Sunday, November 23, 2008

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Wake Forest

I am still on a high, but the second viewing dampened things a bit. Davis was as raw as he appeared live. The special teams didn’t hold up as well in the second go around either.

Offense: B-

I feel for Crane. Regardless of how he played, he waited patiently for four years and just when it was all lining up for him, he breaks his collarbone. I think he’ll get a shot as a practice squad guy or in the CFL. Hopefully he recovers fully and gets to do what he wants. As for the actually game, Crane’s start was so-so. The fumble was another case of not protecting the ball. He also had a bad throw where he missed Robinson for a TD. Davis…where do you start? Considering the circumstances and the outcome, we can’t really complain. His primary problem was his hesitation. He hesitated on his reads. He hesitated in the pocket on whether to run or stay. He hesitated on the option reads. He admitted to jitters and nerves. The speed would get to most redshirt freshmen QBs. Fortunately he recovered to lead us to the win. By my count he had six really bad throws and the WRs only had one true drop. The good news: his short outs and passes to the flats were solid. He can throw the fade. His throws over the middle and in traffic weren’t as pretty. He was lucky that two other passes weren’t picks. The good news was he did just enough and now he has a week to get mentally and physically ready for Maryland.

The running backs played well. Haden received more of the carries and did his best job yet of finding the holes in the zone. Haden also had the biggest mistake of the two. He missed the blitz pick up on Davis’ second fumble (in fairness to him, it was a delayed blitz). Harris was contained a bit in part because most of his carries came when Wake was keying on the run. Harris was a more important part of the passing game. I imagine that both will get plenty of throws this week as we try to make things easier for Davis.

The offensive line had another strong game. Tennant got the yips a little early with the snaps, but calmed down as the game wore on and played very, very well. His block on the screen pass might have been the best block of the day. Ramsey was very good and there were plenty of holes around his area. Castonzo was very good. Claiborne had one of his best games. Lapham allowed a sack but other than that played well.

Purvis only caught one ball, but was very good blocking. Gunnell saved the day with the long catch, but he was also very good on the comeback routes. Robinson was very good. Jarvis had a rare drop. Anderson blocked well.

The play calling was appropriate. With Crane we picked up where we left off and it looked a lot like the FSU game (fumble included). Once Davis saw the field the tone and approach changed. It also got conservative. However, Logan seemed to find things that played to Davis’ strength (the classic option looked good). The passes to the flats were good. And he found the right type of plays on the final drive.

Defense: A

The defensive line played well early. Raji and Brace were their usually menacing selves. Giles and Ramella both had their best games of the season. They did a good job at containing and collapsing the pocket. The two Ends also helped disrupt Wake’s attempts to run the ball on the edges. A little disconcerting was Raji and Brace’s efforts in the fourth quarter. They seemed worn and were finally getting blown off the ball. Perhaps they were gassed, which is not surprising since the second teamers barely got on the field. When they did, they blew up a reverse (Scafe and Ramsey in particular).

Herzy got the accolades and made two game-changing plays, but I thought McLaughlin and Francois were also very, very good. The three of them had their best day in coverage in a month. They all tackled well. They only real nit picky moments were a missed tackle by Francois and Herzy losing contain on a big pass from Skinner.

Rollins -- excellent. A corner is at his best in Spaz’s scheme when he closes quickly and wraps up. That is what Rollins did yesterday. He was good in coverage and great in tackling. Easily his best game of the season. Davis was also very good…good run support and pass. Anderson struggled a bit. On Wake’s one TD he got faked out by their play action. He also missed a tackle. Gause was very good. Fletcher nearly had another INT. Akins was quiet. Bowman was good (although he had a dumb penalty on one of the kick returns).

The defensive scheme was excellent. We held them to the lowest yardage of the Grobe era. We put pressure on Skinner early and kept him off balance all day. We had a higher percentage of blitz than we’ve used all season. Obviously bringing Herzy was very effective, but McLaughlin, Rollins, Akins and Gause all came at different times. My one little gripe about the defensive plan is the shortened rotation. I understand the short rotation with the linebackers as those second team guys are not ready for prime time. I don’t understand it with the defensive line. I know there will be a drop off anytime you take Raji and Brace off the field, but keeping them fresh is important too. And the guys like Scafe and Ramsey looked good in limited playing time. They deserved more snaps. The rotation wasn’t as tight in the secondary but it didn’t seem to be as balanced as it has been.

Special teams: C+

Harris looks better and better each week returning kicks. The blocking seemed improved too.

Steve Aponavicius made his Field Goals.

Gunnell couldn’t do much with the punt returns. Wake’s punts weren’t long but the coverage got their quick.

The kickoffs were a mixed bag. Quigley was inconsistent as was the coverage.

The punts were also wildly inconsistent. The Flutie directional worked. Quigley also got some good rolls. The bigger problem was the punt protection. Wake blocked one on blown assignments from Herzy and Newman. Wake nearly blocked another. With the game going the way it did, Special Teams took on extra importance. We were lucky the breakdowns didn't cost us the game.

Overall: A-

Once again the team came out with the right defensive scheme and the right emotional one. When things looked bleak, they rallied. Jags also deserves credit for keeping Davis calm on the last drive and managing the clock well. This has been a heck of a stretch...hats off to Jags for getting the team on track after Clemson and then winning three critical games. Now let's keep it going against Maryland.

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23 Comments:

At 10:58 PM, Blogger johnoatesforthree said...

i'm starting to worry about the attendance for the maryland game. a quick glance on BCeagles.com's marketplace shows a lot of listings, there are still tickets available from the box office, and many students will not be back from break. we need a packed house, especially if we don't get to the orange bowl, to show selection committees the team has support

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger slippyslop said...

I'm not sure what it is, but it seems as if Quigley and a lot of other punters are taking more time to get their punts off. You can almost predict a punt block these days.

 
At 11:44 PM, Blogger Sam said...

BC's lookin' good.

Good luck against the Terps.

Sam

 
At 11:45 PM, Blogger bobble said...

I think this week there has to be a focus on getting the ball to Purvis, I know since the McClusky injury he has been used more as a blocker, but a tight end can be a qb's best friend. He can really take some pressure off of Davis with simple short routes.

Also this may be jumping the gun, but isn't there a clause in the Chick-fil-a bowl contract that they take the loser of the ACCCG every 4 years. I'm not sure when that was signed but since the expansion they haven't picked the loser yet and this is the 4th year of the ACCCG. I know the Orange Bowl is the ultimate goal but at least we wouldn't have to worry about falling like last year. Does anyone else know anything about this?

 
At 5:16 AM, Blogger About Five said...

Offense scores one touchdown for BC and scores two touchdowns for the other team and gets an above average grade. Chris Crane is going to get a shot at pro football. Heather is going to pick BC to beat Maryland and win the ACC. It was a really good win and winning with a final drive keeps hope alive.

 
At 9:01 AM, Blogger tow2nd2none said...

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/bowlprojection?season=2008&week=13

Both ESPN writers put us in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl against LSU. Interesting matchup, though obviously not what we're looking for.

This is the second time Crane's name has been mentioned in the same sentence as "NFL" or "pros." I'm starting to think people are actually believing this is a possibility. While he has been servicable on the college level in a gameplan that has been strategically tailored around his strengths and weaknesses, he simply does not have the tools to make it in the NFL. If he looked off one receiver or went to a second read once during the whole season, then I would say maybe. I'm not trying to rip the guy, he's clearly our best option and now he's shelved, but be honest with yourself - would you want him on an NFL team you pledge allegiance to (in a playing capacity)?

 
At 10:47 AM, Blogger marcos said...

absolutely right...he is NOT gonna make the NFL. Cmon guys. He's been a great Eagle, though, and I wish him the best. Hope he's back for the bowl game

 
At 11:11 AM, Blogger eaglephile said...

tow2 et al,

I agree that Crane is not an NFL quality QB, however I think that Crane has the physical tools to be make an NFL roster since teams are required to carry 3 qbs. He may not last long, but look you never know (e.g. Brian St. Pierre).

With regard to Davis, I'd like to see him trust the pocket a little bit more. A few of his sacks and runs for no gain were a result of him stepping up too much out of the pocket where the tackle was more or less spying and not giving much of a rush.

GO EAGLES

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Rob said...

I agree with bobble on getting the ball more to Purvis, especially for an inexperienced QB like Davis.

Crane may get a shot in the NFL because he's tall, has a strong arm.... But his poor decision-making means he likely won't stick around.

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger Darius said...

Regarding Jags handling of this team down the stretch:

Coach of the year. And in a season where NO ACC team has dominated the league, it ought to be near unanimous.

 
At 11:38 AM, Blogger tow2nd2none said...

More power to him if he makes an NFL roster. I know this is nitpicky, but teams aren't required to have a set number of players at any position. Most however, do carry 3 QBs, though I have seen 2 recently (hypothetically you could carry none).

Hey, Quinton Porter was a 3rd stringer on the Panthers for a while, and I think he actually saw playing time when Delhomme and their backup went down before they got Testaverde, so I guess anything's possible.

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Joe Grav said...

I was thinking more CFL w/ crane.

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger bostoneagle07 said...

bobble, looked around for info on that once-every-4 rule for the Chick-fil-A and the Globe referenced that rule last year - http://www.boston.com/sports/articles/2007/11/29/atlanta_bowl_in_offing/

Looking at the past three years, in 2005 VTech lost the ACCCG, Chick-fil-A chose Miami, 2006 - GTech loses, they select VTech, last year BC loses, they select Clemson...maybe they're thinking that selection could bite them in the butt this year...

If this "rule" is in effect this year, they could in fact be forced into selecting the ACCCG loser.

 
At 11:53 AM, Blogger BCMike said...

Guys, if Porter can make an NFL roster, Crane absolutely can.

NFL is all about how you physically project at the next level physically....that's why JaMarcus Russell got taken where he was. He really wasn't that fantastic of a college QB, he's just got the physical stature and arm strength that the NFL folks drool over.

Crane, for all of his deficiencies, is built like a prototypical NFL QB and does have a rocket for an arm. Hear me now, believe me later...at the *very* least he'll be on someone's practice squad for a couple years, but I would not be surprised to see him drafted. The whole Matt Ryan / BC thing can't hurt, either.

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger johnoatesforthree said...

@Darius

yes, we never thought we'd be in this situation without Ryan, but every other part of this team is better than last year. also, paul johnson leading georgia tech to a share of the coastal division title in his first season can't be topped.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger tow2nd2none said...

@bostoneagle07,

Maybe that's what the two ESPN analysts were thinking when they slotted us in the Peach Bowl. I guess they figure us to beat Maryland no matter what and lose to GA or VA Tech, thereby enforcing that rule.

 
At 1:42 PM, Blogger strongarm95 said...

Is anyone as worried about the Maryland game as I am? I realize now why Jags stuck with Crane earlier in the season - Davis looks really raw. He had a great last drive, but some of the throws he put up for grabs and our WR's made great plays. I know he was thrown into the fire, and I hope he improves this week, but I am definitely concerned. We probably would have won the game easily if he had just tucked the ball on those fumbles. I hope Logan can tailor a game plan for him this week that includes more short passes and dump off's to our RB's.

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger bostoneagle07 said...

tow2nd2none,

still wondering if this "rule" is legit...and if so, why is Bennett still running his "selection blog" if he's automatically taking the acccg loser? guess we'll see what he says this week...

 
At 2:08 PM, Blogger chicagofire1871 said...

bostoneagle,

That's a good point. Why would Bennett be running that blog if he were going to take the loser no matter what. If I remember correctly, the ACC commish, Swafford was pulling hard for BC to go to Atlanta, but Bennett refused. It's somewhat amusing, b/c there was a lot more buzz around us last year and it would seem many more BC fans would have been jazzed for that game, whereas this year, I feel as though folks think we're going to lose every week.

That being said, I just don't see how we beat Maryland next week:) So maybe the Peach Bowl is a mute point. I tried to figure out which bowl BC would go to if we lose, and I just don't see anyway around SF.

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger tow2nd2none said...

Honestly, I have no idea, I just thought it was curious that those analysts put us there, though they are probably just talking heads and don't think about the fact that even though we'd be the ACC #2, our travel rep would send us down the bowl ladder.

 
At 4:48 PM, Blogger bobble said...

Thanks bostoneagle07,
I saw that article, I remember last year this coming up and people thought BC might have a chance at the Peach just because of that rule and we were a good 2nd place team last year. (Better than this year's will be).

Also that is a good point on the selection blog, I wondered the same thing when I was looking for information.

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger T-Mill said...

Nice blog. Looking forward to the game Wednesday night in New York. If you want anything for the game feel free to stop by and drop me a line. I don't know too much about BC basketball, but I am learning.

T-Mill
www.offthetracks.org

 
At 11:22 PM, Blogger mmason said...

Crane in the CFL or NFL Euro is no stretch. The dude is huge, has a great arm and needs game time to learn. He's a raw talent with no experience, yes--but he has an arm like a friggin'cannon, somewhat
inaccurate,yes, but teachable enough to fill a spot on a team and make some throws. He's also quick for a big guy--quicker than Davis was last week. The scouts know he's flawed and unschooled, but they also saw his learning curve at BC.
They'll talk to Jags and he'll give CC some great recs, cuz he knows the upside of Crane. I stand by my original take. I approve this message and have not tasted the koolaid, y'all.
Oh, and we will win next week vs. the Terps and I shall have my halftime victory margarita with gusto, because D wins championships and BC has the best D in D#1. Ask the Raji.

 

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