Lashlee, Baker address team concerns with NC State on horizon

Lashlee, Baker address team concerns with NC State on horizon

Stefan Adams
Miami Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee’s group comes off a bye week which they used in part to get healthy; TE Brevin Jordan is expected to return Friday vs. NC State after missing the previous two games.

“The second half of UAB, Louisville and the FSU game, he showed he’s one of our better playmakers,” Lashlee said of Jordan. “Having him and Will (Mallory) healthy is something we’ve been striving for since Week 1. It’s good to have him healthy and back, I’d hope he picks up where he left off.”

With the Wolfpack on tap this week, Lashlee is readying his team to face a defense that uses a non-traditional alignment.

“The 3-3-5, odd stack, not as many teams run it anymore,” Lashlee said of NC State. “It plays to the strength of their personnel, they have three really good linebackers… It gives you chances to make big plays but they make a lot of big plays out of it as well.

“Their base scheme is really good, the 3-3 stack allows you to get to a seven or eight man front but because you’re in an odd structure, pack the box with linebackers, the corners and safeties are deep but there’s an extra zone defender in that middle layer.

In NC State’s last game, though, their defense didn’t have much success: the Wolfpack allowed 48 points and 578 yards of total offense (326 rushing) vs. North Carolina. After breaking down the film of that matchup, Lashlee discovered some avenues that UNC exploited vs. NC State’s defense.

“What North Carolina was able to do was keep attacking,” Lashlee said. “They’re good enough to make plays in the passing game on the perimeter that put enough pressure on NC State to adjust to that, which then opened up the running lanes. They had to throw the football to open up the run. At the end of the day, we want to run the ball better. Having the bye week allowed us to clean some things up.”

UM has also improved their third down conversion rate since Lashlee took over, going from 27.2% last season to 44% through 6 games so far this year.

“When we’ve been successful, we’ve been in third-and-manageable situations,” Lashlee said. “Having a quarterback who can get the ball out, make plays with his feet, helps. Last (game), guys on the perimeter made some big plays, and being able to run the ball as well - helps us not be as predictable.”

Miami’s goal as a team is to get that third down conversion number over 45% each week, something Lashlee says would get UM in the top 25 in the nation in an average year.

“That’s why we set it at 45,” Lashlee said. “Third and one to two, you expect to be at 90%. 11-plus, you go into the 15, 20 percent range.”

With the receiver position in flux, WR Mike Harley had a career day vs UVA last game, garnering 10 catches for 170 yards and a TD.

“We have to make that who we are, a consistent habit, not a one-time thing,” Lashlee said. “I was excited for Mike to step up, feel he led that group.”

Lashlee also disagreed with a comment Harley made in saying that UM’s wideouts weren’t working hard enough until after the loss to Clemson.

“Our guys haven’t been working any harder since the Clemson game than they were before,” Lashlee said. “They’ve been really working hard. The Clemson game gave those guys some eye-opening. At some point we have to go out and do it, take what we’re working on and make it who we are. It becomes a mindset of we’re extremely determined and let’s go out and show we are capable of being a good receiving group. We want that to be who we are, have a lot of work to get there. Hopefully we can build on that this weekend.”

Despite Harley’s performance vs. UVA, and a better showing across the board for the starting receivers, Lashlee said the wide receiver depth chart will remain open until further notice.

“Competition is always going to make us better,” Lashlee said. “We’re leaning that’s how our guys tick. That’s who we want to be. When guys are uncomfortable in a good way it doesn’t allow you to relax. We’ll continue that really across the board… (The young receivers) are doing some really good things, we have confidence those guys can continue to make strides throughout the season.”


**This week, UM defensive coordinator Blake Baker will face a third straight game with uncertainty at the opponent’s QB position.

With NC State starting QB Devin Leary out with a broken leg, it will be either Bailey Hockman or Ben Finley that gets the nod vs. UM, and both played in the Wolfpack’s last game vs. UNC.

“I think Hockman, when you look at his body of work, he’s having a pretty productive year,” Baker said. “The first game of the year he started, started off 10 for 10, really can tell he had control of the offense. When he was in, they did not skip a beat when you talk about their tempo, going fast, slow, a variety of different formations. He does a nice job seeing the field and getting he ball out quickly.

“Finley, I thought gave them a nice shot in the arm. There were times he looked like a four-year starter back there, other times he looked like a freshman as well. Hockman overall has a better feel of the offense, but both are elusive enough to hurt you with their feet, good decision makers and accurate ball throwers.”

The NC State offense is putting up 31.5 points and 392.8 total yards per game, and they are running for 131.8 ypg.

“Their running game is very, very good,” Baker said. “It’s the best offensive line we’ve faced to date. Their running backs are both really strong players, they pick up tough yards. That’s one of the big things we challenged our defense with. It’s been a while since we’ve really got in there and banged as a defense. How strong and physical their running backs are, that’s the strength of their offense.”

In the passing game, the Wolfpack are led by Emeka Emezie, Cary Angeline, and Dylan Parham in putting up 261 ypg.

“(The receivers) are big, they’re physical,” Baker said. “86 (Emezie) has really good body control and their quarterback does a good job putting it in different locations, back shoulder, and the fade over the top. Their inside guys are shifty, catch the intermediate, short routes. 86 really catches my eye as an individual we have to be aware of at all times.

“6 (Angeline) is more their pass catcher (at TE), 28 (Parham) gets in there, he’s as physical and as strong a tight end as I’ve seen in several years, he’s a physical human being. They do a good job putting those guys in position to succeed. 6 does a really, really nice job in their passing game, is a matchup problem, has really good speed. His height, size - he presents a matchup issue. They do a nice job complementing each other for sure.”

Baker also pushed back on the idea that the pass rush up front has taken a step back from last year; Miami has 15 sacks this season vs. 17 at the same point last year.

“I would be willing to guess you’re seeing the ball out much quicker… I feel historically that’s how this defense works,” Baker said. “I think our pass rushers up front are doing a nice job, really good job getting quarterbacks off the spot. Our pass rush has been pretty solid up to this point.”

How does Baker see his secondary’s performance in zone vs. man coverage this season?

“We’re about 60 (percent) man, 40 zone, 45-55 maybe,” Baker said. “Really, they’ve shown flashes in man and zone. There are times they’ve looked really, really good playing zone, man. When it’s not good, it’s an eye control issues in man and zone. When it’s not played well, it’s usually their eyes. When they put their eyes where they need them, they’re really good out there.”

Baker also pointed out that he used the bye week to diagnose more of what was giving the starting LB’s trouble.

“This past week, having time to reflect on our tape, make point of attack tapes for all the linebackers, specifically with BJ (Jennings) and Zach (McCloud), a lot of it is technique, but there’s also times where I want them to cut it loose,” Baker said. “If they cut it loose, I think they can be a lot more consistent in their play quite frankly. And the two young guys, Sam Brooks and Corey Flagg, are doing a great job for us as well. I think you’ll see the trend of those guys continuing to get reps will increase as the season goes on. They decide the depth chart. Excited to see them compete on Friday night. I think they have a good chance of putting it all together this weekend.”
 

Comments (12)

Lashlee- “Make plays in the passing game on the perimeter that put enough pressure on NC State to adjust to that, which then opened up the running lanes.
Having the bye week allowed us to clean some things up.”

Also Lashlee—“1st & 10.. Dive! 2nd and 13.. dive!! 3rd and 11.. Fukk it, DIVE!!”
“BODY BLOWS!” 🤦🏾‍♂️
 
Lashlee- “Make plays in the passing game on the perimeter that put enough pressure on NC State to adjust to that, which then opened up the running lanes.
Having the bye week allowed us to clean some things up.”

Also Lashlee—“1st & 10.. Dive! 2nd and 13.. dive!! 3rd and 11.. Fukk it, DIVE!!”
“BODY BLOWS!” 🤦🏾‍♂️
 
Outside runs please for the love of God
Not an RPO outside run. Too slow to develop and that's all we run. Let Chaney and Rooster get it and go. Give it to harley or Pope coming in motion.
 
Not an RPO outside run. Too slow to develop and that's all we run. Let Chaney and Rooster get it and go. Give it to harley or Pope coming in motion.
Agree completely about RPO outside zone runs this game. I’d prefer to end the Pope and Harley jet sweep experiments. Harley has no wiggle and Pope’s hands are a proven liability. Those reps should go to Restrepo and Smith. I’d like to see Redding with his explosiveness on some bubbles as well. The best way to crush a 3-3-5 is to spread them out wide and pound it right up their ar$e. Make those smaller guys shed blocks and tackle Chaney, Cam, and King head on.
 
Still too much sunshine from Baker. I do like the fact that both he and Lashlee are transparent about the fact they will go with the WRs and RBs and LBs that make the most plays. That's the right attitude. Competition breeds greatness.
 

2021 Commits

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255
Miami, FL
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210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne Senior, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

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