Sunday, November 28, 2021

Hafley gets off the Coaching Carousel

After a season of speculation, Jeff Hafley finally addressed the coaching world gossip. When asked, Haf said: "I do not plan of leaving. I plan on being here a long time." And with that we are assured of Year 3 of Jeff Hafley at BC.

I am glad Hafley is staying. For all my frustrations with how this season played out, I still feel strongly that he will succeed at BC and in the rest of his coaching career. The parts of the job that might be more innate -- relating to recruits, seeing talent that others might not see, and clock management -- Hafley has. The parts that primarily come from experience (managing a staff, roster management, making in game and in season adjustments when things are spiraling) will hopefully improve. Based on his work ethic and personality, I still have faith in Hafley. I think this year was a learning experience. Year 3 will tell us everything.

But amidst all the talk, I wasn't bothered by any of it. Lots of it is speculation. Much of it comes from agents trying to drum up interest or new deals for their clients. Sometimes schools will leak targets to get some public vetting done and to gauge their fanbase's reaction. I was told the Washington and USC chatter did not come from Hafley's reps. (I don't know if I believe it.) But it doesn't matter. He is not getting the USC job and closed the door on the Washington job. 

But I wasn't bothered by this talk because I never expected Hafley to be here long. When you hire young, ambitious, charismatic people in this profession, you can't count on them staying long. Maybe you will get the lifer but more often than not you will get the guy who is looking for the next challenge and the next payday. That is just the nature of the profession. Maybe one day BC will have its very own Beamer or Bowden, but I don't see Jeff Hafley as that guy.

Now we get to see if Hafley can be something special. I hope he is and if he is, there will always be some speculation. But in general, I will take that trade for attention getting success.  

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Gameday Info: Wake Forest

What you need to know

Weather: Cold and in the 30s

Radio: SiriusXM 202

TV: ACC Network

Thursday, November 25, 2021

BC-Wake Forest preview

The mood on the message boards and BC twitter last week was one of disappointment. And there was a surprising amount of criticism for Hafley and staff. Some felt BC didn't adjust to FSU's gameplan fast enough and also were frustrated by some of the game management and clock decisions. Maybe I am still in the Honeymoon phase or still a Hafley apologist, but I took last week's loss in stride. Was it a bummer? Sure. I wanted the 8-4 finish for bowl reasons and momentum reasons. But what I appreciated is that the team was down big and clawed back to make it a game. I've seen way too many BC regimes that were incapable -- both strategically and philosophically -- of mounting a comeback of more than 20 points. Last week I felt we still had a chance. How much of that is Jurk vs Hafley? We won't know until Hafley is using another QB. But for now, I am still happy. I will be a lot happier if Hafley proves that he can get the team focused on beating the best Wake team in a decade. 

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
Our fellow New England FBS teams both made recent new hires. UConn made the leftfield hire of Jim Mora Jr. UMass went with familiar face Don Brown. I wouldn't have gone with either but both jobs are very tough and I don't know if any person or prototype would guarantee anything. It is an uphill climb at both and they are going to need good scheduling, great player development and some luck. Although I have no love for UConn and I am indifferent to UMass, it would be good for both to be somewhat competent and competitive. The demographics on the future of youth football in New England is terrible. Having good college programs will help keep the sport relevant to the next generation. 

Three Simple Keys
1. We need interceptions.
Wake is explosive. They will score in bunches. We are going to need to get stops but turnovers would be ideal. Not only does it stop a drive, but they might start to alter their gameplan if they are getting picked off.
2. Get Zay the ball early. I sort of got into this on twitter postgame when I said FSU did a good job containing Zay. I know he still had a big game, but they held him a lot, kept Jurk off balance and we up 23 before Zay even touched the ball. I think we need to get him the ball early, even if it is a jet sweep, just to establish momentum.
3. Fewer protection breakdowns. You can debate whether is was scheme, coaching or the players, but last week FSU got the better of our OLine. Wake is not as talented up front, but Oline needs to be better.

Gambling Notes
-- BC is 2-4 against the spread the last six weeks
-- BC leads the series 14-11-2
-- Clawson is 3-3 against BC
The current line is BC+4.5

Wake hasn't won two in a row in the series since 2011-12.

Scoreboard Watching
The ACC is an afterthought at this point this year. I will be paying attention to Michigan-Ohio State. Ryan Day will always be a BC guy.

I hope to see...
Some sacks. We've generated so little pressure this year. Wake still does a lot of those rubs and delays in the backfield. It would be nice to make them pay for it.

BC is in trouble if...
We settle for field goals instead of TDs. Wake will score. We need to keep up.

Bottom Line
Last week was just a set back. I think this week BC rises to the occasion and Hafley gets the biggest win of his tenure.
Final Score: BC 38, Wake 31

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Gameday Info: Florida State

What you need to know

Weather: Cold and in the 40s

Radio: SiriusXM 194

TV: ACC Network

Friday, November 19, 2021

BC-Florida State preview

Last week was the model. BC was supposed to be an explosive team that did just enough on D to win. We know it didn't work when the injury bug hit, but now it is our time to shine. We are not playing for anything other than respect and fun, so let's go out there and end the season lighting up scoreboard!

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
I haven't mentioned the men's basketball team, but the early start showed some promise. The defensive efforts and system is much improved. The offense is still a work in progress but that is to be expected with the new faces. How they play in Florida will be a great early indicator. Too often in the last decade we looked overmatched in these seasonal tournaments. I am hoping Grant gets them playing hard the whole time and there are no letdowns or checking out.

Three Simple Keys
1. Keep attacking downfield. We knew Jurk would target Zay deep but getting the other WRs and the Tight Ends into the deep routes was refreshing. We need to stay aggressive. It will open up things for everyone.
2. Slow their run game. We are giving up too many big plays on the ground and can't have them control the tempo. We need this to be fast paced. A grind it out run first game plays to their strength.
3. Keep forcing turnovers. Bend but don't break is not good for our nerves, but it is all we can do with the talent available.

Gambling Notes
-- The road team is 8-7 in this series since BC joined the ACC
-- FSU leads the series 12-5
-- The teams did not play last year
The current line is BC-2.5

This is the latest in the season that FSU has come north to play at Alumni.

Scoreboard Watching
Clemson vs Wake. I know Wake lost to an ACC team already but that was a non-conference game. I would love to see them 7-0 in ACC play going into our game.

I hope to see...
Jurk run a bit less. He was impressive and tough but in an ideal world he would take less of a beating.

BC is in trouble if...
We give up another special teams TD. We are lucky it didn't sink us last week.

Bottom Line
I really like this matchup for BC. FSU can run the ball and showed against Miami that they can hang around, but I don't think that will be an issue this week. As long as we don't have mental lapses or special teams breakdowns, I think we can pull away in the second half.
Final Score: BC 35, Florida State 20

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Friday, November 12, 2021

BC-Georgia Tech preview

New life. That's what we have. Jurk wasn't revolutionary last week. He didn't look like a future First Round Draft pick, but his presence and rusty skill set were more than enough to energize our offense. And with the win, a hopeless situation suddenly seems promising. We missed our window into something truly special (and that will be a topic for another time) but we still can finish strong and leave everyone happy. To do that, we need keep rolling against Georgia Tech.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
The rollercoaster of QB management is not unique to BC. Just look at some of the crazy things that have happened this year at Oklahoma. But unlike the Sooners, we are not just rolling through a roster full of elite 5-star recruits. The good news is Jurk's reclamation project tells a great story to QBs wanting to transfer to BC. The bad news it will be hard having depth QB if we recruit over the in-house talent. 

Three Simple Keys
1. Contain the big plays.
I sort of see this like the Syracuse game. We need to make sure that they don't break out any long runs.
2. Stretch the field more with Jurk. The deep balls are huge, but I would also like to see some more intermediate passes. The more threats we show, the more it will open up things all over the field and in the running game.
3. No special teams mistakes. If we are not going to be explosive (hopefully that changes), we need to avoid the costly, game-changing special teams mistakes.

Gambling Notes
-- GT leads the series 7-3
-- GT is 1-3 against the spread as favorites this year. 
-- BC is 4-5 against the spread this year
The current line is BC+2

Matt Ryan and Scott Mutryn are the only BC QBs to lead BC to victory in Atlanta against the Yellow Jackets.

Scoreboard Watching
Miami plays FSU this weekend. The entire ACC division was based around this matchup and it means next to nothing now. I will still follow out of curiosity. As someone who is not invested in either program, I can't fathom why both have been so mediocre to bad for so long. 

I hope to see...
Jurk play really well. He had his moments last week, but didn't look sharp. This is likely his last stretch of games for BC (SPECULATION), so I would like him to go out with a blaze of glory.

BC is in trouble if...
If Georgia Tech controls the pace of the game with their rushing attack. I don't expect us to score 77, but we do need to create tempo and be aggressive with our offense. Put up big numbers and avoid an grind it out game with them. 

Bottom Line
Last week was a first step back. I think this week, we show what we can and might have been. Lots of big plays and BC pulls away in the second half.
Final Score: BC 35, Georgia Tech 21

Friday, November 05, 2021

Gameday Info: Virginia Tech

What you need to know

Weather: Cold and dry in the 40s

Radio: SiriusXM 83


Thursday, November 04, 2021

BC-Virginia Tech preview

Let us start with the positive. Jeff Hafley built a lot of goodwill with fans, media and players last year. He lost his best player and still managed to pull off some early wins and nearly beat Clemson. He is also still a first time head coach who is learning. The bad news is that in my opinion he has botched the QB position the past month. I was relieved to see Morehead take the field since I have been begging for anyone other than Grosel to get a shot. As promised, Morehead was raw. But my frustration was the continued use of Grosel, especially when the game slipped away. I understand that Hafley is not in a good position, but I feel like every decision with the QB is making things worse. Or at least more frustrating. Does Morehead give us a better shot than Grosel? Maybe not. But we are not winning anything with Grosel, so you might as well give Morehead more time and sell it as building for the future. But Hafley seems like a learner and someone who will do everything he can to figure it out. I hope the plan this week changes the tide.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
There is a lot of talk that the ACC could do away with divisions and move to a rotating schedule. I would hope that the end of divisions would also mean the end of the cross division game. In the post-Beamer era Virginia Tech doesn't have the clear identity they had under their old Legend. I don't know anyone who is excited about them as a program or opponent. Even in Beamer's last days, those games still had some juice.

Three Simple Keys
1. Stop the run. Virginia Tech is not as one-dimensional as we are, but they are close. If we stop their run, we should win. 
2. Contain Burmeister on passing plays. Don't allow him to run for positive yards when everyone has dropped into coverage.
3. Get Zay at least seven touches. I said it last week and it remains true. Even if the deep balls are not working, try a sweep or give him a flanker screen or crossing route. Get him the ball in space.

Gambling Notes
-- The home team is 4-1 against the spread in the last five games in this series
-- Hafley is 0-1 against the Hokies
-- Fuente is 3-2 vs BC
The current line is BC+3

The Hokies lead the series 19-10

Scoreboard Watching
At this point we need to root for Wake. They play UNC this weekend. If they go undefeated and sneak into the playoff, it will be validation that a private school without history or huge revenues or large fan base can  make it. 

I hope to see...
More of Morehead. He did look lost at times last week, but you can see some future out there (or maybe I am just talking myself into it at this point).

BC is in trouble if...
We have another 10 minute collapse. There is so much going wrong that I haven't harped on the growing pattern of games becoming out of reach in a few short possessions. That is on Hafley to control and it will start with fewer Special Teams mistakes.

Bottom Line
I don't feel great about this game. However, I do still trust and like Hafley. I am hoping he figures out a formula this week and BC runs the ball while stopping the Hokies run. This turns into a real old school ground and pound and BC holds on.
Final Score: BC 21, Virginia Tech 17