UVA Football: ‘Hoos D prepares for ‘dynamic’ Miami offense

uva footballBronco Mendenhall and his staff had the advantage of a bye week to get ready for Miami, which is still figuring things out, or trying to.

The ‘Canes had to turn to one of last season’s starting QBs, N’Kosi Perry, after the kid who was named QB1 in training camp, Jarren Williams, threw three first quarter interceptions.

Perry went on to throw for a career-high 422 yards, and nearly led Miami all the way back from a 28-0 deficit to Virginia Tech in an eventual 42-35 loss.

The question for Mendenhall: which Miami do you prepare for?

“I think it’s a fair question. It’s one thing to change quarterbacks, it’s another thing to change back. Really, you look for commonality of system regardless of who the quarterback is. And then you do your best to adjust to whom might be playing that position after you defend the systems and the plays and the concepts. I’m not sure which player Miami will choose as their quarterback or to play against us. I’m sure that will be announced or maybe it won’t be, prior to us playing. But there is enough film and there is enough information on both and with a little extra time I think that that will be helpful,” Mendenhall said.

Perhaps the bigger issue for Miami is its offensive line, which is allowing 4.5 sacks per game, 128th nationally, among the 130 FBS teams, and isn’t doing much for the run game, which is 86th nationally, averaging a modest 143.5 yards per game.

The Virginia D, on its side, is fifth nationally in sacks, at 4.4 per game, and 21st against the run, allowing opponents 95.6 yards per game.

But the ‘Canes may be hitting their stride, if the effort against Virginia Tech, the five turnovers notwithstanding, is any indication.

Miami racked up 563 yards of total offense in the loss.

“Miami is dynamic. We know their personnel, and I’ve been in the league long enough now. And some of the players are players we have had exposure to before. And, man, so the skill players are fast, which means on any given play a ball could be handed off to someone that goes the whole way,” Mendenhall said.

The ‘Canes had two receivers go over 100 yards in the loss to Tech – Brevin Jordan had seven catches for 136 yards and a touchdown, and Jeff Thomas had six catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns.

The other big-play threat to keep an eye on is tailback DeeJay Dallas, who broke off a 62-yard fourth quarter TD run.

“The ball could be thrown to someone that can go the whole way. That’s always an inherent threat that’s just in the background of your preparation. If you miss a tackle, this could be one that goes for a touchdown. Or if that player gets behind you, that could go for a touchdown,” Mendenhall said.

“In addition to what I’ve already described as the concepts and the schemes, when you add the personnel into it, there is a dynamic capability that regardless of consistency, some of the teams that are hardest, and when I was calling plays defensively that I was most worried about were the ones that had dynamic personnel that just on any given play could go the whole way.”

Story by Chris Graham

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