The Miami Hurricanes 2023 spring scrimmage was played on Friday, April 14th on ACCNX. The location of the game wasn’t the only piece of deja vu between Mario Cristobal’s first spring game (2022) and his second (‘23).
While the ‘Canes offensive and defensive coordinators are different, many of the same results persisted. In ‘22, a drive was broken by a badly timed snap and fumble recovery by Jacob Lichtenstein.
Cristobal allowed the drive to continue and the offense scored, but that’s part of the issue with creating unrealistic situations for players- a fake celebration ensued after on a touchdown that wouldn’t exist when it mattered the most.
Truthfully, that moment seemed to contradict Mario’s “How you do one thing is how you do every thing” motto. Then again we all saw the 5-7 season and it was filled with ill timed penalties, turnovers, and other mistakes (dropped passes, missed field goals, etc.).
In ‘23, penalties shot one drive in the foot while a completely missed assignment and block forced a touchdown situation into a field goal. If Miami was looking to look improved- well, they didn’t.
Before we get started re-visiting the 2022 spring game for comparisons, the link to this year’s Film Review is above.
Miami had some spring game deja vu comparing 2022 to 2023. A double-covered deep ball from Van Dyke broken up by the wide receiver ✅ pic.twitter.com/EuiY5JinVr— imfb_blog (@IMFB_Blog) April 20, 2023
Above- Spring deja vu in ‘22. Tyler Van Dyke throwing an ill advised, double-covered, deep ball where his wide receiver’s plus-effort playing DB broke up the clear interception.
Can't high point a ball if you're floating backwards. 0 needs to attack forward and up not floating back like an MJ fade away jumper vs the Jazz pic.twitter.com/1oKvD3zQbe— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) April 16, 2023
Above- Van Dyke goes full pop gun arm and throws a near INT on a similar ball.
Quick flat route off a rub in bunch. Xavier Restrepo in the flat with a reception. Seems right ✅ pic.twitter.com/QhWdL8f3rW— imfb_blog (@IMFB_Blog) April 20, 2023
Above- Van Dyke hitting Restrepo on some flat routes in ‘22.
Van Dyke is reading the flat def. He gets the #'s here and throws to Skinner. Remember Miami throwing a lot of bubbles to Njoku? Same rules apply. Athletic big guy in the flat vs. CB's = win. pic.twitter.com/WJliLj6YTd— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) April 16, 2023
Above- Jaleel Skinner on the flat routes in ‘23.
Counter: GT vs. GY
Kick out and wrap from a GY type counter vs GT. Essentially the same play from '23. pic.twitter.com/i0hPWyRtL0— imfb_blog (@IMFB_Blog) April 20, 2023
Above- The ‘22 version is guard-tight end or “GY” on counter. Works well for Miami.
When it's executed well, like it is here, GT counter (or GY counter) is a beautiful thing. 77 with the kick, nice wrap to the LB, Parrish is patient and lets his guys work before he does. pic.twitter.com/9vv5c5pNiL— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) April 16, 2023
Van Dyke running for yardage
Van Dyke picking up a 1st down with his legs. Not a huge difference from 22 to 23 there. pic.twitter.com/2x1fXOztG4— imfb_blog (@IMFB_Blog) April 20, 2023
Above- I didn’t recall Van Dyke picking up some yardage in the spring of ‘22. But here he is taking off here for a scramble of a 1st down.
Van Dyke would be a good burglar in Home Alone 9: Lost in Coral Gables. He already runs like he's stepped on some legos with fish hooks jammed through them. Stiffest ankle in the b'ness. But love that he pulled on IZ read in a spring game. pic.twitter.com/TVdGD2ylXZ— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) April 16, 2023
Above- He looks a little more stiff in ‘23, but very similar runs in the two spring games.
Hold on no66, bad pass pro, "sack" in the game. But still a completion. At least in '22 they called it down, in '23 they were letting that go. pic.twitter.com/vLpuBVqxW9— imfb_blog (@IMFB_Blog) April 20, 2023
Above- In ‘23 Van Dyke is on a stretcher if it’s live contact. The ‘23 defense got after the QB’s much harder than the ‘22 defense. That’s a plus in some ways because I do think they’re better at the pass rush (see: Bain, Rueben).
The C and RG are turn-styles here letting 99 walk in. Van Dyke leaves this game on a stretcher if it's live. Good catch from 4 though on the drop out route. pic.twitter.com/VebYukWxzS— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) April 16, 2023
Above- Again, the pass rush seemed better in ‘23, quicker off the ball. Especially with Bain, but either way this is a big play that was really a sack. The offensive line needs improvement. I know both guards were out (Javion Cohen and Anez Cooper), but with Mario’s injury history on his teams the 2’s can’t be this far of a drop from the 1’s.
Nice little hunt-dig from no12. We saw something similar from Restrepo in '23 with that deep curl sort of "sit down in space" he ran pic.twitter.com/yJrUfbQKPV— imfb_blog (@IMFB_Blog) April 20, 2023
Above- the job of the hunt-dig is to find space over the ball some where towards the inside of the hashes. no. 12 does a good job of it. Not sure where that went in the fall though...
Restrepo is just making routes up now. He gets himself open (Air Raid is great for a guy like him) and makes 31 look FOOLISH in space. Dude chases 7 then dives at him. 1st guy there is missing 7 every time pic.twitter.com/MRLR6VEDDN— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) April 16, 2023
Above- Similar style from Mr. Restrepo here in ‘23. Runs a curl or some kind of stop in space for a nice 1st down.
Tackle for loss
Gil Frierson with the Francisco Mauigoa TFL on "and short" in '22 it's a really badly drawn up 4th and 1 (reflective of the fall season) and in '23 it was an unblocked LB on a run through on 3rd and 3. pic.twitter.com/Tvb4ockuY4— imfb_blog (@IMFB_Blog) April 20, 2023
Above- Right when you need it the least, Miami gives up a TFL. Gil Frierson picks it up here on 4th and 1, which was really indicative of the entire ‘22 season.
3rd and 3 run play... at Houston, Dawson would get conservative and force the run game and multiple TE's vs spreading out and making the defense cover 53 1/3. pic.twitter.com/xGwEyBB9xz— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) April 16, 2023
Above- In ‘22 it’s the edge vs. Jake Garcia and the 2’s. In ‘23 it’s the interior with Van Dyke and the 1’s.
In 22, guys dropped easy balls, too. In 23 it was tunnel screens being stone-hands'd. WR's are NEEDED in the portal this summer. One burner to stretch the defense, one possession guy with sure hands. pic.twitter.com/n3wV9cdfX3— imfb_blog (@IMFB_Blog) April 20, 2023
Above- Easy drops in ‘22 and ‘23. The middle drives were really dead in both games.
Penalties, drops, blown pass protections, ugly throws... Miami looks eerily similar in ‘23 to ‘22. The hope is that if Cohen, Cooper, and Zion Nelson are back the line looks much better in fall camp scrimmages and beyond.
The theory that the “energy” was different, or the “speed,” adds up very little. It’s more recency bias and hope than it is reality. Watch both games. Hype was there in ‘22 (Antrel Rolle, Jason Taylor, Ed Reed, Mario’s 1st RETURN!).
I hope it looks different than a really bad team on the field in ‘23 like we saw in ‘22. 5-7 for a second year won’t cut it. Major improvement has to be made. It will take another 5-6 players leaving and 5-6 transferring in for that to happen.