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Miami Film Review: Second Quarter

It didn’t get much better.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 09 Louisville at Miami Photo by Aaron Gilbert/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Louisville’s defense still couldn’t do much to slow down Miami in the second quarter. Louisville was able to get a score on offense but Miami just kept getting separation on the scoreboard.


I had a full on moment when this play happened. Ean Pfeifer hasn’t been mentioned much at all this yeaer by coaches or on this blog but his story is great to me. Pfeifer was a solid offensive linemen at Vanderbilt. He got some postseason accolades after his freshman year but injuries led to him losing his starting spot. When he graduated he decided he would remake his body and try to play tight end for his final year. Louisville was willing to give him a shot and he’s done all the dirty work this year. He doesn’t even run a lot of routes, let alone see the ball come his way.

Well he finally got his shot and I couldn’t be happier. I was honestly worried that he would go this entire year doing all the work but never getting the payoff. Scoring a touchdown after dropping all of the weight and whatnot had to be a great moment for him and I loved it. There’s nothing better than seeing players work hard for something and actually see it come to fruition. It’s also an insanely nice play design.


The alignment on this play is completely off. It reminds me of the touchdown run they gave up to UVA. The two middle linebackers are on the same side of the center on this play which shouldn’t ever happen without some sort of blitz or backside zone thing happening with it. Also, Khane Pass follows the tight end across the formation like he is in man coverage. That’s odd to me because Russ Yeast is already playing to that side of the field.

All of that leaves a massive hole to the backside and Miami’s left guard doesn’t even have anyone to block so he just turns and finds C.J. Avery. I don’t really know how this doesn’t get called out before the snap. These are veteran guys that are playing in a new scheme but they should have it down by now. Cam Harris doesn’t get touched for about 30 yards.


This isn’t bad coverage from Chandler Jones. He actually gets his full hand on the ball but just can’t knock it away. It’s a really nice catch on a ball that is placed up even though it’s behind the receiver. It’s another example of Miami’s RPOs working well for them. Khane Pass should be here to make the play but because he reads run, Jarren Williams pulls it and throws the slant. You want Jones to be break better on this as the receiver shades inside on his route but if you get your hand on the ball, it’s hard to nitpick. I do wonder if they should work to get a jam at the line though. It’s not uncommon to let a guy get a free release, but maybe it helps these guys stay with the receivers.

Also, the center should’ve been flagged here. He’s way down the field.


Adonis Boone is obviously not Mekhi Becton but I think he did a good job of not being beaten once he came into the game. You can be effective as a blocker even if you’re not pushing your man the way you want. Just don’t allow your guy to blow up the play or make the tackle. Boone does that here even though he gets pushed into the backfield. He keeps control of his guy and allows Javian Hawkins to cut it up. If he gets beat inside here Hawkins is being tackled for a four yard loss. It’s not how you want it to go but it works.

Plays like this always stand out to me because this team is still a work in progress. Most plays have things that don’t work perfectly but they’ve found a way to utilize their top guys to get things done in a fairly simple offense. Think about how often the pop pass to Tutu has worked. They run it with the top guys in the most important spots. And it works.


This is the quarterback draw that worked well in the first quarter but it looks like Micale either ran the wrong way or he saw the linemen twisting up the middle and hoped he could find room the other way. I don’t think it would’ve worked if he ran it behind Caleb Chandler because Shaq Quarterman ends up right in the hole. This was one of those plays that looked really bad live but got cleared up for me once I watched it again. Initially I thought that Cunningham saw the rush and just bailed on the play. In reality, Miami just called a play that worked out perfectly for them.


The blocked punt looked like a numbers issues. Miami shifts and gets four guys on the left side. Derek Dorsey adjusts the blockers to bring another guy tight. I’m not sure if he changed how those guys were supposed to block, though. You can see the two guys on the line step left and then go out to cover the punt. That leaves three Louisville guys to block four Miami guys. Obviously hat doesn’t work and one guy gets through. It’s possible that Dorsey could have stepped right here and let the inside guy go but when the numbers are off, nothing really goes right.

I’d assume that Miami saw this on film. Something Louisville’s self-scout should’ve probably picked up during the bye week. A little frustrating that the group that has been killing it all year had such a poor game.


I’m a bit of a broken record on this but the defense has to make plays when they’re available. This is a very tough catch for a guy who is essentially a defensive end but the plays have to be made.

I will say this about Boosie Whitlow, he drops into his zone so well. It’s a little thing that a nerd like me notices but watch how he angles and how he gets his head around. It’s not easy to do for big guys and plenty of guys struggle with it. To me, Rodjay Burns is the example of struggling. He turns his entire body and his back is turned to the play. He’s gotten himself out of position multiple times because of it. So kudos to Boosie for playing it right. He just has to make this catch.


Louisville will miss G.G. Robinson next year but Jared Goldwire has shown that he can handle the nose spot well. He was much more of a speed and quickness guy as a recruit but last year’s defense was trash and he never got to use those skills. He’s been able to do so this year and plays like this show that he’s not a finesse guy. He ends up too high because no one blocks him but he takes on a fairly big tight end who has a clear shot on him and just bodies him up. Then he takes on the running back. Really nice play here to force a long third down.


If you’ve been reading these film reviews you know that I’ve been touting how well Louisville has played wide receiver screens and fake screens this year. Well, they completely blew this one somehow. It’s third and 8 but Russ Yeast bites on the screen that wouldn’t have gone anywhere. He lets the tight end get behind him and it’s an easy touchdown.

This defense hasn’t been great this year but plays like this kind of make you want to just throw the game away. It’s uncharacteristic for them to give up this touchdown and I can’t think of a single time they’ve allowed this type of play to work. It’s just weird to see that them give this up in this specific situation. It would be weird even if this wasn’t the first time.


This play makes me wonder if Micale is making his decision on where he’s going to go with the ball before the snap. Tutu is open in front of him and there’s enough separation that he can make an easy throw to him before the defender closes down. But he holds the ball and it looks like he might be waiting for the receiver down the field to open up. That’s obviously not going to happen with both Miami guys running with him.

If he’s looking to throw to Tutu he just has to let it rip. Get a few yards and keep it moving. He also can’t just take the sack. Throw it away or run.


Louisville really does well when they get their running game going but I think their play action works no matter what. I’ll keep beating that horse until my arms fall off. Look at how the linebackers flow to the run action here and how much space Cunningham has because of it. Then you have Tutu in single coverage with a bunch of grass around him with no defenders. Cunningham can just put it where no one else is. Also a very nice throw rolling to his left.


This is what they need from Micale Cunningham as well as Scott Satterfield. This was only the second shot down the sideline that they took in the first half. Miami runs a ton of man coverage without safeties over top and Louisville has size and speed on the outside. Dez beat his man earlier but the throw was just out of his reach. Seth runs right past Al Blades here and makes a great catch.

Satterfield has fair concerns about the protection holding up long enough to push the ball down the field but this is essentially a three step drop. Let it rip.


In the #W2W4 before this game I said that they needed to get Dez more involved in the offense. Instead, they continued to force the ball to Tutu. They threw the ball to him on every pass on this drive save for two. I have no clue why this ball was thrown but they have timeouts and a wide open receiver underneath. Hell, he is so open that he might have a better chance to score than a throw into the endzone near the sideline.

Cunningham is having a much better year than he had last year or than most expected this year. But his mistakes come in such big moments. I’ve made the point before that they don’t really need him to win the game for them. He just can’t lose it. This play didn’t lose it for them but it’s the type of play that does. Just take what the defense gives you and let the talent around you make some plays.