Nevada 20, Boston College 13: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Offensive Postmortem

SAN FRANCISCO CA - JANUARY 09: Chase Rettig #7 of Boston College passes the ball during their game against the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park on January 9 2011 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Brian: I've been putting off writing about BC's bowl performance this week because I just haven't had the energy or the motivation to write about Sunday's game. The more I think about the game, the worse it becomes, it seems. Anyway, here goes. Here is part 1 of 3 looking at the offense.

Both the playcalling and execution were pretty poor. Let's start with the playcalling, which, in my opinion, was an absolutely embarrassment. Here is a list of the Eagles' first-half offensive drives (first, second, third (result)):

Run, Pass, Pass (Punt)
Run (TD)
Pass, Run, Pass (Punt)
Run, Run, Pass (Punt)
Run, Run (1st Down, on a penalty)
Run, Pass, Pass (Punt)
Pass, Pass, Pass (Punt)
Run (1st Down)
Run, Run (Time Expired)

It doesn't take a defense as talented as BC's to stop an offense on first down when you know they are going to run the ball (7 of 9 times on first down). Were you as disgusted with the first half playcalling on offense as I was?

Jeff: OK, so Nevada knew we were running on first down. That's horrible but I know we expected to get some more out of our offensive line against their smaller defensive line than we did. We also expected Montel Harris to play right up until kickoff. So there was probably the plan already in place to run the ball and I am ok with the fact that we stuck with that. What I'm not ok with is passing on every third down. How about trying a draw or delayed hand off on third down? We ran the ball about 55 percent of the plays in the first half. I don't have a problem with that percentage in this game but I, just like you, have a huge problem with when we ran versus when we threw. If you take out all the passes on third and long, we only passed the ball five times other than on third down. Or in other words, we ran the ball 70 percent of the time. It was just unacceptable. Things would've been different if Montel Harris were healthy but he wasn't and someone should've been able to make an adjustment.

Brian: Of course, the big news this week is that BC will have a new offensive coordinator next season. But will the offense get any better? Players still have to execute. While the playcalling was poor, the execution was right up there with the playcalling. The offensive line opened up few holes for Andre Williams, and other than the 30 yard Williams TD, it was 2 yards and a cloud of dust for Williams and the BC running game. The line couldn't get things going, Williams couldn't get anything going, receivers were dropping passes and Rettig was overthrowing receivers. With a change at OC next year, are you expecting any appreciable difference in the offense? You can have the best game plan in the world, but you also have to execute it on the field. Your thoughts?

Jeff: The dropped passes were terrible. Rettig got no help early. We know he's not going to throw all perfect passes so when he puts the ball in the right spot the guys need to come down with the ball more often than not. Unfortunately that did not happen at all. 

 


Brian: If you had to give out an offensive MVP award for BC's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl performance, who you got?

Jeff: Oh boy. This is tough. You pretty much have to go with Williams because he scored our only touchdown and rushed for a respectable 70 yards even though we know from watching the game that he was not very effective outside of that one run. The other two players I considered were Rettig and Clyde Lee. Rettig could have easily thrown for 200+ and we might have gotten a victory if he had had more help from the guys he was throwing to. If Nevada defenders were not as aggressive as they were and/or the refs had started pulling out the flags earlier in the game, Rettig could've gone for 250+ yards. You can't blame him for that. He also could've had more success with better playcalling. Clyde Lee got some consideration from me because he made the first catch for Rettig that got Rettig some confidence temporarily. He was the only receiver, including leading receiver Pantale, that I didn't feel underperformed. 

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