Among the strategic/philosophical tricks Miami kept in its back pocket in last week’s opener was having defensive ends Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips switching sides, or flipping, on a regular basis.
Yes, Roche, the senior, and Phillips, the junior, switched sides in UM’s 31-14 victory over UAB.
Roche, the Temple transfer, started the game at right defensive end (across from UAB's left tackle). Roche ended with four tackles, 1.0 sack and one quarterback hit.
Phillips, the UCLA transfer, was at left defensive end (across from UAB's right tackle). Phillips ended with two tackles, two pass breakups and one quarterback hit.
Roche and Phillips only switched once, and that was at halftime, and they stayed that way for the rest of the game.
However, there’s a chance UM defensive coordinator Blake Baker will do all he can to confuse and over-match Louisville right tackle Renato Brown and left tackle Adonis Boone by frequently flipping Roche and Phillips.
Remember, Roche and Phillips could switch sides for run-stopping purposes or pass rushing purposes. After all, both players do well setting the edge, or turning the run inside.
Part of the strategy to confuse Louisville's young offensive tackles might also include defensive line stunts or twists, which is something else Miami only showed briefly against UAB.
On the other hand, perhaps Baker likes the initial matchup he draws and keeps his defensive ends planted at the same spot.
Neither Brown nor Boone is overly experienced. You'll recall a year ago Louisville had left tackle Mekhi Becton, the first-round pick of the New York Jets.
Both Roche and Phillips have experience at their former schools, which gives them an advantage over Brown and Boone. They also appear more talented than their Louisville counterparts. Those traits are all before you get to any strategic edge Baker might provide.
Baker is dealing from a position of strength in this battle any way you look at things, And that's before you get to the strategic/philosophical option of flipping his defensive ends, which is something we didn’t see much in the opener.
UM should dominate this matchup, and if it doesn’t it probably won’t bode well for the Canes in the game’s outcome.