Sunday, November 24, 2013

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Maryland

Maryland blew this game. That much was obvious watching it back. I am not trying to discount what the guys did. It was a hard-fought win and plenty of guys stepped up, but Maryland really coughed it up and messed up the clock. But you know who cares? Not us. A few Terps may be crying in their beers, but BC fans will remember this as a wild finish that went our way.

Offense: B-

Rettig's number stunk, but it was a streaky game. Some of his passes were way off early, but later he looked good. When some of his passes sail so far out of bounds, I have to think he's being told to throw it away. Watching the INT, I think he threw that one away too and just didn't see the Safety out there waiting. There was no other explination. At this point, this isn't the season I expected for Rettig, but he's doing enough to help BC win.

Let me get the nitpicking out of the way. Williams isn't always going to adjust when an unexpected hole opens up. He's also not going to make a gang of tacklers miss (and Maryland seemed to wait back for him, so they could contain). But he will pound you. And pound you like no other BC back I can remember. That's what makes these fourth quarter outburst so impressive. I really do think he's worn them down at that point. He's not explosively fast, but he's running harder than the most of the people chasing him. It's awesome to watch. This has been one of the most impressive stretches I can remember for any BC athlete in any BC sport. A lot has to happen for him to win the Heisman (which I will get into this week) but we all owe Williams a "thank you" for being the anchor of this team. Of the other RBs, Willis didn't do much with his limited touches. I would like to see us pass to him more. Sinkovec opened up some good holes.

The Offensive Line is at their best when they are moving. Harris Williams played well. So did Ian White. Gallik screwed up a snap that led to a Maryland TD. He also had some issues with guys darting his gaps on run plays. Vardaro was solid.

I was glad to see Crimmins make some plays. They weren't game breakers, but they were the most he's shown so far this year. Amidon dropped a catchable ball early but made up for it with the huge TD catch. Naples dropped one before getting the big catch later. All the Tight Ends blocked well.

I thought the game was well designed and well called. As much as we stick with the run even when it is unproductive, it does help establish the explosive plays in the second half. I don't know if we are wearing them out or lulling them to sleep but it works. Many of the second half passes were really well designed and well timed. I also loved giving it to Williams even though we were behind and running out of time. He's our best player. A good OC realizes that you've got to get him the ball.

Defense: B

I know the DLine is very thin, but I don't know why they are not making more plays. They weren't bad...just not doing anything to change the game. Wujciak played well and has been coming on of late. He wasn't penetrating but was run stuffing. Edebali was fine. Mihalik had a nice snack and seemed to disrupt some passes. Rudolph didn't fill up the stat sheet but was good in spots.

Daniels was really good again. He's got good speed for big LB. Keyes made some nice plays and looked good rushing off the edge. KPL was active early and then was off the field for stretches. Don't know if he was 100%. Divitto led the team in tackles, but still had some issues missing tackles and in coverage.

It was a shame that Bryce Jones fumbled the punt and got called for pass interference right after, because otherwise he had a strong game. Asprilla dropped a potential INT, but otherwise played well. Sylvia was good. They kept throwing at ALJ. Not sure if that was because they saw something or just because of whom he was covering. He played off and allowed plenty of catches, but didn't make any big mistakes.

Statistically this was one of the better defensive games that BC has played. I didn't love how off we played on some of the WRs, but it worked for the most part. We also did a good job of waiting and containing Brown.

Special Teams: C+

The biggest Special Teams play of the game was obviously the block. Based on the stunt, it looks like BC had it scouted well and had a block on. Or maybe they just lucked out (the snap was low). Either way, it was critical.

Freese nailing the game winner was equally huge.

Everything else on Special Teams was terrible. The fumbled punt. Our punt and kick coverage. Even Willis was contained.

As bad as the returned PAT was, I don't think that was a case of the players not knowing the rules. More likely they didn't even realize it had been caught and returned until it was too late.

Overall: B

We are still dealing with a very small sample size, but I am starting to think Addazio is a good game manager. Part of that is playing the percentages and part of it is playing hunches. Could he be getting lucky? Maybe. But it is working. To me the biggest example of him managing the game well is sticking with Williams in the 4th quarter. Down 11, we kept grinding it out. A coach on cruise control might start passing. But in the case of BC, that actually doesn't make sense. Our running attack is much more efficient and explosive. Then on the second TD, we threw it off of play action. It all worked. I even liked the one attempt with Willis before letting the clock rundown. I know I will nitpick in the future, but for now, I like what Addazio is doing.

The other important head coaching takeaway was not panicking. Players feed off of the emotion of the coach. These guys are clearly buying in, because they didn't fold. That is also a change from recent past.

As I keep writing: BC surpassed most expectations for the season. Credit to Addazio. Now let's keep going.


eagleboston said...

I went to Boston College in the late 80's and I don't recall us ever singing the Alma Mater. We barely knew For Boston. Both songs were written by T.J. Hurley in the 1880's. Does anyone know what year the Alma Mater was resurrected and incorporated at the end of BC games in Alumni? I'm guessing the late 90's or early 2000's?

CT said...

Let me guess.

You're going to criticize it.

mod34b said...

ATL - good report, but you have left out a major contributor: Matt Patchan.

First, did you know he was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week last week for his NCSU work:

"OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Matt Patchan, Boston College, Sr., 6-7, 300, Tampa, Fla.

Patchan graded out at 92 percent with five knockdowns and two plus blocks, paving the way for running back Andre Williams to establish a Boston College and ACC single-game rushing record of 339 yards in the team’s 38-21 home victory over NC State on Saturday.  The individual performance by Williams marked the highest single-game rushing performance in the FBS this season. Combined with the efforts of freshman RB Myles Willis, Boston College rushed 53 times for 420 yards, marking the first 400-plus yard rushing effort since it totaled 518 yards on the ground against Massachusetts in 1973."

This week Patchan was awesome. Should be an All-ACC selection.

Look at the ESPN highlight videos for Williams' 23 yard run to the 3, his 72 yard TD and the 36 yard scamper to put Freese in position for the win.

Patchan delivers key and devasting blocks in each instance. Yes, It is no surprise that the last run went to Williams. But it is also not surprising that the run went to Patchan's side. Williams ran through a massive hole created by Patchan and Gallick. Great play designt. 9 defenders in the box. BC has no wide outs. Everyone is tightly bunched. Deceptive guard pull to the right. , defense bites right, Williams (by design) goes left, and field is wide open for Andre.

But the best play might be Patchan's work on Williams' 23 yard run. Patchan lined up in the backfield as a halfback/slot back.!! And he mashed the OLB creating a great lane for Williams.

Our lines work is quite intricate with lots of pulling, unbalanced positioning. . Etc.

Claver2010 said...

They have started to move Patchan around a lot more in the last several games. He's athletic enough to get to the 2nd level and simply has been delivering devastating blocks.

eddierock said...

I was at the game on saturday, would offer a couple of observations:
a) it was cold.
b) With just over 10 minutes left, BC down 23-10, you still believed BC could win. Looking at the sideline, the players were intently engaged, the coaches were coaching. there was no quit. Think back to the last time a BC team was confident it could still win a game, down 2 scores in the 4th? Probably back to Matty Ice days. The game was never over as long as he had a chance to get on the field. Same vibe on this team,except it is not a QB and his arm, it is a running back with his legs. On any given play, Andre can take it to the house. Huge impact on the team. And I say awesome coaching to keep giving him opportunities, even with time running out. And he delivered.
c) We spend a lot of time on this blog wringing our hands about the BC game day experience, how many fans are going to show up, are there enough BC students, did they arrive on time, etc. All well deserved introspection, but let me tell you, Maryland has nothing on BC. For their "senior day", they generously claim some 34,000 attendees. that might have been sold tix, but i can assure you there were far less fans at that game. The student section was small and mostly quiet. for a school with an undergrad population roughly three times the size of BC's, our superfans out perform them w/o question.
d) Close by offering a huge thank you to the coaching staff. what they have pulled off this year is amazing. Pulling out this game was huge and epitomized what they have done. As everyone no doubt saw on TV, it was a crazy game and at times both teams looked really bad on offense. Third down conversions were appalling for both teams. Yet on this cold November night, playing on someone elses field, in a game that was not going well, BC found a way to win. Absolutely best BC win I have been on hand to witness since 1993win at Notre Dame...

Go Eagles!

Eagle in Maryland said...

Concerning attendance problems at Maryland, here's a good piece from earlier this year when Scott Van Pelt (ESPN) weighed in on the topic:

Deacon Drake said...

Top 3 reasons to get Andre Williams to New York.

1) His 2073 yards and counting is 29% more than the second place rusher.
2) The delta between Williams and second is 462 yards (sure, only a couple games work), which is almost the same difference between 2nd and 14th.
3) Williams has been 51% of a 7-4… not sure what his WAR is, but can't be far behind Winston, who gets to touch the ball every play.

eddierock said...

Eagle in Maryland; thanks, great piece.

Oh, and I forgot one observation when I wrote the above:

e) Thank god Randy Edsall is a pompous ass. Trying to freeze the Freese?, the best kicker in college football?...C'mon man...

bceagle93 said...

eagleboston -- Tom Coughlin resurrected the singing of Alma Mater during his stint.

Bravesbill said...

I was delighted by the win on Freese's FG but I do have to admit I was kind of hoping the game would go into OT just so Williams could get more yards.

Legal Eagle said...

Before the season, Bill did his "crazy predictions piece." I remember thinking that the one about topping our sack total from the last 3 years combined was a bold one. I checked and we are 9th in the nation with 33 sacks, right on pace to get the 38 we need. Bill also has a chance to be correct on BC winning 3 road games if we can top Cuse.
Also, Bill's "what will happen" post was pretty spot on, as he was only wrong about NC State.

But then I came across something that I am sure he is thrilled to have been so wrong about: his prediction that Andrew Williams would not break 500 yards.

The reason that I remembered the sack prediction from the preseason was because it struck me as nearly impossible. Andre Williams not topping 500 yards? That seemed strangely plausible. We couldn't run the ball to save our lives last year and we had morphed into a pass first offense. Andre wasn't anything special over the last few years and always seemed a bit banged up. His rushing totals in his career were 461, 517, and 584. It made sense that he would share carries with some younger guys so we could see what we had for next year while running behind a bad OL.
I don't bring this up to mock Bill, as I love this blog and I am grateful for his contributions. Instead,I bring it up to highlight just how low profile Andre was before this season.
Kudos to Andre, the OL, the coaches, and the entire team. BC football is fun again!

NEDofSavinHill said...

Great exciting game against the Terps. That's nine out of eleven. Quite impressive. Didn't Dylan write " Where have all the Flowers Gone"? Where have the Day critics gone? Over their last eight games BC is averaging 33 a contest. Two tds better than last year. Good luck to Maryland in the Big 10. They should follow the Louisville example and settle the case vs. the ACC. Offer $30 mil. Borrow it and pay it off with your increased revenue from your new conference. Don't leave it in the hands of judges. No one may like the outcome. 2. Freese should change his first name to " Nuclear". He would immediately be endorsed by Sen. Markey and Dr. Caldicott thus ensuring the Groza award. 3. The Syracuse game will be on Regional tv. Thus denying AW a national audience for the third straight week. Is Espn trying to hide his record breaking campaign? Espn U will be showing UConn nationally instead. The country is eagerly awaiting the 1-9 Huskies. 4. Too bad BC didn't have UMass on the schedule this year instead of USC. AW might have 2300 yards already. Is Duke really the #3 team in the ACC? If they beat UNC and finish 10-2 it would be hard to argue. If they lose and VT wins VT takes the Coastal because of the tiebreaker. Duke would finish 9-3 but would have losses to Pitt and GT, two middle of the pack teams. BC's defeats came from three of the best teams in the country( FSU. USC and Clemson).We'll see what happens this weekend but BC may be the third best team in the ACC. Don't rely on the dizzy females at Espn for an accurate portrayal. All praise to BB, Daz, his staff and the players. Thanks again ATL for this site and Happy Thanksgiving.

Tim said...

ACC weekly honors for Williams, Patchan, Freese:!/news-detail/ACC-Football-Players-of-the-Week-Announced_11-25-13_fyme44

CT said...

Is there any scuttlebootie on bowl slotting yet?

Were there bowl reps at the Md. game?

Which ones will be at Syracuse?

Figured there might be some whispers/trial balloons out there...

Joseph said...

Both Military and Advocare were at game.

Lenny Sienko said...

TV commentators mentioned that Independence Bowl reps were present at Maryland game.

Joseph said...

Interesting post asking current whereabouts of Day critics. Any takers? Or is there any chance that it is now possible that he and Daz put together realistic game plans that utilize our strengths? I'd like to look ahead to the next couple of years when we have a balanced offense. What will Day do then?

JBQ said...

Let's look at the crux of the season. AW will be gone as will Rettig. There has been no attempt to develop a replacement for either. This means a nightmare once this season is over.

Claver2010 said...


Joseph said...

good lord. Did we expect AW to do what he did? Did we expect 7 Ws and maybe 8? No chance that decent coaching and hard work will bring results? good lord, get a life.