Four Keys to a Miami Victory vs Virginia Tech

Last week, Miami was meticulous against Florida State, but in the end, the better coached team prevailed.

I’m preaching to the choir here, but it is obvious this Miami team’s problem is coaching. You can read my previous post to grasp my full thoughts because they aren’t worth the keystrokes to repeat here.

The style in which Miami has lost the past two games falls upon coaching, plain and simple. Miami has the talent to be one of the best teams in the country, but coaching has held them back year after year. The Miami faithful are hoping that after the end of this four week stretch, they can begin the process of moving forward.

Four Ways Miami Can Beat Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech came back to defeat North Carolina State last Friday 28-13 after entering the game on a two-game losing streak. A combination of quarterbacks Brenden Motley and Isaiah Ford helped pull the Hokies out of another early deficit as they fell behind 10-0 in the second quarter, before scoring 21 unanswered points and holding on to the lead for the rest of the game.

Everyone wants him gone, but for now, Miami coach Al Golden is still here and there’s a game to be played. Here is what Miami needs to do to get their first significant win of the year and right the ship, if not for coach Golden, at least for the pride of the U.

Tighten Up On Special Teams

The special teams play has long been Virginia Tech’s strong suit, but it wouldn’t hurt Miami to mimic the aesthetics of Beamer Ball themselves.

Last week against FSU, after bringing Miami within three with the score 20-17, on the ensuing kickoff Jon Semerene booted the kick out of bounds. This was his fourth kick out of bounds this season.

Miami was able to overcome this blunder, as the Seminoles could have taken the opportunity to put the game out of reach on the ensuing drive. These mistakes can instantly turn the tide of a game, and although Golden still has faith in Semerene (because, of course he would), his kicking can quickly become a liability.

Corn Elder has been phenomenal on punt returns, even if the stats do not completely reflect this. Elder officially has only one punt return for a touchdown, but has reached the end zone a total of three times this season. Had it not been for penalties negating two of those touchdowns, Elder would be leading the country in punt return touchdowns. It’s time his blockers rewarded him and the rest of team by not having points taken off the scoreboard.

Take Advantage of Virginia Tech’s Slow Starts

Miami’s game against Nebraska was the best example of how this team can dominate an opponent who starts the game slow.

Miami jumped out to a 17-0 lead on the Cornhuskers, before allowing them to come back and send the game into overtime.

In two of Virginia Tech’s three losses, they found themselves down by a combined score of 24-0 before the second quarter. Miami has to use their offensive power and defensive physicality the way they did against Nebraska to take Virginia Tech completely out of the ball game and pin them down early. It would be up to the Hurricanes to finish from that point on.

Convert. Third. Down.

30% conversion rate…

The ACC should just let Miami’s offense play under Canadian Football rules at this point.

If Golden Doesn’t Get It Now…

With the firing of Joe Philbin, all the football angst in South Beach is now completely focused on Golden.

Before their games last week, ESPN College Football Live asked “Who’s seat is hotter: Al Golden or Charlie Strong at Texas?” Both coaches faced rivals last week and both came into their games with their teams as underdogs. The only difference – Strong performed in astonishing fashion, showing that the Texas faithful just need to continue to be patient; Golden showed why the Miami fan base’s patience has run thin.

I can go into an entire rant questioning why in the world this administration has kept Golden around this long. It makes no sense whatsoever. Golden is a lame duck at this point, so the administration will let him lead this team through the smoke for the next three weeks, as the upcoming games may be the closest he will come to the facing the big time again.

But no one wants to get fired. I want to believe Golden has some sense of pride left and won’t let himself get out-coached this week in a game that still has ACC Championship implications. Week in and week out, his players have shown they have not given up, it’s time for Golden to do the same.

Miami doesn’t have as big of a challenge against Virginia Tech as they did last week against Florida State, and a decisive win is a possibility. This game will once again come down to coaching as the talent for Miami has shown that it is clearly there.

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