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Miami Film Review: First Quarter

It was bad. Very bad.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville came out very flat on defense but that was met by an offense that couldn’t have executed better by Miami. That’s a bad combination and it put them in a hole they never dug out of. The offense moved the ball pretty well but they also had tons of issues with penalties and missed opportunities. Throw in a bad special teams play and you have the recipe for a loss.


Louisville keeps running this play and it keeps working. Marshon Ford gets another key block to get Tutu Atwell some room to run. It was good to see Atwell run away from people on this run. We all know he’s fast but Miami has some legit speed in the secondary and they have verteran guys who know how to take angles. Tutu pretty much blew those angles.


This play kind of showcases a big issue with Micale Cunningham that I don’t know you can fix. There’s no zip on this ball. Just look at the trajectory of the ball. This is an easy first down if the ball gets on Dez more quickly and instead the corner is able to come over top and rip through his hands. I’m not sure you can improve arm strength in a quarterback but they need to work on his timing to help him out.

Kyle Bolin had similar issues with his overall arm strength but he was very good about getting the ball out before guys would take their breaks. It allowed the ball to get there on time even though he wasn’t throwing darts. To me, that’s the next step for Micale.


This is just bad coverage from Russ Yeast. He knows he doesn’t have help in the middle of the field even if Khane Pass ends up in the middle here. Yet he opens his hips and allows the receiver to just run an easy slant. He’s aligned okay before the snap as he’s on the inside eye of the receiver. You can see that he’s inside the hash a bit while the receiver is directly on it. He just doesn’t keep that leverage well because he opens his hips.

I didn’t notice Miami running a bunch of RPOs in the games I watched this year but they killed with them on Saturday. It completely freezes Rodjay Burns and draws up Dorian Etheridge which opens up a big passing lane. It also gives Jarren Williams that extra half second that he needs to get the ball off because the defensive line pauses a bit. They executed the RPOs very well and I’m not sure how much Bryan Brown and the defense expected them.


I used to tweet out “MESH” on third downs over the last few years because Bobby Petrino was completely dependent on it in third and medium and long. As much as I hated it then, I’ve been really pleased with how Scott Satterfield uses it. They run it a bit too much for my liking but it has produced points so far. They scored on mesh against Boston College and they had a couple of opportunities to get nice gains against UVA. It also varies and can be run in different ways.

On this play they do a great job with running a pick route in front of the play with Seth Dawkins. He comes off the line at the top of the screen and “collisions” the linebacker in front of him. He then moves on to his corner route. Tutu Atwell and Keion Wakefield run their crossers underneath and five each other (a staple of mesh) and Tutu has tons of space because Dawkins pushes the backside zone linebacker up the field. Then you get a huge block from Dawkins after the catch and Tutu is off to the races. Just a perfectly executed play with some really nice wrinkles to make it work.


I think I figured out why Marlon Character turned the wrong way on this play. When you watch the all-22 replay you can see that when he turns back for the ball the first thing he sees is two of his teammates angled towards the sideline and not towards his man. That’s due to them turning up the field after chasing a guy crossing the field. Character likely saw them and didn’t see the ball as it was already nearly to the receiver and he turned to try to make the play outside. Just my theory but I’ve watched an unhealthy amount of football in my life and I’ve never seen someone leave their man like this for no reason.


This is a very easy first down that Cunningham just bails on for no reason. Dez runs a good route where he gets a ton of separation from his man and Cunningham is looking directly at him. Not only does he not throw it in time but he doesn’t throw it at all. As soon as he hits the top of his drop, the ball should come out. Instead he hops and then takes two more steps before taking off. Even if the safety that is sitting in the middle doesn’t back out, which we see him do right before the camera pans, Dez is open if this is on time. You can’t just hold the ball and take a sack here.


Scott Satterfield said that guys didn’t get into their lanes on this punt. He pointed out that the guys on the left side of the field should have widened out more than they did. I think that’s true but I also think that Mason King was supposed to put this ball closer to the numbers than the hash and he just missed. They have two gunners to the bottom of the screen and they have no chance of making it to this returner. The hangtime was also bad which is something they stressed over the summer when they talked about special teams.


G.G. Robinson has been great at sniffing out screens this year but Tabarious Peterson needs to take a lesson from him. Peterson doesn’t beat his man here which isn’t a huge deal but he has to know that this is a screen with the quarterback backing up like he does. Instead of turning to find the running back, he plays it like he would a normal pass where you work to get in the passing lane to bat the pass down. You can see Robinson see it quickly and try to chase the running back. To me, it seems like he’s the only person on the field that reads the screen. The linebackers see it a bit late but they run right into blocks (good execution by Miami). It’s hard to stop well run plays but these veteran players are the ones you expect to make these plays.


This happened against Clemson so it really stood out to me that it happened again two games later. Cunningham is reading the end man on the line. For whatever reason he still keeps this ball even though the end man on the line runs right at him. Marshon Ford ignores him because he’s the pitch guy but even if he somehow makes this block, it’s still the wrong decision.

Then you have the path that Javian Hawkins has here if he gets the handoff. That’s a first down at the very least. This is flat out running the play incorrectly and I don’t really get it.


Hawkins and the offensive line save the day on the next snap with a really nice run that gets blocked very well. Mekhi Becton and Caleb Chandler do a really good job of firing out of their stances and it draws the Miami linebackers outside. Ford gets into the hole and gets a hat on the backside linebacker to open a nice seam and Hawkins uses his speed to hit it hard. Dez finishes it off with a nice block down the field to give Hawkins the space to get a first down. They didn’t have a lot of these big runs in the first half but they took advantage of every hole they had.


I really loved this play call because they ran it right at Miami’s best player. Caleb Chandler times his block really well to get #15 up the field and inside of him while Cunningham runs right by him. There were a handful of instances when I questioned the play calls but once they got down, the call sheet shrunk. Plays like this work well against aggressive defenses and it hit big here.


Louisville hasn’t gotten Marshon Ford involved in the passing game lately so it was nice to see them use him here. Satterfield really likes this play. I remember him running it against Penn State last year with a slot guy running the wheel. It’s an easy read for the quarterback plus you force the safety to make a choice. He stays with Seth Dawkins here so you throw it to Ford who is trailing behind him. Ford has made people miss some this year so I was disappointed he couldn’t do that here but the Miami player makes a nice play after he initially bites on the dead leg.


Hassan Hall keeps getting better as the year goes on. He’s seeing things so well and reacting appropriately. What I mean by that is that he can hit the hole hard and just get what he can or he can do something like this and cut it all the way back to the backside. He’s also shown patience on other runs where he’s let things develop and then made his move. I didn’t see that against Notre Dame. He’s going to be vital down the stretch.