Second viewing thoughts and grade report: NC State
Watching this back sort of felt like the Maryland game and left me scratching my head. How is TOB's team this bad in his 5th year? I never thought he would be taking the Wolfpack to the BCS but I still thought they would be respectable. Holloway (who I will get to later) was running at Glennon nearly at will. We haven't seen that from him...ever. How have Jim Bridge and Don Horton screwed up their OLine to that extent? As for BC, the first half was pretty good football. The second half was poor and we were lucky NC State didn't steal the game from us.
Rettig started off strong. He was sharp on his throws and made some nice adjustments. Then as the game progressed things weren't as good. The TD pass to Larmond was perfect, but the INT was bad (even though Elliot shares blame, Chase forced it). But given what he was asked to do and that he was yanked in and out, 9-13 is not a bad day. Bordner isn't really a QB at this point. We didn't ask him to throw. We didn't even add much variety when he is in the game. It was mostly the end around. No zone-option read. No passing. I don't know how long we can do this with him. It seems like TOB's guys adjusted to his presence. In the offseason he will have to improve his passing if we ever want to consider him as a real QB option.
Williams got most of the carries. He had a few nice runs, but I still think he lacks great cutting ability in traffic. He's best in open space and off tackle. Finch returned but didn't get to do much. Sinkovec has some good lead blocks. Glad Kimble is back and hopefully he will be used more in the passing game soon.
Larmond made some nice plays and runs after the catch. Amidon also fought hard for a first down. Amidon had some success early with the end around plays but they stuffed it as the game progressed. Because of limited throws we didn't see much from Swigert or the Tight Ends. Naples was okay with his grab. Elliott looked like he ran the wrong route on Chase's INT.
The offensive line was better as a whole. Wetzel looked really good in run blocking. But for some reason at times they pulled him to give Richman some snaps at LT. It was a mistake as Richman looked overmatched. Cleary and White played well on the right side. Spinney was okay. Vardaro made some good plays and had a few issues at other times. Collectively they still look terrible running screens. Gallik also got in for a few snaps.
I liked the play calling to begin the game. We established the run and then challenged deep. We throw a variety of passes and used the wildcat stuff in the redzone. Then in the second half, we pulled back. Ultra conservative and no variety. NC State adjusted. It was not a good performance. We are lucky we won with only 14 points. I guess my biggest gripe is that Brock didn't add any new wrinkles to the Bordner plays. How can you use him that much and not have more passing involved. It was totally one note and a waste of Bordner and those possessions.
Max Holloway really deserved the star of the game notice he received. He did a great job rushing the passer and playing the run. Quinn was better too but still had his stupid penalty. Edabali played well -- although he didn't get as much pressure on Glennon. Appiah took up a lot of space in the middle. Ricci didn't play as much. O'Neal was in for a bit and made a nice play.
Kuechly played well. As did Duggan. Divitto was good. However all three allowed too much space in the zones and hence we were killed by their Tight Ends. Keyes played well in limited time.
Asprilla is not getting enough attention but he might be the best of the young DBs. He makes good plays on the ball and tackles well. ALJ wasn't as active. Fletcher looked good and made a real nice adjustment on his INT. Sylvia was okay. Hughes is getting better at his tackling. I really like how Williams plays. He's aggressive and a good tackler.
When things are working the coordinator looks good. For the most part, I liked what McGovern did on Saturday. We used a lot of 3-4. This shouldn't have been a surprise to NC State yet they didn't know how to handle it. Even with five blocking three, we got a lot of one on ones on the edge. Since we were getting pressure there wasn't a need to do much blitzing. What I appreciated is that we have finally adjusted to bubble screens and passes to the flats. There was good contain and tackling any time Glennon stretched the field side to side. There one big play was a broken scramble, but overall we played much better defense than we did against Florida State.
Special Teams: C
Not a great day on special teams. A missed FG. The normally clutch Quigley with a kick out of bounds and some average punts. Neither Evans or Amidon broke anything on their kick returns. The punt returns were all fair catches.
The one point I did want to mention on special teams were two solid tackles by James McCaffrey. They were nice open field takedowns.
If you recall, earlier this year Blauds wrote an article in Spaz's defense about how many close losses BC had. He was trying to frame the season as unlucky. BC's not unlucky. We are just poorly coached and we were lucky to win this game. The guys played hard and the defense made some crucial plays, but Spaz's approach in the second half was to sit on a minimal lead. We had no rhythm on offense as the game wore on. He wasn't aggressive in his use of timeouts to end the first half. It was just another mismanaged game where we had the good fortune to go against an equally mismanaged squad. How can you not challenge downfield more with such a minimal lead? How can you allow you coordinators to become so predictable in a tight game?
Spaz got a little chocked up in his on field interview after the game. I imagine this season has been trying and he's just thankful for the staff and players still playing hard. He's seen enough football to know that many guys and programs would give up in a similar situation.
Fortunately our guys are not quitters. I expect they will play hard this week against Notre Dame too. But Spaz should remember to funnel his thoughts and preparedness into the Irish just like he does when taking on TOB. The TOB game might mean a lot to Gene and Spaz, but Notre Dame will mean a lot more to the people who count most -- the typical BC fans.