Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Virginia Tech
This was a bad one to watch back. Hopefully it will all be worth it at the end of the season.
When I watched the game live, my first impression was that Shinskie started off okay and then got worse as the line started falling apart. That wasn't the case. He was pretty bad from the start. He forced passes, missed some reads and obviously made some bad decisions and bad throws. It wasn't all his fault, but another QB might have been able to salvage a score or two. I feel for Shinskie. Maybe we will see him again, but at this point we've seen enough. He's gotten more than his fair share of starts. Despite the criticism of Marscovetra, I don't think he was terrible. His throws were on the mark. He checked down a bit too given the circumstances. The biggest problem was his ability to feel pressure. He needs to be more aware of the pocket and get rid of the ball a bit quicker. As I said in an earlier post, I think Rettig should get the starter, but Marscovetra might still be a serviceable option.
Montel Harris was the only offensive player who could hold his head high. He did his usual job of fighting for extra yards and finding holes. He also did a better job in pass protection, especially as our line started to get overwhelmed. Phifer was fine in limited use.
The wide receivers weren't blameless in this debacle. Amidon tripped over his feet on what should have been a TD. Momah dropped one of Marsco's passes. Lee couldn't stay in bounds when he had a wide open field after catching one of Shinskie's passes. Lee had a drop. Anderson was okay. Pantale didn't get thrown to.
I don't know what to make of the offensive line. As usual the tackles had trouble with the VT speed. Lapham's man stripped Shinskie on one fumble and Castonzo never took control of his matchups. Claiborne didn't start but looked good when he played. Richman was ok as was Cleary but we are not winning enough battles at the line of scrimmage.
I really don't understand our offense or our stubbornness. Even without Shinskie's decisions, we've shown that we don't have good redzone plays. Our line looks good on one play and terrible the next. We bring in Marscovetra and yet go conservative down 16 points. I know I've harped on this but I think part of the problem dating back to last season with the QBs and the oline has been the varied styles and approaches. To have success at this level, you need a certain degree of simplicity in your offense. The best offenses learn to execute certain plays, and their counters well. Yet we don't know what we do well and vear from one to another. Take for example, Marsco's first possession. The first play is the basic zone option stretch run to the left. The line executes and gets the smaller, faster, VT defense moving off the ball. Harris can run this play in his sleep, so he finds his hole and bursts down the field for 20 yards. The next play is another run. This time it is another delayed draw. In this case Cleary pulls to his right to try to kick something open and the other guys fill gaps to the left. VT is loading the box and ready for this that they all start crashing and we gain nothing. We then are forced into a passing down, they send the house, we get a penalty and the drive becomes a mess. Why can't our very experienced offensive coodinator find a basic package that we can execute? Why when VT started loading the box did we not do more short, quick outs? The offense has no identity and I think any Qb we have will suffer from it. I also keep hearing excuses and finger pointing regarding the offensive line. I don't know who is at fault but this is shaping up to be the worst BC line in 30 years. Someone needs to fix it soon.
The defensive line did a very good job with Taylor. We got good penetration from Ramsey, Scafe and Gallik. Newman did a good job on contain. Albright had another very good day and is showing good speed and awareness. Altough he is not loading up the stat sheet, I think Edebali is looking good. Holloway made a few nice plays.
KPL had a very good day. I was surprised by his speed and I think he does a good job on his angles. Kuechly excellence is becoming so predictable, I have to remind myself that he is only a sophomore. Herzy is getting better with each game. I know there were a few plays were it seemed like he was a step slow, but I still don't know if he would have caught Wilson or Evans from behind two years ago. I think Mark will have a huge day against Notre Dame. Devitto got his first extended playing time. He made a few plays, but looked a little off in pass coverage. I would like to see more guys get on the field, but right now we have an embarassment of riches at LB.
Gause and Fletcher both played well. LeGrande made some nice plays in run support but lost his man on Taylor's big scramble pass. Davis was okay but not near the action much.
We kept the defense as basic as I've seen it in a long time and were very effective. W barely blitzed. We barely dropped 8 into coverage. It was the classic BC 4-3 for almost every snap. I thought all the units played well and we slowed them down for the most part. My fear going forward is that that D will start pressing thinking they have to score points to win games.
Special Teams: B-
Quigley punted well.
Fox looks good on the kick returns. I don't know if he will break one, but he seems pretty fearless.
Gause allowed one punt to roll but was okay. I was also glad to see Swigert take a risk on his one attempt.
I will try not to allow my feelings about Spaz or how he mishandled the QBs this offseason influence this grade. Regardless of how well the defense played and how many mistakes Shinskie made, I still felt Spaz mismanaged the game. On the final drive before the half, we burned TOs and we too methodical. I also think we should have been more aggresive when we brought in Marscovetra. But my biggest gripe was that we didn't use a hurry up when down 16 in the second half. Instead we kept huddleing wasting valuable time. I know comeback is against the odds, but Spaz didn't help the cause by taking his sweet time. The challenge was the same way. Someone must have told Spaz it was a dropped pass, but he still challenged anyway, which burned another timeout. Did we need that timeout? No. But Spaz didn't know that at the time. Finally and this might be silly but the punt at the end of the final BC drive drove me nuts. Why not at least let the kid rip it on 4th down?
Spaz had two weeks to prepare for this game and laid an egg. He had two years to find a functional QB and hasn't. He mishandled the QB situation form the start of spring ball and now is paying the price. Now he has a week to get things right.