Miami football has to better limit yards after catch and contact

Oct 10, 2020;. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2020;. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team has to do a better job limiting the opposition on yards after receptions and contact.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Miami football team “missed 14 tackles and 273 of Clemson’s 302 receiving yards came after the catch while 190 of their 262 rushing yards came after contact.” The Hurricanes have to do a better job of limited yards after catch and contact and keeping plays in front of them.

‘Against Clemson it was critical. Travis Etienne is far too good of a player to allow significant yards after contact. Clemson had 90.4 percent of their yards receiving after the catch. Clemson has a good but not elite receiving corps and Miami has to do a better job keeping receivers in front of them.

Amari Rodgers is the highest-ranked Clemson WR. Rodgers is ranked the 46th best WR by Pro Football Focus and Frank Ladson Jr. 79th. Rodgers finished with seven receptions for 62 yards, Ladson 3-43. Tight end Brandon Galloway and running back Travis Etienne hurt Miami the most as Trevor Lawrence’s top receivers.

Galloway finished with four receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Etienne had eight receptions for 71 yards. Miami knew entering the game against Clemson they had to limit Etienne in yards after contact rushing and his YAC in the passing game. Against Pittsburgh this weekend that has to be emphasized to the Miami defense.

Jackson reported that the three worst defensive grades for Miami against Clemson were to linebackers Bradley Jennings, Waymond Steed and Zach McCloud. Jennings and McCloud are the Miami starting LBs. The Miami LBs have mostly underperformed this season. Striker Gilbert Frierson has been elite.

McCloud redshirted in 2019 after he lost significant playing time to starting striker Romeo Finley and Frierson. McCloud was expected to provide stability to otherwise inexperienced LB corps in 2020. That has not always been the case for the Miami football team without four-year starters Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney.

"“Zach and BJ [Jennings] were up and down. We need more consistency at that position.”"

Defensive coordinator Blake Baker expects more from his LBs. Freshman Corey Flagg who played 30 snaps and was outstanding against Clemson according to Baker could begin receiving more snaps. Flagg has two assisted tackles this season, but the Miami coaching staff likes his instincts.

McCloud is the 227th ranked LB by PFF, Jennings 229th and backup Sam Brooks 226th. Frierson is ranked 20th as an LB by PFF and Keontra Smith who shares time at striker with Frierson is 148th. Miami needs better play from the majority of their LBs, especially with the yards rushing after contact.

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Jennings is sixth on Miami with 15 tackles and third with 4.5 tackles for loss. McCloud is third with 17 tackles and has two TFLs and two sacks. Frierson is third on Miami with 18 tackles, leads the Hurricanes with six TFLs. Miami will be challenged in the passing game against Pittsburgh on Saturday.