Miami head coach Manny Diaz cited two penalties in Saturday’s 42-17 loss to Clemson for reasons why the Hurricanes fell on the wrong side of the scoreboard at Death Valley.
Diaz felt Miami lost the game on the Tigers’ first two drives. He pointed to an offsides call on defensive end Quincy Roche to keep the opening drive alive and then a targeting call on safety Amari Carter on the second possession. Both penalties came on third-down plays when it appeared they had an opportunity to get off the field.
Clemson (4-0, 3-0 ACC) went on to score touchdowns after both incidences.
“They get their first 14 points off that. It was a harsh lesson for us and one we needed to learn,” Diaz said to the Miami media Monday, according to Inside The U.com. Quincy was offsides by three or four inches and that is it. Those are the inches that separate the two teams.
“The effort and the attitude was good, but what is encouraging now is they see where the line is drawn in terms of what it takes to perform against a team like Clemson. What we did to hurt ourselves ultimately gave us no chance.”
Diaz also does not believe his offensive line is as bad as it came off on Saturday night, though the Tigers held Miami (3-1, 2-1 ACC) to 3.9 yards per play. Diaz said they were not overmatched by Clemson’s defensive front.
Quarterback D’Eriq King was sacked five times and hurried several more. Clemson recorded 11 tackles for loss and Miami’s three running backs—Cam’Ron Harris, Jaylan Knighton and Don Chaney—combined for just 11 yards on 10 carries.
“Guys tried to do more than their job,” Diaz said. “They are bringing pressure and they have this defensive lineman, but then this linebacker is blitzing and then they go try and block the linebacker when the running back has the linebacker picked up…What we tried to explain to them is in games like that, you want to simplify your thought process and we pointed out these were things you hadn’t done through the first three games and in practice, so why are we trying to turn into heroes all of a sudden and do two jobs? Just do your job on this play and we will be fine.”
Diaz did admit they were not expecting Clemson to come out in an odd front, which he said caused major problems in the running game.
“They lined up in an odd front and put an outside linebacker at defensive end and he blitzed the running back on just about every play,” Diaz said. “When somebody does that to your running game, you have to make them pay down the field. At that point you have to throw and catch a little bit to get people out of your backyard and that is what was going on.
“We had to make some adjustments in the run game, but that inability to throw and catch against man coverage ultimately made things difficult.”
The Miami coach did give credit to Clemson’s defensive backs for making plays down the field. The Hurricanes thought there were going to have opportunities to make some plays on the 50-50 balls, but the Tigers won them all, which the ‘Canes did not expect.
“I think they had shown that there had been some plays to be made down the field, so you have to give credit to their guys for playing well in the secondary,” the Miami coach said. “It was tough on D’Eriq because there were no easy throws to be had.”
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