Miami Hurricanes will test inconsistent Virginia secondary

Oct 11, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Expect Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee to try and exploit an inconsistent Virginia secondary when the teams meet on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has exploited what opponents have given his offense in the four wins this season. Expect that to continue against what Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall has called an inconsistency secondary this season. The Cavaliers have frequently allowed big plays.

Virginia is tied for 71st out of 77 teams nationally allowing 12 passing plays of 30 yards or more. Miami is 22nd offensively with eight pass plays of 30 yards or more. The Cavaliers top three cornerbacks, De’Vonte Cross and Nick Grant are ranked 102nd and 111th while safety Brenton Nelson is 95th at CB according to Pro Football Focus.

Virginia opponents gain 66.989 percent of their yards passing. The Cavaliers have allowed 1,108 passing yards and 1,654 total yards this season. Virginia is 56th in pass defense allowing 277 yards per game, 42nd in passer rating and 64th allowing 8.5 yards per attempt. D’Eriq King should be able to challenge the Virginia secondary.

Miami has had an equally uneven passing offense this season. The Hurricanes are 42nd averaging 228.6 passing yards per game, 45th in passer rating and 50th averaging 6.9 yards per attempt. King was able to exploit the Pittsburgh defense with three long TDs. Mendenhall discussed his concerns about the Virginia secondary.

"“Our inconsistency right now is in our secondary. And that’s our topic and our focus right now. So not disappointed, but more clear on where and if the opponent moves the ball where it’s happening. And right now that’s our area to target.”"

Virginia is stronger at safety than CB. Joey Blount is ranked as the 28th best safety by PFF, 47th in coverage. Mendenhall uses multiple looks on defense. Blount has lined up in the box 52 times, as the Slot CB 29 times and at free safety 41 times this season. Lashlee will try and attack UVA’s weaknesses defensively.

Blount, Cross and Nelson all left Virginia’s loss to Wake Forest last week with injuries. All three are expected back versus the Miami Hurricanes. Darrius Bratton, Antonio Clary, Fentrell Cypress, and Coen King received playing because of the injuries. Lashlee is adept at creating plays that cause mismatches.

The biggest weakness for Miami on offense are its wide receivers who will go against the Virginia CBs. Lashlee will likely try and scheme to get his running backs and tight ends in space to cause mismatches. Against Pittsburgh, Miami did the same with its WRs. The Hurricanes need more production at WR.

Next. Miami likely playing three straight games vs. backup QBs. dark

On the depth chart released for Virginia, Miami listed the nine scholarship WRs on its roster as co-starters. Without any WRs specified as starters, it sent a clear message that Lashlee and head coach Manny Diaz expect more from the position. Against Virginia, the Miami WRs have a good chance to be productive.