"At the end of the day, we didn't make the plays at the end of the game to close this out." -Steve Addazio— Michael Sullivan (@MichaelJSully) September 3, 2016
That is what Coach Steve Addazio said after Boston College dropped a heart breaker to Georgia Tech in Dublin 17-14. “We didn’t make the plays”.
I can’t emphasize enough how wrong he is. This wasn’t about the players, this was about the gameplan that wasn’t aggressive enough to close out a team that Boston College clearly had on the ropes.
First off, BC has a problem with kicking, and this isn’t a new thing (which is a story for another day). Heck it isn’t a new thing this year. Colton Lichtenberg was inconsistent during the summer scrimmages, and just eyeballing the field, it looked very wet, which makes kicking harder. 4th and 1, BC has a 6-5, 250 pound QB, and what does the coach choose to do? Go back to that wildly consistent kicker, who proceeds to shank a field goal. A choice that later would come down to bite the Eagles in the butt. That is partly on Lichtenberg for failing to make the kick, but it’s on Addazio for not playing “not to lose”.
That hesitant, scared mind frame was shown throughout the game. From a soft coverage on a 4th and 19 (against a QB who was completely frazzled the previous two plays), to the ultra conservative three consecutive draw plays late in fourth quarter, these plays were all part of a scheme put together by the head coach. Did they seem like plays called by a confident team that was ready to win?
Addazio has got to buck up here. The play calling for the most part wasn’t that bad. He mixed in some good passes, and used the run effectively, but when it came down to those crucial game changing plays, he fell apart. The bravado was gone, the play calling turned from “playing like a dude” to playing not to lose. In a game of inches, that isn’t going to win many games.
And the concerning point to consider is that this isn’t new for Steve Addazio. Look at his previous three seasons with the Eagles. I’m sure you can think of a half dozen other games where this scared mentality has cost BC a win. Colorado State (2014), Penn State (2014), Duke (2015), Wake Forest (2015), and now Georgia Tech.
The time is running out for Addazio. He is in year four, this team is no longer “young”, and injuries don’t appear to be a major factor with this squad. These games are coming down to a handful of plays, and it’s up to the head coach to confidently make choices that put his team in a position to win. We haven’t seen that in a while. Let’s hope the next time BC is put in this position he tries something different. The Eagles need to show a killer instinct, and that starts from the top.