Curtis: Well that was certainly a game! Are there any more takeaways we can get from Saturday or was it just kind of more of the same as we saw against NIU?
Kieran: Well, Castellanos certainly played with a lot of passion and swag, almost too much. He was chirping at the Holy Cross players all game and eventually took it too far after he got penalized for taunting all while ending up short of a first down. (Even though he had a clear path to the first down marker.) It didn’t really seem like Hafley tried to rein in his guys late in that game and they were penalized a lot because of it. I thought BC was lucky that Holy Cross handed them the game with that fumble on the last drive of the game; BC really did not deserve to get off as easily as they did.
Arthur: The lack of discipline is now a capital ‘P’ Problem. When you get into the harder part of the schedule, giving away dumb penalties is not going to be forgiven. To Hafley’s credit, I think he’s at least publicly acknowledging it, but the players are going to need to respond to him. Look at the two unsportsmanlike penalties BC took in the second half. I realize Castellanos looks silly for taunting because he didn’t get the first down, but even more than that, it turned a very easy 3rd and 1 to a 3rd and 16. When Quintavious Hutchins got an unsportsmanlike penalty, that took a very good punt by Sam Candotti pinning Holy Cross at the 10, and put the Crusaders much, much closer when everyone was playing on a short field in a three point game. Fortunately for BC, Holy Cross did in fact hand the game back to BC but those two instances really could have swung the game with more difficult programs.
Jeff Hafley needs to get his team back in line one way or another. If that’s extra wind sprints on Tuesday, so be it. If that’s a personnel change on Saturday, so be it too. At this point no one is playing well enough to not be subject to that red pen. And that goes for Castellanos, and I applaud Hafley for at least publicly indicating that he doesn’t keep his head he’s looking at the bench. Castellanos is very clearly a very real, significant talent. But discipline starts with the quarterback, and Hafley should expect more from his starter. I’m not exaggerating by saying that the unsportsmanlike penalties absolutely killed a very critical drive for BC. Absolutely cannot happen.
Now to be clear, I think it’s on the coaching staff right now for being in that position— I called out two very specific players just now, but it’s an overall team issue, whether it’s unsportsmanlike penalties or procedural penalties or just sloppy football. Mistakes are going to happen, and good teams still get called for pass interference and holding. It’s those undisciplined mistakes that are absolute killers. Those two jump out, but if we dissect the game film there’s a lot to be had, and I think that’s an even greater problem.
Curtis: Penalties were definitely towards the top of my list of concerns like you guys, but I’m also pretty surprised at just how poorly the defense played at times. I expected some offensive struggles and they were hit or miss, but they at least managed to score 30+ points. The defense was about to let an FCS offense drop 30+ themselves if it wasn’t for the timely fumble at the end of the game. If a guy like Sluka is running all over you, just imagine what Jordan Travis is going to do against you for FSU.
Arthur: I mean, add that to the things wrong with the Hafley administration. Offense I feel like I have more patience for, more than I probably should, since Hafley does not have any background in offense and it’s so coordinator dependent. Good hires are part of the job but you can at least understand. There’s absolutely no good reason that a defense with a defensive minded head coach struggled this much. I think it’s also problematic too because that’s a lot harder to fix. Discipline is an easy thing to fix—you just drill down and emphasize it until your starters get the message or give the backups a chance. The problem defensively is one part a gap in athleticism and one part bad scheming. Both are hard to fix.
Kieran: Both the discipline and the defense are only going to become bigger problems when they play Florida State. That is a good team that BC is obviously not expected to beat. But if Hafley can just get his team to play with discipline and not give away yards on silly penalties, that would be a step in the right direction.
Curran: We’ve been looking at poorly disciplined teams for almost 4 years now. That’s my issue — at this point, Hafley has had plenty of time to implement his culture, system, and players, and week to week we have literally no idea what to expect. Last week the defense was sturdy while the offense sucked, this week the offense carried us while the defense looked completely overmatched. FSU is -28.5; I would not be surprised at all if they win by more than that. I appreciate Hafley finally showing some emotion after the game, but for me it’s too little too late. How is he gonna fix this? How is this team gonna be more disciplined against better teams if they can barely hang with the likes of Holy Cross and NIU?
My positive takeaway is that the offensive line looked good again, creating holes for Kye Robichaux — our best player on Saturday. Outside of that, I have no real idea of what this team wants to look like.
Arthur: Look, I’m on record saying I think Hafley should be fired. But to me this is put up or shut up time. BC being what it is won’t fire a football coach midseason, so it’s one thing to talk a big game, it’s quite another to see those changes made. I don’t think BC beating FSU is a reasonable expectation, but I’d like to see the discipline cleaned up for those games that are attainable for BC.
Curtis: Yeah this week is basically going to be a wash and I doubt we’ll learn much about them during a blowout. Unless BC miraculously is competitive against the #3 team in the nation, we may have to just wait a week for any deeper analysis. But they can at least start working on those issues now.
Niraj: I’m glad Hafley took more accountability in his presser and showed some fire, but Curran’s right he’s had plenty of time and I’ve only seen regression. We saw him give Castellanos an earful after that penalty too. We need to see his words resonate in the locker room and see a cleaner game. If and when they’re getting blown out this week will they keep their emotions in check? And right on regarding the defense, it’s laughable he hasn’t improved that side of the ball.
Arthur: You know, I rewatched the Castellanos penalty and I missed the lewd gesture he made after the play. He is very lucky he did not get two penalties and an early visit to the locker room on that play— in fact I suspect the reason he didn’t was that the officials were conferencing and didn’t have eyes on him. I don’t think it’s overstating that BC could have had their starting quarterback ejected in the third quarter. Absolutely cannot happen again.
Curtis: Well I think we’re all on the same page for this one. So what are your score predictions? Let’s see who can get closest. I’m going to go with FSU 41 BC 10
Grant: 38-7. Why? Ground and pound is going to shorten this game.
Kieran: FSU 52 BC 6