Thursday, September 24, 2015

BC-Northern Illinois preview

This is going to go one of two ways. Either both QBs are going to be terrible and we come away very frustrated (and probably lose) or one guy stands out early and we roll with him to victory. This game was always going to be a turning point in the season and now with Wade out, it becomes even more critical.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Most coaches hate being second guessed and generally have thin skin. That sensitivity usually serves as a great motivator and provides some of the drive needed to coach at this level. Addazio clearly heard the critics on his decision to kill the clock on the last drive before the half. At the Gridiron Club dinner, he addressed it over and over again. He can justify it ten ways to Sunday, but we know he knows enough about statistics and Urban Meyer's game management strategies, to know that killing clock there is a wrong move. It became a wasted possession in a game with minimal scoring. I hope this overly conservative decision doesn't influence the remainder of the season. In college football you need to go for it whenever you get the chance.

Three Simple Keys
1. Explosive plays. As much as we are perceived as a plodding, three yards and a cloud of dust team, we are really haven't been that efficient or consistent under Addazio. The reality is we plod, plod and then explode. Last week lacked explosion. This week we need a few big plays if we want to score.
2. Avoid Turnovers. The reason NIU almost upset Ohio State was due to turnovers. We cannot be as careless.
3. Close on Hare. Think of how different Florida State would have been without those few Golson escapes. Hare is not that elusive. We need to hit him for a loss, over and over.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 6-4 after a loss while coaching BC
-- BC has won 16 straight against MAC teams
-- NIU coach Rob Carey is 3-3 vs Power 5 teams
The current line is BC-4.5

TOB is part of the ESPN3 team covering this game. Being that he's predictable, I expect him to reference his years at BC early in the game but then declare that he will call it down the middle. And then I expect him to do just that. I know he's done some other ESPN3 games, but I can't imagine he's much fun on the broadcast. He let glimpses of his sense of humor escape over the years, but I don't think now -- in semi-retirement -- he's going to become a laugh a minute.

Scoreboard Watching
We are not a triple option team, but we run almost as much as your typical triple option team. That is why it will be interesting to see how Duke handles Georgia Tech. Let's hope they have a lot of trouble.

I hope to see...
A few interceptions. The DBs were great last week. The only thing missing was a game changing, run back on an INT. If they are challenged this week (which I doubt), it could happen.

BC is in trouble if...
We don't score in the first half. That will put pressure on everyone. The D will think they have to win the game themselves. The Special Teams will make risky plays. In those circumstances, mistakes are made.

Bottom Line
I believe...still. I think this is the Jeff Smith coming out party. After we putz around a bit in the first half with both QBs, Smith gets all the snaps in the second and runs for at least one long TD. The D mostly contains NIU and get some breathing room with a late field goal.
Final Score: BC 17, Northern Illinois 13


Hoib said...

I'd like to see the D create some t/o, you can still win that way if the O is not great. Daz has been harping on getting more out of the Special teams, that's important too. Throw in no to few penalties, and you have a way to victory w/o much O.

@timstwrt said...

Man, I still don't agree with him at all about the end-of-half strategy but the guy knows how to make an argument.

Knucklehead said...


CT said...

NIU def held OSU to about 300 yds.

First one to 10 wins?

CT said...

Here's my thing: do we know what we have in Wade? No. He's no threat to run and he doesn't have enough reps to know much about accuracy/touch.

Why choose one guy? Roll with two. Game circumstances, etc.

EL MIZ said...

coming out of preseason i was hoping Smith would emerge as the QB (over both Wade and Flutie) by shining in the packages they brought him out on. i think his skill set (namely, his speed) fits what this offense is trying to do. echoing CT, its not as if Wade looked like Peyton Manning at Tennessee back there, so i'm not sure all of the panic is needed. all 3 of these kids were unproven, and just looking at what strengths each brought to the table, i thought Smith's package was the most intriguing and the best fit. here's to hoping that is the case and he shines this weekend.

i know this much - the OL has not been as good as expected, the running backs have not been as good as expected, and i do not think its a matter of "they aren't as good as we thought they were" but just that they haven't gotten up to full speed yet, for whatever reason. Hilliman averaged over 4 yards per carry last year, he is averaging an abysmal 2.9 this year - did Hilliman get worse over the offseason? i doubt it. at some point the OL is going to gel and the backs are going to hit the holes and run guys over and things will be looking better than they are. hopefully that happens this week.

NEDofSavinHill said...

The best running QB in the land may be at GT. ND shut him and their entire offense down. You have to be able to throw or you see eight and nine man fronts. Flutie can pass. You need that element. BC 23 NIU 16.

BCMike said...

My favorite line: "Being that he's predictable, I expect him to reference his years at BC early in the game..."

Having Ginger be part of the broadcast team does not bode well for a non-conservative playcalling game.

mod34b said...

Maybe we can get TOB to go on radio instead and team up with "Meat" - dumb and boring, it would be quite a duo.

he should be deadly to listen to. Although, I did enjoy Al Groh as a commenter - in the Howard game?

EL MIZ said...

the whole "smith can't throw" thing is based on what exactly? that we have used him in running plays?

this is a clip from Smith last year against IMG, one of the best high school teams in the country (there was an article about IMG in the NY Times last week). he passes far more often than he runs, and most of his passes (especially the short to intermediate throws) are on the money. you can see him go through his progressions for most of the throws as well, he isn't just locked on to one WR. for what its worth (i'd submit very little, but its something) Smith's spring sport in HS was baseball, not track.

BC should take a page out of Clearwater's playbook and run more screens and short stuff in the flats to our RBs. Willis, Outlow, Hilliman - all of these guys can catch and make people miss. rather than just slamming them behind the guards play after play, it would make sense - especially breaking in a new QB who doesn't have a ton of confidence - to have a bunch of short pass stuff built in to the game plan to build confidence and rhythm.

regardless of my game plan thoughts, its clear from the clips that Smith can throw the ball. he is also, per Addazio himself, faster than Murphy. i see no reason why Flutie, a similar passer to Smith but nowhere near the running threat, should see the field over him. (the fact that our last ditch play last week was Flutie running the option is truly head scratching.)

mod34b said...

Can BC run on NIU?

not so sure.

tOSU ran for 359 yards vs VT. 10.0 yards per carry
tOSU ran for 162 yards vs NIU. 4.4. yards per carry

NIU has a good run defense.

Hope The Miz is right that Smith a) starts and b) can throw, and, I would add, C) Daz allows a true Frosh in his first start to sling the ball. Item c) is unlikely to happen.

So can BC run against NIU? presumably not too easily, and BC will need to throw at least little to keep NIU from stuffing the box.

Our D should stuff their run, but the NIU QB can throw, and will throw 30+ times. Will BC be 'dinked and dunked'? I fear that might be the case. But BC will be tough in the red zone on D should the dinking and dunking get NIU down the field.

BC 24 NIU 16

Hooper said...

If the run game is productive we can win. If it isn't then we lose. It is as simple as that under Spaz, I mean Adazzio.

It genuinely appears BC football is going the way of BC basketball into irrelevance. Really sad to see.

Knucklehead said...

You gotta pay if you want to play

mmason said...

Whenever I'm happy, and I need a good dose of sad, with a depression chaser, I check the comments on ATL. So,how but some morose thoughts on the offensive line and their ability to open up some daylight?

blist said...

Welcome, Hooper, the BC boards troll of 2015. At least you're subtle. Putting that UMass degree to good use

Knucklehead said...

Remember Hooper from the movie Jaws.