Where do we start?
Ahh, yes. That about sums it up.
Truthfully, heading into this game I wasn’t sure which way to go with my predictions. I wasn’t blown away by Miami against UAB, but UofL left plenty to be desired against WKU.
What we got tonight was an awful lot to digest and I’m honestly not really sure where to even start. I’ll leave that to Keith.
But I think the big story of the game was how the first half was plagued by ultra-conservative playcalling. We noticed last year against Miami and UK that this team for some reason couldn’t get up for big games, especially when the opponents were talking trash. Since then I still haven’t been able to put my finger on it, but tonight i think it showed who might be the most intimated by pressure: the coaches.
Now bear with me here. I believe it was the second scoring possession for Miami where they had two easy 3rd down conversions due to Brian Brown only sending three rushers and not putting any pressure on the QB. The following Miami drive Brown rushed five guys and whatdya know, we get a stop.
Follow that up with Scott Satterfield putting the clamps on Cunningham’s passing game by only limiting plays to screens and runs in the first half, and what you had was coaches on both sides of the ball scared to make the calls that make both units hum. This was capped off by the offense going 0 for 6 on third downs in the first half (to Miami’s 4/7).
Entering the second half the offense appeared to have a new level of focus. They came out firing, highlighted by Hawkins’ rushing attack, and put up the points that would get you back into a game that you trailed 20-6 at the half.
No matter how much the offense did, however, the defense completely fell apart and showed signs of the defenses we saw last year, under BVG, and under Sirmon. Isaiah Hayes, specifically, got caught out of position and flatfooted multiple times and Miami blasted him for it on back-to-back 75-yard touchdowns.
Hey guys, it's me again. I know scheme can be really tough to parse sometimes. That's why I'm here to walk you through the Xs and Os all season long pic.twitter.com/XydQAKBVtF— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) September 20, 2020
I’m really not sure who is to blame here. Bryan Brown? Individual players? Miami? All of the above?
Regardless, the defensive effort ended the game before the offense even had a chance to make a game of it again and that’s disappointing.
Also, i would like to note that Miami’s placekicker is a god. Like what are you even supposed to do there?
By far the most depressing part of the night came early in the fourth quarter when Ean Pfeifer reeled in a pass inside the 10-yard line only to get blasted. This subsequently ruined Pfeifer’s perfect 3-receptions-for-3-touchdowns streak.
But I digress.
More than anything, what I think this game shows is a team that is truly in year two of a rebuild. This game was a massacre last year, and the game this year wasn’t quite the slaughter. You just have to allow this program to take step by step and not quantum leap after quantum leap.
This schedule still has a lot to offer. Miami has a tendency to crash and burn as soon as things start going poorly, and Louisville’s schedule appears easier and easier week after week. The opportunities are still there to make a dark horse run for #2 in the ACC, but tonight was a big setback towards that goal.
Here’s to hoping the glaring problems can be fixed quickly.
Go Cards. Beat Pitt.