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Miami Film Review: Third Quarter

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

This game was summed up perfectly in the third quarter. Louisville’s defense made multiple plays behind the line of scrimmage and forced long yardage situations. They still gave up two touchdowns. Louisville scored in three plays on one drive but couldn’t put up more than that one score. This was just a bad game that you hope gets left behind.


A theme in the third quarter was UofL’s defense giving up these chunk runs that ended up pretty much making the whole drive for Miami. Louisville got multiple stops behind the line and forced some incompletions but these types of runs kind of negated those plays. This play was really frustrating to watch because C.J. Avery is right where he’s supposed to be but he slips on the wet field. I will say, though, that the linebackers weren’t playing as aggressively against the run as we’ve seen before. Both middle linebackers are waiting for the ball here instead of filling their gaps. That allows DeeJay Dallas the space to make the cut that leads to Avery slipping.


This seemed like a purposeful adjustment to me. Rodjay Burns started flying off the edge in the second half and he was able to make a couple of plays. I can’t tell who the defensive end is on this play but I believe it’s Tabarius Peterson who blows up the tight end coming across to make a block on him. Not a ton to be happy about with this game but plays were made buy a handful of guys. The effort was always there, too. But plays like this kept getting wiped out later in the drive.


Louisville gets Miami into third and medium again and they get beat by a RPO again. Russ Yeast had a very rough day in Miami and this play kind of sums it up. In the first half he was beaten because he opened his hips and let the guy cross his face. Here he keeps his hips closed but because he backs out on the snap, he creates too much space and the receiver has too much space to make the catch.

To me, this is situational awareness. They only need five yards. Just don’t let them get that. They’re not likely to throw deep here and even if they do, you have to trust that the pressure will get home. Backing out here just gives up a free first down. Not making the tackle just makes it worse. Yeast has been strong this year overall but I hope he has a short memory after this one.


Louisville started off this drive on fire. Watch how the line creates this massive hole by getting to their blocks and creating a seal on both sides of the path. Bentley and Bell both wall off their guys at the line while Haycraft and Pfeifer get down the field and do the same. Hawkins does the rest by hitting the hole hard and making the first guy reach for air. Then he gets the blocks he needs from his receivers to take it an extra ten yards. They literally couldn’t block this any better.


I lied because on the very net play they block this run so well that Marshon Ford couldn’t find anyone to block until he was twenty yards down the field. Dez Fitzpatrick also gets a knockdown block on the outside. That’s after Bentley walls off his guy and Caleb Chandler makes an unbelievable block to get around his guy to wall him off. Boone gets a chip and then gets to his second level block and Robbie Bell is there to help. Everyone does their job here. It’s beautiful.


The defense started to get it together a bit in the second half. The alignment on this play is still weird to me as both middle linebackers are on one side of the ball. Jack Fagot comes down to fill but there’s not really a guy to fill in that backside at the snap. Didn’t matter on this play but it just doesn’t make sense to me.

Either way, Dorian Etheridge makes an outstanding play here to read and react to the play. He takes a couple of steps but doesn’t commit until he knows the path of the run and when he commits he gets downhill in a hurry. You can see the lineman that’s supposed to block him just reaching for anything as he gets blown by. Etheridge has really impressed me with his speed to the ball this year. Just seems a step quicker than he was last year.


This was the one sack of the game for UofL. It’s a perfect example of the coverage matching the rush. Dayna Kinnaird does a really good job of using his hands to beat his blocker. You can see him get underneath the tackle and use his hands to push the the tackle’s arms to the side. That throws off his balance and Kinnaird gets a free run at the quarterback. On the back end, everyone takes away the quick options for the quarterback and they all stay with their man down the field. Jarren Williams can’t find anything he likes and the pass rush gets home.

I’m genuinely surprised that this didn’t happen more often. The pass rush did force Williams to run a few times but he got away on all of them. Getting one guy to get pressure isn’t a bad thing but this offensive line had been allowing anyone to get through. Even though it’s obvious their line has improved, this was a disappointing showing for the pass rush.


UofL scored on three plays and then got a three and out. Then this happened. You can see that Rodjay Burns calls for a fair catch which is followed by Tutu Atwell looking over to him for a split second. I’d assume he’s wondering if Burns is drifting over the make the catch. When he looks back up he’s out of position and he tries to make an over the shoulder catch which rarely goes right and maybe never goes right in the rain.

This is another very out of the ordinary mistake that was made in this game. Burns shouldn’t be anywhere near this as the punt is purposely away from him with two returners. He should be moving up to make a block. Tutu should just let this go once he looks down. It’s not a long enough punt to get a return and if you lose a bunch of yards on the bounce, who cares. This game may have still been within reach if they could have scored on this possession, but they never got the chance.


Here’s another really nice play by Rodjay Burns on defense. They started getting really aggressive against the run knowing Miami would look to keep it on the ground with the score and the rain. Burns sees the motion and you can see him take a step forward. Because the snap comes off before the motion guy crosses the quarterback he knows that he’s getting the handoff. At worst, Williams is keeping it on a fake but he’s got a running start to get to him. Then he beats the block to get a hand on K.J. Osborn which slows him up so his help gets there. Extra credit for getting back up and getting in for the tackle for loss. The effort never went away on defense. Small victories.


Miami loves their screens to the running backs and they scored on one early in the game. Amonte Caban shows how you defend the screen on this play, though. He can see the quarterback back out after his initial drop so he actually holds the guy that’s blocking him so that he can’t get down the field. In doing so he actually muddies up the passing lane and doesn’t make it possible to get the pass off. C.J. Avery also reads this well as the running back goes out for the route. G.G. Robinson also provides nice pressure on Williams. This is all textbook from the defense.


Throw the last two plays away because the defense gives up a really bad touchdown on third and long. Miami had the worst third down offense in the country coming into this game but hit half of them against the Cards. I’d vote for this one being the worst of them. UofL is in a base “Tampa Two” defense. Four man rush with the three linebackers playing zone. The middle linebacker is responsible for the deep middle of the field. The two safeties play right outside the hashes. Jack Fagot ends up coming up a bit as the wide receiver to the bottom of the screen gets passed off. Dorian Etheridge doesn’t initially run even though he turns his hips and tries to get down the field. That’s all Williams needs as Mike Hartely just runs right past him.

I can’t see what Russ Yeast is doing on this play but he has to recognize this and and stay on the hash. It seems like he might be a bit outside of it but he ends up not even having a chance at making a play on a simple post route. But I also don’t know if anyone is stopping this play from being made. This is a perfect throw.


Watch Jack Fagot and C.J. Avery fill on this play. This is what they needed all night. Guys trusting what they see and reacting to it. They both see the run coming and they attack. Caban also makes a nice play here. He dominates his man into the middle of the field and clears up space for the other guys to get through. Don’t sleep on Anthony Johnson at the bottom of the screen. He doesn’t factor into the play but he does a good job of setting the edge. It’s a little thing but I love seeing that stuff.


At the beginning of this quarter the offensive line was dominant. This was the type of play that shows how quickly the offense can come back to earth. I’ve been watching these games at least three times each week and plays like this happen all the time. The line is better and we all know that. But to me, these plays show how far they have to go. Or to put it another way, how much room there is to grow. How you term it is important because the former is pretty negative while the latter is probably the fair way to look at things.

This team flashes really good things at times and then shows you why this coaching staff deserves the praise they get. They’ve made it work pretty well overall. This game was just very bad in two phases and really inconsistent in the other.