Upon Further Review- Miami vs. FSU (Defense)

Upon Further Review- Miami vs. FSU (Defense)

Lance Roffers
Welcome back to Upon Further Review, where we will review the plays from the most recent Miami Hurricanes matchup. This week is the week of weeks; FSU week. If you’ve read my reviews in the past you know that I tend to write them in a way that is free from commentary or opinion, and mostly just what do I see on film. This week will be a little different. This week there will be venom. I will add my opinion and commentary and will leave it out of my portfolio for professional gigs.

This game was an absolute battle and exactly what you love to see in a rivalry game. Both teams played as hard as they could and it was truthfully a vicious game. On to the game.

From the very start both teams were trying to exert their dominance on the other one. Pre-game trash talk from both sides and you could just feel the energy in the stadium.

1st down we are firing off-the-snap and Garvin comes around the edge. Francois throws the stop-route and picks up only 2. (Not pictured)

2nd down and a play you saw a lot against UNC as well. When they go to a 4-wide double stack formation it generally means a screen pass to the side with fewer defenders. In this case, Michael Jackson is over there with Knowles playing off. We walk the striker over the other stack. Jackson gets absolutely stoned over there by the initial blocker and never does get off of it. Nayquan Wright battles for a 1st down and Jackson has to do a better job of turning his defender and getting off a block. No excuse for that play going for a 1st down as Garvin misses a tackle after 5, then Knowles gets carried for three yards. The coaching staff has reached a point where if they don’t see what I am seeing on tape then they are just being stubborn. Knowles is not a player that should be on the field on defense for Miami against Florida State. He just misses too many tackles and is not fast enough. Jackson won’t like seeing #15 take his lunch money on this play.

They bunch their WR’s to the field side with a trio bunched. Back WR steps back as if they’re going to throw the screen and Romeo Finley shoots upfield and plays it well. Francois has an RPO on this one with a pulling G. He decides to run to Garvin’s side expecting him to rush wide again, but Garvin stays disciplined and comes off the block and makes a tackle after 2. Pinckney did a great job of playing off a block and staying home in his lane. Caught us stunting Willis so this could be a big play if not for those two defenders making a play.

The play that Jaquan came out and they ran the swing pass up above that Knowles was way off the LOS (because he doesn’t trust his speed) is played much differently with Jaquan on the field. This time they show the stacks again and we walk the striker to the field side, but we also walk the SS to the boundary and leave Redwine single-high. Before the snap even took place I thought to myself they took that play away. Joe Jackson comes around the edge and sacks Francois. It’s just smart defense by Manny to try and take away the short/quick passes from Francois and give the DL time to get home.

3rd and 14 and this is an important play for both sides (we will see why for Miami later on). They run the middle screen to a TE out of 4-wide with an empty set. The Miami defense should’ve smelled a rat on this play because there is no way they are running long routes out of an empty set with that OL against our front. Pinckney is flat-footed here and lets the OL get to him. It was a great play call, honestly and it worked well.

1st down they run IZ (Inside Zone) and Willis gets washed down. Patrick has a lane and makes Michael Jackson miss. Jaquan pops him. Jaquan makes him an enormous difference on this defense when he is in there as an eraser on the back end getting people on the ground and giving time for others to get there on busted plays. (Not pictured)

Really, the one criticism I’ve had of Garvin this year is he struggles to find the football at times. He runs right by Patrick after the handoff and tackles the QB who doesn’t have the ball. Patrick runs for the 1st down. Patrick has been patient and tough in the early going against our defense.

1st TD for FSU and you can see the confusion that was caused by their motion into a bunch formation. FSU loves this bunch formation before motion, but the motion here causes Redwine, Romeo, and Bandy to still be talking about who they’re covering as the ball is halfway to Francois. That confusion leads to an easy score for Gavin underneath Bandy.

1st down and Pinckney knifes in perfectly and chops Patrick down in the backfield. (Not pictured)

These bunch sets are difficult to defend. If you stay back they get an easy 5 yards. Send someone flying towards the formation anticipating a screen (which it almost always is) and you’ve got a single-high S who has to defend that play deep if they run vertical. I’d defend it by walking Shaq out there as soon as they line up in the quad bunch. You’re better covered deep, if more exposed over the middle. They get 7 on the screen to the back receiver (Akers).

Akers whips Pinckney on an angle route over the middle. He fakes outside and Pinckney is jumping out there. Akers walks right behind him here for a first down. Great throw by Francois, who is cooking early. Tough to stop that if they’re going to execute it so perfectly.

Great job Shaq! As soon as they use their RB to chip Garvin, Shaq steps up into the outside gap so that the QB can’t run because he knows that the RB is not a threat to run a pass route if he’s blocking. Shaq comes clean and forces Francois to duck so that Joe Jackson can sack him. That’s Garvin impacting the game by requiring the defense to give him more attention and great job by Shaq of recognizing it immediately and going to the open area for a pressure which forces the QB to walk right into the sack. It is a good thing because #6 was wide open running down the sideline and would’ve had a big gain.

Next play we are baiting the slant and FSU runs a double slant right into it. If Francois throws the short slant Pinckney has a pick-6. He throws the second slant and while Mike Jackson let the WR cross his face, Jaquan is sitting on the seam and forces Francois to throw it a tad inside of the WR and Jackson tips it away. (Not pictured)

3rd down we play nickel and have Derrick Smith over inside slot, Bandy over middle, Dean over outside WR. Look who is playing MLB. That’s Michael Jackson, which is the first time I’ve seen us run this defense. He is going to cover the RB if he releases into a route because they’ve been killing us with RB routes. I’ve got to give credit to Manny Diaz, because he does not just stand by when something isn’t working. He will change and he will take chances. RB stays in to block and Mike Jackson just kind of presses up into pocket and tries to jump to block pass from Francois, which is wide.

7-7 Game now.

1st down we stunt and the DE takes an inside rush. Mike Smith has absolutely jumped to the wrong gap here. He has to protect the edge here. He trips over the bodies because he’s way too far inside. This is a give to Akers who runs around the edge for 9.

Tito takes #72’s soul here. Opens up Garvin for the crash on the RB. Mike Smith hits #75 so hard here it is actually his leg that tackles the RB before Garvin can smash. That’s why you take on a block full-force as a LB because a lot of times you can knock them back enough to either slow up or trip the RB in the hole.

Mano-E-Mano football right here. OL crashes down, Jaquan has to fill the cutback and he stays disciplined in case of a keep, then gets Akers down before the 1st down here. Beautiful individual effort. FSU had the bunch to the bottom of the screen and if they’d have thrown it they’d have easily gotten the 1st down.

1st down and Francois is smart on this play. He identifies that there is confusion in the Miami secondary. It’s not just that they’re communicating like this pre-snap, but it’s also giving away the coverage to that side as they’re pointing who they’re taking. Francois knows he has a route combination that is going to attack that type of coverage and throws a perfect ball on the skinny post.

You can see now that the routes have developed you have the clear-out route that Derrick Smith was covering to the middle of the field holding Redwine inside. He knows Jackson has 1-on-1 coverage and is playing outside technique, which means the skinny post will probably be open before the FS can get there. WR has to catch this ball. He’s going to get hit anyway, might as well catch it. Good that the secondary is communicating, but good QB’s can also identify little tips from it.

You saw us run a variation of this play earlier in the game but #75 is trapping the DT inside as they run outside zone out of shotgun. Patchan has to defeat this block quicker to impact this play (That’s a TE blocking him). The LT gets out and cuts Shaq, who really needs to avoid that block. Two pullers get our LB and Mike Jackson. Play goes for 6.

FSU runs a dive to Akers on 1st down and their interior doubles Bethel and they gain 2 yards. (Not pictured)

2nd down they run a stop-route with Gavin and it gets a 1st down. Bethel is getting owned at the LOS in this game. Never moved an inch. (Not pictured)

1st down and the OL stones the DL again. They stack their WR’s again and this time they take the shot that you knew was coming. It’s smart to take the shot with the WR that Jaquan will pass to and force him to turn and run. He does a great job but hobbles at the end. That hamstring is still bothering him and he immediately taps his helmet to come out and Carter comes in. (Not pictured)

2nd down and Shaq blitzes off-the-edge. Forces a QB keeper the other way out of Read-Option. Bethel just cannot get off a block in this game. That is a C-only blocking him on this play. Gives up a lane for Francois to run through and then tackles Shaq who is pursuing from the back-side. We need more from you, Bethel. Francois gets 6 as Bandy fills this hole tough like a LB. This is the play Francois gets hurt on. Love that kid.

They tried a tunnel screen to Akers on 3rd down and Pinckney reverses field and pursues in a flash. Everybody running to the ball on this defense. FG.

1st down and Patchan gets wham blocked by a TE again. They run behind it and Amari Carter makes a nice tackle in the hole. Jaquan still out. (Not pictured)

2nd down and Willis blows up the middle of the line and stuffs a run with Pinckney after 1. (Not pictured)

3rd down and Knowles is in the game for Carter. For me, I just don’t understand why you’re bringing backups into the game on the most important downs. We line Derrick Smith up as the MLB and walk Pinckney up to the LOS on boundary edge. Knowles is standing right behind the MLB on the hash mark to take the seam if they release the TE. The play goes to the field side of the formation and Patrick is hit after a gain of 1. Knowles misses the tackle and the RB falls forward for the first down on 3rd & 4. I’m not sure what Knowles is looking at because the edge is what is open here once Patchan crashes for the cutback.

1st down and this is an amazing play by Pinckney. I didn’t see it live, but look at the helmet just on the other side of the LOS here. This is Pinckney literally launching himself into that gap and he gets the RB’s foot as he’s running through this giant hole. Stops him after 2 when it could’ve been big. Knowles was out on that down so they brought him into the game for one play and it was a 3rd & short. Makes no sense to me.

Next play and Mike Smith completely takes himself out of this play. He was initially two yards to his right and directly in this hole. He shuffles to his left and leaves this gap completely open (he has to be on the other side of #54 on this play). Tito is absolutely abused by #70 on this play and moved right out of the gap against his will. McKitty blocking Joe Jackson head-up on the edge is not good enough either (though he’s got a fist-full of jersey). Patrick runs through this for the 1st down.

This is the TD pass to Terry. We bail Mike Jackson out and play zone behind it. Francois stares this down the whole time and this has to be a gift pick-6. If he sees the QB stare it down and drives on the ball it’s a house call. These are the plays you need from Redwine. The ball is in flight here. Just jump it. Take the ball Redwine. Instead he compounds the problem by missing the tackle and the WR scores. Redwine has his hands on his helmet because he knows how badly he played that ball. Francois comes over and talks trash afterwards to Redwine as well.


1st down for FSU and we stunt Garvin all the way across the field and he never gets anywhere near the CB. Francois throws the ball up and Mike Jackson was playing outside technique and a great catch by Terry. (Not pictured)

2nd down and just a pure speed rush from Garvin, who sacks Francois. FSU spikes it and kicks a 53-yard FG. (Not pictured)

Start of second half. Not sure what Francois is looking at other than maybe just trying to throw a ball up for his WR to make a play. Mike Jackson is right in his pocket and this could’ve easily been picked off.

Zone read give to Akers. Patchan stays home on the edge, Pinckney fills his gap hard, Bethel gets immediate inside pressure. 1-yard. 3rd down and Joe Jackson beats the LT around the edge immediately and forces an early throw. The back shoulder to the outside was probably there if he had a bit more time. Punt. Amari Carter almost blocked it. (Not pictured)

It is now 27-7 FSU. At least the rest of the review they don't score.

I was going to put Shaq on blast for not filling the hole that Akers run right through, but Shaq is absolutely mauled and I can’t believe this wasn’t called a hold. Two hands full of jersey.

1st down and Garvin reads the screen and gets his hands up and almost had a pick-6 after he knocked it into the air. (Not pictured)

2nd down, inside give to Akers who runs a counter to the side of the unblocked Edge. Garvin misses the tackle but Miami gets him down after 5. FSU has run a lot of new wrinkles to their run game in this one. (Not pictured)

3rd down is a play that I absolutely believe is perhaps the biggest play of this entire game. It’s a stop route on the outside completed for a 1st down. Derrick Smith comes in and makes a foolish targeting penalty and is ejected. There is a holding call that offsets the penalty and re-plays the down. Think about why I believe this is THE PLAY that could’ve ended this game. Without the holding call FSU now has a first down on the catch at the 37. Add the 15-yards to the play and they are in Miami’s territory, with a 1st down, 20-point lead, and have driven off of their own 6-yard line. It was absolutely holding and Garvin sacks him if he doesn’t hold, but I’ve shown they’ve missed those calls already this game. (Not pictured)

Replay 3rd down and boom. Redwine played this PERFECTLY. He knew he was blitzing, but instead of blitzing from 30-yards away, he is just walking towards the LOS without giving away the play. As soon as it’s snapped he turns on the jets, lets Romeo Finley go wide, cuts inside of him and lays the wood. It’s the start of the end for FSU and it doesn’t happen without the holding penalty on the play before. Game. On.

Garvin destroys his man and forces Francois to step up. Bethel comes off his man and sacks him when he steps up. I got on Bethel earlier for having a rough game but he’s shown up second half. (Not pictured)

I highlighted this play earlier and said we would see it again. Well, here it is. The middle screen to the TE. Remember last time when Pinckney just stops because he wasn’t sure what he was seeing? Look at the difference this time. He sees it now and trusts himself. The last time that OL got to him and that was the key to the whole play. This time, he doesn’t let that happen and not only breaks it up, he intercepts it. He walks into the end zone if he doesn’t trip over his feet, but we will take it. Francois still has the ball and Pinckney is in a full-on sprint already. Francois and McKitty are fighting afterwards about McKitty needing to float more into the middle of the field but Francois is just mad that he got got.

Tried to pull RG across and get to Willis but he’s just too big and fast and blows through and sacks Francois on the designed QB run. Crowd is as hyped as any play since Bandy and ND. (Not pictured)

2nd down and Mike Smith audibles the defense for the LB’s. He threatens an A gap blitz and while he’s doing so they snap the ball and he effectively blocks Willis who was trying to get off-the-ball. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before. Funny because we still win the game. Right in the middle of the field you can see him. Just a lot of poor execution in this game. Honestly, it’s probably why Francois runs for 13 yards on this play because Smith is knocked down almost and then tries to scramble back into his zone and never gets his right place. So many little things can wreck an entire play.

I’ve written a lot in the past about asking players to do what they’re good at and limit what they’re not so great at. Big 3rd down after Mike Smith just blocked himself and your star DT and he’s out again in coverage. This is a simple under zone where the LB’s drop out. There is no reason that Mike Smith should have his back turned on this play. He should be just like Finley on this play and watching the QB. He could’ve driven on this play if he was dropping correctly. He’s a converted pass rusher and it really shows on plays like this. Easy completion to McKitty.

It is a good thing that Mike Smith knocks the ball out here from Rasul because if he doesn’t after missing this tackle Rasul has an easy 1st down and maybe more with his speed. We had Ford and Tito in at DT on this play along with Patchan at DE and Mike Smith at MLB. Game is 27-21 and we have the crowd rocking. I just do not agree with playing almost a 2nd string defense in this situation.

I talked earlier about jumping the route if you see it when Redwine gave up a TD earlier in the game. Here Jaquan is doing exactly what I asked and jumping this route. Ball goes through his hands as he was just a tick late to see it and react. Big call to overturn this one as they originally called targeting.

Run an inside screen and Amari Carter sees it so quickly and explodes forward. The reason I believe you do not simply take a slow corner and move him to S is for this reason right here. Speed at S actually allows you to make plays on the swing passes and inside screens that spread offenses run nowadays. He crushes this dude for a TFL. Great play by 5.

Bad play by Shaq, who completely overruns this. His gap is the one Akers is cutting back through and the bottom is Pinckney’s. This goes for a 1st down.

1st down they run the swing pass to Matthews and McCloud reacts quickly and forces him back inside to help. Only 3. (Not pictured)

2nd down, same play to the other side and Bandy bites so hard. Leaves his man completely open and it’s an uncontested TD, but we all know it was forward. The pass was forward. It was 6” forward. The rule book does not say, “you can double pass if you only pass the first one a few inches forward.” It says, you cannot throw two passes forward and that’s what they do. Not sure where the vitriol is for that play. Miami still would’ve won this game even if they don’t throw the flag, but they did and they should have.

Michael Jackson was ticked on the busted coverage to Matthews on 3rd & 12. Romeo Finley got lost and didn’t stay out wide where he was supposed to. Mad FSU fans completely forget that they had the ball with a 1st down inside our 30 here on the next play.

Inside give to Akers gets nothing. (Not pictured)

Spied Francois with Shaq on 2nd and he makes a nice open-field tackle to save the 1st down after 4. 3rd down and McKitty runs straight at Carter who gives him a jam at the stem of his route. It stops McKitty from getting into his route on time and the throw is wide. Like his physicality. McKitty really would’ve been great to have here. (Not pictured)

FG is not wide left, it was wide, wide left. (Not pictured)

Miami leads 28-27.

IZ and Garvin plays the read-option perfectly and then makes a play. (Not pictured)

2nd down and Joe Jackson blows by Francois and forces an absolute fumble. Bethel recovers. Replay robs us and they overturn it, but it was absolutely a fumble. What I noticed and thought was hilarious is look at the look on Francois’ face to his LT. Like, “seriously dude?” His LT won’t even look at him and Pinckney is letting him know about it.

3rd down play and it is an amazing play by Pinckney who is spying the QB and he reads the eyes of the QB and gets his hand on this one at the last second. Finley is completely confused on what he is supposed to be doing as he threw his hands up at least twice before the pass not sure what he had. He is supposed to be another three yards downfield defending the sticks on the seam but he’s not. If Pinckney doesn’t get his finger on this ball you are looking at a HUGE play to McKitty. Finley is covering nothing.

1st down and Tito is sealed by the OL way too easily and Akers cuts back for 8. (Not pictured)

I highlight this to show another element that Jaquan brings to the defense. Here he is screaming at Shaq to move two yards over as he is too far inside. He knows the play that is coming because immediately after running in and yelling at Shaq, he shoots off that and sets the edge and Joe Jackson makes a big TFL on the OZ run. Tito gets off a block and gets in on the play.

3rd &5 they try to throw a back-shoulder pass against Mike Jackson and it’s incomplete. Live I thought Jackson was grabbing onto the WR but in reality, Terry actually has a hold of Jackson’s facemask so he can’t turn and find the football. That should’ve been a call on Terry, honestly. Jackson was telling the official as much. (Not pictured because I couldn’t get a clear picture)

1st down and Willis visibly shocks the OL with his punch. He grabs the RB behind the line and Pinckney helps get him down for a TFL. (Not pictured)

2nd down and live you think this is an errant throw to McKitty but Francois sees Shaq is in the throwing lane jumping the slant at the last second and throws it outside or this is a pick-6.

Garvin throws a jab-step to the outside and a hard step inside on the RT that he’s been saving for a big moment and on 3rd & 12 he hits Francois hard enough to knock his helmet off and he fumbles the ball out-of-bounds. Whistle is blown when his helmet comes off. (Not pictured)

For the coaches; Richt has had a lot of trouble winning big games in his career. Keep in mind it’s hard to win games against good teams, but in this one he was absolutely not afraid. We went for it on 4th down repeatedly. He simply didn’t want FG’s in this game. First TD came on 4th down. Second TD came on 4th down. We went for it on 4th down just before halftime. We went for it on 4th down with 2:13 to go in the game when a FG means only a TD can beat you. My point is that Coach Richt was not one bit afraid in this game. The defense was not one bit afraid in this game either. FSU got some points early on and were gifted a punt return TD, but this defense bowed their necks and allowed the offense to bring us back. Many kudos to them on their effort.

I posted it on offense, but I want to be sure and say it again. Finally, thank you to this young man. Ahmonn Richards gave his career to this team and this program and this game. At the end of the game, in spite of all that, he’s the first one to find Perry and give him love.

Comments (16)

Discipline is going to be even more important this week. Running QBs are nightmares to deal with
Was noting in another thread it's a shame Redwine didn't break on that ball as a pick 6 there would have subdued the Noles before half time.
Amazing work man. Good closing with Richt and Ahmmon as well.
Good stuff! I thought on that second TD we had it covered when I saw it. Redwine needs to make that a house call. I bet he was mad when he reviewed that play
Not sure if it has been said on another thread but reading this made me remember, Dean played a lot of snaps and not once was I ****ed off because he blew coverage. In a game like this where Free Shoes has so much speed with their playmakers it's great to be able to put Bandy in the slot when we're being spread out or even switch it up and put Mike Jack at MLB, trusting Dean will do his job on the boundary. Wouldn't mind seeing that look in the future on 3rd&Ls when teams are stacking receivers all to one side.

Mike Smith's best game will likely come against GT again. Kid is tenacious in assignment, downhill run support as much as he's a liability covering the pass in space.

Similar to OL, a little too much subbing is happening and at untimely times like you mentioned. Big moments demand your best players even when they're a bit tired. Isn't that why we do mat drills? To teach them to finish strong even when the body is ready to quit?
Jaquan Johnson is a football gawd! He does so much for this team from leadership, to lining people up to playing like the AA he is. He is THE MAN out there. STUD!

Go Canes!
Great as always. Personally, I like the offense and defensive reviews together...keeps you in the flow of the game with a better sense of what's going on at the time, but I'll take it any which way you serve it. Thanks.
Great as always. Personally, I like the offense and defensive reviews together...keeps you in the flow of the game with a better sense of what's going on at the time, but I'll take it any which way you serve it. Thanks.

Like most things, I've gotten feedback both ways. Some like it together, the majority like it separated.

Thanks for the nice comments.