Lashlee, Baker discuss Clemson fallout, Pitt prep

Lashlee, Baker discuss Clemson fallout, Pitt prep

Stefan Adams
Following Monday’s practice, Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee responded to questions posed about his WR group, a unit that has struggled this season and posted only 5 combined catches in the loss to Clemson this past weekend.

“We have to win more one-on-one battles,” Lashlee said. “This is big-time college football - you have to make plays vertically down the field. We have not done a very good job in the first four games of completing contested balls vertically down the field. We just were flat, weren't making any plays."

The Canes’ OL also gave up a ton of pressure on QB D’Eriq King, allowing 5 sacks against the Tigers.

“It was a team effort, we didn’t protect well in third and long situations,” Lashlee said. “They blitzed about every play. We weren’t ever able to hurt them, so they kept doing it… I don’t think there’s really any fairness to assessing one group over another, we got whipped in every phase - I got whipped, didn’t do a very good job. We got our tails kicked, didn’t do well. We had penalties, very undisciplined, turned the football over. Everyone saw, it was obvious, we played poorly and didn’t give our team a chance to win.”

Lashlee was also asked if he thought Miami’s issues vs. Clemson stemmed from personnel or execution.

“We’ve been consistent for the most part,” Lashlee said. “Part of it is give Clemson a lot of credit, part is we didn’t execute anywhere every well, lost every one-on-one battle. I didn’t do a good job late in the second quarter, specifically in the third quarter of jump-starting us. We were never able to get in a rhythm offensively. It kind of snowballed on us and got away from us.

“It’s one game. Just like you can’t overreact to the first three games, you can’t overreact to one game. You have to play at a lot higher level if you play a team the caliber of that. It’s one game - like I told the guys, one game won’t define us. It’s disappointing. But the most important thing is how we respond this week.”

Ultimately, Lashlee took responsibility for the lack of production coming from the offense on Saturday.

“We could analyze it forever, we played really bad, we got whipped,” Lashlee said. “I’m responsible, we didn’t get it done.”

Through the first three games, the Canes relied a ton on their run game in averaging 232.3 ypg, but UM running backs combined for just 11 yards on 10 carries vs. Clemson.

“We called runs to the running back, first play of the game was actually zone read,” Lashlee said. “The first play of the second drive was a called handoff to the running back, too, was a muffed exchange… We wanted to run, were very ineffective… I didn’t do a very good job adjusting, we didn’t do a very good job in one on one battles – Cam (Harris’) best two runs of the night were called back by penalties.”

Like Clemson, Pitt is expected to stack the box against UM this weekend and make the Canes beat them with the pass.

“We’ve played four games and, for three out of four, we were effective enough throwing the ball to win,” Lashlee said. “Obviously there are some things you can do to free some guys up, but we lost every one-on-one battle there was (vs. Clemson). We’ll have to do some things, have to be a lot better than we were. How we respond is important. Everyone gets whipped sometime in life. As a team, we have to respond, have to pick yourself up and go back out there."


**After watching the film, Miami defensive coordinator Blake Baker shared his thoughts about what he was seeing from his unit in the loss vs. Clemson.

“I think there was a variety of things,” Baker said. “We had a couple of penalties that kept them on the field, resulted in touchdowns the first two drives.”

Despite the defense giving up 42 points and 550 total yards to the Tigers, Baker felt STRK Gilbert Frierson (6 tackles, 3 TFL, FR, PBU) was a standout.

“He played outstanding Saturday night, probably his best game since I’ve coached here,” Baker said of Frierson. “He’s instinctual, understands what offenses are trying to do to you. Can play in the box, man-to-man. Excited what he’s brought from a leadership standpoint as well.”

The Canes’ starting LB’s Zach McCloud and BJ Jennings continue to struggle with consistency, and you saw younger talent like Sam Brooks and Corey Flagg earn more reps against Clemson. Baker also mentioned that Patrick Joyner and Tirek Austin-Cave could see more snaps in the future as well.

“I think (the LB’s) were a mixed bag, thought Corey played outstanding considering he’s a true freshman and his first significant snaps,” Baker said. “I was really impressed with what he did. Sam did a really good job, gave up the first touchdown on the offsides, but outside of that, played really well. He’s had a little lower leg injury, but I’d expect to see them play more and more… I’m encouraged by Corey and Sam, what they put on tape.

“Zach and BJ were up and down, just inconsistency out of that position… I have to do a better job of calming (McCloud) down, sometimes he gets a little wrapped up into the game, just a little emotional sometimes out there. There are times I have to pull him off, let him relax, see the game from the sideline. But he’s doing fine. He’s had his ups and downs, played really well some games, not so well others.”

Miami’s defense allowed Clemson RB Travis Etienne to run for 149 yards and 2 TD’s, while Etienne also caught 8 passes for 73 receiving yards.

“That running back is a good player, give him a ton of credit,” Baker said of Etienne. “We wanted to do a better job of getting a guy closer to him at all times. He’s the biggest common thread of being able to convert on third and long. Tip your hat to him… He’s probably the premier college football player in all the country after seeing him up close and in person.”

S Amari Carter was ejected from the Clemson game in the first half for targeting after S Gurvan Hall was already sitting out for targeting in the second half of Miami’s last game, testing the Canes’ safety depth and putting them in a tough position. STRK Keontra Smith was also called for targeting in the second half vs. Clemson and will miss the first half of Miami's game vs. Pitt this weekend.

“We keep echoing that we just have to be really, really smart,” Baker said of avoiding targeting. “Just like strikes on a baseball hitter, shoulder to the thigh. Sometimes it just happens so fast out there.”

The Canes will move on to Pitt this week, and the Panthers currently have the nation’s leading passer in senior QB Kenny Pickett (1,389 passing yards).

“As far as Pitt, they’re very similar to what we saw last year, same offensive coordinator, nine returning starters,” Baker said. “Strong, physical up front. Their quarterback coming back for his senior year has a ton of arm strength, obviously a lot of experience. He’s accurate, really does a great job extending plays, making plays with his legs as much as he does with his arm. Schematically they give you a lot of issues, run a lot of heavy sets, bring another tackle into the game, a lot of motions. We’re going to have to get dialed in.”
 

Comments (24)

Baker thinks the LBs were a mixed bag. Outside the play of Brooks and Flagg Saturday which in the context of 4 games isn't a whole lot I'd say that this year so far the LBs have been a giant bag of shyt. Their play has been embarrassingly bad. Last in the nation in giving up most plays of 10 yards or more per game. That's just not acceptable at UM. Sorry if that hurts someone's feelings. Our defense has looked like a joke out there far too many times this year and that's on Baker and ultimately on Diaz for letting this clown show continue. Sack up and show some damned pride! Sickening.
 
Yup, brutal honesty, but at the same time took responsibility for play-calling.
OC sounds piss, DC sounds like he doesn't have a plan : Joyner @ linebacker, I thought they just move him to DE : What is frustrating they had the chance to make some of these changes while they were winning, but they always seemed to have to lose a game for changes to be considered .
 
OC sounds piss, DC sounds like he doesn't have a plan : Joyner @ linebacker, I thought they just move him to DE : What is frustrating they had the chance to make some of these changes while they were winning, but they always seemed to have to lose a game for changes to be considered .
Well yea, you usually adjust when you lose
 
When I read from Lashlee, “I’m responsible, we didn’t get it done.” I had flashback of Golden”s quote “It starts with me”
 

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