We still have one more fall scrimmage to get through this afternoon, but in honor of fall camp breaking tomorrow, we thought we'd hand out grades for each of the Eagles' first three scrimmages in our first attempt at Report Card.
Nate Freese's Field Goal Kicking During Spring Scrimmages. Grade it.
Brian: Yes, I realize that it's just a scrimmage. But this kick is knocking down field goals from LONG RANGE. Freese has connected on six field goals through the first three scrimmages -- 24, 44, 30, 42, 48, 51 and 39. His only two misses -- from 46 and 47 -- had plenty of leg but clanged off the uprights. Hitting 6-of-8 is pretty darn good, especially with FGs from 48 and 51 yards out. Could it be that BC won't have to go for it on fourth and short from the 22 yard line this season?
I looked back at past year's scrimmage write-ups to get a sense of where Freese's performance stands up against past camps. Last year, Aponavicius is only mentioned in one of the four scrimmage write-ups at BCEagles.com. He went 2-of-4 with a long of 42. On one attempt, the snap was botched. The other was blocked. However, then Aponavicius goes on to hit all but one of his attempts last year. Two years ago, the scrimmage releases have Aponavicius going a perfect 4-for-4 with a long of 38, but then he goes and only hits 2/3 of his attempts during the season.
I therefore conclude that there is close to ZERO correlation between kicking performances in fall camp and in-game. But since Freese has hit from 51 and 48, and had enough leg on his two misses, I'm going to give him a solid A- and hope that his kicking performance in camp carries over into the fall.
Jeff: A+ here. You can't fault the guy for not having been in a true game situation yet. All you can ask the kid to do is hit field goals from 40+ yards out and give BC the opportunity to attempt field goals from 50+ at the end of the half or on fourth and longs. Freese can potentially give BC so much more than we have gotten from our kicking game in recent years. Since all we're doing is looking at his fall camp performance, he gets an A+ from me.
What grade would you give Shinskie and Marscovetra's performances at QB?
Jeff: Spaz's handling of the QB situation is not A+ worthy, that is for sure. Shinskie gets the majority of the snaps, but coach still says the depth chart is up in the air. Finally, this week, he admitted it is shaping up but he still won't call Shinskie his starter. We all know Shinskie will start so why not just give him the title of starting quarterback already? If the battle was truly up in the air, Marscovetra would have started one of the scrimmages and would have seen even more snaps than he has. I'll give the coaches a C for handling of this situation, Shinskie a B- for showing improvement since last season but not quite enough to finally end this topic and Marscovetra a B+ for putting in some half decent numbers in the backup role.
Brian: Only a B+ for Marscovetra? I'm giving him an A. I know he is taking a lot of snaps against the second team defense, but he has completed a ridiculous 85 percent of his passes (28-of-33 for 225 yards, 1 TD, 1 rushing TD). More importantly, he hasn't thrown an interception through three scrimmages. Even against a second string defense, those numbers are impressive.
For Shinskie, I'm going to go higher and give him a B. He's thrown two interceptions (one got tipped at the line though) but is still completing 69 percent of his pass attempts. That's a significant improvement from his 51 percent completion percentage last season. He's also thrown two touchdowns which has been a pleasant surprise given that QBs have traditionally struggled against the Eagles first-team defense in fall camp.
Just like last year, I'm not a fan of Spaz's indecision on the QB front. I get that keeping the competition open allows the two candidates to push each other. But I think its more important to name a starter sooner rather than later so that that person can begin to step into the role as the team's leader on offense. Here Spaz gets an Incomplete from me for his indecision.
Grading Montel Harris' Performance at Running Back
Brian: In the first scrimmage, Montel rushed just 3 times for 15 yards. In the second scrimmage, he led the team with 8 carries for 44 yards. And in the third scrimmage, the running backs were used sparingly as the team worked on their game-winning drives. So through two scrimmages, Montel is at 11 carries, 59 yards. Not very impressive, but cue Allen Iverson's practice speech because Montel doesn't need to get much work in in the preseason. You know he is going to carry a bulk of the workload this fall and it's probably best to limit his carries in fall camp considering how much the Eagles will go to him when the season starts. But for a 5.36 yards per carry performance in fall camp, especially against a stout BC run defense, I'll give Montel a B. I'm tempted to give him an incomplete here, but there's no sense in overworking him in the fall.
Jeff: Not very impressive? That's 5.4 yards per carry. I think our defense is pretty legit so I'll take that production from Harris any day. You can't fault Montel for his number not being called during the fall scrimmages. He needs to rest up for the heavy load he'll be carrying during the season anyway. I'll give him an A as I'm sure I'll be giving him often as the season rolls on.
What grade would you give Spaziani's for his handling of the Herzlich situation?
Jeff: Let me first say that in case you have forgotten, I was a huge fan of Jags as our head coach. He brought energy and high expectations to the program that were never there with TOB running the show. If Jags were still here, he would be spitting out Herzlich's name constantly just to keep the media happy and keep BC football on the sports pages and on ESPN. We all know that Herzlich will play in some capacity this season, so why doesn't Spaz just talk about how great that is and how great that will be for the team? I do not know. This team could've been talked up a lot more by the coaching staff in the preseason than they were. I know it's not where you start but where you finish so I'm OK with what Spaz is doing, but he is certainly not taking advantage of what is one of the media's favorite stories going into the 2010 football season. C-.
Brian: Spaz gets another incomplete from me here. He still has work to do before getting credit for this course. Herzlich is THE story of the college football season, but there is a definite lack of transparency as to what's going on here. This is about as clear of an explanation as we've gotten so far:
"It’s such a unique (situation)," said Spaziani. "Not only has he not done anything, he hasn’t done anything for a year. It’s not like he played last year and something happened in January and now you’re trying to get him ready. There’s such a gap between whatever he’s done and now. And then on top of that, there’s the whole situation (with his recovery from cancer)."
I appreciate that this is a delicate situation and a bit of uncharted territory for any coaching staff, but I think the staff could have done a better job of managing expectations. Now that Herzlich's participation in the opener is in jeopardy, Superfans are left with more questions than answers with the opener just 10 days away. I certainly wouldn't advocate playing Herzlich in the opener if its not in his best interest health-wise long term. I just think that the coaching staff could be more open and transparent with the media about the situation. It's a great story and a missed opportunity. With more transparency as to his status, BC would be getting more pub in the national media; more pub than just the bad news (Larmond Jr. missing the season due to injury).