We are at midterms today for the Eagles, as things have shaken out to a 3-3 (0-3 ACC) start. There have been some high points, and certainly some very, very, low points in the first six games. But if we were to break this down position by position what composite grades would the players earn. Today, we analyze each position, assign a grade, and as always give you the reader a chance to vote as well.
This has been a model of inconsistency this year for the Eagles. On the one hand Patrick Towles has looked pretty solid against the UMass, Buffalo and Wagners, averaging 194 yards along with 6 touchdowns and 1 interceptions. But on the other hand he has averaged only 105 yards against ACC opponents, with 1 touchdown throw and 2 INTS.
AJ’s Grade: C-
I don’t know what’s going on with Jon Hilliman, but he has had a brutal start to the season. He had that one big 72 yard run against Georgia Tech, but overall has averaged 3.4 yards per carry. Davon Jones and Richard Wilson have shown flashes as well in their various roles. On the whole they are averaging 3.63 yards a carry.
AJ’s Grade: D+
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
While they haven’t been perfect, they certainly have been a solid improvement over what we saw last year. Jeff Smith has shown flashes of being a dynamic receiver, but has been plagued by the drops. His 15 catches lead the team. Michael Walker also has had a good start to the season with two TD catches. Tommy Sweeney has been a little underwhelming, with only 10 catches through the first 10 games. Charlie Callinan has been fine, but vanishes against good defenses
AJ’s Grade: B-
I just haven’t seen the growth I was expecting out of this group this year. Chris Lindstrom and Jon Baker clearly are the most talented of the starting five, but the other three positions have been inconsistent at best, and inept at worse. Aaron Monteiro continues to make mistakes, seemingly at least a few a game, while grad transfer Jimmy Lowrery has not been the stabilizing force we had hoped he would be. Towles has been pressured all season, while the running game has struggled to find any rhythm.
AJ’s Grade: D
Defensive Line Harold Landry has clearly been the MVP of this entire team, taking over games on his own, while still making plays against good offenses (see Clemson). Truman Gutapfel was dynamic to start the season, but seemed to vanish against the better offenses (to be fair the entire team disappeared too). Ray Smith has been a pleasant surprise with 8 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Zach Allen has been the second best player on the line with 3.5 sacks. Kevin Kavalec really hasn’t been the playmaker this season with .5 sacks, he had 10 tackles (8 of them assists) against VT, but the defense couldn’t get off the field.
AJ’s Grade: B+
I’ve been a little disappointed how this group has played in some of the crucial spots. They started off strong against Georgia Tech making play after play until the final drive. Ty Schwab, Connor Strachan and Matt Milano certainly have made plays in 4 of the 6 games, but against Clemson and Virginia Tech they looked very pedestrian, losing guys in coverage and missing tackles. Milano has a blocked kick, and three sacks, while Strachan has 2.5 sacks.
AJ’s Grade: C+
A group that has looked exposed at time, the secondary has (again just like everyone else) struggled big time against the three ACC opponents. Against Georgia Tech they allowed a triple option QB throw the ball at will, including a back breaking 4th and 19. While against Virginia Tech and Clemson they were completely out manned. Mike Williams made Gabe McClary look silly. That being said, against the lower teams, they dominated. What will we see against the Wakes, Syracuses etc? That remains to be seen.
AJ’s Grade: C-
Credit when credit is due, Mike Knoll has been pretty solid as the place kicker after Colton Lichtenberg went down with an injury. He’s 3 for 3 on FGs and after his first XP attempt was blocked, he and Troy Flutie haven’t missed a point after since. Punts on the other hand have been a mess. He has really struggled to flip the field, averaging 37.44 yards per punt. Tyler Rouse has been a very good kick/punt returner, but at least two of his bigger runs have been negated by dumb block in the back penalties.
AJ’s Grade: C+
What needs to be said here that hasn’t already been said? The offense is rated 120, the defense looks exposed against good offenses, and BC has three losses. Two were embarrassing for the way they got blown out, the other was due to some questionable coaching decisions. Thankfully BC took care of business against UMass, Buffalo and Wagner.
AJ’s Grade: D