Upon Further Review- Miami vs. Duke (Defense)

Upon Further Review- Miami vs. Duke (Defense)

Lance Roffers
Welcome back to Upon Further Review, where each week we will review the previous week’s Miami Hurricanes game and see what occurred on film. It has been an arduous path to this point and I know many of you are tired of reading and seeing the same issues crop up on film, but I thank you for sticking with us as we endure the pain together. This week another loss, this time to Duke at home for the first time since 1975.

Touchback on kickoff return. (Not pictured)

First play by Duke goes for a 75-yard TD run and it’s because Jaquan doesn’t say backside where he’s supposed to. Miami has this run bottled up but they lose contain on the cutback and simply aren’t disciplined enough to stay home. If Jaquan splits his gap like he’s supposed to, it is a TFL. Then Redwine takes a terrible angle and actually ran into the official trying to come downhill.

Next drive we get them to a 3rd & 6 and exactly what you expected to happen if you watched Duke on film happens here. Garvin gets pushed wide and the DT slides outside trying to rush the passer. Jones steps up into the hole and takes off running. Garvin is a freak so he’s able to retrace and make the tackle before he gets the 1st down but Miami has to keep him in the pocket.

Duke tries to hit their slot receiver Rahming on back-to-back plays. Incomplete. (Not pictured)

3rd down the defense runs double X-stunts and gets pressure on the QB who has to check down for a gain of 3. Punt time. (Not pictured)

1st down is a completion for 5 on a little stop route. (Not pictured)

2nd down and the way the H-back is bubbling to block here tells you that this ball is coming to the pop pass rather than a fake. One of these two defenders has to shoot this gap to seal that edge. Duke has done that one our pop passes but we haven’t had the lead blocker that Duke gets on this play to get a numbers advantage. Redwine plays this very poorly and runs to the block instead of outside of the block to cut off the edge and force the runner back inside. Duke’s design on their pop passes is so much better than Miami’s because they use the H-back to add another on the edge and use the RB as a lead into the hole.

1st down dive gets only 2. (Not pictured)

2nd down and Jaquan makes this play because he stays disciplined. He keeps his shoulder outside of the QB’s shoulder so that he doesn’t lose the edge like he did on Duke’s long TD run. He tackles the QB for a loss once he forces him inside due to his leverage. Jackson was smart as well as he dives inside knowing Jaquan is going to be outside and forces the QB to keep the ball. Good play.

Diaz is smart on 3rd down. It’s obvious he has scouted Duke’s offense on film and knows that they like to use their QB on 3rd downs to step into a gap formed by a rush lane to get several yards and either pick up the 1st or get within range for a short 4th down. Diaz blitzes off-the-edge and stunts Garvin down into that gap that the QB would step up into and run. Just on the cusp of FG range this is smart defense. The QB hits his check-down here, but that happens when you have a dude in your face. This defense was meant to squeeze the pocket and keep the QB enclosed. Shaq lays a receiver out as you are allowed to do within a certain range to the LOS. Just good defense all the way around.

4th down is a pooch punt that has the luckiest bounce you’ve ever seen in your life. It absolutely turns left as soon as it hits the ground and rolls all the way out-of-bounds. He couldn’t do that twice out of 20 tries. (Not pictured)

1st down for Duke and look at how quickly Willis beats his man inside on this dive play. He’s blown this play up before it even has a chance. Loss of 4.

3rd down and Miami goes to a 3-man front and plays coverage. Duke gives an inside counter run and Shaq runs him down for minimal gain. Punt. (Not pictured)

The broadcast I’m using is the condensed game because it’s all that’s available right now. WatchESPN doesn’t have this game as a replay (why would they, right?). It skips plays so I’m not getting them all.

3rd and 1 for Duke. They get the dive right at Bethel for a 1st down. Look at the top of your screen and you’ll see Redwine with really just a dirty hit here. Gauthier- a senior- got one earlier. Now, Redwine- a senior- gets one here. In a game like this game, where field position is just huge, this is a big play. I talked about on-field temperament and how you can see leaders by their actions on the field and this is the opposite of that. It’s selfish.

The flashy players on defense are the edge rushers. They’re important- no doubt- but the most important thing a defense can do is get immediate pressure right up-the-middle. It’s why the SEC is the dominant conference, because they get their pick of all the DT’s out of high school. Odenigbo and Willis whip their guys immediately and blow this play up. Willis gets the TFL, but Odenigbo blowing this H-back up before he can come across and get the wham block on Willis truly makes the play.

Duke runs the dive on 2nd down and gets a yard. (Not pictured)

Miami goes back to the 3-man rush on 3rd & long. Diaz has done things differently this season on 3rd down. We have seen far fewer all-out blitzes on 3rd down and even fewer delayed S blitzes from 15 yards away. Give that man some kudos, he consistently looks to improve and grow his defense. That said, the line gets no pressure and we play zone with our LB’s and this should’ve been an easy completion to their best WR over-the-middle. It was a little behind him, but he can’t make the catch. Miami had a spy on the QB at the 50.

3rd & 9 for Duke and they go empty. Generally, this means QB run or screen. Indeed, it is a WR screen and it gets about 6. Punt. (Not pictured)

3rd down for Duke. They slid their coverage and the LG didn’t get the call apparently. He just doesn’t block Willis and with him extending his right arm you can tell he thought the C was going to pick him up and he was trying to help shove him to the C. Whoops.

Finley jumps the slant on the play and it’s a sluggo (Slant-and-Go). Receiver gets into the seam for a big play. Honestly, I don’t mind Finley reading it and jumping it trying to get a big play, just great play calling by Duke there. Bandy was late to see the route and rotate because Finley dropped back into his outer flats area.

Not much on the defense here, but I wanted to show what I’d like to see Miami do more of here. Duke has a slot receiver to the near side of the screen and he runs a little clear out route into the flat and the CB goes with him. They run two crossing routes that keep the LB’s in their zone and the CB to the top in that zone as well. The WR to the top of the screen runs a clear out route deep and they have the TE wide open to the top of the screen and the RB wide open to the bottom of the screen. The CB has to take the WR to a certain depth and then pass him off in this coverage. LB has to wait for the slot to cross him before he can try to get to flat for RB. Duke runs this play even with pressure coming from the DL. Dump to the RB and there is not a defender there and it’s an easy 1st down.

It is my speculation that at halftime there was a discussion to make things more conservative to prevent one play from beating you. As a result, the defense is playing more zone coverage. The reason is two-fold: 1. In zone, it is much less likely to be a TD if a defender slips on the wet field than it would be in man coverage. 2. Given the weather conditions, it was expected that Duke would lean more on their QB run game and in zone coverage the defenders are facing the QB rather than having their backs turned in man coverage. When you couple the changes in coverage tactics with the offensive play calling acting as though they had a 3-score lead, it was as if the game plan was like a soccer team going into a shell to protect a lead. It was another example of extreme conservatism from this coaching staff in my view. (Commentary)

3rd & 10 and we dropped into a shell defense. Duke ran a post with their TE, who if you read the film preview, you already know is the movable cog in their offense they like to send to the seam. The LB tries to jump the out route and leaves the MOF wide open. Luckily the QB is a bit behind and the TE drops it or it would’ve been a big 1st down.

3rd and 6 for Duke at the 9-yard line. Pinck reads it perfectly. Oh how I wish he would’ve pulled the trigger here. The QB is into his motion and he just waits a half tick too long or it’s a pick-6 on the slant to the TE. Remember how on film Duke tries to get the ball to that TE on 3rd down either on a seam or a slant? The defensive coaches saw this as well and had the defense perfectly set to stop it. Shaq on the blitz and Pinck replaces into that zone. Had it. Absolutely had it.

“If you’re going to rush the passer you have to stay in your lane or you have to replace the defender if you want to stop Daniel Jones from punishing you by taking off and running.” Big play here by Jones as Garvin tried to jump inside and is easily sealed. Shaq takes a terrible angle and misses the QB badly on this play.

Mike Smith subs into the game and they run a WR screen. Smith rips the runner down by the facemask instead of making an easy tackle. It goes from being 3rd & 8 to a 15-yard penalty. Ugh. There is no one blocking him, just come under control and make the tackle.

3rd down for Duke and another huge play in this game. Everything is packed in tight and Miami anticipates the run. It’s a jump pass to the TE that the RB never should’ve thrown. Jaquan is fooled but a bad pass he gets his hand on. The ball pops up into the air and this turns into a completion. Sigh. There are only so many times you can ask your defense to make plays to bail you out before random variation gives you some bad luck. This ball would’ve been incomplete without a defense on the field but Jaquan just reacted and it goes right to the receiver.

2nd & goal and Duke trolls the defense and does a second jump pass to the same TE for a TD. That’s tough to stop because in the film review you saw they always ran that QB keeper with their backup in that situation. First time I’ve seen them throw that pass. (Not pictured)

I can tell you unequivocally that Miami’s defensive coaches watched film of Duke and were prepared for their offense. On this play, Duke is running that seam route that they love so much with their TE. I haven’t seen Miami do this on defense before now, as Garvin steps up on the snap and is supposed to jam the TE to re-route him so he doesn’t have a free release to the seam. Garvin obviously isn’t used to this and just completely misses the TE who simply stops like an okie-doke in basketball. Garvin nearly falls down, which also means he’s not rushing the passer. Duke hits this pass behind the LB’s for a big gain.

3rd & 10 and that delayed S blitz rears its head again for the Miami defense. QB has the ball already, Miami is sending 6 on the overload blitz. This is a high-risk play that leads to big plays for both teams, honestly. Pinckney makes the tackle on the slant and it’s a nice play, but it gets Duke close enough to go for it on 4th down. I’d have preferred Miami play a coverage that jumps the slant on that play as any yardage in that area increases the 4th down chances.

Luckily, Miami makes a huge play on 4th down and gets a tipped interception on the play plus a personal foul penalty on Duke. Miami is setup to steal a game they have made a million mistakes and have no business winning. Shaq with the huge play to have coverage and get the tipped pass.

3rd down and Miami has really scouted the tendencies of Duke and played great defense again. Shaq has the slant and underneath the TE. Redwine has bracket for the seam. Shaq jumps the pass and should’ve had an interception but can’t hold on. Still a nice play, just need to finish.

Dean’s problem since he’s been here has been his inability to find the football when it’s in the air.

Couple of things here: 1. Bandy has lost sight of the ball and is losing his assignment, which is to contain the edge. 2. Redwine saves us here. He recognizes the reverse right here and is already sprinting to that side of the field to give contain because Bandy has lost the leverage. Jaquan stays where he is supposed to as well and he actually makes the tackle when Redwine forces it back inside, but it’s Redwine who made this play and saved the day. Coaching staff deserves so much credit for the development they have made with Redwine (who deserves the most credit for the work obviously). FG Duke.

2nd down and not a fan of this defensive alignment if you’re going to put Jaquan on the LOS. Shaq needs to be a full two yards to his left on this play since you’ve got two for contain to his right. Tito is easily rooted out of the hole by #67 and the C gets to Shaq. Huge hole and run for the Duke RB. DT next year is looking ugly for this defense.

Duke grinds away at the clock and picks up a 3rd & 1 on the dive play. (Not pictured)

Bethel beats a block and gets into the backfield on 2nd & 7 for a big stop. An incompletion on 3rd down forces another punt. (Not pictured)

A lot to unpack in this game. Mistakes everywhere from Miami. Offense. Defense. Special Teams. Coaching. Mistakes just everywhere.

Defense we need to finish plays more often. We had a couple of huge chances to make interceptions and another play that Jaquan couldn’t finish on the ball popped into the air that led to a Duke TD. I’d like to be a tad more situationally aware on 3rd downs when it seems like the offense will go for it on 4th down and try to prevent some of those 8-yard plays on 3rd & 10. Other than that, DT is the biggest issue as after Willis we are really struggling to put a good product out there. Tito has taken hold of that 3rd DT role and he’s played just ok. Big penalty on Mike Smith for a facemask led to Duke points that wouldn’t have happened. The first play TD shouldn’t have happened if players stayed in their role on that play. When your offense is as poor as ours, preventing big plays is a huge key for the defense.

Special Teams- the Punting is a flat disaster. We have to roll with Feagles because Spicer simply doesn’t have the leg to punt at this level. The kicker is a true freshman needing to be rebuilt after high school woes. The coverage units are poor because we lack a lot of depth. It’s really vanilla in scheme as well, which it makes it easy for the return teams to attack with different wedge packages.

This year has turned into a disaster. The QB play is honestly worse than last year. That shouldn’t be happening for a team with a full-time QB coach on staff and three QB’s in the scheme from last year. The OL is most definitely worse. Scaife has hit a freshman wall and is absolutely uncertain in his technique out there. Jahair simply cannot be given any more snaps. Boulware is probably the best graded guard on the plays I’ve reviewed and he barely plays. He makes mistakes as well and maybe he misses assignments that aren’t recognizable without the line calls, but he definitely is the most active and athletic guard. Donaldson is great when asked to maul people downhill, but otherwise struggles.

For me, you play the young players and hope to get into a bowl because you need the extra practices. The year hasn’t gone the way we wished, but hopefully it is the dip before the surge and Richt’s recruits start becoming upperclassmen. If you made it this far, I truly appreciate you and your readership.

Comments (7)

On the punter note, didn't we just sign some Aussie punter last week?
Thanks Lance.

Think we could get Duke's QB to be our Punter?

Man next year the defense could be in trouble. Hope the Jr's stay and don't leave early.
Thanks Lance. Painful, but appreciated. To be making this many mistakes and mental errors, at this point during the season, is inexcusable. There's a guy who does this type of work for aTm, and the incredible turnaround he is pointing out under less than one year of Jimbo is incredible. That's coaching folks. Not sure what happened last year at FSU, but he will do well at TAMU.
Great work as usual, thanks. Don't know how you make yourself watch that crap more than once.
Great stuff. I know these get harder and harder to do when we are losing. I have a feeling next weeks Defensive Review will be very interesting seeing that we are playing GTECH and its all about assignment football.