There are plenty of people bailing on Murphy after the game. I'm not. He wasn't great but he was also our best offensive player. Outside of the obvious mistakes, the biggest issue that I noticed the second time around were the mistakes near the line (on Offense and Defense). I think this game will haunt us late in the season, because it was winnable with better play.
Murphy's passes weren't great (but I will get into some of the passing game issues with the other position) but that is not what concerned me. I was more frustrated by his hesitancy in the pocket. He can run on anyone. If the passes aren't there I want him taking off ASAP. Don't pump or wait in the pocket. His runs were good. I wish he had kept it more on the options since he had space.
The running backs weren't productive, but I think much of that was due to Pitt focusing on stopping it. Willis was contained. Hillman was ok. Rouse was fine but he struggled in pass protection. I wish Wofford had got his knee in on the pass.
The Offensive line was good early, but then started getting pushed around a bit. Gillik was the best. Kramer was good again. Silberman struggled the most of the starters. No one did a great job getting to the second level. But watching it back showed that a lot of the breakdowns on pass protection came from the Tight Ends and RBs.
We knew WRs were going to be an issue, but things were bad. Crimmins had way too many drops. If he catches even three of the six he missed (including the INT) it is a different game. Bordner needs to adjust a bit better to balls in the air. Phillips was good. I want to get Alston more touches.
I am giving Day a bit of a pass on play calling. Now that he's seen what works and doesn't with Murphy, maybe he will simplify the schemes. My biggest gripe is that we didn't do more running (what he does well) and we did too much passing (things he and the WRs struggle with). You need to do enough to keep them honest and try to get points, but too often, we looked rushed and uneasy throwing. Do more of the bootlegs or give Murphy a moving pocket. It will make the difference. Day also needs to figure out how to get the run game going. Still no explosive plays.
As a group, the defensive line had the biggest drop off from Week 1 to Week 2. They didn't get enough pressure or control the line or make tackles. But it wasn't all bad. I thought Kavalec looked really good. He held his own on the line and didn't miss tackles. Gutapfel and Wujciak had a few moments and then at other times really got pushed around. Mihalik was fine. Landry looked good late. Abdesmad looked like a shell of himself. I doubt he is 100% and most of his tackles were after getting pushed well off the line.
The praise heaped on Josh Keyes might have been the ultimate jinx. Not only did he miss that easy sack, but he was terrible the rest of the night. He couldn't shed blockers and missed multiple tackles. I am hoping it was just an off night. The Silver Lining of the LB corps was Strizak. He was solid in his tackling and also cut through traffic well to close on the targets. Daniels was fine and his INT was nice. Duggan missed a few tackles before getting hurt.
The DBs were not terrible but they were also not great. On one play they would look decent and then outclassed on the next play. Asprilla seemed to make the fewest mistakes. Simmons was really active but missed some too. Simmons wasn't great in pass coverage. Jones got totally faked out on a big pass. Brown seemed fine.
Tackling was the biggest issue, but I still put a lot of this on Don Brown's schemes. Why not do more to stop the run? Let Voytik beat you through the air! Voytik made a few plays but he was also very wild and made some really clunky throws. We showed him a lot of different looks but it never became an issue because of how well Pitt ran the ball.
Special Teams: B-
Willis did a nice job with his Kick returns. He's finding the space that he's not finding in his regular touches. I didn't love the young guys letting punts roll, but they started catching them as the game progressed. Howell's punts and kickoffs were good. Missing another FG hurt. Hopefully he becomes more dependable on that front.
After the game Addazio mentioned the tackling and the missed passes. He wasn't throwing his players under the bus like some former BC coaches we know. But he was doing the knee-jerk reaction that all coaches would do. "We would've won if not for our kids..." He has a point, but he's also missing the point. Bad tackling doesn't just happen. As Addazio mentioned in the preseason, this team is raw. It looks like they needed more tackling work. Murphy can be explosive, but he also seems to struggle in the pocket. He does other things really well. Maybe you shouldn't have him pass so often. Do more option. Or have him rollout or bootleg. If the WRs have the drops, put in other guys. I am oversimplifying, but so is Addazio when he says it is about execution.
As for game management...there was one issue when we declined a penalty that might have pushed them out of FG range. The announcers mentioned it, but I agreed with Addazio. Why give them an extra down when we were happy to settle for 3 and get the ball back? I also don't love punting down 16, but we were still able to get back in the game.
Good coaches lose winnable games sometimes. But now we need to regroup. Last year they made the most out of their talent. I think the talent level is close to last season, so it now becomes what can we do well. Addazio didn't do it against Pitt, but I have hope for the coming weeks.