10/10/2009 - Virginia Tech 48, Boston College 14 - 4-2 (2-2 ACC)
Brian: Not many positives to take away from Saturday’s 48-14 Hokie beatdown of the Eagles. So we might as well focus on the negatives. There were plenty of negatives on both sides of the ball. Let us start with the offense. Shinskie’s final line of the night will give any Eagles fan nightmares for weeks:
1 for 12, 4 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT.
He started the game 0 for 9 and his first completion went to Virginia Tech’s Rashad Carmichael who took it the other way for a 22-yard touchdown return.
What is up with David Shinskie’s play on the road?
Jeff: David Shinskie has been two different people between home and on the road. He has been beyond bad on the road while he has been very very good at home. The most discouraging part of all this though is that we are not just looking at a qb problem on the road, the entire team has been terrible on the road! Shinskie never missed an open receiver yesterday. Larmond jr. stopped running the one time we gave our qb some time to throw in the first half which at the time could've been a long td pass to get us back in the game. So bottom line is it's not all his fault for the road woes, be he is #1 on the pooped it list right now. Some people are going to look at Marscovetra leading us to our 14 points and want to see him play next week, but if you paid attention, you'll realize that he was equally ineffective in the first half and early second half and got things moving against the VT second team.
The good news is that NC State lost to Duke at home yesterday so the Eagles should easily bounce back at home next week. Agree that Shinskie will start and lead the team to a victory next week?
Brian: I agree that the team is much better than their performance indicated on Saturday, but NC State won’t be a pushover by any means. NC State fans always have the BC game circled on their calendar every year as they have some weird complex about Boston College and the ACC. The NC State secondary is very porous, however, and if the home version of David Shinskie shows up, the Eagles should have success on the offensive side of the ball. If I had to go with a starter, it has to still be Shinskie, right? What other options do we have? Tuggle didn’t see the field so you have to think he is squarely the 3rd string quarterback at this point. Marscovetra performed well in the second half, but this was in garbage time against a bunch of Hokie second-stringers.
Speaking of Marscovetra, I know you were upset with Spaz in the moment on Saturday, but after further reflection, do you like Spaz benching Shinskie and going with Marscovetra to start the second quarter? Couldn’t this move have done more damage to Shinskie’s already fragile confidence than help the Eagles in the short run?
Jeff: I still disagree with Spaz putting in Marscovetra in the second quarter. Until Spaz makes the decision that his starter is done for the day, I think he should stick with that quarterback. I think it was premature for Spaz to put Marscovetra in in the second quarter, because like you said, that could only damage Shinskie's confidence. But I have no problem with Spaz ultimately going to Marscovetra to finish out the game so Shinskie could stop taking a beating in an ever-collapsing pocket. Because of NC State's problem stopping the pass and the fact that they are off to an 0-2 start in the league, I am not very worried about this Saturday's game but I am extremely worried about how the team will show up (or not) at Notre Dame on October 24. Notre Dame is not nearly as physical or talented as Virginia Tech is this year. But if we have one more bad road outing in South Bend, you might as well put the Eagles down for losses when they travel to Virginia and Maryland as well.
Brian: At this point, I am not even worried about the Notre Dame or Central Michigan games because I want this team to focus on winning the ACC Atlantic. (At this point, however, you might be saying to yourself that a trip back to Tampa wouldn’t even be worth it. I can’t see how a rematch against the Hokies would go any differently, but I digress.) The only reason to spend any time focusing on Notre Dame or Central Michigan is perhaps to build momentum for the final push towards Tampa in November.
The good news? Notre Dame’s pass defense is bad (ranked 80th in the country). Not NC State bad, but not too far off. I’m sensing a shootout coming up in South Bend, and if we continue to not get pressure on the opposing quarterback, Jimmy Clausen is going to throw on the BC defense all day. Maryland’s pass defense is even worse than NC State’s (104). Road woes aside, this Eagles team is very capable of knocking off a very 'meh' Maryland team.
The only remaining road game that gives me pause - believe it or not - is Virginia. We’ll see if they’ve really found their legs on offense as they travel to College Park this week to take on Maryland. The ‘Hoos defense, particularly their pass defense, is strong (currently ranked in the Top 25). While they haven’t exactly played a murderer’s row through six weeks, they have faced TCU and went on the road against a decent-to-good Southern Miss team.
But enough about the offense. Let’s turn to the defense. Lack of fundamentals. Missed tackles (you can’t expect to arm tackle Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Williams!). Ryan Williams had holes to run through all day. While the Clemson loss was disappointing for the lack of offensive output, at least the defense was outstanding. That can’t be said about Saturday’s performance, where both the offense and defensive units didn’t come to play. What, in your opinion, can the lack of pressure on Taylor and the gaping holes that were opened up for the Hokies running game be attributed to? And can it be corrected in the next 6 days?
Jeff: The lack of pressure on Taylor doesn't bother me. By the time Taylor started throwing, Virginia Tech had already proven that they could just win the game running if they wanted and the Eagles were completely deflated. The 3rd and 18 that Taylor converted into a touchdown was when the day ended. This game was over real quick so the offensive and defensive problems that were exposed after the first few minutes of the first quarter really don't bother me. The game would've been similar at Clemson if Clemson was as physical and talented as Virginia Tech. The Hokies are a complete team that put up 24 points against an Alabama that has not given up that many in any other game this season. Alabama even held Arkansas to 7 points and meanwhile Arkansas has scored 40+ against every other opponent they've played. Virginia Tech is ranked in the top 5 for a reason. BC needed to play a real good game which we thought they were capable of but maybe this real tough four week stretch of playing their four toughest ACC games really took a toll on the team.
Brian: We got some pressure on Taylor early in the first quarter, but Tyrod is a unique quarterback that can burn you with his feet if he feels the pocket collapsing. That's exactly what happened on the 3rd and 18 play. The (very) bad news is that we will face two similar quarterbacks in the next three weeks in NC State's Russell Wilson and Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour. Hopefully the Eagles defense can make the necessary adjustments to keep Wilson in the pocket, and prevent huge holes from opening up on the defense line. The good news, if there is any, is that the NC State running game isn't nearly as strong as the Hokies.
No rest for the weary, however, as the Wolfpack come to Chestnut Hill this weekend in what looks to be an Atlantic Division championship eliminator for the Eagles. BC would need a lot of help to get back to Tampa for the third straight season if they fall to 2-3 this weekend.