This is the type of game that reinforces my belief that Addazio will never be a great coach. The way he manages and prepares for a game limits his upside. There won't be a season where everything goes way because much like TOB, he will make in game decisions that limit BC's ability to win. This was one of those games. There was plenty of bad luck -- like losing Brown -- but ultimately Addazio's approach cost the team. Watching it back was very frustrating.
I know Wade has not had consistent playing time, but how can his feel for pressure still be so bad? The game should be slowing down for him at this point. Not the other way around. I don't think the staff put him in good position to win, but he looked lost and unsure in the pocket. It was not pretty. Brown was okay before he got hurt. He got greedy on the INT pass. He was running well prior to getting hurt.
Dillon was very good again. Beyond pushing the pile or shrugging off tacklers, he is getting better at finding holes and reading blocks. This will lead to more and more big runs. Hilliman was not as good. If he is going to be in on passing downs, he needs to do a better job blocking. Levy had a nice catch. Maybe he should get a shot on passing downs.
Considering they were going against a great DLine, the Oline played well. They got good push most of the day. The sacks were mostly because Wade didn't get rid of the ball quickly enough or Hilliman didn't help. Lindstrom struggled he most, but also had the toughest assignment.
The WRs and tight ends blocked well. Sweeney had some nice catches. Thadd Smith's run was great. Jeff Smith made a tough catch in traffic. White was okay.
Where was the play calling from the Florida State game? This time it was Dillon, Dillon and then pray the QBs don't screw it up. Most frustrating was that when Wade came in, they didn't adjust to his strengths. Why have him sit in the pocket so many times? Why not do more of what worked against Louisville? And how could he looked so ill prepared? I usually don't want more jet sweeps, but there were so many that could have worked. NC State was not respecting the play and Thadd and Jeff Smith should have gotten more touches. I also don't know what was going on with the final possession, but get into that more in the Addazio section below.
The DLine played well. Allen had a big game. Merritt was also really disruptive. I was surprised by how many times they were blowing over NC State guys or worse getting tackled by a desperate NC State lineman. There should have been about four or five holding calls that weren't called. Ray was good. Smith played well too.
Schwab was great again. He is playing his best football right at the end of his career. He made good tackles and the INT was a nice heads up play. Lamont was really good too. He is reading plays well. Bletzer had some trouble in coverage, but his fumble pick up was nice.
Moore played well before the injury. Denis and Harris both missed some tackles. Yiadom played very well and was acknowledged repeatedly by Huard. Cheevers, Torres and McClary were fine as replacements.
I know the score was okay, but I didn't love the strategy. We brought plenty of pressure -- some as a blitz and some as just the front four. But the blitzing seemed to almost enable Finley. He handled it and converted too many 3rd downs. The D was good, but given the offense it needed to be perfect.
Special Teams: B
Knoll punted very well and placed the ball within the 20.
Walker bobbled on kick return but looked good on another.
The kickoffs were not as good. I assume the cold was an issue. The kick and punt coverage was ok. Not great.
Aside from not adjusting when Wade went in, here are some of the really questionable approaches.
1. The jump pass from Hilliman. This was Addazio trying to be Urban Meyer and falling flat on his face. The reason is worked with Tim Tebow twice was in part because Tebow was enough of a passer that he could adjust and flip it midair. It also worked because Tebow was enough of a threat that no DBs stayed home. Hilliman is not that same guy. The NC State safety read the play right away and Hilliman never looked like he was trying to run for the first down. It was a terrible play on many levels. I would have preferred a FG, but if the weather had you worried about the FG attempt, why not run it with Dillon? Instead you put in a liability and run a trick play. Ugly and dumb.
2. The clock management before the first half. In general, I am against wasting possessions. However, you could sort of rationalize killing clock when you have your back up in the game. But once Doeren starts using his timeouts, you have to adjust your plan. Addazio didn't. On third down you need to call a bootleg with Wade and tell him don't throw an interception and down throw the ball away. Wade needs to roll, use a few more seconds and hopefully hit an open TE or WR. Instead we ran it right into their DL and let Doeren stop the clock. NC State's ensuing points were the difference and Addazio bungled another two minute situation.
3. Not using Dillon in the final drive. You have three minutes. That is an eternity in college football. Why is your most dynamic player on the bench? There was still time to run Dillon. Also, if he is on the field, NC State is focused on him and maybe that opens up another player or area of the field.
Doeren made some equally head scratching decisions. He nearly gave the game away, only Addazio wouldn't take it from him.
I am frustrated. For a few weeks it looked like we might have enough pieces to overcome Addazio's limitations. Now it doesn't seem that way. He's going to need a lot more talent to overcome how he manages close games.
UConn should be an easy win. If he blows this one, then a coaching change comes back into discussion.