Miami Pass vs. BC Pass Defense
EDGE: Boston College
QB Brock Berlin has improved steadily during his first three
starts. But this is still September and the young passing
attack is inconsistent. For Miami, this is a rather in-opportune
time to face a Frank Spaziani coached BC defense. Spaziani's
troops got into the head of Penn State's QB Zack Mills and
Connecticut's Dan Orlovsky, both very talented passers, and
both of these games were on the road.
use a lot of movement before the snap, a common tactic used
against inexperienced quarterbacks. The Eagles will stick
primarily to two-deep zones, but drop in and out of blitz
packages with their back seven as they did to cause four Miami
INTs in 2001. Traditionally, Miami loves to counter this type
of defensive scheme with a lot of short passes to their backs.
Although this would play into BC's plans, it does put a lot
of pressure on the Eagle front seven. LB Josh Ott is a sure
tackler while potential star DE Mathias Kiwanuka should have
a big day creating pressure on Berlin through the pass-rush.
Although relatively unknown, Kiwanuka is a tremendous talent
and at 6'6 will be a big-time match up problem for Miami's
the Hurricanes will have an advantage is against a youthful
BC secondary. The Canes will need big plays from speedy Roscoe
Parrish and Ryan Moore downfield. Look for Miami to try moving
to a more vertical passing game by the game's third quarter,
also taking advantage of Berlin's arm strength. It was interesting
seeing them go strictly vertical against East Carolina last
week, perhaps an exercise to prepare for this game. The deep
ball will put immense pressure on the BC corners, especially
under-sized Larry Lester.
BC Pass vs. Miami Pass Defense
far this season, QB Quinton Porter has been a pleasant surprise
for the Eagles. He has avoided turnovers and brought more
of a vertical passing attack to the offense. Most of Porter's
success has come off the play-action going straight down the
middle of the field. And while going up against the Miami
defense will certainly be a tough test, Porter did seem calm
and poised at Happy Valley.
have the nation's top pass defense two years running. So far
in 2003 the unit still looks strong, especially All-American
FS Sean Taylor and DB Antrel Rolle. Rolle is pure lock-down
and combines rare speed and size. Taylor is Miami's defensive
playmaker and seems to be in on every play. BC needs to attack
the other side of Miami's secondary, where early in the season
there has been some confusion and missed assignments.
Expect the majority of Porter's pass attempts to be towards
TE Sean Ryan or either running back out of the backfield,
Derrick Knight or Horace Dodd. It will be difficult for the
slower BC receivers to get open against Miami's corners. If
Porter can get time, look for Ryan and Knight to run seam
routes, trying to isolate on Miami's linebackers in the 10-15
yard area. Porter may not complete a high percentage of his
attempts but needs to throw the ball away and avoid any mistakes
or sacks. The role of the BC passing attack will be simply
to keep the Hurricanes from keying on the run. All this is
easier said than done for the first year starter as Miami's
back seven could be the best in the country.
Miami Run vs. BC Run Defense
the passing game tries to come into its own, Miami relies
heavily on RB Frank Gore. Gore has excellent balance and vision
and has been a workhorse thus far this season. Despite not
being the fastest back, Gore explodes to the hole- sometimes
too quickly, not allowing his blockers time to lead properly.
This is one of the reasons he has not had the big run(s) everyone
anticipates. Also, Miami's injury problems along the offensive
front have slowed the running game. Those injuries are beginning
to subside, though, and a healthy Carlos Joseph at tackle
could be the key. While Gore has improved productivity each
week, you get the feeling he too is still waiting for a breakout
performance. This could be the game, as Chestnut Hill provides
a fast surface and Gore is still feeling the sting of a fumble
that almost caused Miami the game at BC two years ago.
will start the game by running out of the I-formation, and
the pressure will be on the fullback. So far, this position
has been a revolving door for the Hurricanes, between Quad
Hill (injured), Kyle Cobia and Talib Humphrey. Cobia is the
most talented of the group, but Humphrey had a big day versus
East Carolina last week. When they are in the game, look for
Cobia to primarily be a blocker while Humphrey gets a few
run defense struggled against Wake Forest, was never really
tested against Penn State, and played so-so against Connecticut.
Conclusion - the jury is still out. The linebackers are solid
and the defensive line is blossoming, but under-sized. There
is depth along the front so expect the Eagles to rotate players
and go after Gore with fresh legs. While the Eagles typically
do not give up the big running play, they are susceptible
to grinding, methodical run-plans. Miami's offensive line
typically begins taking over late in games, so don't expect
early struggles to stop Miami from handing the rock to Gore.
BC Run vs. Miami Run Defense
way to beat Miami's defense is run quick traps and draws inside
and have a quarterback who can make things happen on the run.
Just how mobile QB Quinton Porter will be could be the key
to this game for Boston College because RB Derrick Knight
fits the bill. Right now Porter's mobility is relatively unknown.
However, the diminutive Knight is off to a great start in
2003 after rushing for 1,432 yards a season ago. One of the
country's more underrated players, Knight is shifty and has
a quick burst inside. Despite averaging less than three yards
a carry in two previous games against Miami, Knight has still
been able to keep the defense honest and helped to open up
the play action passing attack. Also, look for backup RB Horace
Dodd to get at least a third of the carries as his bigger
size will create a nice one-two combo.
will protect the inside with big DT Vince Wilfork and a rotation
of DT Santonio Thomas and Orien Harris along the front and
MLB Jonathon Vilma on the second wave. Over-pursuit is the
Hurricanes primary weakness as they have a tendency to shoot
the wrong gaps on running plays. Miami will need patience
as their front should win the majority of battles and force
make the Eagles to run piece by piece rather than in big chunks.
can show patience, the key will be how well the BC offensive
line holds up. This is an experienced group that, like Miami,
seems to get stronger as games progress. The BC O-line can
both run- and pass-block, and has had success against Miami
the past few tries, especially early in games. Guard Augie
Hoffmann will have the challenge of blocking Wilfork and his
performance could dictate the outcome of this game.
has one of the most dangerous return games in college football
lead by Roscoe Parrish and electrifying freshman Devin Hester.
Look for BC to kick high, short and towards the sidelines.
This may prevent major damage, but would still hurt the Eagles
in the field position war.
are fielding new punters, both of whom are struggling in the
season's early goings. However, they both also have strong
punt coverage units and neither team does a particularly good
job of rushing the punters. That being said, the punters should
have time to make things happen.
Sandro Sciortino provides the Eagles with an experienced,
strong-legged weapon while Miami's John Peattie is new and
has attempted only four kicks in his career. Peattie seems
to have a weaker leg and is new to pressure situations.
the early season heartbreak to Wake Forest, Boston College
is still looking for the magical ten-win season plateau that
has recently eluded this program. Over the past few seasons,
while winning eight or nine games, BC has defeated Arizona
State, Pittsburgh, Georgia and Notre Dame, and still not received
Top 25-love. In their final year in the Big East, Miami has
become the stepping-stone for this BC program- one that the
Eagles have been unable to traverse for the past two decades.
Miami is looking to get back to the promised land, and this
is the first of four very difficult road hurdles for the Canes,
winners of 37 of 38. BC, on the road, is a formidable opponent
and the Canes are looking to regain their dominance.
patience, patience is the key for Miami every week because
of their superior athleticism. Turnovers, penalties, over-pursuit
and lack of discipline seem to be the formula to every Miami
struggle. This game will be close as it always is in Chestnut
Hill between these two. A close game would not be a major
surprise - the Hurricanes are young and BC has built a solid
program. Luckily for Miami, the weather should not be a factor
this early in the year, but the Eagle fans will be.
to how this game plays out may be in the opening stanza. Miami
has struggled early in games, and BC needs to take advantage
of this youthful enthusiasm by using play-action to cause
confusion in the Miami backfield and keeping the crowd in
it. The last few seasons Miami has allowed BC to make their
games a struggle. The Hurricanes ran away late in the Orange
Bowl game, but both games at BC stayed tight throughout. Miami
players blame it mostly on the deafening crowd noise, but
the prepared game-plan of BC's coaches should not be taken
lightly. This program goes up against more talented teams
all the time and still comes out on top.
on, expect Boston College to get out in front and maintain
a 3-7 point cushion into the third quarter. Look for Knight
to frustrate the Hurricane D, and Kiwanuka to have his coming
out party along the defensive front. Miami will guess and
check a lot of different options on offense before finally
they find the right formula and the Hurricane offensive line
begins wearing BC down. Expect Frank Gore to get 100+ rushing,
most of it in the second half and outside the tackles where
he has not run much. Brock Berlin will struggle in his first
major road test but do not expect his coaches to let him be
a major part of the game plan. The Miami defense will step
up in the fourth and their pressure will cause a key Quinton
Porter mistake. Expect a big tackle day from Vince Wilfork
along the front and look for Miami to play that patient game
and hold off the Eagles when it counts most. It won't be pretty
Miami-20 Boston College-16