Greentree Grind VT Week

Greentree Grind VT week. The Canes have another opportunity to right the ship as they head to Blacksburg, Virginia looking to break a three-game losing streak. Head Coach Mario Cristobal didn’t lie to us, “there are some painful steps you can’t skip…”, but I am optimistic in the process knowing who is in charge. There is not a lot of positivity in the fanbase but peeling the onion back a few layers there is a lot of optimism around the program that the foundation of winning is being built back correctly with Coach Cristobal at the helm.

From a box score perspective, the Canes have outplayed most of their opponents (I’m going to leave MTSU dead in the past where it belongs), but the results have not shown on the scoreboard. In theory, the Canes have signed recruiting classes that, on paper, result in the 13th most talented team in the country according to the 247Sports 2022 Team Talent Composite. In reality, the development within the Miami program has been missing for years. Another reality, I believe the Miami Hurricanes have a head coach who will see this egregious wrong righted. But it takes time.

The Canes are not getting ‘out-talented’ on the football field. There are controllable, coachable, correctable things that will allow this team to turn the corner.

So here are five ways Miami can improve from Week 6 against UNC to Week 7 against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

1. BE A PITCHER JOSH GATTIS (Or the right kind of one) 
For as much as a culture of physicality matters for the long-term success of the program. It is time for the offensive coordinator to play to the strengths of his offense so the team can score POINTS. In the same way you wouldn’t expect Greg Maddux to pitch like Randy Johnson: don’t ask the personnel currently on the offensive line to be Alabama’s personnel.

That isn’t a plan for winning this season: as we’ve seen repeatedly in goal line and short yardage situations. This is not an offensive line that can be relied upon to maul opposing front sevens. Be a pitcher, Josh. Embrace your strengths and ride the arm of your talented quarterback. Utilize space. Pass to open the run. Reap the benefits. It is the responsibility of Josh Gattis to ultimately put points on the board, and this approach gives the offense the best chance for success.

Good teams have good communication. It is as simple as that. It is time for the Miami Hurricanes to embrace a mentality of overcommunicating. The miscommunication in the secondary is directly leading to explosive plays and explosive touchdowns. Miscommunication up front on the offensive line is leading to free runners at the quarterback.

Miscommunication between the quarterback and wide receivers is leading to a lack of connection in the passing game. This team needs to get over the hump of communicating their jobs effectively pre-snap. Once this happens, the Hurricanes will take a massive step forward and the fans will see a lot cleaner performance on Saturdays.

Excluding the Bethune Cookman game, your Miami Hurricanes are being outscored 34-9 in the opening quarter of football games. That is frankly unacceptable. If the Canes look to improve this week they will need to be the team with more of a sense of urgency. Throw the first punch.

Frank Ladson going for a catch vs MTSU

Miami is near the bottom of the country in explosive plays on offense. And the Miami defense is giving up far too many explosive plays. The Canes have given up six in the last two weeks that have directly led to touchdowns. The name of the game in modern football is explosive plays, and it is an area that needs drastic improvement.

Relying on an offense to move the football methodically down the field and score on drives of 10+ plays are analytically proven to be unsuccessful long term. Offenses cannot feasibly execute that many times without stalling out. Therefore, it is paramount for the coaches to scheme more opportunities for explosive plays, and for the players to take advantage of those opportunities. The University of Miami needs to get back into the realm of being an explosive team.

Anyone watching the team this year has likely noticed the deficiencies in the red zone this year. It has altered games in the win and loss column. Overall, the Miami Hurricanes are sitting at a respectable spot in total offense at 466.6 yards per game (21st in the country). Last year under Rhett Lashlee the Canes averaged 448.8 yards per game. Unbelievable, right?

The difference this year is the red zone and lack of explosive plays. Each of the last two games, the Canes have been stuffed at the goal line in embarrassing fashion. And mind you, it was against defenses that many around the country would consider bottom feeders. It is time for the Canes to explore more creative avenues than ‘randomly ramming’ and finish off these drives with touchdowns.

Greentree Grind VT Week Closing Notes

This weekend in Blacksburg is not the sexy matchup it used to be. A battle between two teams that are trying to get off the struggle bus and find their footing under new head coaches.

The good and bad news: the Canes are their own worst enemy.

The identity crisis on offense, lack of communication, slow starts, lack of explosive plays, and poor execution in the red zone are all things that are self-inflicted wounds that can be fixed.

Guys really aren’t just getting beat.

Pass to set up the run, get on the same page with your teammates pre-snap, be the more energized team from the jump, scheme some explosive shots, and get more creative in the red zone.

If the Miami Hurricanes can do this the fans will see this team transform into a team that requires the other team to beat them as opposed to one that finds ways to beat itself.

The Canes aren’t as far off as many would like to believe.

This weekend won’t be perfect. But correcting these controllable issues are the first step in seeing this team turn the corner and take the leap the program desperately wants to see.

Go Canes.

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About the Author: Jake Campbell

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