The whole game had a sense of dread. Allowing them to score and then missing our chance to score before the half. Needing an endzone INT to kill one of their drives. Nearly losing the football a few times. It just felt like things could fall apart at anytime. So of course we lost. Watching it back was even worse. We should have won. We didn't play our best yet we still had a lead the majority of the game. As Daz said, we make one stop on 4th and 12 on a short field and it is over. This was tough and how we respond will say more about our coaching staff than it will about our players.
The biggest point of discussion on Murphy's play seems to be the INT. He admitted that in the redzone he has to be more careful. But if Callinan doesn't fall over that is probably not an INT. My bigger concern was Murphy's decisions on the the options. There were some big holes that he didn't exploit. The passing game was better. He made some bad throws and some forced throws, but he was also better throwing from the pocket. We are going to live and die with him, so I will accept the mistakes as long as he is winning with big plays. We didn't have enough this week.
The running backs as a group were good. Hilliman ran hard and made some big plays. He's still not great in traffic or making guys miss. Willis looked good and probably needs more touches. Outlow's catch was pretty. He probably needs to get more touches. Wofford was fine.
The Offensive Line was not great. The holes weren't as big. The push wasn't as strong. And of course things got worse late. Bowen got blown up on the final play. Gallik was the best of the group again. He moved well too. Silberman was better. Kramer was ok.
Bordner is really coming around. He's good in space. His hands are improving and he can start to win the one on one battles. I have no idea why Alston didn't get touches but he needs to be more than a decoy. Dudeck looked really good over the middle. Crimmins was better. As I already pointed out Callinan's fall led to an INT. McClary caught the only pass sent his way. One of the issues in our running game is the Tight Ends. They are not blocking as well as last year's crew did.
I am a big fan of the shifting and a big fan of the power/spread combo. We even used a Maryland formation (which has three backs in the I behind Murphy). However all that window dressing doesn't mean anything if the D is not confused. I don't know what Colorado State saw, but they decided not to make too many adjustments to our shifting. They also were patient with our run game. They didn't crash the options over and over and instead waited for us to get frustrated. That is probably what other teams will do now. It is up to Ryan Day to think of new wrinkles. As for this game, I think the offense did enough to win. Two long drives came away scoreless based off of player mistakes, not play calls. As I said with Murphy my biggest issue is that we need more option and more reads with Murphy keeping it. Even when the opponent is giving you something -- like the pass -- you still need to be patient with what works best. We should have had more runs with Murphy.
If the Defensive Line played their best game against USC, this was probably their worst. No great push. Not enough big plays and some guys getting pushed around. Statistically Kavalec had the best day, but his tackles weren't important in the scheme of things and he didn't have the great plays like he did against USC. Mihalik was the most disruptive and had a sack, but I felt like he could and should have closed on a few other occasions. Wujciak was good in the first half but didn't get the same push in the second half. Abdesmad is getting pushed around. I don't know if he lost speed or power or both, but the guy is either not 100% physically or not showing the same fight he did last year (before the injury). Moore looked okay and maybe should be getting more snaps.
The LBs were not good at all. Daniels had the best game and did make some big plays late, but even he missed some tackles and got burned during coverage breakdowns. Duggan got pushed around. Keyes penetrated a bit -- which makes a difference -- but couldn't close himself. Also, his ability to get past the line seemed to all come in the second quarter. Plus he missed tackles. Strizak wasn't as productive as he was earlier in the season.
Despite the other guys making more tackles and INTs, I thought Asprilla was the most consistent Saturday. When he tackled he brought guys down and he had good pass breakups and coverage. Jones made a nice play on his INT but also missed some tackles. Simmons was all over the place. He played well, but also missed too. Williams INT came right to him.
Coordinators are easy to pick on. Neither coordinator had a great day, but I feel like Brown's schemes and calls cost us more Saturday. BC couldn't get enough pressure on Grayson and he was rarely confused by the scheme. There offensive line also knew where the breaks were coming. And when they weren't getting picked up, they were getting beat with crossing routes and screens. When they needed a stop at the end, they couldn't get CSU off the field. But plays and schemes can be beaten. Players miss tackles, but the continued confusion in the secondary cannot. That's coaching. The last play was broken and a guy got wide open in the corner. But that wasn't the only example. There were plenty of missed assignments. Brown and his assistants need to clean that up.
Special Teams: D+
We've had bad kickers before and still won. There are workarounds, but you just have to be ready and prepare for them. Workaroud No. 1 is the long squibs on kickoffs. The problem there was that the tackling was still only ok. The second workaround is that you cannot take any field goal for granted and are in probable 4-down territory unless it is a chip shot. That miss at the end of the half would have made a difference. From now on Daz needs to press more in the two-minute drill, because a kick is not automatic.
Willis was fine on the kick returns. I don't think the blocking is good enough or consistent enough for him to break a big one.
They only punted once, so you cannot read too much into that unit. Our punting, however, was very inconsistent.
You could rationalize most of last year's losses to tough breaks or falling to a better roster. This wasn't the case. CSU has some nice players, but overall they are not that talented and their staff is still relatively new to their program. This was a case of BC losing a game they should have won. There weren't glaring game management issues to pin on Daz nor did it seem like the initial gameplan was unsound. Where things fell apart were the adjustments. As I wrote above, those adjustment issues fall on the coordinators, but it also falls on Daz. I don't want him micromanaging in-game, but he's also got to take control. It is a fine line, but that is one of the reasons we hired an experienced Head Coach. Ideally he should have that feel now.
This wasn't a confidence shaking loss. In fact I still feel good about the season and about Daz. However, we've now been exposed. Every team we face now has an answer for how to deal with our blitzing and to a certain extent how to deal with Murphy. It is up to Daz to get together with his staff and figure out counters to their counters. Daz confirmed he can recruit. We always knew he could do the motivational stuff. The question was always the Xs and Os. I hope he has the answers.