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Film Forecast: Miami at Virginia Tech, 10/15

Miami looks to bounce back from three straight losses with a win over an even worse Virginia Tech Hokies squad.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Miami Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes head north to Blacksburg, VA to face the Hokies on Saturday, October 15th. The game will be broadcast regionally or streamed on ESPN3 at 12:30pm eastern.

The Hokies are 2-4 overall with losses to ODU, West Virginia, UNC and Pitt. The Hurricanes are 2-3 with losses to Texas A&M, Middle Tennessee State and UNC. An intense rivalry between Miami and VT has been reduced to two sub .500 ball clubs facing off during an offset time on regional TV.

The Doppler

Per Bill Connelly’s SP+ metrics, the Hurricanes are 54th overall in FBS. The offense is 48th, the defense 61st, and the kicking game is 18th. The Hokies are 86th overall in FBS. The offense is 118th, the defense is 44th and their kicking game is 30th.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Hokies are only scoring 20 PPG (116th of 131 at the FBS level) and are allowing 26 PPG (69th in FBS). The Hurricanes are scoring 32.8 PPG (46th) and allowing 21.8 PPG (43rd).

This won’t be a barn-burner of a game, this could be a slog of 3-yards and a cloud of dust football unless OC Josh Gattis decides to ride with Tyler Van Dyke again. Va Tech is 111th in points per play, while Miami is just 106th. VT is 127th in penalties with nine per game, Miami has really cut down on their penalties- sliding up to 39th with 5.5 per game.

Hokies O

Grant Wells isn’t Drake Maye by any means. Wells completes 59% of his passes for 6.2 yards per attempt and six TD’s and seven INT’s. Then again, no one on MTSU’s roster is Maye but here we are. Keshawn King has been the big hitter for VT, averaging six yards per carry.

Kaleb Smith is the go-to threat for Wells. He’s averaging 16.1 yards per catch on 25 receptions with two scores. Smith is the guy Miami has to lock their best cornerback on, but who that is, I’m not sure.

On kick returns, Chance Black has averaged 22.2 yards per return for VT, not too bad for the Hokies.

Above- The LB vacates and Wells nails in the glance off the RPO tag. RPO’s off pulling plays are even more deadly than zone as everyone is taught from a young age to follow the pull.

Above- The VT offense is this bad. The question is which Miami defenders capitalize? James Williams has a few PBU’s but will he have that big interception that breaks a game open? Kam Kinchens clearly knows how to find a pick as he has three. But who else steps up?

Above- GT counter and VT springs it. Could be deadly against Miami’s defense. Leonard Taylor likes to jump gaps with a big swim move but he gets off balance and at times he screws up the run fit and the LB’s look worse than they are.

Above- QB Draw, we know this is working against Miami.

Hokies D

Dax Hollifield is the Gieco Caveman looking linebacker for the Hokies. He’s a true Bud Foster type of lunch pale player. Hollifield has a team high 47 tackles, and team high four TFL’s. He’s also forced a fumble and broken up six passes with a sack to boot.

Defensive back Dorian Strong has 14 career PBU’s including three so far in ‘22. Tech’s pass rush is average, they have 11 sacks with three players having two a piece. The Hokies only have two interceptions so far this season.

Above- I like the idea of the quick toss in the gun, but my issues are: 1- Who is going to set that block UNC gets from the slot? With Xavier Restrepo out Miami lost their best perimeter blocker. Clearly VT needs to recruit and develop and that is a real rebuild.

Above- Something went from for UNC here. They were reading the DE that comes free, but Maye was never going to be able to pull and run off him... something was screwed up in the call there. VT though stood up and got a goal line stop. Miami has been putrid in the red zone all season even for a team preaching “toughness” and the run game! Maybe run ‘em up, stop trying to fill ‘em in??

Above- you want to see Van Dyke get into his bag and scramble around while making these plays. He threw one TD like this vs. UNC. The concern is which Miami receiver high points a ball like this?

Above- Sleight of hand is an important QB trick to pick up. Ken Dorsey had a dangerous play-action mesh. Maye here looks stiff like he’s just handing off, but then pulls and runs. When you run enough split zone you can try a few wrinkles.

One is the slide RPO from the h-back while reading the DE.

Another is the play-action naked boot off split zone with the slide to the TE.

The other is above, to read the PSDE and have the H skip him to wrap to the LB or Safety.

This is the type of thing that would make a nice package of plays for the more mobile Jake Garcia to run.

Above- The VT defense isn’t great, but it’s not terrible. It’s really backed into a wall by a bad offense. They can still play a 4-2-5 and spill like they have been for decades. Miami backs have lacked that extra gear to get outside this season.

Above- Need this from Will Mallory on Saturday. be the guy Van Dyke can rely on with Restrepo out. Mallory had a pretty good day against UNC. Stack good days to make a great day.

The Forecast

Per ESPN’s win expectancy, Miami is a 78.4% favorite to win over Va Tech. The Hokies are having a rough go (not that Miami isn’t) and were stomped by the UNC Tar Heels 41-10 on October 1st. The transitive property is clearly not a thing in college football, just look at Tulane losing to Southern Miss or any of the other let down / look ahead sandwiches (The Solid Verbal), etc.

The Canyonero keys to victory from the summer were:

1- Contain Wells. Wells isn’t going to put up Touchdown Tommie Frazier numbers on the ground, but he can pick up first downs with his legs and Miami is clearly susceptible to scrambling for first downs to keep drives alive.

2- On offense, don’t get greedy. Drive, Mesh, Shallow Cross- use the short to intermediate passing concepts that have a rhythm route in the progression and then one to two easy read routes.

For the Shallow Drive concept, it’s 2.2-2.6 seconds (per Dub Maddox) to get the ball out for the read concepts.

Above- For Dub Maddox, the Q can tag the X on a route like fade or post. That’s more of a pre-snap “gift” type concept.

1st in the progression is the S’s shallow cross is the rhythm read. The Q reads the space where it would end up.

The 1st read route (2nd in the progression) is the dig from the Y.

The 2nd read route (3rd route in progression) would be the RB’s route.

This concept could open up Jaleel Skinner as the TE (Y) into some intermediate space.

3- Stop the run. Make the Hokies one dimensional and then pick them apart. Keshawn King and Jalen Holston have split the carries with King averaging six yards per carry with two TD’s, and Holston averaging 3.2 yards per carry with two scores of his own. Nothing earth shattering but Miami can’t be the team that VT breaks open the run game on.

Prediction: Miami by 10. Until the ‘Canes prove they can really score big points on a regular basis, I can’t see them blowing anyone out, even a bad Va Tech squad.