Miami football likely playing three straight games versus backup QBs

Oct 10, 2020; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2020; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

After defeating Pittsburgh and backup quarterback Joey Yellen on Saturday the Miami football team could play backup QBs in the next two games against Virginia and North Carolina State.

The Miami football team avoided Pittsburgh four-year starting quarterback Kenny Pickett on Saturday in a 31-19 victory. The Hurricanes held Panthers second-team QB Joey Yellen to 22-46 for 277 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Miami was able to put more pressure on Yellen than they would have on Pickett.

Miami could play Virginia on Saturday with the Cavaliers potentially missing starting QB Brennan Armstrong. Armstrong has a concussion suffered two weeks ago against North Carolina State. The Cavaliers lost by 17 points to the Wolfpack and Wake Forest in their last two games. Armstrong is in the concussion protocal.

If Armstrong cannot play, hackup Lindell Stone who played most of the game against Wake Forest will be the starter against Miami. Following a bye week on Halloween, Miami will play at North Carolina State November 7. The Wolfpack will likely start Bailey Hockman in place of Devin Leary who is out 4-8 weeks with a broken fibula.

Yellen started one game at Arizona State in 2019 before making his second career start on Saturday. Stone could make his second start of his collegiate career on Saturday against Miami. North Carolina Sate also has an October 31 bye. Hochman is projected to start Saturday which will be his hird this season.

Beginning with the Pittburgh game, Miami has a three game stretch against QBs who will have had a total of five starts in their careers before they played the Hurricanes. Contrast that to playing Clemson and Trevor Lawrence before this three game stretch. Expect Miami to continue to pressure opposing QBs.

Stone has completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 426 yards, three TDs and three interceptions this season and run six times for 20 yards. Like Pickett, Armstrong puts a lot more pressure on opposing defenses with his ability to run. Armstong has completed 55.7 percent for 596 yards, five TDs and six interceptions.

Armstrong has added 130 yards rushing and one TD. Miami is going to have to prepare for Virginia not knowing if Armstrong or Strong will start on Saturday. It is similar to how the Hurrianes prepared for Pittsburgh without knowing if Pickett or Yellen would start. Miami head coach Manny Diaz discussed the challenge.

"“It’s a mystery to me. The sample size is too small. And, as you know, when you go into a game with a game plan, you invariably don’t even call all the stuff you would have in a certain package. You just got to prepare for your roles and kind of rule it out that no matter what they do, you got a guy in every gap.And if the quarterback is a runner, then that creates an extra gap and you got to whip up a blocker or even get another guy down there. At the end of the day there’s not that many choices of what you can do but our players will have to prepare for a lot of stuff this week.”"

Virginia could also play Keytaon Thompson and Ira Armstead at QB as they did in the Cavaliers loss to Wake Forest. As Diaz said it makes for a very busy week of practice and preparation for the Miami football players on defense. By the time the Hurricanes play NC State they will have about four games of video on Hockman.

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Miami would be expected to defeat Pittsburgh, Virginia and NC State when those teams are healthy. With the Panthers, Cavaliers and Wolfpack playing backup QBs, the Hurricanes should be able to dictate the play with their defense. These are the types of games Miami has faltered in the past. Time to make a statement.