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After the Storm: Pitt

After the Storm: Pitt

Stefan Adams
The Miami Hurricanes won their first road game of the year, toppling the Pitt Panthers 16-12 at Heinz Field on Saturday. Here were my takeaways and grades from the game.


This game reminded me a lot of the Virginia game earlier in the year. Like Miami’s victory over UVA, UM’s win over the Panthers featured a formula of the defense tightening up in the red zone and holding the opponent to all field goals, while the offense sputtered most of the game, but did just enough in the end to come away with a W. Pat Narduzzi’s squad is a solid and well-coached ACC team that was favored to win this game, so it was a decent win for Manny Diaz’s first road victory, especially coming off the abomination that was the GT game last week. All Miami’s problems are still there, but a comeback win on the road without multiple key starters has to have the team feeling pretty good.


Without some short field scoring drives, Miami may have lost this game. It was a brutal day for Miami’s offense, as UM was outgained by Pitt (322-208) and featured a ton of 3-and-out football (4 total vs. Panthers). Two big DJ Ivey interceptions set the Canes up deep in Pitt territory, and the Miami offense was able to turn them into 10 points. That ended up being huge in this defensive battle, because, aside from their 3 scoring drives, Miami was unable to get anything going on offense; in their 10 other drives, Miami gained just 99 total yards and was astonishingly inept on the attacking side of the ball. A nicely scripted and executed final drive ended up bailing the Hurricanes out, but it was just another game where the defense did their job in setting up the offense for success, and the offense mostly did not deliver. Against higher quality teams, UM isn’t going to be able to get away with that dichotomy.

I’ve said it in this space multiple times at this point, but, through two-thirds of the season thus far, Dan Enos is not earning that $1.5 million paycheck. The performance dropped UM down to 84th in the nation in both scoring offense (26.8 points per game) and total offense (384.1 yards per game) in 2019. For comparisons sake, Mark Richt’s 2018 offense that had everyone ready to hire an OC saw him finish 90th in scoring (24.8 ppg) and 93rd in total offense (356 ypg).


The OL might’ve had their best game of the season. They’ve been a frequent scapegoat, but it would be hard to place much of the blame on the offensive line for the offenses’ lack of success against Pitt. It was always going to be a key matchup in the trenches this week between polar opposites, with the Panthers coming into the game leading the country in sacks, and the Canes second to last in sacks allowed. Instead, the OL probably had their best game of the season against FBS competition from a sacks (2) and TFL (3) perspective, and it was even more impressive considering the context of the opponent’s front seven being among the best in the country. One aspect I noticed was much better communication in picking up blitzers, and the line did a better job of identifying the proper man to block and passing guys off to each other. We’ve seen some truly awful OL play this year, so I’m nowhere near convinced this unit has it all turned around, but maybe, just maybe, they build off this game and keep it going against FSU next weekend.


Jarren Williams should be the starter going forward. After watching N’Kosi Perry (10-24, 104 yards) struggle with his accuracy all day, Williams proved to be the spark Miami needed when the staff inserted him into the game in the fourth quarter. It was truly a tough situation to go into, down 2 with 7 minutes remaining and trying to move the ball with what had been a completely lifeless offense all day. Somehow, though, Williams willed his way to a win, converting a 4th down on a quick bubble screen, picking up a third down with his legs, and ending the game with a nicely threaded ball to KJ Osborn for the winning, 32-yard TD. Despite his big-play ability, the Pitt game really highlighted the worst of Perry’s game: inconsistent accuracy, missed reads, and a tendency to drop his eyes to the rush. In another offense, I think Perry could really shine, but in Enos’ highly structured pro-style system, making the right reads, ball placement, and accuracy are going to be valued at a premium. With nearly equal passing attempts on the season at this point, Williams is a full 13 percentage points ahead of Perry in completion percentage (Williams at 69.6%, Perry at 56.6%). Does Miami win this game if Williams doesn’t come in? With the way Perry was playing, probably not. With Williams now the hero, I think it gives the staff the excuse they’ve been looking for to do what they’ve wanted to all along: give Williams the job back.


Miami’s run defense collapsed for the second straight week. Through the first half of the season, Miami was a top 10 team in the country at stopping the run, allowing around 75 yards per game. Well, that’s certainly changed the past two games. Including the missed tackle bonanza against GT last week, UM has now given up nearly 400 rushing yards total in the past two weeks after ceding 176 yards against the Panthers on Saturday. What gives? Sure, part of that can be attributed to Michael Pinckney’s injury, but it’s also true that the defensive tackles aren’t holding the point of attack as well lately. Neither GT (62nd in rushing offense) or Pitt (109th in rushing offense) are world beaters at running the football, either. The Canes have to get back to setting the tone with their run D, otherwise the defense is going to really get gassed, which is even more important considering the offense’s documented struggles staying on the field.


DJ Ivey finds some redemption. After struggling the past two weeks against UVA and GT, it was good to see Ivey make a bit of a comeback with his two INT’s, both of which were essential in UM’s win over Pitt. They were easy interceptions to make, yes, but those are the type of plays that can bring you out of a bad mindset and give you some confidence. Al Blades actually got the start in this game across from Trajan Bandy, so maybe working as the #3 corner took some of the pressure off of Ivey mentally. Many forget Ivey is just a true sophomore in his first major playing time this season and is still trying to grasp the finer points of the position. The secondary in general has had problems making the big splash plays that Miami was accustomed to compared to what Jaquan Johnson, Sheldrick Redwine, and Michael Jackson brought to the table (it was just their 4th and 5th INT’s in 8 games), so it’d be a welcome sight to see Ivey emerge as a playmaker on the backend.


Is Miami still alive in the Coastal? With the win over Pitt this weekend, UM is now 2-3 in the ACC. After having lost to 2 of the current top 4 teams in the Coastal and being a full game back in the division, it’s probably unrealistic at this point to expect that UM will be able to dig out of the hole they’ve created for themselves; without winning out the rest of their ACC schedule, a ton of help, and some tiebreaker luck, Miami is all but out of this. However, the first dominoes began to fall when the Coastal imploded on itself a bit on Saturday, with top contenders Pitt, UVA, and Duke losing key games. As Virginia Tech and UNC have some of their tougher conference games coming up, there is actually a path for Miami to come out on top, something that was unthinkable just a week ago. Of course, that involves the Canes actually being consistent the rest of the season when 2019 has been anything but for Miami.


Grades

Offense: D

They played one of the better defenses in the country, but this unit had a pretty brutal day all things considered. Just 208 total yards and 3.5 yards per play. 16 total points. 4 three-and-outs. 2 for 13 (15%) on third downs dropped Miami’s already-horrific third down offense on the season even further. Only 2 sacks and 3 TFL allowed was a positive. The saving grace was the game-winning TD drive with the game on the line, but this unit has to do better than this each week.


Defense: B

Miami’s rush defense collapsed for a second straight week, this time allowing 176 yards to Pitt. Better with the missed tackles issue. The pass defense looked much improved, and the secondary finally made some plays on the ball to force 3 Pitt turnovers. The points gained off those takeaways ended up being the difference in the game. Held Pitt to 3 FG’s each of the 3 times the Panthers entered the red zone. Just 12 points given up overall. 322 total yards allowed. 4 sacks, 7 TFL. The defense did more than enough to deserve a win.


Special Teams: A-

Aside from a kickoff out of bounds, no really critical errors this week for the first time in a long time. Camden Price nailed a chip-shot FG in his first career attempt and Louis Hedley put 4 of his 7 punts inside the 20, averaged nearly 46 yards per kick, and had a long of 61. No big returns given up by the coverage teams. Funny what the game result is for Miami when the special teams unit is quiet and simply does what they’re supposed to do.


Coaching: C

3 penalties was the lowest UM has had all season; Miami has really turned things around there the past 3 games with just 11 penalties total after having multiple games with 11 or more. Made the right move going back to Williams, but it should’ve come sooner. Offensive gameplan was atrocious. Enos called his best drive with the game on the line. Defense came out prepared to play on the road, forcing 3 turnovers in the first 4 drives. Some things I liked plus some things I hated averages to a ‘C’.
 

Comments (39)

Enos clearly needs help coaching the offense and none of the assistants he hired is remotely X's and O's qualified. But at $1.5 MM he should not need help. He is absolutely negating UM'S speed advantages with his constant play calling into the short side of the field and his tight formations hoping for a player to burst out of the scrum.

South Florida is about space and speed. If he stays and is able to put his egomania in check he needs to hire a offensive analyst that was a former OC/HC successful at running the spread to help him incorporate spread concepts. Or replace one of the offensive Assistant coaches with a rising offensive mind similar to what LSU has done with its WR Coach/passing game coordinator.

Such as this guy from Memphis ( he is Florida guy and does a very good job with the oline.) Offer him $350k to come to UM


Or fire Enos and steal the OC from Ok State, with Boone Pickens passing their gravy train has left the depot.

Go Canes
 
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This is the best way to lose to FIU

I figured after how your boy Perry’s been playing you would just be quiet about this whole situation but you still going on about Perry’s the guy shows you know nothing about football and are just not very smart, O ya and Williams led us on a game winning drive lol, you got the Krazy part right
 
Perry lost to 1-5 GT who only scored 7 against the defense in regulation

Perry suffered a real injury wasn’t faking it like ur favorite QB who cries about transferring every other week.

A healthy Jarren came in and was so terrible that the coaching staff put an injured Perry back in the game against GaTech so the loss is on Jarren for not being able to get it done like usual.
 
I figured after how your boy Perry’s been playing you would just be quiet about this whole situation but you still going on about Perry’s the guy shows you know nothing about football and are just not very smart, O ya and Williams led us on a game winning drive lol, you got the Krazy part right

Jarren finally made two plays in his career
 
Perry suffered a real injury wasn’t faking it like ur favorite QB who cries about transferring every other week.

A healthy Jarren came in and was so terrible that the coaching staff put an injured Perry back in the game against GaTech so the loss is on Jarren for not being able to get it done like usual.

Putting Perry back in is where the coaches lost that game. They almost made the same mistake against Pitt.

Jarren saved N’kosi from going 1-2 in games where the defense allowed 7 points, 9 points, and 12 points. 😭😂
 
Perry lost to 1-5 GT who only scored 7 against the defense in regulation

And let's not forget he had a total brain fart in the endzone and took a sack on a damn screen pass that gave GT 7 points.

Other than that, and the 6.7 YPA he put up (which, by the way, would rank 89th in the country for the season), he was just wonderful.

I want the kid to be good....he's better than he was last year....he seems a lot more mature than he was last year...….but he's a worse option than Williams. Period.
 
Putting Perry back in is where the coaches lost that game. They almost made the same mistake against Pitt.

Jarren saved N’kosi from going 1-2 in games where the defense allowed 7 points, 9 points, and 12 points. 😭😂

Yes putting an injured QB back in the game over a healthy QB shows you how terrible of a QB Jarren is.

- NKosi beat UVa Jarren would’ve lost the game by 30.

- Jarren lost the GaTech game

- NKosi would’ve came back to beat Pitt if he didn’t come out anyway bc that’s all he does...

- Jarren made a fluke run on 3rd and 2 And KJ Osborn won the game.
 
Same ppl talking about how Perry played when he was actually injured made excuses for Jarren faking injuries losing to multiple teams and looking terrible against teams like Savannah St and Central Michigan in between 🤔🤔🤔
 
I can’t believe he’s making $1.5 million. What’s the OC and DC make at LSU?

Who knew the first drive of the UF game would be his peak offensive genius.
 
I am not sure he is making 1.5 mill but pretty sure he is making 1.1-1.2 mill...
He was going to get like 900k at Alabaga...and thats if he didnt move to a higher position
 
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