Oct 6, 2012; West Point, NY, USA; A general view from the corp of cadents section during a game between the Army Black Knights and the Boston College Eagles at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-US PRESSWIRE
Somewhat random thoughts on my trip to West Point, Frank Spaziani and the current state of Boston College football and the future of Boston College vs. Army.
Boston College did not deserve to win on Saturday. If BC managed to hold onto the mid-fourth quarter lead and win the game, the Eagles would have absolutely stolen a game from the Black Knights. In a game where the Boston College D gave up ...
-- 516 yards rushing
-- 596 yards total offense
-- 31 first downs (BC managed 17)
-- Lost the time of possession battle by over 15 minutes -- an entire quarter of play
-- And benefited from two fumbles and 56 yards in penalties
The Eagles lost by 3? That takes a truly special talent.
The worst part of Saturday's game was that the Eagles momentarily went ahead in the fourth only to lose the game. I can't remember a game where I was so amped up (on the 4th and goal stuff by Abdesmad and Sylvia) and so depressed (Steelman's 29 yard TD scamper) in such a short span of time.
Defending the option. A simple exercise in assignment football. Assign a defender to each aspect of the option -- the counter / dive, the pitch, the QB -- and stick to their man. This isn't rocket science, yet the Boston College defense -- only a few years removed from leading the nation in rushing defense -- was gashed for 516 yards on the ground. How could Steelman run untouched 29 yards into the endzone for the winning points? How could the BC D give up those other hundreds of other yards on the ground? The BC D made no adjustments and was completely and utterly unprepared to face the triple option. That's on the coaching staff.
If you thought yesterday was bad, what's going to happen when this defense faces a triple option against 11 BCS scholarship athletes?
BC's fourth quarter timeouts. I think it was the correct call to use the timeouts to stop the clock with a little over two minutes to go, but man, how demoralizing is calling TOs in that situation for the defense? What message does that send the defense when you are calling timeouts to preserve clock while UP four points.
Of course, the Boston College D came up with the stuff on fourth down only to get thrown back on the field after the BC offense took all of seven seconds off the clock. Could have used those TOs when BC got the ball back with 45 seconds remaining, too.
O-Line U? Any question about whether the offensive line would respond to the challenge thrown down by a couple O-Line U alumni was answered on Saturday. That answer would be no. The line failed to establish the run and allowed Rettig to get pancaked a season high five times. The sacks were just inexcusable and not the result of Rettig holding onto the ball for too long. Boston College's startling line averages 306 pounds. Army's four defensive tackles on the two-deep average 243 pounds. Math.
Even if you point to the fact that Army rushed 5-6 guys on every down, where were the adjustments? The BC line let an undersized defensive front completely blow them off the ball. That's on coaching. That's inexcusable.
The more the offensive line struggles to establish the run, the more one-dimensional the Boston College offense becomes, the easier it is to defend against BC's offense.
Icing The Kicker. Just stop, Spaz. Right before the half, Army lined up for a 46 yard field goal. As the ball was snapped, Spaz called a timeout in an attempt to ice the kicker. The first attempt was completely shanked, but if I watched it back, I'm sure this was as a result of the refs blowing the play dead. Coming out of the timeout, Grochowski nailed the 46 yarder. Boston College lost by 3.
Spaz also seems so very pleased with himself when he attempts to ice the kicker. Just stop. It doesn't work. Save your timeouts for situations where you actually need them.
#FireSpaz? My official position is that Spaz should be fired mid-season. But really at this point I'm more or less indifferent to whether he stays on for the final seven games of the year. I maintain that this team could do no worse under an interim HC than they have so far this season under Spaz. At the very least we could hope for halftime adjustments and better clock management. Install an interim HC for the rest of the year -- Al Washington? -- with no promise of future employment as the next head coach must have complete freedom to choose his staff.
In lighter news ...
West Point is beautiful. Seriously gorgeous. Situated between the Hudson River and Bear Mountain, the United States Military Academy is one of the most iconic campuses in the country. If Boston College football was going to suffer an embarrassing defeat on their way to bottom, I'm glad it was against Army ('Merica!). The cadets were happy to finally see a win and it's hard to root against any of the service academies. I had a great time up in West Point and only wished I had planned on getting there sooner so that we could have tailgated a bit longer. Pro tip: it takes a good hour to get to the tailgating lots once you get off the highway, so plan accordingly.
Yankee Stadium 2014. For those who made the trip to Michie yesterday, I hope you understand why I want the 2014 Yankee Stadium game moved back to campus. Any campus. The atmosphere in West Point is tremendous and one that I don't think will translate in a Major League Baseball ballpark.
Boston College vs. Army should be a non-conference staple. I was highly impressed with the number of Superfans that made the trip to West Point. The opposite endzone was almost entirely comprised of maroon and gold Boston College fans, as was much of one side of the upper deck. Plenty of former players were in the stands to support the team, too.
I would love to see Boston College ink a long-term non-conference series with Army. It's one of the few road games in the Northeast that's easily accessible to both the New York and Boston alumni hubs and couldn't be in a more beautiful setting. With the ACC going back to an eight game conference schedule and with Army breaking through and beating BC, I think it would be great if BC-Army could work out a deal similar to the one that BC and Syracuse had before the Orange found themselves in the ACC. Ten years, five at Alumni Stadium, five at Michie Stadium.
The only thing that could potentially throw a wrench in a series like this is if Army decides to join the Big East. I hope the Black Knights remain independent in football and BC and the Military Academy can work out a deal. There's far too much history on the gridiron (37 total games) for this game to take four seasons off as it did from 2008-2011. This might just happen, especially if Boston College's next A.D. ends up being Boo Corrigan.