Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tricks, no treats

The refs screwed BC. There was plenty of bad luck and more injuries. And still too many mistakes and too many questionable coaching decisions in BC's loss to Virginia Tech. The silver lining on the game is also the most damning part of our struggles of late: John Fadule. The walk-on QB came in for Flutie and looked better. He arguably looked better than Flutie and Smith have all year. Why are we just turning to him now? Why have we wasted so much time with Flutie this year if the guys behind him were this much better?

Now if we want to save the season we have to run the table. Good luck with that.

I will have grades and second viewing thoughts up late Sunday.

In-game comments post: Virginia Tech

Things could get even more interesting if Addazio turns to walk-on John Fadule at QB. Desperate times...
I just hope we win. No one -- even those who don't like Addazio -- want to see a wasted year and a terrible season.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Picks Week 9

I am heavy on the home teams this week...especially when they are getting points. Of course this is for entertainment purposes only.

(Picks in bold.)

Georgia Tech-6 at Virginia

Ole Miss-7.5 at Auburn

Illinois+4.5 at Penn State

Central Michigan-2.5 at Akron

USC-5.5 at Cal

Oklahoma State-2.5 at Texas Tech

Clemson-10 at NC State

Texas-5.5 at Iowa State

San Diego State-3 at Colorado State

Notre Dame-10.5 at Temple

Arizona+4.5 at Washington

Last week I was 6-4. I am 45-32-3 on the season.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

BC-Virginia Tech preview

Like last week, I keep trying to talk myself into believing BC can win. Last week the Defense and Special Teams nearly won the game on their own. That could happen this week too. But can the Offense get enough points and avoid enough mistakes to enable a BC win?

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Brad Bates went on BCI's podcast this week  and addressed the indoor practice facilities and other building projects. Fundraising remains a big related issue to all wished for improvements. Life will get a lot easier for Bates if BC can pull off a win or two down the stretch. I would hate to shake down big-time donors or even try to sell Ireland packages coming off a 3-9 season.

Three Simple Keys
1. Complete 50% of our passes. This might seem wildly optimistic, but I think a lot of short quick passes will be needed with the patchwork Offensive Line. And any success in the pass game will open up other things.
2. Get pressure without blitzing. When the front four does it alone, we become impenetrable on defense.
3. Don't allow a non-offensive touchdown. Beamer Ball is practically dead. Don't revive it like a bad Halloween cliche. If we don't give them points, we can win.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 2-0 against Virginia Tech
-- Virginia Tech has never lost three straight to BC
-- BC hasn't lost four straight games since 2012
The current line is BC+2.5

This is Beamer's 23rd game against BC. He passed Paterno a few years ago for most times coaching against BC. I don't see anyone touching that record for a long time because it requires coaching longevity (which is becoming rare) and it requires playing BC nearly annually.

Scoreboard Watching
Notre Dame at Temple is getting the full ESPN treatment, so many of us will catch a bit. I am curious though because this is what Addazio left behind (sort of). He was technically only there two recruiting cycles, but they are winning with some of his players.

I hope to see...
Jeff Smith play. Not for selfish game-related reasons. It is more about the kid recovering from his head injury. If anything a Smith return makes managing this game more confusing. But I will accept that confusion if he is feeling better.

BC is in trouble if...
Another QB goes down. I don't want to give Addazio a free pass, but if Flutie gets hurt and Smith is still not cleared, then it is really not the coach's fault for a loss.

Bottom Line
Two TDs. That's all BC needs from Flutie or Fadule. Just two. I see it as one fluke play (perhaps a long TD pass to Robinson or something. Maybe a long run from Willis.) And then a semi-long drive for the second score. This also requires the D to play great again. I think it can be done.
Final Score: BC 14, Virginia Tech 10

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Low expectations for Basketball coming out of ACC Media Days

I have some hope for BC's young basketball roster. The rest of the conference does not. The collected ACC Media voted BC last in their preseason conference poll at the ACC Media Days. The vote wasn't even close. BC was last by a wide margin. But look at those other teams near the bottom (Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech). Why can't BC finish ahead of them?

BC also failed to garner any votes for the various preseason all conference teams and preseason award winners. Given how many minutes all the freshmen will play, someone is likely to earn some all freshman honors.

Nothing Christian nor our player representative Dennis Clifford and Eli Carter said made headlines. I do take solace in Christian saying this year's team is more talented than last year. That's a big statement considering he no longer has Hanlan. I hope he's right and if he is BC will certainly surprise people.

The biggest news out of the media event was the absence of Rick Pitino. College Sports is filled with plenty of hypocrites and jerks, but Pitino is in a class by himself.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Walking wounded

Every year I predict one or two of our opponents will be checked out by November. Coaches lose the team. Coaches are lame ducks. Or the team faces so much adversity and losing, the whole squad throws in the towel by the last game. I fear that might happen to BC this year. Even if Addazio doesn't lose the locker room, the injuries are piling up to the point where we are really limited in what we can do.

Addazio was clear on some injuries Monday and more vague on others. Kam Moore is done for the season with a broken leg. This is a true loss because he was playing so well. McClary was decent last week, but had issues earlier in the season. He won't be as good as Moore, but hopefully he can make a few big plays.

Jeff Smith is a huge question mark. Even if he passes all concussion protocols by Saturday, we know he is not taking snaps in practice. Can Flutie be effective enough to score against VT? And worse, what happens if Flutie goes down? Walk-on John Fadule. That doesn't inspire much confidence. I would suggest running the ball a lot but none of the tailbacks are healthy. Richard Wilson will probably get carries because he's the only one fresh.

Throwing the ball 30+ times with Flutie seems like a disaster, but WR is one of the only areas where we are healthy. And this Offensive Line isn't going to open up big holes for Wilson and whoever else might get carries.

Fortunately the Defense is great and the Special Teams are improved.

This season exposed many of Addazio's issues and challenges. But maybe it can also expose some of his redeeming qualities. Maybe he can rally the team down the stretch. Maybe he can win a game with smoke and mirrors.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Louisville

This game was not emotional for me. Once Smith got hurt, I just felt it was over. I was right and wrong. Technically the game was over when Flutie came in as QB (BC never took the lead). But the lone bright spot was that Addazio didn't waive the white flag. He still kept trying and pushing it and throwing with Flutie. I am hoping that fight pays off in one of the few games we have left.

Offense: D

I don't know how much of what Smith is doing is on him or just on the coaching. Obviously some of it is just a Freshman getting his first playing time. But I still feel like he should have better awareness of pressure. I also keep expecting him to have big runs, but they're really not using him like they did with Murphy. The TD was really a broken play where he took off. Flutie playing wasn't by design, so I am less harsh on the coaching staff for his results. But what confuses me is for all his supposed Football IQ and understanding of the offense, Flutie still wastes a lot of time and seems to create confusion when he shouts out things presnap. Also when we were driving late, he motioned to the sideline about spiking it to kill clock on 3rd and 12. How did he not know that was a bad idea? What I did like about Flutie is he started to look better when the play broke down. I don't know if he suddenly got faster, but he escaped a little better than he did earlier in the season.

Willis was the only RB to get significant carries. He was okay. I don't know what anyone could have behind that OLine. Willis (and Louie Addazio) missed the edge guy who crashed in and blindsided Smith on Louisville's fumble return. Wofford was fine.

The Louie Addazio stuff is getting frustrating. Penalties and missed blocks are killing drives. Thadd Smith made some nice grabs. Robinson's drop late hurt, but it wasn't a good throw. Callinan is not getting targeted. Neither is Swigert.

We saw worse OLine play under Spaz, but this was the worst day of the Addazio era. Harris Williams is a shell of his former self. I don't know if he's checked out or just that much slower, but it is not there. Schmal struggled too. As did Taylor. I thought Baker had the most consistent game. Monteiro looked better considering it how new he still is.

Louisville has a good D and we suffered injuries, but that doesn't explain all the offensive woes. The line was a mess and that was the base problem. But why not adjust and give Smith some easy read/throw plays? Let him try to make someone miss before four guys are in his face? We threw as much with one quarter of Flutie than we did with three of Smith, but the results weren't much different. When are these guys going to find something that works?

Defense: B+

The Defensive line bounced back from last week. Gutapfel played really well. Perhaps one of his better games. Abdesmad looked good and played more on the edge. Landry was decent, but we need him to get to the QB more often. Wujciak looked good. Kavalec played but didn't make much of an impact. I don't know if he is still not 100% or the emergence of Gutapfel bumped Abdesmad to more DE snaps and cuts some of Kavalec's time.

Daniels' monster season continued. I think he's going to make an All ACC team. Strachan also played well and showed good speed. Milano was fine.

The nature of this defense exposes the corners. There will be times when these guys get beat. But don't mistake that for lack of skill. Yiadom showed that skill on his pick. With Moore out, McClary played extensively again and looked much better. Simmons played well and so did Johnson.

This was not the defensively clinic other BC games have been, but the ability to generate huge defensive plays (turnovers and sacks) kept BC in the game and almost won it. I was a little surprised by what Louisville tried. I thought they would have more success passing against us and try to copy what Clemson did. They're not as talented as the Tigers and clearly BC adjusted from last week.

Special Teams: B

Because of the lack of scoring, we haven't been kicking off much, so I was pleased with Lichtenberg's output. Walker was fine on the kick returns.

On the punts, Howell didn't boom them like last week, but all were placed well. (Our punt coverage is very strong.)

Alston didn't try to challenge anything.

Overall: C

For all the issues I have had with Addazio's game management, I actually felt he handled the Smith injury well. He took some chances and still tried to win the game (however ineffective it might have been). The other sign of hope -- the punt block. We need game changing plays out of our Special Teams. Hopefully the success of the blocked punt encourages Addazio to take more risks.

The biggest gripe I have was with how Addazio handled the Offensive Line. Like QB, I don't understand the logic of pulling guys in and out during the game. If a starter is not playing well, then pull him. If his replacement doesn't do well let the replacement ride it out. Bringing guys on and off only creates confusion in an area where we need simplicity and a execution.

Who knows where Addazio goes from here. The health of Smith and plenty of other guys will determine some of the strategies and substitutions, but at this point we just need a win.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Addazio on bowl eligibility

[EDS. Note: Grades are running late...real life stuff. Sorry. Should have it up Monday]

During the game, the ACC announcers said BC was not eligible for a bowl because of the two FCS games. And based on how they explained it, it sounded like Addazio conceded the point during their game prep conversations. It surprised me that Addazio would vocalize something like that. It is just not his personality. It obviously surprised others, because one media member did bring it up during Addazio's post game conference. Here is how BC captured the exchange:
On the TV broadcast, an analyst said something to the effect that Steve Addazio knows a bowl game isn't in the cards this year. Do you still believe this team can make a bowl this season?

"I'm glad he's speaking for me. I'm just worried about getting a first down right now. I'm worried about winning. I don't really sit there and go through all that stuff, when you're in the middle of this right now, playing a bunch of young guys and you have a bunch of injuries like we do right now you're trying to find the right pieces to win. That's where I'm at right now. As Mike just said it right there, he said that to me, I'm sure were up against it right now, no question; because we need seven this year we don't need six we need seven; but right now, my total focus is, trying to shore up where all the leaks are right now and they keep coming.

This is what Addazio should be saying. Getting a first down should be a primary concern. Most BC fans know that there is a path to a bowl game with just 6 wins. But Addazio is smart enough to know not to over explain it to the media. Let's hope he pulls things together and explaining BC's bowl challenges becomes a necessary conversation.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Louisville sluggish

If you take the half full approach BC lost a close game on the road. Half empty...all the same issues cost BC the game.

I'll have more late Sunday and maybe something else before then.

In-game comments post: Louisville

Which struggling team puts an end to their bleeding? I am hoping things come together for our Eagles.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Picks Week 8

I was tempted to just pick ACC games this week, but there were a few other ones that crossed my radar as good opportunities. Wish me luck....for entertainment purposes.

(Picks in bold.)

Clemson-7 at Miami

Pitt-7 at Syracuse

Auburn+6.5 at Arkansas

Army+7.5 at Rice

Fresno State+17.5 at Air Force

Penn State-6.5 at Maryland

Texas Tech+14 at Oklahoma

Missouri-2.5 at Vanderbilt

Hawaii+7 at Nevada

Florida State-6.5 at Georgia Tech

Last week I was 5-4-1. I am 39-28-3 on the season.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

BC-Louisville preview

We tend to get so focused on our frustrations and issues, that sometimes we don't realize other teams are struggling too. Louisville is one of them. They're young and have also had injuries. But the biggest difference between our 3-4 and their 2-4 is that they scheduled better opponents. But regardless if you are losing to an SEC power or an ACC underdog, losing takes a toll on the team. The key this week will be which team can recover from their struggles.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Some people are viewing the youth movement as Addazio throwing in the towel on the season. I don't. But if BC stops competing in games and losses all the games the rest of the way, Addazio and Bates are in big trouble. I don't think BC fan expectations are too high, but we are not a "lovable loser" fanbase. People (myself included) will be outraged by 3-9. Fundraising will be an issue as will ticket sales in 2016. You can preach patience and development but you better compete and win on occasion.

Three Simple Keys
1. More designed runs for Smith. I am not sure why they are not doing this. Maybe they fear injury. I don't know. But we need him to run the ball more. Even if it is not successful, the threat of him running will open up other things.
2. QB pressure. The defense is dependent on it. Last week the front four couldn't do it on their own. We need them to step up this week.
3. Don't play field position. Addazio's inclination to punt in the opponent's territory is comical at this point. We need to be more aggressive. I would rather see Hail Mary's into the endzone than a punt.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 6-7 on the road as BC's coach
-- Petrino is 27-4 at Papa John's
-- Petrino is 6-5 in ACC games
The current line is BC+7.5

Other than Louisville, BC has played two other Kentucky-based teams (Centre and Kentucky). Yet Louisville is the only program we've played in the state of Kentucky.

Scoreboard Watching
Duke goes to Virginia Tech this weekend. We're about to face the Hokies. They've been a hit or miss team this year. Will they show up next week at Alumni? I don't know. Let's see how they do against Duke.

I hope to see...
a long rushing TD. How has this not happened yet against a real team? Teams are still crowding the line. We still have some speed backs there. What we need is one guy to plow through.

BC is in trouble if...
We cannot control the clock. I don't like Addazio's mindset of always controlling the clock, but I think it is needed this week. It would also imply one or two long productive drives.

Bottom Line
I don't feel great about this game. While I think Smith will get the offense moving, I do think Petrino will find ways to attack this defense. I think it will be like Clemson with plenty of deep passes connecting, but with BC forcing even more turnovers. I think a late pick seals the must win for BC.
Final Score: BC 21, Louisville 17

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Looking back on the 2013 recruiting class

With the youth movement still on BC fans' minds, I thought it might be a good time to look back at the 2013 recruiting class. Due to Spaz's lame duck status, lackadaisical approach to recruiting, and his disregard for roster management, the class missed on some huge legacy and sibling opportunities (Bosa, Hayden Rettig, etc.). Throw in his firing and the transition to Addazio and you would think the class would be a total lost cause. It didn't turn out that way.

Considering how transition recruiting classes between two coaches invite problems, BC has done remarkably well during our three most recent transitions. While the coaching turnover always leads to recruit turnover, each coach was able to land a few key players in that transition class. Addazio's 2013 was a perfect example. Here are the 2013 commitments:

  • Drew Barksdale
  • Charles Callinan
  • Jack Cottrell
  • Truman Gutapfel
  • John Johnson
  • Kevin Kavalec
  • Marquis Little
  • Mackay Lowrie
  • Matt Milano
  • Tevin Montgomery
  • Atem Ntantang
  • Joel Rich
  • Tyler Rouse
  • James Walsh
  • Myles Willis

The first thing that stands out is how small the class is. Just 13 commitments. That was a Spaz issue. Addazio added two flyers in Rouse and Walsh and then used the remaining open scholarships on transfers.

There has been plenty of attrition with Little, Lowrie, Montgomery, and Walsh all gone. Injuries and depth chart challenges have kept guys like Barksdale, Cottrell, Ntantang and Rich from being significant contributors. But the rest are some of our most important players.

Willis and Rouse have played from Day 1 and been leading rushers at various times. Callinan is not getting targeted, but has been an active player for two years now. Milano is probably our most improved player this season. Kavalec missed some time this year, but has shown flashes of greatness mixed with some nice consistency. Johnson is a key starter now. Gutapfel is also a regular contributor.

I don't think Addazio inherited a stacked roster by any means, but this one class has exceeded the low, low expectations that surrounded them two and a half years ago.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Youth movement

While in Clemson, I heard that some of the older players are unhappy with playing time. Then there was some grumbling on the message boards and in BC fan chatter that the older players are being told to make way for the young guys. Coincidentally, Addazio focused on the young players in his Monday media press conference. Of note:

You saw that Saturday night when we played Aaron Monteiro, for example, at left tackle. He came out. He's a true freshman tackle. Sam Schmal, he redshirted last year, he played; James Hendren, who was redshirted last year, played; Chris Lindstrom, who is a true freshman, has played and has been playing since the beginning. Jon Baker is a sophomore who has played a handful of snaps last year who has really come into his own right now. I just rattled off four or five guys that are freshmen or redshirt freshmen or who are true sophomores with limited experience who we think have great upside. Not to mention some of the guys we haven't broken out yet on the offensive line that we are very excited about. In addition, we have other guys like Ben Glines, who we haven't taken him off yet. I'm not going to say that yet. It's getting late: it's game eight. But you've seen Thaddeus [Smith] play very few snaps last year. He is a sophomore, but he really played very minimally last year and you are seeing him emerge. Elijah [Robinson] is a true freshman. You are starting to see what is happening with him. These are the things that are going on in the flank. You are seeing [Michael] Walker. You saw him on the kickoff return. He is very dynamic guy. Then you saw [us] throw one ball to him down the sidelines and he got behind [the defense]. He has real speed. He is legitimately a fast guy. And you've seen him now. He is playing a dozen offensive snaps plus 10 special teams. He is probably playing 25 snaps per game. Then of course, Jeff [Smith] and of course, you saw Jordan Gowins. I don't remember his exact tally of snaps but he probably touched the ball 10 times or whatever in there. So there are a lot of guys I'm talking about right now. There are an awful lot of guys that are either true freshmen or redshirt freshmen [or] sophomores. Those guys are pretty much the same because almost every sophomore we have out there had almost no snaps last year. And Jake Burt now, the freshman tight end. He has played anywhere between five and 12 snaps a game. Tom Sweeney, who is a redshirt freshman, is playing 60 snaps per game. He is a guy who is really starting to come into his own right now. He is playing a ton of football right now. Those guys are all out there. On defense, you're seeing a lot of [Wyatt] Ray and Ray Smith. Zach Allen. Will Harris. Those are guys that you are seeing. Then you have that sophomore brigade that played last year. Isaac [Yiadom] and Kam [Moore] and Connor [Strachan] and Ty [Schwab].

That is why I am so excited. We're very talented. We are very young, but we are very talented.

Addazio earned a lot of criticism this year, but I have no problem with playing the young players. Contrary to how the older players might feel, I don't view this as throwing in the towel on the season. In fact with regards to the Offensive Line, I think the young guys are looking better each week. The older group we started the year with weren't all that great when they got their shot. If the performance of the young players equals the old, then play the young.

Even with the skill players, I have no problem with guys like Thadd Smith or Robinson being targeted more than some players with more experience.

Who knows? Some of these young guys might provide a spark. If the older players are upset, there is one solution: play better. At this point, I want BC to get three more wins. I don't care if it a a fifth year senior or a kid who just got there leading the way.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Start time announced for Virginia Tech

BC and the ACC released the TV schedule for BC-Virginia Tech. The game will start at 12:30 and be part of the regional ACC Network coverage. This is the over the air, not regional cable timeslot. Whatever local station that carries this week's game will likely carry the Virginia Tech game too. For those outside of the ACC's footprint, there is always the online stream

With the losses piling up, I don't see another national ACC game on our schedule. Notre Dame isn't even on NBC, but rather their cable channel NBCSN. If BC pulls out a win against Louisville, maybe ESPN will put our NC State game in a noon slot, but I am not counting on it. I think we are regional games the rest of the way.

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Clemson

There were plenty of mistakes Saturday, but it was going to be tough to beat Clemson under any circumstance. In person and watching it back, the Tigers are impressive. I think they are going to win the ACC and make the playoffs. As for BC, I did see progress. Hopefully enough progress to turn the season around.

Offense: C

Smith's numbers weren't impressive. In fact they weren't very good. But I don't think they tell the whole story. On the road, in a very noisy environment, he stayed cool. He made a few nice passes. He avoided bad mistakes like potential INTs and used speed to avoid some sacks. I would like him to be a little more aggressive calling his own number on runs. His throws when scrambling weren't great. I don't know if it a balance issue, or he just rushes or he wants to put it where only a BC guy can get it. But he's getting better.

Glad to see Willis back. He made a big difference with his speed and knowing when and where to hit the hole. Rouse wasn't as productive running, but did have a nice reception. Outlow was okay. He still has some issues around the line and slipping by the first tackler. Gowins was fine in limited action. Wofford had a nice catch, but had some issues blocking.

Like Flutie, I don't like the extra baggage of criticizing a player with the last name Addazio, but Louie wasn't good. He should have caught Smith's pass on his deep route. His blocking was not great either. Sweeney's blocks weren't great either. Robinson looked good and also drew contact. Callinan wasn't targeted. Smith made one nice catch. Swigert made a smart decision on his potential pass play. Overall I think the WRs and Tight Ends are really underperforming. Do we have Clemson-like talent there? No, but I don't think the talent we have is being used well. I also don't think the guys are going a great job blocking or turning their few passes into bigger plays.

I actually thought the Offensive line looked a little better. The interior took big steps. Baker and Hendren were much improved. I am really disappointed in Williams. He looks slow and at times lost out there. Montiero got extensive playing time and was a mixed bag. He made some errors but looked okay at other times.

This is what I expected from BC and what we probably should have been doing earlier in the season. We used a lot of big packages and unbalanced lines. We don't have the same TE or OL talent as Addazio's first two years, but the jumbo packages gave Clemson some issues, gave Smith decent protection and moved the chains on occasion. I still think we need to create more based off of Smith's strengths, but that can be done within the frame work of the jumbo packages. Things in general were simpler and they moved the ball better. My biggest gripe was the lack of aggressiveness once we started falling behind. This is Offense, but I am pointing the finger at Addazio and Fitch. Issue 1: the final possession of the first half. We were moving the ball in the air with help from the refs. We burned two timeouts with confusion out of a timeout. Things are not ideal, but they are moving the ball. And then the run to the one yard line. The play was dead with 13 seconds and BC had a timeout. Addazio wasted six seconds while everyone looked around deciding what to do. He followed it with a kick. His rational was that he didn't trust Smith to avoid a sack with 13 seconds left. That is pretty lame. With 13 seconds he can take a shotgun snap and not even move. Make one pass into the endzone or throw it away and then kick the field goal.

Obviously the punt from deep into Clemson territory was bad, but I thought all the four down territory decisions have been awful. Look at what Clemson did on a 4 and 1 when the game was still close. They went for it. Why? They have better players. But also because it a a better play than a long field goal attempt or a short punt.

I also want to see Fitch push the ball downfield more with long pocket passes.

Defense: C

For a group that has carried the Defense most of the season, the DLine picked the wrong game to letup. They weren't bad, but they weren't great. They didn't get enough pressure on Watson and didn't bring him down an a few chances. Wujciak couldn't make due with his usual power moves. Landry never made a game changing play. Kavalec was ok. Ray played a bit. Abdesmad made a few nice tackles.

Daniels played well. He was very active. Milano made plenty of big plays and played well overall, but did have a missed tackle in pass coverage early. Strachan looked good in pass coverage.

The DBs let up a lot of yardage and were called for a lot of penalties, but I thought they played really well. Clemson took a high risk, high reward strategy and their receivers made multiple great plays. It was rarely a case of a BC guy being out of place or getting beat. Moore stumbled a bit on one of the TD go patterns, but looked very good overall. Simmons and Johnson both made good plays. Yiadom wasn't targeted very often. The one DB who struggled a bit was McClary.

This was the first game where BC couldn't get lots of pressure with their front four alone. That's why Watson had time and that's why the DBs were in a track meet all night. Brown adjusted and started blitzing more, but it was a little too late. We probably won't face an Oline as good as Clemson again (maybe Notre Dame's), so this won't be as much of an issue. But Brown is going to have to start mixing things up so that the opposing QBs are more confused when they drop back.

Special Teams: B

Howell had his best day punting of the season. The punt coverage was also very good. Alston didn't screw up but he didn't do anything of note.

Congrats to Knoll on making a kick.

Overall: C-

I don't know if I would say everything got fixed this week. It is more like all the previous issues were less terrible. Clock management was still statistically dumb but you could rationalize some of the decisions Addazio made. The offense still didn't score enough to win, but did score. You could call it baby steps, I guess.

But a fourth loss is still hard to swallow. Adazzio needs to regroup and win. It is not that his job would suddenly be in trouble. That's not how BC works. But showing progress and turning that progress into victories is crucial for building the program and credibility.

The announcers mentioned that Addazio told them that this team is young and to "get your licks in now." I don't care for the bluster, but I hope he backs it up. Addazio gave away two wins. Now is the time to go steal two back.

Slight delay

The late return from Clemson kept me from doing my review until late. I apologize. It will be up Monday.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Life after Death Valley?

I am back from Clemson. Before I get into my thoughts on the game, let me once again recommend that every BC fan make the trip to Death Valley at some point. Their fans couldn't be nicer. The game day atmosphere is great and the stadium experience is what you want college football to be. There's noise, pageantry, quirky gimmicks (like the running down the hill), but it is all worth it.

As for this game...I am frustrated but not down. There was offensive progress from last week. Enough to have me believe the season is not over. The defense let up a lot of yards, a lot of points and got called for a lot of penalties, but in person it didn't feel like a terrible performance. It felt more like they ran into a very talented team that played very well.

I will watch the broadcast back Sunday and have my grades and second viewing thoughts up late Sunday night.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

In-game comments post: Clemson

A rare live game for me. If you are a BC fan at Clemson and stuck in the nosebleed seats like me (section TDT), be sure to say hello. I am bringing the whole crew to their first BC Football game. Pray that they don't leave the Stadium Clemson fans.

This is also a big day for Jeff Smith. Is this the start of BC's turnaround or just more of the same? Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Picks Week 7

Last week slowed my hot streak. Hopefully all these road teams will come out on the right side of things.

(Picks in bold.) 

Iowa-1.5 at Northwestern

Louisville+7.5 at Florida State

Marshall-5 at Florida Atlantic

South Florida+2.5 at UConn

Pitt+3.5 at Georgia Tech

Syracuse+6.5 at Virginia

Michigan State+7 at Michigan

Air Force-4 at Colorado State

Oregon State+8 at Washington State

Florida+7 at LSU

Last week I was 5-5. I am 34-24-2 on the season.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

BC-Clemson preview

I'm trying to talk myself into a BC win this week, but I just don't know Addazio yet. With TOB and Spaz, as fans we all knew them as coaches better than they knew themselves. We could feel when things were going wrong or when BC really had a chance. I want to believe. I want Addazio to pull one out and turn the season around. But can he?

The other problem here is that I don't know who he is starting at QB. Speculation is that it is Smith. I am writing the preview as if it is going to be Smith. If it is not, I don't know if anything below will still be relevant.

Some might argue the confusion plays to BC's advantage. I don't. Clemson is better than BC in nearly every way. The element of surprise from a QB won't throw them off. However, yo-yo-ing on our part just keeps us from reaching our potential.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
The QB issues won't end this week. Next year, Wade will be back facing off against whoever gets the most snaps this fall, plus this fall's backup, plus incoming recruit Anthony Brown. Let's hope for our sake and Addazio's that someone steps up and becomes the clear QB.

Three Simple Keys
1. Control the clock. Addazio's time of possession theories are too inflexible. But this week keeping the ball for long stretches works. This is also why I think Smith starts. The running game is more effective with him on the field.
2. Score early. I know I am getting picky. At this point scoring at any time would be a blessing. If we score early though, I think it will give our defense a boost and might make Clemson press a bit.
3. Better WR and Tight End blocking. As I keep writing in my second viewing thoughts, the drop off from blocking by WRs and TEs is killing our offense. If these guys don't get the second level LBs, or don't stop the DBs, there are no big plays.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 6-6 on the road as BC's coach
-- BC has lost three straight at Clemson
-- Addazio is 7-6 after a loss as BC's coach
The current line is BC+16

This has been mentioned numerous times, but it is too good a factoid to ignore.

BC finished 2-9 that season.

Scoreboard Watching
I am curious to see the Michigan-Michigan State game. Michigan's Defense has been all over the news the past week and in each article them seem to make reference to our defense. Under different offensive circumstances, we might have a shutout streak going too.

I hope to see...
A bounce back for Jordan Gowins. He looked good and the fumble really wasn't his fault (the Wake kid's helmet hit him perfectly). I would hate to see him buried on the bench when we need him the most.

BC is in trouble if...
We are rotating two QBs again. I believe Addazio is going to start one guy, but if he starts switching again, it means that BC's in a bad place.

Bottom Line
We can beat Clemson. The Defense is good enough. Can the rest of the rest of the team do their part? I am voting yes. I think BC wins a low scoring game with a field goal miss coming back to haunt Clemson.
Final Score: BC 14, Clemson 13

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Odds and Ends

A mixed bag of things...

Did you see this graph from Grantland on the win probabilities of the BC-Wake game?

You couldn't even make this stuff up if you tried. We've all dissected the last possession that many are overlooking the Flutie fumble. That would have been the painful play in 99% of college football games. Instead, we get the extra pain of running out the clock at the 1 yard line.

Christian Lezzer took to Instagram to announce his retirement due to head injuries. It is an unfortunate end to his career. We wish him the best of luck. I assume there will be a little more attrition this offseason due to injuries and a few log-jammed positions.

A week after playing Clemson in primetime, BC will face Louisville in a 12:30 regional broadcast. This is to be expected after failing to score against Wake. BC is a good TV draw, but we still have to win to get on ESPN. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dabo tempts fate with Clemsoning rant

After the week we just had, BC could use some football karma to come our way. Could it be Dabo Swinney provided it with his rant about "Clemsoning" (above)? For Dabo's sake, he should have just brushed it off, but coaches are so thinskinned, he had to make a point about it. Please, oh please, Football Gods, please let this sort of rant come back to bite him this weekend. The little Catholic school in Boston would greatly appreciate it.

The reality is that Clemson is great right now. They are doing everything right and taking care of business. I have never been more wrong about a coach than I was about Swinney and still think Addazio should use Swinney as his role model.

I hope is a few years we are where Clemson is, but this weekend, I hope for a full on Clemsoning.

Monday, October 12, 2015

UConn series confirmed

The long speculated series with UConn is on the books. With that BC's 2016 schedule is basically complete (the FCS opponent is rumored to be Wagner.)

Enough time has passed that BC seems ready to move on from the historical animosity with UConn. The only remaining figure in the drama is Father Leahy and I doubt old lawsuits are keeping him up at night.

For those who are disappointed that BC did not schedule a bigger potential opponent, what did you really expect at this point? Bates and Addazio are scheduling wins and this one has the bonus of being cheap and easily spun. They can tell the media and fans they are trying to build New England football.

I don't hate the game. We have to play someone and if we are not playing anyone interesting, we might as well play someone close.

Addazio will pick one QB

Nothing is settled, but it will be. Addazio promises.

Picking a guy is the right first step. Building a gameplan around that one guy is the second step. Scoring a point is the final step.

The bigger question is will Addazio really ride with one guy if things go wrong?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Wake Forest

Addazio, and some of his apologists, are blaming inexperience and/or execution for the utter cluster of the final five minutes. I've heard and read "this team is only three plays away from being 5-1." Anyone who says that in defense of Saturday is missing the big picture. I hope Addazio is smart enough to see beyond that nonsense. The reality is that if you play in enough close games, luck and randomness is amplified and things are not always going to go your way. Addazio is 6-7 at BC in close games (decided by seven points or less) and 1-2 in close games this year. Because he is not preparing this team well and because he is not pressing every in-game opportunity, BC is finding itself in close games. Play enough of those close games and some are going to go blow up in your face. Even if we had miraculously scored a TD in the final minute, the final score would have been 7-3. BC is -- and was -- more than four points better than Wake. The reason the game was close is because Steve Addazio's management during the week and during the game.

But injuries...and fumbles...and missed kicks...blah, blah, blah.
Everything that went wrong on Saturday comes back to how things were handled in the offseason, how things have been handled since Wade's injury, and how Daz managed the game Saturday.
1. The confusion on the final possession. If Smith is getting all the snaps during the week, then the team has more time to practice two minute drills/late-game situations. That's on Daz. If Daz doesn't insist on huddling and then follow it with a run up the middle, that one play doesn't eat all the time. That's on Daz. If Daz has just a more basic understanding of time and the clock he wouldn't assume anything about getting a second play off after a run in under 29 seconds. That's on Daz.
2. Not having more timeouts. The first TO of the second half was burned when he was yo-yo-ing Flutie in. That's on Daz. Playing one QB cuts down on burned timeouts and probably cuts down on some of the false starts that plagued the team on Saturday.
3. Flutie fumbling trying to push for the first down. Why are we even putting him in that situation? He's "more experienced" in what? He's played about as much as Smith in live game action. If anything putting him in there in a pressure-packed situation when he is trying to prove he is the "Man" will lead to mistakes like that.
4. The missed field goals. Last season ended with a missed field goal. Addazio fired his Special Teams Coach. He's had months to find anyone who can hit a chip shot. Not having a reliable kicker also kept playing for Overtime off the table. Without a reliable kicker OT would have probably ended in a loss too, but the Defense might have stopped Wake altogether.
5. The inability to score. Wade's injury, the young OL, the QB rotation, the new play caller, Hilliman, Spaz's recruits, bad luck, etc. It all matters. But every team deals with similar stuff. BC's inability to score is a wholesale failure in approach and practice. First, Daz's preferred style of clock eating and conservatism is going to lead to low scores. You are shortening the game and limiting chances to score. I have no problem shortening the game when we are less talented (FSU, Clemson) or ahead. But in a game where you have a talent advantage or need to score, you cannot be so deliberate. This is not my theory or my discovery. It is now a proven, much reviewed football game theory. Daz is shooting himself in the foot there. Second, when things fall apart, good coaches regroup. During the week they go back to basics and figure out what CAN the team do and build from there. It looks like BC did that a bit (read option with Smith) but Addazio and/or Fitch didn't have the confidence to stick with it. Third, it seems like Addazio doesn't know what he wants to do offensively. His first two years BC played power, with spread principles, with a run first mentality. It was a mix of old Florida, Stanford and a little bit of Chip Kelly thrown in. It wasn't dominant, but it was unconventional enough and successful enough for BC to win. Even as the personnel changed from Year 1 to Year 2, the approach, play calling and philosophy didn't. I don't know if Day kept it all glued together or Addazio and Fitch have overreacted to every injury or every freshmen mistake, but we are not using the mix we had in Year 1 and Year 2. The OL is not as great yet, but that is not the problem. The Tight Ends and WRs are not blocking well (that's coaching). We wasted numerous snaps on a QB who is not a running threat (Flutie) and hasn't shown he can be a passer to take advantage of the other team's aggressiveness. We are not playing to our roster's strengths, we are not coaching up the young guys and we abandoned what worked for Year 1 and Year 2 for a "throw shit against the wall" approach. That is why we are not scoring.

Offense: F

Neither QB was good, but Smith was better. His running threat opens other plays. His passes aren't great but are sharper and have more zip. I don't think "knowing the offense" is really his problem. I think his decisions reading the defense in passing situations are. On a short out to an open guy, he can zip it. When he rolled in the redzone, he hesitated. Ironically when he rolls, his passes get worse. I don't know if he is waiting for the guys to get wide open or is just been told to throw it where it cannot be picked, but he's better passing from the pocket. His running is good and he would have had two running TDs if not for bad downfield blocking by his teammmates. I feel for Flutie. I wish his last name was Jones, so there wouldn't be so much baggage with this issue. He's not fast enough to make something out of broken plays. His passes are not any better than Smith's. (They are arguably worse.) His decision making on passes and using the clock is not great.

Gowins looked really good. The fumble wasn't a freshman mistake. The Wake kid made a perfect tackle and placed his helmet right on the ball. Outlow was a bit of a disappointment. He didn't block well and got tripped up in traffic a bit. Rouse was okay. No idea what he was doing on the last play. Wofford played well.

The Offensive Line wasn't bad but they were inconsistent. Hendren noticeably made some mistakes. Harris screwed up and fell down a few times. The interior in general got beat a bit by Wake crashing the gaps. Lindstrom struggled too. Baker played well. Bowen was fine.

Callinan made some great catches. Even the one that was called back. He blocked well. Addazio did not block all that well. Alston did not play well. The first INT was on him. Smith was okay, but he is not a good blocker either. Jackson didn't pull in the one pass thrown his way.

Who deserves the blame for our Offense is up for debate. From what I know, Addazio sets the vision and agenda and Fitch calls the plays. I have no idea who is making the Flutie/Smith call in-game but the changing mid drive is moronic. Other than the Smith/Flutie issues, my biggest play calling gripe is calling as many passes as we do. The play action doesn't work because neither QB is willing or confident enough to come out of the fake and make a throw. And then the play breaks down. I also hate the traditional pass plays because we don't pass block well yet.

Defense: A

Abdesmad had his best game in years. He showed more speed than we've seen from him. Wujciak dominated again and is headed towards an All Conference season. Kavalec had another strong game. Gutapfel and Landry were both fine.

The Linebackers were outstanding. Easily their best game as group. Daniels was all over the place. Strachan's INT was a great athletic play. Milano played really well. The forced fumble at the end was amazing. Schwab looked good.

The DBs weren't really tested. Wofford only passed 25 times and many were way off and non-issues. A few of Wake's big passes were coverage breakdowns, not guys getting beat. Moore did lose a tough battle on a long pass, but was pretty good. Johnson made a nice play on the INT. Simmons looked good.

Brown called a great game. The Defense is playing on such a high level that Brown doesn't even need to blitz that much. Just the hint of the blitz often does enough to screw up the other team. And we get plenty of pressure when we need it.

Special Teams: F

Walker looked good on returns. Alston showed more aggressiveness, but still let some punts roll too far. Nothing else needs to be said about the place kicking. Howell is gimpy still. His punts were a mixed bag.

Overall: D

The only thing keeping the whole game from an "F" was the Defense.

Writing after a game like that can lead to overreaction, but I hold with my belief that Addazio is not going to be a special coach at BC. If this is how he is managing the rough spots and this is how he is preparing BC for tight games, he will never do enough for us to break through. You can win with Addazio's mismanaged games if you have an overwhelming talent advantage. BC will never have that. So for BC to have a ACC winning season, we will need peak BC-level talent and a coach who will make all the right in game calls.

For now I think Addazio will be TOBish. To his credit, the BC-era TOB would have a bounce back game after one like this. Can Addazio? I will have more on what Addazio needs to do this year and going forward in posts this week.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

What a complete waste

I am not saying "fire Addazio" but today confirmed that he is not a great coach. Great coaches don't screw up games to that degree. And great coaches don't have whole units of the team (offense and special teams) this mismanaged in Year 3. That was the second time BC was shutout in three ACC games. When you cannot score (in the third year of a program) it is not just a quarterback issue. It is an issue in play calling. It is an issue in coaching your own players. It is an issue in evaluating your roster. It is an issue in how you practice in season. It is an issue in how you prepare all offseason. We miss Ryan Day more than anyone could have predicted. Addazio needs to seriously rethink everything on offense and doing that midseason is a bad place to be.

What is all the more frustrating is that this might be the best BC defense in 20 years. But it is all wasted.

When Addazio was hired I thought he might be an emotional TOB and that he would have a similar ceiling to TOB. Now that I know he's not doing anything special at BC, I hope he still can win as often as TOB did.

I will have grades and second viewing thoughts up late Sunday.

In-game comments post: Wake Forest

Wake games often bring out some nail biting moments. I hope today is different. We need the offense to step up and I think they can and will.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Friday Picks Week 6

There were plenty of big spreads this week. In general, I try to avoid them. If the spread is 40 something points, you're then trying to guess whether or not the favorite is going to take it easy. Too much risk.

My hot streak continued last week. We'll see if it keeps going this week. Wish me luck...purely for entertainment purposes!

(Picks in bold.) 

NC State+3 at Virginia Tech

Oklahoma-17 at Texas

Tulane+15 at Temple

Syracuse+1.5 at South Florida

Northwestern+7.5 at Michigan

Wisconsin+1 at Nebraska

Oklahoma State+6.5 at West Virginia

TCU-10 at Kansas State

Miami+7.5 at Florida State

Cal+8 at Utah

Last week I was 8-2. I am 29-19-2 on the season.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

BC-Wake Forest preview

Addazio says he is waiting for one of the QBs to step up. He wants one guy to show him something more...something different from the other guy. BC fans want a sign too. We want to see that Addazio can adapt and can handle rough patches and can win the games he is supposed to win. Despite our offensive struggles, BC is favorite this week. If Addazio is a very good coach, he takes care of business at home. If we lose, we will have more questions than just who should be the next QB.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
I don't want to keep going back to the Duke game, but there was a little wrinkle that I failed to mention that shows their coaches are doing a good job. If you recall after every questionable catch that went their way, Duke quickly ran to the line to start the next play. We see something similar with every NFL team. You don't see that urgency as often in college. Maybe because tempo is already part of most team's game plans. Maybe because the NFL has had replay longer. But I found it interesting that Duke reacted how they did. It showed that their players have good situational awareness and good sideline communications.

Three Simple Keys
1. Continue to stretch the field with deep throws. Despite their tendency to hang, flutter and miss their target, I still want Smith and Flutie attempting big throws downfield. Every once in a while you'll hit a big TD and at a minimum, you will keep their Safeties honest. I don't trust Flutie or Smith enough to pull off lots of short passes in heavy traffic.
2. Turn anything between the 50 and the Wake 25 into 4-down territory. Addazio can rationalize this ten different ways, but this is one area where the statistics show he's being too conservative. We can't make long field goals. We have an outstanding D. Every possession in that area should play call as if we are going for it. Run on third down if needed.
3. Get better blocking from the Tight Ends and Wide Receivers. There has been a lot of criticism of the OLine, but the biggest drop off between the first two year and this one is between the blocking of the WRs and Tight Ends. On other teams that might not be a big deal. For us, it is. We depend on those guys to engage the Linebackers and DBs who are crashing the line when we run.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 12-6 at home
-- Addazio last started 0-3 in ACC play in 2013
-- Wake if 1-4 at Alumni as a member of the ACC
The current line is BC-7.5

BC has scored only one touchdown in ACC play.

Scoreboard Watching
On Friday night, NC State travels to Virginia Tech. Aside from watching two future opponents and potentially the last days of Beamer Ball, I am also interested to see how VT manufactures offense. It hasn't been pretty for their OC Scot Loeffler. Prior to calling plays for Beamer, Loeffler coached under Daz at Temple.

I hope to see...
Sherman Alston get back in the groove. Addazio mentioned players pressing and it looks like that is an issue with Alston. He can be so dynamic. We just need to find him the right situations.

BC is in trouble if...
We don't score at least 20 points. 20 points seems pretty arbitrary on my part, especially given how good the Defense is. But I think that barrier represents a comfortable enough margin for BC to control and win the game. If we keep slogging along in low-scoring battles, every mistake is magnified and someone will steal at game at Alumni.

Bottom Line
Neither QB pulls away from the other, but they both look much better. BC also gets its first defensive touchdown of the year and mostly keeps Wake in check all day.
Final Score: BC 24, Wake 13

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Looking back on what could have been: former BC coaching candidates

Having just faced David Cutcliffe and heading into a game against Dave Clawson, I thought it might be time to look back at what could have been. Both guys were very friendly with Gene Defilippo and were considered in 2006 when TOB left. And since we're going back, I thought we might as well examine Al Golden and Mike London too. (It always feels like the ACC is littered with guys who talked to BC about the job.)

David Cutcliffe
Of all the guys listed in this, Cutcliffe probably advanced the least in the process. I think his age, the lack of New England or even northeast ties, his health and his persona kept him from being considered strongly. After TOB, I think everyone wanted someone a little more passionate and a little more high energy. Cutcliffe is not as dry and reserved as TOB, but he is not rah rah type. I never wanted him and would have been livid if we had hired him. Yet maybe that was a mistake. He's exceeded everyone's expectations at Duke and turned them into a viable, somewhat consistent football program. Imagine what he might have done in Matt Ryan's final year or with someone like Chase Rettig? Since he was a Gene crony, Spaz probably would have stayed on as DC. In retrospect, that might have been pretty formidable. Even though our Whale Pants booster crowd might not have taken to a southerner like Cutcliffe as head coach, the guy is a devout Catholic (supposedly attends Mass daily). Maybe it would have worked.

Dave Clawson
I had never heard of Dave Clawson until the BC job opened up. His candidacy (and much of his career) was directly tied to Gene D. At the time, he was head coach at Richmond. While successful there, he had yet to coach at the DIA level. The jump to BC would have been massive and a real question mark in recruiting. Aside from his relationship with Gene, what Clawson did have in his favor was a track record of building good teams. First at Fordham and then at Richmond. That success continued at Bowling Green. Will he turn Wake into a winner? Who knows? But I don't think BC missed anything. Unlike Cutcliffe, who was more of Gene's peer, Clawson was Gene's mentee. That style of management blew up with Jags. It probably would have with Clawson as well.

Mike London
London was a serious candidate when Spaz got the job. A year later he got the UVA job. They've been very patient with him and he is still well under .500. I don't think BC would have had as much patience. At the time I preferred London to Spaz. In retrospect, he probably would have failed here too. I don't even know if he would have won as many games as Spaz did (London's winning percentage is below Spaz's). London is and was a better recruiter than Spaz, so the bottom might not have been as low, but there still would have been multiple bad, frustrating seasons.

Al Golden
For a guy who put so much planning into his career progressions, Al Golden's timing with BC has always been bad. Unlike the other guys, he was a candidate after TOB, Jags and Spaz. Now that the Miami fans are fed up, it looks like Al probably should have left when BC came calling after firing Spaz. Even if it meant a pay cut, it would have gotten him out of the mess he's been dealing with in South Florida. Of all the guys on the list, I think Al has the most in common with Addazio. They are both intense rah rah guys. Both are passionate about recruiting. And both are guys who raise a lot of questions with their game management. If we had hired Golden instead of Addazio, I think we would probably be a in a very similar situation: a lot of young talent, but questions on if the coach can take the team to the next level.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Another candid Addazio press conference

People have been really critical of the QB situation. Just look at some of these quotes:

"...quarterback play has to get better and there are varying different reasons for those things. Some is age, some is not, but that is what we have to get better."

"I'm not sure at this point that either one can handle the whole game."

"Troy - on that last play - he just ran himself to a problem. It was a tremendous pocket. Stand there and deliver the ball! If you don't like it, shiver up and run vertically because all we were trying to do was to get seven more yards to get a field goal, or at least an attempt..."

Those quotes aren't from a message board. They're from Steve Addazio. As much as I question what Addazio is doing, I am always thankful for his candor in these weekly press conferences. Maybe because he's not getting grilled by a horde of SEC local media types. It is probably just Vega, Thompson, and a few student reporters. Maybe he has his guard down. But he admits that he's hoping one of the guys steps up and takes the decision away from him. He shares a story about going to his own defensive staff and getting their opinion. Clearly the staff is struggling with each guy's limitation and as Addazio said the expectations to win now vs developing a player.

Addazio is also candid about his criticism of Special Teams, Hilliman, the OLine and Alston. And I think he does it without really blaming any of the guys or throwing them under the bus. There's nothing here that crosses a line, but it is more than most coaches would say. Or at least more than past BC coaches ever said.

Speaking your mind or playing it close to the vest doesn't matter if we don't win. And we need to win this weekend. If not I think Addazio's press conferences will take a very different tone.

Monday, October 05, 2015

BC-Clemson gets prime time treatment

The ACC announced the kickoff times for October 17 and slotted BC vs Clemson for prime time. The game will start at 7 pm and either be on ESPN2 or ESPNU.

While much of the TV appeal is based on Clemson's hot streak, BC is a big factor in the national prime time slot. Our game against FSU was one of ESPN's highest rated Friday night games.

The ESPN2-ESPNU aspect will be cleared up next week. I think the network is hoping we handle Wake and Clemson doesn't trip up against Georgia Tech.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades:Duke

That was brutal to watch back. So much went wrong and we still could have won. So many people and units played well...really well in a losing effort. Usually I find the close calls reassuring. Now I am starting to worry. How are the players going to hold up? They feel the frustration too. You can lose teams in situations like this. We've seen it happen to BC and we've seen other teams go through it. If we just fix a few things, this team could be so, so much better.

Offense: D

Neither Flutie or Smith is a good passer. They both miss open guys and both hold on to the ball too long. Flutie's TD showed he can sit in the pocket and let one go, but the pass was still wobbly. Neither have great awareness of the clock. Flutie might be able to "run more of the offense" but he's still not making good decisions or good plays in the offense. Smith had some nice runs, but made some questionable decisions on handing the ball off in the sweeps (unless he didn't have the green light). The running game is better with Smith.

Outlow was pretty good. I am not sure why he didn't get more touches. Rouse played pretty well. Wofford made a nice catch.

I thought Smith made a nice catch on the TD they called incomplete. His real TD was nice. Alston looked good running but couldn't pull a pass in. Swigert missed one too. Callinan was fine. As a group they did not block well.

The OLine is not the problem. They actually played well this week. There is only so much you can do when the other team is that aggressive loading the box and at the line. Most of the blocking breakdowns came from the Tight Ends and WRs (Sweeney had some issues).

The time to throw stuff against the wall isn't the game. Fitch and Addazio have the luxury of practicing against an elite D. Do that in practice. I know you don't want to be installing new offense at this point in the season, but this playbook was all over the place...especially with Smith. We used basically the Wildcat with the sweeps (but it didn't seem like Smith had the green light to keep it). We used pistol with Smith. How can he be expected to learn anything when we are asking him to do all this other stuff? I think simple would be better for this kid now. And give him more one look rollouts, then he can take off if nothing is there (like the near first down on the 1st and 20). They are not doing Flutie any favors either. While this wasn't a shutout, it was another series of scoreless quarters. This is wholesale failure and not bad luck or young talent. How they are handling the QBs, their shoot from the hip rotation and the overall approach is a failure. But I fear they (Addazio and the Offensive staff) are drowning in so many issues, that they don't recognize the way out. It felt like Smith finally gave it to them as he moved the ball, but then Flutie connected on some passes. So my fear is it will be more of the same.

Defense: B+

Kavalec is back. He made some huge tackles during the goal line stand. Landry looked good and is also making some big plays stopping the run. Abdesmad played well. Gutapfel had one of his better games. Wujciak didn't cram the stat sheet, but played well.

I read a few criticisms of Daniels on the board, but watching it back, I didn't see any issues. He was good in coverage. He made a lot of tackles and had a sack. Milano was good. Strachan and Schwab weren't as productive but didn't have any glaring mistakes.

The stats for the DBs were somewhat deceiving. Most of the Duke yards came against one guy: Johnson. He's big and not as quick, so by putting some of their little guys in the slot, he got a bit exposed. He also got blown up on some tackles. Yiadom had a very good game. They rarely even threw his way and he made some nice plays. Moore was called for PI, but overall played well. Simmons was good.

I want to credit Brown for an adjustment that worked. In the first half Duke had pretty good success with passes over the middle against the safeties and linebackers and we weren't blitzing. Instead of adding more DBs to help pass coverage, Brown used the LBs for more pressure. The extra men and hint of pressure forced Duke into more rushed and in effective passes. The Defense is really the bright spot of the short season so far.

Special Teams: D

Alston is one of our most unique and potentially explosive players. But I am starting to wonder if we need to take him off punt returns. The fumble was brutal.

Lichtenberg's miss wasn't terrible. It was not a gimme. The early screw up was due to a bad snap.

Lichtenberg's kickoffs were fairly short. Was that on purpose or is leg just that short?

Howell's punts were good and so was the punt coverage.

Overall: C-

I am so frustrated with the Offense, the same game issues reoccurring (use of timeouts, clock management, etc) and Special Teams, that I want to give it all an "F," but I can't. We lost, on the road, to a pretty good Duke team by two points. Was there bad coaching? Plenty. Was there some bad luck? Yes. But luck tends to even out and bad coaching is usually punished with a L. I don't think Addazio is a bad coach. But what we are going through now and how he is dealing with it, has me questioning his upside again. It is the first time since he started coaching actual games that I am starting to believe that his challenges will limit what he can do at BC. The good news is that there is still plenty of time and plenty of big games to work this out. Let's hope he starts with Wake Forest.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Feeling blue in Durham

I do think Duke is decent but BC could have and probably should have won that game. Even with QB confusion, really bad Special Teams and bad ref calls, BC had chances to win in the 4th. I am very frustrated.

I will have my grades and second thoughts late Sunday.

In-game comments post: Duke

Throw your real predictions out the window. They've been washed away by the weather. I don't know what to expect from either team except that it will be wet. I will keep telling myself that helps BC...until something doesn't go our way.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Friday Picks Week 5

Weird weather and big spreads had me looking for ten games I liked. Below are the ones I finally picked. If you're following (purely for entertainment purposes) I am coming off a strong week. We will see if it holds up.

(Picks in bold.) 

Central Florida+2 at Tulane

Pitt+4.5 at Virginia Tech

Iowa+6.5 at Wisconsin

Louisville+4.5 at NC State

FIU+3 at UMass

Alabama+1.5 at Georgia

Ole Miss-7.5 at Florida

New Mexico State+12.5 at New Mexico

Notre Dame+1.5 at Clemson

Oregon-7.5 at Colorado

Last week I was 7-2-1. I am 21-17-2 on the season.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

BC-Duke preview

All seasons have a broken record aspect to them. I feel like this great defense covering the mistakes of an awkward QB rotation will be the theme for weeks to come. Is there any other way it can play out? Take this week for example. Flutie will start and probably get most of the snaps. But is he going to do anything remarkable to win the job permanently in really wet weather? Unlikely. While Smith will get snaps, his limited time also gives him fewer opportunities to show he can do more than run. My fear is that neither will ever play enough to shine and instead it will become which guy makes bigger mistakes.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Addazio talked patience in his media appearances this week and there is also plenty of fan chatter about lowering expectations. I find all of it premature and a little disconcerting. Injuries happen. Having to play young QBs happens. Collectively we had low expectations for Addazio's first two seasons and his teams performed well. Now, in Year 3, why can't we expect him to do well again? We are already have three wins and have one of the best defenses in the country. Even with sloppy QB play, we should compete with every team on our schedule and still finish at .500 or better.

Three Simple Keys
1. Connect on at least three play actions passes. There were so many open WRs last week biting on our runs. Those plays should be there this week. Whoever is QB needs to hit the open men (in stride). It will lead to some huge plays.
2. Let them have the short stuff. In order to avoid our pressure, I think Duke will try to dink and dunk it down the field. I have no problem with that. It makes big plays less likely. Field goals will be iffy in this weather. And I think we are very capable of forcing turnovers on short passes.
3. Redzone scoring. Kicking is always an issue. Heavy wind and rain won't make it easier. BC needs to capitalize with touchdowns any time we get near the endzone.

Gambling Notes
-- Cutcliffe is 1-1 against BC
-- Addazio is 3-3 in October as BC's coach
-- Addazio is 4-4 in ACC road games
The current line is BC+6.5

BC won its only game in Wallace Wade Stadium.

Scoreboard Watching
Notre Dame at Clemson is probably the biggest ACC game of the week and are arguably the two best teams left on our schedule. I am hoping one team exposes the other and gives us hope for our contest later in the season.

I hope to see...
A big Jeff Smith TD run. I know there are plenty of Flutie fans out there. I don't dislike the kid, but I just think Smith is a better fit for everything we are trying to do. If he makes a big play, I think Addazio will roll with him and the offense will finally have some identity. Flutie feels like a square peg in a round hole.

BC is in trouble if...
They give up another non-offensive touchdown. This defense can cover a lot of mistakes but they can't stop points given away on a turnover or Special Teams screw up. If it happens against Duke, it will cost us the game.

Bottom Line
I started off with the broken record analogy...well maybe it applies to bloggers too. I just feel this is the week where we figure it out on offense. I think the OL blocks well, Smith and Rouse cross Duke up on the option stuff and BC controls the tempo and score.
Final Score: BC 17, Duke 9