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Film Review: Miami 20 - Virginia Tech 14

The ‘Canes escape Lane Stadium with a six point win over the Hokies. Miami’s offense cooled in the 2nd half and the defense gave up another 4th and long conversion.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 15 Miami at Virginia Tech Photo by Brian Bishop/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes squeaked one out agains the Virginia Tech Hokies 20-14 on Saturday afternoon. If you failed to make the trip to Lane Stadium, you had to use interesting means to stream the game... so thanks ESPN and the ACC! The Duke game will be the same setup so hang in and find a good stream or bar type establishment.

The Canyonero keys to beating the Hokies were:

1- Contain Wells. Wells scored on the ground but the interior defensive line is drastically improved when it comes to run fit and pass rush lanes. The days of stunting 3 gaps over to allow the QB room to step up and run for a 1st down are mostly over. The D-Line did a great job of keeping Wells in the pocket then closing as he stepped up to run.

2- On offense, don’t get greedy. The offense stalled once it just became a deep ball fest or chucked up fades. Van Dyke doesn’t try the Sam Hartman under-throw it for a PI deal, he usually missed long vs. short. I remember the Drive concept we talked about in the preview once, and Skinner was jammed at the line but still got open, just a step late. OC Josh Gattis and QB Tyler Van Dyke just opted for the deep throw instead.

3- Stop the run. Malachai Thomas rushed for only 41 yards on 13 carries and no TD’s. I’d say Miami stopped the run. The ‘Canes added another seven TFL’s. Trying to hammer an inside run game doesn’t work as well against Kevin Steele as it had in the past. Akheem Mesidor and Jahfari Harvey held their own for Miami.

The Doppler

Some of the most telling data was on 3rd downs. VT finished 4-of-15 mostly on drops or just inexplicably errant wide open throws. Miami was a solid 8-of-17 on the day, sticking to their approx. 45% conversion rate.

This became an unreasonably close game after Miami offense put up only a field goal in the second half. 17 penalties for 159 yards didn’t help the cause as many were false starts on the offense.

Miami won the time of possession battle, good for OC Josh Gattis! Virginia Tech had the lone turnover on the catch and run that Avantae Williams both forced and recovered.

Miami O

Van Dyke cooled in the 2nd half as the fade route just wasn’t as open as in the first half. Van Dyke finished with 7.6 yards per attempt and two scores with no turnovers. Miami rushed for over 100 yards as a team, a stark contrast from Josh Gattis’ old school, Michigan, and what they did against an undefeated and ranked Penn State.

Van Dyke connected with nine different receivers again, but two had negative yards receiving and Mallory was the ‘deep play’ guy with 20.7ypc. The OL allowed two sacks and three hurries as well as seven TFL’s.

Above- Miami in a quads look (4 receivers to one side) early. The inside bubble to #4 (the 4th receiver) works, perimeter blocking is on. It’s always nice to start off with easy throws that have one read. Get the QB comfortable and confident.

Above- Colbie Young and Van Dyke are starting to have a little thing going. I mean giant receivers who can run and have strong hands are always a good thing. Van Dyke hits his rhythm route perfectly there.

Above- Couldn’t grab a good screenshot but Van Dyke had good shoulder position, wrist flexion and knee bend on the front leg on this beautiful throw.

Above- DC’s are typically man or zone guys down inside the 10. Figure out which one they are and attack appropriately. VT’s corner that was 1-on-1 there was in man, and he had to chase a WR all the way across the field through traffic- that ain’t easy. Great play cal and great protection here from the O-Line.

Above- Van Dyke’s technique looking smooth here, too. A little forward leaning on his weight but wrist flexion and knee bend were back to ‘21 and UNC form.

Above- Four verts has rules. In Mike Leach’s Air Raid this is “6”. The outside WR’s can break out into dropouts and the inside can break in to hitches. What you can’t do is have two threats on the same seam- which is what Mallory does above.

Above- You can see the #2 and #3 threats (inside WR and slot) run into the same seam above. So the DB coverage has been filled with mis-communication and now the WR routes.

Above- Not his prettiest throw, stiffer front leg, comes up more off his back foot.

Above- QB Duo looking play, Jacurri Brown getting involved in games. You have to keep the young guys involved. The get four games for a redshirt, but also, why even shirt the guy? Let me get in there. If he only plays four, take the shirt, but don’t lose games over a redshirt. He needs reps in case Van Dyke or Jake Garcia decide to leave, for whatever reasons.

Above- Instead of the useless red zone fade, you have the big guy up the seam for the TD against a linebacker. You’d hope Young has better ball skills that an inside linebacker and he does. Good coverage, better catch. Van Dyke finished with his wrist in flexion, couldn’t see his legs because of the line play.

Miami D

The ‘Canes held the Hokies to 14 points, but honestly, that’s just about all their horrible offense was typically scoring. But Miami’s defense is now allowing only 20.5 PPG on the season, which is 28th in the country.

Steele’s defense came away with six sacks, seven TFL’s, two PBU’s and a hurry. The star of the defense was clearly Ahkeem Mesidor who finished with 3.5 sacks and 3.5 TFL’s with eight tackles.

Above- Right away Miami blows a coverage. This time it’s Avantae Williams early. The safety normally locks on “#2” which here is the slot. I have no idea why, but no. 15 runs down on the fin route (5 yard in) in front even though the cornerback was there. That left the middle of the field open and a huge play.

Above- What you DO like to see is that Williams made up for it and tracked the play, stripped and recovered the ball.

Above- Bring six, roll to cover 3, Wells is wrapped up quickly, really into his 2nd read of the progression at the middle of his first hitch-up.

Above- “Contain Wells” from the Canyonero keys. Instead of leaving giant open lanes, the interior DL stays home and closes down on Wells as he tries to escape.

Above- This defender deserves all the film room jokes he’s going to get. You can see the moment his OODA Loop dies on him, lucky he didn’t tear his ACL.

Above- Speaking of OODA Loops, James Williams’ loop glitches as he looks inside at #1 when he clearly has the #2 (the back) running the arrow route out of the backfield on mesh. Mesh is a beautiful thing.

Above- Who is the left safety covering 2-3 yards deep in the end zone with no one around? Never go Full Manny but Steele’s defense reverted to Full Manny here giving up a 4th down with the game on the line.

Above- Flagg loses a goal line, phone booth rep to QB Grant Wells. Let that sink in. Hard to see, the end zone All-22 would be great here, but I don’t see Flagg’s feet re-accel, he just stands there and twists instead. Wells re-accels his feet and wins.

The Wrap

Tyler Van Dyke ends the game with a beautiful 1st down throw and a pull on inside zone read with a wrapping lead blocker for another 1st down. But the clock management was HORRIBLE by Mario Cristobal. Cristobal has been a head coach at three schools, two in the Power 5, and really seems to just be a C- game day coach.

Three straight passes, not working the clock down to three seconds... I’m just not sure about Cristobal and a growth mindset. His mentality seems very stuck to an era of Alabama football that Bama doesn’t even play, and he’s not the game day coach Nick Saban is.

I’m not sure if at this point in Cristobal’s career if he can improve that much as a game day coach. He’s going to have to keep his recruiting chops in the upper echelon as they were at Bama and Oregon, and hopefully improve his development both in the weight room, on the track, and positionally.