Thursday, September 21, 2006

BC-NC State preview

A reeling team vs. one of the luckiest hottest in the country. No contest, right? C’mon. This is BC we are talking about. Even our scrimmages are close. Here are my thoughts on the Wolfpack.

Theme that won’t be discussed on television. Pressure on Amato will be discussed. TOB the great leader and winningest coach at BC will be discussed. What won’t be discussed is how similar their accomplishments are. Perception does not always equal reality. TOB wins more than he loses, wins bowls and is an unassuming guy at a program that is not flashy. Amato wins more than he loses, wins bowls but is an attention magnet with his stupid glasses, funny voice and even funnier quotes. Chuck announced his big time intentions for NC State long ago and every little misstep brings out the vultures. Now let me set the record straight -- I don’t think much of Amato as a coach. I would much rather have TOB than him, but their accomplishments are comparable and Chuck has done many things that TOB critics have been waiting for (won a Jan 1. Bowl, won 10 games and beaten a team like FSU three times).

TOB’s winning percentage .621
Amato’s winning percentage .610

Three simple keys
1. BC needs a big day from B.J. Raji. He has been inconsistent so far this season. The rest of the line is trying their best but he is the only true game changer up front. In order to keep pressure off their new QB and keep BC’s offense off the field, NC State will probably lean on the run. The key to slowing it down will be Raji. He was very good against the run last year. Not only did he collapse the line, but he was a good tackler and followed the action. We need to see the 2005 Raji on Saturday.
2. BC needs to establish the run early. In the last two games BC was able to use the run in the second half after sputtering in the first half. NC State just allowed 291 rushing yards to Southern Miss. There is no reason BC cannot at least get 180 on the ground against the Wolfpack’s young line.
3. BC needs to show Evans multiple looks. It is easy to say that Spaz uses the same defense and never blitzes. The reality is that he mixes in a fair amount of blitzes and pressure from the base defense. Now let’s mix in more or go more 3 down line man with Akins blitzing from the slot. Or have 3 down line man and drop Akins in to coverage. Whatever he can think of...the point is Evans should come up to the line and wonder “what they heck are they going to do to me now?”

Gambling Notes
-- TOB 12-11 as an away favorite
-- TOB is 8-4 as an away favorite against a conference opponent
-- Amato is 13-13 off a loss
The current line is BC -7

What would be a pleasant surprise? At this point any win in regulation! Actually I’ll be surprised if BC wins this with ease. NC State is a disaster right now but those types of teams have often sprung back to life against us.

What would be a letdown? Losing. BC controls its destiny. Losing a to struggling conference team in a season where the divisional title is within reach would be a major letdown.

What would be a shocker? Another OT win. First, half of our fan base won’t survive the stress. But I just don’t want to keep tempting fate. As I said Sunday, our luck will run out.

Bottom Line
BC needs a really good effort and win. Another narrow win will leave everyone wondering how good BC really is. NC State is bordering on full meltdown. BC needs to show killer instinct. Don’t give this opponent the glimmer of hope they are looking for.
Final Score: BC 35, NC State16


LAEagle said...

If ever there was a need for a step-on-their-neck game, this is it. I think BC should come out gunning (play action "go" route to Robinson on the first play)and break NCSU's spirit early. Second possesion - pound the ball on the ground. Two scores like that with a stop in between and the game is over in the first quarter. (Except that TOB and BC will probably stop scoring and let NCSU back in it.) There is no way we should lose this game if BC is aggressive on O and D early.

Deacon Drake said...

Amato is still a good defensive coach, but it is almost impossible to mask a weak run defense. Teams like Navy and Air Force use discipline and technique to overcome their size disadvantage, put Amato's schemes are based more on having athletes in space. Trying to control the game in the air will play to their strength.

Callender may get the call this week, as the holes will be there and BC needs somebody to hit them fast. Whitworth worked better against Clemson because he's a little more patient, with a Bettis-like shiftiness, which was essential in finding holes against a tough front four. We shouldn't need that as much this week. Hopefully anyone can break off 2 20+ runs against State, but you never know...

The Opinion said...

The defense needs to have a good game. If not to help win against NC State, but to put together some momentumm for the rest of the season. I hadn't been able to watch a game until the BYU one. The pass defense was atrocious. I didn't think they'd miss last year's players as much as they do. Kiwanuka was obviously a monster, but I think BC misses the leadership and tackling ability of the linebackers as well. Ray Henderson had a knack for making a big interception.