That was a frustrating re-watch. Not just because of the losing or the lack of energy. I am concerned because Fadule made things look better than they were or are. That's disconcerting when you only score eight points.
I don't want to predict or project too much on Fadule. I don't know if he can be a star or even lead us to a win. All I know is he's playing well for now. He made things happen and many of our best plays came when plays broke down and he found someone downfield. He showed good touch on his passes. The first INT wasn't really his fault. The second two he was just forcing things while trying to get BC on the scoreboard. I don't think he makes the best decisions on the reads or when to run. I also think he's got to be more careful when the pocket is collapsing.
The running backs didn't do much but that was because they weren't given much in the way of good blocking. Rouse had a few big runs up the middle, but nothing where he made a great play. Outlow had a nice catch and I was reminded that we should throw to him more often. Willis was bottled up. Wilson was fine in limited touches. Wofford was fine.
Thadd Smith played well. He made some nice catches and showed the ability to win one on one battles. Robinson looked good after the catch. I was frustrated by Dudeck being short of the first down multiple times, but he was really trying to bail Fadule out. Callinan had a few nice plays. As a whole this group's blocking was bad and kept a few plays from breaking. (Louie had a terrible block on one of Smith's sweeps.)
The Offensive Line did not play well. I've been praising Baker for weeks, but this game was not his best. He was overpowered repeatedly. Lindstrom also has some issues. Bowen played a bit better. Williams was not good again. I get so frustrated when he is literally blocking no one and standing there as a play breaks down around him.
Aside from criticizing the development of the Offensive line, I feel like Fitch and Addazio are failing the team in how they prepare and plan. Take all the options and read plays we have. By design these plays leave a man unblocked. In theory the unblocked player is far enough from the action or such a weakness on the other team that he won't impact the play. That didn't happen against NC State. Over and over, the unblocked man burst into the backfield to blow up the play. How does that happen? It is either bad design or bad scouting. But it is a coaching issue. I also get frustrated as we run sweeps or flanker screens and the downfield blocking is embarrassing. Why are we running these plays? Are they executing in practice? I don't know, but they've been drive killers. I also wonder why we have so many slow developing plays with an offensive line that cannot sustain blocks. Keep it simple. All of it. Good OCs tailor their schemes to their roster's strengths or create such a simple and consistent system, that they can plug in any player and still move the ball. We have neither.
After a few slow weeks Landry bounced back and played well. Kavalec also looked better. NC State contained Wujciak and it impacted everything. Gutapfel was fine.
Strachan played very well and was forced into coverage often. He acquitted himself there too. Milano played well and was very active. Even before he got dinged up Daniels wasn't his normal disruptive self.
NC State went after Torres and McClary and came out ahead. That's not meant to bury those guys -- who were okay -- but to point out how dependent we were on Yiadom and Moore. Simmons played well and so did Johnson. There was a little confusion on the first TD, but all of the big plays were in part because we didn't get enough pressure up front. Harris got lots of playing time and looked good.
I feel the big plays and the score were a bit misleading to what Don Brown did. He puts his corners on an island and at times we will pay for it. My bigger complaint is that he didn't bring more pressure early as it would have helped the young corners. I still don't know what happened on their third TD. I don't know if it was a mistake or design that that box was full and there was no safety back.
Special Teams: B
The consistency of the Special Teams is encouraging. Walker keeps getting better on Kick Returns. The punts and punt coverage was good. We didn't have much to judge in the place kicking department. Alston made decent decisions on his fair catches.
Addazio is selling the future of this team hard to the media. Either he has extreme confidence in his own abilities or he full of bluster (and some other stuff). He points to gaps on the depth chart and roster and talks about the 27 upper classmen who aren't around. He is also sure to mention it wasn't his fault. I consider Spaz the worst BC coach in my lifetime and felt he gloriously mismanaged the team and recruiting, but Addazio just got smacked around by a third year coach who inherited TOB's NC State roster. It is not like the Old Marine left behind a stocked cupboard. The team who beat us were made up a a Florida transfer (sound familiar) and a bunch of young Doeren recruits. This is not just youth and bad luck. They're are preparation issues and coaching issues too and not filling gaps fast enough.
The other aspect that Addazio seems to overlook or under appreciate in his talks to the media are the Duke and Wake losses. Win both of those and this team is 5-5. Not bowl bound and not winning anything big, but there would be a better feeling about all aspect of the program. Instead we are 3-7 and looking at a potentially an 0-8 ACC season.
This loss wasn't unexpected but still disappointed. The team seemed flat from the beginning and scoring late felt more like we were avoiding complete embarrassment rather than making a comeback. The off week couldn't come at a better time.