Sunday, September 12, 2010

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Kent State

(Grades and thoughts are here this week. Still testing what drives traffic here and what moves the needle at Eagle Insider.)

For those of you who have been reading these recaps over the years, there is somewhat of a pattern. I am almost always more optimistic after watching the game a second time. Perhaps taking away the emotion allows me to view things with a more evenhanded perspective. Or perhaps the subtleties make me realize that the plays didn't just go wrong because "BC is cursed." Other teams make plays too. Watching back the Kent State game made me feel better. BC still has some glaring weaknesses, but most are correctable. With some tweaks here and there by the coaching staff, this team can compete and beat every team on our schedule.

Offense: B-

I only marked Shinskie down for six bad throws. Seriously! Sure, he got lucky on Swigert's TD, but overall he improved and made a few nice passes. He still locked in at times (the Lee TD) and still aired some of his early throws, like the pass intended for Montel, but he got better. So now that he has shown that he can spread the ball around, and hit spots, I would like to see him work in more slants and crossing routes. Marscovetra's two series didn't show us much. I didn't like the INT, but I think the limited playing time and the low scoring game (at the time he entered) invite a young QB to take risks and force things.

Harris got the touches, but couldn't find his holes or his rhythm. Most of his troubles were due to the offensive line and Kent State's scheme, but Montel did lose one carry. Fortunately BC held on. The much bigger problem with Harris was his pass protection and blitz pick up. It is so strange too to watch it happen. Since Sirmans took over as RB coach, our running backs have been great at picking up blockers. Saturday was the sloppiest effort since Sirmans has come aboard. Harris was slow to react and didn't do his usual solid job of keeping guys off the QB. Phifer was good in mop up duty. McCluskey got plenty of reps as a lead blocker but didn't get to do much else. (Let's throw him the ball soon.)

The WRs and TEs were excellent. I only counted two drops. Lee especially did a great job of pulling down tough passes. Swigert did a nice job adjusting in traffic on his TD. Pantale and Anderson both played well. Coleman continues to play beyond his years (for a guy who hasn't played much football, he showed a good football IQ in recovering a fumble).

The biggest problem on the whole day was the offensive line. I know Kent State crammed the box and made an effort to stop the run, but there is no excuse for some of the things that happened. Too many times Kent State DEs and LBs were allowed to run freely into the BC backfield while our lineman turned the wrong way and blocked no one. And some of the mistakes came from some of our smartest and most consistent players like Claiborne and Castonzo. What was going on? Were the line calls not getting communicated? Can experienced Seniors be that lost? What ever is wrong is coachable, because this unit has talent. Coaching OLine is probably the hardest job in football. Not because it is technical, but the opposite. The techniques are pretty basic. What is hard is getting five ginormous men to act in concert together. BC did not show that unity this weekend. From the outside and as a long time observer, I think there must be communication issues. How else can you explain guys letting men run free. Communication mix ups would also explain why and how Harris was so out of place on pass protection. One other note about the oline: Spinney looked pretty good when he filled in for the injured Nathan Richman.

I am neutral on Gary Tranquill and this game had all the elements that leave me torn on our ancient OC. I think Tranq does a good job making adjustments, but I think we waste too many possessions trying to figure out what will work. Aside from wasting time, my problem with the "testing/probing" mentality is that you never establish an identity and it seems to create confusion. I also think we need a little variety in the red zone.

Defense: B

Alex Albright had his best game in years. In addition to his INT, he also was in on many tackles and showed the burst that has been missing since 2007. Newman played well early but then didn't do as much late. Scafe looked pretty good as did Ramsey. Rudolph made a few plays. Although no one broke the game open, I liked the hustle and discipline of some of the young guys like O'Neal and Kasim Edebali.

I still can't get over how much ground Luke Kuechly is able to cover. His speed is very underrated. He had another solid game and I only saw one missed tackle. Herzy continues to look better with each play. He made some nice open field tackles. KPL was good although he got a little tangled up in pass coverage. Morrissey was OK. It was nice to see DiSanzo back on the field. He missed an early tackle but settled down for a nice game. The others are still not being used much...which is a shame.

All the DBs looked better than last week. Donnie Fletcher had a nice game (including special teams). Davis got a little lucky with the INT, but turned it into something big. Noel made a big play and showed great awareness.

This was a pretty conservative plan but it worked. I would hope that all the wrinkles are being saved for ACC opponents. I also can't complain since the plan was close to what I recommend Thursday: "Giving Spencer multiple looks"

Special Teams: B+

Aside from Freese's shanked opening kick off, Special Teams played well. The kick and punt coverage were much better (with special mention for LeGrande).

Quigley was fine.

I know Gause scared some people with his sloppy and reckless form, but I think the aggressiveness is just what BC needs. It is so much better than watching endless fair catches.

Overall: B

If the offensive line had played better, I would have given the whole game a better grade. We have two weeks to fix that and Harris' blocking issues. Other teams will see what Kent State did and challenge BC with a crowded box until BC shows it can handle the pressure and stunts. That's on Spaz to make sure we are ready. But overall I felt he had the team ready for this game and made adjustments as needed. Now let's hope he has the team peaking when we take on Virginia Tech in two weeks.


Bravesbill said...

Good God were you generous with your rankings. BC's offense clearly deserves a C- at best. It was disgracefully putrid the first half of the game and large portions of the second half due to its inept line play. Not to mention that BC had some of the most piss poor offensive calling I've seen in years. Hey, let's run up the middle after the opening kickoff, coming out of half, and on about 90% of all first down plays. Genius! If you really think BC's offense deserves a B- and BC's defense only a B, you're nuts. BC's defense deserves a A- at least. They held Kent to 4 yards total rushing and forced 5 TOs. The only time Kent scored points were off BC turnovers or in garbage time. ANd finally, if you think BC earned a B overall, I shudder to think about what will happen to BC if they give the same type of "B" performance against ACC opponents. Can we say good night?

mod34b said...


Are you putting us on again? Your post has got to be a spoof. No one can be that ripped about an opinion on a blog about a college football game. LMAO.

mod10aeagle said...

Perhaps Bravesbill was channeling his inner Meterparel, who has the worst case of voice modulation disorder since Will Ferrell invented the condition.

I confess that I haven't seen any of the game and could only stand listening to Meter in small doses, but my only complaint was with the BC O-line. If we can't dominate the likes of Weber State and Kent State (please don't tell me they're a strong defense), I'm worried.

ATL_eagle said...

As always Bravesbill, you are keeping me honest. I guess the problem with group grades is the WR and TEs played well. Shinskie improved and Harris never really got going because the online stunk. If I were grading individually I would do this:

WRs/TEs: A-
Tranq: B-
Shinskie: B-
RBs: Incomplete
Oline: D

Dan said...

Couple of thoughts for VT.

So far they're giving up 140 yds on the ground per game and lost one of their starting DTs so hopefully we get the Oline straightened out because it looks like Montel could have some success. Any chance we see the return of the Bazooka?

Shakim was supposedly back and gonna maybe get snaps this past weekend but didn't. Did he reaggravate the hamstring or is there a chance they're saving him as a big play wrinkle that won't be on any tape VT is watching?

Now I'm a long time Shinskie apologist, but I do think he's showing improvement. 18/27 for 214yds, 2 TDs and 0 INTs really isn't that bad especially with a lot of hurries, not much of ground game to lean on and yielding a few series to Marsco. He's no Ryan but it looks like Spaz and Co. have decided he's our guy. Time to get behind him. That said I hope they spend the bye week running 12 man defenses against him so he doesn't get overwhelmed like last year.

Dan said...

BC currently has the 7th best rush defense in the nation yielding 54 yds a game.

Number 1? The Kent State Golden Flashes with 11 yds. I along with most people think the O-Line looked abysmal Saturday, so this doesn't fully acquit them but it does give them a little slack.

I hope they come out on fire in the VT game ala the UVA game after Kiwi got stepped on.

mod34b said...

What QB had the 3rd highest QB rating of the 11 ACC teams that played this weekend?

That's right Dave Shinskie. Now (except Bbill) just imagine what his rating would be if he played better in the first half? (BBill, imagine how low Shinskie's rating would be if he played the second half like the first half)

As for Shinskie hitting Swigert in triple coverage, was it luck? Hardly.

From BC Heights:

"In his first series, he went five for six for 55 yards, capped off by a 23-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Swigert. The true freshman had two defenders on him in the end zone, but made a nice move to get open for Shinskie for Swigert’s first collegiate touchdown.

“'They were playing man to man, and the defender wasn’t really looking, and I saw Bobby put his hand up,' Shinskie said. 'I underthrew it because the guy had his back turned, and Bobby made an easy comeback to the ball.'"

mod10aeagle said...

So, compared to Murray State, I guess our running game kicked Kent State's butt. I mean, those guys ran the other way for a net rushing loss of almost 100 yards! How is that even possible? Nevermind. There's no way Kent State's defensive performance against Murray State "mitigates" the disappointing performance of our offensive line. If you were ever going to try to make an argument like that to a VaTech fan, this would be the week to do it.

Big Jack Krack said...

A victory over VT is now a must. What, you lost to a team that lost to James Madison?

eagle1331 said...

1) Gause's aggressiveness reminded me of Silva in his final season. I like.

2) I think the Penn State-Kent State game could be a good measure of where we stand this weekend, since we are off..

mmason said...

Gause is no Silva in any timezone or dimension. B'Bill kinda nails it--he may be channeling John Belushi's samurai deli warrior for intensity, but he's right--the grades don't compute. Mixon and Kitchen were running wild in our backfield and the O-line watched 'em sashay in like they'd passed out tickets to 'em. C minus, you bet. How many times did we settle for FG's because we couldn't move the ball or convert on 3rd down?
It was torture to watch. Gary may be venerable--but letting Harris get pummeled and unprotected against Kent's defense with redundant up the middle run calls was almost sadistic. Wish I could watch how BC fixes the ginormous linemen's ineptitude in practice. That's some fixin' that needs to be goin' on alright. Love'd our defense, too. Keuchly is just a phenom--and Herzy was beautiful--the flying tackle was crazed. Go Eagles!

Matt said...

I agree with you for the most part of offense. O-line played poorly C- quality(especially considering we have who I consider two of the best OT in the ACC). WRs really shocked me, they were outstanding. Shinskie gave me more confidence then he did last week. He played poor in the first half but ok in the second half. If he continues to improve he could be all right.

I think you do not give the defense enough credit. I give them A-. It was awesome to see Kuechly and Herzlich fly all over the field! Our defense was fun to watch.

Ry said...

just a thought on the herzlich flying tackle. the reason that he had to make the flying tackle is because he fell at the line of scrimmage trying to cut allowing the pass to be completed in the first place. i think it was less animal instinct and more him trying to make amends for blowing the coverage. either way, i will take it...but i think it is best not to ignore the fact that, ironically, if he is playing at full speed that tackle probably doesn't happen

Bravesbill said...

I would agree wholeheartedly with the position grades. The offense was brutal because of the o-line and the play calling. The WRs have been much better than expected and the TEs have also been good. Harris didn't have a great game but it wasn't his fault at all. As for Shinskie, I thought he had a decent game. If he over got the time to throw, he would have had a much better game too. Shinskie took pretty big strides from the first week to the second. Hopefully, he can continue his development.