Sunday, September 27, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Northern Illinois

During the game, I felt Flutie was terrible and Smith was underutilized. It wasn't that simple, so I sort of understand what Addazio is facing. However, that doesn't justify how they were used and it certainly doesn't explain how we nearly gave this game away. Yet with all of that, I still feel better about the team than I did Saturday. We are so close to everything clicking. The D is there. Can the rest of the team catch up?

Offense: D

Flutie's passes were bad. Not particularly crisp, fast nor accurate. The TD was a good decision. The INT was a terrible decision. His running wasn't good either. He's not fast enough to escape on the option read. He did make a few better touch passes in the second half. And despite his limitations, he seems poised. Smith has great speed and looks very comfortable. The fumble that he recovered was unfortunate. He's got to be more careful. I don't know if you can judge anything off of his passes.

Hilliman looked better. He had more power and explosiveness. Outlow and Willis were non-factors and according to Daz, neither was healthy late in the game. Rouse was fine in mop up duty. Wolford and Wilson were fine.

Callinan did a good job staying in bounds on the TD catch. Swigert looked fine. Alston finally made a big play in a traditional pass pattern. Smith was fine, although his blocking is still not great. He looked good on the sweep even if it didn't break.

The Offensive Line played relatively well. Other than some penalties, there weren't many mistakes. Not many misses either. Williams looked better. Baker was fine at Center. Bowen was good. Lindstrom was better than last week too.

The running game was more effective with Smith. There was no debate. Yet he didn't get the most possessions. I don't know if that is Daz or Fitch or both, but it was frustrating. I felt Fitch should have called more zone options with Smith. Just having him there softened the middle and created holes for Hilliman. Why not run it until NIU shows that it can stop the play? Or create some play action passes for Smith out of it? I also hated switching QBs mid-drive. How does that allow anyone on offense get in rhythm? I don't know how much of our issues are being forced on Fitch, but it is his job to make lemonade out of the lemons. Through four games he hasn't shown he can do that.

Defense: A

The DLine looked great. Wujciak kept pushing their line back. Landry wasn't as disruptive as last week, but still showed a lot of productivity. Abdesmad played well. Kelly finally made a play.

Strachan played his best game. Daniels was pretty good and fortunately the dropped pass late didn't determine the game. Schwab is also coming around.

Johnson's INT was a great play. Moore played really well again. Simmons was very active. Yiadom was good.

Once again, Brown kept things simple and it worked. We gave them different looks and had the DL twisting without exposing the DBs or LBs. We also stayed aggressive late. It brings in the big play, but we had dominated to that point, it didn't make sense to go with excessive prevent.

Special Teams: C-

On a good day, some of the big Special Teams' plays would earn an "A" for the unit. But Special Teams nearly cost BC the game.

The kick return was a complete breakdown. As the announcers said, the shorter kick seemed intentional, yet there didn't seem to be a fail safe? Or at least any player who knew he was the fail safe.

The highlight was Milano's block.

Howell's punts were fine until late. Willis' one return was fine. Alston showed a little more aggressiveness.

Other than the bad kickoff, Lichtenberg looked ok.
Overall: B-

Winning close games is luck. Play enough and some will break your way and others won't. The best coaches press their advantages and push relentlessly so that a close game cannot be stolen. Steve Addazio's ultra conservative game management and some bad special teams nearly gave this game away. You could watch this game ten times and not be able to ignore that. As I said, the kick return was a total breakdown. But how does that happen? The play is designed to prevent a big return. How is there not anyone back?

As for the QB decision, I still think we didn't use Smith enough. Even if he makes BC one-dimensional, that one dimension was more effective than Flutie's two dimensions.

Winning while things are falling apart does deserve credit, but we need to show improvement on Offense soon and we need him to pull out more stops, not go more conservative.


Hoib said...

BC Fans D

Can't ever remember a more unhappy and critical fan base after a win against a good team. There will be loses, so if you can't celebrate the victories what's the point. Didn't hear any Pats fans bad mouthing the Super Bowl win, which was the biggest gift win of all time!

rgmarine said...

as a long time eagles fan{class of 67} i am obviously pleased that they won the game. But i find watching the run first option that daz utilizes totally boring. i realize the qb situation is terrible right now but at some point i would give anything to see some sort of a legitimate passing game down the road. it's a shame that we might be wasting a top ten defense
do due a completely non existent offense.

EL MIZ said...

Hoib - i was pretty critical after the loss, but have cooled off. the final 10 minutes of the 4th quarter honestly felt like a time warp back to the Spaz era with playing it not to lose and the bend dont break defense. a Win is a Win though, and even without Wade we are 3-1 heading into Duke, which is where we needed to be.

NEDofSavinHill said...

Atl view is totally wrong. It stems from pre conceived notions of how the game should be played. Flutie can do something that neither Wade nor Smith has at yet been able to demonstrate i, e, throw down field accurately. His TD, the pass to Alston and Swigert show that. His third down throw to Smith resulting in a first down was one of the biggest plays of the game. Look what happened to GT in their one dimensional attack. Good coaches are going to stymie that offense. BC needs to pass as well as run. Was the Flutie interception entirely his fault? Did the DB just jump the route and make the play? Did Callinan slip or cut off his route? Saw the replay but couldn't determine. 2. Hoib is right. Too many nattering nehbobs of negativism. They win against a good team. They play a better game against them than the #1 team in the country does. Yet the cranks are out in force to lament the attendance, the schedule, the concussion protocol or some other irrelevancy. Celebrate a quality victory. Enjoy life.

Bottyeagle said...

A good win. Gutsy one, and a lose would have probably ended all bowl trips. One critique I have was the end of the first half clock management. BC was close to the 50 and wasted 10 seconds or so trying to spike the ball. They then used the one final timeout before the next play, and then ran it. I am sure Addazio was scared of a turnover to end the half, but I thought this was managed poorly. I would have used my timeout and take a few chances down field.

Danny Boy said...

Flutie throws a fluttering ball. It essentially removes the out route (and probably quick slants) from the playbook. Those routes need zip on the ball, and Flutie hasn't shown that tool yet.

Addazzio has committed to being a run first team. Its obvious the run works better when Smith is on the field. Hilliman doesn't get close to his yardage if Flutie is the full-time QB. Just look at the numbers, BC moved the ball far, FAR better when Smith was on the field, even without passing.

I don't understand the "its boring" criticism. I defy anyone to look at the Murphy or Alston runs from the USC game last year and say they were boring plays. 5 yard outs, slants, bubble screens, and come backs (the type of passes we should be throwing) are just as dull as a HB dive or off-tackle run, and open the door up for even more errors. We don't have the QB or the receivers to be running skinny posts and deep routes. Do we really want 5'6" Alston going up for jump balls?

The win was a good win. But it was despite some shaky coaching. The brief moment of prevent defense in the final drive almost cost us the game. Addazio's clock management at the end of the half was truly confusing. He lets the clock run on one play, only to call time out the next to ensure we get the ball back. Later, he runs a hurry-up play and clocks the ball. Only to follow it with a needless timeout to set up the half-ending draw play. There is no consistency or impression that he's moving to a specific goal, only that his decisions are coming off of the most scattered and convoluted flow chart ever created.

My fear is that while the kids are playing their hearts out and giving every last bit of effort that they can (especially on D), the coaching will let them down and cost them a win. BC deserved to win on saturday against a decent opponent. And because of Addazzio, that almost didn't happen. I think some of the shock and outrage is coming from the fact that we haven't had to say that too many times in Daz's tenure.

John said...

Some interesting items, having returned from Beantown:

Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution ACC Roundup Headline - "More Flutie Magic for BC" I thought that was interesting, considering the current debate going on.

It has been a rainy weather pattern in the south - and it may well be raining in Durham again this Saturday - showing 80% right now.

Is this good for BC or doesn't matter? It wasn't good for Georgia Tech.

Duke posted a long punt return to the 1 yard line = easy TD, 100 yard Kickoff return for a TD, a timely interception and they recovered a costly fumble. That's how Duke won the game - turnovers and special teams.

GT had a poor first quarter (3 TDs), but their D stuffed Duke the rest of the way until the ending TD with just over a minute to play.

We need Don Brown to install a tough D from the opening kickoff. Duke's D is pretty tough, and they will be ready for the "up the middle" play. :-)

BC 10 to 9.