Sunday, September 14, 2014

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: USC

Watching the game live was tense. It constantly felt like USC might light up the scoreboard with a big play. The second time around you realize how dominant this performance was. The final score doesn't even indicate how BC controlled the game from the 2nd quarter to the finish. There was a lot to like about the whole performance.

Offense: A-

As I tweeted, Tyler Murphy didn't complete a pass in the second half, yet BC extended our lead. He really didn't need to throw much. USC couldn't stop him and he made great decisions on the zone reads and options. His passes in general were more crisp although still not great. I also liked that he was quick to run when his first passing reads weren't there. He had some wide open players that he ignored but I think that will improve with film study. Overall though, this was the Murphy we needed: run first and keep the threat of the pass in his backpocket.

There had been some talk about Willis and Rouse's decline after the Pitt game. I think this game reinforced that both are still good and just needed better blocking. Hilliman made the most of his first extended time. The announcers talked up his potential as the big back, but he was more than just that. He showed great speed on the TDs and enough instinct to reach for the pylon. Wofford blocked well and it was noted by Blackledge.

The WRs were bad again as a group. While their opportunities continue to decrease, they are not helping themselves with the continued drops. Bordner, Crimmins, Alston and Callinan are dropped or missed catchable balls. But it wasn't all bad. Alston proved to be a real threat with the ball. He's listed as a WR, but I think he's going to be like our version of Percy Harvin and will probably get more handoffs than passes this year. Bordner blocked really well.

The Offensive Line played very well. Gallik led the way and other than a mix up on a late coming rusher, had a pretty steady night. He looked very good moving too. Kramer played well and had no big issues. The pass protection was much better. Silberman didn't look as lost and didn't have any noticeable issues.

I thought the play calling was very good. What I appreciated most is that many of the plays built off of previous ones. For example the option...and then they option with the end around to Alston...and then the fake end around to Alston. We also incorporated the dive into our zone reads, which is a wrinkle I haven't seen before (the Dive is more a staple of Navy and Georgia Tech). I would still like to see Murphy roll or bootleg more, but after last week's disaster in passing, this week was good. Day planned the game well and called it even better.

Defense: B

Kavalec had another solid game. He can shed blockers and is a solid tackler. Although he wasn't credited with a tackle, I thought Wujciak did a good job penetrating and disrupting their run game. I didn't think Mihalik played as well. He got pushed around a bit and lost contain a few times. On the other End Moore seemed to get blocked down too. Landry looked good and remains very active. Adebayo had a nice play. Gutapfel looked good.

Daniels made plenty of tackles, but I think he was responsible for a few different USC RBs coming out of the backfield uncovered. I cannot be sure but looking back he seems like the fall guy (I don't think Brown would ask the DEs to wait and cover). Keyes looked much better than last week. I don't know why the tackling was so different but he was like a new player. Of the young guys, Lezzer looked good and so did Strizak.

As a group I thought the DBs played well. They made most of their tackles, were very active and played well in coverage. Asprilla had one of his better games. He was good in one on one coverage and made plenty of tackles in support of the run. Bryce Jones also had a good game. Milano was a nice surprise and a sure tackler. Sylvia made a mistake in Special Teams (see below) but was solid otherwise.

We gave up 317 passing yards but it didn't feel like that and I assume that was by design. Brown left Kessler confused and exploited many of USC's blocking issues. Most of the passing yards came in short passes where we gave the Trojans space. It was a mix of bend but don't break and pressure. Brown did a good job of mixing things up and was able to generate a lot of the pressure with only four rushers. But the tackling improved and so did the run D and for that Brown deserves credit.

Special Teams: B

The missed PAT and missed FG didn't matter but should be a concern to coaches (and fans).

Howell's punts were nice and the punt coverage was good. The kick coverage wasn't as good. Sylvia got out of his lane on their big return. However, the squibs worked well and our coverage improved with it.

Willis was solid on his kick returns. Alston made good decisions on his punt returns.

The hands team didn't have to do much, but at least they were ready and didn't screw it up.

Overall: A+

This was not a perfect game, but I will ignore that because of the momentous win. Beating USC is nice, but the biggest reason for recognizing Addazio is the difference between last week and this one. BC corrected most of their major errors and regrouped after a frustrating loss. That is a sign of a good coach and a good staff. I know I am oversimplifying again but the core result is clear. This coach and staff have the attention and belief of their players and are making them better each week.

As for game management, I am glad Addazio pushed for scoring late in the first half. It made the difference. The kick on 3rd down was a little funky, but as he explained to Holly Rowe, they were trying to see if they could catch USC off guard and 19 seconds wasn't enough to do much. You'd like things to be a little more crisp in those situations, but the fact Addazio has an aggressive mindset is important. When we were nursing the lead, I also thought he used his second half timeouts well. Saving them is ideal, but making sure that we don't make killer mistakes is more important.

Addazio always seems to be riding a fine line with expectations. This win raised them. I am not worried about how we handle Maine next week, but the rest of the schedule will be tough. He passed the regrouping challenge. Now he needs to get this team to execute every week.


PutYourChuckieDukesUp said...

A really great win and its impact was amplified by being on national TV on a Saturday night. I have to say that I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop on this one, as it has so many times in games of BC past (David Greene fumble against WVU in 1993, the 1999 and 2001 Miami games, to name a few) but it thankfully never did. When USC counterpunched late, BC responded in a way I can't remember it ever doing before. Also, the Alston and Murphy TDs were the two most un-BC TDs ever: an end around with a WR who had enough speed to outrun the secondary and a QB with the same speed doing it on a read option. I loved them both, but I still can't believe those two plays were executed by a BC team!

Some things I liked:

1. The team fighting back after going down 10-0 and then 17-6. It could have gotten really ugly, but didn't. I can only assume that is due in large part to coaching.

2. The aggressive play calling on both sides of the ball. This was especially true late in the game on USC's two late TD drives when BC was still trying to get to Kessler rather than going into a prevent D.

3. Good execution in fielding the onside kick. I was at the game and can't remember who fielded it, but it was a textbook example of how to do it. Admittedly, it wasn't the best onside kick, but I don't want to think about what would have happened if USC got the ball there.

Some Things I didn't like:

1. The group of about 5 USC fans all wearing OJ Simpson USC jerseys. Did anyone else see these guys? I mean did they not watch the news this week at all?

2. Not trying to be nitpicky here, but what was with BC burning a time out right after USC's time out in the first half. That time out could have come in handy with about 19 seconds left in the half.

3. Speaking of which, I was at the game and didn't see Daz's explanation for kicking on 3rd down, but it sounds like he had a reason. Whatever it was, i'm not sure why you don't try to at least get your kicker a little closer, which would have been a lot easier with a timeout in your pocket. Ultimately, it didn't matter, but seemed really curious to all of us in the stands at the time especially with all momentum on BC's side at that point.

Bravesbill said...

I honestly think Daz forgot a first down stops the clock. It was 3rd and 2 with 19 seconds left. Throw the ball 3 yards and you get a first down. Throw incomplete and the clock still stops and you can kick the field goal. 5-10 more yards would have helped Howell. Also not going for 2 at the end of the game was pretty random too. BC needed to be up by 14. There was no difference between a 12 or 13 point lead. Even with the penalty BC should have gone for 2. Other than these minor quibbles that was one hell of a game by the players and coaches. That was probably Day's best game play calling ever.

Bravesbill said...

And I forgot to say in the previous post, Daz's explanation for kicking with 19 seconds left was because they wouldn't have time to run another play.

we make our own movies said...

Chuckie Dukes-

My seats are right behind the BC sideline and after that timeout call (following the USC timeout) Addazio was absolutely livid and stalking the sideline asking "who called it!!?" so it clearly wasn't him.

Agreed on the curious decision to not go for 2 late, even after the penalty. 1 point was meaningless there given the time left.

JBQ said...

As for the "pass drops", there is a definite explanation. In high school, I had "soft hands" and was a wide receiver. You guided the ball into your "bread basket" and clutched it against your body. The modern coaching formula is to hold the hands vertical and clutch with your fingers. If you have small hands or "piano fingers", this just doesn't work. If you use a little physics, you absorb the energy from Murphy's bullet passes by making contact with the body. The "butter finger" pass catching is very understandable. The technique is what is taught now. Maybe in the pros, it works. Joe Medwick of the Gas House Cardinals said it best. They throw it. You hit it. They catch it. Murphy throws the ball. You catch it. As a two year old, if your mother threw you a doughnut, you caught it or you went hungry. You didn't worry about how you had your fingers placed. Catch the "doughnut". Forget the rocket science.

mod34b said...

interesting report from BCI that USc players were taunting BC fans before the game

The scenes before and after the game showed us the contrasting emotions and attitudes that exist on the different coasts of the United States. As they prepared to run out of the miniscule road team tunnel embedded in the Boston College student section, the USC Trojans stood arm-in-arm, swaying back and forth. Their fans in attendance worked into a froth as they came running out, right across the field, to wear the Boston College cheerleaders were readying to welcome the Eagles to the field.

As Lil Jon's "Turn Down For What" played over the loudspeaker, the Trojans stood by the torch towers, dancing and taunting the large, gold BC banner behind which the Eagles stood. Referees and officials attempted to push back the Trojans, and BC waited. They waited behind that banner as the Trojans stood there, taunting. I turned to my father and remarked about how I didn't find that classy. He just turned to me and said, "That's swagger. When you're good, you have swagger. They know they're going to beat a team before the game starts."

Thomas said...

JBQ, have you ever caught passes with the gloves they wear now? It's like having a layer of glue on both of your hands. It's almost harder to drop a ball than catch it.

Joseph said...

It was interesting to note that on at least two drops that I watched closely, the receiver forgot the basic little league rule of "first you catch it, then you throw it". For Pop Warner it is "first you catch it, then you run with it" . The heads was turning before the ball was secured. Worried about getting hit, or just not good technique?

Danny Boy said...

Joseph, I noticed that too. The receivers were definitely turning to run before looking the ball into their hands. I'd like to chalk it up to eagerness to get every yard they can, rather than fearing contact.

Hands or body, it doesn't matter if you're turning up field before the ball is secured.

bceagle93 said...

Was at the game and to me, live, it definitely felt different than usual big games in the past where you almost expect the lead could slip through our hands at any moment. In the stadium, this one felt in control from 2 mins left in 2 qtr on -- even when USC scored to make it 30-24. I don't know if it was our defense, Murphy's cool management of the offense, Daz's intensity, or just that USC had no spark or energy (or a combo of all of these).

Separately, I could not believe USC was not throwing downfield and taking advantage of the huge size and speed mismatch they had on the corners.

Great win, great night of tributes (Crowther family during 2Q and Pete Frates at half were among the best I have seen at Alumni, esp with awesome new video boards), and lots of fun storming the field with my kids post game.

NEDofSavinHill said...

Atl. Excellent analysis. Great win with a great atmosphere. BC is now 2-1. If they can beat Maine and CSU they'll be 4-1 ending September with a 4-0 non conference record. It was interesting to note that Daz was quoted in the BC Magazine as saying 10 wins a year is very difficult in a tough league ( ACC) yet that is where TOB had the program. He compiled a 26-4 non conference record and Daz may have them on the same track of non conference dominance. Lets hope so. 2. Watched an ESPNU program last week where their experts opined that USC had the top 22 players, talent wise, in the country. On both sides of the ball. Is that the media's position today or has it been altered? How could BC have more speed than USC? Murphy, Alston, Willis, et al outran the Trojans. Stanford , USC and BC are all 2-1 which is the best of those three? 3. BC appears to be a better team this year than last. They were both 2-1 after three games but 2014 had a tougher schedule. UMass. Pitt and USC are tougher competition than last years first three. BC was averaging 19 a game last year 29 this one. Does the upgrade at QB position explain that? They are getting 250 yards per game this year and only 150 a year ago. Is Pitt's Conner the best back in the land? 4.In a few weeks an historic game is going to be played. It won't be the clash of the titans. When FSU plays Syracuse it will be the Clash of the Cretans. Crablegs the rapist will be facing sucker punch Hunt. When Hunt punched the Nova tackler was he playing football or the Knockout game? 5. What contribution to the Ray Rice episode did the media make? An ESPN employee was on tv not too long ago proclaiming his desire to punch a Black woman. Did ESPN create an atmosphere of hate and contribute to Rice's misconduct?

Greg said...

I saw some fans wearing white sweatshirts with BC on the front but in the red bandanna colors. Anyone know where you can get one? They looked great.

Bravesbill said...

Ned, as usual you make absolutely no sense. I was looking for those same sweatshirts online Greg but didn't see it on the BC Bookstore website or other sites.

we make our own movies said...

They were selling them at the Hillside store, and I presume, at the main bookstore as well. They did look nice. With that being said, I really hope the profits are being donated to the The Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust. For either the school or Under Armour to be profiting off of his story with merchandise does not sit right, with me at least.

Walter said...

Great game to be at - even more satisfying to beat USC on the third try after the first two aggravating losses (bowl game, last year).

SaturdaysOnShea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SaturdaysOnShea said...

The red bandanna shirts are being sold at the bookstores. I have not seen them up on the bookstore website yet, so it may be worth calling the store and ordering one.

I tried to use the Flynn Fund loyalty card on my purchase (bought a few other things as well) and they said they could do it for everything except the red bandanna shirts. I assume that means proceeds are going to charity.

twballgame9 said...

Did someone say that TOB had the program at 10 wins again? If by that you mean "he never won 10 games in a season," then yes.

TOB also played in an ACC that didn't have a National Title winner and National Title contender in his division. Calling that ACC a tough league is a stretch