Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Clemson
Watching the game back was encouraging and frustrating at the same time. Our defense is solid. Sure Clemson didn't play their best, but our D was a real source of frustration for them. Plus the D as a whole is getting better every week. In my review it may come off like I am defending Rettig. That is not my intention. We needed him to have a great game and he didn't. But watching it back did make me realize that many of his late game issues were the result of successes he had early.
Like Addazio, I am not happy with the loss. We had a chance to win and blew it. And that is reflected in the overall grade. But I do feel like we are actually building towards something.
Early in the game Rettig made multiple plays by scrambling or moving in the pocket to keep plays alive and keep drives alive. Later in the game it obviously came back to haunt him. The fumble was really bad. He's also got to avoid sacks. He's still a little too hesitant to make throws in tight coverage. Our guys aren't getting "open" but there are plays there. Rettig needs to get rid of the ball faster. I don't know the dynamics huddling late. I don't know if he is following orders, but Addazio was admonishing him to move faster and he didn't. It was a good start for his day and a bad end. He needs to play better.
I thought Williams ran hard. He was their key and they loaded the box, yet he was still getting positive yardage. There were no explosive plays but it was solid. Willis' TD was a great run on his part. He made a good cut, outran people and stayed inbounds. He was bottled up on most of the other plays. There was an option play where he got a late pitch, held on and got pounded. He's tough. Sinkovec looked good on his pass.
Amidon had the big game I hoped for. He caught tough passes and ran away when he got the chance. I wish we were forcing it to him more. The Tight Ends were fine. Spiffy looked good and the holding call on him late was borderline.
This was somewhat typical of this Oline. The run blocking was good and the pass blocking wasn't. Vardaro played the best. Gallik probably had the roughest day. He let guys dart by him and also got pushed around a bit. Patchan struggled a bit on the pass coverage. White was fine. Williams was good.
I am okay with the play calling. It is conservative, but we do build on plays like the play action, the counter and the bootlegs. I liked getting the ball to Amidon on runs (you have to get it to your playmakers). My biggest problem is how we approached the 4th quarter. Regardless of where the blame falls (Day, Rettig, Addazio, all of the above), we didn't execute a good "two-minute drill." That's on the OC.
Ramsey had a good game. Gutapfel made a play. Edabali was good and looks so much better now that he's allowed to move around. Wujciak played well and was able to get consistent penetration.
KPL had a nice day and made big plays all over the field. Daniels looks so, so much better than he did in the beginning of the year. He's a solid tackler, hard hitter and in position make plenty of plays. Divitto was fine.
The DBs as a group are played well and are much improved. Sylvia's bit hit caused a fumble. Asprilla made some solid tackles. Bryce Jones looked really good. Williams was good. Rositano -- who I've been tough on -- broke up a pass. ALJ was the guy who got picked on a bit, but he was going up against the best.
Brown called a good game. As I've said before calling a game is a bit like Rock-Paper-Scissors, but what I appreciate about Brown is that we are showing different looks and keeping them guessing. We didn't blitz much early and then did later. Plus we got pressure in the backfield naturally. We got beat a few times by their skill guys but I feel like our players have a good understanding of what they should do and are making good plays.
Special Teams: B
Freese was good on kicks and punts. We missed one key opportunity to pin them but it didn't mean much in the scheme of the game. Spiffy and Willis both did well on their respective returns but didn't break anything big. At least they were aggressive.
Clearly Addazio had the team prepared. The early gameplan worked well and the team seemed confident and willing to fight. The play I was most proud of was the Amidon TD. Clemson scored and we answered quickly. It was a huge moment and had me believing we would win. Good teams answer scores. But it wasn't enough.
The bigger issue was Addazio's use of the timeouts and clock management. As Austin Tedesco pointed out, Addazio's actions show that he's not concerned with preserving timeouts.
Found while working on a BC football piece during layover: BC has only entered last 5 minutes of one half this season w/ all 3 TOs left.
— Austin Tedesco (@TedescoHeights) October 13, 2013
There are two schools of thoughts on timeouts. One is to use them whenever they are needed. The idea is that execution of a current play is more important than preserving time later. The other philosophy -- especially in a close game -- is that you don't burn them and only use TOs later in the game to maximize your possessions. Despite our scores yesterday, we are not a quick strike offense. Our current approach is to grind it out. With that mindset, sustaining drives becomes critical, so you can rationalize using them. If it becomes a trend with Addazio and costs us games, then I will readdress it.
The other game management issue was the lack of hurry up and the punting. This is another case where I will give Addazio the benefit of the doubt. Clemson is not a clock killing team, so punting and playing for possession when you are still within two scores makes sense. And as far as hurry up vs huddling, it wasn't a good idea, but I also think it can be explained by trying to execute rather than rush, just to save clock. If Spiffy's not called for a hold, Amidon's end around puts us just outside of the red zone with three minutes and down ten. Score and then try the onsides.
Overall, the game was a loss so I cannot give a great grade. But I remain encouraged.