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Dixon l 5 scouting takeaways as Miami survives Syracuse

Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire

Scouting Notes

Dixon l 5 scouting takeaways as Miami survives Syracuse

Syracuse Orange @ #8 Miami (FL) Hurricanes

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hard Rock Stadium – Miami, FL

Syracuse (19), Miami (27)

Diminutive Dungey got dragged through the dirt but his pride still rode high

Syracuse Quarterback Eric Dungey showed a ton of fight and pride as he fought to the finish against Miami. By the end of the game, his jersey and pants were ridden with grass stains and his hand was swollen as he walked off the field yelling at one of the opposing team coaches. He started this game horribly, throwing three interceptions; two of which he grossly misread the coverage.

On the first interception, he threw a wheel route despite the DB in cover 3 not committing to the post route that was supposed to distract him from the wheel route runner. On the second interception, he threw the to the slot receiver running a fade route despite the slant route wide open underneath.

On his third interception, he threw a go route too far inside and short so it fell right into the DB’s lap that was running even with the WR. Despite his many turnovers, he never gave up and clawed his way back into this game. I eventually thought one of the hits he took from the Miami defense would put him out of the game for good but he kept getting up.

I give him a ton of credit for displaying the gritty attitude that we’ve come to love about this game, however, his diagnosis of defensive coverages was not on an NFL level during this game.

Syracuse’s fast flowing LB Zaire Franklin

Scouting this game has put another off ball, fast to flow LB on my list. Zaire Franklin showed the speed to run down bubble screens, cover the run sideline to sideline, and provide fast pressure on blitzes. His speed called him to spy Miami’s dual threat QB especially during crucial 3rd down situations. I see him more as an outside LB in the NFL but he handled the middle with a nice balance of physicality and finesse. He was urgent and fast to flow downhill as soon as he sensed a run play.

The finesse aspect of his game allowed him to slide through the creases of the trenches while in pursuit of the RB. Most fast flowing downhill LBs commit to one hole they guess the RB will run through. However, Franklin flowed downhill but also left room for himself to bounce laterally if the RB chose a different hole.

I compare his finesse style to that of Skai Moore of South Carolina.

Syracuse has two NFL worthy WRs in Steve Ishmael & Erwin Phillips

Ishmael showed amazing body control at the catch point during this game. During one back shoulder pass, he stopped on a dime, tip toed the sideline and fully extended his upper torso to reach up and snatch the pass out of the air while continuing to toe the sideline.

Later in the game, he almost caught a fade pass in the end zone while extremely off balance because he kept one foot on the ground as he reached up to snatch the high pass. He continually caught passes away from his frame which showed strong hands and confidence. However, he struggled releasing against press coverage.

Erwin Phillips is extremely quick within his routes. Despite the field being slippery with mud, he showed an above average ability to start and stop within his routes to create separation. Once breaking out of his cuts, his head snapped around to find the ball. His pure quickness at the top of his routes and sudden start-stop ability made him a weapon in the slot running quick cutting routes such as the slant, whip outside, etc.

DBs for both teams’ flash

Malek Young of Miami was physical in press the entire game. Especially in the red zone, his press went to another level because he knew there was less room for the WR to maneuver. He was matched up against two talented WRs but he did a great job fighting through the catch point to dislodge balls at the last second. He also stayed over top of a stop and go route and pushed the WR out of bounds before the pass was even thrown. He shows a great blend of physicality and speed to be a reliable press corner.

Michael Jackson of Miami recorded two interceptions in this game. During the first interception, he was in zone coverage and leaped high to catch the pass along the sideline intended for a wheel route. During the second interception, he was in press man and rode the WR to the sideline after the release before using his speed to stay even with the go route and whipping his head around at the last second to intercept the ball falling into his lap.

Christopher Fredrick of Syracuse held his own against a tough matchup as well. He was patient in press coverage, rarely getting out of his square stance until the WR committed to a release.

This patience allowed Fredrick to be right on the hip and cause incompletions against several slant routes. He also forced WRs to take a bubble step toward the sideline if they released outside which limited the WRs’ ability to stack him on deep routes. He may not come out this year but he’ll be a DB I watch for the future.

Young Miami WR prospect Ahmmon Richards

He is a true sophomore this season but he has what it takes to be a top WR prospect next season He runs crisp routes and has quick feet to gain separation even on shorter routes like slants. I love the flat angles he takes out of slant and dig routes to provide a favorable throwing angle for the QB.

I am concerned about his 4 dropped passes this game, some of which were wide open. He also had some difficulty getting off press coverage cleanly if his route stem was longer developing such as on go routes.

However, despite coming off a hamstring injury and nursing an ankle injury this game, the Miami passing attack was dependent upon him. These are improvements I will watch for next season but his athleticism is undeniable. In fact, he hurdled over the entire height of a safety during one run after catch.


Roger Dixon Jr

Roger is a native of Orlando, FL. After excelling in DII football his first 2 seasons, he fulfilled his lifelong dream of playing on the Florida Gators football team, where he was named Special Teams Player of the Year and Team Captain. He earned his degree in Economics from UF's Warrington College of Business. Roger brings a passion for football and unique perspective of what it takes to be successful in football at the highest level.

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