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Boston College Football Banter: Resetting Expectations

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 16 NC State at Boston College Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Laura: How are we feeling after BC’s second straight loss?

Curtis: I am feeling sad! It seems like this team is hardly adjusting from week to week. The defense continues to be decent at least, but the offense is still a mess.

Will: I’m feeling a great deal of deja vu to Addazio’s time here. I know the circumstances are a bit different, as Hafley kind of has his hands tied behind his back with a back-up quarterback, but still feels like we’re going to go just above .500 again. Honestly, as I said in my observations, I think BC needs to take a risk with another QB.

[Interlude from our Slack DazBot: “I felt like we probably schemed a little too much for this game.”]

Grant: Funny enough, I actually don’t feel that bad. One thing I think comes out of this game is a resetting of expectations to something more reasonable. We lasted a long time hoping we would be able to keep at an ACC Title Contender-level, and I definitely respect the desire to cling to that hope — but now we know that’s just not in the cards without Jurkovec.
Having said that, there were positives to take out of this one. NC State is probably going to win the Atlantic, and we hung with them to (what should have been) a draw in the first half — same number of yards and first downs between the two teams. We looked pretty decent, I thought.
Then everything kind of fell apart all at once in the 3rd quarter. Aside from that, we were right there. We won’t win the ACC, but I still think we end up .500ish in conference, which works out for a solid season all things considered.
I’m not on board with looking elsewhere from Grosel. I think he can meet .500-in-ACC expectations and doubt we have someone else down the bench that can.

Arthur: I think my impression is that there wasn’t really one thing to blame, the whole thing was a complete mess. The first half was satisfactory, but everything really did fall apart following that messed up punt. It’s the type of thing that a more experience team like what BC has should have dealt with better, but it is what it is. I don’t love Grosel, but this game doesn’t make me more anxious to replace him than before.

Curtis: Agreed. I’m not clamoring for a QB change either, but the playbook or game plan has got to adjust. Nothing they did in the second half was working even if you take out the bad mistakes.

Will: What sort of adjustments, would you like to see? I admit that part of the reason I’d like a change at QB is because I’m still holding on a bit of the ACC-crown hope, but NC State was a bit of wake-up call. I don’t think it would be a bad thing to get the other QBs some looks because who knows if we’ll even get Jurkovec for another year. I don’t think it’s likely Jurkovec will leave for the draft but crazier things have happened.
I know I’m coming off as if I’m bashing Grosel, and I’m not trying to, I think it’s just hard for me to stomach another .500 season when we have such potential. Yet, that is the oldest story in football.

Arthur: Not sure I agree with that assessment of his draft future, but ok.

Niraj: I’m with the consensus here — Dennis is the guy, and I don’t see a point of playing someone with zero experience (not like we’re hiding some super recruit back there).
Everything that could have gone wrong in this one, went wrong and they just couldn’t overcome the adversity. I don’t think the score was at all indicative of the talent difference between these two teams quite honestly, and so I’m not panicking just yet. It’s the first really bad loss of the Hafley era, and we need to see how they respond to really make a good judgment.
I was disappointed to see a lack of adjustment in the game. To me, it felt like they had a game plan they worked on for two weeks, and once the game got away they didn’t go to Plan B. Very worried this team can’t play a game from behind. Circling back to the Dennis point, it would probably be a restart to pick someone new. You have to think they still like their chances to compete hard. Not to mention I don’t think Hafley even really knows which backup is better. Jurkovec will come back next year, so it would kind of be a waste of everyone’s time.

Arthur: For all of the benefits and the good things that of happened out of Jeff Hafley coaching era, the one thing that I think I am consistently frustrated with is that this team has had trouble adjusting whenever there has been some adversity the team faces, particularly this year. It’s at the large and small scale, it’s not just one thing. It goes back to the way that this office is being run, and just a little endgame adjustments that could help BC at half time, that aren’t being made.

Curtis: Agreed with both of you about the problem with adjustments. Even in Hafley’s most signature win so far, against Mizzou earlier this year, the offense simply dialed-up Garwo again and pounded the rock like they had been doing successfully all game. There was definitely some adversity there, but not exactly any adjustments.

Arthur: And for whatever it’s worth, if everything is working then you don’t need to adjust it. Running Gar well until his wheels came off was the right call from Missouri. Having Grosel throw the ball deep time and time again when it’s clear that it’s not workable is not something that makes sense. That was not the problem this game, it was more so just small adjustments that needed to be made when it looked like that the office wasn’t moving properly, that’s what you need to target.

Will: I’m not saying Jurkovec should go but there have been a lot of examples of QBs leaving early when many people agree they should stay.
I do not want touch on something Niraj said and that’s that BC didn’t have any breaks this game for sure. All the breaks NC State got, the 2 td catches, blocked punt, etc, are breaks that we’ve gotten in previous games.

Niraj: It’s also one of those things we mentioned all last season, and I remember being mentioned as a point of emphasis heading into this year. They struggled to string together two halves of football.
Moving on to Louisville, seems they have a porous pass defense. Let’s see how much they trust Grosel here. I took big issue last week with how little Zay Flowers touched the ball. If we’re not connecting on those deep balls, Cignetti needs to do a better job of getting playmakers the ball and letting them do work

Grant: I feel like I have a recurring nightmare of Zay Flowers getting overthrown 40 yards downfield. Over and over again. Except it’s not a nightmare, it’s what we are actually doing every other drive in every game.

Curtis: Ok, we’ve all aired-out our despair I think. Now what do we think about this match-up with Louisville? The Louisville offense is very dangerous, but our defense has been holding up ok (not terrific) these past couple weeks. And the Cardinals defense is bad enough that it may help Grosel & co. get back on their feet.

Niraj: I’m fully expecting them to bounce back. Both teams are on two game losing streaks, but Louisville at least has an ACC win under its belt. BC should come out pissed. Still trust the staff to motivate and for the players to respond after two games that surely left terrible feelings in their stomachs.

Will: I agree with Niraj, but it’ll be another toss up game.

Grant: Yeah this feels close. Louisville with the two close ACC losses in a row (weirdly the close FSU loss looks terrible haha)... I think we may pull this one out. I think something like 34-31 BC. Shootout, baby!

Arthur: 49-42 Birds. You only YOLO once.

Curtis: Which birds? Anyway, I think the BC offense will have a better week than last, but the pessimist in me is winning out again. For the 4th straight week I’m picking against BC. Give me Louisville, 30-21.

Arthur: The good birds.

Will: 31-21. Louisville will lay an egg.