Scouting the Hurricanes
UF couldn't stop UM run game last year
UF couldn't stop UM run game last year
FightinGators.com
Posted Sep 3, 2003


In something you will not find anywhere on the Internet, here is a comprehensive scouting report on Florida's opponent this Saturday - the MIAMI HURRICANES. Will it be a long night in the Orange Bowl for Florida? Can the Gators pull the major upset? What will it take to take the 'Canes on the road?

Miami Offense:
The Canes opened up with a 48-point, 467-yard performance against Louisiana Tech which was much like the Florida game with touchdowns coming via defense and special teams. Miami tried to establish the pass first in this game, unlike the last two 'Cane football teams. The offense was vanilla however with Brock Berlin going 14-28 for 203 yards. He missed some short throws and also made a bad throw into coverage but for the most part was solid. He has a big league arm, which allows Miami to open up its mid- range and down-the-field passing game.

Kellen Winslow is the main threat and did not get as many "touches" as he would like and it will be interesting to see how Larry Coker uses him in this game. Ryan Moore had a couple of drops but appears to be the main target for Berlin. Roscoe Parrish should be healthy and Devin Hester is a player who has tremendous speed.

In the running game, Frank Gore has more lateral movement than Willis McGhaee. He ran for 118 against the Bulldogs but was bottled up early. The 'Canes want to establish the run first then the play action in the passing game. The 'Cane offense is a big play offense that will pick up pass yards in large chunks of 15-20 yards at a clip. The depth at running back could be a question with Jarrett Payton somewhat of a mystery and Tyrone Moss still learning the offense.

The offensive line is led by left guard Vernon Carey but does not have a lot of depth or experience. Joel Rodriguez at center is a drop off from Brett Romberg and Eric Winston at left tackle has played one game (college and high school) at his position.

Miami Scheme:
The 'Canes top three plays are the power (Wham G) running play, the tight end option route and the play action dig. A year ago Florida did not play the Wham G very well. The defensive ends widened and ran around blocks leaving a huge hole for McGhaee to run through. The linebacker play was not as solid a year ago with guys not filling these huge holes very well. UF’s defensive ends will take on blocks from 'Cane fullback Quad Hill and must play with force and leverage.

The tight end option is a very difficult play to defend with a linebacker. Kellen Winslow has the option to hook up or run to the sideline. This is usually out of a run formation with play action by the quarterback. The Dig was the favorite play for the 'Canes against the Bulldogs. It comes out of the shotgun, or deep play action and is a 15-17 yard square in route. Miami also will run the counter in the run game and take plenty of shots deep versus man coverage with the deep fade in the passing game.

Gators on the Hot Seat:
It is hard not to say the entire defense but the defensive ends are the focus for this week. This position must play well for the Gators to have a chance. IF they play like they did a year ago you can forget it. With Brian Crum and Channing Crowder playing outside the Gators will have more speed than a year ago. If the ends can "wash" down the running game and force Frank Gore to run outside then Guss Scott and crew should be able to make plays. Most teams don’t have the speed to attack Miami in this fashion but UF does. Darrell Lee will be on the hot seat and must rise up to contain the 'Cane running game.

Miami Defense:
The Hurricanes held a solid Louisiana Tech offensive team to just 310 yards a week ago with most of those yards coming late. The Achilles heel for the 'Canes a year ago was the running defense which was exploited by many teams with a straight ahead running attack. The effort by the 'Canes was only the second time the Bulldogs have been held without a touchdown in 82 games. The defense starts in the middle with Vince Wilfork who is just plain "sick". He is in better shape and runs the field like a linebacker. His motor never stops and he will be a force inside. Jonathan Vilma returns to the linebacking corps to anchor the middle with DJ Williams on the outside. Williams had a touchdown a week ago on a fumble return. The speed does not end there with a defense that boasts one of the best secondaries in the country. The secondary starts with the safeties who cover a lot of ground in Sean Taylor and Maurice Sikes who had the interception to seal Florida’s fate a year ago. The question mark for Miami is the young defensive ends, Thomas Carroll and Baraka Atkins. They have talent but have not played a lot of football. Also if Santonio Thomas can play it will be a bonus for the inside part of the defensive line.

Miami Scheme:
It is very simple.4-3 cover 2. Miami likes to let its players run to the ball and make plays. The safeties play 15-18 yards deep and have free rein to play the run and also cover the halves of the field in the passing game. The defensive line shoots gaps creating disruption in the backfield by using its quickness and allowing the linebackers to make a lot of tackles. The speed of the linebackers makes it hard to out run them to the sideline which is why it is best to run right at the 'Cane defense. Miami will blitz a little if they have to by bringing a weakside linebacker stunt and also will occasionally bring Vilma from the middle. The key is handling the speed of the defensive line and challenging the safeties down the field with a vertical passing game. This 4-3 attack scheme can overwhelm offenses early and usually does. Teams that have success maintain drives with solid inside running games which wears down the 'Canes and they get tired in the second half (see FSU and Ohio State).

Gators on the Hot Seat:
Who Else? The defensive ends must play big, physical and with leverage. The combo of Darrell Lee, Bobby McCray and Travis Harris will be under fire not only for the running game but also must get pressure on Brock Berlin. The Gators did not record a sack last week and that cannot happen for them to pull the upset. The Gators will blitz some from the outside which should help, but more blitzes from the middle will cause Berlin problems. The defense will also reduce the front to the weakside (which is Miami’s second favorite run) and walk up Todd McCullough and / or Channing Crowder to stop the run.

Special Teams:
The 'Canes are tremendous in the return game because of the speed of Antrel Rolle, Roscoe Parrish and Devin Hester. This will put great pressure on UF’s young players who must stay in their lanes and cover each and every time. The kicking game is new for Miami and could be shaky, especially with placekicker Jon Peattie. The Gators looked solid a week ago, but this will be a much stiffer test for young punter Eric Wilbur.

Intangibles:
The 'Canes are more experienced, more talented (at least for now) and are playing at home. This favors a Miami victory and maybe handily. The Gators don’t have anything to lose and a lot they can prove to themselves and the rest of the country. Florida should play loose and take its shots while the longer the game is close may force Miami to play tight. The key is can the Gators weather the early pressure and make it a four-quarter game. Miami Offense:
The Canes opened up with a 48-point, 467-yard performance against Louisiana Tech which was much like the Florida game with touchdowns coming via defense and special teams. Miami tried to establish the pass first in this game, unlike the last two 'Cane football teams. The offense was vanilla however with Brock Berlin going 14-28 for 203 yards. He missed some short throws and also made a bad throw into coverage but for the most part was solid. He has a big league arm, which allows Miami to open up its mid- range and down-the-field passing game.

Kellen Winslow is the main threat and did not get as many "touches" as he would like and it will be interesting to see how Larry Coker uses him in this game. Ryan Moore had a couple of drops but appears to be the main target for Berlin. Roscoe Parrish should be healthy and Devin Hester is a player who has tremendous speed.

In the running game, Frank Gore has more lateral movement than Willis McGhaee. He ran for 118 against the Bulldogs but was bottled up early. The 'Canes want to establish the run first then the play action in the passing game. The 'Cane offense is a big play offense that will pick up pass yards in large chunks of 15-20 yards at a clip. The depth at running back could be a question with Jarrett Payton somewhat of a mystery and Tyrone Moss still learning the offense.

The offensive line is led by left guard Vernon Carey but does not have a lot of depth or experience. Joel Rodriguez at center is a drop off from Brett Romberg and Eric Winston at left tackle has played one game (college and high school) at his position.

Miami Scheme:
The 'Canes top three plays are the power (Wham G) running play, the tight end option route and the play action dig. A year ago Florida did not play the Wham G very well. The defensive ends widened and ran around blocks leaving a huge hole for McGhaee to run through. The linebacker play was not as solid a year ago with guys not filling these huge holes very well. UF’s defensive ends will take on blocks from 'Cane fullback Quad Hill and must play with force and leverage.

The tight end option is a very difficult play to defend with a linebacker. Kellen Winslow has the option to hook up or run to the sideline. This is usually out of a run formation with play action by the quarterback. The Dig was the favorite play for the 'Canes against the Bulldogs. It comes out of the shotgun, or deep play action and is a 15-17 yard square in route. Miami also will run the counter in the run game and take plenty of shots deep versus man coverage with the deep fade in the passing game.

Gators on the Hot Seat:
It is hard not to say the entire defense but the defensive ends are the focus for this week. This position must play well for the Gators to have a chance. IF they play like they did a year ago you can forget it. With Brian Crum and Channing Crowder playing outside the Gators will have more speed than a year ago. If the ends can "wash" down the running game and force Frank Gore to run outside then Guss Scott and crew should be able to make plays. Most teams don’t have the speed to attack Miami in this fashion but UF does. Darrell Lee will be on the hot seat and must rise up to contain the 'Cane running game.

Miami Defense:
The Hurricanes held a solid Louisiana Tech offensive team to just 310 yards a week ago with most of those yards coming late. The Achilles heel for the 'Canes a year ago was the running defense which was exploited by many teams with a straight ahead running attack. The effort by the 'Canes was only the second time the Bulldogs have been held without a touchdown in 82 games. The defense starts in the middle with Vince Wilfork who is just plain "sick". He is in better shape and runs the field like a linebacker. His motor never stops and he will be a force inside. Jonathan Vilma returns to the linebacking corps to anchor the middle with DJ Williams on the outside. Williams had a touchdown a week ago on a fumble return. The speed does not end there with a defense that boasts one of the best secondaries in the country. The secondary starts with the safeties who cover a lot of ground in Sean Taylor and Maurice Sikes who had the interception to seal Florida’s fate a year ago. The question mark for Miami is the young defensive ends, Thomas Carroll and Baraka Atkins. They have talent but have not played a lot of football. Also if Santonio Thomas can play it will be a bonus for the inside part of the defensive line.

Miami Scheme:
It is very simple.4-3 cover 2. Miami likes to let its players run to the ball and make plays. The safeties play 15-18 yards deep and have free rein to play the run and also cover the halves of the field in the passing game. The defensive line shoots gaps creating disruption in the backfield by using its quickness and allowing the linebackers to make a lot of tackles. The speed of the linebackers makes it hard to out run them to the sideline which is why it is best to run right at the 'Cane defense. Miami will blitz a little if they have to by bringing a weakside linebacker stunt and also will occasionally bring Vilma from the middle. The key is handling the speed of the defensive line and challenging the safeties down the field with a vertical passing game. This 4-3 attack scheme can overwhelm offenses early and usually does. Teams that have success maintain drives with solid inside running games which wears down the 'Canes and they get tired in the second half (see FSU and Ohio State).

Gators on the Hot Seat:
Who Else? The defensive ends must play big, physical and with leverage. The combo of Darrell Lee, Bobby McCray and Travis Harris will be under fire not only for the running game but also must get pressure on Brock Berlin. The Gators did not record a sack last week and that cannot happen for them to pull the upset. The Gators will blitz some from the outside which should help, but more blitzes from the middle will cause Berlin problems. The defense will also reduce the front to the weakside (which is Miami’s second favorite run) and walk up Todd McCullough and / or Channing Crowder to stop the run.

Special Teams:
The 'Canes are tremendous in the return game because of the speed of Antrel Rolle, Roscoe Parrish and Devin Hester. This will put great pressure on UF’s young players who must stay in their lanes and cover each and every time. The kicking game is new for Miami and could be shaky, especially with placekicker Jon Peattie. The Gators looked solid a week ago, but this will be a much stiffer test for young punter Eric Wilbur.

Intangibles:
The 'Canes are more experienced, more talented (at least for now) and are playing at home. This favors a Miami victory and maybe handily. The Gators don’t have anything to lose and a lot they can prove to themselves and the rest of the country. Florida should play loose and take its shots while the longer the game is close may force Miami to play tight. The key is can the Gators weather the early pressure and make it a four-quarter game.


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