Cardinal Sin


I have not been this upset after a game in a long long time. I definitely needed a few drinks after that one. I often try not to fixate on a single play to define a game because a game is generally decided over a series of plays. Football is the ultimate team sport, and Saturday’s loss to FSU was definitely a team loss. I can’t blame it on just one player or one unit.

Tyler Van Dyke had his part to play. TVD had a brilliant end of the 2nd quarter and 2nd half, but he had a horrible 1st half that reminded me of the slow first halves that he had in his first two starts against Virginia and North Carolina. He looked more like “Tyler Van (what) Da Hell Was That” as opposed to “Tyler Van Dimes.” He was off target, not making the right reads, and throwing interceptions instead of touchdowns. I could hear Jake Garcia’s thoughts going wild as he watched the door creaking open a little bit for him to get a shot at the QB1 spot next season. But then TVD snapped back to reality once he shook off gravity and got it going in the 2nd half when he started lighting it up and looked more like the big stick diplomat he had been the past three weeks.

The defense got off to a very bad start early. They got flagged for a ton of penalties and allowed FSU to drive right down the field and score with little resistance on their first possession. After that they settled down and stopped FSU from ending the game early when the Miami offense turned it over 3 times in the first quarter. The defense shut FSU down for most of the 2nd half too until those last two drives when they needed to make that key stop and blew the game. We needed Te’Cory Couch to make a play and he didn’t. However, the tit for that tat is, the offense needed to get another first down to all but ice the game and they didn’t. Both units had bright spots and dim blotches. This is the true definition of a team loss.

With that said, I wish Manuel Alberto Diaz II would have blitzed on 4th & 14. I just knew he was going to bring pressure on 4th & 14. I quite literally said out loud: “my boy Manny is going to bring the house!” When the commentators Mark Jones and Robert Griffin III were asking if Manny would send pressure or not. It’s what Manny does. He blitzes. A lot. It’s what Miami does. We get after the quarterback. If there’s two things the Dolphins and Hurricanes have in common besides losing heartbreaking close games at the end, it’s that neither the Dolphins or the Hurricanes are great when they drop back and play zone coverage. However, they are significantly better when they send pressure. Manny only rushed three like he actually trusted those guys in coverage for that long of a time. Kinchens is a great young player and is going to be a stud for us, but he got caught with his eyes in the backfield when he had one-on-one coverage and gave up the big chunk play that set FSU up for their go ahead score.

Florida State was expecting pressure on 3rd & 14, so they moved the pocket for Travis. The fact that he was on the move allowed Keontra Smith, who was spying on Travis in case he took off and ran, to come up and force an errant throw. FSU realized on that down that Manny Diaz had decided to play it conservatively. Manny was coaching not to lose instead of aggressively going after the win. They knew that if Miami played the same defense on 4th & 14 they would have a chance because Travis would have time to sit in the pocket and deliver the pass comfortably in between a hole in the zone. That’s exactly what we did. We played the exact same defensive coverage.

I know some people believe in the philosophy of playing coverage in that spot. However, in a 4th & 14 situation with the game on the line, the season on the line, the rivalry on the line, Manny’s career on the line you go down swinging. You bring pressure. You bring the noise. You make sure there’s a world of chaos for Travis to have to process. You make him have to move and reset his base before he throws it. You don’t give him time to think. You limit his options to a fade route or a check down. You come at him like a raging bull in a museum full of stain glass artwork and you make the kid have to make a remarkable play to beat you and keep the colorful glass from shattering into shards of shrapnel all around him.

Send pressure, make the kid throw an errant pass to his hot route, if the receiver actually catches it, make the tackle before letting the receiver get to the sticks and it’s lights out at Doak Campbell. We’re all dancing and juking to a medly of “Peanut Butter Jelly,” “Stick & Roll,” and “Beam Ahh” all over Chief Osceola’s face at the 50. That’s not what Manny did and as a result he committed a cardinal sin. He had FSU on the ropes. They were flat on the canvas and he let them off the hook. That touchdown by Rooster where he ran over Brownlee on 2nd and 18 deserved a win. That improbable touchdown catch by Harley off the Keyshaw Smith ricochet deserved a win. That lazer throw from TVD to Rambo over his outside shoulder with Brownlee draped all over him on 3rd and 15 to move the chains deserved a win. That wicked fumble recovery by Nesta Silvera to turn the momentum of the game and get us on the scoreboard deserved a win. Manny let down his players who fought hard to win that game for him with one bad decision and that was a cardinal sin. That cardinal sin will cost him. The dominoes have already started to fall as it was just announced that Blake James is no longer the Athletic Director at the University of Miami. You commit the cardinal sin of losing to FSU in that fashion when you were already on thin ice in a Miami winter and there’s a price to pay for that. The bill has now come due.

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