Watching it back, I realized that I've lost all faith in Addazio. It is not something new that happened in this game. It is about my feelings watching and following it live and then the fresh look that came by watching it back. As the game happened live, I never felt like we were going to win. I was just waiting for the next screw up or next head scratching decision. Watching it back on Sunday (a little more dispassionately) I realized BC was in this game throughout. So why did if feel like such a lost cause live? Because I have lost faith in Addazio. I don't know what he is going to do from here. I don't know what I am going to do from here either. I will tell myself we have a chance, but my heart clearly doesn't believe it.
I think Wade should start next week. It is not that he was a revelation in the final quarter, but his passes were a little more accurate. And a few more reps in live action might make the difference. Towles' throws and decisions were bad again. He waits too long in the pocket, he throws too high, he runs when he shouldn't and tries to throw when he should run. The best part of his game was the TD. It is too bad it has taken us this long to use him more in the read option.
Jones ran well. He is tough to take down and has a good little burst. The stiff arms are nice too. Rouse didn't get that many touches. Willis had a real nice run called back because of a penalty. Wolford dropped an easy catch.
The INT off of Walker's bobble was brutal. How do those things even happen? Maybe that is the cursed endzone since that is also where Ed Reed took back the ball 15 years ago. Walker looked good on the sweeps. Callinan caught some nice passes but also got whistled for holding on a first down. Wade's last throw was a bit high, but he needs to pull that down. Sweeney dropped some and also didn't get the best passes.
The Offensive Line did not play well. Syracuse got too much pressure with just a four man front. The blocking was inconsistent and no one was getting to the second level. Lindstrom and Monteiro had the roughest game.
The sweeps and end arounds are a good adjustment but also a huge lack of faith in the QB. It is one thing when we did it in Addazio's first two years and we were using elements of Oregon's playbook. Now we are supposedly "Pro Style" and still doing it. But Loeffler has to do it. It is the only way to punish the Defense for crowding the box. We can't pass successfully against it. I hated the wildcat to Smith. He needs to touch the ball, but there has to be a better way. Why not a simple screen pass? My other big concern is that when we passed Syracuse seemed to know it was coming. They had the right call on with plenty of guys in coverage on many of our pass attempts. Did they get lucky or are we not changing tendencies and formations enough?
Landry was great. At this point we need to do all we can to unleash him. Add more twists and stunts and whatever, where his speed can create havoc for the opposing line. The official stats gave Gutapfel lots of assists, but I didn't see that much activity. He's not disrupting enough nor is he stuffing guys. Smith was quiet. Kavalec played well. Ray also made some nice plays.
Milano had his best game in weeks. Like some of our other play makers, I think he needs to be more aggressive. When he is, good things happen. Schwab was very active, but missed a few tackles too. Grice played a lot and had a few moments good and bad. He struggled trying to cover when called upon.
The DBs looked better on the second viewing. Many of Cuse's big plays were just nice catches and plays made over our guys. Harris' INT was a nice play. Too bad we didn't turn it into more points. Moore got burned a few times, but overall his coverage wasn't bad. Yiadom missed a few tackles. Torres was okay.
I didn't understand our defensive approach. In my opinion we played way to far off and didn't bring enough pressure. These DBs can play a lot of man. They did it last year. But for them to be effective, BC needs to bring lots of pressure in front of it. I feel like waiting back and playing off in zone is not our strength or nature. We brought more pressure in the second half. It slowed Syracuse, but obviously didn't stop them completely. There is chatter that Pasqualoni took over defensive play calling. I don't know if it is true, but I hope someone begins to up the number of blitzes. It might be the only way to get defensive momentum turned around.
Special Teams: B+
This is our best unit. I am happy for Al Washington's success.
Willis' kick return was great. Good cut by him and great blocking from everyone.
Knolls kicks were good.
Rouse remained aggressive on his punt returns.
The punt and kick coverage was good.
At halftime Addazio mentioned the herky jerky nature of the game and our offense. Paraphrasing: we'd have two good plays and then a drive killing penalty or mistake. His assessment is accurate but I don't know if he realizes that this is his own creation. We are not a big play offense. He wants us to methodically move the ball down the field. The problem comes in that we don't have the type of coaching or players to do execute that vision. If you want to be methodical, you have to be well drilled and well disciplined. It means execution is perfect because you need say 11 plays for the drive. Instead of precision and drilling in a series of well executed plays, Loeffler and Addazio throw shit against the wall "let's try Jeff Smith in the Wildcat!!" and then seem surprised when they have herky jerky execution issues. There were a few plays when Towles seemingly turned to play fake and no back was there. Is that on him or Jones or the OC who can't seem to get his players on the same page?
Regardless of the gossip going around about who is doing what and who is calling what plays on Defense, does the unit feel as well coached as last year? How does that happen with 80% of the same players? It is a coaching and execution issue. The decrease in blitzing is hurting the DBs, but I also feel like their position fundamentals are not as good. Who would have thought we would miss Kevin Lempa so much.
Beyond the game prep, there were plenty of game management issues. Punting before halftime. Burning time on the final drive. Taking a penalty that gave Syracuse another down. After 12 straight ACC losses, you would think he would try something new. Doesn't look like he is going to change.
It will be interesting to see how Addazio coaches from here. He knows that he needs to win two more games to keep his job. Does he go all out or does he check out?