Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Independence Bowl
Normally watching a game like this a second time would be frustrating. Despite some defensive issues, the game was going our way. Then Rettig's Pick 6 happened and everything unraveled. I don't want to say the team gave up or lost confidence. I think it was more of a case of giving Arizona just enough of what it needed to take a lead. And we weren't built to catch up.
Chase Rettig was playing great. He was in command of the offense, making good decisions and good passes (the first INT wasn't on him). Then he got hurt and it wasn't the same. A stalled drive and then a pick 6 that he telegraphed and threw off of his back foot and the game was basically over. He regained his composure in the second half but wasn't as sharp as he was in the beginning. Bordner played in mop up duty. Not much to read into that. But I do think it is a glimpse into the future of having a run-first QB next year.
Andre ran hard but still didn't seem 100%. He still struggled in traffic and didn't break anything big. It is not his game, but there were some cutbacks for him that he didn't take. Willis looked pretty good. Rouse also showed nice burst (but the game was over at that point).
Amidon had a very good game. He was doing a great job getting open and his hands were better than they've been all year. The other WRs weren't as good. Rich bumbled a pass that became a INT. He also cut back on what should have been a first down. Dudeck couldn't pull a pass in. The Tight Ends were better as Parsons and Naples both made nice plays.
The Offensive Line was good but not great. They didn't have breakdowns, but weren't getting to the second level or breaking big holes for Andre. The pass blocking was solid. Patchan whiffed on the play that hurt Rettig. I thought Williams played well and moved well (we just couldn't get any space behind him). Gallik was good.
I thought Day called a good game. We came out with many new looks and moved the ball relatively well in the first half. Although the jumbo stuff didn't work, I think we used it just enough. My only criticism was use of some gimmick/trick plays. When you have a month to prepare the temptation to use those plays is strong (you can practice them over and over, the other team hasn't seen them, etc.). But they didn't really work and hurt momentum in one case and physically hurt Rettig in another. But the score doesn't indicate the solid offensive scheme. It wasn't our best game, but certainly wasn't the reason we lost.
There was a lot wrong with the defense, but it really started up front with the D Line. No pressure. No push. Some sloppy tackling and a few missed contains. Ramsey -- who was healthy -- was the best of the group. But even then he wasn't making plays behind the line of scrimmage.
KPL also had some troubles. He bit hard on some of the option reads and also had real trouble in pass coverage. Divitto was okay. Daniels wasn't disruptive but he did make a few big tackles that kept big plays from being bigger.
This might not make sense, but the DBs weren't as bad as it looked the first time. There were a few plays when guys got turned around and called for pass interference, but I really think the problems started up front. Our DBs are not particularly speedy, so maintaining coverage when there is no pressure becomes a tough task. They actually tackled well in run support. Asprilla was very active and force a fumble. They picked on Jones a bit, but he recovered to make some tackles. Williams was a bit inconsistent.
RichRod is a great offensive mind. Doing anything other than base is tough, because he has counters for everything. But that said, I was still disappointed how little confusion and pressure we brought. It was not Brown's best scheme. We played better against much better offenses.
Special Teams: B
Freese made his kicks. His punts were solid too.
The two-point conversion attempt wasn't great but I didn't mind the call.
Spiffy was back returning punts but didn't get to do much since we couldn't get them off the field much.
Willis had one good run on a kick return.
As I wrote shortly after the game, TOB's first bowl team got blown out and turned around and rattled off the famous BC bowl streak. I am not particularly worried about this game or really disappointed in this performance. From an Addazio perspective, the team came out motivated and with a solid gameplan. I am tossing this up to an overachieving team whose carriage turned back into a pumpkin. I was not an Addazio guy or believer when he was hired, but I've seen enough to know that this was a just a first step.