The Thin Line Between Success And Failure

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

For the first time since the opening game against Maryland, Miami’s offense struggled against Georgia Tech.  Fortunately for the ‘Canes, the defense played their best game of the season and the special teams chipped in several big plays.  But what went wrong with the offense?  In short, they did not “stay on schedule”, as Golden often talks about.  A possession by possession breakdown further enlightens the situation.

Possession #1

1st and 10 at MIA 20 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Travis Benjamin. 0 0
2nd and 10 at MIA 20 Lamar Miller rush for 2 yards to the MiaFl 22.
3rd and 8 at MIA 22 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Allen Hurns.
4th and 8 at MIA 22 Dalton Botts punt for 58 yards, downed at the GTech 20.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 3 plays 2 yards, 01:13 MIAMIFL PUNT

Possession Summary:  A first down trick play resulted in an incompletion.  That was followed by an ineffective run and another incompletion on a deep ball.  2 low percentage passes were the culprit here.

Possession #2

1st and 10 at GT 46 Lamar Miller rush for 8 yards to the GTech 38. 0 0
2nd and 2 at GT 38 Mike James rush for a loss of 1 yard to the GTech 39.
3rd and 3 at GT 39 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Mike James.
4th and 3 at GT 39 Jacory Harris pass complete to Phillip Dorsett for 13 yards to the GTech 26 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 26 Lamar Miller rush for 7 yards to the GTech 19.
2nd and 3 at GT 19 Lamar Miller rush for 2 yards to the GTech 17.
3rd and 1 at GT 17 MIAMI FL penalty 5 yard Illegal Procedure accepted.
3rd and 6 at GT 22 Timeout MIAMI FLORIDA, clock 10:20.
3rd and 6 at GT 22 Jacory Harris pass complete to Eduardo Clements for 8 yards to the GTech 14 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 14 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Mike James.
2nd and 10 at GT 14 Lamar Miller rush for 11 yards to the GTech 3 for a 1ST down.
1st and Goal at GT 3 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Clive Walford.
2nd and Goal at GT 3 Lamar Miller rush for 1 yard to the GTech 2.
3rd and Goal at GT 2 Mike James rush for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 0 6
Jake Wieclaw extra point GOOD. 0 7
Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 70 yards for a touchback.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 12 plays 46 yards, 05:24 MIAMIFL TD

Possession Summary:  This possession involved successful run plays putting the ‘Canes into several short yardage situations, which they converted.

Possession #3

1st and 10 at GT 40 Lamar Miller rush for no gain to the GTech 40. 0 7
2nd and 10 at GT 40 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to LaRon Byrd.
3rd and 10 at GT 40 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Lamar Miller.
4th and 10 at GT 40 Timeout GEORGIA TECH, clock 4:58.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 3 plays 0 yards, 00:56 MIAMIFL PUNT

Possession Summary:  The Hurricanes got off schedule again.  After a 1st down run yielded no yardage, the ‘Canes threw deep (another low percentage pass) on 2nd down and were forced to throw the ball away on 3rd down.

Possession #4

1st and 10 at MIA 21 Lamar Miller rush for no gain to the MiaFl 21. 0 7
2nd and 10 at MIA 21 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 48 yards to the GTech 31 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 31 Lamar Miller rush for 3 yards to the GTech 28.
2nd and 7 at GT 28 Lamar Miller rush for a loss of 2 yards to the GTech 30.
3rd and 9 at GT 30 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Travis Benjamin.
4th and 9 at GT 30 Jake Wieclaw 47 yard field goal MISSED.
End of 1st Quarter

Possession Summary:  After an ineffective run, Miami converted a 2nd and long, but then failed on a 3rd and long.  Once again, ineffective 1st and 2nd down plays derailed a drive.

Possession #5

1st and 10 at MIA 44 Lamar Miller rush for 9 yards to the GTech 47. 0 7
2nd and 1 at GT 47 Lamar Miller rush for 3 yards to the GTech 44 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 44 Jacory Harris pass complete to Travis Benjamin for 3 yards to the GTech 41.
2nd and 7 at GT 41 Mike James rush for a loss of 1 yard to the GTech 42.
3rd and 8 at GT 42 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Phillip Dorsett.
4th and 8 at GT 42 Dalton Botts punt for 33 yards, returned by Zach Laskey for no gain, fumbled, forced by Mike James, recovered by MiaFl JoJo Nicolas in the endzone for a TOUCHDOWN. 0 13
Jake Wieclaw extra point GOOD. 0 14

Possession Summary:  After a successful 1st down play lead to an eventual first down, the ‘Canes got stuffed on a 2nd and 7, putting them in 3rd and long and resulting in a punt.

Possession #6

1st and 10 at GT 46 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 32 yards to the GTech 14 for a 1ST down. 7 14
1st and 10 at GT 14 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Tommy Streeter.
2nd and 10 at GT 14 Lamar Miller rush for 14 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 7 21
Jake Wieclaw extra point GOOD. 7 21

Possession Summary: 2 big plays took advantage of the short field for a TD.

Possession #7

1st and 10 at MIA 33 Jacory Harris rush for a loss of 7 yards to the MiaFl 26. 7 21
2nd and 17 at MIA 26 Lamar Miller rush for 5 yards to the MiaFl 31.
3rd and 12 at MIA 31 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Travis Benjamin.
4th and 11 at MIA 31 Dalton Botts punt for 55 yards, downed at the GTech 14.

Possession Summary:  Jacory slipped on 1st down, and the possession was essentially over after that 7 yard loss.

Possession #8

1st and 10 at MIA 34 Lamar Miller rush for a loss of 2 yards to the MiaFl 32. 7 21
2nd and 12 at MIA 32 Jacory Harris pass complete to Phillip Dorsett for 19 yards to the GTech 49 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 49 Jacory Harris rush for a loss of 1 yard, fumbled, recovered by MiaFl Jacory Harris at the 50 yard line.
2nd and 11 at MIA 50 Lamar Miller rush for 1 yard to the GTech 49.
3rd and 10 at GT 49 Jacory Harris rush for 18 yards to the GTech 31 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 31 Lamar Miller rush for a loss of 2 yards to the GTech 33.
2nd and 12 at GT 33 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 16 yards to the GTech 17 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 17 Lamar Miller rush for a loss of 5 yards to the GTech 22. 7 21
2nd and 15 at GT 22 Timeout MIAMI FLORIDA, clock 14:14.
2nd and 15 at GT 22 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Tommy Streeter.
3rd and 15 at GT 22 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Allen Hurns.
4th and 15 at GT 22 Jake Wieclaw 39 yard field goal GOOD. 7 24
Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 70 yards returned by Orwin Smith for 14 yards to the GTech 14.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 11 plays 44 yards, 04:54 MIAMIFL FG

Possession Summary:  The ‘Canes broke habit here and converted several long yardage situations, finally failing to convert a 2nd and 3rd and 15, and settling for the FG.

Possession #9

1st and 10 at GT 29 Lamar Miller rush for 1 yard to the GTech 28. 7 24
2nd and 9 at GT 28 Jacory Harris pass intercepted by Jeremiah Attaochu at the GTech 24, returned for 5 yards to the GTech 29.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 2 plays 1 yards, 00:51 MIAMIFL INT

Possession Summary:  After a 1-yard gain on 1st down, the ‘Canes threw a fluky interception.

Possession #10

1st and 10 at MIA 35 Lamar Miller rush for 8 yards to the MiaFl 43. 7 24
2nd and 2 at MIA 43 Lamar Miller rush for 1 yard to the MiaFl 44.
3rd and 1 at MIA 44 Mike James rush for 4 yards to the MiaFl 48 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 48 Mike James rush for 2 yards to the 50 yard line.
2nd and 8 at MIA 50 Lamar Miller rush for 5 yards to the GTech 45.
3rd and 3 at GT 45 Timeout MIAMI FLORIDA, clock 7:17.
3rd and 3 at GT 45 Lamar Miller rush for 13 yards to the GTech 32 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 32 Lamar Miller rush for 3 yards to the GTech 29.
2nd and 7 at GT 29 Timeout GEORGIA TECH, clock 06:34.
2nd and 7 at GT 29 Jacory Harris pass complete to Travis Benjamin for 1 yard to the GTech 28.
3rd and 6 at GT 28 Lamar Miller rush for 4 yards to the GTech 24.
4th and 2 at GT 24 Timeout GEORGIA TECH, clock 5:42.
4th and 2 at GT 24 Lamar Miller rush for 3 yards to the GTech 21 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 21 Lamar Miller rush for no gain to the GTech 21.
2nd and 10 at GT 21 Mike James rush for 2 yards to the GTech 19.
3rd and 8 at GT 19 Jacory Harris rush for a loss of 3 yards to the GTech 22.
4th and 11 at GT 22 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Tommy Streeter.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 13 plays 46 yards, 07:31 MIAMIFL DOWNS

Possession Summary:  A very effective drive that yielded no points.  The ‘Canes repeatedly stayed on schedule, getting into 3rd and 4th and shorts, until failing on a 4th and 11 pass into the end zone.

Possession #11

1st and 10 at MIA 38 Mike James rush for 1 yard to the MiaFl 39. 7 24
2nd and 9 at MIA 39 Mike James rush for 15 yards to the GTech 46 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 46 Team rush for a loss of 1 yard to the GTech 47.
2nd and 11 at GT 47 Team rush for a loss of 1 yard to the GTech 48.

Possession Summary:  After a good run on 2nd down, the ‘Canes took a knee.

What did we learn and how does it get fixed?

The failures, for the most part, came down to not executing on 1st down.  As good as the ‘Canes offense has been, it is still an offense that relies heavily on being in good situations, opening up run-pass options, and using those positive scenarios to run high percentage plays.  Void of that, the offense breaks down, which is why things like false start penalties have killed this team this year.  The level of struggle on early downs can be quantified.

Down Average Yards to Go
2nd 8.52173913
3rd 7.21428571

That is ugly.  Just low percentage situations all the way around.  This also impacted Jacory Harris’ efficiency in terms of situational attempts and completions.

Less Than 7 yards to go 7 or more yards to go
Completions 2 6
Attempts 3 20
Percentage 66.67% 30.00%

And there went Harris’ efficiency.  The Hurricanes failed to get into positive situations, and put Harris in more obvious passing downs, at which point he struggled.  87% of his attempts came in situations where the ‘Canes had 7 or more yards to go for a first down.

The solution is simple. If the ‘Canes can be more effective on first down, even marginally, Jacory Harris efficiency will return, as will the offensive productivity.  Too many negative and ineffective plays on 1st down killed ‘Canes drives against Georgia Tech, forced the ‘Canes to get “off schedule”, and threw everything out of whack.  An improvement in this department should deliver a better all around offensive performance against Virginia.

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