Miami vs. TAM Film Review


I want you to think back to your teenage years for a moment. You’re in peak physical shape, able to eat anything you want, do anything you want. In your mind, things will always be this way. You’re a machine; a real American winning machine, some might say. The good times roll and life seems wonderful to all but your rivals. As your 20’s come calling, life is still good, but not quite as great as when you were a teenager and could eat anything you wanted. Now, you notice that recovery takes a little more work. Maybe you don’t fee dominant any longer, but on the right night you can still compete with anyone. Life comes at you fast and you make some bad decisions. Maybe you married the wrong girl and have to start over a few times. Maybe you didn’t invest heavily enough in your future when you had the chance and are having to try and catch up to your peers who saw the need for investment into their future before they got older. Your 30’s come calling and some extra weight is showing in that midsection. You’re no longer the dominant force of yesteryear. The kids who once looked up to you now look at you as a bit of a relic. The difficult decision to get back to the top of the mountain is made. Dedication to a diet is made and the excitement of taking back control flows through you and for weeks you are doing all the right things, saying all the right things, and you can see the future with you back on top. But after three weeks, things are hard. It’s a sobering reminder that you did not get here overnight and you will not get back to your peak overnight either. There will be valleys along the way and you will have to pick yourself back up again after you fall.

Friends, the Miami Hurricanes are here right now. This journey back to prominence was never going to happen overnight and it was never going to be a straight line up to #1. This week, Miami was reminded that change is hard and only the ones who work through the hard times reach their goals. Let’s walk through the Texas A&M game together, eat our vegetables, count our calories, and then look forward to getting back-on-track.

Like most of us, I don’t especially like vegetables either, so this will be a highlight of the main plays this week, rather than the 70-picture monstrosity of some weeks.

Film Work:

Bissainthe and Keontra Smith have Achane at the 12-yard line and he just runs over Smith. Not great, Bob.

Jackson trips Taylor as he’s about to get through. Not sure why he’s rushing up-the-back of Harrison-Hunte. Steed is caught looking in the backfield at a player that isn’t his man and loses the TE.

Harrison-Hunte was straight bullied on the next play by a duo. Then #76 comes off his block and absolutely removes Caleb Johnson from the field. This goes for a big run. Truth be told, one team had energy and was ready to play and the other team was not matching it early.

On 2nd down at the goal line, TAM drops a pass to the RB that would’ve been a TD. Caleb Johnson was roasted in coverage. Not shown.

This is what I want to see from Leonard Taylor every single time a G tries to block him with a two-hand punch. When an OL goes for a two-hand punch they are so easy to defeat to one side or the other with quickness. Here, in a pass rush situation, Taylor sees the punch attempt and does a subtle shoulder turn so that the punch doesn’t land flush. Watch his hand usage as the left arm is shielding the left shoulder from a punch that would stall his momentum. When you two-hand punch, it has to be square or the punch on the other side will actually work against you and not for you and Taylor swats the OL to side with his right hand and is into the backfield to prevent a completion.

This is a play-action pass, not an RPO. The OL is entirely blocking to the top of the screen and it is meant to show the run all the way. Great job by TAM LB not to follow his keys too hard to be able to get back out there. If he does, it’s 2-on-1 on the outside with Mallory having the sideline. Brashard didn’t get his block either way.

It’s important that I point out a few things when I write these so that it’s abundantly clear; 1. I don’t know the play calls, checks, adjustments etc. so there are times when what I see is not a mistake by the coaches, but rather a mistake of execution. 2. These coaches are smarter than me. They know more football than me. They aren’t making calls or designing plays for no good reason.

That caveat clearly stated, whew, do I think it’s a tough ask for Brashard Smith to be blocking an SEC starting DE one-on-one on a 3rd down. Secondly, I strongly dislike going to shotgun and then running such a tight formation that invites the blitz. It invites the NT to jump the call here as well. He knows that Rivers is trying to release to second level here and that the C has to reach all the way across a shaded NT to get this block. Brashard really fought on this play and actually blocked his guy. The RB and his leg strength to drive backwards is the only reason he got this first down as the blitzer got him in the backfield. Not a fan of the play design whatsoever.

TVD doesn’t give his guy a chance at all. I push back on the narrative of the Dolphins QB “underthrowing” deep balls because an overthrown deep ball is completed 0% of the time. An underthrown one is completed and/or drawing a PI a high percentage of the time (while also bringing into play the chance of an INT). This is open, it did draw a PI, but give your guy a chance.

Next play, we matchup Arroyo on a DE and TVD has to understand that and get the ball out of there. The problem is, there are no outlets for TVD to throw to in a slow developing pass pattern. There was a RB in to block, but he didn’t block anyone and TVD has to throw it away as he takes a shot. Not shown.

To me, this should be more of a staple of your run game, where they pull Rivers on power (Campbell also pulls on this play). Get your TE’s to the second level and not blocking DE’s 1-on-1. Rivers gets this block to seal the edge and Parrish out the gate.

I truly do not know what TVD is trying to do here. This offense is going to have to give TVD some easy buttons. There are so few “wide open” throws in the way it is designed and TVD is trying to find spots.

Run a sprint-option to the short side of the field and Mallory can’t get a block on a LB. Not shown.

Ok, on the live broadcast I was a little perturbed at the call of a run on 3rd-and-15 but it is there. What a play by the TAM defender to just get his shoe. If Knighton cuts just a little hard off Rivers he walks into the end zone here.

Where you going Akheem, you can not get yourself in this position ever in a pass rush. The Canes are lucky that Ivey makes a tough play on the sideline to prevent the QB from escaping for a 1st down. No, Mesidor, no. Look at the two Canes DT’s getting put on the ground. This is ugly.

DJ Ivey with back-to-back excellent plays. This one in coverage on 3rd-and-7 and frankly, that might be the best consecutive play sequence from Ivey in memory. Well done, young man. Not shown.

Why are you not running up and catching this punt, Stevenson? Why? Why did you let it bounce and then try and catch it with a guy in your face? Why, Stevenson, why?

Complete whiff on a block at the LOS by Frierson lets this guy get a free run at Tyrqiue.

Here is what people mean when they say “poor gap contain” along the DL. Taylor jumps inside after being shaded inside. Harrison-Hunte gets driven out of his gap by a double. Keontra has to respect that Achane could up top through the vacated gap by JHH. If your defenders are in a straight line like this at the LOS you are in trouble. Keontra has to play both gaps and can’t really win. Achane presses the hole and takes the cut to bottom of screen. Bad tape by the DT’s here. Miami is getting eaten alive by those duo blocks inside and this goes for nearly a TD. You might think Keontra has to play this more to the B gap outside because Taylor is going inside here already, but that’s a tough read for a LB who isn’t looking at Taylor.

I am only going to highlight it once since it is all over the tape in these games, but opponents do not respect any type of RPO threat from Miami at all. They do not respect any sort of QB run game from Miami at all. They do not respect a play-action threat from Miami at all. #4 is flattening and heading straight for the RB without any respect for TVD running or passing at all. We got a targeting call to help us on this play.

This is disappointing. He would’ve scored if they could just get their blocks on the outside. Redding and Brinson both cannot even slow their defender down on this play. Look at that sideline if Brinson seals him inside here. Some of these WR’s are really going to dread this tape.

Parrish might’ve scored here as well. Dropped. Then we missed the kick. This sequence of plays makes me feel like I’m eating overcooked spinach.

Ivey with a pass breakup on 3rd-and-7. Goodness did he play a great game. Not shown.

Stevenson got scared on the punt return and let it bounce again. He’s really a big reason we lost this game from his punt returner position. Not shown.

Your offense cannot stay on schedule if you are dropping passes on 1st down. Redding drops a seven-yard pass and now you’re behind the chains. Redding dropped it on 3rd down as well. The kid cannot be on the field if he can’t block and can’t catch. He’s playing a low of Z-WR and that is such an important spot in this offense. Hope he bounces back. We got a bailout targeting call. Not shown.

Great job by Scaife and Justice to open this lane. Clark is not the same player with that ankle injury. Hope he heals up soon.

Miami gets a huge play to Arroyo then just goes kaput again. A kick blocked, but they’re just getting overwhelmed with physicality at the point of attack in the red zone and by the secondary against the WR’s. This is ugly tape to watch and I’m over medicine. Not shown.

3rd-and-11 and you bring pressure and have James Williams covering their top WR 1-on-1 in space. That is not how I would draw it up. Not shown.

3rd-and-8 and TVD can’t make the long throw to Keyshawn Smith. Abysmal to review. Not shown.

Aninias Smith makes an awesome catch of the back of the ball while running full speed across the middle. It should have been an incompletion bringing up 3rd-and-10 and instead he takes it 30 yards. Those are the differences in these games. Texas A&M is a pretty mediocre team and Miami let them off-the-hook by refusing to make difficult plays. Not shown.

Achane and Smith. That was their entire offense. Would’ve liked to have seen a little bit better ability to take those two away in the passing game and not let them do whatever they wanted early. Achane breaks a Steed tackle, then another tackle from James Williams and scores a TD. This is not fun to watch again. Just make the tackle and it’s 3rd-and-4.

Keyshawn Smith holds this block for at least three seconds and TVD tries to cut outside of it. There is a lane right there between Mallory and Smith. Sometimes the four-yard run is the best run. I’d like to petition to remove these TVD lead runs from the playbook forever.

Do. Not. Overthrow. Deep. Balls.

Poor design here. I know the plan is for Brinson to take care of this defender himself, but I’d rather the inside WR be blocking the inside guy. Then the outside guy blocking the second guy and leave the boundary defender to be the one who is unblocked here. That gives Brinson a choice of where to go. TFL. Slow developing, far behind the LOS, unblocked defender seeing it the whole way. Woof. When TAM is in zone, they have all eyes in the backfield and can see this.

Story of the game. The play to Arroyo was a small stumble from being a TD and Miami gets nothing. This is a great move that puts a TAM guy on the ground and for whatever reason he just trips right over him instead of walking into the end zone.

I would’ve celebrated if the play calls worked and they scored a TD, but the playcalling on the three plays after the above play as they go dive, QB lead, dive was just low probability outcomes for me. Not shown. Hopefully, I don’t see it again, either.

TAM stacks Smith behind slot WR and that gets him singled-up on Al Blades Jr. and he put a shimmy on Blades outside-in that almost made Blades fall down for a big first down. Woof. Not shown.

Tyrique is now seeing ghosts as a punt returner. You have to make a change there. He lets another one drop and it’s again downed inside the five. Will Miami ever again have a dynamic punt returner that scares opponents? Not shown.

When I write about pressing the hole, here it is. Right here. This draws the LB up to the LOS to attack the gap. It’s reducing the space, reducing the distance. Then watch the outside contain player get sucked inside just a little bit. Then Parrish has the ankle flexion to hit that cut outside and go for good yardage. High-level stuff here. He’s really good.

Why did TVD miss the giant throw to Redding downfield? One, he saw the pressure and is fading away from it. He got crushed earlier in the game in a play I highlighted above. You could tell he felt it and he was legitimately impacted later in the game on throws like this one. Jakai Clark gets roasted and is left grasping for air. Clark is a legitimate problem right now, he is blowing block-after-block out there. But look at TVD’s feet and hips. They are not even remotely towards their target and this is an all-arm throw. Shame TVD had to play so poorly in this game, but the OL allowed him to take some shots that impacted his play overall.

Another overthrown deep ball by TVD. They are completed 0% of the time. Not shown.

TVD makes a nice throw to Mallory who gets the first on a crossing route. Something Miami is going to need to do more. Then TAM hits Knighton around three yards out-of-bounds and no call. Not shown.

This matters. Mallory is open and probably gets this first down if TVD would just throw a decent pass. #20 is closing fast, but a decent pass that doesn’t make Mallory basically stop to catch it and he gets his shoulders turned and is upfield. Instead, TFL.

The pressure is definitely getting to TVD. He has a clean pocket on 3rd-and-6. He decides to throw a whip route to the RB that is completely covered up. He has time to throw this ball past the sticks. You need more from your QB on third down.

Mallory is standing there to block on the edge and the defender jumps inside of him. He struggles so much with a defender jumping inside of him in space. Got called for a phantom hold, but it looked like a hook in real speed. Was a bad call that really killed the drive. Defenders know when they’re held and he got up with his hands out saying, “what did I do” when the flag was by him. He thought the penalty was on him somehow and had no idea they called a holding penalty. Then a bad call on Zion at RT for holding. Then an illegal formation penalty on a punt downed at the one. That was a tragic series for the officials. Not shown.

They’ll go back to the film on this one and might just tell #7 to grab the returner in this situation to help stop him from getting back to the ball. How Miami doesn’t get this I do not know. Completely unlucky game from a variance standpoint. TAM is going to be 8-4 or worse this season.

Story of the night on 4th down. Hit him in the face, dropped.


It was that kind of game.

In most football games, it all comes down to a few plays. Which team makes them, which one doesn’t. Which team gets a bounce, which team doesn’t. In this one, there were notable plays that seemed to go TAM’s way and Miami just couldn’t get them to their way.

  1. TAM drops a pass by their RB that would’ve scored a TD
  2. Tyrique Stevenson muffing a punt that TAM recovers and leads to a TD
  3. Knighton missing a cutback lane that would’ve been a TD on 3rd down
  4. Parrish drops a pass he picks up 1st down and might score, Miami missed FG
  5. Aninias Smith catches the back of the ball on a pass for 25 yards, then gets a 15-yard personal foul added to it. Leads directly to a TD.
  6. Jacolby George tripping over a dead bug when he would’ve walked into the end zone
  7. Aninias Smith fumbles a punt and gets it back amongst three Canes

I’m back on my diet, ready to do the work to lose the weight and return to my glory days. This game against TAM was a day to forget. Miami shrunk from the moment and there is no other way to say it. Basically, from the beginning Miami made silly plays. They forgot their techniques. They forgot their trainings. They truly failed to compete relentlessly in this one. There might not have been quit, but there definitely was shrinkage in this football game.

The only thing left to do is learn from it and hope for growth from everyone in the building, from the HC, to the OC, to the DC, to the walk-ons getting the team ready in practice. More is needed.

That six-pack from the days of the Bermuda Triangle is not given out easily, it takes discipline and time. Welcome to the reckoning Miami, will you stay the course?

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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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