After the Storm: Savannah State

After the Storm: Savannah State

Stefan Adams
Miami took care of business and dominated the Savannah State Tigers in the home opener, 77-0. Here were some of my impressions from the game.


Nothing like an FCS team to stave off the lynch mob for a bit. It was nice to have Savannah State as a safety net to bounce back after the LSU debacle last week. Admittedly, there’s not much to take away from a game when your opponent is an FCS team, but we did get our first look at the freshmen QB’s, as well as plenty of other young players on UM. In a game like this, the biggest plus is when there are no major injuries, and UM looks to be fine on that front. The Canes simply did what they were supposed to do in this one, going 7-12 on third downs, holding Savannah State under 100 yards of total offense, and giving up only 5 first downs on the day. Most importantly for me though, Miami only had one penalty for 15 yards, which came early in the first quarter on an accidental facemask from Jon Garvin. That’s something Miami really needs to carry over to Toledo next week, as penalties were a major issue last season and against LSU in week 1.

QB rotation. Even though Mark Richt has played coy in interviews, the order of the QB’s played out as expected. Malik Rosier started the game and got a little over a quarter of play. With the score 21-0, N’Kosi Perry came in around the 11 minute mark of the second quarter and played almost two full quarters. Then, it was Cade Weldon in with about a minute remaining in the third quarter and he had two short drives of 16 and 32 yards, both of which ended in touchdowns. Williams finished out the game from around the 11 minute mark in the 4th quarter on and had a short TD run. Perry, Weldon, and Williams all scored their first career touchdowns.

The amount of playing time each QB got was telling to me. Perry was essentially getting an extended audition and played with the first team offense around him, while the other two QB’s only got mop up duty with backups. It seems as if Perry has separated himself a bit from Weldon and Williams and will get the first crack at the starting job should Richt make a change there.

Perry played well overall. What most impressed me was how he was able to stay accurate on the run and he delivered a couple of darts during his 9/14, 93 yards, 3 TD, and 1 INT day. I thought his best throw was a sideline out route to Lawrence Cager for about 15 yards in which he threw a strike on the money, a type of throw we’ve seen Rosier struggle with in the past. He also lofted a pretty deep ball 40 yards downfield for Darrell Langham, who was able to reel it in and make the catch over the DB. However, his interception was awful, as Perry did not see the underneath coverage and threw the ball directly at the defender. I also wanted to see more from him on the ground (4 carries, -3 yards). Overall though, a promising debut for the redshirt freshman.

Into the future. I’d like to see Miami utilize Rosier and Perry like Clemson is doing with their QB’s right now in senior Kelly Bryant and freshman Trevor Lawrence, in which both QB’s rotate series even in big games like last night against Texas A&M. If Clemson can do that with a guy like Bryant, who is coming off an ACC Championship and a College Football Playoff appearance, Miami should have no qualms doing that with someone that has struggled as badly as Rosier has at times. I believe Rosier should have to feel some real pressure for his job; let the two battle it out on the field, and when the best player separates himself (as always seems to end up the case), go to him full-time.

A few other young players shined. Brevin Jordan, Will Mallory, and Lorenzo Lingard all scored their first career touchdowns, and Jordan and Lingard both had multiple. Lingard’s second house call was particularly impressive, as he was able to show off his burst and juking ability on the long, weaving 64 yard run. He’s someone that needs to see more reps. Nesta Silvera was another freshman standout, with 5 tackles, 0.5 TFL, and a blocked punt that was returned for a TD. On the blocked punt, Silvera completely overpowered his man and drove him back into the punter. Brutal. Also loved seeing the oft-injured Scott Patchan scoop up the ball and score the touchdown. Cool moment for a guy that’s been through a lot off the field.

We finally got to see the often rumored I-formation... And it was alright. Highlights included Trayone Gray picking up a few short yardage first downs taking carries as a fullback and freshman Realus George even made an appearance as well. Still, UM’s biggest running plays came out of the shotgun and that’s not going away.

The offensive line was just okay. I was still looking for more push up front in the run game, and Miami didn’t have their way as much as you might think when looking at a total like 239 yards rushing. Although Miami averaged 6.5 ypc in the game, that was greatly helped by three second half runs that totaled 133 yards; UM was struggling to get the ground attack going in the first half and only had 44 yards rushing at halftime against a vastly undersized Savannah State front 7. A positive was that the pass protection was on point and there was only one sack allowed, which was on the QB/RB when Perry and Travis Homer collided in the backfield on a miscommunication.


Grades

Offense: B+

Nearly 500 total yards and 77 points will always play well, and UM also went 7/12 on third down, but UM has to be handicapped here when factoring in the level of the opponent. 1st half ground game struggles, Homer’s fumble, and Perry’s INT prevent this from being an “A”.

Defense: A+

UM had a suffocating effort on defense, pitching a shutout on the Tigers as they should expect to. Looking under the hood makes it even sweeter, with 78 total yards given up, 1.3 yards per play, 2/16 on third downs, 4 takeaways, 14 TFL, 3 sacks, and only 5 first downs allowed all game.

Special Teams: A

Any time you put points on the board via special teams, you’re probably getting an “A”, and Miami did just that on Silvera’s blocked punt for a Patchan TD recovery. A tipped field goal attempt by Jaquan Johnson was great as well, and Jeff Thomas also had two huge punt returns of 40+ yards. Bubba Baxa did his job, going 9 for 9 on XP’s and booting 7 touchbacks. Zach Feagles had another shank, which kept this grade from an “A+”, but he made up for it on his second punt, blasting a 55 yarder to give himself a respectable 44.0 average on the day.

Coaching: A

Despite a fumble on the first drive, there didn't seem to be any focus issues with playing a vastly overmatched opponent, and the coaches had the team ready to play. Miami dominated from beginning to end, did pretty much whatever they wanted to in each phase of the game, and went home. Simply take a look to Tallahassee to see what can happen when the coaching staff doesn't have their team mentally prepared to play an inferior opponent.
 

Comments (26)

Considering our running game struggles first half do you foresee any changes on OL this week
 
Nice read Stefan. When was the last time a kicker missed a FG against us, or we blocked one for that matter? Seems like an eternity.
 
Our O line gets a D at best! Our guys looked like giants next to their players and still could not get any movement at the point of attack. Every year for at least the last 5 years the O line has maneged to look and perform worst than the previos year.
 
Good stuff. Especially about Clemson and how they are handling their QB's.
 
They have got to make some changes on the OL. They cannot move anyone and Donaldson is not going to learn how to handle speed overnight. Imo they need to go Scaife at RT, get Donaldson at LG or RG and insert Gaynor, he did very well yesterday as did Scaife
 
I agree changes should be made. Just hoping Stefan is privy to some inside info that changes are being made . I also know that if he does recieve inside info he has to be careful what he puts out or he would be cut off from receiving any info .
 
Into the future. I’d like to see Miami utilize Rosier and Perry like Clemson is doing with their QB’s right now in senior Kelly Bryant and freshman Trevor Lawrence, in which both QB’s rotate series even in big games like last night against Texas A&M. If Clemson can do that with a guy like Bryant, who is coming off an ACC Championship and a College Football Playoff appearance, Miami should have no qualms doing that with someone that has struggled as badly as Rosier has at times. I believe Rosier should have to feel some real pressure for his job; let the two battle it out on the field, and when the best player separates himself (as always seems to end up the case), go to him full-time.

This right here is the truth.
 
Considering our running game struggles first half do you foresee any changes on OL this week

Both guard spots and right tackle are going to be trouble areas all season and Miami's going to continue to mix and match to find the best five. If you don't see changes this week, I think there's likely to be some at some point down the line.

As for the mixing and matching we've already seen: last week, Venzell Boulware was the only backup to mix in with the starters, at both LG and RG. Miami moved the ball well in 3 of Boulware's 4 drives played against LSU (two touchdowns and a missed FG).

This week, after the offense struggled on the first two drives that went nowhere (fumble, 3 and out), Boulware came in at left guard and right guard the next threes drives and the offense scored 3 straight TD's. It's pretty clear he's the most likely to move into the lineup if anything changes.

Corey Gaynor was the only other backup to see time with the first team line this week, seeing some reps in the second half at right guard. Navaughn Donaldson actually got a few reps at left tackle, with Tyree St. Louis at RT.

When the entire backup line came in, it was DJ Scaife first up at left tackle and Zalon'tae Hillery at right tackle, Boulware at LG, Hayden Mahoney at C, and Gaynor at RG.
 
Defense missed too many tackles to be an A +
 
They have got to make some changes on the OL. They cannot move anyone and Donaldson is not going to learn how to handle speed overnight. Imo they need to go Scaife at RT, get Donaldson at LG or RG and insert Gaynor, he did very well yesterday as did Scaife

I’ve been saying this, too. Donaldson has to be at RG, Reed/Gaynor at LG, and let RT play out.
 
Boulware looks better than Jones. But I saw him fail to pick up a guy that had to have been his assignment. He needs more reps to get Searels' zone blocking schemes down. I was excited about the Donaldson at RT experiment, and he mauls people at times . But he's getting beat too often by the speedy guys. I'm now with everyone who is praying Scaife comes along fast and can take a tackle spot, so we can move Donaldson back in. The whole line gets significantly stronger if Scaife (or Hillery, Herbert or Cambpell) is able to run with the 1s.
 
Overall including special teams, there where about 8 or 9 turnovers right?
 
Playing Savannah State, Toledo, FIU, and even UNC gives us so much time to give reps to a lot of those guys that appear to be superior talent to those that are playing in front of them, that just need to understand the playbook better or whatever the case me be. N'kosi, Nesta, Amari Carter, Lingard, and more need to keep getting good reps throughout this stretch, assuming we take care of business like I expect. Work them all in with the 1's.

Also, we should use this time to get reps to the OL and possibly mix up the line up a little. Get Donaldson back to G, Scaife in at RT, and let Gaynor and Boulware try to overtake the starters at G currently. I think it should be St. Louis-Boulware-Gauthier-Donaldson-Scaife with Gaynor and Mahoney as the reserves. Jones has no business seeing the field. Way too lost and just seems too soft.
 

2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DT
6'4"
265
Miami, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
WR
5'9"
190
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
Miami, FL
WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

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