Wednesday, October 31, 2007
After an offseason housecleaning of the offensive staff the results on the field (to a casual observer) don't seem all that different. The wins aren't there but is the style of play and the play calling very different?
TN: The style of play and play calling are very different, but what is very apparent is that the players aren't different and that kind of scares me. Our so-called playmakers pick and choose when they’ll play 100% and when they won’t. It’s extremely discouraging. Like you can tell they don't play as hard for Weatherford as they do for Lee and even when they do it for Lee they're still not committed 100%. This program needs a complete flushing of the athletes it currently has on the offensive side of the ball (Minus Preston Parker). It's also discouraging in that, you would think the new coaching staff would be able to get more out of its current crop of athletes and for the most part it hasn't. We know we’re in rebuild mode, it just hurts, because we know we could contend if a few players gave their all.
The QB situation seems to have settled down. Weatherford will start versus BC. Will Lee be involved in the game in any capacity? [Eds. note: I sent TN these questions before Lee's suspension]
TN: As I’m sure you’ve heard. QB Xavier Lee has been suspended for the next two ball games (BC and VT). He apparently skipped class a time or two more than he should have and Head Coach Bobby Bowden busted him on it. Now I know your thinking, wow, Bobby suspends a guy 2 games for ditching class, but a player assaults an officer and nothing... yeah, I feel there's more to the Lee suspension, but who knows really.
D’Vontrey Richardson will back-up starting QB Drew Weatherford. D-Vo just had a great baseball season and decided to give up his ball and glove this off-season for football. He was recently quoted as saying, “I’m kind of nervous”, Richardson said. “Boston College is (No.) 2 in the nation. I’m pretty sure if I get in there everything will be moving so fast” – Tallahassee Democrat... Hopefully Weatherford plays the ENTIRE GAME, ouch!
FSU's defense has been fairly aggressive against BC the past two seasons. Any reason to think that will change now that Steve Logan has implemented a more attacking/downfield type scheme?
TN: I think aggressive is all Mickey Andrews and Co know. He doesn't sprinkle in extra blitz packages or anything like that. He just lets his front four do all of the work with a healthy rotation. I would expect the QB pressure to continue on Saturday night.
What is your prediction for Saturday?
TN: Man, I absolutely hate this. I never in my wildest dreams would admit to FSU being beat, but I have to give my honest opinion and I do think our boys will catch a beat down on Saturday. This team and offense have shown me nothing to think otherwise. I don’t think BC is going to Wake us 30-0, but I definitely feel we will be beat soundly. I hear basketball season is around the corner. Thanks for your time!!! Go NOLES!!!!
For more on Florida State sports, check out Tomahawk Nation.
Our wide receivers are not considered gamebreakers, but they’ve done unexpected things in our short history with FSU. The past two season’s FSU Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews has been very aggressive against BC -- coming after the QBs early and having their LBs jump short routes. In return, our much-malinged WRs have actually made some big plays. Last year Robinson caught a deep go route for 44 yards and Gonzo pulled in Ryan’s endzone scramble for a 48 yard gain (that play is still the most amazing thing I have seen Ryan do. If anyone has video of it, please put it on Youtube.).
In 2005 when Ryan came in for an injured Porter, he showed that he could push the ball downfield. He connected on a 23 yarder that Robinson pulled out of the air and even found Taylor Sele for 26 yards.
These plays were all happening with an offense designed around short completions. Imagine what Logan will try if FSU employs the same scheme again?
Heisman Pundit remains a doubter too. However, unlike a lot of pundits he has not moved onto the Dennis Dixon bandwagon. He'd still vote for Tebow!?!
Ian has a great line when talking about the FSU QB situation:
It's hard to tell what's worse: not being able to make the grade academically at Florida State or not being able to permanently wrest the starting QB job from Drew Weatherford- you can buy condoms in gas station bathrooms that are more reliable than Weatherford as a full-time starter.
Here is a basketball preview on ACC Nation. The link includes a podcast I did with them.
Finally, it is Wednesday, which means more people on the bandwagon at Ryan For Heisman. Another great photo shop effort from those guys.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Courtney Dunn, F, 6'8
Of the new faces, Dunn comes in with the fewest accolades. He is a late bloomer who still might need more time to round out his game.
Strengths: Good build. Can block shots.
Questions: Can he adjust to this level of play? Does he do any one thing well enough to merit playing time?
Outlook: Early word out of practices is that Dunn might not see the floor this year. With Blair and Oates graduating next season, there will be minutes for him in the future if he matures, works hard and rounds out his game. But you can never count anyone out. Some of the biggest surprises of the past ten years were also afterthoughts who struggled at first.
BC will only be facing one of Florida State's QBs as the team suspended Xavier Lee for the game.
The second part of this post references Anthony Castonzo's rep on the team. (Thanks to Matt for the heads up.)
Background on that new Reebok commercial.
Part of me feared the rumors that Steve Logan was going to be Duke's primary target for their new head coach after the season. I don't think he'd be interested, mainly because of stunts like this. As long as Coach K is around Duke will not be serious about football.
Due to a meltdown between my domain name registration companies the URL "atleagle.com" pointing to this blog is temporarily down. It should be up within the next 24 hours. In the meantime the full URL atleagle.blogspot.com is still working. Please spread the word of mouth to anyone who might be interested or said "what happened to atleagle.com?"
Monday, October 29, 2007
BC fans had hoped that Gameday would be coming to Boston. They're going back to Oregon instead. I don't have a problem with that. Oregon-Arizon State is the better game. I do have a problem with two of ESPN's main college football analysts -- Mark May and Kirk Herbstreit. Both take a dismissive attitude towards BC and our national hopes. Unfortunately, since the polls and the biggest award in the sport are decided by voters, these two actually have influence. This is a problem. As Gunslingers presciently explained two years ago the national sports media creates storylines ahead of time and then does everything in their power to stick to it so that they look that much smarter. When something unexpected happens, they don't know what to do. Let's say BC drops one game before the season ends. Is there any chance we will be in the National Championship mix? No way. Because we have heard endlessly how great this one-loss LSU team is. It gets worse. Watch this weekend -- Herbie and May will both have the winner of Arizona St-Oregon ahead of BC in their polls. And if Oregon wins, look for all the pundits to move Dixon ahead of Ryan on Heisman ballots.
There is only one way to counter this -- keep winning. Jags philosophy is perfect. Just focus on Florida State. As SMQ lays out, if BC wins its remaining games it will be very difficult to deny us a shot. The computers love us. It's the pollster who are the problem.
But none of this will be an issue in Saturday's game. Just beat Florida State!
Games I watched
BC-VT 100% (twice)
Frenso State-Boise State 25%
Rutgers-West Virginia 50%
Wake Forest-UNC 25%
Kentucky-Miss St 25%
Penn State-Ohio State 50%
Arizona State-Cal 25%
Catching up with former Eagle Justice Smith.
This Junior College QB just committed to BC over the weekend. It is a very touching story.
Stewart Mandel is finally getting on the Ryan bandwagon. (Thanks to all those who were quick to send this to me.)
Alex found the following youtube videos from Thursday night/Friday morning. The crowd surfer is my favorite. Ah, to be young and dumb again...
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Brandon Robinson – huge catches on both drives and a great job on punt coverage
Allan Smith – another guy who did a great job on punt coverage making Ayers work look even better
Ryan Purvis – solid catches, but most importantly he was the guy who first plopped on the onsides kick sending it back to Pruitt
Tyrone Pruitt – not only did he get the onsides, he had one of the best games of his career
Ryan’s deeds in the last two minutes certainly offset his uneven performance prior to the heroics. Sure guys were dropping balls on him and he was rushed in the pocket, but he did hurry some passes. The best example of him pressing was the second INT. Time was running down and he forced it. Thankfully the defense bailed him out. The best part about the final two drives was Ryan’s understanding of where everyone was and where the pressure was coming from. He stepped up in the pocket or rolled as needed and still set his feet to make throws. One other note – everyone said Ryan picked apart VT’s prevent. And while the Hokies did use a lot of 3-man fronts on the final two drives, they did mix in some blitz and Ryan burned them.
AC made the most important play of the game. Other than that he never got going. A couple of good runs were called back. He couldn’t get open on screens. VT did a good job making him a nonfactor. LV ran well but still struggles in the passing game. Ryan Thompson is a Tight End, but as long as he is playing fullback I have to grade him here…and it wasn’t good. We really missed McLuskey. Thompson did not block well and his assignments blew up our runs on three different occasions.
As I noted before, Purvis was critical to the win. He did a good job getting open and holding onto the ball. Loyte dropped two wet balls and never seemed to get back on the field. Brandon Robinson made big play after big play. Considering he got knocked out last year going over the middle, his continued willingness to fit for balls in traffic shows how tough he is. Challenger had a quiet night but still made some key plays in the fourth quarter. Gunnell recovered from his early mistake to make a big play at the end. Jarvis struggled with the footing and weather. Megwa was MIA.
The offensive line was the source or much of the criticism during the game. Some of it was deserved. Some of it wasn’t. First the good. Matt Tennant had the best game of the bunch. While his counterparts on VT were slipping and dropping snaps in the wet weather, Tennant handled it and the silent counts well. Our most successful run plays came off of Tennant’s cheeks. He also avowed major mistakes. Hall also had a decent game and was really hustling as Ryan rolled around. Ramsey played okay, but still has problems with faster players and he got busted for holding on the final drive. Fortunately Ryan bailed him out two plays later. Cherilus had an awful first half. He was missing assignments or getting beat with speed rushes. He played better in the second half, but still remained a liability. The announcers made a lot of Castonzo’s struggles, but he wasn’t that bad. He had some problems early but was much better than Cherilus.
The announcers and the message boards were fairly critical of the game Logan called. I didn’t have the same gripes. Let me address the two issues that surfaced most often. First “why doesn’t BC ‘chip’ the edge rushers?” This is sort of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. VT was generating a lot of pressure with just four and sometimes even three rushers. If Logan had kept an extra blocker in and gone max protect (like Bible used to do against VT) then you are left with just two or three guys trying to make plays against 7 VT defenders. That gets very difficult. Instead Logan asked his senior QB to get rid of the ball quick…in a monsoon. It had limited success, but I don’t think the alternative would have been much better. The second issue was with calling screens repeatedly versus running more. I cannot really fault Logan with this either. The screens are what we do best. VT was ready and we missed our best downfield blocker in Poles. Logan kept going back (I’m guessing) with the hope of finally catching them by surprise. Was it stubborn? Sure. Was it successful? No. But it is a game of chess out there and sometimes the other guys responds. As far as running more, the stretch plays were defeated by VT’s speed. The inside/traps runs had some success, but were hampered by Thompson getting blown up as the lead blocker.
If you’re going to question Logan’s play calling, then I think you have to offset that with his mentoring to Jags. Notice that Jags mentioned Logan telling him “we will overcome this” during the game. Sure it is simple and could be put on a motivational poster that you’d find in the Sharper Image but a Head Coach needs a sounding board and needs reassurances too. Logan plays that role for Jags. And the calmness and confidence seems to be carrying over to the players. In that role Logan is invaluable.
Not the best night for the defensive line. For the first time this season they really got pushed around and they still had trouble generating much pass rush. Albright had the best game of the group. He was making plays continuously. Brace was okay, but not the dominant player he’s been of late. Scafe had a strong game. The “ssshhing” penalty was borderline, but the kid makes plays and hustles. Brady Smith also surprises me with the number of plays he makes all over the field. The guy moves well and has a great motor. Giles – non factor. Larkin – hustled but didn’t make a ton of plays. Rossi continues to get better. Ramella -- no noticeable contributions. Willette seems buried behind the younger guys.
Tyrone Pruitt had the game of his life. Not only did he pick up the onsides, but he was making plays all over the field and wrapping up well. Can’t say Dunbar played as well. In fact it was probably his worst game in three years. He was one of the main reasons VT ran the ball well as he kept getting neutralized. He also couldn’t close on Glennon (which shocked me). Herzy had a good game. His only issue was covering Boone in pass coverage. Herzy was there with him – just couldn’t bring the big man down by himself. Akins had trouble early in pass coverage but rebounded to make some plays later on. McLaughlin played well in limited time. Francois also played well (and on special teams too).
The DBs were pretty good. Tribble got his biggest test of the season and only got burned once. Morris played well. Anderson was less of a factor. Silva did not do his normal run stopping, but was good in pass coverage. Silva’s pass interference call was BS. He made a great play on the ball.
Spaz’s team held them to 10 points. And both scoring drives came off of questionable penalties. Overall, great day. My only gripe is that we were in base D for the vast majority. Only one blitz in the first half. In the second half we used a little more blitz with success. We also used less three down lineman than we have all season. Maybe the conditions played a factor with the vanilla schemes. I hope Spaz doesn’t get this conservative down the stretch. The variety of looks at the beginning of the season was exciting and effective
Special Teams: A-
Ayers was clutch. Nearly every punt was perfect. His work was critical to keeping the scores low. The gunners – Tribble and Robinson were good and Allan Smith also kept getting downfield quickly.
Tribble did a good job of attempting punt returns early. However, as the game went on, he became more hesitant and started fair catching or letting them roll.
The onsides was great. Purvis made the first play and Pruitt hung on for his life.
Even if we hadn’t comeback I don’t think I would have been overly harsh with my grades. The conditions were severe. That is what makes the win that much more special. It was a real test of character. It may turn out to be the pinnacle of the season, but I think it is a glimpse of something bigger. Now enough looking ahead – let’s focus on Florida State.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Wake Forest vs North Carolina. We need Wake to lose. They are still hovering in the division standings.
Clemson vs Maryland. We play them both. Both already have two conference losses. In my opinion Clemson's remaining conference schedule is easier so I would like to see them pick up another L here.
Virginia vs. NC State. NC State is in our division and would be eliminated officially with this loss. Go UVA.
Duke vs Florida State. I don't think it will happen, but it would be nice to see the Dukies win.
I may post sporadically this weekend. Not sure when I'll have the grades and viewing thoughts up. Hopefully Saturday but it could take until Sunday.
This is probably the best write up of the game I have come across. It leads with the story of WR coach Ryan Day leaving the hospital and flying himself down for the game because he "just had a feeling something special was going to happen."
More Flutie in Canada stuff. I still cannot believe this game landed on the same night Doug was out of the country and the Sox were in the Worlds Series.
Thanks to Kris C for the pictures.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I don't know what this means for the Heisman, but this shows that something special is brewing. To have one of those seasons, you need a few breaks and you need things to come together at the right time. Now let's do what has worked -- keep our focus game to game.
I won't have my second viewing thoughts up until this weekend. But I will have plenty of stuff up all Friday.
One last question: did that really happen?
Since the game is on TV, I will not be online during the broadcast. Leave your comments and thoughts below.
This is a pretty standard preview until you get to the second page. There you'll find quotes from an unnamed defensive coordinator. He has some very good things to say about our offense.
More love from ESPN.
Finally, a little preview I put up on the Fanhouse.
Theme that won’t be discussed on television. ESPN is all about the hype and the here and now, so I don’t expect any of the talking heads to be candid about the game with regards to the ACC landscape. Despite being a conference game, nothing will be determined tonight. If BC loses, we still control our own destiny in the Atlantic. Regardless of what Virginia Tech does tonight, their game against Virginia will probably be the deciding factor in the Coastal.
Three simple keys
1. Avoid the “Pick 6.” Ryan has had a few INTs run back for touchdowns this year. BC has managed to overcome each of them. However, it is a different story in Blacksburg. They are ballhawks and the crowd will be in an absolute frenzy at the first sign of “Beamer Ball.”
2. Kick and punt coverage. More Beamer Ball issues. Clemson showed how a few big plays from VT can change the complexion of the game. The Tigers moved the ball on the Hokies but watched the game become a route because of some special teams miscues. BC cannot make the same mistake.
3. Pass protection. Teams have come at Ryan with varying degrees of success. I expect VT to try a few wrinkles. We need the line to hold it together and avoid the stupid penalties.
-- Beamer is 1-3 against the spread in his last four games against BC
-- Beamer is 5-22 against Top 10 teams
-- Since joining the ACC, Virginia Tech is 11-7 against the spread when favored at home
The current line is BC+3
What would be a pleasant surprise? Winning and getting respect from the media afterwards. I have a feeling that unless we blow them out, we’ll still hear plenty of “BC is not very good” talk from the pundits.
What would be a letdown? Losing. I think most BC fans are riding so high right now that any sort of a loss will be crushing.
What would be shocking? A total collapse. Losing would not be shocking, but losing in a lopsided, embarrassing fashion would. In the past we’ve gone into Blacksburg playing not to lose and it would usually get ugly. That mentality is gone. So I expect our stinkers against Beamer to be gone too.
As I’ve said to plenty of people offline, I feel good about this game. I think the time off and the big stage play to our favor. I think VT’s gamesmanship on the QB issue will backfire and BC plays a full 60 minutes.
Final Score: BC 27, VT 16
Atlanta Game Watch
Frankie’s Sports Bar, Frankie's (Sandy Springs at The Prado)
5600 Roswell Road NE
Boston Game Watch
The Place (Fanueil Hall)
Chicago Game Watch
Finley Dunnes Tavern
3458 N. Lincoln Avenue
Los Angeles Game Watch
McCABE'S BAR AND GRILL
2455 Santa Monica Blvd.
New Jersey Game Watch
Liberty Bar and Grill
61 14th Street, Hoboken
New York Game Watches
535 Laguardia Pl
12 W 45th St
Philadelphia Game Watch
Flanigan's Boat House
113 Fayette Street
Phoenix Game Watch
16th Street Sports Bar & Grill
6522 N. 16th Street, Phoenix
San Francisco Game Watches
2032 Polk St (at Broadway)
Elixir at 3200 16th Street (at Guerrero)
Tampa Game Watch
Rock N Sports Bar and Grille
1811 N 15th Street (corner of 8th ave and 15th St)
Doug Flutie won't be at the game or in the booth Thursday night. He's in Canada getting inducted into their Hall of Fame.
Jags is not getting caught up in all the Lane Stadium stuff.
Beamer is being coy about which QB will be available. Who do you think should play? Do you think the two will split time and what can we expect from each of guy?
TechSuperfans: We think that this is intention. BC will have to prepare for TT and Glennon to fully prepare. The point is that BC won't know what to expect. It's my suspicion that TT is healing well enough to play, but he won't be 100% and a mix of the two QBs on Thursday is likely.
The ground game has been uneven this year. Is it all due to Ore's lingering injuries or is there something else amiss?
TechSuperfans: Branden Ore has had various health issues all season and Coach Hite hasn't played a healthy Kenny Lewis, Jr for some reason. That combined with a lack of cohesion between the offensive line/tight ends has hurt the running game.
Will the injuries on the defense force Foster to adjust his scheme at all?
TechSuperfans: Definitely not. Frankly, it looks like Cam Martin will start at Whip so the only player out of the starting line-up on defense is Vince Hall and Brett Warren played so well last week filling in for Hall that you can expect the full defense to be on display on Thursday night.
What is your prediction for Thursday night?
TechSuperfans: We make it a point never to predict an outcome of a Hokie game. I used to do a EhhTee's Picks section where I would pick 5 or 6 games of interest and predict a score. I never did the Hokies game. We predict an incredibly hard-hitting game and a fantastic college football atmosphere. Lane Stadium games on Thursday nights have always been classic games. Should be fun.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Belichick doesn't root for the Sox. Why do people assume all BC fans do?
BC’s perfect start is getting lumped in with wave of attention Boston sports are currently getting. With that comes the inevitable backlash. Let me clarify to sports fans who might not know intricacies of the Boston sports scene. BC fans are not exclusively Boston fans and many of the Hub locals have ignored BC for years. There is no BC nation. We are the Palestinians of New England sports. Sure there are plenty of BC fans and students from New England who do live and die with the Red Sox or the Pats, but they are the minority. The majority of BC students and alumni are not from New England. In fact I remember just as many Yankee fans when I was a student.
For years the Boston sports fan’s DNA included a fear and pessimism after years of coming up short in painful ways. One World Series and three Super Bowls have mutated that gene into the chest puffing braggarts everyone loathes. BC fans are not part of that…we have come up short over and over. We're No. 2 in the country and still an underdog heading into Virginia Tech.
I bet most of these kids will never see a game at Fenway.
Jessica Biel dated a Yankee, goes to Packer games with Timberlake, but is a BC fan at heart.
Even the poster boy of the obnoxious Boston fan – Bill Simmons – hates BC. He’s a Holy Cross grad and works in BC digs into his writing almost as often as he drops Jimmy Kimmel’s name. If you are looking for an online example that of BC fans being separate from Boston, look no further than the 700 Level. Enrico runs the premier Philly sports blog and is a BC grad. Even this blogger named YankeeDave supports BC.
Tim Russert is a huge BC fan, loves the Bills and hates the Pats.
So if you’re already sick of Boston try not to wish any ill will on BC. We’re not part of the Evil Empire. We’re just a Catholic school trying to make good in the mess that is college football.