Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Blogger: Turtle Waxing

Like BC, Maryland's season showed promise. They had a returning star at QB, a new Head Coach and produced a solid win against Miami in their opener. Since then it has been all down hill. To figure out what went wrong and what we can expect this weekend, I asked Esquire from Turtle Waxing some questions. His answers are below.

1. Explain to an outsider how the QB controversy makes sense. It seemed like O'Brien was a budding superstar. Is this all on him or has the staff screwed up two promising QBs?

Turtle Waxing: One of the common theories is that the new spread system by OC Gary Crowton doesn't fit O'Brien's skills as a west coast style QB. The mediocre offensive line has had some struggles, LT Justin Gilbert has been out all year with a torn knee ligament and G Andrew Gonnella is out with a broken leg, which hasn't helped either QB. The receiver corps has been underwhelming with the departures of Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon from last year. Smith's ability to stretch the field has been sorely missed this season. Even with all that O'Brien hasn't played well. Since the opening game against Miami his play has consistently declined every game culminating in a dreadful performance against Temple in a 38-7 defeat and his awful play against Georgia Tech before getting benched. Right now O'Brien is 9th in the ACC in passing efficiency and 10th in passing yards per game so he is well behind his peers in the conference as there are four or five sophomore QBs who are ahead of him. Looking back on his 2010 season it appears O'Brien was a bit overrated. Against the top 3 passing defenses he played (Clemson, Miami, FSU) O'Brien completed only 49% of his passes and threw just two touchdowns to six picks. The new system, losses to skill position players, and playing from behind have all contributed to O'Brien's struggles but the larger truth is that he has not played well.

2. How has Edsall changed the approach from the blitz heavy stuff that Don Brown ran?

Turtle Waxing: New DC Todd Bradford has totally scrapped Don Brown's system. I think the biggest loss of the offseason was the departure of Brown to Connecticut. It took a few years but his pressure scheme was really starting to pay dividends his final season at Maryland. The Terps now play a fairly vanilla 4-3 style defense. They don't blitz much and play a great deal of zone underneath. Injuries have decimated the defense but this was a poor unit even before all the starters went down. The secondary has forced turnovers and even returned two for touchdowns but surrender big plays too often and are allowing 3rd down conversions at an astonishing rate of 53%. As much as the offense has struggled this year the defenses' total collapse has been a far bigger reason for all the defeats.

3. Instead of focusing on Edsall, I want to ask about Friedgen after the awful 2009 season. BC looks like we are facing a season like that. You guys brought him back for 2010. I am of the opinion that once a coach has a season like that in Year 3 or after, you need to make a change. Do you think sticking with Friedgen after a terrible year was wise? Did it put Maryland in a better place when you made a coaching change a year later?

Turtle Waxing: If former AD Debbie Yow had the funds I think Friedgen would have been out after his 2-10 season and coach-in-waiting James Franklin would be the head guy instead of coaching Vanderbilt this season. With a cash strapped athletic department she had no other choice, in part because of the stupid head-coach-in-waiting deal she had made with Franklin, so she had to sit tight and ride out the last lame duck year under Friedgen. His 9-4 record that was largely smoke and mirrors gained him an ACC coach of the year award (now we know what those are worth) but greatly complicated his departure which was a foregone conclusion. Friedgen's sniping in the press this season has been an inevitable result of that messy situation. I think Maryland would have been better off had they been able to remove Friedgen after his 2-10 disaster but poor planning by the AD and a budget crisis made the decision for Maryland. It doesn't appear to have turned out very well. I don't see what Boston College stands to gain by sticking with their current staff for another season if they have the cash to buy out the contracts. How many excellent college coaches have a 2-10 season on their resume?

4. What is your prediction for the game?

Turtle Waxing: Even with the roller coaster this team has experienced and the myriad of injuries this group has stayed fairly cohesive even when overmatched by the likes of Georgia Tech and Clemson. It will be interesting to see if the Florida State rout was a sign that the players are starting to crack and mail in the rest of the season. My guess is that Edsall will go back to O'Brien and that he will play well enough for Maryland to pull away from BC at home in a bit of an offensive shootout.


Big Jack Krack said...

Turtle Waxing - we couldn't have said this better ourselves!

"I don't see what Boston College stands to gain by sticking with their current staff for another season if they have the cash to buy out the contracts. How many excellent college coaches have a 2-10 season on their resume?"

Thanks for your comments. We hope you are wrong about your prediction (from our hearts) but ..........(fill in the blanks)

eagleboston said...

The key question is do we have the cash? We may be able to buy out Spaz, but there will not be much left to attract a quality coach with head coaching experience.

On the other side of the coin, can BC afford not to fire Spaz? How many fans will disengage next season if Spaz is back? How many empty seats will be in Alumni? That will make it even that much tougher to afford a quality coach.

I feel Spaz should resign (he has already made plenty for accomplishing nothing), but the story he is telling himself is that he inherited a decimated team from Jag's (true) and faced terrible injuries this season (also true).

mod34b said...

Turtle knowledge lacking!

The Turtle says:

"My guess is that Edsall will go back to O'Brien and that he will play well enough for Maryland to pull away from BC at home in a bit of an offensive shootout."

An offensive shootout from BC????Let's not kid ourselves!

Erik said...

Forecast is cold & rainy. Might play into our favor. If both teams need to run, maybe our linebackers can hold strong, and maybe our rotating RBs can get it done enough times to get first downs and get on the scoreboard. Throw in a few weather-related fumbles by either team and things could shake out to be a 17-10 BC win.

janebc said...

Re: what eagleboston just said - how can BC NOT afford to fire Spaz is my question. Another year of him will bury this program, with all the financial repercussions. I'm hoping he has made the decision himself, and will leave at the end of the season. I don't think anybody is buying the Jags - "George Bush did it" - excuse anymore, except, perhaps the same indifferent media that expects mediocrity from BC every year.

Bob B. said...

BC was rated the worst college tailgate in the country..Congrats! We're #1!

canttakeit said...

One thing i don't understand is why everyone is saying the cupboard was bare becasue of Jags (and I never wanted Jags to begin with). His recruiting classes were just better than Spaz. The adminitration allowed Jags to recruit to lower admissions standards (would we be complaining about Davis at qb right now) and I don't think alot were Spaz guys. I don't think Spaz made the efforts to keep these guys around.
Take a look at the guys playing and the guys that left. Talent is not the reason for the fall

Knucklehead said...

Real quick. The decision regarding the head football coach will not be made based on the following: 1) money, 2) the fans, 3)the taigate ranking, 4) the reputation of boston college.

The decision will be made based on Gene D's ego and what will make him look the best in the eyes of Father Leahy.

Knucklehead said...

. . . Therefore, it will not be rational decision.

Big Jack Krack said...

Let’s take a look at this since Spaziani took over. We need to put this cupboard was bare argument to bed once and for all.
Yes, there was turmoil and turnover within the coaching ranks when the mustache took over. Spaziani made a huge mistake in immediately bringing Tranquill out of his second or third retirement as his OC - JUST TERRIBLE. Nyquill failed to get the players ready, and FAILED TO COACH THE TALENT THAT HE HAD. 3rd&9Quill FAILED TO ADAPT HIS OUTDATED METHODS TO THE PLAYERS ON THE TEAM - INSTEAD TRYING TO BEND PLAYERS WHO MIGHT HAVE THRIVED UNDER AN OPEN OFFENSE INSTEAD TO HIS PREVENT OFFENSE - WHAT A TERRIBLE INJUSTICE TO BC FOOTBALL.

As soon as Tranquill was named, I (and many, many others) knew we were in for 5 years of decline - maybe not as bad as it actually is, but 5 years at least. WHAT A DISGRACE TO THE BC COMMUNITY.

In terms of players, Spaziani inherited some very good ones - who is he kidding. We had a core group returning from the ACCCG for crying out loud. The coaches should have worked with the new quarterbacks differently - instead of letting them get creamed.

I agree with canttakeit that more should have/might have been done to mentor some of the players who left the program. But we still had some good players for 2009.

The second unforgivable mistake was bringing in an offensive line coach who was/is not up to the task.

2009 Offensive Line Depth:
Castonzo; Claiborne; Lapham; Spinney; Tennant; Richman and some able backups - as well as some able TEs.

We had Jarvis, Megwa (until he got hurt) Gunnel and Larmond as WRs and the coaches could have worked with Shinskie and/or Tuggle much better to utilize our strengths. Instead, we got Tranquilizer Offense. This claim that the cupboard was bare is a bunch of crap. It could have been better, but it wasn’t bare.

And we had Montel Harris and James McCluskey to block for him (or catch a sneak pass out of the backfield), but Tranquill never figured out the proper play mix or scheme. We were 8 and 5 - but with those players could have been 9 and 4 or even 10 and 3 - with wins over ND and USC.

It has been all downhill under Spaziani - especially offensively. Last year was pathetic and this year his performance is a fire-able offense.

Big Jack Krack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Jack Krack said...

Actually Megwa had that horrible injury in 2008 in Chestnut Hill. I should remember as I was at that game.

Re: my previous post - I only briefly covered the offense. We had some really good, tough players on defense.

downtown_resident said...

Even if for the sake of argument you buy the "Jags left the cupboard bare" defense, why would Spaziani then keep the recruiting coordinator in place? Is no one held accountable these days in Chestnut Hill?

Patrick said...

As we enter Spaz's fourth year as HC at the Heights during the off-season, I look forward to seeing all of the top flight assistants he'll attract to joing his staff, particularly in light of how gracious he was in accomodating Kevin Roger's health problems. They'll be lining up to help improve the program and to hitch themselves to the oh-so-well-regarded Spaz wagon. Should be a hoot.

Erik said...

I would like to see us go Little League on the rest of the season -- everyone plays!

(non-Redshirt'ers of course)

Why not? Use 3 QBs. Use 8 WRs. Use 4 RBs. Build some game experience for the non-starters, let the starters skip a few of the collisions on the field. It doesn't need to be equal time, but let guys stay interested in practicing every day by giving them game experience. Does it matter if Miami beats us 35-14 or 42-7?

JBQ said...

After doing research, Spaz is in year three of a five year contract. To this was added a two extension through 2015. Maybe, there is a buy out clause. Hopefully!

janebc said...

I agree with BJK. When Gary Tranquill was hired I had the feeling that the way was being paved for drastically-lowered expectations. I realize that the Spaz hiring was all about GDF control, but I will never understand why they hired Tranquill. IT was almost like they were Holy Crossing the football program.

Knucklehead said...

Most of the eligible players on defense played against Virginia Tech. Also,there is nobody on the offense beyond who played against VT.

Big Jack Krack said...

Flipping through channels in my hotel room - The Pitt/UConn game at Pitt.

The stadium is empty.

At least now we won't be the only empty stadium on ESPN national TV for Florida State.

Fans would rather watch mediocre and bad programs on TV - if at all - rather than at the stadium. Especially if rain is predicted.

mod34b said...

Jack. UConn is not much of a draw...

canttakeit said...

Saw Pitt/Uconn. Believe or not we do not have the worst coach in New England.

Less hartening, was turning on NESN and watching the Notre Dame football show. Between giving the broadcast job to Meter, which just allows BC to get dumped on all the time by the Dennis and Callahan to having ND on the station owned by the Fenway Sports Group-good job on another front Gene

philibusters said...

As a UMD fan I agree and disagree with what Turtlewaxing said:

On Danny O'Brien, I agree with Turtlewaxing that while the change is schemes has not helped Danny, ultimately Danny just played poorly regardless. I also agree that UMD fans overrated Danny during the offseason. I disagree though when Turtlewaxing implies he wasn't that good last year. He cited his stats from DOB's three losses last year. Danny was 7-3 as a starter so of course his stats are not good if you take his three losses. Danny has good talent, but just has struggled with consistency his sophomore year after a solid freshman year.

The loss of Don Brown hurt, but UMD lost so many defensive players during the offseason and to injury this year that its hard to project how Don Brown would have done if he returned. Todd Bradford's defense has struggled a lot this year, though for the past couple games injuries have been a legitimate excuse. Our past three games have been against high octane offenses in GT, Clemson, and FSU so it will be nice to have BC and UVA the next two weeks.

I don't think Ralph should have been let go after his 9-4 year last year. I disagree that there was smoke and mirrors. Last year's team was pretty solid and overachieved above their raw talent last year. As for Spaz, he is in a worse position than Ralph was in 2009. At least Ralph could say he has 9 years under his belt and the 2009 team was an abnormality. Ralph coached 10 seasons and had 5 9+ win seasons (though after his first 3, only in two of his final 8 did the team win 9 games). I don't think Spaz has that. Hes less proven. That said, even if Spaz comes back, realistically BC is going to rebound. The key thing about the Terps in 2009 is though they were 2-10 they were competitive into the second half in seven of those games. I feel like BC is the same way. Competetive throughout against NW, the final score against UCF was bad, but it was competitive into the early fourth quarter, Duke and Wake were both close losses, and neither Clemson nor VT blew BC out, so next year the close games will even out and BC will get back more experience and should have a decent shot at bowling.

As a Terp fan I am really worried about this game. Terp fans are saying things on the messageboards like BC is really bad. But BC hasn't been truly blown out all year, so I think Terp fans may be in for a shot. I think BC has around a 50% chance to win this game, to me this is a tossup.

BCDoubleEagle said...

I know it's been fashionable lately to pile on GDF for the football team's losing streak, but this is one area where he certainly deserves some credit:

Nice to see some good news.