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Virginia Film Review: Second Quarter

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 26 Virginia at Louisville Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The second quarter wasn’t good at all for Louisville’s offense but the defense kept the damage to a minimal. I posted all of Evan Conley’s plays in this post because I hate myself. But it only affirmed my feeling that the whole quarter is just a throw away. Nothing really worked and potentially giving away free points to a bad offense wouldn’t have been smart, in my opinion.


This isn’t a repost of the third down play from the first quarter. It’s the same play call out of a different formation. This view provides a good look at what Cunningham is seeing. His read is #33 in the middle of the field. Whatever that guy does, you do the opposite with the ball because UVA is in man coverage with your receivers running away from coverage. #33 stays in the middle of the field initially but then starts moving with Seth Dawkins. That leaves Dez wide open but the throw is very late and the pass is broken up.

Cunningham has man coverage here so all he needs to do is time this throw. When he gets to the top of his drop, the ball should be out to Dez. I think this is part of his growth that we hopefully will see. His footwork is a complete mess when he feels pressure. Maybe he still doesn’t trust his own protection but this has to get better somehow.


This is a good look at how they looked to contain Bryce Perkins. This is soft man coverage with a single safety high. They only rush three guys and they use four second level defenders to spy and contain Perkins. I loved this call on third and long. UVA doesn’t have a lot of dynamic options from a talent or play calling standpoint and they definitely hadn’t shown much of anything explosive at that point. Bryan Brown took their most dynamic option away and trusted his coverage to keep things in front of them.


So I decided it would be best to post each of the plays run in the second quarter. I left out the fourth drive but the rest of them will follow.

I think this first play gets viewed as an option play that Conley just doesn’t keep. I don’t think that’s the case though I’m not 100% sure. The blocking looks a lot more like a straight run. Tutu Atwell ignores the threat on the edge here and heads inside for a second level block. There’s also no read to make here. If this were an option play, Jordan Davis who is at the top of the screen on the line would let his guy go and look to block someone else. The end guy would be the read Conley makes.

I can’t speak for the other times they run this play, but on this specific play it looks like Conley is just finishing out the play. Robbie Bell makes his block here and it’s possible Javian Hawkins gets a handful of yards here.

On the second play they actually run the option and add some motion to try to spread out the defense. The UVA end splits the difference and Conley gives it. This play actually reminded me of a play in the Clemson game where Micale Cunningham kept it when the defender split the difference. He tried to get outside and lost a handful of yards. Not to say that would have happened here but I do think the safe play is to give it and get what you can.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the third down play. It’s designed to draw the edge defender to the quarterback and Marshon Ford would be left open. Dez is dragging across the field from the top of the formation. The issue is that it leaves a free runner to the quarterback if he doesn’t bite on the run fake. That’s exactly what happens and Conley doesn’t have time to get it to Dez.


Louisville had some real issues stopping the run on this drive. Virginia started hitting tight edge plays where their backs could play off the hip of the linemen crashing down on the end. To me, it seems like UVA saw Bryan Brown running a lot of man coverage and knew that the tight end would have someone right over him. This makes for an easy “pin/pull” block with the tight end pinning the edge and the guard pulling to kick out whoever replaces him. That works well here with Russ Yeast coming up in run support only to be met by the pulling guard.


As well as UVA blocked the run on this drive, they also took advantage of some of Louisville’s players playing too aggressively and other not aggressively enough. Boosie Whitlow just crashes the party here and runs himself out of the play. He also leaves a massive void in the defense. The linebackers in the middle of the field and Khane Pass all play this a little to soft to me. It’s a read option play and you obviously have to respect Perkins’ running ability but taking on these blockers instead of letting them come to you would have helped.

Marlon Character played a great game but he also has to do better here. Forcing the runner back inside is great but you also have to make the tackle.


Both angles on Virginia’s first touchdown are pretty gross. Amonte Caban purposely moved way out to the far edge of the play before it started. I have no clue why though. He jumped offsides but when he got back he just started sliding outside like a video game player with a broken controller. That left him outside the last blocker with Whitlow. They’re practically on top of each other. This was more weird than anything, to me.

Even though Caban is way out of position, I don’t know why Khane Pass takes his first step to his left. Nothing he could be reading should take him that way and he wouldn’t be needed over there anyway. If he takes his first step to his right, he has a chance to meet the runner in the hole. This isn’t all on him, but he needs to at least get more than a hand on the runner here.


This was the first down throw that was called back because Seth Dawkins wasn’t lined up correctly. The next play was also called back due to a penalty. No clue how this drive goes without the penalties but the context is important.

This drive is now effectively another bad field position drive with them needing 21 yards for a first down.

Satterfield calls what I believe is the first screen pass of the year but UVA is in man coverage and the play is blown up pretty quickly. I also don’t know that it was blocked as designed. Cole Bentley and Mekhi Becton first block inside before Bentley looks outside. I’m not sure if they came too far in and couldn’t get outside quickly enough or if the outside linebacker playing man just killed it. Either way, it just didn’t work.

Satterfield calls an RPO screen to Tutu next. This play works pretty well but Tutu gets tripped up. Keion Wakefield seems to know that if he holds his block a little longer, Tutu would get more yards. It would still be third and long, however.

This is one of the plays that frustrates you with Conley because it shows how inexperienced he is. He extends the play well here by getting out of the pocket but then he kind of loses all sense of urgency. He either needs to throw this on the run (either out of bounds or to whatever receiver he’s eyeing) or just tuck it and try to get some yards.


This play is defended extremely well by the entire defense. You can see Chandler Jones beat his block at the bottom of the screen and Boosie Whitlow keep backside contain right above him. Both of those guys are in position to make the play if this were an actual reverse. Instead, Joe Reed keeps it and nearly everyone else is there to make the play. Anthony Johnson does a great job of setting the edge and forcing the play up the field. That’s where Russ Yeast and others make this a one yard gain.


I yelled at my TV after this play. I talked a bit leading up to the game about the importance of turnovers as well as making a bad offense pay for mistakes. C.J. Avery had that opportunity here and botched it. It’s third down so it’s not the end of the world but there’s a good chance he returns this into UVA territory. Instead, UVA punts it to the UofL ten yard line.


This play would’ve been negated by a penalty anyway but the line just doesn’t get anything done here to create a running lane for Hawkins.

This was the one “risky” play that Satterfield called. I think he was trying to get some speed on the edge to get out of the hole but Conley again shows his inexperience. The one thing you can’t do here is short-arm the pitch. Conley short-arms the pitch. Hard to know if this play works but it looks to me that Tutu has the edge here.

On the following play, Louisville just tries to create some room for Mason King to work. Even so, the line again fails to create a path. Becton gets beat to the spot and whoever is at tight end gets whipped also.


Just watch Amonte Caban at left end here. There was a lot of talk about the defensive line not being big enough to handle ACC offensive lines but overall that hasn’t been the case. Plays like this haven’t been abnormal and they show how much effort and quickness matter in this scheme. Tabarius Peterson also deserves a gold star. He beats his guy off the snap and avoids the cut block. Then he’s up to make the tackle in the backfield.


This is UVA’s offense in all of it’s glory. They would run this on every down if they could. It stood out to me that Isaiah Hayes didn’t see this coming as I would assume it was drilled into the defense all week. Hayes is at the left of the screen in man coverage. You can see that he has his eyes in the backfield for way too long. Perkins doesn’t fake a handoff or anything to keep your eyes on him.

Also, the receiver telegraphs his route. He drives toward the hash at the snap which makes it obvious that he’s running an out. Hayes doesn’t react until Joe Reed makes his break. I’m not dogging a safety for not being an expert in man coverage but this was a good opportunity to show specifically how this play worked for UVA.


Opportunistic plays were few and far between over the first handful of games this year but this defense has been so much better at taking advantage of mistakes. Bryce Perkins misses pretty badly here but Chandler Jones is right there to drive on the ball and he makes a nice catch to get the pick.

It looks like part of the reason the receiver is open is that Dorian Etheridge follows the inside receiver across the field. It looks like they’re in a cover 3 shell, so everyone should be staying in their area and passing guys off if they leave that area. Etheridge should be around where this ball is thrown. No harm, no foul but it’s notable.