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Matchup of the Week: Shaq Quarterman vs. Bryce Perkins

Matchup of the Week: Shaq Quarterman vs. Bryce Perkins

Cory Grimes
Matchup of the Week

The Canes’ head to Charlottesville tomorrow night for the first ACC road test of the year. The upset minded Cavaliers are led by Bronco Mendenhall, a gritty character who has a history of coaching a hard-nosed, physical brand of football. CMR will have to coach against a possible hangover from an emotional comeback win against FSU. UM had to quickly refocus this week because it’s homecoming for UVA, and Mendenhall and company will be pulling out all the stops to get the party going on Saturday night.

Bryce Perkins vs. Shaq Quarterman

N’kosi Perry will be throwing his first pass on the road tomorrow, and efficient play from the redshirt freshman will certainly be paramount for a UM victory. But this week, my focus is on the opposing QB. Junior Bryce Perkins has been dynamic in his first year as the starter. Bronco Mendenhall likes to have a QB who is the focal point of the offense but not just in the passing game but on the ground as well (i.e Taysom Hill). He hasn’t quite had the QB that fits that mold in his first few years at UVA. Kurt Benkert was an impressive passer and gave the Canes fits in last year’s matchup at Hard Rock. Bryce Perkins may not have the same arm talent as Benkert, but he makes up for that with exceptional athleticism. He’s got a sturdy build at 6’3 210 lbs., which allows him to run between the tackles as well. Perkins is a much better fit for Mendenhall’s identity. The Arizona native comes into this game with 341 yards rushing and 3 TD’s. He’s also been efficient through the air with 1125 yards, 11 TD’s (4 INT) and a competition percentage of 63.5. Olamide Zaccheaus is easily Perkins’ favorite target, and he also likes to throw jump balls to 6’3 WR Hasise Dubois. Much of Perkins big plays have come from improvisation, but he’s not always looking to take off and run. He likes to run around in the backfield and play a little backyard football till he spots an open receiver to hit. Guys like this have created headaches for the UM defense in the past, and to be honest, guys like this give just about any defensive coordinator headaches.

The other side of this matchup is the quarterback of UM’s defensive front, Shaq Quarterman. I’d say Quarterman has played solid to this point in 2018. He’s second on the team with 30 tackles behind Jaquan Johnson who has missed time in a couple games. For an All-ACC player and 3 year starter on this team, solid isn’t going to suffice. He is a savvy, even keel leader for this defense and finds himself in the right spot on most plays, but his performance in years past would suggest Quarterman can take it up a notch. There just hasn’t been those game changing splash plays that is expected from a player of his caliber. With that being said, Quarterman has seemed closer to form in the past couple games. He’s found success in the opposing backfield as a blitzer, and he’s actually 3rd on the team with 3 sacks and 4th on the team with 6.5 TFL. Quarterman, Pinckney and the Canes linebackers will have to continue their play from the past couple weeks to be successful in a tricky matchup against Perkins.

I expect Quarterman and Perkins to trade paint several times tomorrow night. Diaz has used Quarterman as a QB spy in the past, and I imagine this is something that could be used against Perkins. Shaq is an outstanding athlete from the middle linebacker position. He’s a legit sideline to sideline football player. Corralling Perkins in open space is no small task though. He has good speed, but he can also make guys miss. To understand the kind of athlete Perkins is, just look at a pair of plays against Louisville when he leaped over defenders with ease. Once he decides to take off and run, it’s easy to forget that he’s a QB. Shaq likely won’t be the only guy used as a spy against Perkins. I could possibly see a safety like Carter, or a striker like Finley, or maybe Derrick Smith also being used as spy. Diaz will likely give multiple looks, but Shaq is the guy in the middle and will be most responsible for keeping Perkins in check.

Miami’s defensive line led by Gerald Willis has been downright dominant, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. They will certainly get penetration on the UVA offensive line and pressure Perkins. Playing behind a pass rush like that will allow Quarterman and the LB’s to be a little more patient. Sometimes being over aggressive is the worst thing that defender can do against an athletic QB. The QB steps up to take off and run, the LB comes flying down with their hair on fire, one simple cut from the QB and the QB finds himself in the 3rd level of the defense. It happens all too often. Also, UVA’s offense uses a lot of misdirection with motions, counters, pulling lineman, etc. Perkins gets involved in the misdirection with pivots and tricky ball handling in the back field. If a defender gets caught ball watching, things can easily get confusing. Quarterman and the UM linebackers will need great eye discipline on every down to limit the big plays from the Cavaliers.

UVA has some serviceable playmakers, but their offense will go as far as Perkins will take them. UM has a considerable advantage on the defensive front. Jaquan Johnson and the secondary shouldn’t have trouble running with the UVA pass catchers, but against Perkins, they may have to cover a couple seconds longer due to his eagerness to scramble. Bryce Perkins and the UVA offense pose some challenges for the Hurricane defense, and of course, it’s going to take a concerted effort from all parties to keep them on lock. However, a big showing from Shaq Quarterman is the key to a quiet night for Perkins.

Miami 37 UVA 20
 

Comments (9)

I would say this is the perfect matchup for Derrick Smith, but he has struggled with tackling in the open field this year.
 
Good lord. He spies the QB on 3rd and long most of the time.
I think Diaz has done areally good job, so I get that my post sounded negative like im complaining whocc isn't what I meant. However, we do NOT spy the QB even close to most of the time in many of the games.
 
VA did very little against NC St until St had a huge lead and started playing prevent defense way to early. They held Perkins to 24 yards on 14 Carries running the ball.. I think.our defense is better than St,s. I guess tonight will prove me right or wrong
 
VA did very little against NC St until St had a huge lead and started playing prevent defense way to early. They held Perkins to 24 yards on 14 Carries running the ball.. I think.our defense is better than St,s. I guess tonight will prove me right or wrong

This. Every report I've read makes it sound like we're playing against Lamar Jackson but then I watched that game and the kid looked more like Brandon Wimbush (we know how that went). He may be somewhere in between but far from something we can't get a W against.
 
This. Every report I've read makes it sound like we're playing against Lamar Jackson but then I watched that game and the kid looked more like Brandon Wimbush (we know how that went). He may be somewhere in between but far from something we can't get a W against.
Perkins is a more accurate passer than Wimbush, but Wimbush is a far superior runner.

UM should easily be able to corral Perkins in the run game just like NC State did. And NC State lost its entire all-world DL from last year.
 

2022 Commits

WR
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185
Nashville, TN
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6'1"
195
Miami, FL
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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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170
Orlando, FL
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185
Mandeville, LA
MLB
6'1"
210
Manvel, TX
OT
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275
Sandersville, GA

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