EDITOR’S NOTE: This chat started immediately following the BC-Rutgers game, then continued over the next few days... which probably means it got a little more reasonable as it went on.
Joe: What the frig was that?
Arthur: At least it didn’t happen in the most excruciating way possible or anything.
Joe: So many things to break down. Grant already went over the punt and timeout decision. That was a giant yikes from me, because even though it wasn’t the reason we lost, you never like to see tiny chances evaporate due to questionable decisions.
But beyond that. Jeez. Letting Rutgers just absolutely gash you on the ground over and over again to lose the game. Freaking yikes.
Arthur: BC will also need to figure out how to run the offense with limited protection from the line. It really is as bad as we thought it would be. Particularly given the fact that Jurk didn’t turn in a particularly good game, though having no protection probably doesn’t help.
Joe: His inaccuracy on short passes was really just a rough combo with the lack of a running game. It means they really didn’t have much if the downfield passes or “give it to Zay” play didn’t work.
Arthur: Seriously though, who wants to say that we should see the line improve?
Joe: I mean, it has to, right? My hope was it would start “okay” and get better, perhaps improving to a strength. But instead it’s starting from very poor on week one.
Arthur: I really do think a lot of problems are fixed with a better offensive line. But they don’t have one, and as good as Christian Mahogany is, him being healthy doesn’t help nearly enough. Only one part of the line wouldn’t be porous. What I want to know is how it was let to be so bad?
Niraj: Phil’s decision making was rough. He seemed to either second guess himself or just didn’t see the whole field. Rutgers eventually figured out, oh he’s just going to look for Zay.
Arthur: Hard to go through your progression when you’re trying to evade the rush to be fair. Like when he had time to go through his progression, he had a high rate of success. But he didn’t do well under pressure. He will need to improve on that, but not many quarterbacks are going to be good with that kind of constant penetration at the line. Phil definitely got exposed today. I think we need to come to the understanding that he is not, in fact, the messiah as we all hoped he would be, but let’s not mince words about the environment he had to participate in.
Curtis: Agreed on all the points above. The OL was first and foremost the reason BC lost this game, but the QB play was subpar and the run defense fell completely apart on Rutgers’s final drive. But I think the Eagles pull this one out if the OL is anywhere near competent. Hafley and Guge were blindsided by the Mahogany injury, obviously, but what’s there to explain the rest of the line? They knew what they had in 4 other starters and felt comfortable to trot them out like this? It baffles me that they didn’t pull in anyone from the transfer portal. Without drastic line improvement, it’s tough to see this team even making a bowl game.
Arthur: It’s not like Rutgers didn’t have injuries. They famously did. But their work on the transfer portal made them far more insulated from those issues because of the efforts it made from the transfer portal. It’s not even an insulation issue. The line would still be bad even with Mahogany. It looks like they really poorly evaluated what they had coming back in terms of talent... either that or the execution was just way off in week one.
Laura: What kind of expectations do you guys have for this weekend’s game against the Hokies now compared to a week ago?
Arthur: I’m way less confident. Sure Virginia Tech was also pretty bad but I have no confidence this o line can hold up against anyone.
Joe: I guess it’s going to be a classic case of two teams who will need to show where they are mentally - does a loss knock them off kilter or do they come back looking like a different team week two. Going on the road in a hostile environment doesn’t make me feel great but I do think the team and staff have said/shown all the right things in terms of attitude since the game ended.
Laura: Virginia Tech is certainly going to be coming into the game with weird vibes between the loss, the locker room theft, and one of their players hitting an opposing fan that rushed the field.
Curtis: I’ve been ringing the bell on “Virginia Tech is actually really bad” all offseason and I think they’ve started to prove it both on and off the field. The problem is that I didn’t expect BC to be this bad either. So my expectations are somewhere around a toss-up, with BC still having a very legitimate chance to win despite how bad they looked against Rutgers.
Laura: In classic BC fashion, it seems like the fans online have already turned against Hafley after this one loss. How are you all feeling about him right now?
Arthur: Definitely not as rosy as before. I think coaches need to be judged on full seasons rather than singular games, but I think he has a lot of questions to answer about why the o line was so unprepared. It’s an obvious issue even before Mahogany got hurt, which begs the question, why did Hafley and co. not put in the effort to solidify the line with transfers? Maybe it gets better over the year, but he owes the fan base an explanation on that one.
Joe: I’m the first person usually to call out people for overreacting or being unhinged but I actually think in general people have had a pretty appropriate response - I’m not seeing a ton of calls for heads to roll or whatever, but definitely a sense that there’s no honeymoon period anymore and that a spade is a spade, that was a bad loss. This is where I’m at.
Arthur: Yeah I think that’s a great way of putting it. I don’t think we’re starting up hot seat talk or anything but last week was inexcusable, and he needs to start producing some results. There are some coaches whose seats definitely got hotter this season, Scott Frost jumps out. Hafley is not Scott Frost. But the team needs improved results for sure.
Joe: Not a great thing to say out loud here… Kind of adds to the impression that the team is out of sorts, which… it’s week one, so there’s time to improve. But if that’s the case it’s a pretty bad look. But fixable!
BC DT Chibueze Onwuka on Rutgers' GW drive:— Andy Backstrom (@andybackstrom) September 6, 2022
"I would say it was a lot of miscommunication. We weren't all on the same page. Half of us were running one thing, and the other half was running another thing. So there were a lot of open gaps, a lot of guys not in the right spots."
Arthur: I’m reminded of a Jed Bartlett quote from The West Wing when an advisor told him they dropped the ball: “Pick it up again, would you please?”
And that’s directed at the coaching staff. If they were out of sorts, that’s something that needed adjustment. A timeout there may not have been the worst idea. Not like they were saving their timeouts for anything useful, clearly!
Curtis: Honestly that quote gives me some hope? At least for the DL. It means that it’s not a talent issue or even scheme necessarily, but mostly coordination and player coaching that can definitely improve over time. None of this is good, but it’s better than “we just got outplayed.”
Arthur: I don’t have qualms with the D quite frankly. They played fine all game, and I don’t think one drive should be an indictment of them, particularly since the offense had so much trouble staying on the field.
Grant: Oof, how could you not have qualms with the D — I don’t care what happened elsewhere, 96 yards on the ground in one drive when you know it’s coming is a massive thing to have qualms with! In the end it is, in fact, why we lost the game...
Curtis: I see what Arthur is getting at with the defense, though I wouldn’t go as far as say I have no qualms. One of their TDs was thanks to a fumble recovery at the BC 6-yard line, which falls completely on the offense in my opinion. Otherwise holding Rutgers to 16 points is a respectable performance. The catastrophe of the final drive cannot be ignored, though, and will concern me until they prove they’ve moved past it.
Joe: Yes, I see where you’re coming from there Curtis/Arthur... frankly the defense was very impressive for a lot of the game. I know... backup QB, Rutgers. But they couldn’t do anything against BC through the air and like Curtis said, only really scored one TD that wasn’t a gift before the final drive.
But of course, that final drive... if you’re an opposing coach, you’re drawing up a game plan that just runs and runs and dares BC to stop you, right? We’ll see if that’s Virginia Tech’s approach... and how the Eagles respond.