Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Second viewing thoughts and grades: NIU

Because I had the holiday weekend to read reactions to the game before I had the chance to watch it back, I was a bit surprised by the split among the fanbase. Many thought Brown looked good for a RSF. Others saw him as a mess. I am in the former crew. Watching it back, BC's mistakes and missed opportunities were even more noticeable, but I still think there are enough pieces to compete this season.

Offense: B-

Brown made a few bad throws and a few bad decisions, but he also kept his head up and played with maturity. I like his arm strength. What he needs to do now is work his progressions and make better decisions on when to run. There were a few plays when he could have run to daylight but he threw it out of bounds. His whole upside is still unknown, but I think the first game was good.

During the game, I made many comments about Hilliman. In review they probably weren't all fair. But it was fair to say he did not play well. I know it is hard to look great when defenders are at your feet, but the guy hesitates too much, tries to many cuts and is not great in a crowd. He's not elusive or at the Andre Williams level where he can break tackles. He was decent catching the ball but also inconsistent in pass blocking. Dillon looked good in limited action. He ran hard and found holes.

The OL was bad. Aside from the rotations, some of the issues were just poor play. Baker got pushed around and had a bad snap. Lazard struggled. Maybe going from WVU's near stand up style to our power will be a harder adjustment than previously thought. Monteiro was inconsistent. Christ Lindstrom was okay. Schmal was just ok.

Walker's drop set the tone for the game -- near big plays with execution issues. He did have some nice catches later. White looked great and really went up for the ball. I liked the Smith and Smith end arounds. They both ran them well.

Many of our blocking issues can also be pointed at the Tight Ends. When the other team is crowding the box, we need everyone near the line blocking someone. Garrison wiffed a few times. Marten and Sweeney did too.

Some of Loeffler's play calling was good but a lot of it was head scratching. Why did we keep trying the tosses and power runs with Hilliman? NIU was waiting for it and they stopped it most of the time. When you run 92 plays, can't you figure out an alternative to their run stopping earlier? All things considered, the change in offense is refreshing but the inefficiency is too familiar. If you run 90+ plays and are only scoring 23 points, you are not a great offense.

Defense: B-

Much was made of Landry's ho hum stats. I thought he played pretty well when he was on the field. He drew a lot of attention and forced them to run away from him. I thought Allen did not play as well. He really struggled when NIU isolated him on the zone reads. The interior guys were fine.

The LBs were quiet. Each had a big hit or two but their productivity was down. Schwab was the best of the bunch and was ok in pass coverage. Strachan made a big stop but did not have consistent impact throughout the game. Richardson made a big hit early and then disappeared.

Denis had his best game yet. Good coverage and an INT. Harris made some bad plays. Both led to scores. The late hit was dumb but I can live with it. The running with a slow QB instead of stopping him was really dumb. I don't know why they targeted Moore. He missed an INT but played okay. Yiadom was good.

Considering their lack of talent and experience at QB and OLine, I thought we would bring more pressure. I don't know if the new pace of play will force us to be more conservative, but it raised questions on Friday night. Why not put more pressure on? For the most part, when we did, it led to bad throws. I also think there was some general first game sloppiness and confusion. If that doesn't get corrected, then you know it was a coaching issue.

Special Teams: B+

I know making a big deal out of three converted field goals is setting expectations low, but holy cow! BC made three relatively pressure filled FGs! I don't know if Lichtenberg is going to be dead solid perfect all season, but it was a good start.

Schulze-Geisthovel also looked very good. If he is consistently getting touchbacks it will be a huge asset.

Knoll's punts weren't all pretty but they were effective.

I liked what I saw from Glines on the kick returns. He's pretty aggressive and confident. I think he has the potential to break one.

Overall: B-

Addazio made some clear improvements in his game management. He used timeouts well before the half and was also aggressive on 4th downs. But it still came down to a missed FG to win the game a game that never should have been that close. As I mentioned in the previous sections, I understand how the new tempo will require more substitution. But a key point will be not falling apart when your best players are not on the field.

While I found the silence on the QB starter unnecessary, it did not mess things up and he was willing to put the game in Brown's hands. That speaks to his confidence. Now he just needs to fix the mistakes and help this team reach its potential.


EL MIZ said...

in the last 2 seasons Hilliman’s averaged 2.9 yards per carry over 600 carries. time for Dillon and Levy and Jones to show what they got

Anonymous said...

Hilliman is weak. So is the line. Baker is hurt.

QB is legit.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Not sure it's entirely fair to say Walker dropped the ball on that early long pass. It looked to me like their DB made a great play before Walker could tuck the ball and knocked it out of his hands. Walker is one of the bright spots on this team.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Have to reserve judgment on Hilliman because of the poor blocking and the number of times they had him going wide without blocking the DB's and LB's to that side. Will need to see how much better the other RB's fare with this plodding OL. I can't imagine how we are going to hold off the speed, strength and aggression of the better ACC defenses with Frye's guys.

JBQ said...

QB did look good. He is still awful green. Hope for the best.

TheFive said...

Good news: AB is the best chance we have had for a long-term solution at QB since...? At least since Rettig, and probably longer than that.

Medium news: DL was underwhelming against light competition.

Bad news: OL struggled badly. Quite literally, the program's entire approach to the game is built on a strong OL. We are miles away from that, and we have not played any of the very capable defenses on our schedule yet. We will be lucky if Brown stays upright all year with that type of line play. I wasn't impressed with Hilliman, either, but we could have had Barry Sanders or Marcus Allen back there and it wouldn't have mattered. If you're routinely getting hit 2 yards behind the line, you've got no chance.

Also, ATL must have been watching a different punting game. We lost field position with every single punt.

Unknown said...

Daz eunda est !

Unknown said...

excellent summary and insight. thank you

Deacon Drake said...

Nothing can be taken for granted with a freshman making his first start at QB... on the road. It looks like Brown was well prepared (it's been amazing how poorly prepared BC QBs have been for games the last 8 years or so) and did his best to manage the down and distance. Solid play on 3rd and long that cut us to 4th and short for conversions. Those were back breaking on the NIU defense and allowed us to pile up longer drives.

Defense worries me. 2 years removed from Don Brown and the momentum looks lost. Sometimes you have a"coattails" effect when an influential coach leaves and everything carries over, but it looks like that isn't going to be the case. Those aggressive schemes rely on timing and confidence the guys behind you can make plays on an island. Wasn't happening, and I saw some of those 3rd and 6 "umbrella" defenses Spaz loved so much. I didn't mind them as much as most folks, but that was when the offense could get 31 points a game. When it can't, the D needs to force the issue.

I'm glad the kicking game came through, but this has been too many seasons of incompetence to assume everything is cured.

peding93 said...

why glines returning kickoffs?? I do not think he has the speed...why not thad smith, jeff smith, michael walker....

modest34b said...

Of interest, after have ATL censor my comments and NYCeagle's comments about his favorite BC belt and suggesting there were cheaper alternatives, ATL has now deleted all the comments on the belt and blocked further commenting.

truly weird for a guy who professes to be hands off on the comments board, he will go to the matt over a crappy belt with little embroidered Eagles.

Moral: do not get between ATL and a buck. It gets ugly.

Speaking of ugly, the overall grade of B- is too high.

I'd say C/C-.

We were lucky to beat a MAC team that is not projected to even do well in the MAC. A W is good, but ugly is ugly.

Heights said...

Section D, thanks for the shoutout! Haha, I didn't realize your comments were being censored. Selective censorship?

Unknown said...

At least we won, I guess. Some improvement. No need to rehash the obvious. My biggest concern is the OL and how we run. When I watch A&N/UCLA and WVA/Va Tech, Tenn/Ga Tech, those RB's hit the hole hard and hit it in ill humor. Our RB's are too patient and slow and that makes it tough to get through a small hole and break tackles. I have the same issue with Glines on Kickoffs. Our speed looks bad. The only back that seems to offer that style in Davon Jones. Maybe the freshmen do or will once they get more time.

Geezer eagle said...

Section D, like I said, ATL has no problem letting trolls disrupt the forum, but censors any negative comments to host commercial interests. Funny.

Danny Boy said...

We'll see who the defense really is this week. My initial thoughts on the defense was that they were playing base packages without showing any blitz looks. Its a little alarming that we couldn't generate more pressure with our front 4 (and like everyone else, I wonder why Landry was on the bench so long). The final drive showed a little more of our defense. All of a sudden we were bringing heat, pressuring the QB, and tipping the ball.

If Wake forest has as easy of a time moving the ball (or easier), then I'll start sounding the alarm bells.

Unfortunately, Hilliman has picked up where he left off last year; tiptoeing into the holes. He doesn't hit the holes, it looks like he pulls up and tries to make a cut, leaving him an easy tackle. At the very least, Dillon falls forwards. I'd love to see more carries by Dillon and Jones (who had the hot hand end of last season). One of Daz's biggest weaknesses is his commitment to a single player. He never seems to mix it up and reward good play. Once you're in his graces, you stay there.

BCEagles2014 said...

Guys, for as long as I've been following this blog this was the first I've seen ATL getting a sponsorship deal like this. It would suck to have your very first sponsor see negative comments from your readers. ATL puts a lot of work into running this blog, which I'm sure is not as easy as it seems. Give him a break and good for him for starting to get some attention.

And good thing for this blog too because BCI has become unbearable lately. It's run by an out of control feminist that had a meltdown because BC football retweeted a picture of a photoshopped Barstool shirt on Daz. It's nice to have a place like this to talk about BC sports without being censored or rebuked for not saying what's PC.

Big Jack Krack said...

Danny - I think you are right about "playing base packages without showing any blitz looks" last week. I think the coaches were saving Landry - I think there was a definite plan in place, but of course I don't really know.

We were at the USC game in 2014, and it was as exciting as any game you'll get at Alumni. Hilliman looked great for a true freshman. What is going on now besides the fact that the O Line is no where near as good as 2014 is anyone's guess. I hope the guy can work his way back to form. He had a great run against Georgia Tech last year in Dublin - I hope he can do it again this week against Wake Forest.

I also look forward to seeing other runners as well.

I feel the same way about this comment "One of Daz's biggest weaknesses is his commitment to a single player. He never seems to mix it up and reward good play. Once you're in his graces, you stay there."

I have felt for a long time that better players were not seeing the field for that reason.

BCEagles2014 - it's easy for some people to make snarky comments when they are anonymous.

Go BC - beat WF!!!!!!

knucklehead said...

He doesn't run fast, is hesitant and is indecisive. Dillion ran hard on Friday.

The other backs looked good in the spring. They would be more effective with this line because the spaces to run are smaller. Really cannot have a huge slowpoke as your primary back with this line.

modest34b said...

"it's easy for some people to make snarky comments when they are anonymous"

Is BIG JACK Krack your god given name? Or are you anonymous?

BC Eagle. too bad about BCI. It used to be run by an obnoxious midget know-it-all. He was insufferable.

But ATL has now crossed the line into censorship. Worse, he sold his integrity for a damn Eagle belt. And there were no negative comments, i just pointing out that the price was very high for a belt ($165!!). ALT also welcomed criticism of his new taste for censorship.

“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”
― Yevgeny Yevtushenko

The Belt now has bad karma. see what happens

Unknown said...

Unfortunately for Hilliman, his cuts and acceleration took a hit after his knee injury; he just doesn't look the same. I think it's time to give Dillon the start since Hilliman has already proven to be ineffective.

marcos said...

Agreed with ATL's assessments for the most part except for special teams.

Punting was terrible and I don't like Glines on kick returns. He seems to have some elusiveness but the speed isn't there

JBQ said...

@Chris: It's a sad commentary on the violence of football. He was great but is now damaged property.---In the same vein, let's mention one of the saddest stories of recent time. Mehdi Abdesmad from Canada was aigned by Tampa on August 28 and cut on September 3. He had spent all of last year on the Tennessee practice squad. He was finally activated and had an ankle injury which finished his season.---We all remember the violent hit by Nick O'Leary of Florida State who blindsided him with a helmet to helmet for which there was not even a penalty. His patellar tendon snapped and if not for that he was dead on the field. There was no doubt of a concussion.---Let's wish Mehdi well as he goes forward. He really appears to be a nice kid.

Big Jack Krack said...

JBQ - I agree about Mehdi, and having spent some vacation time in Montreal last month, he was actually on my mind. We wish him the best.

Section D - Big Jack Krack is obviously not my given name, but a fun name that a friend of mine gave me while we were at BC. He spelled it Krakk and we referred to him as cousin Claude Krakk. When I was new to blogging, it seemed that you were required or at least encouraged to choose a screen name.

I don't hide behind my anonymity, as you can click on my screen name, and hit email and that will bring up my name. But I'll save you the effort.

My name is John D. (Jack) Crowley, B.S. Finance 1968.

While not always reaching the goal to be kind to all because I am human, I have always posted on this blog as though my signature would appear at the end.

Of course I criticize coaches all the time, but try to refrain from criticizing individual players, who give their all for our school. Again, sometimes I fail and do not reach my goal that way.

So the larger issue is that this blog, like the entire internet, is frequented by anonymous bloggers who might post differently if they had to use their real names and addresses, myself included.

Yes, the belt is expensive, as are most items in the Smathers & Branson inventory. But it might not be expensive when considered as a specialty item with needlepoint design and extensive and unique craftsmanship.

Perhaps Bill could have added one more sentence or two to explain that - these are specialty-type items that will not be found in traditional stores, and hence for those seeking unique BC gift items, and so forth.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko - R.I.P.

Unknown said...

Fortunately they went to Boston College which has legitimate academics, most of these big programs put their players through shell academic programs which leave them bankrupt once they flip out of football. It was one of the major reasons AJ Dillon decided to commit to BC rather than Michigan.

knucklehead said...

Spread down from -2 Tuesday to 0 now. Smelling an injury to Landry. Baker is definitely hurt

Big Jack Krack said...

We are not even listed on any of the college football injury report services that I've seen. I don't know if this is intentional on Daz's part, or what. And if so, is that even "legal"?

I would think that "Elijah Johnson, OL, knee, out indefinitely" or something like that would be on the report. Jon Baker, OL, knee, probable against Wake Forest. Something like that. Shane Leonard, OL, ?, out indefinitely.

Haven't gotten any sniffs about Landry at all.

What's going on?