Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Army
At times when I watch these games back I struggle to figure out what went wrong. This one wasn't very tough. We had numerous breakdowns on defense. The offense was far from perfect, but we scored enough points. Spaz's game management was cowardly and he's clearly not learning from his own mistakes. But even then his miscues could have been overcome if we had just played better defense. Make one more stop. One more big play and this is a different game. Didn't we justify this hire based on Spaz's defensive acumen?
Rettig was okay. He's not setting to throw as often and that is going to come back to haunt him soon. He missed some open men and had a few bad throws. He's doing a better job of moving in the pocket. Of course the protection around him is getting even worse.
It is a shame we wasted Andre Williams' best day. He obviously had a great run on the 99 yarder, but he also had some other nice runs. Also of note, he was solid in his pass blocking. Dudeck looked good and showed good awareness in getting open. Sinkovec was fine, although he dropped a pass.
I only counted three drops on the day for the WRs and Tight ends. Amidon was good and got plenty of space. We probably should have gone to him more. Coleman was fine. Swigert was good. Larmond finally got a pass thrown his way. Porter allowed a sack.
I was wrong about the Oline. I thought they were progressing and just had a rough game against Clemson. Against a tiny Army front they looked terrible. They rarely overpowered in the run game and made multiple mistakes in pass protection. Cleary and Wetzel both allowed sacks. Vardaro was better. White made some mistakes (although many of our best runs came off of his blocks). Gallik allowed too many guys through. At one point he and White got totally faked on a simple Army stunt.
I thought the play calling was fine. We scored enough to win and Martin had some new wrinkles (the end around to Amidon). We also built off of plays that worked like Dudeck releasing late on the wheel route. Williams' big run was the same play we used to get a big fourth down in the Northwestern game. If I had one issue it was that we didn't attack enough downfield. Army's DBs are bad and we could have exploited them more. I thought the play calling on the final drive was terrible. How can you not try one pass? But we don't know how much of that was Martin and how much was Spaz.
Once again our problems on defense started up front. How did we not dominate a game against Army? Even if you say we don't have the talent, we still have the size. Yet no push. No big plays. No making the B back pay. Terrible all around. Appiah played a lot but didn't do much. Rudolph was ok but got pushed around. Edebali saved a TD and also blocked a pass, but missed plenty of tackles. Abdesmad was a disaster on assignments and contain. Did you see how many times they ran right by him? Ricci and Murray played a little and probably should have played more. It is not like our other DTs looked good.
Divitto played like his 2011 self. Much better effort and productivity overall. Clancy was not as strong. He made some tackles but also missed and got stuck in traffic on many of Army's big plays in the middle. Duggan was aggressive but I think it cost us a few times.
Sylvia played really well and did a good job shedding blocks. Maybe we should keep him a corner. He can cover the short stuff yet still provide support on run plays. Rositano was okay. He and Noel had some big hits but also missed some assignments on their big plays. Simmons was fine in limited action. Asprilla was fine but often away from the action.
The announcers mentioned our spacing a few different times. It even seemed obvious to me that there was a problem. Our DTs were a mile apart at times and Army exploited the space with runs right up the middle. Where is the position coaching? Why didn't they spot that? Why didn't we try something new? I know that facing an option is a guessing game and about assignments, but we didn't even try to pressure them or even shift on the Dline on occasion. BTW, prior to this game Army completed 11 passes all season. They completed five on us and attempted 12. They clearly saw something. Yet no adjustments -- even as they were still throwing late in the 4th quarter. Getting beat like that by Army is all about preparation. Many of our guys were out of ace or missed assignments. We are no longer well coached on that side of the ball.
Special Teams: D
Our punting is bad. But we are not making things better by putting Levano in these pressure situations. Is it time to try Powell or someone else? I don't know, but it is something to think about. McCaffery's bad touch on the final return was a mental lapse. When things start to fall apart, those are the things that happen. Guys press. They think too much. It was a factor. We also made mistakes on our punt returns and didn't do much in our kick coverage.
Outside of our roster issues, the decline on both lines and the inability to stop any type of offense, I felt there were two areas where Spaz's mismanagement costs us the game. The first was allowing Army to kick a field goal right before half. How many times has Spaz mismanaged either our or our opponent's final possession before the half? At what point does he learn that you can't just go conservative in the final minutes? You have to keep the other team guessing. You have to try something new. Other teams will scout us.
The other blatant mismanagement was the running it three times after the fourth down stop. Then confusion regarding the punt and the delay of game! So we put our struggling punter in a deeper hole?! Our best player is Chase Rettig. What we do best is pass. Army is terrible against the pass. Why not try one pass on the last drive to get the first down?
Spaz stinks. Plain and simple. This was just the latest game where we lost to a team with less talent and where we screwed up possessions and didn't make any adjustments.
I'll stick to my belief that our talent is better than our record. Our coaching is not. I don't think this is the worst BC team of all time and think we will find another win or two before the season is over. If we do it won't be because of Spaz. It will be in spite of him.