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Miami Hurricanes Film Review: First Quarter

Execution was lacking early on in the game.

Black Lives Matter Demonstrators Protest Outside University Of Louisville Football Game In Louisville, Kentucky Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images


The second play of the game jumped out to me because this is essentially the alignment that Miami was in on their last big play of the game where they left Brevin Jordan open for a touchdown pass. UofL defended this three different ways from what I saw but only one time was there a true misalignment. As you can see on this play Rodjay Burns is outside on a receiver, Dorian Etheridge slides over to the edge, and CJ Avery is shaded to the wide side of the field. There is only one eligible receiver to the short side of the field and Isaiah Hayes is heads up with him.

This is about as well as you can line up to defend this with the intention to play it aggressively. This obviously didn’t happen in the fourth quarter and it was an example of how communication is still an issue. On an aside, this is how they defended the run on the vast majority of run plays that night.


This was Louisville’s only sack of the game but they were able to keep him in the pocket and not let him break for chunk runs. Miami obviously had a plan to overload one side of the field but Louisville handled it well early on. They just went man up here with no safety and dropped Burns and Hayes into short zones to try to take away anything that wasn’t down the field. The pressure got home and D’Eriq King had to tuck and run.


I thought this was a very good decisive play by Malik Cunningham. Off the boot, it’s obvious that no one bit on the play fake and he doesn’t have any option to pass to so he takes off towards his blockers. I think that’s key. He could have just looked to gain yards but he has a natural wall due to the blocking scheme so he heads that direction.

Malik didn’t have a good game but I think that if he had this quick decision making all night, he would have avoided some negative plays.


I highlighted Bubba Bolden in the opponent breakdown last week because I felt that he was more athletic and a better play maker than the other Safeties that Miami normally starts. This play is a good example of the type of player that I think he is. He sniffs the play out quickly but the really impressive part of the play is how he sets up Isaac Martin and then darts past him to get enough of Marshon Ford to bring him down.

My initial reaction to this play was to blame it on Martin missing a block but not many players are making this block. Bolden made a great play and he forced a punt.


This was one of Miami’s three runs that went for more than a few yards and Miami blocked it really well. You can see that the line washes two defensive linemen out of the play while stoning the other one. That creates a backside cutback lane that Cam’ron Harris sees and bursts through. It’s a well run play that ends up in a big play.

The only issue from Louisville on this play is Burns taking a misstep inside and allowing himself to be blocked out of the play. He should be moving to his left here to fill that backside lane. If he’s there, he’s at least forcing Harris to make a move on him and maybe forcing him back inside where Etheridge is.


This is the second way that UofL defended the overloaded trips formation that I clipped above. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t really have any other way to put it. Burns is still split out to cover a receiver but Chandler Jones is now inside to cover the Tight End. That leaves Russ Yeast to cover the inside slot receiver from 15 yards away. My assumption is that they wanted enough guys in the box to have a numbers advantage. The issue is that it left them at a disadvantage outside.

I think that if you’re going to do this you have to have Etheridge aligned further outside and he has to play the pass first. So he would be sprinting outside here to help defend this. Jones would then be the guy to step up and set the edge. You have to do something to defend the guy that’s essentially uncovered here. And as I point out above, they defended the run well with four defenders outside to stop this type of play.


This is just a really nice play design and an absolutely perfect throw. Miami runs play action with the Tight End faking a down block before he heads up the seam. The goal is to freeze CJ Avery and it worked as designed. Avery is trying to diagnose and he takes a hop step forward. That creates the space needed and King puts the ball on the back shoulder so Avery has no chance of breaking it up and Yeast wouldn’t be able to defend it if he was there.

This feels like the type of play that Scott Satterfield would draw up and I hate that it was used against UofL. But it’s a good play that did what it was designed to do. Lots of eye candy and misdirection with good execution.


I think that Louisville had an issue with overthinking things against Miami. This really showed up on some third downs. This is a screen to Javian Hawkins with Tutu Atwell as a decoy on the backside. It’s third and five and you have two receivers who are nearly automatic in that situation. Just drop back and let those guys work. I also don’t understand trying to run this to the short side. Hawkins is going to end up right at the numbers and 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage. A run play would have made more sense than this.

I also don’t know what Malik is doing here. He doesn’t sell the decoy at all and just stares where he’s going to throw the ball. Quincey Roche doesn’t even have to work to sniff this out and blow it up.


Louisville made the decision to rush three early on when they got Miami in third and long. It didn’t work very well. This is a zone coverage but like any zone, you’re responsible for closing the space between yourself and anyone that enters your zone. Isiah Hayes doesn’t do that here and I don’t really know why.

Chandler Jones has to account for the back out of the backfield so that’s why he doesn’t get depth here. I believe that’s the correct way to play this because Hayes is behind him. There’s no other threat to Hayes’ area so he should be closing down on the receiver well before he does here. You can see another defender bail into the deep middle. Hayes just has whatever threat enters his third of the field. That’s Mark Pope and he just doesn’t get there.

Personally, I didn’t mind this call because you’re hoping to contain King while taking away his passing lanes. It works to the strong side of the field. King looks left and can’t find anyone. Pope is just left open because of poor execution. I will say that it’s fair to wonder if Hayes can actually handle this assignment, though.


This is the third way UofL played this unbalanced formation from Miami. Everything is the same as the last time but Yeast comes down a bit closer to the line. Miami fakes the quick screen and runs it instead. Nick Okeke makes this play because he blows up Harris off the snap and leaves no doubt who has the ball while also slowing down King before he gets started.

Monty Montgomery makes a really nice play here by using his speed to get on top of King before he can get to the space outside. It’s been good to see Linebackers have space to run but they’ve also done a pretty good job beating blocks so far this season.


This is another play where poor execution was worse than the call itself. This is the next third and long after the one before and Bryan Brown goes with a three man rush, a spy, and man coverage behind it. Jack Fagot just fails to cover the man he’s lined up against at the snap. King has way too long to find an open man but this is also a lot of time for Fagot to actually get to Brevin Jordan.

This is just plain man coverage as you can see at the top of the screen and with Chandler Jones at the bottom of the screen. Montgomery is a spy which is why he’s floating in the middle of the field. You can see Fagot heads up with Jordan and he just doesn’t play this right at all, in my opinion. He shouldn’t even be backpedaling at the start of the play. Jordan isn’t a threat to run past him with that much cushion. But I really don’t understand how he doesn’t close this space once Jordan pivots outside. This is just a poor individual play.


I don’t think you could have more different reactions to the start of this play than Jones and Hayes have. Jones reads quick screen and attacks the blocker. Hayes just kind of stands there as if the guy that Jones is being blocked by is going to suddenly run a go route. I’m not sure why his eyes go outside here when he has two receivers to his side. He doesn’t seem to even notice that Jordan is the target of a pass until Jordan has the ball in his hands. I honestly don’t know what’s going on here.


I believe Louisville hit this throw twice and I wish they would have called it a few more times. Miami’s game plan was to keep everything in front of them and it worked well. I do think that UofL played right into that plan and avoided pushing the ball down the field at all. This is a nice 15 yard or so play that gives Malik an easy read and the formation makes it hard for Miami to defend.

In the #W2W4 last week I thought UofL would use condensed formations like this one but I thought it would help them get behind the defense. Miami had no interest in allowing that so a play like this puts your slot guy on a Safety. That’s a win most of the time for UofL. Can’t help but wonder if it could have been used more.