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After the Storm: LSU

After the Storm: LSU

Stefan Adams
The Miami Hurricanes fell to the LSU Tigers, 33-17, at the 2018 Advocare Classic in Arlington, Texas on Sunday. After a day of travelling back home from the game and to collect my thoughts, as well as a rewatch of the game, here were my impressions.


Dismal performance. It didn’t seem like the two teams were very far apart at all from the eye test and Miami actually outgained LSU in total offense, 342-296. However, LSU played much better situational football than Miami did and made plays in big moments when they needed to. Miami got down early and didn’t know how to respond, allowing LSU’s momentum to keep building and building. When presented with similar big moments in the game, the Canes did everything they could to shoot themselves in the foot: penalties, blown assignments, errant Malik Rosier throws, poor punts, missed FG, and on, and on, and on. 11 penalties for 86 yards is just unacceptable and now Miami is on a 4 game losing streak. Ugh.


Same Old, Same Old. When a QB is having accuracy issues, yes, it can be mental. It can be mechanical. It can be on the receivers. It can be all of that and more. It could be one play here and there. It could be a simple quick fix. However, when a QB is consistently under throwing, over throwing, throwing too wide into the sidelines, throwing grounders, it’s more than a small issue that can easily be corrected: it’s a legitimate problem.

Those types of problems don’t completely go away over one off-season. This is why I’ve been skeptical of the reports of a much improved Malik Rosier in fall camp, and I pointed that out in the pre-season roundtable. He’s a fifth year senior that is what he is and you saw a lot of the same accuracy problems from last season on display the other night. In short, he made Josh Allen look like Peyton Manning. Rosier has had some big moments in Hurricanes history with the single season touchdown record, and he deserves his spot in UM lore after breaking the seven year curse of FSU, but he is not a QB that can get it done without a top notch running game and defense aiding him. It’s time to see if someone else can.


The Book on how to beat Miami is an NY Times Best Seller. The secret has been out since the Pitt game last year, and maybe even earlier than that on a closer rewatch of last season. Miami struggled with teams like UNC even before the Panthers’ loss because opponents loaded the box to stop the run on first and second down, not believing Rosier was accurate enough to make them pay for that strategy consistently enough. And they were mostly right. LSU did the same and, instead of adjusting for that, it seemed the UM game plan was to run the ball into a wall of defenders, incomplete pass, and then put the QB in low percentage situations such as 3rd and long. Get Miami into those quick three-and-outs, get your offense good field position, gas the UM defense, profit.


Offense was predictable. From the very first offensive series, which was a three-and-out, I started thinking, “Nothing has changed.” Miami’s offense didn’t evolve really at all over the off-season. The formations are the same. The alignments are the same. The personnel is mostly the same (performance-wise). No misdirection, no motion, no wrinkles, no scheming people open. The offense seems like it’s simply, “we think our athletes are better than your athletes”. In fact, I thought that the offense seemed so basic that anyone could run it, and I did not see Rosier using his experience to make any on the fly adjustments at the line, which is why I’m not buying that a redshirt or true freshman could not handle the QB job in this offense.


It’s tough to say in such a lopsided outcome. But, despite everything I just mentioned, Miami looked to really be having their way with LSU in the first quarter even with the score only 3-3. LSU had been doing nothing on offense and was gifted three points off a bad punt by Zach Feagles. Miami’s offense had put together two great drives, the running game was churning out chunk runs, and Rosier even hit on a nicely thrown deep ball to Lawrence Cager. Then, three game-changing moments happened at the end of the first quarter. First, Bubba Baxa sliced a 45 yard field goal to the left to end UM’s second promising drive. On LSU’s next possession, Jhavonte Dean jumped a slant, but dropped the potential pick right though his hands. And then a few plays later…


What I thought was the Biggest Play of the Game. On second and 15 from midfield, Miami lined up in a defensive formation that isn’t too uncommon from Manny Diaz, a single-high safety look. However, that safety is usually All-American Jaquan Johnson. Johnson was instead lined up in a nickel spot, right at the line of scrimmage and would be sent on a blitz off the edge. The single-high safety that was left all alone on the last line of defense? Robert Knowles. Gulp.

Burrow recognized this immediately, and audibled whatever play LSU was in to run a RB draw away from the Johnson pressure. Instead of maintaining his integrity and discipline knowing he’s the only man on the back line, Knowles rushed in at a horrible angle and got himself easily blocked out of the play, leaving a gaping hole in Miami’s defense that Nick Brossette could’ve driven a tank through. 50 yard TD and the beginning of the end for Miami. The pick 6 near halftime truly sealed Miami’s fate, but the Brossette run was the play that started the avalanche of momentum going against UM. I’m not sure why Knowles keeps being trusted in huge spots, but it seems like UM keeps doubling down on this instead of making a real change.


Breaking: opponent QB not a hall of famer. Unlike in previous losses in this losing streak, Miami finally didn’t make the opponent’s QB look like Joe Montana. Outside of a few timely throws that he made, Joe Burrow played decidedly average in this game and was a non-factor. 11/24 passing for 140 yards, with a 3/16 tally on third downs, back that up. Miami’s pass rush had him off balance most of the time and he threw a lot of balls away with pressure on his heels. So, Burrow wasn’t great, but at the end of the day, Miami made it so he didn’t need to be: LSU’s formula for victory was to get a few quick and easy scores and then coast on their running game and defense, which is exactly how the game developed.


The offensive line played well in stretches. The Canes’ two main running backs, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas, totaled 15 carries for 68 yards for a long of 17, good for about 4.5 yards per carry. That means there was no overly long run to skew the numbers and Miami was opening holes on the ground and getting quality yards with regularity. UM had to go away from the consistent ground game after getting down big so early though, playing right into LSU’s hands, and it allowed the Tigers to pin their ears back and send the pass rush to sack Rosier 4 times. Navaughn Donaldson in particular had trouble with speed off the edge, with rushers running right by him at times. I also thought the team moved the ball better when Venzell Boulware came in off the bench and subbed in for Jahair Jones in spots.


Miami has a DT. Part of the reason Burrow was running for his life on a lot of plays was the performance of Gerald Willis. I thought he was the player of the game for the UM defense with 4 TFL, and he was constantly penetrating into LSU’s backfield and causing problems. Willis was getting a lot of practice hype so it’s not a complete surprise, but it’s a big relief to know for sure that Miami has at least one defensive tackle that can dominate on this team.


Targeting. Trajan Bandy’s targeting call was huge because it changed how Miami would play defense in this game. Instead of playing ultra-aggressive like Manny Diaz prefers, Miami had to come off that a bit and play a little more conservative as a result of having to rely on Jhavonte Dean and freshmen DJ Ivey and Al Blades Jr. It didn’t end up biting UM too badly as LSU only threw for 140 yards, but it could have, which underscores the idea that targeting as a rule is completely broken in my opinion.

It happened across all of college football this weekend: a runner or receiver in the process of being tackled and going to the ground was hit helmet to helmet by a second defender coming in. The problem of calling targeting on this type of play is that the runner is lowering his own head into the strike zone and the defender has already committed to his strike. There was no malicious intent there, and the play was so bang-bang, avoiding that hit would’ve taken extreme effort by Bandy to contort his body in a different direction at the last second. Give him a 15 yard penalty if you must, but completely taking a player out of a game on that is ludicrous. Simply put, the rule is very subjective in that it is not being called the same way across games, and something like that has way too big an impact on the game to be allowed to continue.


Moral victories don’t mean much, but it’s something to build on. It was a positive that Miami got a couple of fourth quarter scores. No, it didn’t end up making a lick of difference in this actual game, but at least it shows this team never stops fighting and the offense is capable of making plays against a quality opponent. That’s something Miami will be able to build off of next week against Savannah State and hopefully into the future. This loss was bad and unacceptable, but I would have been much more discouraged for the season outlook if UM completely threw in the towel in the fourth quarter like a certain team in Tallahassee did last night.
 

Comments (62)

I liked Hightower, blades, Willis, Thomas. Dallas looked pretty good. We have some talent but damn.
 
So accurate that it was hard to read.

Dean dropping the pick was huge. It simply a play you must make.

On the 50 yard TD, we make it so easy to audible by not disguising anything. So we had a non-EE grad transfer check off to a TD, yet our 5th year senior seemingly never audibles.

The (brutal) honesty from a staff writer is appreciated.
 
Those 3 punts that averaged 25 yards, giving them a short field - just awful, awful.

You can survive a single, sometimes even two turnovers, or a bad stretch. But three damn shanks with momentum hanging in the balnace AFTER LAST YEAR. Talk about shooting yourself with a foot.
 
one thing im glad about is alot of young kids got burn in that environment.

at the same time, im sick of seeing upperclassmen that have no business playing for the U
 
So accurate that it was hard to read.

Dean dropping the pick was huge. It simply a play you must make.

On the 50 yard TD, we make it so easy to audible by not disguising anything. So we had a non-EE grad transfer check off to a TD, yet our 5th year senior seemingly never audibles.

The (brutal) honesty from a staff writer is appreciated.

Wasn't that also the play Djax got the roughing the passer call? I remember not being as upset about it knowing it would have come back anyway...
 
What really gets me is the personnel packaging. Jennings Jr, ivey, Dean, Knowles all on the field at the same time early in the game. It's baffling.
 
So accurate that it was hard to read.

Dean dropping the pick was huge. It simply a play you must make.

On the 50 yard TD, we make it so easy to audible by not disguising anything. So we had a non-EE grad transfer check off to a TD, yet our 5th year senior seemingly never audibles.

The (brutal) honesty from a staff writer is appreciated.
The pick would have been negated by the roughing the passer call which I think wasn’t warranted.
 
Willis was named ACC DL of the week. Kudos to that guy and hope he keeps it going and builds off that and shows guys like JJax that hype is nothing if you don't perform and match it. Was slightly disappointed in JJax but its a long season.
 
The Book on how to beat Miami is an NY Times Best Seller. The secret has been out since the Pitt game last year, and maybe even earlier than that on a closer rewatch of last season. Miami struggled with teams like UNC even before the Panthers’ loss because opponents loaded the box to stop the run on first and second down, not believing Rosier was accurate enough to make them pay for that strategy consistently enough. And they were mostly right. LSU did the same and, instead of adjusting for that, it seemed the UM game plan was to run the ball into a wall of defenders, incomplete pass, and then put the QB in low percentage situations such as 3rd and long. Get Miami into those quick three-and-outs, get your offense good field position, gas the UM defense, profit.

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So accurate that it was hard to read.

Dean dropping the pick was huge. It simply a play you must make.

On the 50 yard TD, we make it so easy to audible by not disguising anything. So we had a non-EE grad transfer check off to a TD, yet our 5th year senior seemingly never audibles.

The (brutal) honesty from a staff writer is appreciated.

Wouldn’t have mattered as D.Jack roughed the passer the very same play. It would have negated the INT
 
The Miami Hurricanes fell to the LSU Tigers, 33-17, at the 2018 Advocare Classic in Arlington, Texas on Sunday. After a day of travelling back home from the game and to collect my thoughts, as well as a rewatch of the game, here were my impressions.


Dismal performance. It didn’t seem like the two teams were very far apart at all from the eye test and Miami actually outgained LSU in total offense, 342-296. However, LSU played much better situational football than Miami did and made plays in big moments when they needed to. Miami got down early and didn’t know how to respond, allowing LSU’s momentum to keep building and building. When presented with similar big moments in the game, the Canes did everything they could to shoot themselves in the foot: penalties, blown assignments, errant Malik Rosier throws, poor punts, missed FG, and on, and on, and on. 11 penalties for 86 yards is just unacceptable and now Miami is on a 4 game losing streak. Ugh.


Same Old, Same Old. When a QB is having accuracy issues, yes, it can be mental. It can be mechanical. It can be on the receivers. It can be all of that and more. It could be one play here and there. It could be a simple quick fix. However, when a QB is consistently under throwing, over throwing, throwing too wide into the sidelines, throwing grounders, it’s more than a small issue that can easily be corrected: it’s a legitimate problem.

Those types of problems don’t completely go away over one off-season. This is why I’ve been skeptical of the reports of a much improved Malik Rosier in fall camp, and I pointed that out in the pre-season roundtable. He’s a fifth year senior that is what he is and you saw a lot of the same accuracy problems from last season on display the other night. In short, he made Josh Allen look like Peyton Manning. Rosier has had some big moments in Hurricanes history with the single season touchdown record, and he deserves his spot in UM lore after breaking the seven year curse of FSU, but he is not a QB that can get it done without a top notch running game and defense aiding him. It’s time to see if someone else can.


The Book on how to beat Miami is an NY Times Best Seller. The secret has been out since the Pitt game last year, and maybe even earlier than that on a closer rewatch of last season. Miami struggled with teams like UNC even before the Panthers’ loss because opponents loaded the box to stop the run on first and second down, not believing Rosier was accurate enough to make them pay for that strategy consistently enough. And they were mostly right. LSU did the same and, instead of adjusting for that, it seemed the UM game plan was to run the ball into a wall of defenders, incomplete pass, and then put the QB in low percentage situations such as 3rd and long. Get Miami into those quick three-and-outs, get your offense good field position, gas the UM defense, profit.


Offense was predictable. From the very first offensive series, which was a three-and-out, I started thinking, “Nothing has changed.” Miami’s offense didn’t evolve really at all over the off-season. The formations are the same. The alignments are the same. The personnel is mostly the same (performance-wise). No misdirection, no motion, no wrinkles, no scheming people open. The offense seems like it’s simply, “we think our athletes are better than your athletes”. In fact, I thought that the offense seemed so basic that anyone could run it, and I did not see Rosier using his experience to make any on the fly adjustments at the line, which is why I’m not buying that a redshirt or true freshman could not handle the QB job in this offense.


It’s tough to say in such a lopsided outcome. But, despite everything I just mentioned, Miami looked to really be having their way with LSU in the first quarter even with the score only 3-3. LSU had been doing nothing on offense and was gifted three points off a bad punt by Zach Feagles. Miami’s offense had put together two great drives, the running game was churning out chunk runs, and Rosier even hit on a nicely thrown deep ball to Lawrence Cager. Then, three game-changing moments happened at the end of the first quarter. First, Bubba Baxa sliced a 45 yard field goal to the left to end UM’s second promising drive. On LSU’s next possession, Jhavonte Dean jumped a slant, but dropped the potential pick right though his hands. And then a few plays later…


What I thought was the Biggest Play of the Game. On second and 15 from midfield, Miami lined up in a defensive formation that isn’t too uncommon from Manny Diaz, a single-high safety look. However, that safety is usually All-American Jaquan Johnson. Johnson was instead lined up in a nickel spot, right at the line of scrimmage and would be sent on a blitz off the edge. The single-high safety that was left all alone on the last line of defense? Robert Knowles. Gulp.

Burrow recognized this immediately, and audibled whatever play LSU was in to run a RB draw away from the Johnson pressure. Instead of maintaining his integrity and discipline knowing he’s the only man on the back line, Knowles rushed in at a horrible angle and got himself easily blocked out of the play, leaving a gaping hole in Miami’s defense that Nick Brossette could’ve driven a tank through. 50 yard TD and the beginning of the end for Miami. The pick 6 near halftime truly sealed Miami’s fate, but the Brossette run was the play that started the avalanche of momentum going against UM. I’m not sure why Knowles keeps being trusted in huge spots, but it seems like UM keeps doubling down on this instead of making a real change.


Breaking: opponent QB not a hall of famer. Unlike in previous losses in this losing streak, Miami finally didn’t make the opponent’s QB look like Joe Montana. Outside of a few timely throws that he made, Joe Burrow played decidedly average in this game and was a non-factor. 11/24 passing for 140 yards, with a 3/16 tally on third downs, back that up. Miami’s pass rush had him off balance most of the time and he threw a lot of balls away with pressure on his heels. So, Burrow wasn’t great, but at the end of the day, Miami made it so he didn’t need to be: LSU’s formula for victory was to get a few quick and easy scores and then coast on their running game and defense, which is exactly how the game developed.


The offensive line played well in stretches. The Canes’ two main running backs, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas, totaled 15 carries for 68 yards for a long of 17, good for about 4.5 yards per carry. That means there was no overly long run to skew the numbers and Miami was opening holes on the ground and getting quality yards with regularity. UM had to go away from the consistent ground game after getting down big so early though, playing right into LSU’s hands, and it allowed the Tigers to pin their ears back and send the pass rush to sack Rosier 4 times. Navaughn Donaldson in particular had trouble with speed off the edge, with rushers running right by him at times. I also thought the team moved the ball better when Venzell Boulware came in off the bench and subbed in for Jahair Jones in spots.


Miami has a DT. Part of the reason Burrow was running for his life on a lot of plays was the performance of Gerald Willis. I thought he was the player of the game for the UM defense with 4 TFL, and he was constantly penetrating into LSU’s backfield and causing problems. Willis was getting a lot of practice hype so it’s not a complete surprise, but it’s a big relief to know for sure that Miami has at least one defensive tackle that can dominate on this team.


Targeting. Trajan Bandy’s targeting call was huge because it changed how Miami would play defense in this game. Instead of playing ultra-aggressive like Manny Diaz prefers, Miami had to come off that a bit and play a little more conservative as a result of having to rely on Jhavonte Dean and freshmen DJ Ivey and Al Blades Jr. It didn’t end up biting UM too badly as LSU only threw for 140 yards, but it could have, which underscores the idea that targeting as a rule is completely broken in my opinion.

It happened across all of college football this weekend: a runner or receiver in the process of being tackled and going to the ground was hit helmet to helmet by a second defender coming in. The problem of calling targeting on this type of play is that the runner is lowering his own head into the strike zone and the defender has already committed to his strike. There was no malicious intent there, and the play was so bang-bang, avoiding that hit would’ve taken extreme effort by Bandy to contort his body in a different direction at the last second. Give him a 15 yard penalty if you must, but completely taking a player out of a game on that is ludicrous. Simply put, the rule is very subjective in that it is not being called the same way across games, and something like that has way too big an impact on the game to be allowed to continue.


Moral victories don’t mean much, but it’s something to build on. It was a positive that Miami got a couple of fourth quarter scores. No, it didn’t end up making a lick of difference in this actual game, but at least it shows this team never stops fighting and the offense is capable of making plays against a quality opponent. That’s something Miami will be able to build off of next week against Savannah State and hopefully into the future. This loss was bad and unacceptable, but I would have been much more discouraged for the season outlook if UM completely threw in the towel in the fourth quarter like a certain team in Tallahassee did last night.

Question 1: "Coach Richt, why are you so wed to Malik Rosier despite, well, his entire career as evidence?"

Question 2: "Coach Diaz, why are you so wed to Robert Knowles despite, well, his entire career as evidence?"

Question 3: "Coach Hartley, why are you so wed to Zach Feagles despite, well, his entire career as evidence?"

Question 4: "Coach Richt, I know why you're so wed to Jon Richt despite, well, his entire tenure as evidence. It's ridiculous. Not really a question, more of a comment. Fire him."
 
09/04 @
ALA
Loss 44 - 13
09/11 vs
APP
Win 25 - 23
09/18 vs
MSU
Loss 38 - 17
09/25 vs
CCSU
Win 69 - 0
09/30 vs
UVA
Loss 30 - 28
10/16 @
UNC
Loss 45 - 42
10/23 vs
NCST
Win 31 - 30
10/30 @
PITT
Win 38 - 34
11/06 vs
GT
Win 33 - 30
11/13 @
FSU
Loss 31 - 28
11/20 vs
VT
Win 38 - 26
11/27 @
DUKE
Win 47 - 10
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