The only good news is that the team is clearly better than last year. The bad news is that I am sure we will blow another game this year.
If Patrick Towles were a freshman or sophomore I would be very excited. Instead my enthusiasm is muted. He had real solid moments and has good speed. But he made some mistakes early in the first half. Some throws were off. He didn't read an early blitz well. He ran when he should have thrown. Hopefully it is first game gitters and the staff finds things that work for him. He played well enough but he wasn't lights out perfect (like I was hoping).
Hilliman ran well. I thought he had a little bit of happy feet in the backfield. Sometimes it slowed him but a few times, resetting or stutter stepping did get him space. Willis was good as a change of pace when he was brought in for some read options. (Towles is going to get a big run with him out of the read option. No one stayed with the QB). Rouse played sparingly. Wofford blocked well.
The Offensive Line looked like a real Offensive Line. They got good push throughout. They moved well. Lindstrom made a great second level block on Hilliman's touchdown. In general, the right side did a good job opening up holes. They also gave Towles time on passes. Lowery was flagged a few times late (and was partially responsible for the second turnover), but he played well most of the game. Baker looked good. This group is why my hopes are high for the year.
The biggest blocking problems weren't the OLine, but the Tight Ends. Giacone and Sweeney both had real bad moments where they were beat on the edge. Jeff Smith looked very good for his first game. Callinan played well. Walker had a great catch.
Loeffler's approach created a little concern for me. But it is still early so maybe he is trying to see what works. We used I plus a little Pistol and some Shotgun. Towles actually looked OK under center, so I assume that will be our primary exchange. I did like the use of multiple TE/H Backs. I thought the playcalling was too conservative at times, especially in the fourth quarter, but I will address that below with Addazio. The good news is that there was nothing moronic and the basic execution was fine. The bad news was there wasn't a call or play that really made me say "wow."
The DLine looked really, really good. They stuffed the option all day and really controlled up front. Gutapfel led the way. He's going to be All ACC. Kavalec played well and looks much, much bigger. (If he gets that late sack though, we win the game.) Allen had some moments. Ray made some plays. So did Smith. Landry wasn't at 100%
You will have a hard time finding a pair of LBs play the option better than Milano and Strachan did. They were both quick, disciplined and came to hit. Schwab was all over the place too.
I won't kill the DBs for this loss, because they really have the toughest job in an option game. They have to think run, run, run and then turn on a moments notice and play pass. In general, they did well supporting the run. Take Johnson as an example. He caused a huge fumble for us. Yet he also allowed numerous big passes. Harris did too. Moore slipped on the final GT drive and was also called for pass interference. McClary was good.
Addazio killed the D was allowing the big conversions. That was bad, but overall they played well. Reid clearly had them ready for the triple option. The pass plays were more about breakdowns, not bad calls. I've read some people complain that BC didn't bring pressure on the 4th and 19. But that is not a terrible call and bringing pressure against a option team just exposes other areas. We were still aggressive considering the opponent.
Special Teams: C+
Missing two field goals was terrible. The kick off coverage wasn't great either.
Our punting and punt coverage was fine.
We didn't get to return any kickoffs. Rouse looked decent as a punt returner.
Then there is drive when BC gets the ball with 6 minutes left and two timeouts. Six minutes is long time in college football. Regardless of what BC does on the drive, the odds say GT will get at least one more possession. Knowing that Georgia Tech will have a chance to win, BC needs to score again. Instead Addazio starts killing clock. We go power right into a crowded box and neither run does anything other than take some time off. Why telegraph like that? If Addazio wants to run, why not use the read option again. A play like that spreads the field a little and the QB keepers had been wide open earlier in the game. The fumbled snap on third down was just bad luck. But then Addazio let the clock run. I have no problem with that. But why run the playclock down to the point where you use a timeout? Why not run the clock, take the penalty and keep the TO?
Addazio is coaching from a different era. There are many issues where he's shown a willingness to embrace the new. Yet once the game starts he reverts to the old school ways. Maybe, just maybe, this will be a wake up call. My fear is that he won't change and that he'll be blowing games for the remainder or his tenure.