An indepth look at BC's loss to Virginia Tech including what went right and a whole lot of what went wrong.
The final home game of the Boston College 2012 season is mercifully behind us. And for many of us, it's a sign of relief. No more waking up at early hours to prepare tailgating foods, trek to Chestnut Hill, only to watch your beloved Eagles decimated and embarrassed in front of you week after week. It has been just an awful season, not just for the fans but for the players as well. Frank Spaziani and his utter incompetence has destroyed all the joy I have for this team.
But in the spirit of journalism we must push forward, so let's look at this week's game.
The return of Deuce Finch: For weeks, fans have been clamoring for Finch to return to the lineup, but for some reason only known to Spaziani and Deuce, he was left off the roster. Relegated to practice squad duty. As we saw yesterday, Spaz's petulant fight with Deuce wasted an entire season of easily the best running back on the roster. Spaz had been quoted earlier in the season as saying that Finch was not ready to return, but did you see the play yesterday? What exactly was "not ready"? Finch is faster and stronger than last year and fits in perfectly with the Doug Martin system. His runs were electric, only a block away from breaking huge gains each time he touched the ball, and the Chase Rettig to Finch swing & screen pass worked beautifully when VT was over aggressive. My only two complaints were that Spaz went away from Finch too often, and that Rettig failed to see VT stacking the box with safeties when they knew the run was coming and failed to audible out of the run.
Chris Pantale's Run Blocking: It is a shame that this was Pantale's last home game for Boston College, because in all honestly he would be a straight up beast if he was given a competent offensive line and head coach. My father pointed it out yesterday that most of Finch's big runs were when Pantale was lined up as a full back. He is an excellent blocker, and showed it by opening huge gaps for Deuce. He also was a serviceable safety valve for Rettig when the VT d-line was all over him. If he was allowed to run free, he would be great, but in most plays he had to hang back and protect the pass. What a waste.
Nate Freese: Let me start this off with a compliment of our kicker. Consistent, accurate, and has only missed a few all season. Which then begs the question, why the heck did Spaziani not bother to try a two minute drill with a little over one minute left in the 4th quarter? I would rather have the game in the feet of Nate Freese, then BC's defense who proved over and over again how unreliable they are.
Containment of Logan Thomas: You have to give BC's defense a little credit here, because going into this game I was expecting Thomas to extend plays with his legs. He didn't do that. Thomas finished the game with 10 rushes for 7 yards, not bad for a defense that couldn't stop a mobile quarterback all season. (On a complete side note: Anyone who A) thinks/thought that Logan Thomas is the best QB in the ACC or B) That he is an NFL ready career, is crazy. He is unbelievably slow not only with his feet but also with his decision making.)
Spiffy Evans on Special Teams: Without a doubt, Spiffy Evans is the most electric player on BC. I know I am guilty for getting on the kid's case earlier this year, but he has improved on kick off/punt returns exponentially. Everytime there is a kickoff, you wonder if he is going to take it to the house. Again, with a good coach, and some maturity, Evans is going to thrive here at BC.
Getting Beat With The Long Pass: Whenever Logan Thomas had all day to make a pass, you know BC was in trouble. BC's secondary looked completely undersized against the Hokie receivers, which was completely visible when Randall Dunn outjumped Sean Sylvia by what appeared to be about two feet in the endzone. Also the pass play from Thomas to Marcus Davis in the end zone where he just ripped it out of the BC defenders hands for a touchdown was equally vomit inducing.
The Opening Kickoff of the Second Half: Just have to tip your cap to Spaz's second half adjustments and team preparedness don't you? Give credit to the BC defense that they held VT to three points in the first half, but what happens on the first play in the second half? They let up a 75 yard kick off return to Demitri Knowles that sets VT with beautiful field position. Completely unacceptable.
Defensive Line Play: Nothing new here. BC for the most part struggled all game to get pressure on Logan Thomas (the exception being the strip sack near the VT endzone), who had the liberty to stand back in the pocket and have a sip of tea, read the paper, then decide where he wanted to throw the ball. BC was lucky that Thomas was incredibly slow in deciding what to do, most other quarterbacks would have shredded this defense even more than he did.
Those Hokie Helmets: Woof. They looked like Foghorn Leghorn. Happy Thanksgiving!
BC's Senior Day: During pregame BC celebrated the achievements of the senior class, who struggled and fought through four years of Frank Spaziani. I can't even imagine all of the heartache and disappointment those kids must be feeling after four snooze filled years at the Heights. If they were lucky enough to not fall into Spaz's doghouse they got to experience: failing to beat a Top 25 team, never beating Notre Dame, never winning a bowl game, dwindling attendance, offensive coordinator after offensive coordinator, a coaching mutiny, and a fan base that started to boo their own home team during the fourth quarter. I understand why some of the players got angry at the fans (though shouting back at them was a bit much), but this certainly was an ugly way to finish their career at Boston College. They deserved much better.
Offensive Line: As I watched the game in the stands with my father, we watched Chase Rettig go down repeatedly, and we kept saying "is he going to get up this time?" Miraculously he did, though I imagine he must have gotten hours of treatment in the training room after the pounding he got. Now some of the VT pressure was due to BC's wide receivers failing to get open, but most of it was horrendous offensive line play. There were probably close to a dozen plays where the Hokie defensive line just threw their blocker to the side and went after Rettig. And Spaz, please for the love of all things holy, stop using David Dudeck as a pass blocker. He looks so overmatched back there. Things were so bad for Rettig near the end that Hokie defensive linemen were helping to pick him off the turf. They must have felt as bad for him as we all did.
Wretched Overtime Play Calling: From yesterday's recap:
- 1st and 10 at VT 25 -- David Dudeck rush for no gain to the VTech 25, tackled by Jack Tyler and Derrick Hopkins.
- 2nd and 10 at VT 25 -- Chase Rettig sacked by Corey Marshall and Derrick Hopkins for a loss of 1 yard to the VTech 26.
- 3rd and 11 at VT 26 -- Chase Rettig pass incomplete.
- 4th and 11 at VT 26 -- Timeout Boston College, clock 15:00.
- 4th and 11 at VT 26 -- Chase Rettig pass complete to David Dudeck for 7 yards to the VTech 19, tackled by Alonzo Tweedy.
With the game on the line, and needing 11 yards how can you call a swing pass that starts at the line of scrimmage? I am not a football coach and I know that! These four plays were a perfect analogy for everything wrong with Coach Frank Spaziani. It was ultra conservative, poorly managed and timed, and completely inept.
Super Timid Final Fourth Quarter Play Calling: BC had the ball with 54 seconds left, and two timeouts. All they really needed to do was move the ball sixty yards in that time to at least set up a field goal attempt by Nate Freese. What does Spaz do? What you always expected him to do. Run a simple draw play, call time out, and then kneel it to go lose in overtime. BC fans were flipping out, reigning boos on the team, Brad Bates disappeared from the sidelines, and BC lost. Did someone need to remind Spaz that he has one of the best QB's in the ACC, and the team is 2-8, so why not try to be at least a little aggressive? Probably, his brain is clearly somewhere else right now, probably thinking about retirement in some place warmer than Chestnut Hill.