#65 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #63 R.P.I. Miami:
Today’s word of the day is… foggy.
adj. fog·gi·er, fog·gi·est
- a. Full of or surrounded by fog.
b. Resembling or suggestive of fog.
- Clouded or blurred by or as if by fog; vague:
- this and prolly every other game left on the 2015 docket.
Actually the italicized word up above, or “vague” might be an even better word of the day. As this preview is one of those 10-20% of my preview’s that never quite managed to its true picking fulcrum, tipping-point or prediction hanging peg.
As there are a lotta competing trends here, some favor Miami, some favor our beloved Virginia Tech, and that leaves this one in a prognosticenti fog-bank of sorts. Or what we call a Draw in boxing, or quite possibly one that is headed for extra-time in football.
Miami Defense: (starters back=6)
- listed as a: thirty-four or 3-4 set. (though I saw plenty of 4-3 on breaking tape, even saw some 5-2 with the Will cheating up as well)
- Total D 62nd, Rush D 72nd, Pass defense 61st.
- 42nd in sacks, pretty decent pass rush, still read-n-react and try to out-athlete you behind that, which limits TFL.
- D does enjoy 11th best in takeaways this year.
- #1 in Secondary Havoc rate for all 128 D-1 football teams! 27th for Lb’s 46th for dLine.
- Secondary will collision hit. Cb’s will blitz in run-support. Could be some play-action room here off the short-side press-man.
- D seemed to favor the Qb on any option action. And they popped the Qb when they got to him.
- in the 3-4, Miami will match-up the 2 OLb’s vs. any Slot Wr’s; you would hope to have a wide-receiving advantage here. Lb’s will over-shift to the Will or wide-side as well.
- dLine averages 3o1 lbs., per man! Big ole heavy-set burly looking front-7 here folks.
- much more press coverage short-side and medium-man on the wide-side, with a Fs playing centerfield at least 12-15 off the ball behind all that.
- NOT the best tackling geometry or leverages in the hind-7 at times. Too shallow or just too forward hard-charging and therefore overrunning plays.
- D also had some latent pre-snap alignment problems on toggles on film. Not the headiest defensive unit I’ve seen in breaking tape.
Hurricane Offense: (returning starters=2!)
- Total O 32nd, Passing O 18th, Rushing O however is only 98th.
- a very strange looking 122nd in 3rd down conversions, which shows just how quick-strike BIG play this ‘Cane O truly is.
- passing wizard b.Kaaya only has 1 Pick in his last 21 Q’s of tossing; Cane Rb’s only have 1 fumble as well! Kaaya’s long run this year went for 9′.
- very confident O. will gamble accordingly.
- pass-protect was pretty dang tight and clearly ahead of run-blocking on film.
- pass catchers are: tall, strong and very experienced. not a fun match-up here.
- 4 o-Linemen tip the Toledo’s at 316 or greater, all stand in at at least 6’4”! right-side looks a little better than left-side on film. 2nd best in TFL allowed, 29th in sacks allowed.
- Rb’s are pretty decent, though not very big. Seems to like some compressed short-side pulls to plunge the Hb short-side and just out physical you in mano a mano confinement terms.
- lotta Gun work off a single Halfback set for Kaaya, will deploy trips and or quads.
- likes to play-action and will take deep deep shots from time-to-time. There is a vertical stretch element here men. Kaaya excels at the home-run BIG-play throw. Very deft N-S passer. Passing uses whole field, though again, they like this deep-ball. Wr’s adjust VERY well to the ball and make plays that make Kaaya look good.
- Really liked the delayed Hb release off the play-fake as the final safety-value mechanism here. Te’s are not that tight, they will split out same as Bucky.
- lotta Bunch looks in the red-zone and they will run or pass anywhere off of it.
- Offense is not trick-play shy, either. Expect some razzel-dazzel.
The U Special Teams: (both return)
An 81% FGK who has only missed one place-kick inside of 49 yards this season may not quite have a bionic leg, although 93% inside of 50 yards is pretty damn reliable or so last time I checked. 53rd in Net Punting is pretty pedestrian, 115th in KO returns is inert, and yet 29th in Punt Returns is pretty dang solid. Though Miami Punter Justin Vogel has a truncated leg-extension on his punt. Gotta aim lower to block the same. Although its a heavy foot he puts into the ball, make no mistake on that.The U has no punt or kick blocks and has allowed zero punt or kick blocks in their own right. A user-friendly 123rd in Punt Return defense is sieve like, whereas 55th best in KO Return defense is adequate. No TD returns allowed in either Punt or Kick defense.
Special Teams letter-grade: (C, as this is one erratic special teams group down in So.Beach, some parts good, some parts middled and some parts just plain bad)
- mental: has to favor VT, after Miami expended a lotta mental bullets hanging and banging for as long as they did with arch rival F.s.u.
- penalties: both teams are pretty flag prone, as Miami is 98th worst here. Prolly a push.
- surface: both play on grass; neutral.
- weather: stop me if you’ve heard this one before, rain! Thunderstorms with an 70% chance of precip’. Might hurt Kayya more than anything else.
- health: clear edge to The U.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
The takeaway here is… that it is now time to reintroduce our handy dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide -of boxing writer Graham Houston fame- and the most recent 3-game trends.
As generically speaking, the U has bucu more offense of late than does dear ole V.P.I. Almost 155 yards more per game over each teams’ most recent 3 contests. 4th best in Turnover Margin for Miami tells you that this years version of da U is not beating themselves any more. It was however interesting to see that only one team has out-gained Virginia Tech this year not named the defensing nation champion, (i.e. Pitt). Miami on the other hand has been trending downward in total yardage advantage per game ever since week#1. That’s a pretty significant and heretofore unpublished analytic pattern to me. This ‘Cane O ain’t bad, it can be pretty potent and/or downright explosive; however it is subtlety trending in the ‘rong direction.
Or in other words, this one could go either way in nip-n-tuck fashion every bit as much as one team could win by double-digits or more. The Virginia Tech @Purdue O or the Virginia Tech home for Pitt O; go on, … you tell me?
Then there is this, The U stop-unit has permitted 985 yards combined the last two games and yet Virginia Tech is effectively starting 3 rookies in coach Gray’s secondary vs. some very tall, physical, fast, experienced and play-making Miami pass catcher’s. I’m not real sure who will win here, I haven’t even the foggiest idea, to be honest.
I am pretty sure this is a coin-flip of a game, as I expect both offenses’ to be able to tally some points in a game the suits up in Bristol should appreciate.
Accordingly, this Coastal clash may come down to: …he who scores last laughs last. As I expect a vaguely ranged shootout down in Coral Gables in a game that is not decided until late, maybe even right at the buzzer, and is a 1-play game either way.
Virginia Tech=33, Miami=27