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Game Preview: Week 9 vs. Duke

Game Preview: Week 9 vs. Duke

Paul Austria
Ask anyone. Taking punch after punch after punch to the gut can take a toll on you physically and mentally, but the strongest ones know how to prevail and keep fighting. After all, the season is not officially done with and there’s still a lot to play for, including a spot in the ACC Championship game, and that’s for both teams. Both the Hurricanes of Miami and the Blue Devils of Duke are in the midst of adversity at this point in the season and both teams are also in dire need of a win to calm their respective storms.


There’s a lot in common that both teams share enter Saturday’s matchup, as both teams have a record of 5-3 and are each coming off two consecutive losses. And with the ACC conference race getting down to the wire in a hurry, both Miami’s Mark Richt and Duke’s David Cutcliffe are hoping to find solutions to their team’s problems fast.

Boiling over from last week, the playcalling of coach Mark Richt has remained the target of critics. To give you some perspective, Miami’s offense is ranked 84th in the nation, and their passing game is ranked 93rd.

Some are calling for the hiring of an official offensive coordinator in the future while others think it could be sufficient to give playcalling duties to either of the current co-offensive coordinators, which refers to running back coach Thomas Brown and wide receiviers coach Ron Dugans. The anger may also be warranted due to the decision of re-establishing Malik Rosier as the starting quarterback.

Richt has addressed the ineffectiveness of the offense and explained that it’s more of an execution issue.

“There’s nothing wrong with the plays quite frankly. What’s wrong is we haven’t executed well enough...if we looked at the tape and said these plays got no chance of success, then I would agree,” coach Richt told reporters this week. “The plays have a chance for success if everybody does what they’re supposed to do.”

With the announcement of Will Mallory missing this game due to an eye infection, coach Richt will only have one scholarship tight end (Brevin Jordan) available against Duke, with sophomore walk-on Nicholas Ducheine the only other option. Jordan has lived up the hype he received before the season as he leads the team with 26 catches.

QB Malik Rosier has thrown for one touchdown with three interceptions since Richt opted to put him back under center, hoping to spark the offense, but his 53% completion percentage has been on par with his career average and is considered below average for the position.

The ineffectiveness of the offense has overshadowed the success of the Miami defense to a certain extent. DT Gerald Willis and DE Jonathan Garvin (both 8th in nation and 1st in ACC with 14 tackles-for-loss) have been two of the biggest anchors on this 2nd-ranked defense. The run defense slipped to 24th in the nation after allowing 223 yards to Boston College last weekend, but the secondary has maintained their dominance, which is currently 2nd in the country.

The Duke Blue Devils started off the season on a very high note, winning their first four games by an average of 22 points a game, but their last four haven’t been so pretty. Cutcliffe’s team has been 1-3 in the past month, falling to Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Pittsburgh.

Daniel Jones permanently took over the starting quarterback job four weeks ago and has done fairly well this season, throwing for 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Jones is no stranger to Miami, having served as starting quarterback for Duke in their last two meetings. Jones is also a potential first-round pick who can sling it through the air as well as become a threat running the ball, which Miami has shown to have problems with. WR TJ Rahming has also been a player for Duke that has been utilized in every which way with two touchdowns against Pittsburgh. Senior WR Jonathan Lloyd leads the team with 440 yards and has shown to be a dangerous threat on the outside.

Duke’s defense has been relatively in the middle of the pack compared to the rest of the country. Linebacker Joe Giles-Harris has been their leader this season with 69 tackles, but poor tackling and coverage deficiencies marred last week’s 54-45 loss along with allowing almost 500 yards on the ground.

Giles-Harris wants to put that showing behind them in lieu of Saturday.

“Remaining hungry. Remaining positive,” Giles-Harris told the Charlotte Observer. “Keeping a positive attitude throughout the week. It’s easy to get negative...but everybody makes mistakes and we’re a team at the end of the day. We’ve all got to stick together.”


This weekend’s matchup against Duke is also Miami’s homecoming game for their seniors and you can catch all the action at 7:00 PM at Hard Rock Stadium, and if you can’t make it to the game, ESPN2 will be providing coverage.
 

Comments (8)

"...others think it could be sufficient to give playcalling duties to either of the current co-offensive coordinators, which refers to running back coach Thomas Brown and wide receiviers coach Ron Dugans."

Literally nobody thinks this.
 
Jones is considered a potential first round pick? Sorry I just don’t see that.
 
Miami’s offense is ranked 84th in the nation, and their passing game is ranked 93rd.

I dug a little deeper on the offensive stats...
64 teams have played a minimum of 5 games against p5 teams.
Miami is 59th of the 64 teams in yards per play.

A not so bright side is that the remaining teams on our schedule are the bottom 4 in yards per play against on D.
 
Miami’s offense is ranked 84th in the nation, and their passing game is ranked 93rd.

I dug a little deeper on the offensive stats...
64 teams have played a minimum of 5 games against p5 teams.
Miami is 59th of the 64 teams in yards per play.

A not so bright side is that the remaining teams on our schedule are the bottom 4 in yards per play against on D.

Penalty for piling on. I mean, those offensive stats are hideous.
 
“There’s nothing wrong with the plays quite frankly. What’s wrong is we haven’t executed well enough...if we looked at the tape and said these plays got no chance of success, then I would agree,” coach Richt told reporters this week. “The plays have a chance for success if everybody does what they’re supposed to do.”

Can't we say that about everything in life?? lol.
 
Why are these plays so difficult to execute but so easy to defend? Of course, knowing they're coming helps. Hearing my wife call the plays is embarrasing.
 
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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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