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.
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.
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.
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.