Game Review: Miami at App State

Game Review: Miami at App State

I wanted to wait until Miami played a few games before I started to analyze where they are at from a team perspective, and what has been successful for them thus far.

Against App State, pretty much everything was successful, but I did see some noteworthy things in the game. I’ll walk through my observations, but be forewarned, this post is rather long. If that’s not the sort of thing that interests you, then this probably isn’t the thread for you.


In this play, McIntosh leaves his legs exposed and the LG downblocks him clean off his feet. The C then takes Norton by himself and the RG is free to get to the LB and the LT seals Demetrius off the edge. On this particular play, their OL beat our DL badly. Bad play by both our DT’s.

This play is really nice assignment football. The edges are set by Corn to the near side and Trent Harris uses quickness and leverage to get the RT two full yards behind the LOS. The LB’s are reading their keys here and not playing hero ball. The SS is crashing into the box because he doesn’t have a route that is threatening his zone. You don’t get to see the S as much on a broadcast, but this play really shows there is always something for them to do. It would be his responsibility to carry a receiver if they came into his zone on this play, but if there isn’t one then he is responsible for any run to the boundary. He is quick to get into the box here. I’m impressed by Demetrius here. He doesn’t take the cheese, stays on the FB dive and the inside zone run at the same time.

It ends up being the inside zone and Demetrius scrapes along the line quite nicely. Instead of just senselessly diving into the pile here, he works the line and then makes the tackle when the RB gets through a small hole. You can see the SS is filling downhill for precisely this type of run. When you work your run fits and play smart, you hold a good run by the RB to three yards.

56 is Pinckney, who is a true freshman LB. This looks like an open kill shot that most true freshmen want to make a name for themselves. Watch how smartly Pinckney plays it though. Instead of taking a straight line at the QB here, and allowing the chance that his angle is too shallow and the QB escapes, he stays outside the QB’s shoulder and forces him back inside.

It’s not something anyone on a broadcast is going to bring up, but it’s really a smart play that had me re-watch it a few times. He knows he has help inside, so he forces him back to the teeth of the defense and even a missed tackle isn’t going to allow the QB a first down the way it would have if he’d gone straight in. Bravo, young man.

If you read my stuff, you’d have read how the power-O run play is the staple for the Mark Richt offense in the running game. Sure enough, we run it the very first play of the game. Imagine how successful the play could’ve been if Danny Isidora had decided to block the other team, instead of his own. Perhaps Walton wouldn’t have had to run over the LB for the TD, and probably could’ve walked there without contact. Good result, bad play by Isidora.

Sometimes we can make too much of getting a good jump at the snap, and we had already incurred two offsides penalties to this point, so they might be gun shy, but the ends are still down in their stance and our NT is across the LOS and their RT is already starting the process of his cut block (which I hate that practice and think it should be illegal to block below the waist at the LOS). Pat Bethel will learn as he gets experience, but get out of your stance big fella.

This is later on in the same play and Mike Smith is way too slow to fill his gap. He allows the RG to get to him easily and this is a 1st down run play. Trent Harris is setting the edge fine, but the NT gets handled too easily and then Smith doesn’t fill his run fit nearly fast enough. The NT can’t allow his shoulders to get turned so easily, either. Here is an example of everyone doing their job but your NT and MLB and then inside zone will be impossible to stop if that happens. Gerald Willis, the DT you see running past the OL on the ground, actually ran the RB down from behind and made the tackle. Whew, that guy’s athletic.

Kendrick Norton is going to be a good player for us, and I believe he’s played well most of this season, but he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar here. The DL getting shoved away from the play by the OL is the NT on a slant down.

A couple of plays later, Norton shows his very good quickness and draws a flag. I was watching as he split this double team and was the first man off the LOS and I said, that’s an illegal combo block, and then the flag appeared and I realized they caught it as well. It was outside zone all the way, but Norton was a force on this play.

I don’t know if App State just didn’t expect us to take free yards, or what they saw on film, because you just can’t have your slot defender nine yards off the ball when the QB already has the ball if you want to stay ahead of the chains on defense. Eight men in the box, slot defender that far off, this is an automatic throw for the QB (and an easy check if the call is a run play or a combination play call where the QB chooses the run or pass play based on defensive look). One that could’ve gone for even more yards if Coley made an excellent block (he was average). On another note, Kc McDermott lets his guy get the first step to his outside shoulder, but in this play call, he wants him to shoot upfield and lose leverage. Not a perfect play, but he recovered very well.

#73 (Darling) blocks no one on this play, and actually impedes the progress of the RB. If he makes his block, this is probably a TD. It’s hard to tell, but he never touched the defender here, and in fact, never touched anyone on App State. Look at Herndon though. That is textbook up there and just owned his man on this play. McDermott is really good on the move, he just stones his guy here with momentum.

I think Kaaya deserves credit for getting them into the best play calls, but this is just high school level diagnostics here. Eight men in the box, strong side of the defense is to the top, leverage is completely gone for the defense due to the tempo the offense went with, and just no chance for the defense to be successful here. The QB already has the ball and the defenders are sitting ducks for the slot screen again.

Easy, it’s just too easy if you’re going to put eight in the box and your slot defender 10 yards off the LOS. Give credit to Richt for designing a plan to put them in this position, but blame their coaches some as well, because you can’t beat the offense in this alignment. I imagine this changes later in the game. Kudos to Richt for something big though. Too often something is working and a coach will call something else simply because they feel they need to mix it up. This is something to go back every single play if they want to run this defense against this alignment. Take a man out of the box and shade your WILL to the slot side to take this away and you hammer them with power- O all day. Simple, yet elegant.

McDermott is in zone here and is just allowing the defender’s momentum to take himself out of the play. That combo block from the C and RG is beautiful.

You already see the slot defender is now up to eight yards off the LOS and the 8th defender is a S who walked into the outskirts of the box. The screens are causing changes already. I wish Kaaya would’ve gotten the snap here to catch their defender running off, but the easy pop up screen is still in play here.

Sometimes my expectations are too high for Joe Yearby, but he gets tackled by the guy getting blocked by #63 here. A little arm tackle here is not acceptable to me. Yearby has to break that tackle and score here. Gaping hole, and a guy getting blocked trips you up.

Crowd boos vociferously, but this is holding.

I think it would be fun to do a post just showing all of the ways that Coach Kool has helped our DL. Here, #91 does a fabulous job of getting skinny and shooting a gap to get into the backfield. The play was supposed to be outside zone to the LT side, and Willis just destroys it. There is simply no way this DL makes a play like this under the old scheme and teaching style. The defenders to the top of the screen are unblocked purposely, as the read action is expected to hold them long enough that they can’t impact the play and then the pulling linemen can get into the legs of the DL and create running lanes.

This is a good play for #99 to learn from. He is stuck here making no play whatsoever. His responsibility is to ensure that the QB doesn’t get outside of his shoulder so that the edge is preserved and the pursuit inside can keep everything in play. If he keeps penetrating into the backfield he would’ve forced the pitch, or if it was a dive play he needs to be flexible and athletic and reverse course to tackle the RB by the legs. Instead, he really doesn’t do anything and they don’t have to waste a blocker on him as the QB gets outside and then pitches it. Joseph Jackson will learn from this.

Lots of window dressing on this play, with motion, a play fake, pullers and down blockers. Yet, if you aren’t going to block #80 on this play, he is just going to penetrate and smash the RB, which is exactly what he did. Another example of a one-gap defense dictating things to the offense that a two-gap scheme simply couldn’t dictate. The play was a loss of three.

You hear Richt talk about footwork constantly. For a QB, the base is where your accuracy come from. On this play, Kaaya had a little bit gunshy with the free rusher coming late and got out of whack with his feet.

That resulted in a bad overthrow on a deep ball.

Yeah, this pocket will do on the long TD pass to Coley. It honestly wasn’t a great throw to Coley given the clean pocket that he had. Didn’t need to be with him wide open though. Look at Standish Dobard stand his man up, lock his arm out, and drive his defender off the LOS. Walton is up there just looking for someone to block.

How does the runner not pick up the first down on this play? If I were an App State coach I’d be livid at my RB. Leverage and momentum, yet the LB knocks him backwards from this angle. As a true freshman as well. Just wait until our LB’s grow into men.

Remember when we saw Joseph Jackson stop his feet and not get into the pitch lane for the QB (or force the pitch earlier on that play), on this 4th and 1 Chad Thomas plays it perfectly and gets upfield into the lane rather than stopping his feet. You can read the lips of the HC saying, “Why didn’t he pitch it?” Well, he didn’t pitch it because Chad Thomas might’ve caught it and housed it the other way if he did pitch it. This is how I expect us to attack this play against GT this week; with upfield penetration.

Now you see the adjustment App State has made to help stop the screen game that we peppered them with earlier. The boundary corner is off the WR, but the edge defender is standing and shaded in that direction to help with the screen and the slant. At the top of the screen, the field corner is playing cover-3 and the slot guy is bracketing Coley/Berrios in a zone defense, but they still throw the screen and get no yards. Kaaya probably should’ve checked out of this play.

Kc McDermott is an awesome mover at the LG spot. He’s been our best linemen this year overall. If he gains some strength this offseason, he can play in the league. That’s Nick Linder who got knocked down and lost a shoe there. I have no idea how McDermott stuck with his block this long, but it’s not his fault the play failed.

The 12 yard speed cut out to the far side of the field from the near hash was a big boy throw by Kaaya, and Berrios made an unreal catch. Kaaya actually had subpar accuracy on the throw because he was wide open, but the distance the ball actually travels in the air is the thing that stands out. Good throw, great catch.

Hey, Kc, don’t hurt this guy on the run block. I’d say he won the battle here. He blew him off the LOS by four yards. Great block.

Subtle evidence of excellent coaching and improvements from our players here. Mike Smith is literally getting blocked at the knees and McIntosh has a guy right at his feet. McIntosh shows off his athleticism and jumps the blocker and smashes the RB while Smith shows toughness and technique to protect his legs and meets the RB head on. This play went for no gain. From the places they are here, to get there that quickly is impressive. McIntosh has all the potential in the world.

Quarterman is so smart. Another play where he trusts his teammates, does his responsibility and shuts a play down. Most true freshmen take a shallow angle going for the kill shot and allow the QB to get to the outside. Instead, he keeps his outside shoulder wider than the QB and forces him back inside to his help and they stuff him for nothing. Great play, Shaq.

Look at your LG destroying his man way off the LOS (#40 was moved four yards or more). Then, the next pick of him owning another defender (keep in mind, the play is going the other direction, yet Kc has completely moved him away from the play). McDermott has started to be dominant in this game. He has been maybe our best player to this point in the game. You have to really study a game to think that about a LG, but he’s been a stud.

We struggled on this drive with the stretch lead play. App State fared better when they let us penetrate some and then got OL to the second level against our LB’s, who struggled to get off blocks at times in this game.

Shaq is a touch late to recognize this play and pull the trigger. If he sees it a split second earlier, he makes this play.

Carter, you have the play right to you. This defense was setup well, but Carter lets him get to the 1 yard line. To be fair, he knifes in and makes the hit on the next play to stop the runner and the play after, on the bad snap, he gets there first to sack the QB.

Just look at #52 . Big time stuff this game.

This is the interception at the goal line. Kaaya would like to have this throw back as App State doesn’t cover Njoku. It’s an easy TD to him if Kaaya identifies Njoku is uncovered off the LOS.

Sometimes your defense is there and you either take too shallow of an angle, or your opponent is just too fast. That’s what happened here. Thomas was right there, but he takes a shallow angle and lets the speedy WR past him on the fly sweep. Flatten this out down the line and the blocker at the top of the screen has to peel back to block him, or he gets him with the angle and tackles him for a loss. If the blocker peels back, the edge corner only has to stand up or defeat his block to stop the play and you have a LB crashing to the play to cut off the cutback.

Shaq and Corn flat footed. One has to take the QB and one has to take the dive. Both take the QB and neither take the dive. Shaq is trying to help Corn in case the QB pulls it because he has a lead blocker, but Shaq has to trust his athletic ability to believe he can take the dive and then reverse course if the QB pulls it and tries to follow the blocker.

Rayshawn has to make this tackle. He beats the OL to the outside shoulder and has a clean hit. He goes for the kill shot and lets the RB bounce off him for 10 yards after contact and converts a 4th down. This is the type of play that can decide closer games. We need you to be a finisher, Rayshawn.

McCloud will learn. You can see he takes the cheese and lose eye discipline. The LB standing next to the engaged DE is lost, and his man is the TE running wide open at the top for a walk-in TD. Freshman play here, as he went for the play fake and never had a clue where the TE went. The LB chasing after the TE is Shaq, and this was not his man, he just recognized the busted coverage and did what he could to chase him down.

Nice catch. Nice throw. Richards could be an All-American next year if Kaaya comes back.

Redwine really hadn’t played well to this point in the game and probably would have been on my list of top-3 worst performances in this game, but he made a very good play here, and when you force a turnover, you make up for a lot of previous plays.

Earlier in the game we stunted McIntosh and Moten in a DT twist that allowed both of them to knife through and get a tackle for loss. Here, Chad Thomas loops inside on a stunt and gets a complete hole to rush- and sack- the QB. Our scheming is on another level this year as far as line play goes. For you film junkies, look at the WR at the top of the screen and the technique our CB is using as an inside technique, which takes away the skinny post or the in-cut on this pass pattern. With the way the WR’s feet are and the pressure the QB is facing, there is no way a post-corner is going to have time to come open. This scheme is opening my eyes that we could be legitimate.

I just thought it was fun to see Odogwu steal this young man’s soul. He flattens him here and then pushes his head into the ground. That has to take some of the fight out of their DL.

This is a running lane. The OL just concaved that App State OL and punished them for a walk-in TD.

This was a game that truly had the look of previous Miami teams in the sense that they dominated on both lines. Here are my top performers in the game:

1. Kc McDermott- His work in the run game was top-notch. He sealed defenders off well, turned the shoulders of a defender to keep leverage, and was downright masterful on the move and getting to the second level.

2. Richard McIntosh- Used his quickness to get inside of his man, slant inside and make tackles for loss. Excellent game and this guy has serious upside.

3. Chad Thomas- Excellent development to his game. Used foot speed to make several plays, and then executed a beautiful stunt on 3rd down to get a sack.

4. Corn Elder- Was excellent in coverage, made some great tackles, and even pitched in a sack.

5. Brad Kaaya- Made a few throws that were legitimate NFL throws, dropped in a few deep balls that were dimes, and showed some toughness to come back from a brutal pick on 4th down.


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Comments (29)

It gets off line in a few of the screen shots, but you can look at the comments below the photo if the comments don't line up. I think I got it back in sync again after a few of them, but it just takes too long to upload them all over again, so I hope it will do as is.
Holy crap, it's football analysis!

Thanks man, this is great work.
I agree with you about KC. He's playing at another level and is the anchor of the OL. Oddly enough, next to Kaaya and considering how thin our OL talent is, he might be the teams indispensable man.
I'm not gonna read a word of this now. Instead I'm going to slowly savor every word and picture throughout the workday tomorrow to get me through the day before game day. I've watched every bit of Miami football highlights, media and articles and analyses these last few weeks trying to get to Saturday with my sanity intact, but the pickings have been painfully slim. It's been a brutal two weeks without Canes football, thankfully just one day to go!

Thanks for the great write up!
Great post OP!

Would love to see this as a youtube vid with vid replays
manager wasn't very happy with my productivity at work today, thank you for the write up
Amazing HV! Thank you so much. I've been starved for this kind of analysis for 2 weeks...why the **** did you wait this long?

Again, thanks a ton for taking the time. I learned a ton this morning.
This is solid. I kept expecting it to end but it just kept delivering.

This is the type of high quality information that gets lost when posters start 50 threads on the same topic or clutter the board with nonsense and trolling. 10 ******* responses to this hard work is criminal

A piece I disagree on is Kaaya in Top 5. A bad turnover in the red zone automatically knocks a player out of that ranking for me. That play was all around awful decision making and is how games are lost.
This is solid. I kept expecting it to end but it just kept delivering.

This is the type of high quality information that gets lost when posters start 50 threads on the same topic or clutter the board with nonsense and trolling. 10 ****ing responses to this hard work is criminal

A piece I disagree on is Kaaya in Top 5. A bad turnover in the red zone automatically knocks a player out of that ranking for me. That play was all around awful decision making and is how games are lost.

very true, however, the recovery from that mistake, which happens, is what is refreshing. no wilting (as the team previously used to do, as per Kaaya), no loss of confidence and no being shaken, which is important for a quarterback.

also, it is criminal that there are so few posts, which is an indictment on the porsters who post 20 times a day to argue about a dangling modifier (or worse).
Fantastic stuff man. Thanks for taking your time to do this, always full of great info.
This is solid. I kept expecting it to end but it just kept delivering.

This is the type of high quality information that gets lost when posters start 50 threads on the same topic or clutter the board with nonsense and trolling. 10 ****ing responses to this hard work is criminal

A piece I disagree on is Kaaya in Top 5. A bad turnover in the red zone automatically knocks a player out of that ranking for me. That play was all around awful decision making and is how games are lost.

very true, however, the recovery from that mistake, which happens, is what is refreshing. no wilting (as the team previously used to do, as per Kaaya), no loss of confidence and no being shaken, which is important for a quarterback.

also, it is criminal that there are so few posts, which is an indictment on the porsters who post 20 times a day to argue about a dangling modifier (or worse).


The last two weeks in the NFL the Redskins, lost and then won, largely due to Quarterback turnovers in the red zone/end zone.

Learn and move on productively.
Very nice post. I know a lot of work went into it. The analysis puts it over the top.