Miami vs. USM Film Review

Welcome back to another film review of the Miami Hurricanes, this time focusing on the victory over Southern Mississippi.

First down and they go for a swing pass to Parrish that was designed all the way. This could be a big play if Mallory makes this block in space. He needs to come in under more control so that he can steer this defender and allow Parrish a cutback lane. Instead, he doesn’t hardly touch the defender. Also, Scaife needs to get this reach block and instead gets in side-position and lets the defender control him down the LOS. If Scaife gets one yard further and gets across the defenders face, he can make this block. Parrish made the DB miss, but the defender that Scaife can’t control makes the tackle.

Tyler really missed this one. His first read is Mallory past the sticks and he’s wide open. No underneath defender, no one in the hook zone. This should be a rip it type situation and he turfs it. He could’ve hit Redding for a 1st down most likely, and they forgot to cover Parrish out of the backfield who probably would’ve picked it up as well. You have to hit this pass when you get exactly what you’re hoping for.

Harvey shows his athleticism by getting upfield on the read, forcing the RB to bubble around, then pursuing. This gives Flagg time to come down the LOS and get a TFL. I talk a lot about “keys” in these reviews and you can see Flagg has a key on the RG because he’s going the wrong way at the handoff. He’s following the pulling G and if Harvey doesn’t stay disciplined, this run pops. Announcer praised Flagg, who did make the tackle, but it was Harvey who made the play.

DL got washed inside here as Jordan Miller and Elijah Roberts both got pushed inside, leaving this wide-open passing lane as Steed turns to run the seam in man-coverage. QB steps through and has easy yardage.

Miami should’ve been off-the-field on 3rd down as the officials gave them a generous spot. Darrell Jackson did get turned out of the hole on a double-team and I’d like to see him anchor a bit and not give up his back on those plays. Need more from him there. Steed got him from behind and it’s should’ve been 4th down.

On the next play Miami runs that bail coverage on the outside and James Williams steps up on the play-action. This means that the deep skinny post is wide open. QB turfs it or it could’ve been a TD, frankly. He puts this ball on the hash and it’s a foot race.

Some of this is on Kinchens for biting up on the sticks route from the TE. You want the QB to take that route and get off-the-field. Kinchens stays back and helps on the dig route as he should (deepest to shallow) and this is a pick or a dumpoff.

Not Flagg in the wrong here. He’s responsible for the flats. Seam routes got James Williams to back up and respect deep and the TE settled in to the hook zone that Williams has to take. Honestly, their play-call was just better than the defensive play-call here. DL really does stunt/loop a lot, it would be interesting to hear if the defensive coaches met with Dolphins coaches as they run some similar line stunts/loops.

Stevenson got roasted on the go-route, but thankfully the QB rushed the throw because of interior pressure. Not shown.

Rivers gave up his chest on a quick DT and didn’t get his hands up in-time. The initial punch knocked him back and the defender got his outside arm into armpit of Rivers and shucked him. TVD was trying for a shot play here but didn’t have time. Rivers needs better independent hand usage here and not get caught trying to two-hand punch late.

Thus far, there were plays to be had and Miami simply didn’t execute. On this one, Mallory has a free seam release. Mallory fades his route instead of sticking it straight. He fades towards the sidelines and TVD throws it on the route he’s running (correctly). This one was on Mallory. Checkdown was wide open as well.

TVD hits Brashard on a free play. There aren’t 10 QB’s in the country who throw this pass. Great catch.

Arroyo literally blocks Rivers as he pulling. Not sure if he just lost sight of who he was supposed to hit or what. If he gets around the corner and gets that LB there is room here. Several execution mistakes thus far. Parrish actually breaks his tackle and gets seven yards.

The book is out that we are running the ball on these plays and not an actual RPO. This DB doesn’t respect the threat of a pass one iota and simply jumps into the backfield. Brashard either doesn’t expect him to do that and is trying to help when he sees him jump inside, or simply misses the block. I can’t be sure if he is supposed to actually get to next level and crack the LB and Redding is supposed to block the DB after Brashard cracks, or if Brashard is just supposed to block him. Either way, Miami coaches have to see how they played this and put in some RPO aspects to keep the defense honest.

Clark gets whipped on this play. Line slide to LT and Rivers helps and gets to second-level. Clark doesn’t slide down to take DT. Luckily, Parrish gets through before DT can make play.

Clark is really struggling out there in this game. I’m guessing that ankle injury is hampering him because he can’t move. He’s late on a reach block to the 3-tech again and Rivers has to avoid the DT to try and get to the second-level. Messes up the timing of the play. Henry Parrish is better than I thought, he’s made a bunch of yards on his own. Not shown.

Again, USM did not respect the play-action or RPO game from Miami at all. They’re immediately jumping these run plays and ducking inside of blocks on the outside. Redding can’t get this block as right after TVD gets the ball, he is coming into the backfield. Justice is pulling from his side and is supposed to get to the second level but has to help on Redding’s defender, leaving the LB uncovered and in place for a tackle. Miami has to get more creative and add some passing elements off this run game. Knighton makes the LB miss and gets a few yards.

Arroyo misses a block on the edge. Knighton makes him miss to get the first down barely. So many missed blocks thus far. USM is jumping the running lanes on every play.

This is a designed swing pass to Keyshawn Smith the whole way and the WR has to get wider on their  initial takeoff. Think of it like a C trying to get a reach block on a 3-tech. You have to get across their face and turn them. On this takeoff, the WR is just in the way of the other WR and actually slows everything down. He has to get engaged quickly so the #3 WR can get to the second level or seal (Keyshawn is #1 receiver, Redding #2, Brashard #3 receiver). Afterwards, Redding is asking questions to Brashard because he knows they screwed it up. USM honestly defends it well. They’ve been a well-coached group thus far. Redding has really struggled to block properly.

Campbell is so worried about getting to the second level he treats the edge like a RB chipping an edge defender on his way into a pass route. Can’t do that, have to secure your man first, then get to the second level. Mammarelli is like another OT out there blocking an edge 1-on-1. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing him play more in regular sets after watching these other TE’s blocking. Easy TFL and a really poor play from Campbell.

Tyler has to make this throw. Just lob it out there over the defender and to Mallory to pick this up. He has his feet set, shoulders square, full vision of the play. He lets the defender knock it down.

Couch is called for a PI that looked like PI when the official was behind the play, but Couch actually turned his head and never ran through the WR. Should have been a no-call, but Couch has to get all the way around so officials don’t think he makes more contact than he did. Not shown.

It makes its way into almost every one of these film reviews at some point, but I’ll say again how much I like offenses taking advantage of the rules where you can block downfield before the ball is caught if the ball is behind LOS. USM was just more physical on the outside than our CB’s for much of the 1st half. Ivey gets ragdolled here.

We bring in Marcus Clarke for two plays and they found him both times, including a long TD pass that was honestly a dime from the true freshman. Miami expected USM to run in this game and instead they threw it all over them in the 1st half. Not shown.

Miami is going to have to adjust their offense. You simply cannot run the ball into an 11-man front. Every defensive player is within six yards at the time of the handoff.

Got beat by a line stunt again here, as a rusher comes free. TVD makes him miss and throws a laser to Restrepo. Someone either missed a line call or a pass off here. Your C isn’t blocking anyone.

Clark beaten by a LB blitz. He’s really struggled thus far. On first watch, I thought it was Clark’s worst game at Miami and the breakdown isn’t changing my view. TVD gets it out to his outlet for a few yards.

One of the criticisms I have with Knighton is his propensity to bounce everything. Mallory has this guy sealed, the OL has caved the DL down. This is as big of a running lane as you’ll ever get and he tries to bounce this outside. He’s a step from breaking it, but also a step from not getting the 3rd down conversion. Hit the hole, Knighton. I can almost guarantee the coaches reminded him of this fact in film review.

Again, USM did not respect Miami passing the ball at all. This is with a QB projected to go 1st round. Have to improve this, Coach Gattis. He hasn’t even handed the ball off and two CB’s are crashing.

Knighton has to catch this ball. Even if he does, this is a pretty conservative play call on 3rd down. Both blockers get bullied into the backfield. Knighton had a pretty meh game.

USM studied Miami’s tendencies and guessed right on this one. Miami runs Smash with Sticks from the TE (rather than slant or a whip route) and USM doubles it with a S sitting in the corner route. TVD throws it late after he initially wanted Sticks. Restrepo came open to the top of the screen and not sure why you don’t immediately pick that out with a LB on Restrepo. Bad play by TVD, whose eyes brought the S over there immediately.

Mitchell Agude has played well in this game, assignment sound setting the edge, showing speed, motor. I’ve been impressed thus far. He closes the edge on a 1st down run and forces RB to bounce. He doesn’t finish the tackle, but allows the defense to rally for a TFL. Not shown.

It’s a tale as old as time; Ivey can’t find the ball in the air. Great catch. Awesome throw. CB still doesn’t find the ball.

This true freshman QB can play a little. This is a big-time throw here as he waits for the WR to clear the LB, then places it low-and-away so it’s his guy or no one. Ivey has had sticky coverage on two plays in a row, but he’s just getting beat. Luckily, you can see Taylor got blocked into oblivion and was too far downfield and it was a penalty.

This is all length and effort by Lichtenstein here. Blocked by two guys he squirms through and lunges to just get him by the shoetops.

Flagg does a good job avoiding the C going to the second level here and makes the tackle. He played solidly above-average in this game.

More confusion up front for Miami. Four blocking two up top, one blocking two on the bottom. TVD gets sacked. Only chance TVD had here was to take him check-down immediately, otherwise it’s an unblocked edge running straight after him. His read is to Mallory in the seam and they had that taken away. Justice missed his assignment and left his QB out to dry.

I am unable to tell you what we did here. Rivers lets this guy go (which was a bust). RB doesn’t pick him up. You’ve got six to block their four and they don’t even touch the edge. Sack.

This is a problem you often see with CB converts to S. As a CB, you are taught to wait for the WR to show hands before you go for the ball, but as a S you are supposed to attack this ball any time it’s in the air. Drive hard and fast and finish the play. Blades is standing here like he’s trying to field a punt instead of attacking this ball in the air. This should’ve been a pick, honestly. Just completely unsure of himself here.

I watch these in succession without knowing what’s happening next, so I loved to see this immediately by Coach Steele.

Much better here, Knighton. He presses the hole and gets LB engaged, then follows the lane that the OL presents for instead of trying to bounce this one.

Heck of a catch here by Redding on a ball quasi-behind him. I think TVD put it a little behind to stop from leading him into a hit, and because he was a tick late getting to this route, so the LB was underneath it in the lane. High-level stuff all the way around.

Justice got smoked again. TVD tries to step up, the chip from the RB knocks the defender into TVD as he tries to avoid the DT. These USM DT’s have had a field day with Miami’s interior OL.

Parrish is really good at this stretch play where he has pullers and then can get square and hit the hole. He almost housed this one. Nice job by Arroyo with the seal, Rivers with the pull and just taking the defender where he’s already going, and Scaife with the kick out.

First time this season I’ve noticed Romello Brinson. Could we have something here as his role expands? He stutters and is patient with his route, gets to his landmark on time and TVD hits him back-shoulder. Then Brinson fights at the goal line and almost gets in. Not shown because it needs more of a gif, but it was nice.

Nice to see Ivey fire his gun immediately here. He makes a TFL here.

3rd and 11 and Miami gets lucky as the QB didn’t fight for a 1st down when he scrambled and goes out-of-bounds prior to the 1st down. Not shown.

Thad truly threw Mallory out of the way as he went through the hole. Mallory has to improve his blocking for this offense to be what we hope. Campbell did get pushed back a yard into the backfield which made the hole smaller for Mallory to pull through, but he’s got to get there.

You won’t get the full effect from a still, but this is incredible feet for a 240-pound RB. Mallory is bullied into the backfield and Thad hops over his legs and just bursts forward. He picks up the 1st down here.

One of the adjustments they made at halftime was to look for the edge/CB blitzes and TVD notices it here and gets it to the slot who was left uncovered.

Gallop step gets some love on this play as Campbell uses it to get to second level as the gallop holds the edge and Rivers passes on to him beautifully. That’s what a running lane looks like.

This is supposed to be levels on play-action boot but #5 doesn’t run it right. He needs to be flatter and more into the middle here so Tyler has a place to go with it. Instead, he goes too far upfield and that allows this safety to cover both of them at once and it is almost picked off. Certainly, this isn’t how the coaches designed this play. Campbell gets an awful personal foul call for simply pancaking someone. This film session had to be absolutely brutal for these guys after watching this. So many simple mistakes that made this a closer game.

I want to see more of the pin-and-pull off-tackle like this because we have the size and physicality to bust these.

70 gives a push inside on DT, gets to second level, Clark loses, but Franklin gets through and gets into the end-zone.

Alright, big plays only from here as this one is over at this point.

Taylor whips the C for a TFL. Then he powers through two blockers and sacks the QB when he tries to flee. Not shown.

Flea-flicker works to perfect. TD.

Good play by Flagg. Also, don’t forget that the DL reset the LOS two yards back, which forced the RB to bubble. It all works together, the LB can look much better when the DL keeps him open, forces angles that the RB doesn’t want to run to.

Next play, Thomas Davis ducks his head, which causes him to lose vision. He isn’t aware that the QB is getting outside of him because his vision is gone. Great throw and play by the QB and a misstep from the young DE. Not shown.

Porter did everything right but play the ball. He’s trying to catch this like a punt, while the WR is going up and getting the ball.

Stevenson with a nice interception in the end zone. It was the right call to blow it dead because Stevenson stopped and acted as though he was going to kneel. If he doesn’t blow the whistle, there is a WR standing right there and bringing it out would have been foolish. Not shown.

Miami sort of grinds it out from here. They get a long TD run by Parrish called back because of a personal foul on Clark and it was the right call. He wouldn’t have gotten called if he had just blocked over the line, but several yards off the field he then shoved him to the ground and that’s what got the penalty.

The 2nd half, Miami did play more coverage and had better communication, but what really changed was simply better variance on 3rd downs and a couple of turnovers. They didn’t necessarily play a lot better defensively because they dramatically shifted the scheme or anything, it was mostly just better execution and forcing a few turnovers.


Here are the game highlights so you can consume the biggest plays via video.

This was a disappointing effort, with some of the worst tape you will see in that 1st half. It was filled with missed throws, missed blocks, poor OL communication, inability to get off the field on 3rd down, vanilla play calling etc. There was a noticeable lack of energy to start this game, which can be typical of a noon start against a lesser team.

I was impressed with the coaching and execution for USM in this one and feel like their WR Brownlee might be the best WR on Miami if he played there.

Second half brought some better outcomes and a bit more physicality. Overall, we need to see better from everyone to beat Texas A & M, as I thought this was the worst game by TVD since his first career start, the worst game from Clark since he became a starter, and the lack of explosive plays continue to be a theme. It is too difficult to go 10, 11 plays all game to score points. There are just too many things that can go wrong and Miami needs to find someone to emerge as a playmaker.

The TE room was disappointing and even if they were held in to block, they mostly were poor at it in this one. USM didn’t respect Miami’s play-action or RPO game whatsoever and brought blitzes off-the-edge multiple times to great effect.

Flush this one and get ready for next week, where I am confident this coaching staff will have some wrinkles ready to go.

About the Author: Lance Roffers

Data science is all about asking interesting questions based on the data you have. Film study is all about understanding what actually happened on the field. Hopefully I can find the right balance between the two and bring you interesting insights that grow our knowledge of the game together.

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