Offensive Coordinator, Dana Bible has been the whipping boy for many BC fans the past few years. I am a contrarian and think this has probably been his best season. How much of this year’s imagination should be attributed to Paul Peterson is debatable, but regardless, I’ve felt the play calling has been much stronger this year.
Even before TOB took over, offensive line has been the strength of BC football. This year the squad came in as a question mark. While there were injuries (Trueblood) and a rotation of playing time due to inconsistency (Cherilus), the overall performance was strong. Peterson even said that the squad kept him protected and allowed him to make plays.
The usual beneficiary of BC O-line play is whoever is lined up at tailback. But this season we entered with an unproven backfield. Injuries allowed us to see significant carries from three backs – redshirt freshman L.V. Whitworth, redshirt freshman Andre Callendar and true freshman A.J. Brooks. All showed flashes of brilliance and plenty of impatience. BC’s schemes call on the running back to wait for holes, read and react to the defense and occasionally make a play. This season all three struggled within the offense and we shifted to a pass-first mentality. Going into the bowl game, Whitworth will probably get the majority of the carries. He showed strength and burst. Callendar is probably more graceful and elusive. I liked the way Brooks played but we will probably not see him next season as TOB and staff try to recoup his redshirt season. In the past, I would say we could run at will. This season we struggled and I honestly have no idea what to expect in Charlotte.
An overlooked aspect of our struggles with running the ball, was the play of our fullback and tight ends. Last season’s pairing -- Sean Ryan and Greg Toal -- were both very strong run blockers. This year I can’t tell you how many times plays seemed to get blown up when a linebacker clogged the holes by overwhelming our fullbacks, Palmer and Lee. Lee showed more ability as the season progressed and will probably start against UNC. There were also more than a few occasions when some end was able to fling out his arm and trip up a running back because he was not sealed off by our tight ends. Dave Kashetta has been the main culprit. He is a captain and made a few big catches this year, but for all the hype surrounding his arrival, I have to say he has been a disappointment at the Heights.
The passing game was another frustrating aspect of the offense. Peterson is a playmaker. He is good scrambling around, manages the game pretty well, is not afraid to make big throws and fights back after mistakes. Yet he is surrounded by mediocre wideouts. Grant Adams and Joel Hazard had big games in the Motor City Bowl two years ago. At the time, I thought this would be a sign of things to come. Yet the past two seasons have seen Adams drop a ton of catchable balls or Hazard get ignored. They both are reportedly good citizen. I wish they were better receivers. Larry Lester has good speed but lacks size and fumbled against Pitt in overtime. Reserves, like Gonzales and Challenger, showed ability this year, but had few balls thrown their way. My fear is that they were overlooked due to the staff’s extreme loyalty to seniority. We’ll see next year when Hazard and Adams are gone.
The other element of the passing game is our backs and tight ends. As mentioned earlier, Kashetta has been a let down. Miller showed some promise. Palmer caught a lot of balls early but was pulled due to his poor blocking. Lee stepped in and never missed a beat.
Now it is time for me to gush. Paul Peterson is my favorite BC player since Doug Flutie. I think he is gutsy, tough, smart and most of all, fun to watch. With many other BC QBs I felt they had tension in their play and body language. I rarely felt that we could comeback on their arms. With Peterson it is different. I truly believe we are in every game when he is under center. Plus he makes plays that other QBs have not. Not because he has a great arm. But because he can see things and anticipate where the play might breakdown to our favor. And he keeps things alive with his feet. He is far from perfect. He has made bad throws. And occasionally takes a bad sack, but overall, I love him. He’s a gamer. Some of it might be his background in a passing JUCO offense, some of it might be his maturity (he took a two year Mormon mission) and some of it might be the little guy always having to prove he belongs. But what ever ‘it’ is, he has it…in spades. I wish him the best after he graduates. By some miracle he might catch on with an NFL team. If not, I hope TOB does what he can to keep him around. I would love to see him as part of this coaching staff. Reports are that his hand is healing and that he could play tomorrow if needed. Because he will be under center, I feel good about our chances in the Tire Bowl. You’ll have to read the other parts of my scouting report for the final pregame prediction.