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


BCMike said...

I like it! As I said on EA, I think our D is tailor-made to stop Duke's offense and force turnovers. Weather can only help us.

I had said 20-3, but since the weather is that much worse, I think I'll go 17-3 with the kicking conditions getting worse. There's a shot (not much of one) that the weather makes Daz more aggressive going for things on 4th down which could result in more TDs, but I'm not holding my breath.

GP11 said...

Totally agree about not lowering expectations. The offense without Wade & our banged up RBs will be worse than expected at the beginning of the year, but I don't think anyone expected the D to look this good. Even without the Howard & Maine games, we have one of the best defenses in the country both quantitatively and qualitatively. I would expect them to keep us around in every game we have this year. Expectations should be a bowl game at minimum, and I wouldn't be shocked if we won 9 regular season games. They are that good. Look at the schedule and who scares you? Clemson is the only team for me where chances are very slim, but every other team is beatable including ND given their QB situation.

I understand going with Flutie since he's had a year to learn the playbook and looks a bit more comfortable throwing the ball, but I think Smith gives the offense more upside. I don't see Flutie able to do much on the ground besides scramble for some yards if the pocket breaks down. He looks a bit more comfortable throwing the ball, but his decision making is not great. If the offense hasn't put much together in the first half, I think Daz needs to make the switch and give Smith the chance to get into a rhythm.

BC 13, Duke 6. Ugly, wet, sloppy, but a win.

Go Eagles.

Danny Boy said...

I'll quote myself from the Second Viewing thread. Flutie throws a fluttering ball. It essentially removes the out route (and probably quick slants) from the playbook. Those routes need zip on the ball, and Flutie hasn't shown that tool yet. The short routes become even more important in sloppy weather.

Addazzio has committed to being a run first team. Its obvious the run works better when Smith is on the field. Hilliman doesn't get close to his yardage if Flutie is the full-time QB. Just look at the numbers, BC moved the ball far, FAR better when Smith was on the field, even without passing.

Losing Hilliman hurts, but so long as we have Willis and Outlow, I'm not that worried. They are both horses who have skills that Hilliman doesn't. Besides, our O-line isn't exactly plowing the way between the tackles, so I like Willis and Outlow's abilities to bounce it outside and find a crease.

Addazio has been taking a super conservative approach so far this season, and I expect him to lock it down even more. This is unfortunate. Let the kids play some ball, and lets see what they do. Expectations have already been lowered due to injuries (rightly or wrongly), so lets play with some freedom. We know our defense are studs, and the weather will make FGs a rarity. To me that means we should be going for it on 4th and short anywhere from our 45 to their 30. Lets let the kids take some chances, and give them opportunities to succeed big. Keeping them locked down does no one any favors other than Addazio in the post-game press conference.

dixieagle said...

"So let's play with some freedom." I'm on board with this. I loathe gutless play calling.

mod34b said...

I was looking at Duke's prior 2 games box scores (GT and NU).

I think BC has the edge on the forthcoming "mud bowl"

Lot of this is going to come down to avoiding our own turnovers and "taking care of the football"

I can see why Daz prefers the plain Flutie ("Fluttering Flutie!" h/t Danny Boy) to the exciting Smith - Flutie is less likely to fumble and less likely to mess up a hand off, and less likely to mishandle the snap. In a game like this -- wet, muddy, awful - these errors will cost a "W."

What will be very interesting is to really see if our OL has improved? They were horrible against FSU (only got to ~ 40 yard line), but were better vs NIU. Let's see what they can do vs Duke's very good defense.

Hoib said...

So far, based on very little evidence, I'm in the Smith camp. We might see less of him due to the weather. TOB speculated that Smith was subbed out in the late drive to the FG in the last game because he's not yet ready to run the offense from under center. If that's the case I think we'll see more Flutie because Daz will want to snap the ball less in the bad weather. It would be nice to see Smith under center, then we would know he is progressing in learning the O.

John said...

Just doodling, and thinking that BC had better bring the proper shoes for a slippery, muddy, natural grass field.

CT said...

I'm pretty sure I know what the reaction is going to be when a conservative coach plays in what may be historic rain. Will it be the coach or the weather? This week at least, there may be no better option.

Danny Boy said...

In this case, conservative due to weather, and conservative due to coach are different things.

Rain and wind means fewer passes (certainly no deep balls), and probably less read option (as Bill pointed out). Players should also stay in their lanes and cover their assignments because changing direction will be more difficult. This means I want to see the QB who is clearly the better runner. It also means our runs should be misdirections. Counters, and pulling blockers. Make the Duke defenders react to us.

Conservative coaching is going to be running dives and draws into the line. Even off-tackle runs that are telegraphed don't serve as much purpose since the wet turf will make it difficult to get to the edge. This is what I don't want to see and will earn my ire.

CT said...

Do you think Paul Johnson is conservative?

CT said...

See, I think this week they might be the same. Thus, the point.

Danny Boy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny Boy said...

I haven't seen enough GT games to make a judgment of his decision making. But I'd say that the triple option isn't exactly conservative. But it does rely on the misdirection I want to see out of our game.

GT out-gained Duke in their game. Duke only scored once when starting on their side of the field (not counting their special teams TD). If our offense can have the same level of success as GT, I'm confident that our defense will have better results than GT's.

I'm in no way advocating for an air-raid offense, or even the triple option. All I'm saying is that I don't want Addazio calling a HB dive 3 times because its the best way to minimize mistakes. We've seen Addazio play conservative in good conditions. What I'm hoping to get away from is locking things down even further due to the weather. We can still have an effective run-first, second, and third offense in the rain, but it is built on more than Rouse hitting a wall at the line of scrimmage over and over.

Hoib said...


Fatigue becomes even more of a factor in bad weather. So that is another element to running straight ahead over and over. TOB sited in the last game that he thought BC had worn down NIU by the second half. Anyway I'm sure you won't see any draw plays, they are a counter for a team that throws allot.

EL MIZ said...

17-9 implies that there will be 4 field goals kicked in what should be hurricane-lite conditions. i don't see it.

13-7 BC wins (on 2 TD's, one defensive and one set up by a defensive play, plus your standard missed extra point).

CT said...

Danny Boy-completely agree. Well said. A little more misdirection, a little less "stop us if you can one more time."

Daz certainly does make a 1930s Army team seem revolutionary. Maybe another week of practice gave them time for a couple of wrinkles, although it's apparent at least in the first two-plus seasons that Daz Would rather do the simple better.

I just can't imagine throwing very much if the rain is biblical. I also wouldn't blame him. Doubt even Wade would be given the freedom, much less the two guys who lost out to him.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Expecting a mix of clouds, wind and rain in Durham - cloudy and windy at game time for up to the first hour with rain coming in after 4 and continuing for most of the game. Daz will keep it simple. Work on field position - hold on to the ball and run. We'll see nothing more than a few short passes if we are stuck with a long third or fourth down in their end of the field. Doubt we'll see anything fancy due to poor footing. The shoes worn by the OL and their ability to stay on their feet and get any kind of push will be critical. Decent punting despite the conditions will also be a huge factor. Whoever scores more than one TD probably wins. These are probably good conditions for Rouse and Wilson. If we win - Alex Howell will get the game ball.

Hoib said...


I think you're right on the mark. Heck it isn't all that different from how they play when it's nice out.