Monday, November 06, 2006

Grade Report and Second Viewing Thoughts: Wake Forest

It sucked watching this back. There were about ten different moments where we could have taken over the game and yet the ball bounced the other way. Let’s hope this was the worst of it. BC needs to play close to perfect over the next three weeks.

Offense: C

Matt Ryan threw for more than 400 yards and ran really well on a gimpy leg. He stood tall in a constantly collapsing pocket. He made some great throws through heavy traffic. He kept drive alives on multiple third and longs and converted some critical 4th downs. On the other side, his two INTs were terrible, terrible plays. He also got lucky that at least six other passes were not picked. And he missed an easy pass to Callender on his sack that was nearly a safety. The worst part about the two INTs, is he could’ve had an easy TD to Gonzo on the first pick. On the second pick a tighter pass would’ve gotten to Challenger before the Safety and the post to Gonzo still looked like a better option. But we would’ve have even been in the game without him. If I gave individual grades, I would’ve given him a B-.

I killed the Running Backs this weekend, so let me get their good deeds out of the way. Both were excellent in pass protection. Both were very good in the passing game. Both were bad carrying the ball…LV especially. He missed open holes. His reactions were slow. And the fumble -- a killer. As Ed Cunningham pointed out the hit that dislodged the ball was a glance. I am just amazed that we still had a chance after that. Callender was better, but not much. I wish he’d step up, but he hasn’t.

The Wide Receivers were the fantastic. They made clutch catch after clutch catch. They got to the open spots as much as possible. They made catches in coverage. They added some yards after the catch (which we haven’t seen too much of this year). My only gripe is that they are getting in a habit of running short of the first down marker on third down. But they all made plays. I was especially happy with Megwa and Gunnell getting shots. Sele also showed some real toughness.

The line’s performance was very uneven and borderline bad. First let me say the Beekman Center stuff backedfired the one time we did it. He was slow on a snap getting a false start. This led us to 1st and 15 and eventually punting from deep in our own end. Marten got beat bad on one sack. He also got called for some penalties. Cherilus was good in pass protection, but whiffed a few times when pulling. He also got called for some drive killing penalties.

The playcalling was mixed. When we ran early, Wake used their speed to immediately collapse the line. Yet it took us a while to adjust. Why didn’t we use the play action more as it worked and opened space? I was glad to finally see play action on the First and Toal. But we had 400+ yards passing. The reason we didn’t score more -- penalties and turnover.

Defense: C+

The Defensive line was the primary defensive problem. Brady Smith, Larkin, Raji and Brace all played poorly (and Brace got called for a costly personal foul). Smith and Larkin got pushed around and did not maintain their contain, which is crucial against an offense that uses so much misdirection. Giles played well. Bell played well. Willette even got some good snaps. Too bad we were in a hole while they were on the field.

Toal played very well. Dunbar was in a funk, missed tackles and was out of position on some plays. Francois was solid in limited snaps. Pruitt played well. Akins played well again.

The secondary was ok. They picked two passes. Slowed many drives, but were also part of two scores. The second TD was due to coverage confusion between Glasper and Tribble (I also wonder what Silva was supposed to be doing on the play). Silva also took a bad angle on the third TD. If he had played back even just a little we could have prevented the touchdown.

I was really disappointed in Spaz. This is our fourth straight year playing Wake, yet their offense still gives us problem. They are not a big play offense yet get big plays against us. 127 of their 296 yards came on two plays. How does this happen every year? Also the four man front was not generating any pressure. Blitzing was successful, yet we didn’t start using it extensively until the second half. Too little too late.

Special Teams: C-

The first lousy kick coverage set the down for the day. Ohliger is getting no distance on his kicks.

Ayers first punt was partially blocked. His other kicks were shorter than past weeks.

Sid Vicious' kick was off and we cannot even attempt a long Field Goal.

Tribble allowed too many punts to hit the ground and roll against us.

Smith looked solid in his returns.

Overall: C+

In short: so close, yet so far. As I’ve said, this is ultimately on TOB. His team has looked slow and lost for four straight years against Wake. This is so frustrating. Let’s hope this is the low point.


Critical Sports Blog said...

Wake rolled.

LAEagle said...

Ryan needs to watch how Peyton Manning throws the out and up against a cover 2 defense. Pump then throw a strike.

I am amazed at how poor our runninig backs have been. This is just the worst on a series of poor performances. Slow to the hole, no decisive cuts, no speed to the outside. It really looks like they have regressed.

Agree with your defensive and special teams assessments.

I think we need to play differently in "big games". We seem to play not to lose in those instead of being overly aggressive - pass deep, blitz often, press coverage. I'd rather go down swinging.

flutie22phelan20 said...

Of the following three things, I have no idea what's worse: that our running game is the worst it's been in at least 15 years, that LV Witworth is the worst starting RB we've had at BC in my lifetime, or that the staff is completely unwilling to try anybody else.

Can't expect a kid, even one as talented as #12, to throw the ball 60 times and not make any mistakes.

No running game = no consistency = not being able to put games away.

To borrow a phrase from Ted Sarandis, "Awful, awful, awful, awful."

WHP03 said...

Wake may have had less depth and less experience on the field. Some may go as far to say they had less talent overall...

However there is something to be said for playing passionate inspired football. I credit the team and more specifically Grobe. Those kids played all out... competitive ball. Isn't that what its all about?

Aside from #12..I can't say BC displayed any REAL drive or passion..even desperation for what can be regarded as one of the most important games in years. I blame the coaches for that entirely.

Looking past the turnovers..lack of running game and missed coverages..this loss can be attributed to the overall absence of the intangibles. I have yet to see O'Brien be anything more than that "calming presence" we have come to know him for..and I think it ultimately results in the year after year dissapointment we Eagle fans have come to know.

The Globe has been critical in its observations of BC Football..specifically it's coaching all season. This latest blast in particular. It's about time.

Deacon Drake said...

Tough to tell how the d-line should have been approached. Because they were using a WR, we probably would have been best served using less size in the middle at DT and more speed. Raji can play quick, but not against misdirection. Brace was more effective as a whole (unlike a hole) because he didn't get caught biting. Except in short yardage, they should not have been on the field together. We needed to entice them to keep the ball between the tackles with a guy who didn't want to run there.

Grobe know exactly what BC will do defensively and draws up 3-4 new wrinkles each time. They don't all work, but enough so to pull out the win.

Frustrating to lose to a less talented team.

As far as the RB situation, it will not improve until the line improves. These guys have so few opportunities that they try to do too much when the hole is there and either miss it, or worse, take an awkward hit and fumble. The line is at its worst in the TOB era.