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From the Perch: VT

From the Perch: VT

Roman Marciante
The Miami Hurricanes are finally back in the win column with an impressive 38-14 win vs Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. N'Kosi Perry was a steadfast 21-34 with 171 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. How did the offense stack up this week after averaging only 15 points the past four games? Was anything different? Great questions my friends. Let's go to the Perch to find out.

We talked about diversification in the screen game and how it needed to be addressed. Unfortunately Brevin Jordan was hurt on a tight end screen early in the game but at least note the attempt. Here you will see a slight wrinkle to the screen game. Miami has had an over propensity to run a switch concept on third and long and that is exactly what they do.

VT is rushing 3 and playing man behind it. Note Will Mallory's block on the play. He targets the mike and this design and intent is what springs Homer for the big gain. The twins run and sell the switch route and this was one of the better designed plays of the game and screens of the year.


The over reliance on that switch play is back again this week. This same play was ran three times in the final 95 yard drive vs. Georgia Tech. Now this was the second time it was run alone on the opening drive this week. (The first attempt was a first down due to a penalty) Diversity aside, this shows you Perry's ability and should put some doubts to bed.

First, Perry stands tall in the pocket and takes an absolute shot. Homer fails to identify the linebacker switch and the linebacker runs free through the B gap. So in essence Perry proves his fortitude and willingness to take a shot. Second, the velocity and tight window throw are exquisite here. The window is so small but Perry capitalizes and this is easily the best ball of the day.


Here is 11 set personnel and Perry not recognizing the blitz properly. Although subtle, the boundary CB has his "eyes on the prize" and shaded inside technique. That ominous linebacker lean also could be showing blitz. Then the post snap linebacker racing opposite flat needs to be keyed on. The LB is covering what was left. Ultimately if Perry and Miami identify the blitz from the boundary Mallory is wide open early and that is exactly where this ball needed to go.


And wouldn't you know it, that is exactly what Perry does here. VT with almost the identical blitz from before and this time Miami burns it. Perry trusts his eyes as he opens center. He catches the LB racing flat and progresses his read over to Mallory who is open in the flat. If Miami insists on keeping tight spacing with the Z receiver then you need to anticipate this blitz. Good job adjusting by the freshman QB.


3rd and 17 and Miami will run all verticals. ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky mentioned how Perry was gun shy on this concept vs Duke after throwing an interception on the same vertical concept and subsequently benched vs Virginia. You see it again here. Perry drops his eyes a bit early and is hesitant. Mallory is actually wide open down the middle of the field.

Perry was throwing this concept with greater authority earlier in the year and this is a confidence issue in my opinion. Perry needs to trust his eyes and the picture. He is more than capable of making this throw. Although I am not a fan of the over reliant use of verticals and switches on third and long, this one was on Perry.

https://twitter.com/romancane/status/1064132567534833665

I want to highlight something simple but something profound with this offense. When you throw more bubbles and you run more QB keeps it opens things up. It really does. We are going to take a three part process which will end with a touchdown. First will be a bubble screen to Jeff Thomas. He is really good by the way. The velocity to get him the ball and WR blocking set this up.

https://twitter.com/romancane/status/1064142273519198208

Second, Perry keeps the ball correctly when the defensive line pinches the HB IZ. But note the subtle false step of the safety who is respecting the bubble screen. This is horizontally pressuring the defense. Some teams do it with wide receiver splits but the bubble action is accomplishing the same premise. Good pick up by Perry who would score on the next play via a QB dive.

https://twitter.com/romancane/status/1064145638403780608

And lastly, this touchdown is set up by two things. VT respecting the horizontal pressure of the bubble and the running ability of Perry. When you see the VT defender take two steps with the bubble and two defenders go with Perry then you magically create space. Just my opinion here but Cam Davis runs this play better than anyone on this roster right now. He hits the hole with conviction and abandon and it's a touchdown.

https://twitter.com/romancane/status/1064150144801755137

Miami seemed to have issues setting their protections right and this is an example. VT sends 5 Miami should have 5 into block when Homer released early into the flat. That ominous linebacker lean is present from the field side and that is where the blitz comes from but the boundary has the advantage being the 3 side for me.

I initially called this all verticals with an option (wishful thinking) but this is a smash concept to the boundary. One thing I preferably do not like is how the one VT defender was able to leverage both the HB flat and the out route. (bad design) If you insist on running the HB underneath the Smash concept, I would rather see the angle route or a seam. An HB angle route underneath this particular play would have been devastating.

https://twitter.com/romancane/status/1064152289252904961

Here is another protection issue. Miami anticipates the blitz from its right. Miami sets and slides its protection to the right. The problem was the blitz comes from the left and Gauthier blocks absolutely no one. However I just wanted to show a clip of a Deejay Dallas committing football murder and KILLING someone. As far as the QB is concerned he had no chance.

https://twitter.com/romancane/status/1064140039301545985

And lastly we will end on old reliable along the goal line. A fade ball. At least it is a big tall guy catching them this year. Perfect rhythm and ball placement by the QB. Ball up and out where only your wide receiver can make one hell of a catch on.

https://twitter.com/romancane/status/1064135558631497728

In closing, Kosi gives you the better chance to win. That never changed and it was incredulously inept to think otherwise. Is he perfect? No. Does he miss some reads occasionally? Yes. But Perry is saving his coordinator's ass at times too. When Miami calls the same exact play five out of six times on third and long dating back to last week, those windows tend to get rather small. Perry's first completion on that switch concept was ALL on the quarterback.

Did the offense do well this week because Richt did some new things? Not really. The concepts did not change from within the realm of what Richt normally does. There was a nice variant on a screen pass early on in the game but ultimately the passing touchdowns came on a goal line fade and a boundary slant/wheel combo. Langham needed an acrobatic catch on the fade and VT blatantly miss-read the slant/wheel to Davis.

Did losing the tight ends force Richt to go spread and is that why Miami was successful in the second half? Not really. Richt will run the same 3x1, 2x2 sets with his tight ends out as pass catchers and they are almost interchangeable cogs the way he uses them. What caused the "opening up" of the offense was the fact Miami went back to its bubble screen game a little more. Miami implemented its quarterback keep game a little more. As simple and not sexy as that sounds, just look at the clips and see how it happened. I wish I could tell you it was otherwise.

I will gladly admit that Miami left some points back on the floor of Lane Stadium. A dropped vertical by Wiggins and a slant/wheel to the boundary to Homer. Once again not revolutionary play calls. Nothing different. When Richt says it is about execution, it typically is and he is not lying about that but it isn't the whole truth either.

Moving forward you still need better from this offense. The player's job will always be to make plays but it is the coach's job to put them in better positions to make plays. That will forever be the coaches job. That piece of schematic brilliance on that diversified screen, the one that was different on third down. It was like the only red colored rose in a field of daisies. It was wide open too. Do more of that instead of relying on Perry to thread the needle every third down and you might see a difference.

I fully understand that it is impossible to scheme open every single play and the defense has a job to do too. Sometimes you just need to win the one on one match ups outside and it is mano y mano. But it was never meant to be mano y mano with handcuffs either. Find the balance. That is the goal moving forward with or without Mark Richt calling the plays.

Ultimately Miami did what Miami has done to any defense that comes into the year struggling. They win. VT was 105th nationally in terms of total defense coming into the contest. (FSU is 76th and UNC is 111th) Miami most certainly needed this win. We all needed this win. But I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking it was some grand schematic shift or stroke of revolutionary brilliance that led to the win. VT is just a young and inexperienced team. They played that way. Especially in the second half. That and the fact Perry is much a better quarterback than the guy he beat out.
 

Comments (32)

So Richt can't evaluate players or call plays....sweet
 
Not bad at all actually. Not perfect but still some encouraging things from the kids.
You highlighted it on twitter but on 3rd and short you see that natural cut cam Davis makes that got a first down? I’m not sure homer or deejay does that as they will just run in the pile and get stopped short. (they have done it damn near all year).
 
You highlighted it on twitter but on 3rd and short you see that natural cut cam Davis makes that got a first down? I’m not sure homer or deejay does that as they will just run in the pile and get stopped short. (they have done it damn near all year).

Oh absolutely. I love the way he's running that play. I made the comment he's running that IZ and inside run naturally and more efficiently than anyone on the roster right now.

He deserves the touches. He really does.
 
Great breakdown and analysis Roman, thanks as always mate. It’s abundantly obvious that Perry needs to play out with no more Rosier in the cards. Unless maybe if it’s next week at home against Pitt and we’re up by 24pts late in the 4th quarter with us on the 25yd line from an interception by the defense. Otherwise, I don’t feel Richt is going to do much, if anything at all, differently offensively until perhaps the offseason. I just don’t see him thinking there would be any advantage to doing so, not with a rookie QB. We all are going to have to pray come after the bowl game that news comes out of camp that Jon is moving on to coach QB’s at McNeese Valley State College of the Sisterhood, that Searles is out at OL, and that Richt is stepping down from his OC role and has a short list of candidates to interview for the now vacant OC position. With Jonny Rotten gone plus Searles there’s your extra funds to pay for a top flight OC. Then perhaps demoting Pratke so we can also hire a new ST coach.

Yeah I already know, I’m dreaming but one can hope can they not?
 
Can you explain: What is a switch route?

Absolutely. It is just the style of wide receiver release. They switch responsibilities in which the wide out will "switch" over to the slot and vice versa. I attached a clip of it for you. Now more accurately said the switch combo that Miami will run is a wheel/post. There are other combinations you can run off switch like comeback/curl. I guess I default to saying "Switch route" because it is the only one I catch Miami running.

 
Great breakdown and analysis Roman, thanks as always mate. It’s abundantly obvious that Perry needs to play out with no more Rosier in the cards. Unless maybe if it’s next week at home against Pitt and we’re up by 24pts late in the 4th quarter with us on the 25yd line from an interception by the defense. Otherwise, I don’t feel Richt is going to do much, if anything at all, differently offensively until perhaps the offseason. I just don’t see him thinking there would be any advantage to doing so, not with a rookie QB. We all are going to have to pray come after the bowl game that news comes out of camp that Jon is moving on to coach QB’s at McNeese Valley State College of the Sisterhood, that Searles is out at OL, and that Richt is stepping down from his OC role and has a short list of candidates to interview for the now vacant OC position. With Jonny Rotten gone plus Searles there’s your extra funds to pay for a top flight OC. Then perhaps demoting Pratke so we can also hire a new ST coach.

Yeah I already know, I’m dreaming but one can hope can they not?

Anytime my friend. I will dream right along side of you.
 
Roman- we play Perry all games after FSU and what is our record? Offense looks so much better with him.
 
Without AR we are so ordinary at WR, ridiculous
 
Without AR we are so ordinary at WR, ridiculous

Well I don't know. Affected sure. Richards had first round potential. But Thomas is a legitimate threat who should be receiving a lion's share of touches in any capacity. This offense needs to find a balance that incorporates a set number of touches the young man should get. Either on Jet Sweeps, Screens, verticals.

This week Jeff did factor in the screen game. Also on a third and 1 tendency breaker, the canes tried a vertical in which Thomas got the PI call. Those are steps in the right direction. It isn't surprising that the offense did better with a focus to get him the ball slightly more. What was criminal is that Thomas only had ONE catch 4 times this year.

So I hear you. I agree. But Thomas is still very good.
 
Great write up, Roman. Especially agree on leaving points on the field - you accurately point to the Wiggins and homer drops - but I also point to the missed protection calls or lack of seeing the blitz on perry’s part as also being reasons for leaving points on the field. Hopefully Perry learns more awareness of blitzers bc right now he seems blind to it
 

2022 Commits

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6'2"
185
Nashville, TN
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160
Lexington, MS
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205
Valdosta, GA
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175
Fort Myers, FL
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6'1"
185
Mandeville, LA
MLB
6'1"
210
Manvel, TX
OT
6'7"
275
Sandersville, GA

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