Sunday, December 01, 2013

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Syracuse

If you play enough close games some are not going to break your way. At this point in his tenure and rebuild it is encouraging that we were in position to win this often. Watching back you realize how lucky we were. Syracuse moved the ball all day and would've had more yardage if not for some really short fields. I will defend Addazio's calls later in the post, but I didn't see anything in the second viewing to change my mind from the initial postgame reaction. The loss was really on the defense.

Offense: B

Rettig saved his best game for last. His passes in general were good (not sure what happened with Naples on the INT). And he had good awareness. The runs showed surprising speed and the TD was a great play. I will have more on his career in the coming weeks. It was never what it could have been, but I am glad he is ending on an upswing. I think you also saw a glimpse of what this offense might look like with a true runner at QB.

I felt for Williams. Syracuse was ready for him but I believe that if he hadn't been hurt he would have got his yards. Their D started to loosen up. His TD run was nice. Willis played well and showed good elusiveness. He did drop a catchable pass. Rouse was fine in his few carries. Sinkovec blocked well and his TD catch was nice.

Amidon had one of his better games even though he wasn't targeted as often. He made big plays and got open on critical third down conversion early. Dudeck had one pass near him and couldn't pull it in. Naples looked good and so did Parsons on their big catches.

The offensive line was really good again. Patchan moved well and got down field on Andre's TD. Vardaro was solid and did well coming out of the backfield. No mistakes from Gallik this week. Williams moved well. White was good too.

Syracuse loaded the box in probably the most aggressive approach yet and I thought we adjusted well. After we realized we weren't going to run over them with Andre, we opened things up with play action. We also used OLine in new ways (Patchan in the slot on bubble screen! Vardaro as fullback!). It was creative and had plenty of explosive plays. I will defend the goaline play calling later, but overall I thought the offensive gameplan and the adjustments during the game were good.

Defense: D

This was another rough game for the Dline. Edebali got tied up by the zone read option plenty of times. He made just one big play and missed some tackles. Wujciak and Appiah got pushed around inside. The best of the DL was Mihalik.

The LBs were the bright spot on D. KPL made a ton of plays early. We should have kept blitzing him off the edge as it was effective. Daniels played tough and cleaned up a lot of mistakes. It wasn't the best game from Divitto but his INT was huge. When it happened I thought the game was over.

Where to start with the DBs? Other than Sylvia and C.J. Jones, no one looked very good. Simmons missed four critical tackles that would have killed drives. I also think he was supposed to have the Tight End on their first TD. Bryce Jones missed some tackles and was soft in coverage. He also fell down again on a big third down. ALJ got beat plenty of times. Asprilla was playing too far off throughout. I also don't know what happened on some of the coverages. Total breakdown in communication and or assignments.

I am going to write more about Don Brown in the coming weeks, but this game was bad. Putting aside the missed tackles, I don't understand our approach many times. I don't know if he is doing things by feel or what he sees or if he is just winging it in an effort to keep them off balance. We went away from what was working (KPL blitzing) and never came back to bring effective pressure again. I also don't know how when the play is so common place, our guys had such trouble with the zone read option. Even on the final drive there was no effort to mix it up or confuse. I don't know what happened.

Special Teams: C+

I found Syracuse's decision to kickoff short surprising but effective. Were they that afraid of Willis as a return man? Or maybe that confident that we would take advantage of a short field? My only complaint is that even after the first time they did it, the upmen (mainly Wolford) didn't try to return it. Willis was fine on the returns he had.

I was glad to see Spiffy back, although he wasn't able to do much on his one punt.

Freese's punts were not that great and hurt our punt coverage. On their biggest return, his punt was so low that our guys didn't have time to get down field. Obviously his kickoffs and field goal were good.

Overall: C+

There has been a lot of Armchair Quarterbacking regarding the third down pass on our final drive. I will defend the call to the hilt (the execution was a different issue). First of all, you need to pass there. We tried two runs and forced them to burn their remaining time outs. But they are still expecting and loading up for the run. They've been fairly effective at stopping it. One more run (assuming no fumbles) is unlikely to get a TD. It leaves you still kicking a short field goal and takes off an additional 40 seconds. However, the aggressive and in my opinion correct move, is throwing. The throw is more likely to lead to a touchdown. I would have liked to see Rettig put the throw in the endzone, but he said (and watching it back showed) that Naples was part of his progression. He makes the throw on the short side of the field. Naples catches it but cannot turn up field, cannot break a tackle and worst of all cannot stay in bounds. That invites the second guessing. But that doesn't mean it was the wrong call. If Naples gets the TD, Day and Addazio are geniuses. Instead they got a stoppage and gave Cuse more time. In college football time is rarely an issue. With the way our defense was playing, I think we needed the TD. Taking off another 40 seconds wouldn't have changed Syracuse's ability to get down field. Their first big completion on their final drive took all of six seconds. The play with the pass interference five seconds plus a stoppage. I know they scored with 12 seconds left, but that was only because they used all the time they had. I feel like they could've just as easily moved the ball with less time.

To give you some hindsight on why the aggressive play was the right call even though it was the wrong outcome, look at our sequence right before the half. Instead of regrouping or even playing it safe with runs, we went deep on the pass to Amidon. Addazio's been aggressive for the most part this year and it has paid off. I am glad he threw it there.

Overall I thought he managed the game well. We have a gimpy Williams and eventually lose him, yet the offense still moved the ball. We also kept our poise and gameplan after going down 14.

This was a tough one because we could have won. However, you cannot allow 480 yards and allow them to convert 66% of their third downs and still expect to win.

I am disappointed as I would be with any win, but I am not going to kill him for this. The team has come a long way and he now has another month of football to end the season on a high note.


Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

Maybe I'm just missing something on the 40 seconds, where does that number come from. When Naples went out of bounds, the spotted the ball and then started the clock. He went out of bounds before the 2 minute mark, so the clock restarts before the stop, unlike when you go out of bounds with less than 2 minutes. I'm unclear on the effect on the play clock, maybe you stop the clock for a bit but the play clock keeps moving, so there's some time loss, but it wasn't 40 seconds.

Unknown said...

the 3rd down play everyone is critising is pretty much the same play the Cuse won the game with. i.e. not in the end zone. Had it not worked all the criticism would be going in the other direction.

JBQ said...

DeVitto made a great interception with about 2:46 left on the clock. The play calling after that was atrocious and led to the loss. The reason that they scored with 12 seconds is because with no timeouts, they knocked the receiver out of bounds. Retting, especially, played an outstanding game. He had it in him all year. Addazio wanted Williams to be the star and for Rettig to drive his golf cart. BC now has a bare cupboard (qb, kicking, running back) all gone. In August, they cancelled their game with Army at Yankee Stadium which is high profile. How stupid was that? They now have an open game. Maybe, the Little Sisters of the Poor are available. Actually, what killed their season was the stupid man to man defense with one second on the clock just before halftime against Florida State. At times, the coaching looked amateurish and of junior high quality. Blame Ediballi all that you want. He played a great season. How about a little coaching instead of just barking at the players? This team was not very good and then the emotion of Addazio kicked in. Nevertheless when the chips were down, coaching lapses caused several losses. Addazio is "drving the bus", If he can't fix it, then he needs to go sooner than later. Next year, there will be a young team and they will take some whippings. Addazio will need a new whipping boy. Rettig will be gone and God speed.

Jeff said...
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Jeff said...

That loss hurt, but Rettig played the game of his career. In my mind, this one's on the defense. Let's hope we can end the season (and AW's BC career) on a high note in the bowl game!

WI_Eagle said...

Tambourine Man is right -- the clock didn't stop on Naples going out-of-bounds -- it wasn't under 2 minutes. Syracuse took their last timeout with 2:29 remaining. Freeze kicked the field goal with 2:08 remaining. We ran two plays in 21 seconds. We could have burned another ~30 seconds off the clock, taken a timeout with the play clock at 1, and then kicked the field goal. I couldn't for the life of me understand why we didn't do that.

Bravesbill said...

I'm also fine with the play call on 3rd down, much like I loved the fact that Michigan went for 2 to win the game against OSU. You play to win the game. For the life of me though, I have no idea why BC went into its zone (basically prevent) coverage on Syracuse's final possession. BC CBs played at least 10 yards off the line of scrimmage, which allowed easy completions.

ATL_eagle said...

40 seconds is an approximation of how much clock would have burned if BC had run on third and goal and stayed in bounds. Let's be super optimistic and say that Cuse gets the ball back after kickoff at the 25 with 1:15 left. There very first play went for 25 yards and took six seconds. The pass interference move the ball into the BC 20s and took all of seven seconds. Time is less of a factor in college football because of all the first down stoppages. That's why statistically the TD was really important and statistically a better risk than playing for time.

WI_Eagle said...

Am I missing something?!?!?! The clock does not stop when the ballcarrier goes out of bounds unless it is under two minutes. Syracuse took their final timeout at 2:29. Freese kicked the field goal at 2:08. Did the pass to Naples take 21 seconds?!?! No. The clock was running when Freese kicked the field goal -- I was at the stadium, I watched it happen. Either Addazio or Day or Marscovetra/Freese either didn't know or forgot the clock rules. BC could have run ~30 more seconds off the clock before kicking the field goal.

I'm not saying that it would have prevented Syracuse from scoring (given the game that our defense had) but how can everyone be overlooking this?!

Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

ATL, don't see how your math works out. Like WI_Eagle, I watched the clock run down while Freese was kicking.

WI_Eagle: I think the issue is that the play clock starts immediately once he goes out of bounds, but the game clock only starts once the ball is set after an out of bounds play.

Consider the following examples: Say Naples stays in bounds at the 2:22 mark or so. 40 seconds would run off the play clock and game clock and we'd get to say 1:42 left.

Since he went out of bounds, the play clock started running immediately, but the "game clock" didn't start until the referee signaled. My recollection is this was about 10 seconds in, so we probably could have run the clock down to say 1:52. I believe, the problem (which you point out) is that Freese did not wait until 1 second on the play clock to kick the FG, though I haven't watched the game back, so can't confirm.

At most there was a 10 - 15 second difference. While I agree w/ ATL that it didn't matter and Day made the right call, it matters even less than he's making it out to be because he's missing the fact that the "game clock" starts up on an out of bounds play before the snap in CFB as long as there is more than 2 minutes left in the half.

There is absolutely no circumstance where we run the ball on 3rd and goal and 'Cuse gets the ball with 1:15 left.

Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

Just to close the loop on this, maybe WI Eagle is right and BC screwed up by not letting 40 seconds run off the clock after Naples ran out of bounds.

Here's a game log from UCF v. PSU. As you'll see, after PSU's timout with 2:47 left on the clock, UCF ran 4 plays and left only 2 seconds on the clock. That's about 40 seconds per play. One of those plays was a pass where the receiver was pushed out of bounds prior to the 2 minute mark.

So actually, maybe the 40 seconds was a real screw up, but not for the reasons ATL mentions. Instead, passing out of bounds was fine, not letting 40 seconds run off the clock AFTER Naples went out of bounds was not.

Hoib said...

Folks ATL's right, the game was lost on D. Even if we execute the 3rd down play perfectly and score, u think we stop them on a 2pt play when we haven't stopped them all day? Do we stop them in OT I doubt it. It would have been nice to steal one but I think we deserved to lose. That having been said I completly enjoyed this season and look forward to the futuere under Daz.

WI_Eagle said...

It's still very questionable whether or not the defense would have got the stop -- but spotting 'Cuse an extra ~30 seconds didn't help -- I'm just upset the coaching staff got a free pass for a major clock management snafu.

I do echo everyone's comments though on a good season and excitement about the future.

mod10aeagle said...

Hey Mr. Tambourine Man, when the ball carrier goes out of bounds, the clock is stopped and not restarted until snapped -- no matter how much time is left in the game. So, had Maples stayed in bounds, or had Rettig not thrown the ball at all but just fallen down, BC would've been able to run the clock for about 30 seconds before kicking the field goal. After a first down, the officials stop the clock to reset the chains and then start it as soon as the ball is placed and ready for play. Perhaps that's where you're getting confused.

Either way, I think WI_Eagle is right: BC's inability to adjust to Syracuse's offense made the outcome almost inevitable ("almost" as in "we almost stole it").

Remarkable season anyway. Feels much better to have higher expectations disappointed rather than lower expectations achieved.

WI_Eagle said...


Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

Mod10. That's simply not correct. The clock was running BEFORE the ball was snapped on Freese's kick, as it should have since more than 2 minutes were remaining when he went out of bounds.

In the NFL, apparently, if this same situation happens, the play clock is only 25 seconds once the game clock starts, that's the only part I'm unsure of re CFB, but the UCF/PSU example leads me to believe that you get a full 40 seconds.

Check the bottom of this link for more confirmation (that's where I got the UCF/PSU example).

As WI Eagle points out, I'm really happy with the season, the coaching staff, and the progression of the team. Just think ATL (and those using the same argument for bashing Day's playcall) are wrong about the 40 seconds. Happy to admit I'm wrong if someone can point me to evidence, but watching the game, the clock was running when Freese kicked it, so this did not cost us 40 seconds.

Bravesbill said...

Mod that rule changed a few years ago. It only stops under 2 minutes remaining in each half. Outside of that the clock starts upon the ref's signal.