Blue Collar Breakdown: Maryland

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Looking Back at Miami…Literally & Figuratively

I hate Miami.  Seriously.  I used to have to go there for work quite a bit and I have never liked the town.  I used to be a huge Cowboys fan.  That is, until they hired Jimmie Johnson and drafted Michael Irvin.  I hate “The U”, I hate “Swag”, and most of all, I hate the experience of going to the stadium and dealing with their fans.  Nothing makes me happier than watching the Hokies beat Miami on the football field.  I look at their program as the anti-VT.  The Hokies are Blue Collar.  They’re tough.  They don’t always have the most talent but they are well coached and the recruits don’t have as many stars after their names as the guys who play football down in Miami, but they make up for it in character, work ethic and determination.

Those qualities were on display last Saturday in spades.  The Hokies came out , smacked Miami in the mouth and then proceeded to physically dominate them for 6o minutes.  The offensive line, which hadn’t been able to get a consistent push against anyone all season, looked fresh, motivated and tough.  They fired off the football, executed their zone blocking scheme with precision, and outworked the Miami defensive front.  Our young receiving corps (and DJ Coles) went out and destroyed the Miami secondary on the perimeter.  I lost count of how many times I saw a Hokie receiver get a terrific block on the edge or in the open field.  The offense played with tremendous hustle and determination.  That performance is exactly what I meant a few weeks ago when I said these guys were grinders and I praised them for their relentlessness on the football field.  Hopefully, they are back to that approach.

Defensively, the Hokies just weren’t as sharp on Saturday.  They were hurting in the secondary, and the speed of Miami’s playmakers in the open field was problematic.  Up front, the line played well, as always.  Specifically, James Gayle was an outright terror against Seantrel Henderson.  I have maintained that Gayle is an NFL-level Defensive End for two years and he definitely proved it last Saturday, as he used strength, quickness, technique, and a variety of pass rushing moves to outplay Henderson, who is a certain first round draft pick, especially with the way NFL teams value the tackle position.  Gayle wasn’t just great in the passing game but he was also a beast against the run.  Henderson couldn’t block him one-on-one all night.