Sunday, October 11, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Wake Forest

Addazio, and some of his apologists, are blaming inexperience and/or execution for the utter cluster of the final five minutes. I've heard and read "this team is only three plays away from being 5-1." Anyone who says that in defense of Saturday is missing the big picture. I hope Addazio is smart enough to see beyond that nonsense. The reality is that if you play in enough close games, luck and randomness is amplified and things are not always going to go your way. Addazio is 6-7 at BC in close games (decided by seven points or less) and 1-2 in close games this year. Because he is not preparing this team well and because he is not pressing every in-game opportunity, BC is finding itself in close games. Play enough of those close games and some are going to go blow up in your face. Even if we had miraculously scored a TD in the final minute, the final score would have been 7-3. BC is -- and was -- more than four points better than Wake. The reason the game was close is because Steve Addazio's management during the week and during the game.

But injuries...and fumbles...and missed kicks...blah, blah, blah.
Everything that went wrong on Saturday comes back to how things were handled in the offseason, how things have been handled since Wade's injury, and how Daz managed the game Saturday.
1. The confusion on the final possession. If Smith is getting all the snaps during the week, then the team has more time to practice two minute drills/late-game situations. That's on Daz. If Daz doesn't insist on huddling and then follow it with a run up the middle, that one play doesn't eat all the time. That's on Daz. If Daz has just a more basic understanding of time and the clock he wouldn't assume anything about getting a second play off after a run in under 29 seconds. That's on Daz.
2. Not having more timeouts. The first TO of the second half was burned when he was yo-yo-ing Flutie in. That's on Daz. Playing one QB cuts down on burned timeouts and probably cuts down on some of the false starts that plagued the team on Saturday.
3. Flutie fumbling trying to push for the first down. Why are we even putting him in that situation? He's "more experienced" in what? He's played about as much as Smith in live game action. If anything putting him in there in a pressure-packed situation when he is trying to prove he is the "Man" will lead to mistakes like that.
4. The missed field goals. Last season ended with a missed field goal. Addazio fired his Special Teams Coach. He's had months to find anyone who can hit a chip shot. Not having a reliable kicker also kept playing for Overtime off the table. Without a reliable kicker OT would have probably ended in a loss too, but the Defense might have stopped Wake altogether.
5. The inability to score. Wade's injury, the young OL, the QB rotation, the new play caller, Hilliman, Spaz's recruits, bad luck, etc. It all matters. But every team deals with similar stuff. BC's inability to score is a wholesale failure in approach and practice. First, Daz's preferred style of clock eating and conservatism is going to lead to low scores. You are shortening the game and limiting chances to score. I have no problem shortening the game when we are less talented (FSU, Clemson) or ahead. But in a game where you have a talent advantage or need to score, you cannot be so deliberate. This is not my theory or my discovery. It is now a proven, much reviewed football game theory. Daz is shooting himself in the foot there. Second, when things fall apart, good coaches regroup. During the week they go back to basics and figure out what CAN the team do and build from there. It looks like BC did that a bit (read option with Smith) but Addazio and/or Fitch didn't have the confidence to stick with it. Third, it seems like Addazio doesn't know what he wants to do offensively. His first two years BC played power, with spread principles, with a run first mentality. It was a mix of old Florida, Stanford and a little bit of Chip Kelly thrown in. It wasn't dominant, but it was unconventional enough and successful enough for BC to win. Even as the personnel changed from Year 1 to Year 2, the approach, play calling and philosophy didn't. I don't know if Day kept it all glued together or Addazio and Fitch have overreacted to every injury or every freshmen mistake, but we are not using the mix we had in Year 1 and Year 2. The OL is not as great yet, but that is not the problem. The Tight Ends and WRs are not blocking well (that's coaching). We wasted numerous snaps on a QB who is not a running threat (Flutie) and hasn't shown he can be a passer to take advantage of the other team's aggressiveness. We are not playing to our roster's strengths, we are not coaching up the young guys and we abandoned what worked for Year 1 and Year 2 for a "throw shit against the wall" approach. That is why we are not scoring.

Offense: F

Neither QB was good, but Smith was better. His running threat opens other plays. His passes aren't great but are sharper and have more zip. I don't think "knowing the offense" is really his problem. I think his decisions reading the defense in passing situations are. On a short out to an open guy, he can zip it. When he rolled in the redzone, he hesitated. Ironically when he rolls, his passes get worse. I don't know if he is waiting for the guys to get wide open or is just been told to throw it where it cannot be picked, but he's better passing from the pocket. His running is good and he would have had two running TDs if not for bad downfield blocking by his teammmates. I feel for Flutie. I wish his last name was Jones, so there wouldn't be so much baggage with this issue. He's not fast enough to make something out of broken plays. His passes are not any better than Smith's. (They are arguably worse.) His decision making on passes and using the clock is not great.

Gowins looked really good. The fumble wasn't a freshman mistake. The Wake kid made a perfect tackle and placed his helmet right on the ball. Outlow was a bit of a disappointment. He didn't block well and got tripped up in traffic a bit. Rouse was okay. No idea what he was doing on the last play. Wofford played well.

The Offensive Line wasn't bad but they were inconsistent. Hendren noticeably made some mistakes. Harris screwed up and fell down a few times. The interior in general got beat a bit by Wake crashing the gaps. Lindstrom struggled too. Baker played well. Bowen was fine.

Callinan made some great catches. Even the one that was called back. He blocked well. Addazio did not block all that well. Alston did not play well. The first INT was on him. Smith was okay, but he is not a good blocker either. Jackson didn't pull in the one pass thrown his way.

Who deserves the blame for our Offense is up for debate. From what I know, Addazio sets the vision and agenda and Fitch calls the plays. I have no idea who is making the Flutie/Smith call in-game but the changing mid drive is moronic. Other than the Smith/Flutie issues, my biggest play calling gripe is calling as many passes as we do. The play action doesn't work because neither QB is willing or confident enough to come out of the fake and make a throw. And then the play breaks down. I also hate the traditional pass plays because we don't pass block well yet.

Defense: A

Abdesmad had his best game in years. He showed more speed than we've seen from him. Wujciak dominated again and is headed towards an All Conference season. Kavalec had another strong game. Gutapfel and Landry were both fine.

The Linebackers were outstanding. Easily their best game as group. Daniels was all over the place. Strachan's INT was a great athletic play. Milano played really well. The forced fumble at the end was amazing. Schwab looked good.

The DBs weren't really tested. Wofford only passed 25 times and many were way off and non-issues. A few of Wake's big passes were coverage breakdowns, not guys getting beat. Moore did lose a tough battle on a long pass, but was pretty good. Johnson made a nice play on the INT. Simmons looked good.

Brown called a great game. The Defense is playing on such a high level that Brown doesn't even need to blitz that much. Just the hint of the blitz often does enough to screw up the other team. And we get plenty of pressure when we need it.

Special Teams: F

Walker looked good on returns. Alston showed more aggressiveness, but still let some punts roll too far. Nothing else needs to be said about the place kicking. Howell is gimpy still. His punts were a mixed bag.

Overall: D

The only thing keeping the whole game from an "F" was the Defense.

Writing after a game like that can lead to overreaction, but I hold with my belief that Addazio is not going to be a special coach at BC. If this is how he is managing the rough spots and this is how he is preparing BC for tight games, he will never do enough for us to break through. You can win with Addazio's mismanaged games if you have an overwhelming talent advantage. BC will never have that. So for BC to have a ACC winning season, we will need peak BC-level talent and a coach who will make all the right in game calls.

For now I think Addazio will be TOBish. To his credit, the BC-era TOB would have a bounce back game after one like this. Can Addazio? I will have more on what Addazio needs to do this year and going forward in posts this week.


Walter said...

This was one of the worst losses I've ever seen in my 9 years as an Eagles fan, but, come on, going after Addazio this hard and setting his ceiling as a coach is a bit ridiculous.

I'm not willing to call his philosophy or coaching style a wash just yet. His enthusiasm for our school - even if he's overselling it or might not mean it as much as he claims - is something I don't think any of the coaches I've seen ever had. Is that enough? Of course not.

You write off the injuries the team has endured as something any school has to deal with. Sure, to an extent, but it's not like every school loses their starting QB.

That game was abominable. I hope it changes things and leads to a renewed focus on special teams, which, like you said, should have happened already given last season's struggles.

With this defense, we can still win games. At the very least we can't score fewer points than we did last Saturday.

ATL_eagle said...

I think the defense is good enough that we can still win every game left on the schedule. Can Daz fix enough of the other aspects of this team midseason to actually win those games?

I will write more on Daz's ceiling this week. I hope I am wrong, but nothing he has shown in 2.5 years indicates that he is the type of coach who can take advantage of all the stars aligning. He manages games in such a way that he invites them to be stolen. TOB did the same thing.

bceagle93 said...

I'll throw this scenario out there for everyone to think about: next season is Daz's last season at the Heights and Ryan Day will be our next coach.

Here's my logic: no matter what the final record is this year, the administration will give him the pass due to the QB injury. Next year, either he rights the ship with Wade and gets us back to a bowl, or we continue to sink. If we sink, Bates will start getting regular calls for Daz's bald head. That and the growing number of empty seats in Alumni will likely force him to make a move.

If Daz is able to right the ship and takes us to the Continental Tire Bowl, he looks around and says to himself, "This is the best I can do here with my ability and with the talent I am able to attract. I can't risk the bigger payday and a cushy ESPN side gig for this crap." and takes the next Big10 or SEC job (no matter how crappy they may be) available. He knows he is not a great coach, but his salesmanship and personality will convince some AD that with better talent he should be able to find the next Tebow and take a beaten down program to the promised land.

Either way, Daz leaves after 2016. Chip Kelly is this close to going back to the comforts of college coaching. If that happens, Ryan Day will likely be looking for a job, and ready for a step up in responsibility. Bates being Bates hones in on him for a triumphant return to the Heights.

ATL_eagle said...

I do think Ryan Day will be a head coach at BC one day but it won't be 2017. Daz isn't going anywhere. His age and mediocre record at two stops means no one is coming for him. I also don't think BC will fire him any time before 2017.

bceagle93 said...

ATL, you underestimate the salesman factor. I'm sure Indiana or Illinois would love a guy like him on the sideline and with Michigan raising it's game this year with a coach with a lot of personality, the Big10 will be returning to a power conference status very soon (if not already).

Look how he reacted to this game: he did not take the blame like he should have, even though it is clear he and his offensive staff got outcoached. A guy who is confident in his coaching ability would step up and take the hit. But not Daz -- his ego is too big. I'm telling you Daz is looking elsewhere next year if he gets us back to a bowl, and will blame fan apathy, tough admissions standards, and lack of talent in Northeast for the reasons why he didn't do better here. Otherwise, Daz knows he risks having his next coaching job be an OC somewhere. Also, Louie graduates this year.

Whether Bates has the stones to fire him next year if it is subpar is a different story....

SaturdaysOnShea said...

I am not ready to call this Daz's ceiling or fall off his bandwagon just yet. The game management, cycling of QBs, and inability to adjust is purely poor decision making and it is hard to learn that. What also gives me pause, is that there seemed to be no plan for the eventuality that Wade might go down.

These next few games are going to be very telling. After the Duke and Wake debacles, this really is time for a wholesale change in order to save the season. I hope this loss was a major gut check for Addazio and a wake up call that things need to change.

mod10aeagle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mod10aeagle said...

One statement from Addazio right now would cool things down substantially: "Jeff Smith is our starting quarterback for the rest of the season; the dual-QB experiment is over."

ATL's comment that "Addazio doesn't know what he wants to do offensively" is the root cause. One could argue that he needs to resolve that before he chooses his QB, but it would be faster to commit to one QB (I vote Smith); that will dictate what he can do offensively.

NEDofSavinHill said...

Atl assessment of the QB situation is as laughable as Daz's offensive coaching. To claim Smith is a better passer than Flutie is a complete falsehood. The last two games Smith has thrown 25 passes for 68 yards without a touchdowns and one interception. Less than three yards per attempt. He missed a wide open Dudeck for a TD. Flutie in the last two contests is 7 for 16 for 147 yards one touchdown and no picks. Over nine yards per attempt. On a fraction of Smith's passes he has produced double the yardage. Stop the propaganda and dishonesty that Daz and you are engaged in regarding Flutie. Tell the truth. Flutie is a vastly superior passer to Smith who has been given minimal opportunity. Keep using the mobile QB and scoring no points.
Smith 7-25 for 68 yards no TDs one interception
Flutie 7-16 for 147 yards one TD

The Boston Series said...

Look at Michigan. See what happens with a top coach. I agree with Savin Hill. Flutie is a quarterback, Smith is a runner. Flutie should go to a school with a coach who knows the difference.

Stop with the bowl nonsense. 76 teams go to bowls. Is that what you want to have a team that is number sixty or above in the country.

BC can win with a good coach. They have done so in the past. This coach's record is not that of a fair coach. Stop the excuses. Enthusiasm doesn't win games for bsd coaches. Of course he loves BC, who else would give him the dough he gets for the performance he produces. Remember even Clebeck's teams were not shut out 2 times in six games or averaged about two points a game in league play. Is this soccer?

Pity the defense. Perhaps the answer to BC's eoes aside from firing Daze is to have the defense play on offense as well.

Daze is like Spaz. He gets worser and worser. Time to face facts that Daz is in a Daze during games.

Hario said...

its frankly kinda surreal to be watching the best Defense I have ever seen at BC and the worst offense I have ever seen at BC at the same time.

SaturdaysOnShea said...

NED and Boston,

You guys really need to let go of this idea of Flutie as the starting quarterback. He had no other Division I offers. From anyone. I wish him the best of luck on this team in whatever role he finds, but he is at BC because of his name, not because of his talent. He should probably take a role similar to Billy. Flutie's one touchdown was a duck that was more due to the skill of the receiver and the DEFENSIVE BACK FALLING DOWN.

Smith is able to run the type of offense Daz is trying to instill, that being a run first, read option, with occasional play action.

mod34b said...

Daz did Great job with the defense! hail Daz! Hooray Daz! huzzah Daz! yay

OK now we have the pleasantries out of the way

Daz is not a defense man, he is an offense guy

and we're now at the midpoint of the season, let's see how does on a statistical report card

Hete are stats from CFB nationally against FBS opponents

Scoring O: 128/128
RedZone success: 128/128
Total O : 122/128
FGs: 127/128
First downs: 120/128
Yards per Rush 94/128
Rushing O - 43/128
Passing O - 124/128
Penalties -73/128
Fumbles lost - 94/128
3rd down conversion - 119/128

Daz and Fitch have done a terrible job.

Grade for midterm - F

Thomas said...

To Hario's point, I've been making an absolute killing betting BC unders the past two weeks. Talk about predictable, low-scoring games. The Duke total was 37, Wake was 36. Can't wait to see the Clemson line. (They're 16.5 point favorites, but no total listed yet.) Can anyone see us score more than 10 points in any ACC game? Unless the defense scores, I see this as a near impossibility.

mod34b said...

Daz is out for Daz. Look at how he makes excuses and blames players.

So unfortunate BB gave him a raise and extension after 2 .500 seasons. He is here through 2020 - $13,000,000 to go Why did u do it BB? I do not see BC firing Faz and eating $13,000,000.

Best thing is if we can go 6-6 and Daz takes a new job. Great to get rid of this BS artist

NEDofSavinHill said...

Flutie's uncle had no division one offers. How did he turn out? Bear in mind that the last two teams FSU faced, Wake and Miami threw for 620 yards against the FSU D. BC played FSU with Wade at QB and got 50. It shows how incompetent the coach is that he plays two QBs Wade and Smith, who can't throw and he keeps the only QB who can on the bench. Was the coach dishonest? Did he use dual standards? He played Wade because he had a better command of the offense. But when Wade got injured he didn't name Flutie the QB. Flutie obviously had better command than Smith, who just arrived but a different standard was applied.2. The offensive scheme is a failure and should be scrapped.

Unknown said...

We miss Day more than we realized. He had weak teams and came up with something from them. The motion and looks were very complex. This feels like our offense has gone backward by 30 years. We actually have plenty of weapons compared to past years.

I know they want Smith, but I completely disagree he is the right guy. His mechanics are - awful. Body sideways if there is any pressure within 5 yards. Inaccurate. Throwing people out of bounds. Yes - he has zip on the ball, but zip with no accuracy is an interception waiting to happen. Did anyone else notice the receivers can;t catch his passes. Most of his good plays are busted plays. We can't design an offense around busted plays. He cannot clock manage or run the hurry up. Calling a huddle after the refs measured was MIND BOGGLING. I think we could do more with Flutie this year. Run more of the offense. LESS time management issues. Let him get in some sort of rhythm. He won't be spectacular, but we do not need spectacular with our defense. We need decent. I could not agree more about the mid-drive changes. Did you see Flutie get two decent plays (I think one was an pass interference - which is as good as a completion) and we switch to Smith? There is nothing impressive about the offensive coaching this year.

Joseph said...

What won games last year? A pretty good o-line and a pretty good QB who could really run and throw very ok. What do we have this year an o-line that is spotty at best, a Qb that is barely ok at throwing but can't run and a QB that can't throw and runs ok, but now half as well as last year.

Last year and the year before, same coach different players and DAY, but winning. this year players not so much. But, in frustration, blame Daz. Sure, we would all love to see much better play and I would like to have had a rich uncle who left me millions. Coach bashing is the absolute biggest sport in the USA. Enjoy it. Every town and every team gets it sooner or later. Only perfect need apply.

JBQ said...

What a mess! The stats by mod34b only make the reality worse.

Knucklehead said...

I feel the flack coming already. Flutie is goddamned Boston College royalty. Like it or not. Putting him in for a quarterback sneak after benching him for three plays during a decent drive that he started after sitting for 2 quarters is beyond BULLSHIT. I would not be surprised if he transfers. That call was repre-fucking-hensible. So is the fact that Addazio cannot find a kicker. That is the bottom-line.

The next head-coach will be Al Washington. All he needs to do is pull the tape of the Virginia came when Kiwanuka got cheapshotted by Brad Butler and whoever the fuck is interviewing him will hire him on the spot. He is the Pat Fitzgerald of Boston College.

BCAlum2000 said...

Few comments, neither Flutie nor Smith are QB's that should be leading a Division I, let alone a Power 5 conference. Deny it all you want, but Flutie is only at BC because of his name. He is at best a DIAA QB at the moment. Smith is an athlete/runner. Can he develop, maybe.

The question we should be asking is not which one of these two should be the starter, but moreso, is the system that Daz wants to run something that can ever work at BC? Lets be honest, BC recruits to a certain strength. That includes smart QB's who can throw (Flutie, Foley, both Hasselbecks, St. Pierre, Ryan). Also, BC recruits huge stud offensive lineman. We then have a good RB sitting behind them that takes advantage of both of these facts (Walker, Washington, Cloud, Knight, Callendar, Harris). Stick with your strength. Dont try to fit the proverbial square peg in a round hole. We are not Florida. We will never have the type of recruits to run a spread, QB read-option system ... nor should we. Daz failed to see this from the start.

All the apologists and excuse makers for Daz need to stop. This is ALL on him. The system/scheme. The bad play calling. The play not to lose mentality. The horrific in-game management. The lack of any back-up QB. ALL of it.

Speaking of the play not to lose mentality, it is correct that was our biggest beef with TOB. The difference however was that TOB knew how to coach. Both tactically as well as in regards to what BC is good at. He recruited pro-style QB's and stud OL with great RBs. His teams rarely if ever, beat themselves. He had some stud defenses. It was the combination of TOB's recruits and discipline, with Jags/Logans play to win mentality, that led to near greatness. We need to find that combination again ...

BCAlum2000 said...

Also, the kicker mess is an absolute disgrace. Again, 100% on the coach. You really kind find a kid who can hit a 20-30 yard fg? Shoot, they pulled a kid out of the stands less than a decade ago who could do that.

Al Washington is a great recruiter and might someday be a great coach ... but not yet. As for that play against UVA, I was there and he will be a BC legend forever for what he did that day.

Knucklehead said...

TOB was a complete buffoon early on. He learned by making mistakes. Lookup the Miami game at alumni in 99 or 00. He totally SNAFU'ed the overtime. He wasn't some great tactician/mastermind.

All these coaches are overrated. The talent makes them look good or bad.

If we had a field goal kicker this game would have been a win and characterized as an "old time" grudge match where our toughness prevailed blah blah blah

BCAlum2000 said...

I was at that Miami game and it was no where near as mismanaged as the Wake game this past weekend. Mismanaging a game or certain situations in a game are one thing, doing that plus completely mismanaging the offense and special teams for over 1.5 years is a completely different issue.

Knucklehead said...

So was I.

Remember the ND game when Mike Cloud was run into the line 4 times from the 3 yard line?

Remember TOB letting Dana Bible throw the same slant pass over and over and over . . . Game after game.

You are making TOB out to be more than he was. He won because he had NFL quarterbacks and NFL offensive linemen. Not because he was a tactician.