Sunday, September 16, 2007

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Georgia Tech

Great win and a great start. As the articles captured, this was the most complete effort of the season and arguably the best game BC has played in three seasons. Everyone is also looking ahead to the next month and four very winnable games. I hope we all keep perspective. Michigan-Appalachia State showed you can never take any opponent for granted. I assume Jags and company will stress that message over the next few days. But they sure looked good Saturday night…

Offense: B+

Jon Tenuta is a blitz specialist known for making QBs miserable. This was supposed to be his best defense since he’s been at Georgia Tech. Did Matt Ryan look the least bit bothered? Amazing performance. Short throws on the money. Beautiful deep throws. Moving well around the pressure. I also think we need to applaud Matt’s ability to call a game/read pressure and read open men. I’ll never know how much is Matt and how much is Logan (I think it is probably a good balance between the two) but we know Matt is getting to audible. It looked like he knew just where to go each play. He also called out the protection at the line and identified the pressure points throughout. Brilliant performance. His only real miscue was overthrowing Challenger for an easy TD that would have closed the game. Instead we settled for a FG. Great game.

Matt Ryan wouldn’t have had a great night without Andre Callender. AC was fantastic at blitz pickup. He recognized where the pressure was coming and made good blocks all night. In fact the only time he missed resulted in Ryan getting hit hard and fumbling. But I’ll forgive that because on nearly every deep ball, AC helped give Matt one extra second. AC also seems to read the holes in the zone runs well. Good day. LV, had a few nice runs but still tries to turn the corner too much when nothing is there. McLuskey had another solid night as a lead blocker.

After the atrocious week, you’d hope the Wide Receivers would step up. They did. When Megwa dropped the easy catch early, I worried we’d see a repeat of last week’s butterfingers. We didn’t and even Megwa looked good. The highlight was BRod on the deep routes. His TD catch was beautiful. Challenger looked much better and did a good job of getting a few ‘run after catch’ yards. The big surprise for me was Gunnell. He’s really had tough times with catching balls, but you’d never know it from Saturday’s performance. I felt good for Loyte too. He’s been lost in the shuffle, but yesterday he really responded by finding space and making key catches.

The offensive line was mixed. They deserve credit for taking on one of the toughest defenses in the ACC and providing good protection. But the penalties were brutal. Poles was the only Olineman not called for holding. Tennant and Ramsey were whistled twice and Cherilus mixed in a facemask. Real sloppy. Ramsey had an uneven night overall and really seemed to have trouble with fast guys. Cherilus struggled a bit too and is not playing like a first round pick. Yet then at times as a unit they looked very coordinated and very dominant. Weird. These three games have really tested the Oline and they have certainly improved each week.

Steve Logan is my hero. His ability to get this team ready was great. His confidence in letting Ryan air it out deserves notice. I also like his ability to attack weak points. BC clearly thought Georgia Tech’s corner (#6 Clark) was a liability for the Yellow Jackets. And they went at him all night. I nearly felt sorry for the kid. He got beat over and over. Logan also did a good job of getting our slot receivers matched up against their linebackers creating easy wins for us. Some might be frustrated with our unwillingness to kill clock up 21-0, but I’ll let it slide. You cannot change your mentality. If you’re aggressive, stay aggressive. Stay with what works. Plus it is a lot more fun to watch than TOB’s clock killing.

Defense: A-

The defensive line lost Raji before the season, yet they have not missed a beat. Brady Smith was excellent last night, as was Brace and even Scafe. They are the reason we are shutting down the run. They stuff the middle, yet are also making solid tackles. Quite night for Ramella, Albright, A. Smith and Willette. Very good night for Giles. He was very active and disruptive.

The linebackers had their best night of the year. In addition to shutting down the run, they were much better against the pass. Pruitt might have played his best game at BC. He was great in coverage in the flats. Herzy had another strong game. Dunbar was solid. Akins…still seems a step slower (I wonder if he has a nagging injury?).

The DBs are also playing well. Silva is playing more disciplined than he ever has. Some of the more maligned guys had very good nights including Bowman, Morris and Anderson. Anderson’s Pass Interference call in the endzone hurt, but it was a borderline call.

Spaz was sort of boring this week. By my count less than 10 blitzes and a lot less 3-4. But the guy deserves credit for implementing effective schemes. It is one things to shutdown NC State and Wake. Tech has a very good rushing offense and they looked neutered.

Special Teams: B

The kickoffs were much better. Bennett put them deep and the coverage was good.

Ayers had another solid night. I think we’ll see a lot of fair catches this year.

The returns scared me twice. First Challenger muffed a punt, but Deska made a huge save. Brooks fumble off the kickoff was another gut punch. I know he was down, but he should know he cannot let a short kick bounce too much.

Overall our special teams look very crisp and much better.

Overall: A-

A great game and an impressive win. I know the circumstances are different but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it took TOB 58 games to beat a ranked opponent and Jags has checked it off his list in three outings. This team is composed and well prepared. Signs of good coaching.


flutie22phelan20 said...

Remember Jags' opening press conference when he said, "We're gonna win, and we're gonna look good doing it." This is what he was talking about.

I've rarely been as impressed by a BC effort. Even Ryan's incompletions were well-thrown balls that G'Tech's corners or safeties had to make plays on. And Spaz's defense was absolutely tailor-made to stop a team like G'Tech.

The play of the game (and the "we're not in TO'B land anymore" sign): 3 & 2 from our own 10, play action pass to Loyte for 40 yards. Sets up a 95 yard drive to start the game. On the road. Can't make a bigger statement than that.

bravocharlie said...

Great road win for the birds. I think that one of the most significant coaching adjustments was done during the week in practice. GT clearly went into the game with overconfidence ("we can run the ball against anybody"), but Jags didn't let his players fall into the same trap.

While BC is a talented team and will likely roll over the next few opponents, winning the ACC and getting to a BCS bowl will require the coaching staff to get the same kind of effort from the players that we saw on Saturday night. I have great confidence that Jags will eradicate the WTF losses and keep the team focused. He can't do any worse than his predecessor...

Brian said...

Impressive win all around! This had TOB WTF written all over it with the national spotlight and all, and Jags delivered.

My gameball, surprisingly, goes to the O line. Sure they were a little sloppy and committed a bunch of holding penalties. But those holds were valuable at keeping the blitzing Ga Tech defense away from getting a few good licks in on Ryan. Protect the moneymaker at all costs. And Callendar/Whitworth got key yardage when we needed it.

This isnt to downplay the amazing performance the rush D put together rendering Choice ineffective.

We're looking at 4 very winnable games, but hopefully Jags will keep the Eagles focused. If all goes according to plan, we're looking at a top 10 football program visiting Blacksburg, VA in a few weeks.

Brian said...

Check this out. Taylor Bennett's postgame quote: "We will get another shot at them," insisted Bennett, who then regrettably added, "They got lucky one night. We played our worst game on that same night."

Apparently he wasn't QBing in the same game I was watching. Got lucky? If by lucky you mean totally dominated you, then yes. Lucky is the right word then.