The McDaniel/Cristobal technique distinction that has emerged. Examining that side with UM


When you’re teaching in the identical city as swashbuckler, risk-taker Mike McDaniel — and also you try 5 targets after which punt while you’re trailing by eight close to midfield late within the sport — you’re going to look as conservative as Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal and offensive coordinator Josh Gattis did on Saturday at Texas A&M.

You’re going to look much more conservative, as Cristobal did, when your workforce doesn’t rating a landing for the primary time in 76 common season contests.

Were Cristobal and Gattis too conservative on Saturday in College Station? Probably.

But the larger difficulty was tempo and clock administration — an space the place blame is shared amongst gamers and coaches.

We’ll get to the ‘was-Miami-too-conservative’ query in a minute.

The large “game management” difficulty on Saturday was the Hurricanes permitting approach an excessive amount of time to slide off the clock between performs throughout their drive that ended with a fourth-and-24 punt at their very own 39 with 3:09 left and the Canes down 17-9. (It was initially fourth-and-19 from the 44 earlier than UM dedicated an unlawful formation penalty.)

On that possession, there have been 34 seconds between performs in a single occasion, 33 on one other, 43 on one other.

QUarterback Tyler Van Dyke usually bought his workforce to the road pretty shortly however took an excessive amount of when he bought there. Clock administration merely have to be higher, with Van Dyke, his teammates and Gattis all sharing accountability for that, and Cristobal needing to reiterate the significance of not frittering away useful time.

And talking of timing… With UM’s offense struggling so badly on Saturday, why didn’t UM go up-tempo in any respect, merely to attempt one thing new?

Asked if he want to return to enjoying extra up-tempo offense with no huddling, Van Dyke mentioned he’s all for that if “it’s the right time to push the gas and go up-tempo.”

He mentioned he trusts Gattis and mentioned Gattis has an up-tempo element to his offense when coaches need to use it. “He’s been great calling plays,” Van Dyke mentioned.

As for whether or not Cristobal and Gattis are too conservative, listed below are a number of factors to think about:

The large second guess was going for a area purpose on fourth-and-4 on the A&M 16 with 8:32 left. Andres Borregales’ 34-yard area purpose reduce the deficit to 17-9.

I’d have gone for it — as a result of it was too dangerous to imagine you’ll get the ball again, rating a landing and convert a two-point conversion — however I don’t contemplate the choice an egregious mistake.

Some may query punting, down eight, with 3:20 left. But context is required right here; earlier than the penalty, Miami had a fourth-and-19 on its 44, its protection had performed effectively, and the probabilities of a conversion have been slim. A case may have been made to go for it, however punting wasn’t outrageous.

The different field-goal makes an attempt got here earlier on a fouth-and-4 on the A&M 10 (Borregales hit from 28), a fourth-and-goal on the A&M 4 (Borregales hit from 22), and two misses — a fourth-and-9 on the A&M 31 and a fourth-and-16 on the A&M 18 (that was one blocked).

The most questionable of these selections was making an attempt the 22-yarder with UM on the Aggies 4-yard-line and down 17-3 and 4:04 left within the third. On the earlier play, UM surprisingly ran the ball on a third-and-6 from the A&M 4, with Jaylan Knighton choosing up 2 yards.

Why not cross there?

“They came out in a three-down defense, so they had eight guys in coverage,” Gattis defined. “We ran the ball great all night. On the first opportunity there, we had an opportunity to crease it for a 10-yard run and we kind of fell over, but we felt like we had the numbers in the run game.

“Then we had a third-and-6 and our thought process is that a third down isn’t always a third down because any time we can be in a fourth-and-2 or less, we are in a go for it scenario.

“That third down is kind of a two-down call to see if you can crease a run. We had a missed assignment on a backside receiver that didn’t push-crack to go get the safety. The safety filled the hole, but we also have to stay on our feet.”

Here’s the broader level: Taken individually, every of these handful of ‘conservative’ selections may be justified. But collectively, they go away the impression that this employees needs to play it protected.

And something semiconservative that Cristobal and Gattis do will look ultra-conservative when Miami loses, and when McDaniel is used as a comparability.

Against Baltimore on Sunday, McDaniel went for a primary down within the first half on a fourth-and-1 from Miami’s 34-yard line and once more on a fourth-and-1 from the Dolphins’ 45, changing each.

Not all fourth down makes an attempt are created equal, however it’s notable that of each FBS workforce that has not less than one loss this season, solely Texas A&M and Iowa have gone for it much less on fourth down than UM, which has tried twice and failed each occasions, together with Van Dyke’s incomplete cross on fourth-and-4 from the A&M 40 with 30 seconds left.

At Oregon, Cristobal’s 2018 and 2019 groups went for it 28 and 25 occasions on fourth down, rating within the prime 40 within the nation on this class.

Those numbers dipped dramatically in his remaining two seasons. In 2020, Oregon went for it on fourth down six occasions in seven video games (changing three) in a 4-3 season; solely Miami (Ohio), Maryland and Ohio tried fewer fourth downs. But the massive caveat is Oregon performed fewer video games in that COVID season than plenty of FBS groups.

Last season, Oregon went for it on 19 fourth downs (making 9); 93 groups went for it extra on fourth down. But solely 12 groups punted much less and Oregon tried simply 16 area targets.

So Cristobal has not been tremendous conservative all through his profession. But he doesn’t evaluate to McDaniel in aggressiveness and risk-taking.

Judged towards McDaniel — and with the advantage of hindsight — Saturday’s selections might be closely scrutinized. Cristobal and his employees have completed a lot proper — in recruiting, instilling self-discipline, elevating the standard of play of UM’s protection and offensive line.

But right here’s hoping that Cristobal and Gattis develop a few of McDaniel’s boldness.


With UM splitting snaps amongst six defensive tackles, Leonard Taylor’s snaps stay across the identical they have been final season. He performed 17 snaps towards Texas A&M; Darrell Jackson (25), Jared Harrison Hunte (21) and Jordan Miller (21) performed a bit extra.

Jacob Lichtenstein (4 snaps) and Antonio Moultrie (three) performed much less.

Asked if he’s understanding about his enjoying time due to UM’s depth on the place, Taylor mentioned: “It is what is, as long as I get in and do what I do to help the team.”

ESPN’s Todd McShay, on Van Dyke: “He needs to find better touch and timing on short-to-intermediate throws. He flashes the ability to lead receivers to yards after the catch when he is in rhythm, but he is off target a little too much when he has to tempo his throws.

He has to avoid getting stuck on his primary read. It happened against Southern Miss on a second-quarter interception on fourth-and-4; he led the safety into the pick with his eyes. And if he had read it out and thrown to the receiver’s back shoulder, it could have been a touchdown.”

What has modified within the transition to a brand new offensive line coach (Alex Mirabal) and Cristobal, a former offensive lineman?

“We play with physicality,” Jalen Rivers mentioned Tuesday. “We had certaint technique things they wanted us to focus on more.”

Former UM punter Brian Monroe, who does wonderful work on WQAM speak reveals, is launching a Hurricanes podcast with former Canes standsouts Brett Romberg and DJ Williams. All episodes of the Out the Huddle podcast might be posted on Dyme LyFe Youtube’s page.

Chris Cotter and Mark Herzlich will name the Middle Tennessee-UM sport at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on ACC Network. That crew additionally labored UM’s sport towards Southern Mississippi.

Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.


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