Upon Further Review- Miami vs VT (1st Half)

Upon Further Review- Miami vs VT (1st Half)

Lance Roffers
Welcome back to Upon Further Review, where each week we will be reviewing the previous weeks’ Miami game on film. The heavens have showed favor on us poor Miami souls this week, as Miami gets a victory- one that many felt would not happen. Some players grew up this week, and some familiar issues showed their face as well. Sit back, grab a cold drink, and take a ride with through the ups and downs of Miami football.

Kickoff to Virginia Tech and no one can say that the coaching staff isn’t fired up for walk-on James Murphy making another special teams’ tackle. Who is that? Hartley?

1st down and Tito got the start over Bethel at DT. VT runs fly sweep motion and the QB keeps it. Willis holds him up and Romeo lays a hit on him. That’s key to slowing down the QB keepers is to come up and hit him hard at every chance you get. Romeo certainly did that on play one. (Not pictured)

2nd down and they run a dive that Odenigbo plugs up and the LB cleans up. (Not pictured)

3rd down is one of those familiar plays where Miami just doesn’t run things smoothly. We run that delayed S blitz that I’m just not a fan of. To make matters worse, we also blitz Bandy on the play and Redwine runs directly into the back of Bandy and effectively takes out both of them. We stunt the ends and there’s just nothing there as far as pressure goes on the QB. That leaves an easy play for VT to convert. Manny has done a solid job this year but sometimes he gets a little too creative for his own good. Our defensive players are simply better than VT’s. Let them make plays and get off the field on 3rd-and-long.

Next play is just too easy for the offense. They get the exact look they’re hoping for on this play where the slot gets a free release into the seam and the FS is playing inside. If we don’t have Romeo bump this receiver inside then Redwine is going to have a really hard time providing run support on the fake and getting back to the seam route on the slot. Also, we are again stunting Joe Jackson inside on the play. VT has a true freshman LT, let Jackson get singled up on the kid and let him eat. Watch the technique that VT is using on this play to handle this stunt. I’d like for the Miami OL coaches to take note. Their C has head up and is looking for stunters but he ALSO has the long arm on the DT matched up with the RG to give help on the inside shoulder and is waiting for the DE stunting to come right to him. Notice the C also has his other arm pushing the DT towards the double-block on the edge. He has a sort of red-rover arm-lock going on where he is impacting three different defenders without doing anything superhuman.

Redwine is peeking way too hard though and should’ve identified his man much sooner than this. The QB has completed the fake and is even starting his stride before Redwine has even identified his man running by the seam. The play goes down to the 13-yard line and it’s due to Redwine not maintaining eye discipline. This is the play that Bandy gets banged up on.

I will give props to the VT OL coach, he truly has them working as one unit. Look at this beautiful symmetry as they run this screen call to perfection. From the first shot you would never be able to tell this is a screen and yet they are all in concert together to move to the next level at the exact same time. It’s just excellent.

Joe Jackson realizes it, but just a second too late and the pass gets over his head and the runner walks into the end zone completely untouched. First shot every OL was inside the hash and on the second they’re all outside the hash but have the same spacing and assignment discipline.

1st play of the game and let’s be honest; it’s embarrassing to have to call a timeout. Some of that is on Perry who has to learn how to manipulate a huddle. It was a bit of a joke when Adam Gase praised Brock Osweiler and his “huddle etiquette” but that’s a true skill for a QB to be able to have a total command of the offense and LOS procedure skills. Perry needs to get to where he understands the offense so completely he is in total command of everyone’s responsibilities and what are the options off of everything.

Miami runs a screen on their first play and notice the difference in the way we run it with the way VT runs it. VT was running action away from where the screen was headed. Our OL is pushing defenders towards where the screen is running and creating traffic for defenders to use their keys on the G’s as well.

Now notice all the separation in the OL after the receiver catches the screen. It still could’ve been a big play if the OL got their blocks on the edge.

Neither one blocked a soul. Mahoney, how are you going to get out ahead of everyone on this play and not block the dude right by you? Donaldson just isn’t athletic enough to make the block but at least he tried. The guy who actually tackles Brevin was Scaife’s man from the entire other side of the field. You can see him in the first screen shot and how far he has to run. It is amazing how much this OL costs the team on plays that could be huge.

VT run blitzes on second down and it just defeats the play design. You can see Mallory is supposed to wham block on #9 and he just blitzes immediately. That’s a tough block to ask Mallory to get to in my mind. We really should think about adjusting the scheme to ask Mallory to block as little as possible because he just isn’t good at it. FB takes the SAM and Donaldson or Mahoney takes the Mike depending on where the DL go. It’s IZ and that’s where the “zone” part of things comes into play for the OL. They aren’t designated to take any single player, but rather a zone. #9 just runs unabated to the RB and smashes him.

3rd & 8 and I see you big Donaldson! We run a little outside screen and Donaldson gets onto his man and bullies him so badly the VT coaches wanted a personal foul. Kept driving his legs and playing physical and Homer isn’t touched until he’s past the 1st down. Please keep giving Perry these easy completions that keep the chains moving. You’ll never go broke taking a profit- especially a Miami offense. Donaldson is still owning his man at the 40-yard line here and Homer is out-of-bounds. That dude even ended up on the ground.

I will say this; Wiggins has to catch this ball. It’s thrown softly and he has time to adjust and catch it. But, this is honestly a poor throw. He’s taking Wiggins away his mark and forcing him to dip towards the sideline. If Perry leads his receiver into the MOF a little bit here this is an easy catch that he can run under and not make an over-the-shoulder catch away from his line. He throws this on the ACC marker and it’s an easy play.

Come back and Miami takes the free money. Thank you Coach for finally deciding that this is something to exploit all game if they’re not going to stop it. High completion passes, almost guaranteed 4-5 yards, possible big plays. The reason why I say almost is because sometimes players like Cager just drop the pass. They said it was a poor pass, but I like the velocity that Perry puts on these as it gives the receiver more time to make moves.

When you run verticals all the time on 3rd-and-long the defense gets comfortable playing it. Look at the top of the screen and tell me a stop route wouldn’t pick up that 1st down with #17’s hips opened up to run. Try to run another seam route that is a tough completion for the QB. Luckily, a flag is thrown on the play and the drive continues.

1st down we run a zone read and Mahoney blocks no one. Seriously he does an entire pirouette without ever blocking anyone. If he’s going to release to the second level and do his arm-over move at least smash the DT in the side first. We asked Mallory to block head-up on the edge and it’s just putting your player in a position to fail. He can’t block right now. Quit asking him to. If you’ve got a play you want to run with Brevin blocking and Brevin goes out, tear that play out of your playbook. Donaldson loses on his block, but how do they not call this clear as day facemask?

Just another play from your Miami Hurricanes OL. Look at Scaife blocking Donaldson to the ground here. Gauthier absolutely destroyed from the start of the snap. Loss on the run. And seriously…stop asking Mallory to block, he hasn’t had a successful block in the game yet.

3rd & 11 and it’s probably the throw of the year from a Miami QB. It’s certainly on the list, anyway. We run the same switch concept that we run every 3rd & long and VT defends it perfectly but Perry stands in there, takes a hit from a free blitzer, puts the ball right on Cager in the seam and Cager tried to drop it, but double-caught it for a gain of 33. @romancane detailed it in his post, so not pictured.

Don’t you wish that Donaldson would shove this LB who already has his momentum going away from the cutback and then get out on the SAM on this play? The SAM is unblocked in this scheme and comes up and tackles Homer. You’ve got four OL blocking three defenders and no one blocking the SAM or the Mike.

They called this a hold on Gray. He punches in the chest, the defender comes up and knocks his arms, Gray keeps driving and puts the dude straight on his back. That’s a pancake and is truthfully not even close to a hold.

Last year we ran a mid-line read for the first time on the season and Tim Settle had all kinds of trouble with it. We hit big plays behind him twice off of that play, but this year not so much. A mid-line read is just reading the DT rather than the edge player, so you leave the DT unblocked rather than the edge man. Mahoney did an arm-over swim against the DT and he must’ve taken that as a tell that it was a mid-line read because he just did a beeline to the QB. If Perry does give the ball the RB could run right by the DT because he’s going for the QB, but the read is to pull and expect the DT to stop and block himself, but he didn’t do that. Don’t listen to anyone on Twitter who tells you Mahoney messed up on this play because he didn’t. The defense just won the play. Big loss.

3rd & forever and we run the give-up dive playing for the FG. At least we made it. (Not pictured)

We defend the jet sweep motion the same way every time by dropping the S to motion side down into the box and motion the opposite S into single-high. WLB has to be more aggressive on this play rather than staying back (he’s worried about getting beaten in pass coverage. The other two LB’s have backside pursuit, the SAM has to fill hard here and force the runner to bubble away from the LOS and round the edge rather than having a flat angle to the edge. By staying back here, the WLB (Mike Smith) opens himself up to a wham block by #14. When that receiver rounds this off like this, Mike Jackson has to come down and protect the edge but he’s worried about the wheel route from the RB so I’m ok with him playing it safe and not giving up a TD there if they do happen to pull it and run the wheel.

2nd down and the dive picks up the 1st down. (Not pictured)

1st down and VT tries to throw a swing pass and it’s incomplete. (Not pictured)

2nd down and VT has watched a lot of Miami film where they see the DE’s get upfield and wide, which opens huge rushing lanes if the defense doesn’t replace. VT runs an inside counter run to the backside after letting J. Jackson get upfield. On this play Miami is sound in their rush lanes and Willis comes over and replaces the gap. Willis re-traces and gets the runner down after no gain with help from Shaq. You can see Redwine and Finley have the cutback to the top of the screen defended.

Watching it live on this play I was ticked, thinking how the heck are they going to call an offsides on a DB. Well, because he’s way offsides. Just lined up that way. Bad mistake by one of my favorite players.

3rd & 4 and they try to move the pocket and Bandy has good coverage over there. Shaq knifes through the protection and pressures the QB into a throwaway. (Not pictured)

1st down and here is a play I want to praise; I can’t sit here and throw shade at the playbook all game and then not give praise when I see something I like. Mallory running a little out route threatens that flat area of the field. Wiggins is running an in-cutting route behind the LB’s (and getting absolutely held by the defender, but let’s not worry about his jersey nearly getting ripped off). You have a shallow cross from the top of the screen and then the HB threatening the flat area to the field side, which draws up that LB. We run a stop route to the top of the formation and Perry is on-time as you can see he is starting his motion before the receiver even turns around. 1st down as Pope gets his first career reception.

1st down and again a protection breakdown. I talked earlier about huddle etiquette etc. and this is another example of how it limits the offense. Gauthier makes all the line calls and determines when to snap the ball. Generally, this is something the QB will do after everyone gets set and he surveys the defense. It allows for a wider range of calls because once the C makes the call, it is up to him to decide when to snap it, rather than the QB deciding that with cadence. As you can see in this screen shot, VT shifted their defense after the initial line call was made and the result is a free rusher right into Perry and Mahoney blocking no one (by the way, look for work Mahoney!). It’s too bad because Pope is coming wide open into the MOF on this play if Perry can hold the ball. Perry doesn’t have his feet set on this throw and the ball sails over the receiver’s head (he needs to hit that throw in all honesty). Hopefully as Perry grows, we will allow him to start making the line calls and doing a cadence rather than the clapping silent count. It will disrupt the timing of the defense a bit more and allow for better protections- even if you allow Gauthier to keep the line calls, he needs to be able to change them.

Another CB blitz that is completely missed. Perry has to recognize this blitzer and throw it to Mallory hot. Additionally, I believe St. Louis missed his assignment here. You always block inside-out and the SAM is blitzing right by St. Louis here who has all of his attention on the CB blitzing (interesting that St. Louis sees the CB blitz the whole way, but the QB never sees it at all. Call it out/point it out if you see it St. Louis). Easy sack. If St. Louis takes the SAM, Perry has another half-second before the CB can get there. Mahoney got beaten on the play as well so Perry couldn’t step up.

I truly believe that Perry is the guy to lead the offense right now, but there is still serious development to be had. He’s shelling up here and dropping his eyes without real pressure. When a QB starts looking at the rush rather than his receivers bad things start happening. This play is there. Mallory is wide open right now and Perry has plenty of time to deliver the ball. Yes, Gauthier was whipped again right at the snap, but Donaldson comes across and whipes him out (he knocked him clean down and Perry could’ve had a Coke back there). Mallory has an easy 1st down and a lot more on this play. #23 doesn’t even know that Mallory is running through the seam so he’s not a threat.

Spicer is a really bad punter. He gets no height on his punts. That has been a disaster all year long. (Not pictured)

1st down and Willis keeps for a small gain. Garvin played it well. 2nd down and we blitz M. Jackson off the edge and they run a read option right into it. M Jax tackles him for a loss. (Not pictured)

3rd down they run motion and Amari Carter follows him, which signifies man-to-man. They try to run the motion man deep and then the outside receiver cuts back across underneath in a shallow cross and Carter sees it immediately and is all over him. They dump it to him but it’s nowhere near a 1st down. Great play, Amari. Shaq sees a TE coming out and recognizes that he’s going to block and just sets a hard edge that the receiver has to go around and it just shows Shaq’s high football IQ. By the way, it’s not OPI for blocking downfield because the ball is thrown behind the LOS. (Not pictured)

VT does that low, line-drive rugby style punt that we pulled off against Duke and it hits Knowles. Homer is quick to recognize it and jumps on it to save disaster. (Not pictured)

1st down we run that mid-line read of the DT again and this time the DT hits the RB and the QB keeps it. VT brought a S on a run blitz and he is right there to drill the QB. Donaldson is the one who lets him go this time, rather than Mahoney, but I promise you it is by design.

2nd down and they start utilizing the bubbles. Wiggins gets this one and it goes for 9. VT is putting 8 in the box on just about every play and that means the defenders on the outside are going to give more cushion because they have one safety down in the box. Miami takes advantage of the free money and just throws the bubble. This is a small thing, but it’s an easy thing. Every defensive decision has a downside, otherwise there wouldn’t be a decision at all, everyone would do it. If you want to load up the box to stop the run, that will leave your secondary on an island. Punish them for it. Slot defender is 18-yards off Wiggins. There has to be a fee for that and Miami charges it.

The 3rd & 1 play isn’t going to help Homer with Cam Davis coming for more touches. Watch the OL just caving everything inside here. VT has an edge defender but Mallory is coming across the formation for the wham block here. Homer has to know his read on this play is to let Mallory clear and cut right off his hip. He has an enormous, truck sized hole to cut through on this play but he runs right into the back of Donaldson on this play. The OL absolutely did their job on this play and their RB failed them.

Look at this hole to cut into for this easy conversion if he just has the patience.

1st down and M Jax is physical with the receiver on the Sluggo route (Sland-and-Go). Crowd wants PI, but really it’s just good coverage as he got his head around to find the ball. (Not pictured)

2nd down and the QB expected Shaq to take the cheese on #14 here. Instead, he reads the QB’s eyes and jumps the slant. QB throws it right to him. I’ve been critical in the past about Shaq needing to make more big plays but the past several weeks he has sacks, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, and interceptions. Big-time player puts his offense at the 4-yard line.

Miami with the ball inside the 5-yard line you know it’s coming at some point. Miami elects to go for the fade on 1st down and Langham makes a crazy one-handed catch for the TD.

Comments (7)

Fake the inside give on 1st down with the HB coming across for the wham block. Three Miami defenders run right by the H-back who slips out for the dumpoff and picks up a 1st down. (Not pictured)

1st down and Joe Jackson does a quick rip move to knock the hands off from the LT and then bends the edge to get to the QB. He has that massive elbow brace on his arm the last few weeks and that’s impacted his hand usage a bit as a pass rusher, but he was able to easily beat the LT on this play for a sack. (Not pictured)

2nd down and Mike Smith is reading his keys with the pulling G & T on this play. I wish he had seen that the C is trying to release onto the MLB here because he picks the wrong gap. He goes around Willis here, which is not his gap since Willis/Garvin have the edge and B gap. If he attacks the gap off the right hip of the C, this play goes for nil. Instead it gets 7 because the C gets on Shaq. At least it was an error of aggression.

Dean is in perfect position on this play but he just panics. Take another step inside the WR here and either knock the pass down or intercept it. Instead he runs through the receiver- who wasn’t going to catch this pass either way.

Next play was the big hit Jaquan put on the RB after the wheel route. They somehow decided to review it for targeting, which was crazy. (Not pictured)

The QB takes this play all the way to the 33-yard line after some very poor tackling. Even Jaquan missed a tackle and he’s normally a very sure tackler.

Next play they run the jet sweep and Mike Smith makes a very nice play on the edge after fighting off a block. Great job. (Not pictured)

2nd down and they throw a deep pass that Dean does a nice job of getting up and knocking the ball out of the receivers’ hands. Receiver might’ve seen Finley coming to take his head off as well. (Not pictured)

3rd and 9 and VT runs an inside counter draw and it’s a really good play call against the defense we have on. We have an overload blitz to the field side of the play. We are sending Carter, Shaq, and we dropped Redwine into the box. Because we have so many bodies coming to the field side, McCloud has to maintain eye discipline to the boundary. He gets caught peeking at the RB to the left of the QB and tries to dip inside of the RG- which is exactly what he wants him to do. He easily seals McCloud inside and the RB has a clear lane to pick up the 1st down. If McCloud protects the cutback like he’s supposed to, he delays this run long enough for the cavalry to arrive and they’re trying a FG.

Inside dive stopped by Garvin. (Not pictured)

It’s obvious that the defensive staff wanted to overload blitz VT’s offense from the field side early in the game. VT must’ve shown something on tape for them to believe they could exploit that, but just about every time they’ve tried it, VT has beaten them with a counter or a blitz beater outside. I was watching this play live and I said it was a TD before they handed it off because they had the defense completely outleveraged due to the overload blitz up top. Not only do they have free rushers coming from the wrong of the play, they dropped the S down into the box and sent him on a blitz and replaced him to the field side as well, so there was no S to provide help on this play. Sometimes the other team just wins the play. Mike Smith did overrun the play though.

If Jahair Jones gets this block this is probably a very nice run. Instead he comes off Jones’ block and forces Dallas to bounce wide and it only goes for 4. How Jones continues to play over Boulware, I’ll never understand.

2nd down we run the bubble to Harley. Mike is a great blocker, but he leaves quite a few yards on the field as a runner-after-catch guy. He lacks that instant acceleration and tackle breaking that Thomas has. (Not pictured)

3rd & 1 and Miami goes for a tendency breaker. Everyone knows Miami likes to run the dive on 3rd-and-short, but on this one we send Thomas deep and he gets open but the defender tackles him. (Not pictured)

1st down and you see another situation where Miami just gives back free money. This is an automatic snap me the ball call. #9 wants to walk over and fake that blitz? Ok, thank you. Look at that space between the receiver and defender. I’m standing up immediately and throwing that ball to the WR. He’s got 13 yards space here. Just throw it to him. Have a built-in audible to the WR here. If the receiver catches the pass, what is this, guaranteed five yards? Possibly a TD because he has to beat one guy to the outside and he’s gone.

Instead, the offense acts as though they can’t see this blitzer off the edge. Perry gets sacked for a huge loss, he tries to throw it away and it pops up into the air and very fortunately lands right back in his arms. For me, this is Miami just making the game so much harder than it needs to be. The drive is effectively over when a play like this happens and you didn’t even need to do it. Just recognize easy matchups and take advantage. Punish the defense. Additionally, I do not like asking Perry to turn his back on the fake. It is why he was in this position here, where he cannot throw, because he had to turn his back to the defense and then spin back around and get setup to throw.

Next play VT runs a cover-2 and he had Cager in that honey spot past the CB and in front of the S, but it’s a hard throw and Perry overthrew it badly. (Not pictured)

3rd down we just dump it off to Dallas and it’s punt time. The punt game has gotten so bad we are now rugby style punting the ball. (Not pictured)

VT runs a QB draw on 1st down and picks up 8. Next play, the team that beats itself does it again, this time with an offsides penalty. (Not pictured)

Bandy is beaten on the slant, but look at that punch to knock it out. Just a straight baller at CB.

If a team has an incompletion on 1st down, the percentage they run the ball on 2nd down is well over 70%. VT does it on this play and picks up 2. If an offense is going to pass it on 1st down and get an incompletion, they really need to commit to throwing it again if they want to have a successful play. (Not pictured)

3rd down and Joe Jackson knocks the RB down as he tries to release into a pass pattern. They throw a square-in behind it but the play is overturned on replay and it’s 4th down. VT has had a lot of success thus far on 3rd-and-long and Miami just got lucky there. What I want to know is what is this guy looking at? Why did this need to go to a replay? He’s staring right at it.

Miami has a 1st down and the left-side of the OL successfully handled a stunt with Mahoney and St. Louis. I still haven’t seen Jahair handle one this season. Perry throws into double coverage for Pope deep on the play. Incomplete. (Not pictured)

Next play and I mentioned how often teams run the ball after an incompletion on 1st down. Miami eschews this trend and throws the bubble to Mallory, who picks up 9. (Not pictured)

You hope the Miami coaches see this one here. First, Mallory cannot block, you have to stop asking him to do so. Second, VT is stacking everything in the box on this play and there is nowhere for the RB to go. Third, VT does not respect the QB keep at all. Look at #9 crashing here. If Perry keeps this ball and does a naked bootleg he would’ve run for days. If Miami wants to improve on offense, they are going to have to start having Perry run the football.

VT tries a slip screen on 1st down and Shaq is having none of that. He makes the TFL. Another big play for the big-time player. (Not pictured)

Mike Jackson is great on outside breaking or deep passes, but tends to struggle on slants and in-breaking routes. The receiver gets open on him but he digs the ball out or it’s a big play on 2nd down. (Not pictured)

Amari Carter played his best game as a Cane in this contest. Here he is with outstanding coverage on the TE who had beaten us up on the day. He undercuts it and gets a hand on the ball after getting his head around. He can undercut the route because he knows he has Jaquan deep. Perfect.

Will Mallory is a recruit I was absolutely stoked to get. A player his size, with his movement skills and athleticism lends itself to being an All-American pass catcher. He can’t block, so quit asking him to. On this play they get him into an out-route and he does an outstanding job of using his off arm to knock the defenders arm off of him trying to make a tackle and gets 8-yards after-the-catch. Get him healthy and use him effectively and he can be a star.

Next play they hit in the flats again. They throw to him again on the next play and it’s a bad pass and Mallory gets bent over and injured. (Not pictured)

3rd & 4 and they throw the bubble to Jeff Thomas for a 1st down. Cager and Harley get their blocks and he picks it up easily. (Not pictured)

Run the bubble to the other side and Thomas’ natural athleticism takes over and he picks up another 1st down. Make. Teams. Stop. Him. (Not pictured)

You tell me if the bubble action is getting VT’s attention. Look at the CB screaming up here. #23 is wider than he’d normally be because of the bubble action. Miami sees a spread out 6-man box? Yes please. Here’s some split zone and a run up-the-gut for an easy 1st down. 4-wide with bubble action creates so much space for the offense, it’s not a coincidence that right after Mallory goes out and we start going 4-wide with bubbles and spreading teams out that our offense starts scoring points.

Run the same thing next play and it’s another 1st down. Spread them out. Quit asking Mallory to block and drawing more defenders into the box and the run game gets going. (Not pictured)

Next play and Perry keeps it and just shows his natural ability. He takes a step outside, gets the DL to jump out there, then cuts it up inside and gets down to the 1-yard line. Perry is a very good runner. He’s a different runner than Rosier- who is more physical- but he’s an explosive runner. (Not pictured)

This is an example of the benefits of Perry being able to look at the defense, rather than having to stare at the backside of his C waiting for the snap. He is able to see how stacked inside the defense is. There is nothing on the edge and it’s an easy walk into the end zone off-tackle. If he had to do the clap thing and stand there and wait for the C to snap it, he’d never be able to see what the defense is doing and where they’re vulnerable.
Thank you as always @Lance Roffers!

Dear Lord, please keep Gaynor in the gym until he is the C a UM football team should have. Gauthier is brutal.
Any chance the Defense hogtied Searles and left him at VT and kidnapped the VT OL Coach and brought him back to Miami?

Please say yes!

Great write up, Thanks.
So you’re saying that more space puts more stress on the defense and makes the offense’s job easier?! I wonder if Richt learned this when watching the film...
Thank you for doing this. Looking forward to the second half and hearing your opinion on the CAROL CITY CHIEF