Sunday, September 20, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: FSU

I feel surprisingly better after watching the game back. I am still frustrated that we didn't win and didn't press our opportunities, but I saw enough to believe that things are fixable. Losing Wade is a major step back, but there is still more offensive potential than what was shown Friday night. And the defense might be so good that they will win some games all by themselves.

Offense: C-

Wade's stats weren't great but I thought he played well. He hesitated on a few passes early and missed open men, and his INT was a bad decision, but considering how tied his hands were and how inconsistent the blocking was, he looked serviceable. His running wasn't smooth either, but it was effective. Losing him for the season is a major blow. He showed real potential against a good opponent. Nothing can really be read into Smith or Flutie's snaps. Can we really believe that "Smith doesn't know the playbook" from his time on the field? Or that Flutie makes bad decisions on the pitches?

Hilliman did not play well. Even prior to the fumble, he was getting stuck in pileups. Some of the problems can be blamed on the OL, but not all of them. He needs to make someone miss on occasion. Willis was pretty good and certainly the most productive Friday night. Wofford played well. His blocks were good and he was effective in the passing game. But when he is the leading receiver, it speaks to bigger issues.

We only threw the ball 15 times, but there was still plenty to judge with regards to the WRs and Tight Ends. Alston is great with the ball, but he's not good trying to get the ball in traffic and he's not a good blocker. We need to get him touches (sweeps, screens, etc), but traditional ways are not playing to his strengths. Smith looked good on his sweep, but needs to improve his blocking. Nosovitch wasn't ready for his pass. Sweeney looked okay at some points but then struggled blocking at other points. Swigert was fine and made the right call on his pass option. Callinan's one catch was nice. But as a group, this unit is not as effective blocking as they were last year. I don't know if it was Florida State, going smaller or just lack of emphasis, but this has to get better. It is critical to our success on the edges.

The Offensive Line got beat as a group. Florida State is talented, but there were still too many one on one battles lost upfront and too many mistakes. Williams is not playing as well as he played two years ago. Is it rust? Let's hope it changes soon. Taylor struggled at times before he got hurt. Baker was probably the best of the group. Lindstrom got overmatched a bit.

It is always easy to second-guess play calling, but how can you justify Friday night? I will get into the overall strategy later, but I felt Fitch/Addazio didn't do the team favors with their approach. The best offensive coaches find something they do well and build from that. Day and Addazio did that well in the first two seasons. Where was that Friday? Nothing looked crisp. Everything seemed a step off. There really wasn't one play or one type of play they could perform with authority. It gave the play calling a grab bag feel. When you get shutout it is a full failure. It shows lack of execution, poor preparation and poor personnel management. There's no other way around it.

Defense: A-

This was the Landry we all hoped for. He showed speed. He showed power. He closed often. The only real tough play was the missed safety. Wujciak helped collapse the line and made many nice plays. Gutapfel didn't fill up the stat sheet, but was also good inside. Abdesmad played well.

Steven Daniels dominated too. He was a little out of place on their touchdown pass, but otherwise looked great everywhere. Milano looked good too.

Kam Moore was outstanding. He ran with everyone and made great plays on the ball. He had one of the best games I've seen a DB have without getting an INT or making tons of tackles. Simmons slipped early on a key pass play, but settled in and made some nice tackles throughout. Yiadom looked good. Johnson played very well.

Don Brown's Defense has matured. He's to the point now where he doesn't even have to blitz over and over. Just showing it or releasing guys late does the trick. Even their lone scoring drive was called well. It really came down to a few mistakes and our guys slipping or getting beat. But overall, we did nearly everything right on D.

Special Teams: B

Howell's punts were good and the punt coverage was very good.

Willis' returns were aggressive.

Alston's punt returns were a mixed bag. He was a little conservative in his fair catches and didn't break anything big.

Overall: B-

There was a beauty to Addazio's stubbornness in his first two years. Because of Andre Williams and Tyler Murphy and good offensive lines, we could pound, pound and pound some more and eventually something would break. It is old school and also unconventional, which only added to the beauty. Teams weren't ready for it and it played to our strengths. Playing that way against Florida State with Darius Wade (who is not an explosive runner), our fledgling OLine, and no RBs who matches Williams speed/power combo, and no game breaking WRs, left BC with a very narrow path to victory. My concern and complaint is that when BC struggled moving the ball, Addazio didn't adjust. In the post game, you'll hear him reference statistics to justify his actions, but most of the advance metrics show that conservative approaches and wasting possessions (like the ones before half) will not lead to victory. Addazio had one vision to win the game and even as it became statistically more unlikely, he wasn't willing to adjust. Conceding possessions regardless of time or location is one of the worst ideas in football. I thought Addazio had the team motivated and it fought hard, but that's not enough. You also need to press your advantages however small they are.

This week will be about a different style of coaching. Addazio now has to get at least one QB ready and probably two ready. He also has to fix the offense. I think he can do it. Adjusting midseason is the type of things good coaches do.


GP11 said...

A few things...

All is not lost: Our defense is very good, quite possibly one of the best 2-3 in the ACC. They will keep us in games akin to how our ground & pound offense helped keep us in games the last years... How quickly we forget how atrocious this unit was and we were still able to make bowls. This year, we are the reverse. I realize that you still need to score to win the game, but this unit could legitimately average a points-against number in mid teens.

There is talent on offense, but I can't imagine it being a quick fix. I thought Wade wasn't as much of a mess as many who have commented on previous blogs. It was his 3rd game as a starter and the first against an FBS team, a top 10 team at that (queue the complaints about the schedule...). You could see the upside for the future. We are seeing offensive lines get more credit for driving the running game (see DeMarco Murray in 2014 vs. 2015). Our running backs can be talented, but still not have a chance due to poor line play. I remember Jags getting riled up in his first year about the media asking about the inability run the ball... his answer was that our swing passes/screens/etc were effectively runs. There needs to be similar packages to help the passing game... bubble screens, drags, etc. If the line play doesn't improve over the next 2-3 games, there will need to be adjustments to figure out how to get the ball in the hands of our playmakers in positions to succeed.

I'm willing to chalk this one up to an unranked, young team going against a top 10 team. We weren't playing Duke or Wake Forest. This was Florida State! We're not supposed to win! It's frustrating to have had a chance, but still, let's give it a few weeks before jumping off the cliff. Worst case, if we go 0-3, can use the rest of the season to blood some of the young guys and get ready for next year. But if the guys can rally and win 2 of the next 3 and we're back on track for another bowl. Go Eagles

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Agreed - no reason to jump off a cliff. But BC has to have a reasonably competent short to middle distance passing game to help the run - especially with an average at best OL. Good QB play was always BC's great equalizer in prior years. Love running the ball but you need a superior OL for that. We do not have that luxury this year (at least so far - maybe things will improve). So we need to mix it up a bit. I think we have two solid prospects at QB. There will be growing pains - but I like each of them in terms of potential. The QB play is critical - so don't expect too much this season in terms of wins unless one of these two kids turns out to be uber special. As an aside - Daz needs to start recruiting more OL prospects out of Pennsylvania coal country and places like that. Big, ugly, mean, poor, chip on their shoulder kids who don't eat with their hands.

NEDofSavinHill said...

How bogus are the sports reporters who cover college football? Auburn as the number 6 team in the land? Arkansas as a top 25 team? Two SEC West teams that would be in the bottom half of the MAC. Missouri as a ranked team with a three point win at home over UConn and a seven point victory over Ark. St . That conference is so overrated. 2. If the claim that it is the best conference because it has produced the most NFL draftees then doesn't it follow that the conference that has produced the second most NFL selections is second best? Why the different standards for the SEC and the ACC? 3. NIU is a great opportunity for BC. After their excellent game against OSU this will be a real test. A win would be huge.

Hoib said...

Glad to see the tone of the comments by ATL, and u 2. Too many in the prior threads were way over reacting. I'll give it a few more games before I pass judgement. Remember we made it to the ACCCG game w/ a team QB'd by Chris Crane. That year we had an outstanding D. I think this D has that kind of potential. Love what I've seen out of Landry so far.

mod34b said...

While the sky is not falling, we really have no idea about this team's O.

It is kinda sad that BC fans think 6-6 and a 3rd tier bowl game is ok. My how expectations have fallen. Daz needs to feel some heat - hot seat heat - and get results.

One stat that struck my beyond the "goose egg" in 14-0, was that the closest BC got to the end zone was the FSU 39 (and we punted on 4th !). Troy Flutie also got us to the FSU 42.

Aside from a shut out, when was the last time BC failed to get into the red zone in a game? failed to get past the 35 yards line?

I was watching some post-game FSU reactions (on video on some Tallahassee newspaper site), and of course they were fully expecting a 'smash mouth" football and runs into the line. #99 Nile Lawrence stample, a 5th year senior and pre-season honorable mention (this is the guy who busted through line on Wade's last play)., Luv'd the BC challenge. FSU linebackers knew to look for BC misdirection. They knew the playbook this year was just like the last two years.

I think the biggest problem we have is Daz's stubborn mindset about always running... as if he was in the SEC with a lot more talent.

ccw said...

How do you get shut out and get a grade of C-? Complete joke. I want to take that class.

John said...

Hoib - if Chris Crane didn't get hurt at WF, we would have won the ACCCG.

Our D played their hearts out and I am excited about them.

I don't know when Taylor got hurt, but we had to move Williams to center and shuffle others around.

Expecting Freshman Lindstrom to hold his own was a big stretch. The OL will improve, but making changes on the fly against FSU was tough.

JBQ said...

No. Illinois is pretty good. This will be a turning point for the Addazio regime. It will then be either champagne or pitchforks.

Hoib said...


I disagree. Crane was pretty limited in what he could do. Kevin Akins injury did us in. W/ him out we had no one w/ the athletic ability to spy Tyrod Taylor. Tyrod had a field day against us in that game. Crane might have been able to do a little more than Davis, but w/o Aikins we were sunk, IMO.

dixieagle said...

Addazio's stubborn refusal to make adjustments is very concerning. And I hate playing not to lose; we know what that gets us.

Big Jack Krack said...

I forgot about Akins - huge loss for that game and that role.

Meanwhile, is there any word on Taylor and Kavalec?

Big Jack Krack said...

Dixie - we are all frustrated along with you. FSU was well-versed in our playbook, and they had 9 in the box for much of the game.

Their D-line was better than our O-line, but we didn't try to finesse them much at all. That's the puzzling thing. However, without the fumble, it's a one possession game in the 4th quarter. It is what it is at this point.

Go BC - beat No. Illinois. One game at a time!

John said...

True or false - JBQ will take delight in a BC loss to Northern Illinois. :-)

CT said...

I kinda get the stubborn narrative. But he hitched his wagon to Wade and he wasn't exactly above average in anything. He's a pocket passer throwing out of shotgun with little threat to run. He needed repitition. A running QB is about instinct and athleticism. Wade wasn't about that. That's why next year Wade will be starting all over again.

I don't think it matters who starts. I think we'll know who wins the job by who finishes next week.

blist said...

It sucks we didn't win. But Daz on the hot seat b/c our new QB and o-line couldn't do anything against a team that may win the national championship? Come on folks.

CT said...

FSU isn't winning much of anything.

Hoib said...


One thing FSU will win is allot of games. Wouldn't be surprised if they turn out to be the toughest team we play this year. Time will tell.