Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Virginia Tech
It was pretty pathetic. We had some guys killing it out there, we didn't play all that well yet still had a chance to win. Only our Head Coach gave up. I will get into Spaz's flawed logic below, but this game was lost on many fronts. It was a sadly fitting end to this home slate.
Rettig was all over the place. He made some nice passes early that his teammates dropped. Then he started forcing things a bit and moving away from pressure that wasn't always there. He settled down enough and was good late. Statistically it was a horrible day. Reality it was okay. When you factor in the season and the circumstances, he played well enough.
Finch and Dudeck were the best part of the offense. They caught passes well. They found holes and both ran hard. They also both had the same negative: blitz pick up.
The WRs and Tight Ends killed the team on Saturday. Larmond dropped some easy passes. Amidon missed a TD. Evans missed a deep ball. Pantale had huge issues blocking. I don't know if the glares were bad from the sun or they are dejected, but if just a few of those guys make one more play, this might have been a different game.
The OLine had their best running blocking game in weeks. Gallik also had his best game. Vardaro was good. Both tackles were inconsistent. The pass blocking wasn't as sound, but there weren't as many breakdowns as you saw in the Notre Dame game.
Doug Martin has some brilliantly designed plays...that he doesn't use enough. The pass to Pantale out of the backfield with a play fake has worked all year (we used it with Kimble early) but we only used it once. There were some other plays that looked good too but weren't emphasized. I am glad the run game started clicking and credit him for faking to Amidon to hold the edge. Our redzone performance was also a mixed bag.
The broadcast team sung the praise of Ricci, but I thought he got pushed off the ball a lot. Credit him for sticking with the plays and making some tackles. Murray was okay. Edebali had his best game in a few weeks. He closed better and made some heads up plays throughout. Abdesmad got a lot of snaps but didn't do much.
Clancy played really well and made some played behind the line of scrimmage. He covered a lot of space and probably had his best game since Northwestern. Divitto was also improved and made some good tackles. VT's passing game was a mess, so they couldn't exploit him like other teams have. KPL made a few nice plays.
Jim Noel had his best game in weeks. Maybe it was because he spent more snaps at Corner. He made some nice tackles and was aggressive. Sylvia struggled a bit in pass coverage. Rositano played well. The batted ball off his teammate into a VT bomb was just unlucky. Simmons was fine. Asprilla was fine.
We substituted much less this week. I don't know if it was because of performance or because the 1st teams played well in the first half. We will never know if it impacted things, but you have to wonder if all the second half points allowed we in part because of fatigue.
Special Teams: C
The killer Special Teams mistake was allowing their long kick return. I still don't know what happened. There wasn't a big mistake. Just guys missing tackles and looking very very slow. It is like we handled the return in a fog.
Spiffy was good. One thing I tweeted about him is that he's our bravest punt returner in years. He's willing to return it even in heavy traffic when he is likely to get hit.
Levano and Freese both punted to mixed results. I did like the use of rugby style.
I wrote a draft of a longer post on the probability of OT but scrapped it. It was getting long-winded and missing the point. This is the summary:
-- The last possession in regulation has real value and is more valuable than an OT possession simply because Virginia Tech is not guaranteed an equal possession (like they would be in the "innings" format of College Football OT)
-- The probability of the worst outcome in regulation (a turnover leading to a VT score) was lower than the probability of best outcome (a BC score). The most probable outcome was a BC punt.
-- A BC punt may have allowed for a VT score and win, but the probability of that score after our possession was much worse than the probability of VT winning in Overtime.
-- Statistically -- using just winning scenarios probabilities -- BC made the mistake of giving up possession and not attempting a regulation win.
Spaz told the Heights that they had studied and practiced those situations. But in his whole explanation he never once mentions probability or advance statistics. I don't know, but I would bet it never even came up in his practice scenarios. I know their are smart guys on the staff, but do you think they want to explain to Spaz that things have changed and you have to approach things differently? Has he created that kind of culture where challenging thoughts and perspectives are welcome? What do you think? Based simply on his four years of misusing the clock, possessions and timeouts, I bet Spaz either hasn't read the data used by guys like Kelly, Belichick or god forbid the Football Outsiders.
These things are not foolproof or infallible. Smart teams and smart coaches lose games all the time. But what Spaz did was cowardly and ignorant and his impassioned and dismissive defense of his mistake shows he still doesn't get it. Thankfully we only have one more game of this nonsense.