Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What was that?

Last week I highlighted good offensive playcalling and play design. This week is the opposite. This was only one play, but I feel it captures many of the problems of the day and is an example of what Addazio explained away as things getting too complicated.

In my opinion, the best college offenses keep things as simple as possible. Variations, counters and new wrinkles are built on the foundation of what works. Because of the relative inexperience of all college players, the limitation on practice reps, and the challenge of trying new things, being a different offense week to week is nearly impossible. That was my frustration last year. We kept trying all sorts of things and none of it worked. It is all more frustrating because of what Day (and Addazio) did in Daz's first two years at BC was so brilliant. But that is another post for another time.

Here is the play. BC just got the ball back and it is early in the 2nd Quarter. This is first down. It is an empty backfield. Once they realize the backfield is empty, VT crowds the line and shows blitz.

The leftside of the Oline are trying quick cutblocks. For this to work, they need to execute well and Towles has to get rid of the ball quickly. 

Both guys miss and Towles is waiting. For what, I don't know. It looks like he's looking to his left, however, there is no separation. He has options to the right, but either doesn't trust them or is so locked on getting it away to the pressure side that he doesn't even look. He probably sees the total cluster that the cut blocks were too. 
The cut blocks were terrible and two defenders are coming right at Towles. Although there is space to the right, he doesn't run. Instead he launches the ball right at the VT DLinemen. They swat it and the play is over. 2nd and 10.

Now this is just one play in a terrible game. Who cares? Well BC was already down at this point but there was plenty of time to play. Instead of trying something that worked earlier in the season or early in the game, BC comes out with an empty backfield. This is my first issue. Second there was the Pop Warner sloppy cut blocks. This is not something BC has done much this year or in recent years. That leads me to believe they don't spend a ton of time practicing it. So either two things happened for this play to make the gameplan. They either didn't practice enough so that the OL could cut blockin their sleep OR they did practice it a lot and the linemen still couldn't pull it off (therefore wasting valuable practice time). Neither answer is good. I hope they didn't practice it much and were just rolling the dice. If they did practice it well enough to make the gameplan and that is how the guys blocked, then we have bigger issues.

While Towles is a 5th year, he is still new to this Offense and facing Bud Foster. Why not keep things simple for him. Tell him to take off if the play breaks down or the cuts don't work.

Addazio mentioned getting back to basics. That's good, because we need to find what works. Save the cut blocking, five wide stuff once we can block, pass and run.


SaturdaysOnShea said...

Most teams expect the run from us and so would stack the box. Coming out in a five wide set means one thing and so the defense is going to (and clearly did) key in on that. Setting up with one RB provides at worst an extra blocker and at best an extra WR on a wheel route (which judging by the space on the right side may have worked well here).

Daz preached fundamentals in yesterday's presser, I will be interested to see what he does especially with what should be two glorified scrimmages coming up.

mod34b said...

"It is all more frustrating because of what Day (and Addazio) did in Daz's first two years at BC was so brilliant"

brilliant? I know you like Day, but seriously this is way off the mark.

in 2013, Day produced the 12th of 14th best offense in ACC. Also know as 3rd to worst. He repeated the feat in 2014. Nationally, his total offense ranked 93rd, and 83rd. Close to .500 in wins. Losing records in ACC. I could go on and on.

in 2013, Day had a better-than-ACC-average OL, and excellent RB and a decent passing QB. and what did he produce?? 93rd best O??? Brilliant??

Day's offenses were not good, not even adequate, but were actually bad, and in no way "brilliant."

JBQ said...

It is obvious that Towles was told not to run. It was also obvious that BC wanted to establish the run with Hilliman. There were at least six drops of passes by Towles. VT was loading the box. The only option was to go wide with your 250 lb quarterback which they refused to do. By the way, Hilliman is listed at 210. With Wade at 190 and Hilliman at 210, you have an impossibility. Actually with a 250 lb quarterback, the option would make sense. With Towles locked into a pro offense where he either passes or hands it off to Hilliman, this is suicide. Hilliman doesn't weigh enough to be a "pounding" type of back. Because of his lack of weight, he is being stacked up at the line of scrimmage. Actually, Garrison and Sweeney would make good candidates to run the ball in some capacity whether it be short pass or straight hand off. Actually if you look at Georgia State's near miss at Wisconsin, you will see a developing program running a nice offense. Albert Wilson is a third year wide receiver from Georgia State with the KC Chiefs. Georgia State has a good offense and developing good players in a developing program. Jags is their offensive coordinator. BCs offense under Loeffler is stale.

ATL_eagle said...


I will explain later, but my point with the brilliance is not about it being elite or even great. It was more brilliant in the sense that they did a lot with a little and made lemonade out of lemons. I would also call what Steve Logan did post Matt Ryan (with Crane, Davis and a lot of Montel Harris) brilliant.

EL MIZ said...

Mod - to ATL's point, that 2013 team was 2-10 the prior year and brought everyone back, and Williams wound up being a Heisman finalist. sometimes it isn't as easy as sorting by "total offense" and concluding Day was a dunce. that team had an effective offense, which we haven't had since Day left, and it was effective with the same re-treads who the prior year lost to Army.

Cashman is a senior starting at LG. whiffing so badly in the play described above is a joke - and perhaps unsurprisingly, freshman Elijah Johnson (6'5 310) is listed as a potential starter on the new depth chart for the Wagner game. if Daz is going to give us the "youth" excuse, at least play the young kids - give me Johnson at LG, Palazzolo over Lowery at RT, and Wade over Towles at QB. no need for mercenary 5th years if they are gonna stink.

mod34b said...

Thanks for the reply ATL, and Miz too

yes Dsy gets credit for figuring out how good Andre was. And Daz gets credit for bring in a fabulous lineman: Patchan

But Daz and Day grossly under achieved

They had a very good OL an good experience QB but the air game was lacking.

BC was #119 national in passing. Only 125 yards a game.

So yes some good work, but overall lacking. Probably Day alone would have better results but hecwas contained by Daz's mania for run run run

Big Jack Krack said...

I'm with El Miz.

Promote Towles to Graduate Assistant Coach, and give the reigns to Wade.

I also like replacing Lowery. He and Towles are probably very nice guys, but let's truly go with our future players - and give Lindstrom a break this week to care for his ankles.

And let's give some other receivers a chance as well. I'm not picking on players, but all of a sudden, Walker looks like Dudek. I know Walker has a lot of talent, but I'm not sure he's in the right position or the right role.

It's good to see Callinan and Garrison and the big tight end Sweeney - but when they are all on the field together, we have no speed, no separation. How about some Robinson, J. Smith, T. Smith, Glines, Borgerson, Barksdale, etc. How will we know, if these guys are never given the chance? Put a speedster/burner package on the field and give it the old college try, with Willis on the wheel route out of the backfield. Hell, at this point, give them all a try - Flutie, McStravick, Nosovitch.

If we keep doing the same thing, well, that's called insanity and stupidity. Forrest Gump - Stupid is what Stupid does - or something like that.

Shake it up and breathe some life into these players, and more importantly, give them the coaching and game plan to succeed by giving them hope.

Our OLine whiffs on their blocks because of stupid zone blocking schemes that are not well executed. Hey guys - block the guy closest to you and do not block the same guy your teammate is already blocking, thereby allowing a defender to come in unblocked.

This ain't the Pythagorean Theorem. If they have more in the box than you can block, you throw the ball; If you can block them all, you run the ball. Duh! Chip Kelly says stuff like that, and he was a great college coach in that regard.

And if we're going to throw the ball, give their defense some looks and some speed they have not memorized from watching your previous, dull and repetitious, easy to predict videos.

Go BC Players - we believe in you. Wish we could say that for your coaches, but they will have to earn our admiration. They are a long, long way from that.

BCAlum2000 said...

We just need new thinking. Its that simple. Jags was a fraud of a head coach in that he did not know, nor care for that matter, how to run a program. He was simply looking for his next gig. That said, his mentality of playing to win fundamentally transformed the program and took TOB's good recruits and turned them into 10+ game winners. It was his mentality which directly led to the hiring of Steve Logan who is a gun slinger by nature. This was the perfect combo. After his ouster, what did BC do? They hired a bastard version of TOB in Spaz, simply because he was "loyal". After his failure, they hired a cheerleader version of Spaz. We need fundamentally new thinking, top to bottom.

Big Jack Krack said...

Good post, 2k.

NEDofSavinHill said...

How many pro QBs did Jags and Logan recruit and develop? One or zero. TOB recruited and developed Ryan, Hasselback. Russell Wilson, Glennon, St Pierre and Hasselback. Jags and Logan accomplished almost nothing. In the last 25 years only Tuberville had more wins (16) over ranked teams by an unranked team. TOB who had 14. Second best in the country. Not bad. Critics of TOB aren't honestor worse. Apologists of GDF or Daz have no case.

Bravesbill said...

Ned, seeing as how Jags was only with BC for two years, it's nearly impossible for him or Logan to develop or even recruit a pro QB.

BCAlum2000 said...

TOB was a great fundamentals coach. He was not however a guy who could ever lead a program beyond 10 wins. Trying to argue this goes against his 30+ year resume. I liked the man and thought he was the perfect hire at the time ... disciplinarian/fundamentals guy coming off the gambling scandal. That said, he had plateaued and would never break through. Jags took his same players and broke through. Thats pretty damning. I could care less for Jags as he was a blatant opportunist who didnt even bother to recruit, but you cant argue the facts. TOB initially chose Quinton Porter over Matty Ryan despite the fact that every time Ryan came in, it was clear he had that special something. It was under Logan/Jags that Ryan broke out his senior year.

And yes, its hard to "develop" a QB when you tenure is 2 years.

BCAlum2000 said...

And it wasnt just initially that he went with Porter, it was multiple times. He went with the conservative choice - the more experienced upper classmen - vs. trusting his eyes and what was blatantly clear when watching the two play on Saturday's

Eagle Esquire said...

Didn't Jags bring in Dominique Davis whom subsequently ended up cashing NFL paychecks. I also recall that he performed at a high level while at ECU.

SaturdaysOnShea said...

NED saying TOB developed Russell Wilson into an NFL quarterback is literally the funniest thing I have read all year.

mod34b said...

Wilson on TOB

Russell Wilson gave a commencement speech at the University of Wisconsin. Like most commencement speakers, Wilson spoke about his trials and tribulations and how he overcame them. He spoke at length about his time at N.C. State, and was not complimentary about then Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien.

Wilson said O’Brien wanted to move him to safety two weeks before his freshman season.

“About two weeks before our first game, the coach calls me into his office and tells me I’m not getting that chance. Excuse my country voice here, but he says, ‘Son, I’m switching your position. I’m moving you to safety.’ He’s not asking me. He’s telling me. I could have just gone along with it, and maybe I should have just gone along with it. But for whatever reason, I wasn’t ready to take no for an answer.”

Wilson also said O’Brien told him he was “never going to play in the National Football League” before he transferred to Wisconsin his senior year.

“The summer before my senior year of college, I’m playing minor-league baseball. I called my football coach at NC State and said, ‘Hey coach, I’d like to come back for my senior year.’ He told me I wasn’t coming back. He said, ‘Listen son, you’re never going to play in the National Football League. You’re too small. There’s no chance. You’ve got no shot. Give it up.’ Of course, I’m on this side of the phone saying, ‘So you’re telling me I’m not coming back to NC State? I won’t see the field?’ He said, ‘No son, you won’t see the field.’

To be fair, this is Wilson’s side of the story

MattBC03 said...

Oh snap!

Tim said...

BCAlum2000: "Jags took his same players and broke through"

I don't consider getting pasted 30-16 by Virginia Tech in Jacksonville and then barely beating (by a field goal) an unranked Michigan State team in a second-rate bowl game to represent a breakthrough for the program.

SaturdaysOnShea said...

Tim, what then do you consider reaching a #2 ranking in every national poll?

Tim said...

I consider that #2 ranking meaningless, because it was immediately followed by a double-digit WTF loss at home to an FSU team that finished the season in 4th place in the division, immediately followed by another WTF loss to a Maryland team that finished the season with a losing record. As a result of those two back-to-back losses to inferior teams, BC quickly plummeted to #18 in the polls.

BCAlum2000 said...

By break through I meant breaking through the 9 win TOB plateau ...