Sunday, October 23, 2011

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Virginia Tech

This was a rough game to watch back because we had our moments. But we are still so flawed on the offensive line that it ripples into our QB play, our play calling and even our defensive strategy. I still fault Spaz for most of this as you will see below. We are not playing to win and we are not getting better on the in key areas. That's on the coach.

Offense: D

Rettig's game fell into what has become his pattern for the season. He was really off on some throws. He held the ball too long at times. He forced some throws. And then he would do something awesome. The kid is tough and is getting no time. But we need him to be better with his throws and decision making. I am still a big believer and think he will be very good, but right now he is still very inconsistent. I like to believe that if we gave him better protection he would be a great QB.

Larmond started strong but we need more. The fumble was terrible and although VT was jumping him early, he's got to win some of those battles. Swigert's hands weren't great. Elliot did okay. Coleman caught a tough pass. Amidon was ok. Anderson made a really nice catch. Pantale made a nice play. Both Tight Ends need to be more involved in our passing.

Finch is one of the bright spots. He runs hard. He shows good vision. He's good catching the ball and he can make some things out of nothing. He still needs to get a bit more consistent on blitz pick up. Williams ran through some tackles but at this point probably doesn't have Finch's vision...which you need with this line. Sinkovec was at FB. He wasn't as good as Dan Williams. I would get into the logic of switching them around at this point in the season, but there are so many head scratching roster decisions surrounding this team that it is best captured in another post.

The good news regarding the offensive line: our guys blocked someone on the screens. The bad news was most everything else. Cleary played pretty well. Spinney was okay. Everyone else was bad. White got beat a few times. At lot of pressure came from Wetzel's side when he was blocking no one. But missed assignments are nothing new with this crew. Vardaro struggled.

I don't know what Dave Brock is trying to accomplish with this scheme. You see moments of aggressiveness (which we need) but they are often random or desperate. We don't build towards them with things like play action. I also think he needs to keep things simple at this point. We are so limited in so many ways that we need to play to our strengths and make Rettig as comfortable as possible. Take Rettig's TD run. It was a classic zone-option read. Why don't we use that play more often? Chris Crane showed that a well executed zone-option read can open things up. We also have no answer for their aggressiveness against us. There are numerous reasons for our offensive struggles, but at some point Brock's got to get more points on the board.

Defense: C-

The DLine didn't change the game, but they were solid enough. Ricci is starting to play better. Appiah also looked good. Rudolph got some snaps. Mihalik is playing well considering his inexperience. Dan Williams was fine back on this side of the ball (although we should have kept him on O). The bigger disappointment was that Holloway and Edebali didn't make any big plays. Both are very experienced and have shown some flashes, but neither have really stepped it up this year. We need that at some point.

We have the best collection of linebackers you'll ever see on a one win team. Keyes looked good...especially adding pressure from the edge. KPL played well. Duggan was good in limited time. Divitto was also good on the edge. Kuechly was effective. The only LB who didn't have a great game was Clancy. He seemed a step behind especially in pass coverage. When he and ALJ were on the same side of the field they got burned a few times by the quick out/bubble screens.

Noel looked good and made some good tackles for losses. Fletcher had a bit of a rough day in run support and in pass coverage. ALJ still plays way too far off and allows some easy throws. He also had trouble tackling against the bubbles. Asprilla looked good and made some tackles. Williams didn't play a ton but was ok. Hughes needs to stop throwing himself at people and start wrapping up on tackles. Rositano was ok. Sylvia was very good at times and bad at others. He hustles and is a pretty good tackler but made a stupid personal foul penalty.

We went with a heavy dose of 3-4 throughout the game. I appreciate it on two fronts. First, we have good depth at LB and are thin at DL. Second, it is something new. So many teams are ready for BC just based on the fact that we rarely diverge from our base and blueprint. I also liked that we blitzed heavily in the first half. The challenge was the second half. We continued to blitz but not at the same frequency nor the same effectiveness. My biggest problem was easing up before the first half. It only allowed three points, but it changed the mentality of the game.
Special Teams: B-

The Special Teams have actually been a bright spot on the season. Evans hasn't broken anything but still had good returns. So did Swigert on his one chance. Quigley kicked well. (Although he had a touchback on Spaz's dumb punt.)

Overall: D

I appreciate that BC tried new things. I appreciate that we showed some spark in the first half. But the inept handling of the last drive before the half cannot be ignored. Curious play calling. Head scratching clock management. Disorganization out of a timeout. Ultra conservative decision making on offense. Then capping it all off with passive Defense that allowed VT to move the ball down the field with ease. As I've said, that has nothing to do with injuries. It has nothing to do with past coaches. It was purely cowardice and ineptitude from this head coach.

Then later in the game after our second TD, the announcers and VT are expecting an onside kick. There was 9:12 left. We needed multiple possessions to keep any hope of staying in the game. Spaz kicked it. We wouldn't get the ball back until 3:43 after they scored again.

Spaz made an effort to show more passion. At the half he tried to fire up the team in the tunnel. What I don't think he understands is that while the "rah rah" is a nice first step, this team needs a lot more. We need a coach who is also willing to take chances and have his team prepared.


mod34b said...

Good comments ATL

Rettig is very inconsistent. Last week against Clemson he threw for 60+%. This week 43%.

He is very inaccurate. The most inaccurate passer in the ACC. Sure, he had no time to throw on many occasions, but also on many plays he did have time and missed.

His long balls are troubling because they are often short. He threw long balls short against NU that Momah fought for, he threw short against Clemson and again yesterday..

Deuce Finch is terrific. I wonder why it took half a season to move him up the depth chart

Agree completely on the prevent defense at end of the first half. it was the Spaz signal to begin accepting defeat which would come right after halftime. Spaz, as you note, was playing to not lose and probably was delighted to have 'won' the first half.

Our defense was awesome in the first half. What were they doing?

Spaz's enthusiasm was a new one. I think it shows how desperate he is to keep his job. If so, happily Spaz too sees the writing on the wall.

Our guys always look so tired in the second half. Are they not in tip top shape?

Erik said...

A good post would be to (put aside (up front) any issues with coaches' game management, coaches motivation of players, line play, and execution, and focus on the lack of player skill development. I feel like we could live with losses if our young guys were getting better and showing promise for the future. But to demosntrate lack of development, I can quickly point to:
- Jonathan Coleman. The #1 candidate for development. Limited football experience prior to BC and raw athletic talent. Is he progressing? Wasn't he making more of an impact last year?
- Rettig's decision making in the pocket
- Any offensive lineman

There's more if we look closer. I'm guessing there's more examples of players who aren't progressing compared to players who are. This falls on the staff. And I don't care about just blaming Spaziani -- what is Brock doing, what is Day doing, what is Devine doing, what is Siravo doing to address it all?

jim said...

I wish Rettig would get some pass protection. I believe his throws would be much better if he had a bit more time.

I agree Deuce Finch is looking good. Also, freshman Asprilla as well as all the line backers.

But, wasn't the sophomore quarterback, Logan of Virginia Tech a giant, at 6'6", 266 lbs., size 16 shoe? It took two to three tacklers to bring him down.

JBQ said...

I am sorry to hear about Dan Williams being removed from fullback. I watched several games and he was excellent. I would presume that he is being phased out because he is a senior. Spaz continuously wants to "play for the future". Somewhere, the future has to be "now". This means to me that he has been assured that he will be back next year. This is year three on a five year contract but he had an extension. That would mean a huge buyout. Rettig appears to be a very coachable and cooperative kid. He is still a "kid". He needs a coach. Maybe, Rogers was not the answer. However, it was obvious that Nite "quill" was a source of embarrassment. So, who is coaching him now? Is it really "the tooth fairy" and what are the ramifications for the "new kid" Suntrup?

EL MIZ said...

spaz has probably never heard the expression "don't talk about it, be about it."

it is one thing to start a "We are BC" chant in the tunnel (LOL seriously?); its another to thing to actually play to win the game, not go into the prevent, kick an onside kick, maybe do a fake punt on 4th down to try to convert, etc. He can start all of the chants in the tunnel he wants, but until he starts coaching like he wants to actually win the game, I don't think the players will buy into such nonsense.

also, BC is now all but eliminated from the bowl season, correct? we would need to win the rest of our games just to be 6-6, and that is counting 1 win over a FCS school (UMass). i don't think .500 teams automatically qualify. we have been outscored by D1 opponents almost 2:1 (167-86).

this will be one of the worst BC teams ever, and i honestly don't think the players are all that bad. kuechly is an all-american (and according to mel kiper will be a first round pick) along with KPL and devitto who are above-average, we have some skill players on offense (finch, swigert, andre williams, larmond, rettig). you can blame jags all you want, all signs point to a historically bad coaching job this season.

NEDofSavinHill said...

Rettig is a below average qb and has shown no improvement. Amidon and Lamont were both behind the dbs and he couldn't hit them. In the Umass game he threw 2 tds that the reciever had to wait for . They would have been ints against a 1A db. An essential part of a football program is recruiting and developing qbs. O'brien developed M. Hasselback,T. Hasselback, St. Pierre,Peterson, Ryan, Crane, Russel Wilson and Glennon. 8 quality college qbs. Under the new regime Gdf, Jags and Spaz no quality qbs. have been produced.Gdf et al are zero for 5 years . TOB is 8 for 15 years. Gdf is also zero for 20 years as an ad in hiring quality coaches.Gdf should go immediately unless he can prove that he bought the maintenance men lunch. The solution is York as ad and Leach as head coach. BC and the Acc should never be dictated to by a tv network. Maintain your independence.

Jimmy said...

jim -- even when Rettig has time he is not that accurate. Rettig's problem is not just pass protection

mod10aeagle said...

It's really hard to determine Rettig's potential as a passer because he can never be comfortable in the pocket. Even on those very rare occasions when there is an actual pocket for a few seconds, he's skittish like a dog getting into the trash -- knowing that he's going to get wacked any second. I think it affects his decision-making, his vision, and his mechanics. That's why he throws the ball too flat and over Amidon when he has a couple of steps on the db, or way underthrows Larmond when he's essentially gone. He's just wanting to chuck it as soon as he can. You'd think we'd be using more controlled roll-outs to move the pocket and buy our crappy o-line some leverage.

Bravesbill said...

That would require actual critical analysis, something Spaz is incapable of doing.

Darius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darius said...

Ned, you forgot to credit TOB for developing El Nokali, Foley, Power, Kamphaus, and both Fluties. I'm being tongue-in-cheek, but only because you're being ridiculous. You're giving credit to TOB for something he simply didn't do. He probably did more for Quinton Porter than any of the guys you DID name. First off, I'm not sure why Glennon is on the list. What has he done, ever? Torch South Alabama? Now, the star. Matt Ryan was/is a fantastic talent, yes. But he never came into his own under TOB. It took Jags, Logan, and his own obsessive filmroom work ethic to turn him into the polished All-Pro level QB he now is. Next, the Hasselbecks never developed at BC, which is why--despite tremendous upside from day 1--only one turned into a good NFL QB. The Packers had the luxury of time and developed Matt the way the Eagles failed to do for Tim. Same story with Russell Wilson, who wasn't even used properly enough to garner first-team all-ACC honors despite his obvious abilities, which are now being showcased by a better coaching staff at Wisconsin. Lastly, Peterson, St. Pierre, and Crane all stagnated or even regressed under the tutelage of TOB and Bible. That was apparent to all but you, apparently. Crane was a disaster when Logan got him, and was obviously improving by leaps and bounds when the unfortunate injury bug stopped that. I'm not saying Jags was an all-world coach, and certainly was no saint as a person, but he and his OC selection DID do a better job developing QBs in three years than TOB has done in 13. Giving O'Brien credit for Wilson's performance at UW and some of these other guys' NFL chops is as disingenuous as giving Jags credit for Dominique Davis, which you'll notice I didn't do.

About Rettig. I wasn't sold on him when he came to BC. I thought too much was expected of him, that he was being prematurely anointed the savior of the program before he ever threw a pass. Two partial seasons down, I'm a bigger believer in him than ever. It's been noted that he has spent a lot of time on his back. More than that, though, because he's not even in the top 10 in number of times sacked (he's #11), the issue is that he's been hurried CONSTANTLY. He's running for his life half the time. And even when he's not, he's still rushing things because he's learned to be paranoid. It's impressive to me that he's only thrown 6 picks so far, given that reality. Fact is, he's getting noticeably better at deciding whether to pass, tuck, or throw it away. It reminds me of another, more highly acclaimed guy recently who spent his first couple years learning that skill before ultimately blossoming in his third season at the helm, ND's Pickle boy. Still don't like him or ND, but he was a very smart quarterback by the end of his time in South Bend, and they would have been far worse without him.

Similarly, I have got to remind some of you, and inform others, that Glenn Foley was AWFUL for his first couple years at BC. It took three years for it all to click. If not for the fact that the BC OL is complete garbage right now, with little prospect of improving the next couple of years under this staff, I'd expect similar revelations from Rettig yet.

A couple last things, Ned, leaving alone the off-the-wall insanity of most of your tangential closing thoughts, I do want to note that all indications are that Donohue is going to be a fantastic coach at BC for a long time. My problem with GDF has more to do with who he's driven away--including Jags, Hughes, Inglese, and, yes, Tom O'Brien (whom I DO largely respect)--and how he's done it than who he's hired (Spaz aside, cuz that was a disaster from day 1).

Darius said...

I fixed some of my typos, but missed one: yes, I am aware that Jags and Logan were at BC for two--not three--years.