Film Review of ND Game


Staff Writer
Nov 16, 2012
You know the drill, this post will be long. It will contain lots of stills of the game, rather than gifs. If that isn’t for you, no worries. I use stills to show nuance and details that get lost when you see gifs. That doesn’t mean you can’t follow along with the game and see what I’m looking at. These reviews are time consuming, so if you enjoy my work I would appreciate a follow on Twitter [MENTION=5374]HurricaneVision[/MENTION]

On the kickoff, Romeo Finley gets put on his backside by the returner. It’s a nice return for the Irish. Badgley form tackles the dude with a nice hit.

On first down we come out in a nice alignment where we put Jaquan in the middle of the field, shaded McCloud over towards the slot CB, and lined Joe Jackson in a wide-9 alignment. If you hear someone say something such as “wide-9” they’re simply talking about the gap they lined up over. The higher the number, the further away from the ball they are lined up. We lined Chad Thomas in a closer alignment, even though it was to the strong side of the formation. This turns out to be perfect alignment, as Chad Thomas gets on the hip of the RT, who is trying to pull down the line, and makes the tackle in the backfield. Thomas played this perfectly. McCloud, incidentally, played this very well. He came downhill with force and absolutely thumped the RT, standing him up and clogging any hole for the RB. Notice Norton defeating the all-world LG here as well and he would’ve tackled the RB in the hole if Thomas wasn’t there. Big first play to set the tone.

Here’s my man Shaq reading the QB and using his eyes to get in the throwing lane. This ball has to be intercepted by Pinckney or McCloud, but it’s a great play by Shaq. All three LB’s really did a nice job of not jumping up on the play action. You can see the man is open behind this play. Another tone setting play that gets it in the QB’s head that we are hunting interceptions. When you combine that with the atmosphere you can see Wimbush is absolutely shook, even though ND’s OL actually won this play and provided him a clear lane of vision.

On third down we get a look we haven’t used much this year. We play three-down, with two LB’s, then six DB’s, with three of them being safeties (Redwine, Jaquan, Amari Carter). We dropped into quarters defense on 3rd & 10, with Shaq just standing there and spying Wimbush in the middle, which would’ve worked if Young makes this tackle. He tries to tackle with his shoulder instead of wrapping up and they picked up the first down. Bandy fell down trying to chase this down, the runner gets past midfield.

Next play, Norton stuffs up the LG, penetrates, tackles the RB behind the line. Second down they pull the LG, downblock on Norton to get him out of hole and pick up 5. Not pictured.

Third down and this is just too easy. You can see at the bottom of your screen that Malek Young is playing off-coverage on 3rd & 5. He allows an easy release and they used the RB in the flat to pull the zone dropping edge defender out of the throwing lane. He waits for the WR to clear, then hits the WR on the slant behind it. If Harris were a little more experienced in pass coverage he would wait just a second or two longer before coming up too far and vacating the hole. Force the checkdown to the RB and then come upfield and make the tackle. I’d like to see Malek Young hit him with his left-arm a step earlier here.

Next play is one of the biggest plays of the game from a ND perspective. This is an easy throw. An easy TD. The ND QB just throws it five yards too far. Second shot you see what the QB sees. Jaquan has two players threatening him deep right now. He needs to be turning and running at this point and getting one step to his right. If he does that he can recover deep on the WR, or take the post with the TE deep as well. Either way, Jaquan plays this poorly because his eyes are in the backfield and he’s not deep enough. Listen, the Canes were just a better, more talented team, but if ND catches this and scores a TD on their first drive, the crowd is lessened a bit, ND has a little more confidence, things might’ve been much closer.

Next play, we blitz Malek, they run double slants and have a man right between the two LB’s to the QB’s right. It’s a perfect throw right over Young’s hands and into the hands of the WR, who drops it. That changed this drive as well, as if he catches it they have 3rd and 1 and are in FG range. He drops it though and it brings up 3rd and long. Not pictured.

Third down we run the X-stunt to Chad Thomas side and it totally fools ND, who doesn’t get a hand on him. He flushes the QB, who throws along the sideline and Bandy almost made a ridiculous interception. One thing to note on this play is that we did the same thing that we did on the pick-6 play where we put a LB in the DT spot. On his play it was McCloud, who did the same that Amari Carter did on the pick-6 where he stood up and spied the QB. I wonder if we line up in this formation again and if we do the same thing each time with the LB at that spot.

We get the punt and fair catch it at the 10. Then we have the throw all the way across the field to Jeff Thomas who just stepped out-of-bounds after a gain of 8, or it would’ve gone for 20. We came out in an empty set on first down, at our own 10-yard line. For me, when you see something like that happen it signals that you’re not afraid. That you’re going to come out aggressive in this game and you are prepared to play. On second down we run the read option to Homer, who gets the ball and goes for seven. Not pictured.

First down it’s a predetermined read for the QB. He’s reading the WLB, and if he drops, that means it’s zone and the ball is going to Herndon on the skinny post over the middle. We also ran an out with Berrios and ran Harley deep up-the-seam. We get six on the play, but I think Berrios gets the first down if we throw it to him, as Harley was ready to block and the LB was late getting out to that spot. Not pictured.

I showed a still exactly like this last week, only it was Shaq reading the opposing QB, but you can see this is going to be a designed QB run all the way. Rosier is giving it away with his drop. He’s got this exaggerated shoulder turn at the top of his drop that if a DL, or LB would recognize, they could see he’s going to pull this down and go. He gets tackled for a loss because we missed a protection assignment. They fooled us here. We thought #5 was going to blitz, but instead #4 came (Tevon Coney). You can see from the first screen shot #5 walked up to the LOS but then bailed to take the bubble. Rosier slid our protection that way and then they came from the other side.

On third down we threw a double-covered Richards in the seam. Darling was poor on this play, as ND faked a blitz by #5 into his gap and then backed him out. Darling blocks no one, when he has to look for work and smash down on the NT head-up over Gauthier. He beats Gauthier quick, Darling blocks no one, the NT gets pressure and forces an early throw by Rosier. If he had another second he could’ve seen that Richards was double covered and that Harley had it on the other side on the post route after the LB’s cleared out of the area.

On the punt, Dean gets down there quick and hits the returner but bounces off. Dallas cleans it up and hits him hard. Excellent coverage, Dean, just make a form tackle next time. Not pictured.

First down, here is how we beat their running game so badly. We were just faster and more explosive than their power schemes allowed for. This is a still, but it is just at the right time to show the beauty of the play. #80 here doesn’t think, he reacts. ND lined up their RG over him, but at the snap they tried to pull him and their LT. This means the RT needs to down block on McIntosh, the H-back needs to block down on Harris and secure the edge. McIntosh is having none of that. He explodes upfield here so quickly that he cuts in front of the puller, which effectively ends him as well since it stops his momentum. He’s in the backfield so quickly the runner has to bounce. Running double-pullers on a power-counter is a slow developing running play and we used quickness to just blow it up. Harris beats his blocker and seals the edge, forcing it back inside to Shaq, who hits him hard. On this particular play, Shaq doesn’t bring his pads with him and wrap up and the runner bounces off and gets nice yards, but we had the play stopped for no gain if Shaq makes the tackle. It all started at the snap. Finally, Malek Young deserves some credit for how fearless he is coming up in run support. He has the ugly job of having to dive in there and take out #71 so that he can’t turn the corner and lead the play. Young’s job isn’t necessarily to make the tackle, it’s to take out a 300+ pound player so his mates can get the tackle.

First down we are doing exactly what you want to see each and every time they try to run pullers against us; explode upfield, get on the hip of the puller and don’t allow the next lineman to get to you in time. Moten does that on this play and blows the play up for one yard. Not pictured.

Second down they run jet sweep motion, which as we all know by now means the S is coming downhill as soon as he sees that motion. You can see Jaquan running in right by the 8-1 (not for long) in Notre Dame. Trent Harris does what he’s supposed to do and seals the edge first. McIntosh is getting absolutely held as he once again got into the backfield to mess the play up. Wimbush keeps this ball and tries to run an option play. Young seals the LOS to the boundary, Harris chases the QB and forces a pitch, Pinckney stays in his gap and Jaquan does exactly what he’s supposed to and pops the jet sweep motion man on this play and it’s a loss. You simply can’t play this better than we did. Side note: Poor Herbie doesn’t watch the tape like we do, because he was saying Johnson saw the pitch man and took off, but he doesn’t realize that’s what we do on all jet sweep motion like that. Diaz made this adjustment after we got beat up by UNC on the jet sweep motion and it’s been brilliant.

Berrios with a nice return on the punt. Knowles with a nice block on the backside to keep the gunner from the other side from coming in and making the tackle. Not pictured.

First drive we only lined up in four or five-wide sets with Herndon in the slot. On first down, we put Herndon in-line to the side of McDermott. I wonder if it has anything to do with Berrios not being on the field, but it’s definitely a formation change to start. Sure enough, we run off the edge on designed outside run to Harley’s side (who I continue to say is an excellent blocker on the outside). Get three, but we don’t get anything without Harley’s block. Not pictured.

Next play we put three to the right, Richards alone to the bottom. Herndon split out wide in the slot. We throw a little stop route to Richards, who is interfered with. No call. You can see the ball hasn’t even reached the 50-yard line yet and the CB is all over Richards. Surprising no-call.

On third down Rosier does an excellent job of looking to his left on what will be a screen back-right. Donaldson gets out wide and leads the screen and Homer shows excellent patience, as he just let the defender run himself out of the play and cut off of Donaldson’s hip to pick up huge yardage. Not pictured.

First down, I show this only as a way to point out that sometimes a receiver has no intention of catching the pass. This is a shallow out-route the whole way by Herndon. You can see that Richards is simply watching to see when the ball is thrown so he can start blocking since he’s downfield. Richards waits for the catch and then starts blocking his man. If the throw to Herndon isn’t there this is a pull down by Rosier and a run or a check-down to Homer. A two-man route with a deep route on the other side.

This play is another option/combination play. This is one of the great things about our offense is that it’s simple, yet complex to stop. Here, Rosier is simply reading the LB’s. If they drop into coverage, Gauthier releases to the second level and it’s a QB run. If they come up and blitz or play the run, they’re going to hit a square-in, slant, post or crosser behind it and Gauthier stays in to block. Obviously on this play they drop, so it’s a QB draw with a C lead.

Next play was just a straight QB run by Rosier. The first read wasn’t there and he saw the LB’s clear again, took off, made a man miss and picked up the first down. I haven’t gotten through the whole game but I believe this was easily Rosier’s best game. I read the ND posters say that Rosier would be their third string QB, but he’d clearly be their starter based on what I’m seeing. Not pictured.

We throw a fade to Richards on first down, who really had lackluster effort on the play and it was a poor throw. Good job by the ND corner to win that one. Not pictured.

I’m showing you this play here because I want to show how this all happened. Rosier has to read that boundary CB. If he sinks into the end zone he takes away this route to Berrios, and then Rosier has to take the throw to Thomas or run. The CB has to play the inside leverage that he’s playing because ND doesn’t have a S in the middle of the field, so if Berrios ran a post here he wouldn’t be able to cover it. For this throw to work, look how early Rosier has to throw the ball and anticipate where Berrios will be. This is a big-time throw. I mean, an NFL throw all day. Finally, you can see the impact that Richards has one the offense any time he is out there. ND has him bracketed again, as they used a LB to take away the slant inside. Beautiful football, Miami. Beautiful.

First down I just love the way McCloud plays this. He’s using his speed and quickness to get to this mesh point quickly. If the QB hands this off, it’s a loss. If he pulls it and runs, it’s a loss. He tries to throw, but McCloud is right there to force a bad throw to the receiver running the same route behind #6 that is nearly intercepted by Young.

On second down they run power again and get a nice hole, but Jaquan sees it immediately and comes from 12 yards off the LOS to meet the RB in the hole. This is a big time play from a S in run support as there was a big hole if he doesn’t get there in time. Keep in mind we have Owens and Mike Smith in the game, so it’s a big series to be able to steal a possession and rest our two main LB’s. I chose to show this still for two reasons: to show how far Jaquan comes to make this tackle without a hitch, and to show how fast off the ball our DL is compared to their OL. Three of our guys are already getting across the line and only one of their OL are moving (the one pulling, of course). Their LG and LT are still in their stance.

The next play Jaquan gets the pick. Keep in mind, the very play before he comes screaming downhill to make a run stop, then the next play we are putting over the top of the seam in the slot and he’s in a perfect spot to make the interception. I’m seeing what Diaz is saying that this kid is an All-American. The SS position in Diaz’ defense is so difficult to play. He asks them to play the run heavily. He asks them to cover in space. He asks them to play nickel over the slot. Jaquan is a perfect fit for this position. You see the instant fit that Hall, Jobe, and Frierson can have in this defense with their coverage versatility and run tackling abilities. Jaquan is another one of those kids that just has to stay healthy for us this year. I tried to do a still of a second before this, but it was too fuzzy, so I’m showing this spot instead. McCloud is dropping into coverage from his LB spot, why did he take an angle that leads him to be two yards behind the receiver? If the receiver doesn’t drop the ball, this is a first down. I don’t understand why he isn’t trying to get in front or to the side of the receiver to defend the pass. He has Jaquan to help with the tackle if he doesn’t get there in time, plus the CB is crashing down to make the tackle here anyway.

First down, Homer takes this man from the line of sight of the QB and just bullies him out to the 40-yard line. That’s a ND LB getting bullied by our RB. It opens a perfect line of sight for Rosier, who throws a beautiful pass to Thomas. An NFL throw, honestly. Look at our OL. That’s a pocket, my friends. The one thing I’d like to see if I’m Searles is to see Donaldson come smash #5 3 into the ground from the side. Rosier had to throw this over a defender, from one hash all the way across the field, to a timing point. The growth I’ve seen from Rosier has been incredible.

I can’t believe Rosier scores on this QB read. He gets out of the tackle from Donaldson’s man, has Gauthier leading the play ahead, but has a free LB that he just makes whiff and gets all the way to the end zone. This is a much better play by Rosier than I realized live.

On the kickoff, Homer makes a nice tackle. He’s a stud at that. Not pictured.

First down, they run a zone-read with a TE puller. Trent Harris actually beats the block upfield before he can set the edge, but it’s a risk-reward play. If that TE seals him inside the QB might get the edge. Instead, the point of the play is to leave Harris unblocked and read off of him. The QB keeps, but Harris has the speed to track him down the sideline. I thought Wimbush was faster than this, but Trent Harris isn’t a true burner and he ran him down easily. Here is Harris also showing skill he’s obviously learned from Kuligowski, who is huge on the chop down on the lineman’s arms to get them off of you. The QB is trying to stiff arm, but Harris uses that chop to get his arms down and make the tackle. You can see Wimbush has the edge if he’s faster or gets past Harris here.

Next play, they run a little swing pass and the QB turfs it. McCloud beats the TE inside with quickness and would’ve been there for a minimal gain. They run a QB draw on 3rd & 13 and he’s stopped well short. Quarterman did a smart thing in pursuit on this one. McCloud and Young were there for the stop and Quarterman ran behind them in case the QB broke a tackle, rather than just jump on the pile. Punt time. Not pictured.

I was watching this punt and said #5 got all kinds of held. Thankfully, they called it.

On first down we run a Wildcat with Deejay Dallas. I hadn’t seen us run this at all beforehand. We pulled Donaldson across in a power counter, but we also pulled Herndon, who was lined up off the LOS next to the RT. Dallas with a hard run for five yards. Not pictured.

Next play is the same formation, but this time we run an off-tackle power where we crossed Herndon across the formation again. This time Donaldson is responsible for getting to the second level. Berrios gets his man here. Then Thomas runs up and gets his man at the top of the screen. Dallas runs into the back of Thomas, cuts back, and gets all the way to the 23. St. Louis did a great job of turning his hips parallel to the LOS and inviting the defender up-the-field to create this running lane.

Next play, this is textbook defense by the ND end, who controls McDermott with his off-hand and then makes the tackle. If McDermott stops his initial pressure and keeps him at the LOS, this play is setup perfectly. I think he scores here if McDermott wins on the edge initially.

Second down, we use Darling as the man to get to the second level on the QB draw and he isn’t quite as nimble as Gauthier and the play is still effective, but not as effective. Not pictured.

Third down, for me, I’d keep going with the bubble screens and the QB runs in the red zone, because they are tough to stop based on pre-snap alignment. Here, another example of our WR’s blocking the edge and an easy conversion for a first down. He gets to the 7.

First down, this is a misread by Rosier on the dive. He needs to pull this and go to the edge. He’s probably getting run-down by the WLB, but the run has no chance as the LB is crashing from the edge and the MLB has a free path. The read didn’t hold anyone or block anyone, so I’d prefer a keep. This play gets nothing.

Next play is a back-shoulder throw while Richards ran a fade. The back-shoulder was there if Richards recognized it. There is no doubt about it, but Richards and Kaaya had better chemistry than Richards and Rosier. Not pictured.

Third down is the tipped pass that was almost intercepted at the goal line. Herndon was open on the square-in, but he would’ve been tackled short of the goal line anyway. The guy who was wide-open was Berrios, but the pressure got there way before Rosier could’ve seen him. Too bad, because we had a great play on this play. Not pictured.

First down, McCloud beats the block and Jackson holds the point-of-attack. Five yards on a solid gain. Not pictured.

Second down, Dee Delaney beats this block and makes a tackle in the backfield. I don’t know why ND tries to block this corner player instead of sending him out on a pass pattern. Delaney would have to run with him, or give it away what coverage they’re in behind him. Either way, it’s good for us that they just tried to block him instead. Also, just an excellent play by the DL to stuff up the running lanes and by Delaney to get there. Also, you can see McIntosh has already beaten all-world G Quentin Nelson here (next to Joe Jackson).

Third down, we again used the DT position to put a player to spy Wimbush. McCloud is right in the middle of the screen there. Even though he tends not to come, it still forces the OL to have to account for him in that spot. McCloud misses this tackle man-up on Wimbush, but we still get him down before the first down. McCloud was juked completely out of his shoes. A bit embarrassing. I do wish he’d have come in under control, rather than going too quickly, and he’d have stopped him well-back. The reason this is an issue is they went for it on 4th down and got it.

On the 4th down play before, McIntosh got off of the block by Nelson and stopped the RB a half-yard after he got the first. Here, he is just perfect. Look at #80 , top of the screen. They tried to use their C to get to the LB at the second-level, pulled the RG and LT, down blocked with the TE on Joe Jackson, then used a FB to meet Delaney. The problem is, McIntosh gets through the gap as soon as the C tries to get past him and then he follows behind that RG pulling immediately into the backfield. ND was fooling themselves if they thought they could get that RT to be able to downblock on McIntosh before he got past him. This is just beautiful stuff. McCloud gets into the gap before McGlinchey can block him and McIntosh runs this down and makes a tackle in the backfield. Easily the best game of the year thus far for McCloud.

They run an outside zone sweep, just like we love to run with Homer on the next play and J. Jackson gets caught peeking at the QB, it gets around the edge and Delaney makes the stop after a gain of eight. Not pictured.

Third down, it was a wonderful by our LB’s, who both hit the A-gaps and clogged them up, even though our DL didn’t get a ton of push. Chad Thomas was left unblocked and he scraped down the LOS very well as well. Delaney came around the edge and pulled the RB backwards by the hips and they stop them. Not pictured.

Fourth down, they false start. Punt time. On the punt, Bandy blocks the gunner and opens up a nice return of 13 for Berrios. Not pictured.

First down, we run inside zone and get a yard. Next play we throw a swing pass to Dayall Harris for five. Not pictured.

On third down we have everything we wanted. We have the pressure look up-front, we know they’re going to bail out to that side, we run the slot receiver into the spot right behind where the LB’s bailed out of and it’s a perfect throw. Harris sees it, has his hands out, and just flat drops it. This is a play that would’ve gone to Dionte Mullins if he had decided it was worth it to stay and win. I hate to see that happen to kids who come to Miami, but it’s a fine example of what it means to understand your role and play it, rather than always wanting more than you’ve earned. Harris needs to make this play.

On an earlier play I showed you Trent Harris dropping out into coverage and running to the flat immediately when they run that little lateral route out of the backfield. Here, instead of immediately going for the lateral route, the LB (Charles Perry) stays in the zone and accomplishes two things: First, it leaves him in the line-of-sight for the QB. Second, it means he has to make an accurate throw over him. Ball sails, and Malek Young makes the pick. Perry didn’t even play it great, as he got knocked down by the inside slant receiver, but it made it just hard enough to matter.

After Young has the interception I just can’t understand how he didn’t score. Either Mike Smith has to make this block, or really, Young needs to slow down, let his blockers do their thing, go outside of Perry and walk into the end zone. I’m guessing Young has always played defense because he showed no natural running skills on this play. I could be completely wrong and he was an elite return man or something, but he didn’t show it here.

First down, ND stunted their outside defenders and it worked. McDermott even gets blocked by Darling, who needs to pass off the DT and take the looping inside rusher. Instead, he effectively blocked McDermott. Need to communicate better.

Second down, we want to go Wildcat, but we get a delay-of-game. Next play, Rosier is pressured and smartly throws it away. Not pictured.

Third down, they drop eight into coverage and there was nothing there. FG time. Not pictured.

ND decides to go to a new QB. Let’s see how it turns out. Keeper on edge and Pinckney slams him down after a gain of one. Next play is a dive up-the-middle for two. Third down we blitz Bandy off the edge. He misses the tackle, but the QB has to throw the ball away. Not pictured.

The punt is to Berrios, who signals for a fair catch even though he had a ton of room to run. I’d like to see him be a bit more aggressive in his returns. Not pictured.

First down is an RPO and we hit Cager on a square-in for 18 yards. We run the bubble on the next play and Berrios can’t get his feet and the throw is a little low and inside. We only get three, but the chance was there for seven or eight if it was a better throw. Not pictured.

Why isn’t Cager playing more? It has to do with just not being physical enough despite his large frame. Whether you talk about contested catches, or blocking on the edge, he hasn’t been good enough to play over others. We run a bubble to Herndon and it’s Cagers job to make this block. If he does, we get close to the first down, instead, he gets pancaked by a CB.

Want to know we’ve struggled at times in short yardage and third downs? The main culprit is our guard play simply hasn’t been good enough. Look at this play if Donaldson just makes this block on the LB. That is out the gate on the backend, but instead, we don’t even pick this up. The RG position- no matter who plays- has to be better.

Feagles punted well in this game. This one goes inside the 7. Not pictured.

They tried to go wide on the horizontal outside-zone. Thomas ran right with him down the line and then McCloud got the angle and hit him hard. Second down they run an off-tackle play and they seal the edge to get 7. Not pictured.

Third and one they run a play action, which sucked up McCloud, we were way off of the slot WR and he just runs an easy out-route for a nice pickup. That play is there every time if we run that formation alignment every time. Not pictured.

We run cover-2 with Jackson and Jaquan and Book throws a nice ball into the honey spot down the sideline. It’s a good throw, and it’s generally there if we don’t get a good jam on the boundary.

First down, they run an inside dive for three. Not pictured.

Next play, Joe Jackson again abuses McGlinchey, but Book steps up enough to allow Jackson to go by, then steps up into the void and Nelson pushes Bethel inside to seal the edge. McIntosh is the only DT to get the best of Nelson thus far. Book scrambles for the first down.

Next play is a checkdown to the RB for four. He stays in-bounds, so it speeds up the ND offense, who is out of timeouts. Not pictured.

Second down, Malek Young almost makes the pick. He is so much more comfortable locating the ball in “trail” technique, which is a technique where you intentionally let the receiver run past you and you trail them. The technique generally has a safety over the top and prevents the back-shoulder throws, so this may have been a situation where he just had a step on Young, but Malek needs to make this interception.

Here it is. This is the play of the game. It basically reached in and stole the soul from ND. If they pick this up, kick a FG, go into halftime down 20-3, it’s at least something the coaches can sell. I think ND knew long before this they couldn’t beat Miami, but this play removed all doubt. Let’s look at why Bandy knew he could jump this ball. First off, he has deep help, so he isn’t worried about the seam route. Next, he has Shaq inching out to that side. Why does that matter? It means Shaq is going to take away the slant on his own player. Malek is too far off his man to take away that inside release but he already knows his combination coverage is going to help take away that double slant if they try to run it here. We put Amari Carter down as the spy for Book because we did that with a few other players and they got shook by the QB. We decided to give Amari a shot at that spot. You can see him down next to McIntosh. There is a reason the coaches were saying to each other in the microphones that Bandy needs to pick this ball. They know it’s covered, and boy is it. Also, was I the only one getting a little nervous with how close Bandy was running to the sideline. No need to worry though, he was just running to the house call.

Second half kickoff and boy this is bad blocking. Look at two guys streaking towards our returner. Not sure who Dallas is trying to block here. Thomas is tackled at the 10. This is the play that Charles Perry’s season ended.

First down is a screen to Homer that gets sniffed out. Not pictured.

Second down is a cool play that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of. We run a jet sweep action to Berrios. You can see the fake here. Donaldson is pulling to the other side, Herndon is getting ready to lead block the counter, and Homer is faking as if the play is going right, when he’s going to cut back left. I talk often of having to seal the edge no matter what, and the ND LB runs outside to seal the edge, so Herndon is smart and just keeps pushing that direction and Homer cuts inside of it. If the LB takes a flatter angle towards Homer, Herndon just turns him inside and Homer cuts around them for a big gain. Cool play.

Next play is another new wrinkle in our running game. We run a zone-read, but it’s a give all the way. The edge defender is unblocked, as normal on this run, but we actually slide all the OL down a man on the defense, get McDermott to second level, and to prevent that edge player from coming down the LOS, we actually run a wham block with Herndon, who comes across the formation and blocks down on the DE. What happens is that St. Louis and the rest of the OL actually wash the DL towards the numbers at the top of the screen and Homer cuts inside behind it all. The block by Herndon springs it, but what I just love about Herndon is he makes this block and then goes hunting for #23 afterwards, instead of just stopping.

We (okay Coach Diaz) talk all the time about how Jaquan “saves us” on several plays. Here is exactly what he means. This play is just about always taken for granted by fans when Jaquan makes the tackle, but here is Homer man-up on their FS and he makes him miss easily. This should be a tackle right here for a nice run. Instead, Homer takes this into ND territory, and it could’ve been a house call if he doesn’t tackle himself. Second still, right there, at that moment it’s a possible TD. Thomas is coming to downblock #18 and Homer has one guy trailing the play behind Thomas and Herndon trying to get back in as a blocker. He trips over Cager’s feet here and goes down.

Next play St. Louis loses the rep and Homer is tackled in the backfield. Second down we run a dive for two yards. Rosier tries to get the edge on a zone read on third down. That brings up fourth down. Previous plays not pictured.

Cager is a great example of a kid sticking with it when things aren’t going your way. He blew out his knee and had to rehab just to get back. He did it without issue. He gets back and they’ve started to recruit over him. He keeps fighting and eventually gets meaningful time. The opportunity doesn’t go his way and others pass him up. He sticks with it. This is a great catch, in front of the best crowd maybe in the history of this stadium. He gets this moment forever. Hat tip to you young man for all your hard work.

On first down we run a dive and they blow it up completely. It’s going to be second and goal from the 15, but instead we get 1st & goal from the 4. On first down we run a quick pass but they get a free rusher and stick Rosier in the back and the pass is just coming forward, otherwise it might be a fumble-6 for ND. We spent a timeout after that play and I think it was wise to just get everybody to regroup. Not pictured.

Here is the Deejay Dallas TD run. I’ve heard a lot of chatter about McDermott holding here. Here’s the still of the play. You tell me where he’s holding him. You can see his entire shoulder pad here. He doesn’t have his sleeve. This defender is trying to use the same arm extension technique they used earlier in the game to come off McDermott and make a tackle. McDermott just happened to push down on it this time to gain leverage and steer the player like you would do a boat with a rudder.

Did ND really think they were going to be able to pull Nelson all the way around and get to Chad Thomas playside before Thomas was just going to shoot upfield and blow this play up? Thomas makes a tackle for a loss of five here because they tried to pull a LG all the way across the formation towards him. No. That’s not going to work against this defensive scheme built on playmaking and upfield burst. Did you know Chad Thomas did the same “hands behind the back” celebration that Berrios did after this play?

There were some other great plays in this game. There were some cool plays by our younger players after the game was over and we put them in. But I’m going to stop right here because for the most part we just went through the motions offensively the rest of the night. The Garvin sack-fumble was epic. Another example of the kind of talent and depth we are starting to build here, and the recruiting is just getting better for this program.

Truthfully, I thought we were a year away, but with the coaching adjustments you are seeing weekly, I am starting to believe this team can beat anyone.

Coach Diaz has started using his players to their strengths more as the season has gone on. He’s started putting in packages that have moved more towards the opponent each week, rather than steadfastly sticking with the base defense against three and four wide offenses. The truly great teams can adjust each week to their opponent and mold their personnel to beat whatever the opponent wants to do.

This secondary has emerged. Our fourth corner right now is a kid who came here highly rated by the NFL community and has been passed up by a true freshman not because he’s been terrible, but because Bandy has been better. Delaney will play in the NFL. Jhavonte Dean is going to play in the NFL and he is our fifth cornerback right now.

Every single player starting on this defense is going to play in the NFL. Every. Single. One. You could make a case that of our 22 players on the defensive two-deep, 18 or 19 will play in the NFL.

The adjustments to the jet sweep have been genius, and completely shut that play down against us. You’d think teams would exploit it deep against single-high, but our corners have been so good, and our DL has been getting to the QB so quickly, they can’t take advantage. That is something you see on film. It is there for all to see. It is a change directly put in by our coaching staff and it is working.

We have moved to a spy setup against mobile QB’s that worked really well. It’s truly a three-down lineman set and the “DT” who is going to spy stands up and backs out, but since he is down at the snap, the OL has to account for him. If they try to slide and part the red sea, that spy might just slit them and hit the backfield before they know what happened. The coaches put that play in and it is working.

On offense, look at the improvements the OL has made. McDermott has been a revelation at LT. They saved that man’s career by moving him back outside. They’ve developed depth enough to handle different situations, but we are still very thin on the OL. We’ve gotten away with redshirting our true freshmen T’s, but it’s been great to see how the coaching staff has had this group showing improvement as the season went on. This is not hyperbole to say that Miami’s OL outperformed ND’s OL on the biggest stage. No contest.

Deejay Dallas already is making plays at RB after the injury to Walton. This club just keeps on humming. How have the coaches done that? By making changes. By not standing pat and expecting the players to execute what they want them to simply because that’s what they’ve always done. Last game it was creativity with Berrios in the backfield. This game, we used a jets weep motion to get a drive started out of the shadow of our own end zone. Then they used counter and wham blocking techniques to take a play we’ve run all season and make it different. These plays were all executed flawlessly.

On the biggest stage our team went out there and reclaimed college football for the rightful kind. The University of Miami rose up on this day. Our head coach, Mark Richt, won a huge game in front of the national spotlight. You could see that Coach Richt was not afraid of this moment. Supposedly Richt can’t win big games, but if this wasn’t a big game, what the heck is? Lose this game and the narrative is, “we told you Miami was overrated.” Instead, they went out and swagjacked an entire fanbase. ND left that building without their football soul. Plain and simple.


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Knoxville Baby Maker
Jan 27, 2012
I don't know if I ever learn anything but I certainly feel like I should. Great work man.


Dec 11, 2015
Thanks for your work. It's great to see the adjustments being made weekly by Diaz and Co. Thankfully the schedule this year allowed for the player and coach development. We are peaking at the right time. "And I wanna say, praise God".


Mario called me ‘an exceptional human being’
Nov 12, 2015
Great post, as always. These should have a special archive.

calinative umstudent

Apr 28, 2014
Great ****. I said before the game that ANY time ND tried to pull their OL, we would blow the play up. I knew from watching the UGA and NCSt game that a DL that gets up field fast beats them every single time they try that. So why the **** their OC would call so many power plays or any other plays that involved a pulling guard against us of all teams is incredibly stupid to me.

I'm really hoping we just sit Ahmmon at least this game vs Virginia, because we NEED him healthy for Clemson. I don't even think he really played all that much from what I remembered. And after that first quarter I don't even remember really seeing him on the field or being targeted.

WR Snap count (via DanielGould):

Berrios - 53
Thomas -38
Cager - 26
Richards - 23
Harley - 22
Langham - 18
Harris - 12

We need Richards to get completely healthy, because the way he's been playing has been straight trash, and honestly its seemed like he hasn't given very good effort on some plays....though he has continued to block well. I think Cager/Langham should basically split time at Richards' spot vs UVA, with Thomas/Harley getting 60/40 share on the opposite side. And of Course Berrios almost never leaving the field (but when he does it should be Thomas/Harley subbing for him, not fucking Harris).


Nov 20, 2011
Why not us?

I really believe this team can beat anyone(on any given day or night)

It's the first thing I said to a few people after the game on Saturday night at Hard Rock


2028 is our year
Nov 3, 2011

Havent read it all yet but this is why I love these posts: the sequence where we kept running the Wild Cat I remember when it got stuffed a bunch of Canes fans (including myself) express frustration at running it over and over. Looking at the Still, the play that got stuffed would have been a touchdown if McDermott wins.

These posts have really opened my eyes.

Your closing remarks gave me goosebumps. We are actually gaining strength as we move along. I can’t be believe that playing a game every week for months will end up being a good thing.
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The Cane of NY

Dec 26, 2011
I love how the Domers keep saying the missed TE for a TD would have changed the game. It very well may have. But we dropped about 4 INTs. So revisionist history is a useless tool to gauge success. However if the Domers still want to argue I'll quote a famous anonymous person by saying, "If my Aunt had balls she'd be my Uncle.".

Great write up. Love the X's and O's breakdown!


Nov 3, 2011
The most exciting part of this post to me is about the coaching staff making adjustments in the weekly game plan. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kids and they have to execute the plan. Next big up is of course how the team handles being the hunted instead of the hunter. Thanks for your time HV!

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Aug 10, 2014
This is a very strong statement you made OP. Our D is that good???

"Every single player starting on this defense is going to play in the NFL. Every. Single. One. You could make a case that of our 22 players on the defensive two-deep, 18 or 19 will play in the NFL. "


Staff Writer
Nov 16, 2012
This is a very strong statement you made OP. Our D is that good???

"Every single player starting on this defense is going to play in the NFL. Every. Single. One. You could make a case that of our 22 players on the defensive two-deep, 18 or 19 will play in the NFL. "

I️ have zero doubt that ten of our starters play in the NFL. Redwine is a guy that may not get drafted, but he will play in the NFL in some capacity I️ believe. Size/durability are concerns, but his ability to play a specialty role will give him added value. He also plays on specials.

The backup LB’s probably won’t play NFL, though Perry has a chance to make a team on specials. Bethel and Moten I’m not sure, but everyone else is playing NFL most likely. I️ really like the athleticism of Carter and Derrick Smith, so I’m making projections there.

There is all kinds of talent on this defense.

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Aug 3, 2012
Was waiting for your analysis on the Bandy pick 6, [MENTION=5374]HurricaneVision[/MENTION]

It appears to me that 1) you're opinion that he is going to be good, really good is obviously correct-- not there was a doubt, but add this to your evidence room and 2) Our coaching staff was clearly ahead of ND. Calling for a pick before the play was snapped indicates that you did your homework a lot better than the other guy, but also that you were in complete control of the game. I wonder if the ND coaches recognize that we basically schemed a "free man" in coverage and were hoping the QB would have made a different read. My guess is that is too much to ask from your backup so they were oblivious or should have called a TO.


Nov 2, 2011
Awesome, Vision. One comment - you mention about how the coaches were talking into microphones waiting for a bandy pick - is that just poetic license/guesswork by you or are you referring to something that actually happened?


Nov 5, 2011
Was waiting for your analysis on the Bandy pick 6, [MENTION=5374]HurricaneVision[/MENTION]

It appears to me that 1) you're opinion that he is going to be good, really good is obviously correct-- not there was a doubt, but add this to your evidence room and 2) Our coaching staff was clearly ahead of ND. Calling for a pick before the play was snapped indicates that you did your homework a lot better than the other guy, but also that you were in complete control of the game. I wonder if the ND coaches recognize that we basically schemed a "free man" in coverage and were hoping the QB would have made a different read. My guess is that is too much to ask from your backup so they were oblivious or should have called a TO.

What is this about the calling the pick, coaches talking in headphones stuff? I must have missed that. Link?

The Cane of NY

Dec 26, 2011
Awesome, Vision. One comment - you mention about how the coaches were talking into microphones waiting for a bandy pick - is that just poetic license/guesswork by you or are you referring to something that actually happened?

I believe Richt indicated at the end of the game interview he can go back and forth from offense to defense in the headset and he heard them calling for the pick before the play. As for ND calling a time out? They just came off of one. Our coaches are better!