Miami football strength versus run, inconsistency versus pass flip from 2018

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 14:.(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 14:.(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami football team lead the nation in pass defense in 2018 but were just 42nd against the run. In 2019, the Hurricanes are sixth nationally against the run and 38th against the pass.

The 59.75 rushing yards the Miami football team is allowing per game is the best by the Hurricanes since 2006. Miami has yet to allow 100 rushing yards in a game in 2019. The closest was North Carolina. The Tar Heels ran for 97 yards in a week two victory but took 36 carries to get there.

Lost in the shuffle in the ten sacks the offense allowed to Florida in the opening game loss and last week’s disappointing performance in a 17-12 victory over Central Michigan was how dominant the Miami defense was against the run. The Gators ran for 52 yards on 27 carries in the season opener. CMU ran 27 times for 31 yards.

The credit for the dominance of the Miami run defense has to go first to the Hurricanes front four. Juniors Jonathan Garvin and Jon Ford have not produced the numbers that were expected of them. That is more because of opponents game-planning against the Hurricanes then Ford and Garvin playing poorly.

Garvin has 12 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Those numbers are far below the pace that Garvin set in 2018 with 60 tackles, 17 TFLs and 5.5 sacks. Garvin has seen more double teams this year with former Miami defensive tackle Gerald Willis now in the NFL.

Teams have run away from Ford. Ford has only two tackles (both assists) and a half TFL this season. The expectations for him were to become the dominant defensive tackle that Willis was or at least close. The impact by Ford has been felt even though he has not produced the numbers that Willis did in 2018.

Miami Hurricanes Football
Miami Hurricanes Football /

Miami Hurricanes Football

Garvin has been getting after the quarterback this season even if he did not record his first sack until last week against Central Michigan. Manny Diaz has spoken about evening the snaps out more on the defensive line as the season goes on. Garvin has played 200 snaps, defensive end Scott Patchan 157 and Ford 151.

Patchan has recorded11 tackles, 1.5 TFLs and one sack this season. The fumble recovery was a huge one that got Miami back into the game against Florida.

Patchan has started opposite Garvin at defensive end. Miami is expected to give more playing time to backups on the defensive line as the 2019 season progresses.

The downside of the improved run defense has been opponents need to rely on the pass to move the ball on offense. After leading the nation in pass defense in 2018, the Hurricanes are 49th this season allowing 209.8 yards passing yards per game this season. The Miami football team allowed 135.6 passing yards per game in 2018.

The Miami football team has allowed more than 200 yards in three of their four games this season. Florida QB Feleipe Franks had 254 yards and two touchdowns week one.

True freshman Sam Howell of North Carolina had 292 and two touchdowns. Miami has allowed only 293 passing yards combined in their two victories.

Over half of the passing yards by the Gators came on Franks completions of 65 yards to Josh Hammond on the game-winning drive and Kadarious Toney on the Gators TD on their opening drive. Miami has to do a better job of limiting the long pass plays for the remainder of 2019.

Next. Miami and Virginia Tech facing similar issues. dark

The Hurricanes are one of four teams to allow three pass plays of 60 or more yards this season. The longest pass play Miami’s experienced secondary allowed in 2018 was 48 yards. Adding Bubba Bolden for the remainder of the season beginning with Virginia Tech and the secondary gaining more experience will help.