Friday, January 19, 2018

Virginia Tech at Miami

Virginia Tech hits the road in Week 12 to take on a Miami team that is surviving without QB Jacory Harris.

Virginia Tech offense vs. Miami defense
• Miami's front seven has the size and range at linebacker to control the trenches and slow the Virginia Tech ground game. The Hurricanes must play with gap discipline, though. LBs Colin McCarthy, Sean Spence and Ramon Buchanan are talented, but they are overaggressive and will overrun plays at times. Hokies RB Ryan Williams is an effective cutback runner, who makes good reads and cuts on zone runs, and RB Darren Evans is a straight-line runner, who could find space on read-options or when a receiver motions into the backfield. If Miami locks in on QB Tyrod Taylor or overreacts to the receiver, it will create a seam for Evans, who hits holes quickly. The Hurricanes have to be alert for Taylor keeping the ball on read-options and designed keepers, and speedy RB David Wilson will provide an additional boost, if he can return from a bout of mononucleosis.

• Taylor can manipulate pass coverage with play-fakes, and his feet play as a big a role as his ball skills. He rides the running back when faking the read-option, and he can start to roll out of the pocket before pulling up behind the offensive tackle. Miami's linebackers got caught overreacting to play-action last week and struggled to recover once they got out of position, so they have to read their keys and show better discipline against the Hokies. Ss JoJo Nicolas, Ray-Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque can't get caught jumping up or overrotating when they see Taylor moving laterally, and perhaps most importantly CBs Brandon Harris, Ryan Hill and DeMarcus Van Dyke can't be too quick to step up in run support. They have the natural ability to stick with Virginia Tech's receivers, as long as their technique is sound, but Taylor has the arm strength to exploit any false steps.