Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What we learned from the final scrimmage

BC held its final scrimmage of the preseason and it appears that the offense looked a little better. Here's BC's recap, the Herald's recap and Rivals' recap. The best news was that Wade looked a little sharper and Flutie had his best scrimmage yet. Adddazio seemed pleased in his post scrimmage quotes. Other news:

-- Alex Howell will be BC's kicker and punter. Howell has been the best of the bunch and only missed one field goal. As nice as it would be to have a sure-shot long-range kicker, all we really need from Howell is consistency. If Addazio knows his range, then they can play call around him.

-- Harris Williams still didn't play, but did practice with the first team. Without him the starting OLine was Bowen, Baker, Taylor, Lindstrom, and Cashman. The whole thing could be shuffled when Williams is ready.

-- Robinson's transition to WR is going well. He had a few big plays in the scrimmage. That's a good sign since many of our experienced WRs are dealing with nagging injuries.

While I don't take anything lightly, I do think BC's schedule lends itself to growing pains. If the offense just keeps getting better, the defense should be able to carry them the first two weeks.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How much influence will Addazio have on Fitch's play calling?

In addition to our QBs, Todd Fitch enters the season as a bit of a question mark. Will the new BC play caller shape the offense into his own view or will he adopt Addazio's run-first mentality? Fitch will be Addazio's third OC. Based on the play calling with Addazio's previous two OCs, I think we will remain decidedly run first.

BC 2014: 18.6 passes per game
BC 2013:  20.6 passes per game
Temple 2012:  20.1 passes per game
Temple 2011: 15.2 passes per game

For comparison, Fitch threw the ball at a fairly consistent rate in his previous FBS OC jobs.

South Florida 2012: 34.1 passes per game
South Florida 2011: 36.1 passes per game
South Florida 2010: 24.8 passes per game
East Carolina 2009: 32.2 passes per game
East Carolina 2008: 29.8 passes per game
East Carolina 2007: 30.3 passes per game

My guess is that BC will pass less than 20 times a game this year. It makes sense. We have a green QB, a talented backfield and a Head Coach who wants to run. If we do become pass-happy, you know it will be due to Fitch taking over the play calling.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Getting to know Jeff Smith

The biggest surprise of the summer has been new QB Jeff Smith. Recruited as the second QB in last year's class, many predicted it would be Smith, not Elijah Robinson who moved to another position. While all indications point to Wade as the starter, it is starting to look like Smith might begin the season as the backup.

If you look at Smith's high school highlights (below), you can see he has real speed. He's breaking away from the competition in a decent league in Florida. Obviously this is a highlight video, but the passes we do see are sharp and accurate. Even if he is not the passer that Wade is, Smith's ability to run reminds me of Tyler Murphy.

The rest of the summer will still focus on getting Wade ready. And of course Flutie has a shot as the backup too. But considering how long he's been on campus, Smith's early showing is very encouraging.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Preseason Top 25 includes three BC opponents

The AP released their preseason Top 25. Obviously BC didn't make it. BC didn't even get a vote. However, three BC opponents -- Clemson, Florida State and Notre Dame -- earned enough votes to make the rankings.

A few other future foes are outside the Top 25, but still earned votes (Virginia Tech, Louisville, Northern Illinois, and NC State). While some of these teams received votes purely based on reputation, this does speak to the lopsided nature of BC's schedule. We have cupcakes early and then face seven legitimate teams.

I am not particularly concerned about the lack of respect for BC or the ACC among the voters. As long as there is a human element to the Selection Committee, these sorts of polls do matter. But this is probably not going to be our year. If we win the ACC, we will be highly ranked, but winning the ACC will be the only way for BC to even be discussed at the Selection Committee.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Half full or Half empty after second scrimmage?

This is what SI's Pete Thamel had to say after watching BC's second scrimmage:

If Thamel is correct, BC will exceed most experts' expectations. But any honest fan also has to ask: is the Defense great or is the green Offense making the D look better?

Addazio spoke to the media after the scrimmage and fell somewhere in between. He's concerned about the mistakes on offense (penalties, missed blocks, turnovers, etc), but he also admits the Defense is bringing lots of pressure.

My biggest concern based on the posted observations are the issues on the Offensive Line. If they can't play well, the whole season falls apart.

I feel like I jinxed things with my earlier post on injuries. Glines hurt his collarbone Friday and is out for at least six weeks. There are also concerns and rumors about a few other Offensive players, but BC has yet to update their situations.

The bright spot seems to be backup QB Jeff Smith. Wade remains in the driver seat, but Smith is playing well enough to get the No. 2 spot.

Friday, August 21, 2015

What to look for in the 2nd Scrimmage

BC takes the field Saturday for another scrimmage. This one will be less predictable. The Offense usually starts slow in the first scrimmage. Now we expect progress. And we also hope no one gets hurt. Here are a few things to follow:

1. Does Wade get all the first team snaps again
You can say the competition is open, but as long as one guy gets all the snaps nothing is open. I want Wade to get as much practice as we can, but the other guys should get at least a series with the first team. We need to see what they can do just in case something happens to Wade.

2. Get through without injuries
Notre Dame was just the latest program to lose a starter during practice. BC has been lucky so far and treating injured players with kid gloves. Let's hope everyone gets through Saturday in one piece.

3. Better kicking
BC didn't focus on the kicking in their press release for the first scrimmage...and with good reason. Our Achilles' Heel remains an issue until someone kicks with consistency.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

More Cost of Attendence details and what it means

CBS put out a huge article with survey results on the how the various FBS schools plan to pay players under the new Cost of Attendance program. Long story short, all the Power 5 are paying players and most of the non-power 5 will pay too. But even as the system changes, the whole Cost of Attendance program still leaves so much up to the schools and lacks any consistent rule or calculations. And BC is still caught between trying to do what's right financially, competitively and upholds the school's values.

If you remember, BC voted against paying players when the issue first came to a vote. At the time we all recognized it as a protest vote. But even now as BC rolls out its plan, it remains clear we are doing so begrudgingly. Look at how BC is complicating its own process:

Boston College, the only Power Five school to vote against COA last January, will hand out new scholarship money. BC said it's providing $1,250 for miscellaneous expenses plus an unspecified travel allowance if the player is from outside New England. Partial-scholarship athletes on a percentage scholarship will receive the percentage of their dominator, and athletes on a dollar-figured scholarship will receive the dollar amount. Boston College declined to say how much money it's budgeting.

Imagine explaining that policy to recruits.

This can't last. Not just at BC. But everywhere. Even though the stipends/payments are relatively low, the disparity between schools will be exploited in recruiting.

I understand why BC structured the pay this way. But I think they are going to up their budgets shortly to keep up with our rivals. I also think BC should lead the charge to bring uniformity so that we can continue to compete.