The Miami Hurricanes played their spring game on Saturday, April 16 at MLS club Inter Miami Stadium. The ‘Canes had plenty of former players present and interviewed by Sam Acho, while ACCN producers chose to show the on-court action interviews (blame Blake James, I don’t know why, but why not ?).
Even for a spring game, there were plenty of moments to blow out of proportion both good and bad. We are all bored and miss football, especially with the excitement of a new coaching staff and the promise that 22 is keeping.
The positive points
#1- NO ONE WAS INJURED! I was worried about Henry Parrish Jr., but he came back after apparently being gasped by DJ Scaife.
Josh Gattis at OC- Surely Gattis can put together a few plays to open up the guys and tackle weaknesses in defense. ILB slow to cover cruisers? Throw it again! The DL interior looks tired? Hit the rock. He took what DC Kevin Steele gave him/had to work on and separated it.
Tyler Van Dyke – Van Dyke can drop a dime on demand. Puts the ball in good places where it’s his guy (who dropped him) or nobody. Not many easy picks on his throws.
Jake Garcia – The 2nd team OL was obviously behind the 2nd team DL, but, Garcia looked good and had a few throws that were dropped and needed to be caught. He is also mobile and can create a chicken salad from a broken shield.
Henry Parrish Jr. – Parrish is a nice addition to the RB room in ’22. With Jaylan Knighton and Don Chaney Jr. running out of time, he’ll help ease that stress.
The tight ends- Both Elijah Arroyo and Kahlil Brantley are threats in the passing game. Dominic Mammarelli blocked well too.
The offensive line- OL look much improved, especially in the running game. Logan Sagapolu was a huge addition. Jakai Clark looked even better next to Sagapolu instead of Navaughn Donaldson.
Situational Pass Rush- Cyrus Moss can only play situationally at the moment, but he will wear down his attacking tackles. If stubborn OCs don’t hit him, he’ll come away with big plays in “and long” situations.
Jacob Lichtenstein – Lichtenstein was coach Cristobal’s perfect pickup for a DE/DT type player. Peak power, long arms, get back to football.
Gil Frierson – Frierson looks like he’s back to himself in 2020, and maybe better. Solid tackles in space and closing speed on roads in the flats.
Defensive backs- The DBs are improved all around: Te’Cory Couch, DJ Ivey, Avantae Williams and James Williams all looked really good. Isaiah Dunson looked much improved.
Areas of improvement
The ACC network The whole ACCN methodology is garbage. Their ad sales team, camera work, production are missing piece after piece.
Wide receivers- Josh Gattis the OC needs to reassess Gattis the WR coach. WRs dropped too many fucking passes, even Restrepo dropped one (he looked good otherwise).
Defensive Tackle Depth- However, this appears to be coming from portal players who were not allowed to participate. But man, there were times when RBs nicked the D-Line.
Inside linebacker- The ILB room needs help from the portal as soon as possible. TEs and RBs were open to cruisers and too many 3rd tier tackles.
I’ve been spoiled breaking down real games, but also using the All-22 practice tape. But back to the TV cut, because you don’t easily grasp anyone’s spring game.
To give some insight into what to expect from DC Kevin Steele, Miami obviously won’t be in a traditional 4-3, nor will it have four defensive linemen with their hands down.
If you know anything about Steele from his time at Auburn, he’ll use his “buck” which is LB coverage at LOS and a “DE” which is a guy who’ll be up (2 points) and down (3 points) and more of a traditional armed long end type.
Above– Miami is more of a traditional 3-4 look, with three linemen a standing LB and a standing “Edge”.
Above– RB follows the packing guard for a great run. Guards use the pull jump technique and a ton of power 1 back or guard wrap depending on who you are.
Above– The TE, 81 Brantley, sealing the edge. Zion Nelson is also 2nd level on the LB Smith and does a great job in space. Does not hold, locks and rolls. If Jaylan Knighton is healthy, he mistakes this one for a TD.
Above– While we talk about improved tackling, and it has improved, there are still some old habits. On another stretch play here, Smith dives about 4 yards.
Above– The advantage is lost for a big race. As a CB, you are the outermost strength player. You can’t make the mistake of jumping inside. Hold your soil outside to force it back into safety.
Above– Increased power leads to increased confidence. The LB doesn’t have it on this TE insert zone run. I love seeing a head come back when an LB fills in a TE or FB.
Above– If you are going to condense the formation in the red zone, your best WR block. Restrepo shows his willingness to block.
Above– Another game from Restrepo, he makes a nice diving catch but he is one meter from the end zone. It’s the little things that get fixed all summer when players play together after practice. It’s a feeling and a reason why some basketball players make great football players, feeling where they are or orienting themselves in the OODA loop.
Above– You see how deep this QB is here? If it goes up 95 doesn’t even come close. When an OT is left alone against a pass rusher, he’s going to take it outside, wide and deep. The QB needs to take that idea and step into the pocket. The rule for OL is never to let anyone inside because the QB has a harder time escaping a pass “in the face”.
Above– 9 is caught in the bath and Frierson the LB goes too far in the field. Mike McLaughlin does the right thing by forcing him up the field so the RB can cut underneath.
Above– The WR breaks a 10y on the way and Garcia has time to hang on to his 2nd route in the progression, but also puts an absolute Dan Marino type rocket on the WR.
Above– Gil Frierson regained his confidence. A guy who in 2020 I thought had a high football IQ compared to most of the squad and some didn’t get burned much in 21.
Above– Nelson is doing a great job going pro while Brantley was a pleasant surprise. Brantley could use a little more burst that can come from the off-season summer schedule if he peaks in speed on his way to camp. Just being a very willful and skilled blocker means he has to be on the court.
Above– Nelson with a solid pro pass again. He went 1-on-1 with athletic guys in Chantz Williams, Cyrus Moss and Thomas Davis and handled them well.
My “What to Watch” for Miami in my spring preview of the ‘Canes ’22 schedule included inside linebacker play and tackle. While whole unit tackling was improved, the ILBs still lacked playing ability.
I feel like Mario Cristobal is not done adding parts. Look for a wide receiver and inside linebacker to add to the roster for 2022. Possibly an offensive tackle as well.
My 2022 prediction was 10-2 and ACC Coastal Champions. After seeing all of the opponent’s spring games except for UVA (next weekend), Miami appears to be in a shootout against UNC. I give the nod to Miami because of Tyler Van Dyke at QB. Where Sam Howell managed to push UNC past Miami for three straight years under Manny Diaz, Van Dyke will be the difference 22.
I’m staying with 10-2 and ACC Coastal Champs.