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.
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.
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.
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.