After the Storm: UVA

After the Storm: UVA

The Miami Hurricanes moved to 3-3 on the year and 1-2 in the ACC with a 17-9 win over the Virginia Cavaliers on Friday. Here were my takeaways and grades from the game.


**This was a much-needed win in the context of the season. The “W” keeps UM alive in the Coastal and UVA is the best team Miami’s played since UF, so showing they could play with a quality team was important to reestablish considering UM has floundered against the mediocre opponents on their schedule. If Miami drops this game and is 2-4, suddenly Manny Diaz is staring a losing season in the face, as well as tons of legitimate offseason questions about his long-term viability at Miami. At least for one week, Diaz will again be able to sell an improving, young team that has had close losses, but is learning to win and can be special when things come together for them, which takes some of the heat off him a bit. Now, of course this program still has problems, and all that goodwill would go out the window with a loss to a terrible Georgia Tech team next week, but UM could certainly use this game as a springboard for improved play the second half of the season. Fun Stat: Miami has now won 4 straight games at home vs. ranked opponents (UVA 2019, Pitt 2018, ND and VT 2017).


**The defense played with a ton of energy and passion. A week after giving up 42 points to one of the worst offenses in the country in Virginia Tech, this defense was no doubt locked in and ready to make a statement. They knew they had to carry Miami for UM to get the victory, and they didn’t flinch even when adversity struck, such as a long kick return in the 4th quarter that set up UVA with great field position or DJ Ivey falling down in coverage and giving up a 50 yard catch. Aside from drives sandwiched at the beginning and end of the game, the offense did absolutely nothing and continually tasked the defense with walking a tight rope to preserve a small lead. And time and time again, the defense answered the call, playing their best football when the UVA offense was down in the redzone. Just one week ago, Miami allowed VT to go 6 for 6 on redzone TD’s each time they entered that part of the field. The Cavaliers had no such luck, as UM’s stop unit was able to tighten up in the game’s most important moments, keeping UVA out of the endzone and forcing UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall to kick FG’s. 3 TD’s instead of 3 FG’s, and the narrative is very different for this game. While the secondary in general needs a lot of work, I also thought guys such as Gregory Rousseau, Michael Pinckney, Jon Ford, and Gurvan Hall had their best games of the season.


**Diaz made the first real structural change of his head coaching career… and it worked. 5 games through the season, it was abundantly clear to anybody watching that the Miami defense was not playing up to the standards Diaz had set in the past three seasons, and it was REALLY slapped on a neon sign last week vs. Virginia Tech. The defense is and will always be a reflection of Diaz, so he really took it personally and made sure to be more involved in directing the game prep this week. Who knows how large his role actually was, but there was no doubt the defense was playing with a certain spark vs. UVA we haven’t seen maybe the entire season. I have to give him a lot of credit for diagnosing a major issue within the program and having the gall to make a mid-season change in that area. I’ve harped on it a lot, but one trait the best head coaches all share is not shying away from making the tough decisions. Admitting he was wrong to give up 100% of the control of the defense and not being afraid to step on Blake Baker's toes a bit wouldn't have been easy for many coaches. It’s really the first tick in the positive column in terms of future success indicators for Diaz as a head coach, but everyone has to start somewhere.


**Gregory Rousseau should have been starting all along. We’ve all been saying it for weeks, as Rousseau had been more than flashing in his limited snaps leading up to his first career start vs. UVA. He had been leading Miami in sacks despite playing only a handful of snaps per game and was razor-close to a few others that he just missed (having Feleipe Franks’ leg in his grasp before the QB twisted away comes to mind). After the coaching staff finally unleashed him, Rousseau looked like the best player on the field on Friday night, with 7 tackles, 2 TFL, a sack, a forced fumble and a QB hurry. The official stat broadcast also originally credited him with a sack on the first drive before taking it away and deeming the play to have been a “QB rush”. Rousseau was simply unstoppable, and with run defense supposedly being his weakness, it didn’t look too shabby when he broke into the backfield and drilled a UVA running back on 4th and 1 to get UM’s first 4th down stop of the season after previously allowing 7 of 7 4th down conversions to their opponents. Rousseau has the potential to be considered the best player on this defense by the end of the season, and it was simply a coaching error not playing him more the first half of the season.


**Despite the win, UM was still outgained by UVA. The Cavaliers offense put up 326 yards, while UM recorded just 265 in what was mostly an offensive failure by UM. After their opening TD drive, Miami got put on a milk carton for the next 2 and a half quarters that featured 6 straight punts, 23 plays for 33 total yards, and 4 three-and-outs. Mendenhall said postgame that he had UM’s scheme pegged after the very first drive, and that is an alarming comment. Miami may have been lucky the defense was on fire and escaped with a win this time, but those type of lulls are exactly what gasses a defense and all it would’ve taken is one busted play from the D to change the complexion of the game. The offensive line is very bad; there’s no getting around that and it is admittedly difficult to judge a scheme when half the plays are doomed to fail from the start. But, there’s also no defending some of these play calls (TE jet sweep on 3rd and goal). A week after killing VT with spread concepts in the 4th quarter, there was little to none of that featured vs. UVA. As I’ve said before, even with the OL play, I’m not seeing Dan Enos doing the offense any favors and elevating his unit with his playcalling.


**N’Kosi Perry’s legs saved Miami from having a ton more sacks given up on the night. It’s true that UM’s OL gave up 3 sacks vs. UVA, the least they’ve ceded to an FBS opponent this season. That’s a positive considering UVA was the 7th best team in the country in sacks coming into the contest and UM was last in terms of allowing them. However, looking a bit deeper, that number could’ve been a lot higher if not for Perry’s evasive maneuvering throughout the night. There were multiple times that Perry escaped the UVA defense at the last second to make a play with his legs, including his 4th down run to keep an eventual TD drive alive to open the game, as well as his game-winning TD run at the end. Although Jarren Williams isn’t an immobile statue by any stretch, Perry has looked to have a better feel for the rush and is more decisive in taking off and running than Williams is. At this point, it’s fair to question if Perry isn’t the right QB for this team considering the OL issues aren’t going away anytime soon.


**Miami is not running the ball enough. What would help keep defenses from pinning their ears back and selling out to get to the QB would be to feature the traditional-run more and bring a semblance of balance back to the offense. Against UVA, Miami ran the ball just 15 times with their RB’s, compared to 36 dropbacks for Perry. That is a worrisome imbalance when you consider the game script was a close game that UM was winning the entire time. I have pointed out a few times in this space now Enos’ tendency to abandon the run, and the numbers bear that out: Miami is 117th in the country in rushing attempts (192), and those numbers look worse when you take out all the sacks and dropbacks that turned into QB runs for Miami.

While a game script like VT will undoubtedly end up skewing your passing numbers, otherwise, Miami has either been in close games that traditionally would favor a balanced offense (UF, UNC, CMU, UVA) or a blowout where they could milk clock with the run (BCU). In my view, a great coordinator is someone who can effectively keep the defense off balance by mixing and matching the run with the pass. After 6 straight punts and 4 three-and-outs, what made Miami’s last two drives where they went 70+ yards each time so effective? It was a balance of mixing the run with quick passes to the receivers on the perimeter. If Miami doesn’t want to feature the run more and is going to be a pass-heavy team from mostly pro sets, I’d rather them rip off the band-aid, go all the way, and move to a more spread-based attack that will really put the receivers in the best position to succeed and maximize their passing efficiency.


Grades

Offense: D+

Another hard grade this week because they did make plays at the end to seal up the win. No turnovers was another positive. However, they just weren’t effective whatsoever for the vast majority of the game. 265 total yards is pretty pathetic in college football these days. So is 17 points. Terrible on third downs again with a 2 of 10 tally. The OL gave up 3 sacks and 9 TFL, and it could’ve easily been more. A stretch of 6 straight punts, 23 plays for 33 total yards, and 4 three-and-outs should never happen.

Defense: A-

I don’t know if I can give them any other grade after being on the field all game and holding on through all the offensive lulls. Held UVA under their season averages in yards and points (gave up just 326 yards and 9 points). 5 sacks, 7 TFL, 1 turnover. Forced UVA into 3 FG’s each time they came into the redzone instead of giving up TD’s. Allowing 10 for 19 on third down is a slight negative. They essentially willed Miami to a win.

Special Teams: A-

TURNER DAVIDSON. The minus is for the coverage unit giving up a 72-yard kick return in the 4th quarter.

Coaching: B+

After giving the staff a ton of heat last week, I’ve got to give some credit when it’s due. After the ugly penalty issues all season, Miami committed just 4 penalties for 32 yards this week, their lowest output of the season. Not making sure Amari Carter got off the field after his ejection was a terrible look, though. Finally showed a killer instinct at the end of the game on both offense and defense to put a team away. +1 for starting Rousseau. -1 because it took so long. Whatever adjustments Manny made in prepping the defense this week clearly made an impact. Enos was outcoached by Mendenhall most of the game. Still looking for Enos to do more to mask the OL.

Canesfan1899

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Finally got a chance to watch the game yesterday and Rousseau was a man possessed, should have never been on the bench in favor of Patchan.

Enos must come to grips with what the OL is and change play-calling tendencies, He said he would be able to adjust but at this point he just appears to be another stubborn coordinator who believes it's all about execution.
 

Canesfan1899

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Yes, your probably right on, but it's hard to accurately judge an OC who has to run his offense with the sloths Miami has on the Oline.
Give me an up and comer from OU that will turn us into a spread team.
 

Jassid82

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Yes, your probably right on, but it's hard to accurately judge an OC who has to run his offense with the sloths Miami has on the Oline.
I agree but that's what we are paying him for. To find a solution around this problem. Lets face it, this OL isn't going to be fixed probably for another 2 years. He can't keep using that as an excuse for this offense being inept. He has to scheme around it.
 

Go Canes!!

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Oklahoma had four of their five starting offensive lineman drafted last year.

The fifth starter was not draft eligible . He is projecting as a first rounder in the upcoming draft.

it’s very easy to call for the firing of this guy or that guy and then bring in this guy or that guy. But when you watch Oklahoma play their QB has the luxury of watching almost every play develop to where they can look at their first second and even third options before taking off.

Can Enos be better? Yes of course. But this whole “scheming around” thing sometimes it’s just not possible to the degree some people want.



 

S.O.M.

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Oklahoma had four of their five starting offensive lineman drafted last year.

The fifth starter was not draft eligible . He is projecting as a first rounder in the upcoming draft.

it’s very easy to call for the firing of this guy or that guy and then bring in this guy or that guy. But when you watch Oklahoma play their QB has the luxury of watching almost every play develop to where they can look at their first second and even third options before taking off.

Can Enos be better? Yes of course. But this whole “scheming around” thing sometimes it’s just not possible to the degree some people want.



While there's some truth in what you're saying, you can still call a game that gives your guys the BEST chance to be successful, and Enos doesn't do it. I was screaming at my tv all night to throw quick-hitters and let our wr's pick up what they can, but we kept trying to hold the ball and push it down the field, and Kosi ends up running for his life. But what did we do those 2 drives at the end of the game? Exactly what I was begging for. Why did it take so long to make that adjustment? That's what the pro-spread guys are asking for all the time.

And why the fck are we still calling these slow-developing play action passes where our QB completely turns his back on the D? I thought after a game or maybe a game and a half that would go away, but 6 games into the season and he's still calling them multiple times a game, even after watching our OL play over the first 5 games. It's absolute insanity. So yes, even with our OL, there are things Enos can do to give us a better chance to be successful.
 

Canesfan1899

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This right here is the reason we have 3 losses. If Enos is gone after this season, this will be the reason.

This is painfully obvious to even the most casual observer.
This all day long. Everyone knows the OL is a massive weak-spot but he's not calling games to help them either.
 

Canesq

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Smh how often does it happen where the opposing coach admits to the press that he figured out the offense after the first drive. That's a direct shot at Enos.

There is no strategic reason to say that so you wonder why say it.
 

Gatorhater

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I seldom disagree with OP but I think offense deserves better grade. They scored on opening drive and then closed game out with another TD drive to expand lead(something we have not seen in long time). Sure in between was hard to watch but those bookends matter a lot. Twice this year we loss games we had lead late in fourth but defense could not shut down opponent. Another offensive score late would have mattered. One more late score against VT to go with those two and we are undefeated and the talk of the country again. Manny's defense has always been hit or miss so offense scoring one more time at the end matters.
 

SinisterCane

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The Miami Hurricanes moved to 3-3 on the year and 1-2 in the ACC with a 17-9 win over the Virginia Cavaliers on Friday. Here were my takeaways and grades from the game.


**This was a much-needed win in the context of the season. The “W” keeps UM alive in the Coastal and UVA is the best team Miami’s played since UF, so showing they could play with a quality team was important to reestablish considering UM has floundered against the mediocre opponents on their schedule. If Miami drops this game and is 2-4, suddenly Manny Diaz is staring a losing season in the face, as well as tons of legitimate offseason questions about his long-term viability at Miami. At least for one week, Diaz will again be able to sell an improving, young team that has had close losses, but is learning to win and can be special when things come together for them, which takes some of the heat off him a bit. Now, of course this program still has problems, and all that goodwill would go out the window with a loss to a terrible Georgia Tech team next week, but UM could certainly use this game as a springboard for improved play the second half of the season. Fun Stat: Miami has now won 4 straight games at home vs. ranked opponents (UVA 2019, Pitt 2018, ND and VT 2017).


**The defense played with a ton of energy and passion. A week after giving up 42 points to one of the worst offenses in the country in Virginia Tech, this defense was no doubt locked in and ready to make a statement. They knew they had to carry Miami for UM to get the victory, and they didn’t flinch even when adversity struck, such as a long kick return in the 4th quarter that set up UVA with great field position or DJ Ivey falling down in coverage and giving up a 50 yard catch. Aside from drives sandwiched at the beginning and end of the game, the offense did absolutely nothing and continually tasked the defense with walking a tight rope to preserve a small lead. And time and time again, the defense answered the call, playing their best football when the UVA offense was down in the redzone. Just one week ago, Miami allowed VT to go 6 for 6 on redzone TD’s each time they entered that part of the field. The Cavaliers had no such luck, as UM’s stop unit was able to tighten up in the game’s most important moments, keeping UVA out of the endzone and forcing UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall to kick FG’s. 3 TD’s instead of 3 FG’s, and the narrative is very different for this game. While the secondary in general needs a lot of work, I also thought guys such as Gregory Rousseau, Michael Pinckney, Jon Ford, and Gurvan Hall had their best games of the season.


**Diaz made the first real structural change of his head coaching career… and it worked. 5 games through the season, it was abundantly clear to anybody watching that the Miami defense was not playing up to the standards Diaz had set in the past three seasons, and it was REALLY slapped on a neon sign last week vs. Virginia Tech. The defense is and will always be a reflection of Diaz, so he really took it personally and made sure to be more involved in directing the game prep this week. Who knows how large his role actually was, but there was no doubt the defense was playing with a certain spark vs. UVA we haven’t seen maybe the entire season. I have to give him a lot of credit for diagnosing a major issue within the program and having the gall to make a mid-season change in that area. I’ve harped on it a lot, but one trait the best head coaches all share is not shying away from making the tough decisions. Admitting he was wrong to give up 100% of the control of the defense and not being afraid to step on Blake Baker's toes a bit wouldn't have been easy for many coaches. It’s really the first tick in the positive column in terms of future success indicators for Diaz as a head coach, but everyone has to start somewhere.


**Gregory Rousseau should have been starting all along. We’ve all been saying it for weeks, as Rousseau had been more than flashing in his limited snaps leading up to his first career start vs. UVA. He had been leading Miami in sacks despite playing only a handful of snaps per game and was razor-close to a few others that he just missed (having Feleipe Franks’ leg in his grasp before the QB twisted away comes to mind). After the coaching staff finally unleashed him, Rousseau looked like the best player on the field on Friday night, with 7 tackles, 2 TFL, a sack, a forced fumble and a QB hurry. The official stat broadcast also originally credited him with a sack on the first drive before taking it away and deeming the play to have been a “QB rush”. Rousseau was simply unstoppable, and with run defense supposedly being his weakness, it didn’t look too shabby when he broke into the backfield and drilled a UVA running back on 4th and 1 to get UM’s first 4th down stop of the season after previously allowing 7 of 7 4th down conversions to their opponents. Rousseau has the potential to be considered the best player on this defense by the end of the season, and it was simply a coaching error not playing him more the first half of the season.


**Despite the win, UM was still outgained by UVA. The Cavaliers offense put up 326 yards, while UM recorded just 265 in what was mostly an offensive failure by UM. After their opening TD drive, Miami got put on a milk carton for the next 2 and a half quarters that featured 6 straight punts, 23 plays for 33 total yards, and 4 three-and-outs. Mendenhall said postgame that he had UM’s scheme pegged after the very first drive, and that is an alarming comment. Miami may have been lucky the defense was on fire and escaped with a win this time, but those type of lulls are exactly what gasses a defense and all it would’ve taken is one busted play from the D to change the complexion of the game. The offensive line is very bad; there’s no getting around that and it is admittedly difficult to judge a scheme when half the plays are doomed to fail from the start. But, there’s also no defending some of these play calls (TE jet sweep on 3rd and goal). A week after killing VT with spread concepts in the 4th quarter, there was little to none of that featured vs. UVA. As I’ve said before, even with the OL play, I’m not seeing Dan Enos doing the offense any favors and elevating his unit with his playcalling.


**N’Kosi Perry’s legs saved Miami from having a ton more sacks given up on the night. It’s true that UM’s OL gave up 3 sacks vs. UVA, the least they’ve ceded to an FBS opponent this season. That’s a positive considering UVA was the 7th best team in the country in sacks coming into the contest and UM was last in terms of allowing them. However, looking a bit deeper, that number could’ve been a lot higher if not for Perry’s evasive maneuvering throughout the night. There were multiple times that Perry escaped the UVA defense at the last second to make a play with his legs, including his 4th down run to keep an eventual TD drive alive to open the game, as well as his game-winning TD run at the end. Although Jarren Williams isn’t an immobile statue by any stretch, Perry has looked to have a better feel for the rush and is more decisive in taking off and running than Williams is. At this point, it’s fair to question if Perry isn’t the right QB for this team considering the OL issues aren’t going away anytime soon.


**Miami is not running the ball enough. What would help keep defenses from pinning their ears back and selling out to get to the QB would be to feature the traditional-run more and bring a semblance of balance back to the offense. Against UVA, Miami ran the ball just 15 times with their RB’s, compared to 36 dropbacks for Perry. That is a worrisome imbalance when you consider the game script was a close game that UM was winning the entire time. I have pointed out a few times in this space now Enos’ tendency to abandon the run, and the numbers bear that out: Miami is 117th in the country in rushing attempts (192), and those numbers look worse when you take out all the sacks and dropbacks that turned into QB runs for Miami.

While a game script like VT will undoubtedly end up skewing your passing numbers, otherwise, Miami has either been in close games that traditionally would favor a balanced offense (UF, UNC, CMU, UVA) or a blowout where they could milk clock with the run (BCU). In my view, a great coordinator is someone who can effectively keep the defense off balance by mixing and matching the run with the pass. After 6 straight punts and 4 three-and-outs, what made Miami’s last two drives where they went 70+ yards each time so effective? It was a balance of mixing the run with quick passes to the receivers on the perimeter. If Miami doesn’t want to feature the run more and is going to be a pass-heavy team from mostly pro sets, I’d rather them rip off the band-aid, go all the way, and move to a more spread-based attack that will really put the receivers in the best position to succeed and maximize their passing efficiency.


Grades

Offense: D+

Another hard grade this week because they did make plays at the end to seal up the win. No turnovers was another positive. However, they just weren’t effective whatsoever for the vast majority of the game. 265 total yards is pretty pathetic in college football these days. So is 17 points. Terrible on third downs again with a 2 of 10 tally. The OL gave up 3 sacks and 9 TFL, and it could’ve easily been more. A stretch of 6 straight punts, 23 plays for 33 total yards, and 4 three-and-outs should never happen.

Defense: A-

I don’t know if I can give them any other grade after being on the field all game and holding on through all the offensive lulls. Held UVA under their season averages in yards and points (gave up just 326 yards and 9 points). 5 sacks, 7 TFL, 1 turnover. Forced UVA into 3 FG’s each time they came into the redzone instead of giving up TD’s. Allowing 10 for 19 on third down is a slight negative. They essentially willed Miami to a win.

Special Teams: A-

TURNER DAVIDSON. The minus is for the coverage unit giving up a 72-yard kick return in the 4th quarter.

Coaching: B+

After giving the staff a ton of heat last week, I’ve got to give some credit when it’s due. After the ugly penalty issues all season, Miami committed just 4 penalties for 32 yards this week, their lowest output of the season. Not making sure Amari Carter got off the field after his ejection was a terrible look, though. Finally showed a killer instinct at the end of the game on both offense and defense to put a team away. +1 for starting Rousseau. -1 because it took so long. Whatever adjustments Manny made in prepping the defense this week clearly made an impact. Enos was outcoached by Mendenhall most of the game. Still looking for Enos to do more to mask the OL.
Offense gets a D+ but coaching get a B+???????
 
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6'1"
195
Bradenton, FL
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6'4"
215
Glastonbury, CT
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Miami, FL
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205
Miami, FL
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240
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265
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180
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Orlando, FL
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Chapel Hill, NC
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