The win is nice. The game went about as well as you could expect. All the reports from Alumni talked about the great weather. Even ESPN3's production looked good. Yet I still have this feeling that the season hasn't really started. Even watching it back, it still seemed like a scrimmage. I am not trying to dismiss Maine and winning these games is better than losing them (see Kansas), but there is and was a lack of intensity. But even without the intensity there was still some positive takeaways.
I thought Wade was okay live, but watching it back I realized he had a pretty good first game. His arm is good -- good touch, good placement and good strength. What concerned me was his missed opportunities on the few run plays we ran for him. He didn't exploded to holes nor show much elusiveness. Flutie's few snaps didn't tell us anything.
Hilliman's best play might have been a big block on a play for Outlow. Hilliman's catches were nice. Wofford also did a good job in the passing game. Outlow was fine and seemed to do alright in the crowds around the line. Rouse had the biggest day, but I think a lot of that was fresh legs and the line playing better.
Swigert's TD wasn't just a feel good gimme. He made a real good cut and did a good job getting open. I liked Smith's hands on the one slant he caught. Alston needs to fix those drops.
Watching live, I thought the OL just had trouble because Maine was so aggressive. In the second viewing things just looked really inconsistent. All had struggles at different parts of the game. I thought the right side played better than the left (Bowen and Baker). Taylor got better as the game went on. Williams was okay. Schmal came off the bench and played extensively as did Lindstrom, so both might be in the mix for starting spots.
I am going to forgive Fitch for BC's head scratching play calling. There wasn't much rhythm and too many drives stalled early. We also didn't call obvious counters -- zone reads or short passes -- to Maine's pressure until later in the second half. We seemed determined to overpower them in most situations instead. If we were this basic against Maine it will only be more so against Howard.
The Defensive Line was the best part of the team on Saturday. Landry looked very quick and much stronger. Wujciak caused plenty of disruption and won most of his battles. Kavalec did a nice job reading the option. Abdesmad looked good.
Milano was very active and played well. Daniels got fooled once on one of Maine's big passes, but played well. Schwab looked good in the second half. Strachan did a good job.
I thought all the DBs looked good, but I don't know how much of that was BC's pass rush or Maine's FCS talent. Simmons had a good day. McClary seemed to do well with coverage. Johnson looked good. Congrats to Harris on his first INT.
We don't know enough about Finch's play calling to tell if he was keeping it simple. We do know that Brown did. BC generated plenty of pressure without getting very exotic nor even blitzing too much. That's a good sign.
Special Teams: C
For years and years, I bemoaned all our punt returners signalling for fair catch. So in the big picture, I love Alston's confidence and aggressiveness. It will pay off. Saturday though had me taking deep breathes for the wrong reasons. He needs to be more careful, especially when he is dealing with a bouncing ball. His kick returns were fine.
Howell's place kicking was not great. The miss was very wide and even the extra points looked low. Let's hope they have someone else lined up in case this remains an issue.
Howell's punts were better. I thought most of the coverage units looked good.
The final score was about what I expected. How we got there wasn't what I expected. But on a whole this was a good first game. I am hoping the offensive issues are a mix of first game sloppiness, wanting to keep things simple and Maine selling out at the line. With the Defense and Special Teams playing to expectations, I'm still very optimistic.
Considering all the unknowns, I still feel like Addazio had the team prepared, motivated and had just enough adjustments. Let's hope it is a sign of things to come.