12 Conclusions Following the Pitt Game

  1. Seantrel Henderson is a play-action all by himself. When the big 77 comes in, everyone takes notice. Obviously, how can you not? Whipple should realize the mental block it puts on defenders and exploit it. After Berry ran for the 1st touchdown with Seantrel pushing the line for him, the next time Seantrel was put in defenders c heated to that side. Berry ran to the opposite side for a 7 yard gain. Late in the 4th quarter, Seantrel on the right, touchdown Lamar Miller to the left.
  2. Sean Spence rarely gets thrown off of a tackle. The U hasn’t had a sure tackler like Spence in awhile. What he lacks in size he makes up with instincts. There aren’t many occasions that Spence makes the first hit and a ball carrier will get loose and rack up YAC stats. There’s almost a kind of security when you see 31 is the first guy to the ball. Sean Spence Security Systems: Your trusted source in fundamental tackling.
  3. Jacory Harris made the right throw to Travis Benjamin in the end zone on the pass that got intercepted in the 1st quarter. The problem with Jacory is that he loves to float the ball and doesn’t like to check down. If he puts that ball 2 yards farther toward the corner, that’s an easy touchdown. Hell, if he just puts some velocity into it and less rainbow, that’s a touchdown. No matter how much Jesse Palmer wants to pretend he doesn’t make that throw and it’s a terrible idea, it was the right call. Sometimes Jacory seems more concerned with dropping the ball into receiver’s arms and making the pass look good than just letting them go and get it. This gives the defenders plenty of time to catch up and adjust. Benjamin had to turn his body around and try and make a play. The second interception was a lack of judgment completely, Lamar Miller was wide open on a check down that could of went for a 1st down and, knowing Miller’s speed, maybe even more than that. Jacory decided to go with an AATU favorite, “FIIGD” instead.
  4. The offense is too good to worry about these silly end-arounds and trick nonsense. Why risk a stupid fumble in the backfield (a la toward the end of the 1st quarter) and put yourself in a 2nd and long situation? As much as people love reverses and nonsense, how many times have you seen these plays ACTUALLY work? Now think of how many times you’ve seen a reverse fail miserably. We don’t need to beat people with tricks; we need to beat people with smart decisions. The athletes are there, it comes down to execution. I’d rather get stuffed on a run than be stuck with 2nd and 14 because we wanted to do something cute. Although, I am ALL for the end-arounds on kick returns.
  5. Jacory Harris does not do well with adversity. Any kind of it. Now I love Jacory and think he could lead us to an ACC Championship this year, but turning a blind eye to the obvious is just irresponsible. I’ve always felt like Jacory has had this “happy to be here” mentality with his “let me dress as crazy as possible and put weird things in my head because it helps the team deal with stress.” Sure, he’s said ALL of the right things about bringing swagger and championships back to Miami, but in my humble opinion, all these things he does are doing the complete opposite of helping. My quarterback is wearing overalls with “SWAG” in the side of his head? Guess what I’m not thinking about. The game. Not even just his off-the-field antics…When he gets hit hard, it rattles him. He’ll come back and try too hard to make up for it as if he has something to prove. If some random nobody on twitter says they don’t want a black QB at Miami, he’ll cry and take questions (that seemingly have nothing to do with that) and turn it into a venting session and talk about how it makes him feel as a person. If he throws an interception, sometimes it looks like he might pull out a Fall Out Boy cd and start painting his nails black on the sideline. This “cool as ice” stuff looks more like “I’m pouting” to me. Just shut up and play. Go talk to your coordinator about what happened.  Don’t go sit on the sideline on one knee pouting like you just lost a puppy. They say “quarterbacks need to have a short memory,” but I feel Jacory lives and dies with every interception. Which leads me to….
  6. The most important position on the field is left tackle. At all times. Jacory does a decent job escaping major hits from the side he can see… but if he gets blind-sided, the odds of AJ Highsmith seeing the field go from 5-1 to 1-1.
  7. The defense was unreal. 18 total yards on the first 5 Pitt drives. Completed passes never went unchallenged. This is what assignment football is supposed to look like. You can tell that the defense is a side of the ball that really enjoys being coached. Unlike teams in the past who went out there and just expected everything to fall their way. The attention to detail is great. They rarely give up pass interference penalties or easy yards. On the end around Pitt ran that McCarthy blew up for an 18 yard loss, he immediately recognized the play and attacked the hole. Spence was there as well. When you’re students of the game, good things happen.
  8. Damien Berry is a finisher. Just when you think he’s done, he will DIE for those extra yards. He hits holes with the promise that he wants to make every step count. He knocked off 2-3 helmets on his runs just from pure power alone. Even when that hole closes up, you know that he’s going to drop his head on somebody instead of try and dance and pitter-patter around them. If there was a stat for 2nd chance yards, I can guarantee you Berry would average a yard and a half extra a play. Doesn’t seem much, but the difference between 4th and 1st down usually comes down to such.
  9. Time management is STILL a problem. I feel as if every half a timeout is allocated for confusion. I don’t remember the last time we went into the last 5 minutes of a half with all three timeouts. This is going to come back to haunt us next week if we can’t get out to a quick start against Clemson. It’s going to be loud and obnoxious, do not be surprised if we’re scrambling to find time toward the end of halves.
  10. Tommy Streeter doesn’t exist. How many plays from the goal line do we have to run before we even FATHOM doing the toss up to Streeter in the corner? Is he really THAT bad? I mean just put the guy on the field and FAKE like that’s what you’re doing. I guarantee you pull the corner + safety to the corner and can run a pitch with Seantrel leading the way. I don’t understand. I’ve never even seen them TRY such plays. Instead, we’ll blindly throw it to a double-covered Clumsy Ford or try and force it to a covered Hankerson.
  11. Travis Benjamin is such a great piece in the field position game. If your punter doesn’t get enough hang time and you give him an opportunity to make someone miss, chances are your 45 yard punt just turned into at least a 15-20 yard return.  Speaking of special teams…
  12. Stupid penalties are going to lead to a loss at some point. How many times can you block someone in the back on a return? Ask Miami, do it twice in the same play. I feel as if our special teams have been penalized more than our offense + defense combined. This isn’t to say there are not boneheaded penalties on that side of the ball as well. You got to the quarterback? Awesome! You smacked him in the face like a two-cent hooker after you already hit him in the head? WHAT ARE YOU DOING COOKIE?! I’d suggest a “Take a shot after a stupid penalty” drinking game, but I’m not sure anyone could survive such a task. Okay, maybe I’m stretching it, but the amount of face-palms the youngin’s serve up a game is really telling as to how far we’ve come. The young guns are sprinkled in special teams where they can make mistakes and learn instead of being thrown in the fire a la two-three years ago. Miami isn’t BACK yet, but we’re on the right track.
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