Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Special Teams needs to do special things

In 2008 BC had a dominant, Top 10 Defense and a untested QB on the other side of the field. Sound familiar, right? Like now, points and possessions were at a premium. However, one thing Jags did in 2008, which Addazio is yet to do this year, is take big chances in Special Teams.

Your memory might be a little hazy, but BC's Special Teams changed multiple games in 2008. We went for repeated punt blocks and converted one for a TD against ND. Toal converted a fake punt to help win a shootout with NC State. An onside kick against Florida State was a huge momentum swing. Billy Flutie also turned a fake field goal into a touchdown against Maryland. All made the difference between a team that won the division and a team that could have used a green QB as an excuse to squeak out six wins.

Aside from the offensive struggles, one of the reasons Jags could roll the dice on Special Teams was that he trusted his Defense. If any of those gambles had backfired, he still knew his defense could hold. I don't expect Addazio to suddenly become a riverboat gambler, but he needs to have that same faith in his defense. And he needs to start taking chances somewhere.

We might not be loaded at QB, but we have enough former QBs on Special Teams (Swigert, Robinson, Willis and Nosovitch) that we could incorporate some passes without alerting the other team. We also have plenty of pure athletes who could easily be part of a fake punt or take advantage of a surprise onside kick.

The other reason you can start with fake or aggressive Special Teams now is because you have four games of opponent film to pick up tendencies and opportunities.

The season is young and Addazio has already taken a lot of criticism for how he's handled the clock and his QBs. Who cares if he takes some chances and it blows up in his face? With this Defense most BC fans will forgive attempts to win. It is playing not to lose that will upset me.


Hoib said...

These special teams have yet to master the basics, let alone move on to the exotics. Not allot of Jags fans on this blog, but I'll give him hi due. He was a great game day coach, unlike TOB, who was a super program builder, but not much on game day .

JBQ said...

I do not understand the hatred of Jags at all. He is now the offensive coordinator at Georgia State (Atlanta). He now has 5 kids to support. I know that he pulled a fast one. He had a 5 year contract and manipulated into being paid off for the final three. He didn't like to recruit. He wanted out of the boy scout recruiting. Nevertheless, his resume' says 2 ACC championship tries against Virginia Tech. His players really liked playing for him. Look where Mattie Ice is now. Let's turn the page and move on please. As for the posting, it is right on target. When the opening kickoff starts an attempt to "run out the clock", there is some serious Rickey Ricardo "splanin'" to do. Last week, UMass used trick plays to stay at 21-20 with Mark Whipple. ND then ran it up to 62-20. You can't be a gun slinger but you can open up the playbook just a bit.

Knucklehead said...

. . . Or just be average. And thereby not hurt the team.

Knucklehead said...

I don't have a problem with "playing not to lose" if we win.

Unknown said...

Its tough to compare both teams just because Jags had an Offensive line he could count on in 2008. You are talking about an offensive line that featured three NFL players including two NFL draft picks and a first round pick in Anthony Castonzo. Hell the defense had five players who are still in the NFL and playing. I get frustrated with Addazio but I think we forget that he is working off of two recruiting classes of his own and he still doesn't have enough skilled play makers on both sides of the ball to take chances or risks.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

If he's going to use Flutie - then let him pass. Otherwise, he'll never mature as a QB at this level. If Daz doesn't want to pass and take some risks - then play Smith and let him mature into the role. Its way too early to know anything about either kid. But you cannot have an effective running attack if all you do is run. I like a lot about Daz - but I'm getting nervous that all the warnings from the Florida fans are painfully true - i.e., too one dimensional. As an aside - we are never going to sell more seats with this kind of offense. That NIU game was like watching paint dry despite the great defense.

SaturdaysOnShea said...

The onside kick after our first possession (which was a TD) against FSU in Tallahassee to me is the greatest play of the Jags era. We were in a hostile environment, on a black out night at FSU, and that play sent a statement that we were there to play. Not many people remember, but we dominated FSU that night and crashed their party.

I would love to see Daz get more aggressive on special teams. I don't understand why we don't go for blocked punts or kicks more often. It seems to me we could have blocked at least one of NIU's punts this weekend. Or used some trickeration on special teams to really swing the momentum of the game.

Our defense has proved to be extraordinarily stout even in tough situations. Even if our offense has trouble moving the ball, we can bet that the defense will make it tough for the other team too.

Btoal said...

I don't think think Daz has run a fake fg or fake punt one time since being here which is kind of astounding! Hopefully that changes this year!

Hoib said...


I don't think w/ the putrid PK we've had for the last year and a half would lead to the necessary element of surprise to succeed w/ a fake. Didn't they tray a swinging gate against Howard of all people and screw it up.


The fans at Fla. could be right and ours wrong. Fla. never lacks for burners, we never get them. BC has traditionally been a blue collar program. I think Daz ball fits perfectly here IMO.

EL MIZ said...

underrated moment of last week was true freshman (walk-on?) kicker Lichtenberg coming in and drilling the FG from the hash. if he misses that (entirely possible given last year's results) then that game goes into OT. at least that was special.

the time for trickery should be after we master kicking and punting correctly. the Howell shank (he was potentially injured, regardless) at the end of the game almost cost us big time.

Saturday at duke should be a rainy, sloppy affair. i think that plays to our "strengths." our D needs to pitch a shut out and likely return a pick-6 or fumble to the house.

Hoib said...

El Miz

Liked Lich. he had proper rotation, and trajectory on both his kicks, plus didn't choke on the big one. Hope Howell comes around so he can KO, and punt up to his usual standards. He could be a big weapon for us in the field position battle if he's healthy.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Hoib - I think Daz did a great job the last couple years of making the most of what he had from Spaz. But BC has always leveled the playing field in years past against better programs by moving the ball effectively in the air. Those teams also had decent running attacks as well. To do what he wants to do we need an overpowering OL to support a consistent running attack - especially against a stacked D that knows we nearly always run the ball. I don't think the odds are in our favor of accomplishing that. We need a balanced offense and good QB play. If not - then just go next year to a more effective option offense and follow Georgia Tech. It may be that Flutie had so little preparation in camp for this role that Daz has zero confidence in his readiness. In which case - you wonder why one back up was not ready in such a crucial position with the risk of injury always being high.

Hoib said...


I think it's too early to judge his approach. He doesn't have all the parts for the machine. He needs a good dual threat QB, doesn't have it and has yet to have it, in his first 3 years, needs a powerful OL, had it last year, but so far not this year. He needs a strong D, first year he has that. Throw in decent specials which he had in year 1, and not since. He's very candid in his press conferences. From day 1, he's said this is a 5 year deal, I'll judge his approach at the end of that period. My feeling is so far so good, but to be fair I have to acknowledge that I'm old school. I'd hate to be in the Big 12, where they basically play Arena league type ball. As for right now, I don't think our best chance to win is to have young Flutie throw more.

mod34b said...

. I'm sure Daz feels Flutie "takes care of the ball" better than Smith - Smith had what 2 fumbles/boobles.?? not sure

Daz is likely starting flutie as a game manager (hand offs) . So we got "Flutter Ball" Flutie at the helm.

Has Flutie had a successfully escaped from the pass rush? has he had any success or QB end-around runs yet? I am thinking he has not.

We got one healthy RB now - Rouse. yikes. very Light at TE.

So, is it back to run, run, run, punt? hope not, but it is in the Sp-D-az DNA to do so.

Rationally, we should not do well against Duke, but maybe Daz/Fitch will have few surprises (the SC guy?)??

EL MIZ said...

mod34b - Smith's ballhandling is probably the main reason he isn't starting (i would think). Addazio probably just doesn't trust him.

agree flutie's "escapability" has been underwhelming. it is somewhat surprising to me that Elijah Robinson wasn't as good as these guys. can we move him back?