Sunday, September 20, 2009

Second viewing thougths and grade report: Clemson

This game was terrible to watch back. Terrible because of how poorly we played and also terrible because it could have been different. Clemson is not a great team and we have potential to be much better than we played. This was a disaster. Fortunately it is over. Let’s hope we learn and adjust quickly.

Offense: D-

I know many of you are down on our QBs, but I actually have some hope for Tuggle. Sure his stat line was terrible, but there were eight catchable balls that our WRs and TEs did not come up with. He held the ball a bit too long at times, but showed a decent understanding of the defense and looked great running the ball. The only times we showed life was in the second half when we used him in the shotgun with zone option plays or stretch runs for the RBs. Please build on that! Tuggle’s deep balls were not great. He hung them up too much and forced them into coverage. He also has to be more careful with batted balls. In total I marked seven bad decisions. The first INT wasn’t his fault. I don’t know if Tuggle will become a star. I don’t know if he can be better than Crane/Davis. But he is better than David Shinskie. Shinskie made some poor decisions on holding the ball too long and pulling out from under center too early. I didn’t see anything encouraging.

Although his stats don’t show it, I thought Harris played well. He made some great blocks and when given the opportunity turned in some positive runs. Haden didn’t play as well. He dropped a pass and really struggled finding holes. He was also impatient on some of his reads.

The WRs didn’t have a chance to show much but they weren’t particularly focused. Gunnell had one of his worst games with numerous drops. Larmond was a non-factor and worse, allowed himself to get pushed out of bounds a deep route.

The Tight Ends were the only group that played well throughout. They both blocked well, ran decent routes and made catches. We need to go two TE more and get them the ball on quick, short throws.

I’ve already spent too much time documenting the problems of the offensive line. Let me say this, there are plenty of teams that use traps and zone. Michigan with RichRod is one of them. I don’t believe you have to be exclusive to one in order to be successful. That said, our guys are confused. Their spacing and assignments are all over the place. That is on the coaches. I am not privy to the behind the scenes rumors, so I don’t know who is doing what. All we do know is that they need major adjustments. At UNH Sean Devine used a system like the one we used last year. I don’t think he’s somehow forgot how to teach and implement. I think somewhere along the lines things got complicated. Simplifying is the key. As for the individual performances, watching it back, Castonzo played decently. There were some curious decisions (which I don’t blame on him) but the majority of the time he won his battle. Tennant was also not as bad the second time around. Rarely were the breakdowns coming from him being beat. Claiborne had an uneven day. As I showed, he got beat a few times and was also out of position. Lapham, as usual, struggled with the speed guys on the edge. The new guys Cleary and Richman were lost but still did okay when engaged with a defender.

The offensive scheme was a grab bag mess. That mostly falls on the feet of Tranquill. We don’t seem to have a set of plays or formation that we can rely on. I’ve beaten to death the offensive line woes, but I am also troubled by the failure to adjust. Clemson kept eight guys in the box and we didn’t do anything to exploit it. Where was the play action? Why not go to an empty backfield on the 8 men fronts. Why not use more screens? There are a million counters. I don’t know why we didn’t use them. While we didn’t sustain anything, the offense looked best in the second half when we used more shotgun, stretches and asked Tuggle to run. There better be more of that. Tranq seems like the early fall guy but there is plenty of blame to go around. Devine and Brock have both been offensive coordinators before. They should be embarrassed by this performance too. Ryan Day is the alleged offensive coordinator in waiting. He should be embarrassed. This group of talent is not going to be the greatest offense of all time but it is much better than it showed. Tranq and his staff need to find things that worked and figure out how t get them to work better and in an actual game.

Defense: A-

The defensive line wasn’t dominant but very productive and active. Giles is adjusting well to the inside and looks good. Albright lost contain a few times but was very good. Newman also lost contain but had one of his best games in a long time. Ramella was okay and even dropped into coverage a few times. Hats off to Rossi for clogging up the middle and taking many of Scafe’s snaps. Ramsey earned his first sack of the season. Holloway, O’Neal and Deska all got snaps. As a whole the front four played well. It wasn’t until late in the game that they finally started allowing chunks of yards up the middle.

The linebackers were excellent again. Through three games I would say LeGrande is the best player on defense. He’s making plays and making tackles and is much better than Kuechly and DiSanzo in coverage now. Kuechly was active again and looked good. DiSanzo also did a good job and showed more speed than I expected. Bagan had another surprisingly productive day given his limited snaps. Morrissey was effective too. Clancy played but wasn’t near the ball as often.

Credit Rollins for being great in run support. He snuffed out numerous big plays. Fletcher also showed his great instincts. Gause played well and I was glad to see him force Spiller out of bounds in open space. Bowman was good. Davis made some good tackles and did a great job reading the QB on the INT. Johnson also played well.

That might be one of the best defensively called games I’ve seen at BC in a long, long time. McGovern had Clemson off balance all day. He would have three down lineman and blitz. He’d have three down lineman and drop eight. At one point we only had two down lineman. There was a fair amount of blitz and although we didn’t pile up sacks we forced bad throws. In the redzone things were sharp. The guys knew where they had to be. Our base defense was strong. We rotated multiple guys. It was a shame to see the effort wasted.

Special teams: C-

The Spiller return was terrible. Based on what Spaz said, we weren’t even supposed to kick it to him. The coverage was terrible and no one had any lanes. Fortunately we settled down and Quigley’s directional punting got better.

The kick returns were…meh. We know he has speed but Smith has no feel of the blocking nor where he should go. He ran hard at least and didn’t shy from contact. Fox actually seems to get it. The blocking wasn’t very impressive and didn’t give either of them much to work with.

Gunnell’s bad choices on fair catches were another factor in making this a day to forget for him. We also need to do a better job blocking the gunners.

Overall: D

My seats were right above the BC tunnel. That gave me a front row seat to each entrance and exit during each delay. This team was beaten well before the clock ran out. What’s amazing is that the defense played with as much heart as they did and that Tuggle kept playing hard even when things were down because the body language of most of the team was terrible. I know we have deficiencies on offense but that doesn’t explain the problems we had on offense. In case you didn’t read it already, that was the fewest yards Clemson has ever allowed in an ACC game. We didn’t seem prepared and didn’t make any effective adjustment until the 3rd quarter. But forget about the execution for a moment. Forget about the emotions of the game. The most damning play of the day was punting on 4th and 2 from midfield in the second half. That was a waive of the white flag. Your D is playing its guts out and you are punting again? Spaz is new and will adjust but his decision there was playing not to lose.

I am not writing anything off, but that was a cold shower. We better have marked improvement. Don’t buy any spin about talent or BC rebuilding. We had a historically bad day and wasted a great defense. Our head coach now has to fix this.


Erik said...

Totally agree about Gunnell. He was worse than the O-Line on Saturday. He absolutely was. Rich dropped catchable balls, he was fair catching returnable punts. He made a couple positive plays, but overall we NEEDED someone to go out and make a play and get us some momentum with a first down, he had some chances to be that guy, and the captain didn't step up.

It was like a different person put on the #18 jersey.

ATL - What was the weather like beyond the rain & lightning. Was heat & humidity bad enough to have played a role in BC's struggles?

TBSBC03 said...

What exactly would the offense have to do to get an F? Negative yardage?

eagleboston said...

I totally agree about the decision to punt late in the game. Did not like that call at all. That showed zero confidence in the offense to pick up a couple of yards. Plus, we were behind 2 scores and time was ticking. What did they have to lose? If you don't make it you risk being down 3scores. Big deal, that is the way it ended up anyway. If you make it, now you have momentum and the team develops some confidence.

If this offensive play continues for more than a couple games, Spaz is going to have to hold someone accountable. That is what leaders do. Otherwise, Gene will need to hold him accountable.

eagle1331 said...

Regarding Gunnell, I agree. The game is, in my opinion, completely different if it weren't for the first dropped pass on. If he makes that catch BC starts the game stretching the D and we don't end up punting. We're also in the red zone and likely to put points on the board. The 2nd drop was a first down that was in his hands, and it turned into an interception. Those 2 drops completely change the game if they are catches.

That being said, the play calling was dreadful. First down - run. Second down - run. Third down - draw or dump pass. Completely lacked originality and diversity. We all expected this from Tranq but the first 2 games gave us false hope. He faced a worthy adversary and he crawls back into his safety blanket and we get embarrassed.

Edit: appropriately, the word for verification is "Zinger"

ATL_eagle said...

The reason I didn't give the offense an F is because Anderson and Pantale played well and Tuggle fought hard.

mod34b said...

ATl -- great analysis on O-Line and D, but let me disagree with you on Tuggle.

Tuggle's stats were not bad, they were pathetic. 4/20 for 23 yards, 1 td and 3 pics. Using the pro QB rating system, that amounts to a rating of 16.66. Had he not gotten the TD (which was really just good luck, albeit luck he capitalized upon), his rating would have been 0 -- that is right a zero. Billy Flutie would have done better with no practice at all!

As far as him having a sense of the D, as you note, that did not appear to be the case from my vantage point. Its funny because Tuggle plays against the BC D all the time and should be better. BC's defense is as good as Clemson's D, so it should not have been so bad, but it WAS!!

In short, ATL, I think with Tuggle you are selling your hopes, not your usually hard-headed facts.

Bring back Shinskie!!

mod34b said...

Here is an interesting quote from a Globe article, suggesting (apparently after talking to Spaz) that Shinskie is headed down to #3 QB.

"“It’s an ongoing project with a capital ‘P,’ ’’ said Spaziani, talking about the QB situation but likely referring to much more.

Tuggle says there is no mystery in what happened. “We simply didn’t execute,’’ he said. Tuggle probably will start next weekend when Wake Forest visits Alumni Stadium, but true freshman Mike Marscovetra could move into the No. 2 slot ahead of Shinskie.

Spaziani sees a week of hard work and evaluation ahead.

ps >>> Google is making it difficult to sign in to the blog-o-shpere..i keep having to verify my cell phone and then get a txt from good which i have to type into the blog sign in page . . . anyone else which such hassles?

mod34b said...

from Today's Globe:

" A day after a 25-7 loss to Clemson in the Eagles’ Atlantic Coast Conference opener Saturday, Spaziani’s mind-set had changed for a simple reason: The BC offense, led by redshirt freshman starting quarterback Justin Tuggle, was indeed “broke.’’ And it wasn’t any better during the brief time that Dave Shinskie called the signals in the second quarter.

Bottom line: Spaziani and his staff know they have to fix the offense in a hurry, since Wake Forest is coming to town Saturday, followed by Florida State, then BC travels to Virginia Tech. It’s “game on’’ in the process of determining whether the Eagles are any good this season.

“We were disappointed,’’ Spaziani said yesterday about a performance . . .

“We’ve seen the problems, and we’re in the process of moving forward,’’ Spaziani said.

The coach said anything could be changed, including the situation at QB, which could mean true freshman Mike Marscovetra will get more reps during practice this week and maybe a larger role against Wake Forest.

“There’s never a quick fix,’’ said Spaziani. “Losing maximizes the problems. The problems aren’t going away. It’s how we address them. We have to manage them differently. The problems are correctable.’’ . . .

“The quarterback situation is problematic,’’ said Spaziani, who did say that a positive was Tuggle getting experience under fire for the first time in his career.


BCMike said...

"The most damning play of the day was punting on 4th and 2 from midfield in the second half."

Amen. I couldn't believe my eyes when he sent the punt team out there.

TJH said...

I agree that Tuggle kept playing hard. I liked that he was trying to get something - anything - by going downfield. Obviously, the result of some of those (INTs) was unfortunate, but he showed he has a fire in his game - that he wants to win, and will not go down without a fight.
Also, he has a strong arm. It's very difficult to throw a wet ball, and I think that's why a few of his passes sailed on him, and hung up too long. He is still very young, and will learn how to throw a wet ball. I have faith in him, and this team, to respond positively to this game,.

Richard said...

Ugh, how in God's name did you stand watching that again?

I've never, in my whole life, seen BC's offense look that bad. That was an F if I ever saw one.

matthew said...

mod 34b -

The idea of bringing back Shinskie seems pretty terrible in my opinion. The guy was completely lost. Tuggle seems to have some upside, and should be stuck with at this point.

And I thought you were done mentioning the idea of Flutie as a qb on this board? We get it, his uncle played qb.

Big Jack Krack said...

OK BC - let's buckle up and get this figured out. That was maybe the ugliest performance I have ever witnessed - and I have been a fan for more years than I care to mention - and a season ticket holder since 1972.

I was at the game (nice to see you, Atl) and also watched it Sunday night late - glutton for punishment. I really wanted to see why the offensive line was so bad. I was shocked at the performance and Atl did a great job explaining what happened - wow.

"because the body language of most of the team was terrible" - Atl, that could indicate internal disension and a problem with coaching? You bet it could - the coach(es) (Nyquill) has to give the players a game plan with a CHANCE to win - that's all they ask!

The Gary Nyquill watch has officially begun (Hey Coach Spaz - sometimes it's your friends who let you down the most). Some of you may recall that I was pretty vocal against this guy when he was given the job out of retirement. If there is no improvement next week, the squawks will begin for sure. SHOW US SOME IMPROVEMENT - LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING!

How about this? See the guy in front of you - block him, nothing fancy, just block him.

"Larmond was a non-factor and worse, allowed himself to get pushed out of bounds on a deep route." Colin came back in bounds legally but the pass bounced off his helmet as the Clemson defender fell to the turf - COULD HAVE BEEN A TOUCHDOWN - he could have caught that ball. Actually a pretty good pass by Tuggle.

Erik - heat and humidity not really a factor - it was 95 degrees plus the heat index when we beat them in 2005.

mmason said...

ATL-great analysis of the offensive woes. I agree that the line looked mismanaged--spacing and assignments were ambiguous and confused. Guys in orange just blew by 'em--big gaps and no adjustments. These are good players we have up there and they looked marooned. As for Tuggle--I agree again. During the game I couldn't believe we didn't screen or go to the TE's. It was uninspired play calling--predictable and weak. Tuggle is NEW. But he has cojones and fought down to the end. Yeah--you're right on--he didn't throw an accurate long ball--but he didn't get much time, didn't use the pocket like he might, and had some drops that should have been caught,too. We need a commit to Tuggle and make up our minds now. He had some good runs and that TD pass was no fluke. It's all on Tranquil and the rest of the O coaches. These kids need a plan and the coaches need to create and invent to match the talent and the opponent. It was embarrassing for our kids--but, yes, the D was gutsy and tough. All your grades were right on. The question is, will Spaz make the right moves, raise some hell, kick some butts and straighten out this mess pronto?