radio silent on the broadcast.
The ‘Canes did what a Manny Diaz defense does and logged 10 tackles for loss but allowed 9.1 yards per pass attempt and surrendered four touchdowns with zero interceptions from Bama QB Bryce Young.
Miami held the Tide to only 3.9 yards per carry but managed only one sack, one pass break up and zero hurries against the Bama offensive line. Meanwhile, Miami’s line gave up four sacks and seven TFL’s.
The ‘Canes also committed seven penalties for 75 yards to go along with three turnovers and finishing only 6-of-14 on 3rd downs.
The ‘Canes offense
Rhett Lashlee called the opposite game that I wanted him to and that definitely hurt Miami. The acquired talent discrepancy mixed with the obvious tilt in strength and conditioning meant Miami could not line up and play directly into Alabama’s hands like they attempt to with Virginia or Georgia Tech.
Above- Why are Miami’s splits so damn tight? Typically, zone based schemes (what OC Rhett Lashlee mostly runs) use wider splits. Miami let Alabama, a power-based program, play in a phone booth. I’m not a math major but this is a really small angle to get to the quarterback for Bama.
Tight splits like this make it easier for Bama to rush the passer, but it also hurts the timing on read option plays. The QB wants to milk the mesh with the RB as long as he can, forcing the defense to make a decision and show their hand. These tight splits, and tight RB alignment to the QB, takes that timing away and forces the QB to mesh faster, and the defense can hide their technique.
Above- if this is where DJ Scaife started, rather than worked to, the Alabama linebacker would have a longer path to the QB.
Above- instead, the tight splits make it a really short path and once Scaife’s hands are slapped away and he’s thrown off balance, the linebacker gets a nice, tight path to the QB.
Above- finally something to brag about. The offensive line controlled Bama’s pass rush, D’Eriq King stepped up and threw a great ball, and Keyshawn Smith looks like a really good wide receiver who could replace Charleston Rambo in the rotation.
Above- Xavier Restrepo had a couple of good plays and is proving to be a weapon in the slot for the future. Mike Harley was shut down by Bama, but Restrepo managed to get open for a TD.
The ‘Canes defense
Miami allowed 501 total yards, 44 points and only forced one turnover against an Alabama offense that lost seen NFL Draft picks including five in the first round (QB, wide receiver, running back, offensive tackle) and one in the second round (offensive guard). Bama reloads, they don’t rebuild under Coach Saban.
If defensive football is built upon align, assign, and finish- Miami isn’t playing sound defensive football. Either the scheme has failed by leaving huge bubbles pre-snap, and not ‘fixing’ them with scrape and gap exchange post-snap, or the players are lost... or both?
Above- Miami has the defensive end (DE, 5-tech) line up inside of the Bama offensive tackle (OT). The tackle now has an easy block to seal the edge for the running back. Compound that with no linebacker, safety or ‘striker’ being to that side of the field within 15 yards and it’s an easy bounce out for big yardage.
Miami fails to align, assign and finish throughout the afternoon. A team like Alabama is going to take advantage of how... stupidly... Miami was lined up.
Above- Miami aligns the ILB’s in 00 and 50 techniques, leaving the guard with no one in sight over him. The tackle to that side is in a 1-technique (shade of the center) and the DE is in an two point stance and in a wide five (turned in and outside of the OT).
The ‘Canes still fail to wrong arm on an obvious kick out block leaving a massive gap inside. Keontra Smith doesn’t work on a chain and replace the ILB who got blocked by the guard, and then tries to lunge at the Tide’s RB rather than finish through him.
I hate to beat up on Smith but if this is all the effort he has to give, he can’t hang with Alabama, Clemson or a Cheez-It bowl level opponent.
Above- Smith is easily beaten by the Tide’s back up TE. He misses on the jam and re-route and gets burned inside.
Above- Miami has to be one of the worst ‘finish’ teams in the country. Pursuit angles are poor, tackling is atrocious, and only one pass break up all game? I know it’s Bama but Smith and Corey Flagg Jr. look completely lost when it comes to finishing off a play.
Smith does a great job of shedding the block but drops his head and misses on the tackle, Flagg has no idea how to work on a chain and scrape to a play, and then doesn’t come to balance at all to make a tackle.
I was unimpressed with the majority of the defensive back play all afternoon. Bubba Bolden, Gurvan Hall, DJ Ivey and Tyrique Stevenson were poor in coverage and poor at tackling. Te’Cory Couch looked solid in most of his efforts at cornerback and in the kicking game. James Williams showed promise at safety and moves very smoothly for a large human.
Miami has to put this game behind them and prepare for Appalachian State on September 11th. It’s a night game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami in front of a home crowd and potential 2022 signees.
No sane person expected Miami to beat Alabama. What was expected was a program that could throw a few punches at the Tide, hang in there, and cover the spread. That wasn’t the case on September 4th. Miami came out flat, finished flat, and will have to rebuild their confidence. This is the difference between being an average coach and a good coach.
I put this image here because it’s about half a second before two Miami players are pancaked and the cornerback somehow winds up inside and five yards deep. The bubble there for the run game is massive- align, assign, finish.
If Coach Diaz is going to be “the guy” through year three, it’s going to take a bounce back stellar showing against ASU to prove it. What does Miami need to fix? The tackling issues would be a start. The alignments on defense will get Miami gashed by every gap scheme team in the country- which includes UNC, Georgia Tech and potentially Clemson. Also, continue to tinker with the right tackle spot, and find inside linebackers with a pulse.