Friday, October 07, 2022

BC-Clemson preview

The Red Bandana game morphed into a memorial and a marketing tool, which always makes this night a delicate balance of pride and tackiness. But it is still a great platform. Would ABC put this game on primetime if there wasn’t a great theme and story involved? Probably not. I remain onboard as long as the Crowther family does. I hope the game is exciting and BC uses its stage to celebrate Welles’ spirit, and to play with passion, and win.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Last week, as part of a BC Marketing push, Jeff Hafley and some other BC coaches were in the Mods handing out t-shirts and reaching out to students. In one particular Mod, Hafley came across a “Fire Hafley” sign. He, nor BC, mentioned the incident, so I can only go with the Twitter accounts of what happened. Long story short, he took it in stride. I don’t know if he internalized the slight. I have no idea if it became motivation. No idea if it hurt. I can’t read minds. But I am encouraged that he didn’t make a big deal out of it (or at least didn’t do so in front of students). Some recent coaches would have flipped out. Even successful BC coaches like TOB and Jags were still very sensitive to criticism. Spaz and Addazio took thin-skinned to a new level. This is the first time that Hafley is facing real scrutiny and he seems to be managing it well. I don’t know if that signals long-term confidence or resignation that this won’t end well. But I give him credit for composure. In an ideal world I want a coach who doesn’t care what anyone thinks and doesn’t want to be bothered with student outreach. But if you do have a coach who wants to connect and wants to be involved, I appreciate that we have a coach who understands the criticism and occasional awkward moments come with the territory.

Three Simple Keys
1. Improve the Run Defense. The DLine looked better last week, but Louisville still ran the ball too easily. If we are going to pull off the upset, we need to force them to make mistakes through the air.
2. Keep spreading the ball around. It is so tempting to force things to Zay, but the other guys are stepping up and having some moments. If Zay is doubled, someone should have a good look elsewhere.
3. Make some defensive adjustments midgame. It was obvious to the TV audience and the entire stadium that Louisville was targeting Elijah Jones last week. I have a little more faith in Jones than the Cardinals did, but sometimes it happens that one guy will get picked on. My frustration was with BC’s defensive scheme as the game went on. Why not give him some help? Why not move him around? Why not get him off the field for a play or two? If the other team becomes that predictable, it is on our staff to adjust and take advantage of our knowledge.

Gambling Notes
-- Clemson has won 11 in a row against BC
-- BC is 1-4 against the spread this year
-- Clemson is 2-3 against the spread this year
The current line is BC+20.5

The last BC coach to beat Clemson was Spaz.

Scoreboard Watching
The game I thought would be on ABC Saturday night – FSU-NC State – still remains relevant to us. After our game, I thought the ‘Noles were very good. Last week they took a step back. If they lose again, then our loss looks more and more like a missed opportunity.

What I hope to see...
More Jurk running. It wasn’t really part of the game plan last week. His one big gain was from a broken play. Sprinkling a few more keepers off of the read option will help the entire run package.

BC is in trouble if...
We don’t improve our redzone defense. The Defense has been asked to do a lot this year. It is not fair. However, if we are going to win, they need to take it to another level. When the Tigers get in the redzone, we need to force turnovers and field goals.

Bottom Line
This is not some double reverse-jinx to pick us to lose with the idea that it will put some magic karma in the air that we will win. I think we lose this weekend. Clemson is good, while we are still flawed. Is the game close and respectable? Yes. In fact, there is a bit of a moral victory feeling after that we can still get bowl eligible.
Final Score: Clemson 28, BC 24

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