Sunday, November 01, 2015

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Virginia Tech

After the game, I was all about Fadule. Maybe it was the excitement of seeing BC move the ball. Maybe it was seeing a QB play with some level of confidence. I don't know. Watching it back dulled the euphoria a bit. All things considered, he played well. But I don't know if he is a season changer. This is also the worst part of the season to endure losing. It is one thing to lose to FSU or Clemson. But this is not a strong Virginia Tech team. If BC was just a little better on Offense, this would have been an easy win.

Offense: C-

Flutie started but there was nothing to make of his performance. It was too quick series and he wasn't asked to do much. The move to Fadule provided a spark. He's more decisive in all his movements (play fakes, scrambles, QB keepers) so the line did not look as bad with him back there. His running was a surprise. His passing was just okay. His timing is a little off on a few and he floated some passes that needed more zip.

The running backs didn't do much but they didn't have great blocking. Willis was good in the middle, but could not break anything on the edge. Rouse had a nice catch.

I was glad to see Sweeney finally catch a pass. Now if he could just improve his blocking. Louie had another bad day blocking too. As bad as the line seems, you'll notice that many of our plays are blown up by the Tight Ends' assignment. Callinan had some nice catches. Robinson looked good. Alston looked okay on the sweeps. If Fadule keeps playing all the guys running over the middle need to be ready, Fadule is not afraid to make those throws.

The Offensive Line had moments where things clicked. Just not enough of them. The pass blocking on true pass plays is terrible. It is reason enough not to pocket pass. Both tackles (primarily Monteiro and Bowen) had trouble with VTs speed. Baker was the best of the group again. Lindstrom looked better. Williams still struggled.

It frustrated me that it took Fitch so long to spread out the offense. Virginia Tech was crowding the line and we don't block well to begin with. Spreading them out gave Fadule a little more time and made some of our runs mover effective. But this whole season has been about making offensive decisions too late and not making the most of your roster. New players can be found and current ones will mature, but Addazio will need to decide if Fitch is his OC. How much was Fitch and how much was it the Perfect Storm of Offensive issues?

Defense: B

Gutapfel looked good again. Some of his plays were when he was unblocked, but he still needed to move quickly and make the play. Landry had a good game. Wujciak and Kavalec both played well. Allen got more snaps than usual and looked good.

The LBs carried the Defense Saturday and made multiple plays. Strachan was robbed of a TD, but looked good in all aspects. His pass coverage has gotten better. Milano played very well. So did Daniels.

Another Choate kid -- William Harris -- played well in the second half. He got more time as the secondary shifted around a bit. Torres seemed a bit overwhelmed in one on one at first, but adjusted. Johnson made a huge play. McClary was pretty good. Before he got hurt Yiadom allowed a TD, but it was more about VT making a perfect throw into the corner.

Aside from the DB injuries, I feel like the same issue we had against Clemson is the same issue Brown needs to address now. That is that when BC doesn't get pressure from the base front-four, our DBs get challenged repeatedly and are bound to let up a big play or penalty. As we get to our second teamers, I think Brown has to add a few more wrinkles.

Special Teams: B-

Walker keeps getting better at kick returns. At times it feels like we are wasting the opportunity by not putting other playmakers in the spot, but who would be outperforming his current production?

Alston didn't do much. Lichtenberg was fine on the kickoffs. Howell played well. Knoll missed, but it felt like we could count on him for future field goals.

There were a few too many Special Teams' mistakes this week though. The touch by Torres that cost BC the ball and a block in the back on a return.

Overall: C-

Addazio spends a lot of time selling the future to announcers. I assume he's selling it to recruits and his current players too. That's fine. He needs to remain positive and he needs to keep hope through all the losing. But I feel like we are losing without purpose. What is being built? What are we going to look like coming out of all this? Do you play Fadule to maximize your thin chances of winning? I would. Player development can come at other times. But then even with Fadule we are a random assortment of offenses, formations and even a supporting cast. We used some four-wide. We used some jumbo. We ran zone read. Who is this helping? We know we are not winning games. Guys are getting rotated at all different positions. There is no continuity and not much development. We are failing on both ends.

I think if Addazio committed to a style of Offense, then it would be much easier to decide who needs to be QB now and in the future. A primary style would also help the offensive line prep and figuring out what to do with the other skill players.

Fadule seems like the right move, but we still didn't win. Even if we keep fighting, Addazio needs to start getting results.


Napolean Bonaparte said...

A rebuilding year with a sub .500 record is to be expected now and then. This was the expectation of most before the season began. But this has not turned out to be a rebuilding or learning year. This has turned out to be a disaster year as a result of the offense's total inability to be remotely competitive. This is the type of year that can substantially set back a program - where highly compensated adults who did not meet expectations are often demoted or fired as a result.

There needs to be a serious and objective evaluation, examination and assessment of the institutional management of BC's Athletics program (especially if the basketball teams both tank again) - top down. The mediocre (often pathetic) performance of BC in football, basketball (men's and women's)and a number of other ACC sports in which it participates needs to be much better understood. Either we do things right and demand change or we do something else. I'm not advocating firing anybody at this point. I think our problems go much deeper than one coach or maybe even the AD.

At some point the alums and other donors have to start a well organized campaign to demand change. I'd be curious to hear some suggestions as to how best to get something like that started and where would be the best place to direct such demands to those connected to the oversight of the university. Boston College is a great university comprised of accomplished, highly intelligent faculty, students and alumni. It should not tolerate being second rate in anything it does. It needs to do a deep dive on athletics and change its overall approach and methods.

Tim said...

"At some point the alums and other donors have to start a well organized campaign to demand change."

I think we are already doing that in the form of 20,000 empty seats at home football games.

mod34b said...

As for the biggest Daz excuse, did you know that the average years of experience on the Saturdays starting Offense is higher than the average years of experience of Saturday starting defense.

JBQ said...

Napoleon Bonaparte said it right. The current state of college football targets quarterbacks. In that atmosphere, you just cannot have a completely running quarterback. Notre Dame has a nice quarterback in Kizer. He is a pass first quarterback and has been told not to run especially in light of the broken ankle to Zaire. This is the wrong offense in today's climate. Wade broke his ankle. Smith was knocked silly. Fadule is brave but naïve. What happens when he gets inevitably hurt? Do you still have Flutie run the ball? Do you then ask the ball boy to switch to quarterback? President of the BC Board of Trustees: John F. Fish, Chair: CEO of Suffolk Construction, 65 Allerton St., Boston, MA 02119. He is young and enthusiastic and at last note was president of the Boston Chamber of Commerce. This company is ranked 319 of all private businesses in the U.S.

Tim said...

BC coaches in their third year:

Chlebek: 7-4 (including a win over #11 Stanford)
Bicknell: 9-3 (finished #19 in AP poll)
Coughlin: 9-3 (including wins over #1 Notre Dame and #13 Syracuse; finished #13 in AP poll)
O'Brien: 8-4 (beat Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Baylor)

Daz so far: 3-6 (1-6 against FBS; 0-6 in ACC)
Puts him in some bad company:
Spaz: 4-8
Henning: 5-7

mod34b said...

ATL. I see you noted the chatter from the announcers about their talks with Daz. I noticed that too.

I get Daz needs to sell the team, but was quite surprised at one comment. The announcers said Daz told them that in 2016 the OL with be just "incrementally better" but "might be" the best OL in 2017.

In other word, Daz is already lowering expectations for next year. geez louise

One nice feature of ESPN3, is easy replay of the game.

I watched chunks of the game back on replay. For sure BC has talent issue on OL (eg., recall how FSU just manhandled our sad OL), but there are big coaching issues too. Several times on Saturday, LBs and CBs just came through the line unblocked. Crazy. Maybe it is part of the TE issues you mention. (Louie Daz sure does get a lot of off sides calls....dopey)

As for Fan Duel, he reminds me of Dave Shinskie... a real competitive guy without real finesse but a guy who knew how to make the best of what he has - a gamer. He completed 8 passes of the "loopy" variety. No really crisp passes. But He brought energy and nerve, which was sorely needed

Finally, I think the BIG HUGE moment in the game was in the 4th Q when Daz/Fitch finally let the offense play normal football with short/intermediate passing!!. OMG! Daz actually changed his game plan mid game to try to win.... whoa!

This is the first scrap of evidence of Daz making an in-game adjustment and being somewhat flexible.

Tim good point: Daz is in the bad coach camp for sure.....and will continue that next year... why are we keeping this guy??

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Credit should be given to hockey, women's soccer, field hockey, women's lacrosse and sailing. All competitive and doing well.

But we are terrible in the highest profile sports. Somebody reported on another site that BC got drubbed by GW in an exhibition scrimmage in basketball - "Down by 30 at one point, ended up losing by 20." I mean at some point Bates has to get fed up with looking at his shoelaces.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Perhaps the answer is to drop all men's sports (other than ice hockey). I'm sure it would get us some positive coverage on 60 Minutes.

Hoib said...

Just my pet peeve, but how anyone could have any confidence in Knoll is beyond me. It is not lost on me that our opponents week in and week out consistently bang em in from well past 40, and everyone of our kicks is an adventure. I think unless he gets hurt Fadule should go the rest of the way. He gave us a spark plus he's physically much more able to take the punishment a QB is subjected to by playing behind our line. Flutie isn't compatible, Smith is too sleight. Doubt any of them will play much next year unless Brown is over hyped, it'll be him and Wade battling it out for #1. A caveat though, if you run the QB allot they're going to get hurt, so you need allot of depth at the position.

Danny Boy said...

Whether Fadule has the physical tools, or just provided an emotional spark is besides the point. When he was moving the ball, it was on plays that should have been called all year. The screen pass to Rouse was wonderful. Its a shame it was the first screen pass I remember seeing all year. I hope to see more of it.

I'm not sure why it took Daz and Fitch so long adjust the playbook for what works with their team. Quick passes are the only passes when you can't pass block. Screens slow down the mad blitz that other teams use against us. This isn't some complicated issue. ATL hit it on the head when he said that the TEs are the weak link in a lot of our blocking schemes; whether they are out in space, or at the line, its where we are getting punished (and thats assuming they aren't committing penalties that seem to kill big momentum plays).

Special teams needs a lot of work. Alston never quite seems like he's in the right place for the punt, he's always scrambling to get to the ball before it lands (if he makes it at all). Walker seems real explosive and shifty on his kick returns, I wonder if its time to try him out on punt returns as well. The snap on the missed FG was way off target, and the holder did all he could to get it down. But he didn't spin the ball. I know its cliche, but the laces really need to be out for the longer kicks.

I know it was discussed in the post-game thread, but the refs really hosed us on two fumble non-calls that would have been sure TDs.

Hoib said...

ACC refs are having a bad year. Some kind of overhaul is needed.