Preview: Miami (Not That Miami) 2014

Submitted by Brian on September 12th, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Essentials

cradle-of-coaches[7]

WHAT Michigan vs Miami
(Not That Miami)
WHERE Michigan Stadium
Ann Arbor MI
WHEN 3:30 Eastern
September 13th, 2014
THE LINE M –33.5
TELEVISION BTN
TICKETS Slightly cheaper than last week: 20 bucks
WEATHER Partly cloudy, 60
0% chance of rain
light winds

Tip of the hat there.

Overview

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This is not a good scoreline.

This isn't Bo's Miami. The EDSBS commentariat's preferred term to distinguish this Miami from the other one is "puntin' Miami," and it's not like the other Miami has been Oregon this last little bit. Miami is bad. Miami is coming off losses to Marshall and Eastern Kentucky. They've already suffered 21 penalties. Miami is probably about as good as Appalachian State (not THAT Appalachian State).

So this is a good opponent for right now.

Run Offense vs Miami (Not That Miami)

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guys chasing guys

Marshall was a very good run offense a year ago and picked up where they left off in their opener, with Devon Johnson ripping off a 55-yarder and acquiring 151 on just 19 carries. This continues a theme for the Redhawks from last year, when Miami was gashed for a whopping 5.1 yards a carry en route to a rush defense that was statistically worse than Michigan's rush offense last year. Think about that.

Miami ceded 223 rushing yards in an average outing last year; they were a MAC version of Purdue. While they did choke out I-AA EKU, if Michigan has any intention to prevent people on ledges across the Michigan diaspora from jumping they will have to mash this defense.

Survey says… probably! Both DEs check in at 245 and neither DT hits 290; their "OLB" is ND (sigh) transfer Lo Wood, who you may remember is a cornerback. They were very bad last year and seem pretty bad this year. Possibly the most interesting matchup will be DE Bryson Albright, who hit double digit TFLs a year ago, against either of Michigan's noob tackles.

This will be a test of what Michigan wants to do for the rest of the year.  This is a game where you'd think they might be able to manball up and manball it down the opponent's throat with a series of 1970s formations. And they may well do that: Appalachian State featured a lot more under center stuff than the ND game did.

Is the rest of the year going to be a passing spread-ish lineup? If it is against Miami, yes. If it's not… well probably yes. Something to keep an eye on.

 

Key Matchup: Michigan tailbacks versus their blocking allergy. Blocking allergies affect millions of Americans. Stop blocking allergies.

[Hit THE JUMP for Not That Notre Dame Quarterback.]

Pass Offense vs Miami (Not That Miami)

As bad as Miami was at defending the ground game last year, they were equally bad at the other stuff. They issued 8.1 YPA and allowed a 29/10 TD ratio. MAC Illinois, basically. They've started little better. Rakeem Cato ripped them for 8.2 YPA, 3 TD, and no INTs. EKU even managed to get to 7.1 with two QBs and one WR, who threw the winning TD(!). So that's bad.

How's that personnel looking?  

Miami's number one corner, meanwhile, started for the last four years... at point guard. On the basketball team. It's his first year on the football team. Their defensive backfield is pretty large—the former hoopster is actually the smaller of the two corners—but Miami isn't comfortable sticking them in press man. Here's a fun screenshot:

Marshall hit the slot receiver to the far side on a bubble screen that netted an easy eight yards on first down because look at all that grass.

This does not seem like a good thing.

For Michigan it's about pass protection, picking up blitzes, and hitting the copious open wideouts everywhere.

Key matchup: Devin Gardner versus Evil Devin. Bad Evil Devin!

Run Defense vs Miami (Not That Miami)

Carl Jones Ohio v Miami Ohio rnUBUWBYDbol[1][2]

don't expect much of this. expect this, but not much of it.

Miami runs a MAC-standard passing spread and has tried to avoid the ground as much as possible in their first two games, so this is not likely to be something they suddenly adopt against a Big Ten opponent. The Redhawks went for 100 and 86 yards in their first two games; if they exceed that number against Michigan it'll be a surprise.

Evidence of this: Miami leans heavily on Hendrix in this department. Yes, that guy you saw play for Notre Dame a couple years back who seemed about as mobile as Shane Morris. He has 29 non-sack carries, which is about half the team's total. Those have gone for 2.3 yards an attempt, so this is going about as well as you might expect. I imagine a lot of these carries are oh-pants scrambles like the one Ace captured for FFFF:

Meanwhile, Dawan Scott is listed at wide receiver but is second on the team in carries with 13, which have averaged a comparatively peppy 2.8 YPC.

So: this is a team whose tailbacks are averaging ten carries a game between them. They appear to be averaging decent yardage out of sheer shock. That is the kind of team we are talking about here. One that can't block a housecat. That's a bad example. Housecats are terrific at avoiding blocks. Housecat NT would be amazing. I digress.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Both tailbacks are named Spencer.

Michigan's DTs overwhelmed ND's interior line in the running game, this will be an opportunity to replicate that improvement. Focus on staying in your lanes, tackling when the tackles are there, and get solid linebacker play and this will be what it's been for Miami in the first two games: occasionally effective because the opponent is not expecting it, incapable of being relied upon.

Key Matchup: Ryan Glasgow versus Ryan Glasgow might be good? I thought he had a very good game against ND and will be looking to see if he can replicate that, insofar as you can against a team that is almost never running. I'm just trying to confirm hopes that he can really play.

Pass Defense vs Miami (Not That Miami)

andrewhendrix[1][2]

Notre Dame (sigh) transfer Andrew Hendrix pilots a spread to pass offense that is in fact an exact replica of Notre Dame's—minus that kind of talent. HC Chuck Martin used to be Brian Kelly's right hand man and he's imported the ND system in whole, or at least as much of it as you can when you're Miami.

Hendrix already has 101 attempts on the season, is averaging 6.4 yards an attempt, and has 4 TD to 4 INT. Don't mistake this for a pure dink and dunk, though: Hendrix's completion rate is about 50% and he's hit at least five passes of over 30 yards so far. Miami was competitive with Marshall in yardage and actually whipped up on EKU despite the loss, largely because the passing game was effective enough to keep the Redhawks on the field.

The twin issues: protection and Hendrix. He's already been sacked nine times and a goodly number of those rushes are scrambles that squeak across the line of scrimmage. And then there's a reason Hendrix couldn't ever beat out Tommy Rees. He was guiding Miami to what would have been its first win in over a year when a 55-yard pick six tied the score and eventually set up the defeat.

After getting torched by Notre Dame, Michigan looks to get closer to wide receivers in this game. Will they double down on the man stuff and try to get better, or will they junk it for more of a zone focus? I don't know. I don't expect to see either Peppers or Taylor this week since there seems to be no reason to risk ankle tweaks, so it'll be the same crew—do they improve?

Key Matchup: Michigan CBs versus man coverage. Obviously.

Special Teams

If this has any impact on the outcome of this game I'm going to be dead so I'm not looking up Miami's special teams units. For Michigan, it's about seeing if Matt Wile can put a ball between the uprights from outside 30 yards and maybe seeing if Will Hagerup can outpunt his coverage so spectacularly that the guy trying to catch it can't do so.

Key Matchup: YOU PUT THE BALL THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS

Intangibles

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are you there go-

NO

but you just said

YEAH SORRY I MEAN I AM HERE BUT WHATEVER YOU WANT THE ANSWER IS NO

oh okay thanks then

 

Cheap Thrills

Worry if...

  • MNTM's offensive line appears to be getting in the way.
  • Hendrix is shredding Michigan corners in man coverage.
  • Anything seems vaguely Akron-y.

Cackle with knowing glee if...

  • You find a time machine and go back to this spring and show Greg Mattison the paper from right after the ND game and convince him to play zone.
  • Also you play the lotto when you do this.
  • And discover you're your own father!

Fear/Paranoia Level: 1 (Baseline 5; –1 for SO SO BAD, –1 for Eastern Kentucky's Mascot Is The KFC Guy And You Still Lost To Them, –1 for 14 Game Losing Streaks Don't Usually End In Michigan Stadium, +1 for Oh Shit Did That Guy Coach At ND Recently?, –1 for Yeah But I Mean Cumong Man, –1 30-Point Spread)

Desperate need to win level: 8 (Baseline 5; +1 Not Again, Like Akron, +1 for Not Again, Like Toledo, +1 for Not Again, Like Pretty Much All Of Last Year, +1 for Bad Feels Man, –1 for At Least This Would Be Absolutely Clarifying In Event Of Loss)

Loss will cause me to... start drafting Profiles In Heroism about potential new coaches.

Win will cause me to... IMMEDIATELY FORGET ABOUT THE NOTRE DAME GAME FOREVER! YEAH! LET'S GO TEAM!

The strictures and conventions of sportswriting compel me to predict:

Michigan wins.

Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:

  • OL paves Miami into a smooth glass-like substance that both backs use to cruise to big days, nobody is satisfied by their performance anyway.
  • Michigan plays a lot more zone with Countess out there.
  • The stadium looks a lot emptier than it did for the opener.
  • Michigan, 53-12

Comments

cincyflintstone

September 12th, 2014 at 12:12 PM ^

Not that it will matter, but the PG/CB Rollins was a much better football recruit than he was a basketball recruit. UC, UCONN, and WVU among others all were after him for football. He just liked basketball more.

FreddieMercuryHayes

September 12th, 2014 at 12:13 PM ^

So now you want UM to go back to a more zone coverage scheme?  Well file another year under the coaches wanting to do "X", and then either not being able to teach "X" effectively or not realizing their players can't do "X".

FreddieMercuryHayes

September 12th, 2014 at 12:39 PM ^

I took it a different way.  When Brian writes to go back to spring and convince him to play zone based on the ND game, to me that's Brian hitting the eject button on the press man scheme they're trying to implement.  Frankly, the coaches have seen all these players play for at least a season with the exception of Peppers (who's only beene on campus for a month so he should not be counted on as the lynch pin for a schematic shift).  If the entire strategy was '"this will work as long as Taylor doesn't get injured", that's not a really great strategy in the first place.  They should know how Countess plays by now.  If he really cannot play man to man, then don't ask him to.  Either stick with a zone until you have better personel, or replace him with a player who can.  And if you don't have players like that, then why switch to the man scheme in the first place? 

To me it's one of two things: either coaches cannot identify what their players can succesfully do/cannot teach them to do it, or they're hollistically trying to switch the defense over to the aggressive press scheme regardless of personel currently.  The first is a major problem.  If it's the second, then just stick with the man scheme and hope your players improve and/or you can teach it to them properly in the coming years.  I don't know man, it's just frustrating to not see what they've spent the last 8 months preaching actually work.  I kind of want them to just ride out the storm, hope like hell a few in the pile of CBs figures it out.  Scrapping such a schematic change after game 2 seems so Charlie Weis to me.

FreddieMercuryHayes

September 12th, 2014 at 12:44 PM ^

I agree with you in that using a strategy that plays to your player's strengths is always the best option, but I'm looking at this a reflection of the staff in more general.  Peppers only arrived in fall.  I would think the coaches probably shouldn't make an 18 year old they've never coached the lynch pin to a whole aggresive man scheme.  Then you're basically down Taylor and Lewis in your senario.  If the whole scheme falls apart once one CB gets dinged, should that really be a viable strategy?  Basing a strategy on no back-ups seems tenuous.  And then why was Countess starting if he couldn't man-press? 

MichAero

September 12th, 2014 at 12:58 PM ^

I think you are slightly underselling how the coaches view Peppers. He's been touted by many as one of the highest skilled/potential DBs to play college ball in years, and many thought he could make an immediate impact. I think it is likely they want to get him playing a system that complements him ASAP, and the fact that Taylor has the ability to press, as does Lewis (only a SO) only help to make this switch.

If you don't have all three guys, they might not make the transition. But like others have said, Cover 1 is a scheme that takes a lot of practice, so the earlier they can make the call to switch the better for the team.

RockinLoud

September 12th, 2014 at 12:18 PM ^

After last season, I take nothing for granted.  I'm always going to assume an Akron game like last year is just as likely as a blowout. *sigh* Such is the state of of Michigan football, we can't have nice things.

M-Dog

September 12th, 2014 at 8:16 PM ^

Agreed, because if we lose, Hoke still would not be fired until the end of the season even if it becomes clear from this game that he has to go.

We would have an entire season of absolute poison.  Recruits would abandon Michigan in droves.  The stadium would be half empty.  The media would circle for the kill.  It would take a decade to dig out.

We never faced anything like that before . . . a full season of dead man walking.  At least RR looked like he maight actually make it work unitl the last couple games of the 2010 season.

That "need to win" number must have been a typo.  I'm sure he meant 80.

 

Big_H

September 12th, 2014 at 12:22 PM ^

I'm soooooooooooooo LATE on this one, and have always wondered what it meant.

Miami (NTM)?? Also the same for Miami, Florida.

Could someone please explain these to me?

Got a nice upvote ready for you haha

gwkrlghl

September 12th, 2014 at 2:41 PM ^

as it stands, we're 20-2 at home (and IIRC our two losses were the choke vs. Nebraska last year and a 1-pt loss to undefeated OSU). We probably beat Miami by 40 and Utah by 10-15

The thing with Utah is that they pantsed two straight bad teams, well we pantsed one and probably would've pantsed another. Utah has yet to be proven and perhaps we will be their Notre Dame

alum96

September 12th, 2014 at 3:06 PM ^

Utah is coming in as a big unknown.  For all the laughing about beating up on 2 baby seals - most Big 10 teams have struggled vs 1 of their 2 baby seals.  So they at least did the job.

I think the bigger worry is what they did last year versus valid teams.  They beat Stanford, they lost to ASU by 1, and UCLA by 7.   Now all these were at home.  They seem to be a pretty poor road team. 

I dont think we can take anything for granted.  I dont think Utah is 2 iterations lower than a ND team playing 19 FR or RS Fr and missing 6 players.  Utah also has what appears to be a pretty serious defense.  And we dont do well versus serious defenses.

MGlobules

September 12th, 2014 at 12:37 PM ^

second half, and the White Knight/Trusty Steed thing will get worse. 

Is it just me or is the "three opportunities. . ." thing ambiguous? Since Brian hedges his bets so thorougly anyway, I can never decide how the three things enumerated fail to jive with what's been suggested above. . . signed, Probably Not Careful Reader

ijohnb

September 12th, 2014 at 3:22 PM ^

opportunities" thing has nothing to do with what is written above it, other than shortening predictions already written above into compact summaries.  I used to read it like you are and wonder what I was missing, but the "three opportunities" are nothing more than factual predictions not having specifically to do with the outcome/score of the game that he believes will be the case and he will "look stupid" if they are not because of how much he believes them, i.e. this week he believe the stadium will be look a lot emptier than the opener, and he will look stupid if that is not the case due to his strong stated belief that it will be.  See what I am saying?

MGOBOOB

September 12th, 2014 at 12:58 PM ^

i don't think it does much for this offense to just come out and run the ball all day. devin needs to get into a groove. i say come out throwing and get some good vibes going in the passing game. the 14 throws against app st won't do here. devin has to shake the rust off that arm and get the receivers the ball on time and let them make plays after the catch. i think we're going to see a bunch of norfleet getting the ball in space.

 

devin finishes 18-24 285 yds with 4td's 0 (yes zero) INT

carlos spicywiener

September 12th, 2014 at 1:10 PM ^

You know how someone is typically due for a coming out party no matter what team we're facing? For example Brian mentioned Jaylon Smith as "still coming along" at linebacker for Notre Dame, and then he has a coming out party against Michigan last week? 

I can't help but feel that will be the case with some player for Miami on Saturday.