Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Virginia Tech
As the game happened I was very skeptical of Addazio's clock management before the half and our seeming lack of adjustments throughout the game. But watching back you see that those things weren't really part of the problem. BC didn't play great, but played well enough to win and that is a credit to Addazio. The lack of adjustments -- or long stretches where what worked early stopped working -- paid off in the end when our stubbornness led to big plays on both offense and defense. Many college games can turn when a player messes up or one team gets a late lead. BC kept playing hard and the tide did turn. That confidence in the plan and the players is also due to the new coaches and their play to win attitude. Watching back -- knowing that we had won -- revealed how the team is starting to reflect its coach's positivity. Even at halftime, Addazio told the TV folks we were doing what we planned on offense, we just needed to make more defensive plays. And he was right.
My gut told me Rettig played better, but watching the game back, I saw a few things that were troubling. There were more plays to be had and more guys getting open down field who he either didn't see or didn't want to force things towards them. I don't mind the checkdowns when they are the only thing open, but that wasn't always the case. To Rettig's credit, when he did pass, most of his throws were on time and fast. His one ugly duckling was the long ball to Amidon. Not sure what happened there (did he try to get it out early because of pressure?) but the play did work. He also ran more. As I said, those few runs did help him and did loosen up the defense. As long as those big holes are there, he needs to keep doing that.
Williams' first TD was another great run. He used his blockers as much as he could close to the line and then ran through a few arm tacklers for the score. He punished VT guys all day and yet still had energy late in the game. I am starting to worry that we are overworking him. I hope we ease up a bit this week. Willis didn't get many touches but had one nice little burst. Sinkovec's TD was a nice run after the short catch. He's also blocking well.
We have used Amidon much on the screen lately, so he is having to do all the work by himself getting open downfield. He did a good job holding onto what did come his way. He also drew a nice pass interference (that was offset anyway). Now all we need him to do is turn some of these tough catches into TDs. As we face less talented secondaries, I expect a few more big plays. Jackson held onto the balls that came his way. Miller had one nice grab and then got hurt.
The offensive line probably played their best game of the season. Minimal mistakes and good push throughout. Patchan was solid. Gallick had his best game of the year. Williams was strong. Vardaro was pulling and couldn't get his assignment out of the way. The guy then tripped up Andre on what would have been a big, big play. White was fine.
I know it comes off like I am defending anything Day does, but I think our gameplans, while conservative and a bit boring to watch, are sound. We play to our strengths and limit mistakes. This week we had some early success. Then they countered and we got stagnant, only to recover later. The later adjustments -- including weakside runs and more downfield passing were good calls. I also think they improved Rettig's comfort level.
Ramsey played well early and even as he went down, the DLine stayed strong. Edebali was very good. I am now starting to believe he might get NFL interest. His speed is decent and he's using his length well (see the critical tipped ball). Wujciak played a lot of snaps and got good push.
This was probably the best game of KPL's career. He's always covered a lot of space and been a good tackler but this was one of those games where he was reading everything right and his anticipation led to multiple big plays -- including the pick 6. Daniels had a very, very good game too. He made some nice tackles and started the pressure that led to the INT/TD. Daniels' size when blitzing the A gaps is a great disruption...especially since we've lost some DT depth. Divitto's game was not as good as his fellow starters. While he got a sack early and drew a critical holding call, he still missed too many tackles.
Asprilla was having a good game even before his INT. He made some nice tackles throughout and had good coverage most of the day. I don't know if Sylvia was still thinking about last week, but he wasn't as sharp. He missed a potential tipped INT and was playing too far off on in coverage. Williams was ok -- although giving huge cushions. Jones had a nice sack. Overall though the DBs didn't tackle as well as they have in previous games and it cost us a good deal of yardage.
Right when the game ended, I wrote that the defensive stats were a bit misleading. Logan threw for the ton of yards but I don't think he nor VT ever felt comfortable. And much of the yardage was a result of missed tackles -- not poor schemes. Still I felt like we did play too much zone behind the front four or front seven. Maybe there was fear after our other losses of letting up the big play. Maybe it was just to try something new. I don't know. I do know that the blitzing worked and we probably could have and should have used it more often.
Special Teams: B+
Freese is steady as they come on his field goals. His punting -- while not all league -- is getting better. Part of that is also our punt coverage.
The kick return coverage was not as clean. We had some poor tackling and one where no one seemed to keep their lane.
Willis didn't get to do much with his returns. Dudeck also had plenty of people around him on their few punts.
There was a surprising amount of nitpicking among BC fans regarding this game. The message boards and comments sections tend towards criticism, but I think some of the complaints about this win are a bit misguided.
While the play calling might still be a bit conservative, I think you have to judge possessions and points as the key result. BC's failed drives still moved the ball a bit and established the game's tempo and approach. Without those stuffed runs, BC wouldn't have the big plays that worked later. And for those who say that outside of Williams two big TDs, the running game was not that efficient can't just cherry pick the bad plays. Williams' scores those TDs in part because the Hokies were cheating up close to the line. Why were they cheating up? Because of what BC did earlier.
I am willing to defend the defensive effort for the same reason. While BC did allow a bunch of yards to an inconsistent QB, those same defenders created problems and turnovers. I hope in a next few games -- where we face fewer playmakers -- BC uses more man coverage. It is risk/reward, but I also think it will help our returning and younger players develop.
Let me return to Addazio's game management. Right now it seems somewhat one track. But I think he's got a better feel for the game than his reputation might be. He knew the offense wasn't the problem early in the game and he was right. I am sure that confidence/borderline stubbornness will blow up in our faces at some point, but right now Addazio is proving to be a better than expected game manager.
Virginia Tech is somewhat of a Paper Tiger, but it is still an important conference win and the whole program should be proud.