Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bowl Game Preview

Caveat: This is going to be a more abbreviated preview because I haven't watched Miami this year.   

This is a very interesting matchup for Cal.  They are going to see speed, size and athleticism that they've only really seen vs. USC and perhaps Tennessee in 2006.  But Miami is a very young team, with a new coaching staff, and hasn't quite figured out how to channel all that talent yet.  And they are playing 3000 miles away from home, for the first time for most of their players.  I must say, if this game were in Miami, I would not like Cal's chances.  

But it is not.  This game presents Cal with the ingredients that have typically produced wins under Tedford: (1) lots of time to prepare, (2) home game, and (3) Cal is not overhyped or disappointed to be there.  The players would have liked to finish higher, but they all seem to acknowledge that they were young this year on offense, are still in a rebuilding process and are expecting much improvement next year.  

Having not really watched Miami this season, I can't say much from a scouting perspective. Below are two youtube clips (all I could find).  I won't begin to extrapolate from these too much about the team overall, but they do reveal a few things.  

1.  Miami looks big and fast on defense, especially in the front 7.  This is definitely something you see from all the schools in the southeast, and this team is no different.  They breed them big and bad in that part of the country, and every team, good or bad, has its share of imposing front 7s.  

What this means for Cal is they are probably not going to be able to run much "power" scheme, i.e. man blocking, pulling a lineman and leading with a fullback.  Miami is going to be all over this, and man-to-man probably has the advantage.  But Cal has a vastly improved zone attack that should counter their size.  

Second, when Miami gets after it in pass rush, especially in blitz, they come with sudden speed. Their guys crash hard off the edge and really give the QB very little time unless he steps up in the pocket.  Randy Shannon is a defensive coach, and his guys blitz very well.

All I can say is Cal's o-line better move its feet.

Third, Miami's RB doesn't have a lot of wiggle, but he is a blazer straight ahead.  In a number of the clips, you'll see him hesitate, then find and opening and really blast through it quickly.

Note to Williams and Felder: don't bury your head in the blocker's chest and let this guy blow by you.

Fourth, their kick and punt returner Benjamin is Jackson-esque in terms of being a game breaker.  He's skinny, with quick feet and great agility, and he is virtually unstoppable if he gets up to full speed in the open field.

Dear Coach Alamar - please do not lose this game for us.

Now, the clips:


bowlbasaur said...

i believe benjamin the PR is out for the bowl game

SD said...

Thanks BB. Yeah after I posted this, I read that. I think every Cal fan is probably relieved to read that. Miami is definitely going to thrive off of big defense and special teams plays to keep their intensity up. This is one less thing for them to feed off.

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