Saturday, November 05, 2011

All of our offensive issues captured on one drive

I know that we have many problems. But I think our issues on offense are more about coaching than talent and I think there was one series that captured all of BC's failings.

With 3:42 left in the 1st quarter, BC got the ball on their own 30 down seven. The first play was a designed end around for Spiffy Evans. This is actually a good call. The end around worked the week before. It helps take pressure off of Rettig and Finch. I also like giving it to Evans. He's shown good burst on kick returns. Plus FSU was probably keying on Amidon for the end arounds. The play was probably going to be successful (especially if you look at the open space in the image below). But of course BC had to shoot itself in the foot by having a terrible snap. Rettig had to fall on the ball and took an 11-yard loss. At the time Craig James yapped about BC being too excited or thinking too fast. That wasn't the issue. The real issue was that BC replaced Mark Spinney with Andy Gallik. Gallik screwed up the snap. Why was he in there? Spinney played later so he wasn't seriously hurt. Was it a plan? Maybe Spinney needed a breather or was being looked at. I don't know. But if you are starting a possession with a timing play that is dependent upon a good snap, you should probably have your starting SR center on the field!

Now if Spinney's issues were unknown then a good OC probably saves the play for later. If the plan was to bring in Gallik just for that play, then BC didn't work on it enough during the week. Either way it was either poor position coaching, poor sideline communication or poor planning in general.

That left BC at 2nd and 21. Now at this point BC has run the ball six times and Rettig is 3-3. You know you need to get some of the 21 back. So what does BC do? Run again. You can rationalize it a bunch of ways, but I assume that being down only 7, BC still wants to be careful deep in their own end. I would argue that you need to be aggressive against a team that is building momentum. You are 2-6. Why not air it out a bit? But no, BC runs. Then things got bad.

The play was a simple zone-option run. This is a college football staple and at times made Chris Crane-Montel Harris a deadly combo against Florida State in 2008. In this situation the line is blocking to their right. Florida State's R DE is left unblocked by design. He is who Rettig is supposed to read. If the DE crashes Finch, Rettig keeps it. If he waits on Rettig, Chase gives it to Finch. But we never even got that far because Wetzel and Vardaro did something that has me convinced our OL coaching is the worst in the ACC.

Take a look. Wetzel and Vardaro are supposed to double team the R DT (who is a true freshman BTW). It's a standard double team in a zone play. A good, well coached team drills this over and over. They should be able to execute it without problem. Not BC.

The image below is about a half second later. The DT used a simple swim move and went by both guys! How does this happen? Vardaro's head is down so he probably didn't even see the swim move. Wetzel is reaching but you can see he is slow getting off and his balance is terrible.

Now Wetzel has shown some good moments. He was recruited by BC, UConn, Pitt, some MAC schools and UNH (this will be important in a moment). He was evaluated by Jags and Bick JR (two guys who have good eyes for raw OL talent). Is he a future first rounder? No, but he could and should be much better than he is. Now you could say Sean Devine inherited him, but the problem is Devine recruited him when he was at UNH! Wetzel has been in our program three seasons. This isn't age or youth. It is about coaching and consistency.

That left BC at 3rd and 21. Now points have been an issue all year. Wasted possessions have been an issue all year. You need to win this game to keep alive any hope of any postseason alive. The home crowd is asleep and just hoping for any sign of life. What does BC do? Run again. Of course the crowd booed.

FSU knew a run was coming too. Just look at this clip below. Their Left DE is playing wide and tries to shoot past Anderson (who is getting no help). Meanwhile our left side is chop blocking. But they don't take their men down nor push them back. The right side guys are pulling but don't block anyone. Meanwhile FSU's right side didn't get faked or downblocked so they are crashing into the backfield ready to break things up.

Of course we punted next and it was the best play of the drive.

This may seem like cherry picking bad moments, but it is not. Roster management, execution, protection and ultra conservative play calling have been hallmarks of the Spaz offenses. This drive just happened to capture them all in three plays.


TheFive said...

I'd love to see a breakdown of the 13-play white flag that Spaz put up in the fourth quarter, where we ran 11 times and took 7 minutes off the clock.

It was a not-so-subtle message to FSU that BC's coaching staff had given up and that FSU should reciprocate by sitting on the ball for the rest of the game.

There's only one explanation for that sort of coaching --- Spaz thought he could survive til next year after a 38-7 loss but not after a 52-7 loss. Any competent AD would see right through that BS. But when we have an AD looking for any excuse to keep his guy, well, we'll see.

neenan said...

Among other problems, Spaz does not get that football is a game of inches and little things make a difference. Attitude, as In a winning attitude, is huge too - but wanting under Spazoo.

But we are well beyond the coaches failing on the little things and failing to motivate,, as your post shows, it is big things and almost everything.

By the way, ND, NCSu and MIami all looked good today. Strong chance we are looking at a 2-10 season. Maybe relief will come THIS year. Hope so.

bc1900 said...

Watching Nick Saban in his press conference. I saying exactly the opposite of Spaz. Says everything is on him and starts and ends with him. It is not the players fault. A real coach taking responsibility. Andrew Luck would have carved both these teams up tonight.

ObserverCollege said...

There is so much stupidity in the post and the first three comments, I just don't know where to begin.

1. Gallik blew the snap. Gallik. Not Coach Devine. Not Coach Spaziani. Gallik. Stop searching for reasons to absolve the players.

2. The FSU DT is a 4-star DT. He must be because he is starting for FSU. BC's O-Linemen are 2-star leftovers who came from Jags, so they are terrible. Vardaro can't remember to keep his head up, and Wetzel thought the snap count was on 2, not 1. Those are player failures, ruining the coaches' hard work.

3. Of course Coach Spaziani chose to run. The players couldn't remember how to play. When that happens, the smart thing to do is to burn clock, punt it away, and take your chances later. Indeed, Coach Spaziani coached BC to a 14-10 win over the last 35 minutes of the game--counting to Spaz's credit the TD BC officially would have scored if Finch hadn't panicked about the O-Line's myriad errors and fumbled the ball away. Again, one Jags recruit's mistake leads to more Jags recruits' mistakes.

4. Coach Spaziani schooled Jimbo, tricking him into easing up so he could beat FSU in the majority of minutes played (see Point #3).

5. @Harrow, why are the players going to try harder if Nick Saban coddles them and absorbs all blame in front of the media? They'll just keep making the same mistakes. Better Coach Spaziani's approach: you're on your own, and I'm the only one in this program (except for GDF) who has a direct line to Mark Blaudschun. Ask Thomas Claiborne how that works.

neenan said...

Observer - I can't believe you would lay that all on Gallik.

How about the fact that Rettig was so freaked about getting picked and/or sacked that he was not paying attention - until the ball almost hit him in the face. Great defenses can cause a loss of focus. Look at all the OL offsides and holding calls

Ps. What are your thoughts on Tennant - a former BC OL - lacking manhood by retracting his call for Spazoo's head. At least Marcellus Bowman did not back track

Knucklehead said...

Some of these posts are incredible. Tell Matt Tennant to his face that he lacks manhood, hahah.

Everyone is trying to pinpoint the problem. It cannot be done. From the top down when it comes to Men's College football there is ineptitude at Boston College. The AD does not make good hiring decisions. The AD wants to keep high level assistant coaches who worked under previous head coaches. The new head coaches cannot recruit. The new head coaches drive out the existing talented upperclassment. The offensive line coach is not as good as previous ones we have had. There is no leadership on the team from the players. Primarily because they are young, unproven,hurt, or have kicked of the team for not kissing up to coaches who aren't even good.

I love Boston College football. Unfortunately the people in positons of authority when it comes to Mens College Football do not seem to have the same passion for the PRODUCT ON THE FIELD.

I will watch all the games on a dish that is broadcasted out of Sri Lanka. I don't care about money when it comes to Mens College football. I want a competitive team that shoes signs or progress or hope for the future. This program has been sprially downward for 4-5 years.

Essentially this is a case of mis management at the top that has trickled down to players.

How can anyone post Robert Vardaro a freshman from Andover Academy or Gallik a freshman from Illinois is the problem. They shouldn't be on the field but they are forced to play.

I have said it before the AD, the head coach or someone with some bigtime dollars needs to call Tom Coughlin to get some management and coaching training. Better yet Father Leahy or someone with some big time dollars needs to offer Tom Coughlin the Athletic Director role at Boston College.

I could definitely see him doing the AD job after he resigns from the Giants.

EL MIZ said...

great post ATL. love analysis like this.

2-10 is indeed looking more likely.

what happened to the offensive line of this team? why is devine still the coach after such underperformance the last few years?

i worry that several assistants will fall on the sword (rogers, devine; maybe the whole offensive staff) and spaz will have one more year.

ObserverCollege said...

First of all, Tennant is the poison that undermined the program. He showed he lacked manhood his last two years by questioning Coaches Devine, Tranquill and Spaziani. As did Claiborne and Castonzo. All their yapping about "Coach Jags" and "Coach Bicknell" undermined the O-Line. The classic example was Tennant asking Coaches Devine and Spaziani to discuss why they were "mish-mashing zone and man techniques where the center and right-guard play zone, the left guard pulls to take out the left cornerback, the right tackle crashes down on the right DT, and the left tackle plays zone while the right-side TE flashes over to take out the blind-side DE."

Imagine that. This wimp, and yes, I said wimp, has the nerve to question the staff and then run away. Leaving the coaches with a 4-year process before they can finally clean out the confusion from the O-Linemen who remained. Just like Tennant had the nerve to snipe on Twitter, thinking nothing would happen.

Well the joke's on Tennant. He never heard of legal concepts like "slander" and "libel". That is, until some amateur aspiring lawyers told him he opened himself up to being banned as a BC alum for questioning this coaching staff.

Let that go for the rest of you. Trust the Staff. They've done far more for Boston College, year after year, than the Tennants and Claibornes and Ryans and Fluties. Loyalty to BC = Fealty to GDF = Trusting the Staff. Or question the staff, and wonder why you no longer qualify for the BC Visa card to pay for your trip to Cape Cod.

Tennant finally figured out who's boss, and salvaged his status. For the rest of you, the choice is yours.

JBQ said...

The trials at Nurenburg were aimed at those who were loyal to the Nazi cause. They followed orders and yet were executed. The logic of saying that BC really won the game 14-10 simply defies reason. Spaz was very loyal and a very good defensive coordinator. He just can't cut it as a head coach.

neenan said...

The new BCS rankings are out.   BC is 3rd worst in the land.  thanks GDF. thanks Spaz. thanks McGovern. thanks Devine. thanks Brock.  Thanks to all the rats who have destroyed BC.

BCS "worst" AQ schools

1. Indiana 
2. Colorado 
3. BC 
4. Oregon St. 
5. Minnesota
6. Washington St
7. Maryland 
8. UConn
9. Duke
10. Mississippi

Lenny Sienko said...

Eagle Atlanta thanks for the breakdown of the typical Spaz offensive series. You are spot on.

Observer, we are beyond satire. Truth is stranger than your fiction, especially when the earnest commenters don't get it.

Deja Vu all over again. The feeling is very much like 1978 as BC stumbled its way to 0-11. The weekly disappointment was capped by the humiliation of an invitation to the Japan Bowl, in Tokyo, where we lost to Temple before a packed house of cheering fans who had no idea what they were watching.

Most significant and telling scene described this weekend was that only barry Gallup of the Football staff stayed on the filed with the team for the playing of the Alma Mater. Fitting, since Barry is the only true BC guy still associated with the football program. In a perfect world, I fire everybody but Barry and let him fix the problem. Barry, who played in an athletic department run by Bill Flynn, loves the program, and has football smarts galore, could turn things around quickly.

Big Jack Krack said...

Kiwi, Snee and Herzy all doing well against the Patriots.

neenan said...

NYG: Great play by Herzy today to cause a fumble.

Guy is a game changer!

Right on Jack

neenan said...

Sagarin football rankings also have BC as 3rd worst among BCS schools 

Not good 

1 Indiana ranked #136
2. Colorado #130
3. BC #120
4. Duke #109
5. Minnesota #102
6. Mississippi #100
7. Maryland #97
8. Washington State #94
9. Oregon State #93
10. Kentucky #88

curranac said...

ObserverCollege: I am not a fan of back and forth on message boards, especially when it's anonymous. My name is Andrew Curran, live in Cincinnati and graduated from BC in 2000.

I'm not following your veiled threats about losing alumni privileges? So you think BC is going to stop accepting donations from people who are critical and the BC Magazine is going to stop arriving at my door? I beg to differ.

if anyone thinks the issues with this team in 2011 are being caused by comments from past players, I'd invite them to go back and watch the tape of this season. The current coaching staff deserves plenty of blame.

If the debate team lost to Northwestern, Duke and Wake Forest in the same month, I'd offer that club moderator a pass. However, ACC football is a multi-million dollar business. The AD and coaches know this better than any of us sitting here on message boards.

Coach Spaz was a terrific Defensive Coordinator who helped make possible our tremendous success that started my senior year when BC beat ND in South Bend. Subsequent senior classes went on to win increasing numbers of games during their time on the Heights and plenty of players ended up in the NFL. In addition, Coach Spaz staying on after TOB's departure helped maintain a few more years of winning. That loyalty is appreciated and should be rewarded, just not at the expense of our highest profile program.

He clearly is not meant to be a head coach. I'd like to see Spaz get the chance to return to his D-Coordinator role, so that the new coach can focus on recruiting and the offensive side of the ball.

eagleboston said...

Folks, Observer College has been posting satirical comments for years. Just enjoy his posts and laugh along with them.

Galvin said...

I love that Observer doesn't break character

neenan said...

Eagleboston ;-)

We know! And we knew. But thanks, I guess

curranac said...

Thanks guys for the clarification. I thought the comment about losing your Visa points card to pay for the trip to the Cape seemed a little over the top.

Still think Coach Spaz should have a chance to return to the D-Coordinator role.

Darius said...

And still I hear the word "loyalty." I have no idea whether that's even the case or not, because I've never heard of anyone else besides BC even interested in Spaziani for any position, but it's moot because loyalty doesn't and shouldn't figure into anything in the big-business world of major college football coaching.