I know Savannah State wasn’t supposed to strike fear in the hearts and minds of the Miami Hurricane football team. What was supposed to be a blowout turned out to be just that on Saturday, 77-0. Savannah State was vastly out manned, out talented, and basically out everything.It was for this reason that I decided to look at an area of the team, a position group, which should have destroyed Savannah State.
“Oh” Line Troubles
Our O-Line, or maybe I should rename it the “oh” line. Because, oh my. I looked at the first two drives of the game and came away with some interesting observations. First of all, the interior of the Hurricane O-Line out weighed the Tigers of Savannah State by an average of around 50-60 lbs.
Based on talent, technique, size, and speed, our O-Line should have manhandled the Tigers. Early on before the heat and sheer numbers for Miami took there toll against the Tigers, our O-Line was not getting the job done. That was very surprising for me. So, I took a look at the game replay and this is what I saw:
- OTs Tyree St. Louis and Navaughn Donaldson kept flip flopping on every play from right tackle to left tackle and back, every play. It’s tough to have continuity or any cohesion when your tackles are flip flopping from right to left on every play. Matter of fact, I’ve never seen that before. Ever, at any level. Honestly, Donaldson still looks too big and too slow to play tackle. St. Louis also looks painfully slow.
- Besides the Chinese fire drill going on at Tackle, I have serious questions about the O-Line’s conditioning. Seriously, the “oh” Line looked like a bunch of Pillsbury Doughboys against Savannah State. They didn’t look nasty at all. They looked unsure of themselves and missed multiple blocks during key moments.
- Early on with Miami first and goal at the goal line, Offensive Guard Hayden Mahoney whiffed on a block. This allowed Savannah St. to stop Travis Homer running to the right side from scoring. On the same series, right before Malik Rosier hit Mallory on the 3rd down for the TD, OG Venzell Boulware blocked the wrong man. This allowed penetration by Savannah State’s Zaine Burton on the goal line, which stopped Gray for a one yard loss.
This is against Savannah State, people.
So, some questions come to mind. Are these players simply not talented? No, I don’t think so. Donaldson and St. Louis were both highly regarded coming out of High School and were recruited by many top programs. However, Mahoney, Tyler Gauthier, and Jahair Jones would not and could not start for any legit top 10 program.
Again, we were playing Savannah State, people!
You would think that these kids being recruited by THE University of Miami could hold up and perform well against the lowly Tigers. A program that is seeking to drop down to division 2 next year. I can’t believe there isn’t at least some talent there. Which begs the question, why isn’t it showing?
I think the answer lies in what would be the same reply to another question. Why did Miami play 24 kids on Defense in the first half alone against LSU? The coaching staff believes that their quality depth is paper thin at most positions, (WR, RB, and QB excluded). They do not trust the backups on the O-Line or on Defense.
Why else play 24 guys in the first half alone against a rugged SEC team like LSU? Almost seems like they were more interested in giving all those players experience, rather than in actually winning the game.
Why flip flop OTs on EVERY play against Savannah St? Same reason, on the job training. To hell with building a cohesive unit.
This playing time format being used by Coach Mark Richt and his staff is beyond strange. I fear for our games against Boston College, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and even lowly FSU coming up if our “oh” Line is not functioning like a well oiled machine. If we keep playing 24 players on Defense before the outcome has been decided, we will lose multiple games going forward.
The coaching MUST improve on the “oh” line. If our guys keep whiffing on blocks, looking out of shape, and moving slow as molasses this will be a very long year.