Pitt GameFilm: Defensive Backs

September 20, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

A bit of a rough outing for this unit this week. Pitt rank a couple of very well designed trick plays that resulted in a couple of scores. Some accurate throws in the cover 2 voids of the defense went for big plays. The shuffle up with the personnel resulted in two new starters at safety and an old one at CB. I think the move helps in the long run. There were a few bumps in the road in this one but those are correctable things.  Iowa now looks to have more solid depth as two more guys have starting experience in the secondary.I really like the athleticism and aggressiveness that Bernstine and Miller give you at at the safety positions. Bernstine showed that impressive closing speed and athletic ability again this week and was one of Iowa’s best tacklers in space in this one. Graham had some serious speed and power and Bernstine ate him up a number of times in the open field. Bernstine has great tools and is a guy who’s best football is clearly ahead of him. It will be interesting to see if Iowa takes advantage of Berstine’s cover skills and uses him down over slot receivers at times as well. Miller is a little green and definitely needs some seasoning, but I like his potential. He’ll get used to the speed of the game and hopefully get used to the pass first mentality quickly.

Hyde looked like he was very happy to be back at CB as he chalked up his first two INT’s of the year. He was solid in his technique pretty much the whole day and came forward and tackled well in both run support and underneath coverage. Really liked the second INT as he looked to have baited the throw a little bit. Very reminiscent of what Amari Spievey used to do with his cover 2 technique when riding vertical routes. Very good day for Hyde, but it’s too bad both INT’s were made with jumps and dives. He’s a lot of fun to watch on returns.

Prater had a tough day out there as he gave up some big plays. He got caught with his eyes in the back-field on the run pass option that went for a big Pitt TD early on. Looked to be in man or Cover 4, either way he needs to play the man, not the QB there. Also had a lapse letting a WR outside him in Cover 2 without hugging the vertical route up the field closely enough. He’s had a history of doing this; even in some obvious passing situations and it’s starting to become a bad habit. It’s happened a couple of times this year already and another one that stands out in my mind was Penn St in ‘10 at the end of the first half. It resulted in a big play to down inside the 5 that was the only points Penn St would get in that game. It’s something he really needs to improve if he wants to succeed at the next level.

Hyde
+1 Solid technique as he disrupts the route and rides the vertical up the sideline and finishes the play showing great ball skills by coming down with the INT at it’s highest point. S5
-1 Personal Foul This is a Mickey Mouse call but Hyde should know better than to give the Zebra’s the chance. S10
+2 Great technique and plays the vertical perfectly as Sunseri got greedy. Goes up and make a great diving INT on the low line drive pass to close the door on Pitt. S15

Overall: +2

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Bernstine
+1 Great read here as he comes up in the box and takes away the outside run as he slams Graham for a TFL. Great job of attacking outside in and finishing the play as he wraps up Graham. S2
+1 Great job of reading the route by the slot receiver where Pitt wanted to go with the ball and forces a throw away by Sunseri. S4

Overall: +2

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Miller
-1 Got caught looking in the back-field here and forgets his pass first responsibility in his single high look. The completion is on Prater, but Miller needs to be in position to make a play here to prevent a TD. S3
+1 Great job flying up on the jet sweep as he takes a great angle and hammers the WR, who actually fumbles but gets a very lucky bounce right back to him. S6
+1 Excellent job filling in run support here on 3rd and short. Got into the backfield and took away the edge from Graham. S8
-1 Got beat man on man here at the goal-line. Poor technique against the basic stalk hitch. WR may have gotten away with a small push but Miller needs to tighten down the coverage in the red zone. S11

Overall: Push

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Prater
-1 Prater got caught with his eyes in the backfield watching the zone read fake in man coverage and it goes for a TD S3
-1 Let the WR outside him in his Cover 2 drop and didn’t ride the vertical snug enough and it goes for a big play again. S11
+1 Great positioning and reads the vertical route very well this time. Stays over the top and makes Sunseri fire it too deep. S13

Overall: -1

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