Film Review of Virginia Game

Film Review of Virginia Game

You know the drill, this post will be long. It will contain lots of stills of the game, rather than gifs. If that isn’t for you, no worries. I use stills to show nuance and details that get lost when you see gifs. That doesn’t mean you can’t follow along with the game and see what I’m looking at. These reviews are time consuming, so if you enjoy my work I would appreciate a follow on Twitter [MENTION=5374]HurricaneVision[/MENTION]

On first down we have Jackson playing an extreme outside technique looking to funnel everything into the middle of the field. We are in base and they have three players in the backfield besides the QB. It was interesting play design as they tried to cross the two other players in their backfield to confuse blocking and they ran into each other and didn’t really block anyone. Gain of a few. Look at how badly Shaq is getting held, here, with an official staring right at it. He still makes the tackle.

We looped Chad inside as we are wont to do. Virginia really stressed us in coverage here. We had Jackson to the top of the screen and they ran an out route and a vertical route to that side. Shaq gets caught looking at that flat route and doesn’t get into his drop quickly enough, as you can see he has his back to the QB here. There is an in-cutting route right behind this that Shaq is supposed to have depth to prevent it from being open. Shaq isn’t responsible for the flat here, as you can see the corner is squatting on that flat area rather than turning and opening his hips. McCloud is responsible for the seam route. Shaq either forgot the coverage, or got caught guessing and reading the QB’s eyes. Benkert does a good job looking at this route and then hitting the route behind it.

Next play we are still in base against three-wide. McCloud is still matching up in the seam. They run a flat route underneath and Jackson gets off a block and makes the tackle for a gain of two. Not pictured.

I’m guessing we will see this be adjusted in the second half, but why is McCloud sucked up so close to Shaq here? We have the entire field side to account for since the ball is at the top hash. Move a few yards closer and this would look like we are defending a QB sneak. Sure enough, McCloud runs straight forward, when he needs to be a full yard outside. He is walled inside by a RB and loses the edge. He has to lock his arms out here, control this blocker and pop him into the backfield and force this RB to turn up inside where Shaq has done exactly what I wrote above. Bad play by McCloud and this play is only saved because Malek defeats his block and gets him done after a gain of one. No matter the thinking- if they saw something on film in this formation previously- McCloud has to attack these blockers instead of sitting back and letting them be aggressive with him. This looks like McCloud is trying to two-gap.

Third down, their H-back goes into motion from one side to the other, and the outside WR steps up to the LOS. They use their H-back and RB to double J. Jackson on the edge. That leaves five OL to block three rushers. We actually have played Amari Carter at LB more-and-more the past two games. You remember the pick-6 by Bandy where Carter was playing LB (truly he had his hand down, but only as a LB spy). Don’t be surprised if he is moved there next spring, or at least used in a hybrid role. Malek has fantastic coverage and Benkert just makes an impossible throw. Young does everything he is supposed to as far as the coverage goes. He’s still bumping him seven yards downfield with his left arm. That’s what he’s coached to do. The receiver runs the route perfectly and uses his body to keep Young on his hip. The throw is even better. We sent Carter here (guy blitzing from the 40), but I’d have liked to see him simply sit down on the slant here and we’ve got everything covered up. That delayed blitz has been mostly miss this year.

Next play, another example of using subtle motion to move our defenders a touch to an area they want us to be in. It also identifies coverage responsibilities to Benkert. This is obviously zone coverage, right? Otherwise, you’re asking McCloud to stand out there and cover 1-on-1 since no one came down to help on this play. If it is man-to-man, even better for Virginia, right. Virginia is really overloading protection at this point trying to protect their QB and just running routes based on the coverage tendencies. Look at how they’ve used motion to isolate McCloud here with two different players in the slot. Benkert is immediately looking this way as the ball is snapped. McCloud really got picked on in this game, no doubt about it, but this is putting him in a difficult spot here. McIntosh whips his man and forces Benkert to scramble right into Trent Harris for a sack, but I wanted to highlight how sometimes just seeing the ball can make you miss what’s causing the matchups in the first place. They’ve completely designed this to get McCloud in space and aren’t even threatening Malek on the other side other than releasing a RB into the flat. One second longer for Benkert and the inside man is coming open right behind Shaq, who is quickly running to cover the slant area beside McCloud, who is covering the zone the RB is motioning into here.

Next play they motion the middle receiver of a trips formation one way and then back towards the exact spot he came from. Why? To see if the safety follows him. If he does, you know you’ve got McCloud matched up with the TE 1-on-1 in the seam here. Benkert knows he’s going to the TE immediately, and hits him. McCloud compounds the problem by missing the tackle and giving up a first down. I also didn’t love we had both McIntosh and Thomas off the field on this play. Second still is of McCloud bouncing way too far inside. Why is he on the other side of the hash here? Look how far inside the hash he is lined up. If he just stays where he is lined up, he is right there to defend this pass. McCloud really had trouble with his angles in this game. He made this a really easy pass with the way he played it.

Next play they used motion again. Malek stayed outside when the field receiver went in motion. It’s zone. They run the ball up-the-middle and get three. Love the design that the Virginia coaches came up with to start this game. Making things simple. Identifying weakness on the defense. Mixing up the protection and formations. Using motion to know what we are in early and have a plan with the ball. Not pictured.

Next play is a really excellent play design. You see the H-back standing in the 2nd & 7 box, they motioned him across the formation to block down on Thomas. Look at how the H-back has stopped to block him, but the RB is still running outside of the H-back. That’s because the RB knows the H-back is going to release Thomas to the inside, almost like a screen. The RB keeps running outside and then hits Thomas, who has given up the edge and the QB can get outside. They roll the QB out to his right side and hit the slot WR on a little underneath route. McCloud completely overruns the play and lets the WR back inside of him for a TD. This rollout play is really cool in design, and execution. It should’ve only gone for five yards if McCloud plays it correctly, but I love how they orchestrated everything. They’re taking our edge and double-blocking them with non-OL and leaving the OL able to double team our interior pass rushers. Look at this middle still though, there is no way they should’ve scored on that play. It’s not just on McCloud there.

We run the inside zone on first down and Gauthier loses his block to the DT and it goes for two. Not pictured.

We run inside zone on second down and they stunt their DT and DE. We actually do pass it off as we should, but Darling loses his block to that same DT from the previous play and we get stuffed. Donaldson is supposed to help Gauthier wall off the interior player, but the stunt throws it off and Gauthier is immediately pushed into the backfield, which prevents Donaldson from getting a base to have power. That disrupts everything into the backfield and Homer is sunk. Not pictured.

On third down the OL holds up perfectly, Rosier throws a perfect pass to Richards, who gets the CB to open up his hips and runs the stop route. Excellent to see Richards be on-time and create such separation. Not pictured.

First down we run the inside zone again and St. Louis loses his man immediately. Instead of engaging, the DE sees it as an inside zone and jumps inside. St. Louis just moves to the second level and the DE is standing in the hole and tackles Homer for nothing. You see the Virginia player standing there in the hole? Now imagine St. Louis actually winning that block. It’s a huge run. Gauthier has the second-level defender, Donaldson did a great job moving his guy out of the hole. One guy getting beat ruins a play.

Second down we run a route design I’m not a fan of. We had no one threatening the middle of the field at all. All three of their LB’s just stood in the middle of the field and didn’t have anyone to cover. They just stared at Rosier. We throw the out to Berrios, who is well covered and it’s third down. Not pictured.

On third down it’s good coverage and a bad location. The receiver isn’t open, but this ball has to be low and away from the defender so the receiver can go down and either catch it, or nobody does. This ball is intercepted.

First down is an inside dive. Chad Thomas and Jaquan make the tackle after one. Not pictured.

There were a lot of problems in this game, but one of the biggest was the tackling early in the game. Here, Redwine is exactly where he needs to be and this should be a minimal gain or even a loss. Instead, the runner shakes Redwine and this goes for five. 3rd and 3 is so much easier to pick up than 3rd and 10. These plays add up when you’re talking about games that can be decided on a handful of plays.

On that third and 3 they have this play picked up right at the alignment. Benkert knows that the corner is not sinking to the flat because of where Redwine is lined up. They wouldn’t run a coverage that Redwine has to get all the way to the sideline on that receiver and McCloud has to get deep down the seam from where he’s lined up. Because of this, Benkert knows he has an easy out route for the first down. It’s a tough spot to put McCloud in because he can’t just start sprinting out there at the snap in case it is a slant, which he is lined up to take away here. We dropped Chad out to the other side in a zone blitz and sent Shaq here. Just run nickel and put a corner out there.

Virginia actually fumbles this ball on their own. McCloud cleans up after Redwine misses the tackle and the runner fumbles trying to cradle the ball. The completion was more on Redwine in my mind then he missed another tackle. Not pictured.

On our first down we kept seven blockers in to protect against five Virginia rushers. We sent three receivers out into patterns, with one being Richards down the sideline to the short side of the field. Rosier throws a nice back-shoulder fade and Richards makes a nice catch after running a stop-and-go down the sideline. Not pictured.

Next play we run an out route to Berrios, who is wide open, but Rosier skips the ball in. It wouldn’t have mattered because Homer went low on the DE when McDermott was engaged with him. It was a penalty, and it’s a drive killer. Not pictured.

Virginia did a really good job of disrupting our normal running plays. On this play, we read the DE, like we normally do. The problem is that Virginia twisted their DE and DT. Since we are designed not to block the DE already, he goes free inside. Rosier reads him as going inside, which he did, so it’s hard to fault him too much. The DT stunts outside the DE who crashed inside and is standing there in the hole. This means that a 7-man box for Virginia essentially only had to go against six blockers because Donaldson doesn’t block anyone as the two players stunted around him, St. Louis is kicking out the far-side LB, and Gauthier doesn’t block anyone either. In reality, this should’ve been a give, as if Herndon gets that pin-down block on the edge and Darling gets to the second-level, look at the space Homer has here.

We burn a timeout on 2nd and 20. Then Donaldson gets away with a false start. Virginia runs the same DT-DE stunt again, and the DT loops right around the RT untouched. The OL has to communicate here and Donaldson has to take the DE and St. Louis has to recognize the stunt and take the DT here. Rosier escapes and throws it away. Big play because we wanted to pick-up 10 yards here to get in FG range and make third down possible.

The third down play is the big miss to Berrios down the middle. In reality, we got away with a huge hold by Gauthier. Not sure how they didn’t call that on us, but it would’ve been inconsequential since we missed the throw anyway. Rosier didn’t just miss it, he missed it badly from a clean pocket with time to set his feet.

On first down, you can see we aren’t running ou X-stunt with near the effectiveness that they’re running theirs. Bethel is running into the side of Norton here and essentially blocking him. Pinckney and Shaq are gunshy on attacking the run because of the success they’ve had throwing it, but I’d like to see Pinckney fire his gun a lot quicker here. Pinckney actually gets run over and it’s a gain of five, but this could’ve been worse with two lead blockers.

Their LG jumps on the next play to give the yards back. Not sure how this isn’t a hold on Trent on the edge. You can see McCloud is already beaten here. McCloud steps well forward at the snap and actually crosses the LOS. I have no idea why. This isn’t a play action pass, the RB simply stands up, runs the flat route, and McCloud jumps something. Then he takes a very bad angle to the runner. After jumping something he runs backwards and really just plays it very poorly.

On third down, a pretty funny moment, where Jaquan comes up and moves the official out of his line-of-sight before the snap. The third down play, Trent plays it perfectly. He actually hits the RB as he’s releasing out of the backfield instead of letting him have a free release. You can see that Shaq has a free rush at the QB since the RB released. McCloud is responsible for this RB. You can see him backpedaling right by the Virginia graphic at the first down line. He just keeps backpedaling and the RB runs right to where he leaves and picks up an easy first down. If McCloud just steps up and takes the checkdown, they are punting right here. Really bad play here by 53.

Here is an example of our alignment in the first half, especially to Chad’s side. He is lined up head-up with the RT, basically. Virginia is doing a great job of moving the split H-back onto the outside shoulder of Thomas and rolling off of that action. Benkert is able to easily get outside of the contain of the defense because of the alignment. Malek took the cheese on the out-and-up here in single-high. Redwine is crashing down to take the slot (way too hard and too shallow). Michael Jackson is on the other side of the field at the 30 and runs all the way to the other side and catches him at the 10, but the runner cuts back and he misses the tackle. Great hustle, just need to get him down next time. Young got beat. Redwine made a bad play as well. You’re the S in single-high you can’t let anyone behind you.

Here’s the onsides kick. They call #2 for blocking before 10 yards and he did. Twitter fury needs to just calm down on this one. Regardless of if they actually recovered or not, they blocked within 10 yards, which is reviewable. Mayweather then just out-muscles Virginia for the ball and pulls this into his chest. Not really sure how there’s any debate that this was Miami’s ball any way you slice it up. Langham even has his hands on top of the ball.
Note: The picture of Mayweather pulling the ball in didn't load.

Their corner blitz works perfectly on first down. Dallas doesn’t see it, Rosier is looking to his right and gets blindsided. Need a little better awareness, Deejay.

Rosier has this ball if he throws it out front. He under throws it though and Thomas makes a great adjustment to catch the ball. Truthfully, the ball probably hit the ground, but Miami got on the ball quickly and made the next play.

On the inside dive play, Donaldson loses his block at the second level and Homer only gets two. Second down we try to run a little wheel route with Berrios and it’s open if Rosier puts a touch more air under it. It gets tipped away by the S on a nice play. Not pictured.

Third down they spied Rosier because of his success running in the red zone. We throw an outside fade to Richards who really just looks like poetry on the field. This is a beautiful catch. Perfect throw. TD.

We kick the ball out-of-bounds. First down inside zone is read by Shaq, who makes a nice shoe-string tackle for a gain of one. Not pictured.

Second down, Virginia just makes a nice playcall here. We blitzed Pinckney to the short side of the field, they slip the TE behind it and the RB steps up and blocks Pinckney on the roll to that side. Easy catch. Luckily the TE just falls down or it’s an easy first down.

Third and 3 and I’d really like to see us up on the receivers a bit more. We even bail out of this alignment and it’s a pretty easy throw for a QB with a good arm. The receiver just runs up to the first down and stops. Notice #5 is wide-open as well for the first down. Throwing to 5 is a riskier throw because Shaq could bat it down.

We call a run blitz on first down and it’s a perfect call. Shaq gets inside the C and into the backfield before the handoff. Loss of four. Chad is being held badly at the top of the screen. The RT even whipped him around after this screen shot.

We’ve already started to widen our splits on Chad’s side (Benkert likes to roll right). This allows the DE to get upfield better and attack before the H-back can wall him inside. You can see with the wider split he gets outside the RT and past the H-back before he can turn him. The QB had an open man outside if he had time to set his feet. He throws it away.

We stunt up front, they check it down on 3rd and 13 and we stop them short. Punt time. Not pictured.

On first down we come out in a formation that we have run for the majority of the game. We line Herndon up off the hip of the strong-side of the formation. Three receivers. Homer to the side of Rosier. I haven’t seen any empty sets thus far, and very few four receiver sets. We run the jet sweep counter running play and it would’ve worked, but St. Louis lost immediately to 99. If St. Louis has an extra half step turn towards Herndon, they get this combo block and it’s a huge hole off the left side towards the top of the screen. Instead 99 shuts it down by clogging the hole and allowing the LB’s to get there quickly.

We run the jet sweep motion and then Herndon follows on the counter across the formation as Rosier rolls out with him. Virginia is not fooled at all. They run right with Herndon (smartly) and then the unblocked (purposefully) edge player comes right at Rosier. He makes him miss, then hits Harley for an acrobatic play by QB and WR. Our receivers are some athletes.

Next play is a running play on inside zone. Donaldson loses his block immediately, then Herndon is asked to block a huge DE, which is a bit much to ask. Virginia has really clogged up the running lanes with strength and toughness rather than quickness or speed. Not pictured.

Second down and St. Louis is beat off the edge immediately, Rosier has to pull the ball down and scramble to get what he can. We ran a bunch of shallow flood route concepts and nothing was open. Not pictured.

Third down highlights some of our troubles on third and short. We bring in Parrot and go four-wide. Richards catches this ball coming across the LOS, but instead of cutting upfield and trying to power for the first down (which I think he gets), he tries to dance right here. He already could’ve been going upfield, but tries to cut back behind Darling. Yes, Darling was supposed to get there a step sooner, but that’s a tough ask for him. Third and short, get upfield! If they fake this throw to Richards and then spin and throw it backside to Parrot or Homer, preferably, it’ll work. 53 made a great read on this play and is running to the route before Rosier throws it.

On the punt, they muff the punt and Homer gets down there and recovers the ball. He is such a great punt gunner. He will play in the NFL, if not at RB, definitely as a gunner on special teams. Not pictured.

First play after the fumbled punt we hit Dayall Harris down the seam. It’s a perfect throw, over the outstretch arms of the S and into Harris. TD.

Virginia really had a great game plan to attack our weak links at LB. I didn’t really realize it watching the game live, but that appears to have been what the coaches planned to do if we were in base formations against their heavy packages of TE’s, H-backs, and RB’s. They put them in space and uncomfortable positions time and time again in the first half. Here, you see they sent the H-back straight up the seam, which held Owens to the weak-side. If he attacks the flats, the H-back is open right behind him. If he stays back, the RB is uncovered in the flats. Owens correctly picks to stay back on the deeper route, but the wheel route is wide-open. Seven yards on first down is going to mean an eventual first down on over 80% of possessions. They called a very chintzy roughing the passer penalty anyway, but the first down play set them up either way.

Next play, they have a cool play design, where they motion their H-back along the LOS just before the snap, and he is essentially a lead blocker on a sweep with momentum. They also had split backs by the QB, so they had an extra blocker to come behind the H-back as well. McCloud overruns the play. You can see him hitting the blocker behind Jackson here. Jackson has the edge. Delaney has the sideline. McCloud is supposed to hit this gap right here and make this tackle for a loss. Instead, Mike Smith gets there along with Delaney. Bad McCloud.

Second down, we have Carter playing SAM. All backup LB’s in here. They run trips to the bottom of the screen. Whew, asking Mike Smith to get all the way over to the flat to cover #4 here is a tough ask. We dropped Delaney out in bail and that left this wide-open for Virginia. Perfect play call against what we were doing defensively. My guess is they expected slants here and the outside receiver to go upfield. We are playing zone with our LB’s here. He also has the slant to the top of the screen open if he looks back. Smith is reading the QB’s eyes, which is why he’s going that direction now. If Benkert stares the other way, Smith would be going that way, but a look-back here and it’s wide open. Maybe for a TD if it’s a good throw. Virginia just beat us on this play, but it’s only five thanks to the checkdown.

You tell me if McIntosh is held here. Look at his jersey being ripped apart here. He eats it up and it’s a loss, but you have to call this. McIntosh is a star.

Running plays start at the point of attack. Which line can establish and gain turf immediately. Why did we struggle consistently against Virginia running the ball? Because their line overwhelmed our line physically. Look at McDermott pushed three yards into the backfield on this play. Do you see how Dallas is having to widen his arc towards his own goal line to get moving into the play. If McDermott is two yards further upfield, this play has a chance to get big yards. Goes for six anyway. Look at Herndon controlling 53 on the edge.

Here it is again, as Virginia is consistently on our side of the LOS. This ball is supposed to go off tackle, but Dallas has to bounce it and Herndon seals the edge again. Dallas gets another seven here as he gets the edge. Great job by Richards here as well pinning that corner out of the play. Hopefully either Polendey or George are ready to take over this role next year, because we will need a movable piece that can block on the edge.

Rosier scrambles on first down for a gain of five. Not pictured.

Second down, the ball is a bit behind Harris, but he has to catch this ball and move the chains. He’s a possession guy out of the slot normally, and being a reliable pass catcher is necessary for that role. Dionte Mullins really missed his chance to fill this role.

On third down, Virginia really crowded Berrios to Rosier’s right. As Rosier likes to roll and make this throw on money downs. The defender bails out and we run a rub route, as the outside receiver goes up the seam and Berrios cuts underneath it. He’s wide open for the first down. Herndon again controls their best defensive player on the edge.

Virginia had success doing a couple of things on defense. They really had success running that inside stunt to Donaldson’s side. We just do not pass that off well at all on that side. Donaldson has to pass this off and St. Louis has to take the outside guy while Donaldson slides down. The other is being physical with our receivers on the outside. You can see the defender has his hands all over Langham here, which disrupts Langham from getting his head around in time and he drops the ball. Langham was immediately pulled after this play for Cager.

We love double slants with three receivers to the far side. Herndon closest to Rosier and Berrios behind it. Rosier takes Berrios, who makes the catch for five. If Langham keeps them on schedule on first down, this is probably a first down here. Not pictured.

Every play on the edges Virginia is grabbing and holding. They didn’t get called for this once, so it was a smart strategy. Here the boundary defender has two hands pulling on Cager’s jersey. It disrupts the timing of the play and Cager can’t make the catch on a low throw. I don’t know why Herndon didn’t get a look when Rosier sees that tight coverage outside because he is wide open over the middle for a first down if Rosier gets to his next read here. The reads go Cager, Herndon, Berrios, Harley on this play. Punt.

First down they run power with a pulling RG off-LT. McCloud crashes down as he should but gets doublt teamed by the H-back and the RB. Shaq gets caught up in trash and is late to see the hole. The puller eats him up. Delaney has to come behind him and make the tackle after a gain of 7. That H-back, split RB’s look is eating up our LB’s right now. Not pictured.

Here is what Virginia is doing to us. Look at the confusion we have. McIntosh is the edge player here, but he thinks 1 has the ball. Delaney is doing a great job of calling out the potential for reverse action to #2 . Then Delaney has to race all the way across the field and make the tackle because the only one who saw where the ball was and where it was going. Harris has to get straight upfield here. He has to recognize that the motion could come back this way, but he gets caught with #1 . McCloud on this one gets fooled badly and loses his contain. He’s the reason this play works so well. That motion is there to hold the backside defender and the time they actually give the ball to the motion the backside defender doesn’t stay where he’s supposed to be! By the time the ball is pitched here, McCloud is actually inside of where the QB is at on the field. Not good.

Virginia then gets a false start and then has to burn a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty. On that play, Virginia runs a really cool play design. They take their slot receiver from the boundary and motion him as if he is going to go all the way to the other slot. After he gets five yards past the QB and they snap the ball, he turns and runs back to the QB, who gives it on a counter run. There are gaping holes in the Canes defense. McCloud is stretched on this play, as he is forced to stay out wide because the QB could just run if he doesn’t, but when the RB runs back to the QB he is responsible for two gaps at once. He takes a poor angle, the RB gets through the hole and past him and Jaquan makes another saving tackle. If McCloud takes the correct angle it’s a four-yard run, instead they get nine. Not pictured.

False start on second down. On this play, Chad goes for the pump fake and jumps. That exposes his chest and the RB gets him out of the hole. Trent goes wide, which opens up a running lane, but another play where this looks like a giant hold to me. Are you allowed to wrap your entire arm around the neck of the defender and ride him? This scramble goes for seven.

We blitz both Jaquan and Carter (again playing LB) on 3rd down off the right side. Neither get close to the QB. Shaq is supposed to sink on this play to take away the slant. Because the QB has so much time, he is able to wait for the skinny post to clear behind Shaq, as he keeps drifting too far, truthfully. The ball is delivered perfectly and it’s a big play. Jackson plays this the way he is supposed to, as he has to remain in off coverage with a LB underneath him, this is essentially over-under coverage.

The big TD pass is just a nutty throw. He is running to his left, which they haven’t done all game, really. He doesn’t set his feet, just throws it all arm.

Kickoff is a touchback. First play and McDermott oversets to the outside. The defender makes a beautiful spin move and McDermott barely touches him. Sack. Next play we false start to bring up 2nd and 22.

Next play we roll Rosier to the right, nothing is open, he sees Homer release to his left, Homer kind of stops on the route, but he was double-covered anyway. Rosier scrambles on third down and we have to punt. Not pictured.

I’ve mentioned several times that D Jax was on our punt protection team and that Chad Thomas has replaced him. The problem here is Herndon though. They send only one guy after the punt as they have a return on. No clue what Herndon is doing here other than he simply relaxed and took it for granted that no one was coming hard. Feagles took a long time to get it off and it’s blocked. Bad.
Note: The photo didn't load, but it's a picture of Herndon barely moving towards a free rusher.

More bad tackling as Chad Thomas swims inside and is in the backfield to make a big loss. He doesn’t finish the play and the RB gets away. Shaq kind of lets up and he gets by him as well. These are hidden yards that we cannot afford to continue to leave out there. He gets four yards from where he is stopped here.

I mean. Are you kidding me Benkert? Sprinting to the right, sees a RB release and he just heaves it and throws a dime from this platform. Yes, when he broke the pocket Delaney stepped up when he shouldn’t have, but this is a wonderful throw. Look at when he releases it in the second still.

The kickoff return is excellent as Thomas gets skinny in the hole, absorbs the hit, bounces off a tackler and gets out past the 35. Deejay Dallas actually didn’t block anyone, but Thomas gets through the hole anyway. Polendey had a nice block on the edge on this play. Nice work, young man.

First down and Rosier has to make this throw. Harley is wide-open, Malik. No pressure, clean pocket and he dirts it.

We get five on outside zone on second down. Tough run by Homer. Not pictured.

Rosier takes off and really nice instincts as a runner. Look at how he waits for Herndon to get in position and then cuts right behind him to pick up 25 yards on this play. This was an underrated huge play by our QB. Punt this ball right back to Virginia after a three-and-out and who knows what happens. Instead we go on to score. Homer hustles and gets this block on #1 3 as well. Nice work, Travis.

Rosier gets away with one here. He doesn’t know the coverage and doesn’t see the defender passing off the receiver and coming underneath the boundary here. Should’ve been picked but the defender was clumsy and didn’t get around in time.

We run outside zone and get nothing. Every Virginia defender on the DL was on our side of the LOS. Total whopping there. Not pictured.

What a catch Berrios. They had this play defended, but the LB isn’t used to having to get around and find the ball in the air.

Cager makes a great TD catch on the next play on a back-shoulder fade. The defender is literally ripping the jersey off his shoulder pads and no flag was thrown. Unreal. Not pictured.

The biggest play of the game is right here. I saw another poster say we played Cover-1 robber, but we played cover-3 with a robber. Jaquan just reads where the QB goes with the ball (which is what a robber is doing).

First down is a nice run for 9 around the edge. Benkert breaks contain to his right on second down and gets the first down. Not pictured.

Here is Miami lined up in the wide-9, with Pinckney up close to the LOS on that side to prevent Benkert from rolling to that side undeterred. Look at the split between J Jackson and the DT. Harris is a full step outside the RT’s shoulder here. Harris and Pinckney both go straight upfield on this play and tackle the runner in the backfield.
Note:This is an alignment shot of us lining up wide of the RT with the LB up on the line next to him.

Another dime throw here. Benkert played just absolutely awesome in this game. As you can see, we dropped Chad Thomas into zone coverage and he just cannot stay with a RB this long. Jaquan hit him hard, but he bounced off. Gotta wrap up fellas. Bethel had a really poor effort on the edge of this play, not shown.

Next play Benkert scrambles to the other side and hits the RB. Wilder shows his speed and closes quickly. Then M Jackson has good coverage on the next play and it’s incomplete finally. Not pictured.

Third down, they have it. Young gets beat inside, when he really has to be more physical like Virginia has done all game and gotten away with it. A big drop here.

This looks bad, but the receiver was stumbling before this and it’s really just Bandy putting that arm there for balance. I know it’s been called many times before, but at least the officials were consistent in letting them play in the secondary. It’s a big non-call though. This is actually the back of Bandy's hand, rather than his palm pushing against the receiver. I don't think it's pass interference after looking at it several times.

First down is an inside zone give for two. Not pictured.

I’d like to see this more often. Let Herndon work over the middle against zone coverage. He will beat this over-and-over.

Dallas hasn’t played RB very long, but he is a natural on those zone runs. He has such great feet and excellent vision. I really like him on that plays. Gets five. Not pictured.

The bubble is open to both side for a first down. Run. This. More.

Why, Malik. Look at the other side where they are way off the receivers. This should’ve been a pick-6. Not only that, he’s throwing to the short side of the field here. If Clemson is aggressive against this play like Virginia was here, we really need to run the pump-and-go if we get this look.

Bad throw. Bad read. Just not good, Malik. Floated the ball, didn’t have any separation. Pre-determined where he was going with the ball here. That said, Thomas, help your QB out here. Fight for this ball. Interfere with him if you have to, but don’t just give this away with such passivity.

McIntosh creates initial contact, then loops around the edge to sack Benkert who didn’t see him through all the mess. Stud and backs them up to the 2-yard line. Next play McIntosh beats his man and makes a tackle for loss. Star player. Dive on third down goes nowhere. McIntosh owned this series. Not pictured.

Terrible punt goes out at the 35-yard line. I just cannot emphasize enough how much of an impact McIntosh had on that whole series. He backed them up. Kept them backed up. Created a punting situation from their own end zone, which caused them to get sped up and make a mistake. Not pictured.

Outside zone and Homer only gets four, but he broke about three tackles to get there. Not pictured.

Second down and McDermott gets walked right back to the QB with a bull rush. Rosier tries to run, but there is no hole with McDermott clogging it up. Sack.

Homer breaks several tackles on third and 9, but only gets 8. We decide to kick the FG on 4th-and-1. Not pictured.

Look at where Chad Thomas is on this first down. This is exactly the adjustment we made to take away that rollout pass to Benkert’s right. We’ve also shaded Pinckney to that side to allow more penetration if they roll that direction. Smart adjustment by Diaz.

They tried to pull on 3rd-and-1 and it just won’t work against McIntosh. Look at him blow this play completely up and force another punt. Jaquan is great, but McIntosh is Neo.

What. Are. You. Doing. He takes an angle straight at the punter here. You’re either supposed to fly-by and put your arms out, or you’re supposed to go parallel here and take the ball off the punters foot. This is just bad.

First down they throw a checkdown to the RB for a gain of two. Not pictured.

On this play, I’d love to see Carter read this and jump that outside throw. Mike Smith is telling Quarterman to take the inside receiver, Smith can take #4 , that leaves Carter free to jump that long throw. It’s completed for a first down though.

They challenged Jackson deep on the next play and it had no chance. We sack them on second down but we take the personal foul penalty and back them up 15 yards. Not pictured.

They run a fllod route out of a bunch set and the underneath guy comes open on a timing route but it’s for only five as Bandy makes a nice tackle. 3rd and 20 we play coverage, force the checkdown, come up and make the tackle. Another punt on the drive. That punt was bad because they fair caught it at the 5 and Jeff Thomas and Jaquan were on the field at the same time, for two #4 ’s. Not pictured.

Inside zone gets one-yard on first down. Dayall Harris makes a catch on a ball thrown away from the receiver. He gets tackled a half-yard short of the first down. This is a big play because of how poorly we convert third and short. Not pictured.

Donaldson gets put on his knees by #91 , Parrot is actually blocking Gauthier’s butt here. Donaldson steps on his foot, but it’s still pretty bad. Parrot is supposed to get through this hole and block #5 3. He doesn’t get there, of course, and they tackle Homer in the backfield. If Parrot gets that block, maybe Homer sneaks through for the first down, but Donaldson getting blown up really hurt this play. Gauthier was driven straight back into the backfield as well. A game-long problem continues.

Excellent punt, and who else but Homer gets down there and forces the fair catch. Not pictured.

You see this consistently with McCloud. Everyone else is moving here. The QB already has the ball and McCloud is flat footed. They roll his way and hit the slot WR that McCloud is supposed to sink into that zone. Then McCloud misses the tackle and the WR gets a first down. McCloud will beg to burn this film along with the interior of the OL.

This is a huge play by Jaquan here. Look to the top of your screen. If Jaquan doesn’t beat this RB standing right there waiting on him, they have three receivers and only two defenders at the top. Rewine is playing single-high deep behind the screen here, so McCloud will sink down on the middle receiver and Bandy will stay outside, but it’ll be open. Notice Malek has been benched on this drive for Bandy outside. Jaquan gets the sack though. He’s right beside Pinckney, who is getting blocked by the G.

What is McCloud doing here? He needs to be on this side of the hash marks here. Instead, he overruns the play badly and gives up the inside. The only place he doesn’t have reinforcements. McCloud has just had a really tough day.

They try to attack the edge on Redwine on third down and the pass is high. Not pictured.

On 4th down it is Joe Jackson’s turn to make a huge play. They wanted to attack Bandy down at the bottom of the screen, and he’s open if Jackson isn’t shoving the LT into the lap of the QB. They tried to block Trent Harris with a RB and that means the ball has to come out quick. Benkert has to throw this ball here. He has to know he can’t ask his RB to block a DE for long. He tries to escape to that side and Harris brings him down. The play is made by Joe Jackson though.

Homer finally gets the edge on 1st down for a gain of eight. Not pictured.

Homer turns this run into a gain down to the two-yard line. Alright then. Another situation where the pundits expect us to run out the clock, but we go quickly with tempo. Rosier scores a TD on third down scramble. Ball game.

Homer scores another late TD to make the score bigger, but make no mistake. This was a complete battle. One that we were definitely the better team, but Virginia really had a better gameplan than we did. McCloud was consistently and routinely put in a position where he had to make a play and he couldn’t do it. They put him in space and asked to cover and tackle. They dominated the 1-on-1 battles inside on the DL. They pushed the LOS backwards, as we consistently struggled with their power. They got aggressive and physical on the edges and got away with it the whole game.

They held consistently. I didn’t them all out in this recap, because truthfully, 90 stills is the most I’ve done in one of these to date, and I didn’t want to add 5-10 more stills of Chad Thomas or our edge players getting held completely.

Benkert played as good of a game as I can remember a QB playing against us in several years. He played smart. He played aggressive. He attacked us deep and made our corners find the ball in the air. He especially attacked Malek and asked him to find the ball in the air, an area that he has struggled with all year. Virginia had the personnel to execute their gameplan. They had the S duo to really use them in preventing the deep shots and make plays on the ball. They had the physically strong players to dominate the LOS. They had the offensive scheme to stretch our defense and stress them in areas most do not. The H-back/split back combination gave us problems all game. We had to completely change our alignment to stop their rollout. Major props to Bronco and staff for working tirelessly to come up with something that worked perfectly. Not many will have the parts to pull that off against us- namely a QB playing like Tom Brady.

Comments (58)

Clemson has everything you stated they won 1 on 1 battles with, the question will be can Kelly Bryant play like Benkhart
Perfect game plan by the hoo’s staff! In rewatching the game Benkhart made many perfect throws.

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Clemson has everything you stated they won 1 on 1 battles with, the question will be can Kelly Bryant play like Benkhart

Not a chance.

UVA had everything you needed to beat us, and they didn't.

These guys are human-- two super intense weeks and all we let up was one bad half of football and a meh gameplan.
Thanks for this every week [MENTION=5374]HurricaneVision[/MENTION].
Thanks for the Cane insight.

You verified a lot of my general impressions from watching the game.

I dig it.
Vision, I give UVA credit for hitting some plays and identifying some matchups that favored them. But we did blitz them 30-0 when they took a 28-14 lead. I was anticipating an emotional letdown which was evident for a half of football. I really credit UM for fighting for their season. While UVA outplayed UM in the 1st half, we took it to them in the 2nd half by keeping Bekert in the pocket, amping up the pass rush and tightening up the coverage. We were consistently losing contain on Bekert in the first half.

McCloud really struggled again. This kid is really struggling in space. I'm getting more comfortable with Carter playing a bandit/robber role with this defense because of Zach's struggles. OC's are going to attack McCloud with a vengence moving forward. Malik has to eliminate the handful of bad plays he makes each game. He missed badly on some easy throws but he is ultra competitive and his feet have been the big difference the last 4 games. Gottab be locked in for this stretch of championship ball.
It is apparent that Rosier has gotten away with A LOT of mistakes this year. He's our guy and I'm thrilled he's our QB with how he's played in the biggest moments, but good grief it was hard to read the middle part of that write up.
Thank You once again for all of this hard work you did for all of us. Amazing Job!
Diaz has no business playing base D against more than 2 WRs. McCloud has been terrible in coverage and I'm one who doesn't jump on players. It's like he's out there guessing instead of just saying, I'll do my job. Making bone head plays like roughing the punter when we were about to get the ball back at midfield. Ridiculousness. Put guys like Owens in there who know what they're doing and let Zach figure what's going on. This is late in the season he should not be messing up so much. I don't get it.

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So basically the defensive review is UVa having a competent offensive coordinator and abusing McCloud as a way to get up the field. Makes sense.. This is why I've been saying we need to recruit fast agile LBs because slow LBs like McCloud who are stiff will look like a deer in headlights when offenses actually attack him and he has to make plays in space. Boy is garbosh.

Also McCloud needs to be benched. Your giving the kid a false sense of job security and basically telling him this horrid play is okay. That is NOT okay. Your suppose to bench him until he is actual improves his play in practice and in limited snaps. I don't wanna see what happens when Dabo get a hold of this film and we tout McCloud out there as if Clemson is not gonna attack him relentlessly. Some of these plays from McCloud I didn't even notice till this thread but he plays like this EVERY GAME.

Again, Rosier doesn't have a touch pass in his ****nal and struggles to drop passes over LB. He continues to under throw deep balls. Continues to throw behind WRs on slants and crossing routes. Just 0 improvement in his accuracy 10 games in. His accuracy is never going to get better at this point. You could easily defend Rosier playing Tampa-2 coverage the whole game.
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This game shouldn't have been close in my mind. Manny got outcoached for the first time in awhile. (shouldn't be shocking - Bronco worked him over at Texas too)

I'm so sick of watching McCloud try to cover while Bandy watches from sideline.
that zach had a really awful game was evident even watching live but people saying he needs to be benched also need to remember that he had prob the best game of the LBs vs ND and was good against VT too. it's been a weird and not great year for him (and i think they should have been pulled him earlier in this game) but our defense is at it's best when he's playing well & so i think he needs to be out there.
we scored three times in the red zone in this game which was encouraging, though for as good as UVA's coaches were in that game, they also screwed up considerably imo by packing the box when we got inside the 10 and leaving their corners 1-on-1 vs our WRs. maybe they saw how bad we looked throwing back shoulder vs ND but we've been one of the worst teams in FBS trying to run on short yardage this year & their DL was whipping our o line. i have no idea why they just let ahmmon and cager post up on those TDs with no help. their CBs can't handle that.

also we really played with fire there at the end of the game when we were up 3 and had the ball inside the 5. rookie mistake by deejay running backwards and losing 5-6 yards on first down, then a bubble screen to langham from the slot outside the 10 yard line which is a play call i don't get at all. we really got bailed out by another pretty impressive scramble by malik or else we would have been giving the ball back to benkert up only 6, which would have been a little scary considering how well he played.
Not sure why, with Cager, Langham, and Richards, they're not throwing more jump balls and back shoulder throws when they get close in the redzone, like they did earlier in the game.