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Banter: Two QB or Not Two QB

That is the question

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at Boston College Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Curtis: Another season, another disappointing home loss to a mediocre program. What are your main takeaways from BC dropping the ball (literally) against NIU on Saturday?

For me, a lot of it rests on Hafley not having his team ready coming out of the gate once again. The offensive line looked a lot better than it did last season, but the rest of the offense somehow got even more dysfunctional. Between a QB by committee approach and multiple receivers who just could not get in rhythm, they seem completely undisciplined and unprepared.

Arthur: So here’s what I’d say. I think this is a very undisciplined team that really just beat itself yesterday. The reality is that bad penalties and just a ton of miscues put that game out of reach. All of that falls on coaching. Hafley did not have his team ready to play in a number of ways. Once again one of his teams found itself getting flagged for far too many infractions. Once again the play calling neither suited the players on the field nor the situation where the plays were called. Once again the players did not look like they were game ready.

Curtis: Yes, the penalties are another thing that illustrate the lack of preparation and discipline. They had two bad ones in the 4th quarter on defense that allowed NIU to keep driving and run out the clock.

Arthur: There was a point in the game, and late in the game mind you, where BC had more penalty yardage than passing yardage. That gap changed as the Eagles appeared to get their sea legs far too late in the game, but that just says it all.

Curtis: The passing game was a complete mess and the QB changes weren’t helping. They kept asking Castellanos to throw it deep down field and they’re lucky he only got picked off once doing it. Failure to play to his strengths. It ended up working ok by the end of the game like you said, but for the majority of the time it was just like giving the NIU defense free stops.

Arthur: I like Castellanos a lot, and any struggles he has are absolutely attributable to the play-calling or the fact that the receivers chronically could not reel the ball in. But yeah he clearly has strengths that the BC playbook is not tailored to. It feels like they were trying to run the same game plan from when Jurkovec was here, and neither QB had the same arm. I mentioned that I’d like to see Castellanos used similarly to how they used Tyler Murphy, with the caveat that Castellanos is not as developed as Murphy, though his arm is also better. Castellanos is so good at making plays with his feet, it feels like they are wasting potential there.

Curran: So much that went wrong with this game just screams poor coaching — not having the players ready to play, bad and numerous penalties, disjointed play-calling and the quarterback situation all falls squarely on Hafley. What’s more is that these issues are far from new; BC has been struggling with these things (outside of the dual QBs) for years now.

Arthur: Someone wasn’t around for 2015!

Curran: Personally, I liked what I saw from Castellanos. I think he can be a good player. But I wonder just how shaky Morehead looked in camp that resulted in this outcome. I mean, Hafley spends the whole off-season talking him up as QB1, then pulls him 2 drives into the game. I understand Hafley says Castellanos played well enough to earn some snaps, but the coaching staff made the decision to stick with him over Morehead despite Castellanos not putting any points on the board in the first half. To me, that screams that BC has 0 confidence in Morehead, and I’m not sure why. My positive for the game — just about the one consistently decent aspect of the offense was the O-line!

Arthur: I think, just based on the eye test, Castellanos got the ball moving in a way Morehead just didn’t. I think that’s a worthwhile reason to stick with what you got. I think the bigger problem here is that Hafley still sounds like he’s convinced platooning the two is going to work. Also yeah, cheers for the o-line, much improved.

Curtis: To be fair to Morehead he only played for three drives. Castellanos got a lot more opportunities. Though he was throwing multiple balls at receivers’ feet. But Castellanos was throwing balls 20 feet in the air! Who’s to say what’s worse.

Arthur: Reasonable point!

Curran: Agreed. Castellanos showed more but he also got way more time. Morehead got literally 3 drives.

Curtis: Do we have any hopes for improvement this week against Holy Cross? If they drop this one then we really are right back where we started. Frankly I’d just like to see receivers get open and not have so many drops. They have a great shot at winning if that happens.

Arthur: So I’ll say this. BC has never lost a game to an FCS program. I don’t think this year would be the year. Saturday was rough but this year’s issues seem to be an issue of execution rather than last year just being talent. But there absolutely needs to be improvement.

Curran: The issues that plagued us are definitely fixable, and I think we should beat Holy Cross regardless — we simply have too much talent on the roster. Just simple fundamentals (catching passes) should help enormously. Yet a lot of what we saw on Saturday is not new. Poor discipline, a complete lack of gameplan, the team clearly not coming out ready — these have become hallmarks of Hafley’s team. I struggle to see us making a bowl game.

Niraj: I’ll just say he has to play 1 QB this week. Coaching is about making hard decisions, not making your team less prepared with two different styles and less able to find a rhythm. A symbolic two drives for Emmett for what? I figure this goes like Maine last year where some flaws are exposed early, but over time they take care of business feeling no better about ourselves. And then they get curb stomped by FSU next week.

Arthur: Well, let me push back on that for a second. If Hafley truly doesn’t know who he wants to start this would be the game to tinker with it. But he shouldn’t do it for long.

Niraj: Two series just doesn’t sound like enough. Perhaps a halftime switch.

Curran: I’ve heard a lot of people calling for Castellanos to just take over as QB1. While he did show flashes, I am really stunned by how little of a chance Morehead has been given. He was actually somewhat effective last year!

Niraj: It’s like last year where the calls were for Morehead to come in. I don’t like the move for Week 1. The big benefit to me is keeping the opposing defense on its toes. But it’s the first week. Even this week, I think you need to ride things out for a bit unless truly disastrous. We’re talking turnovers, let the player get more comfortable. More lay-ups, more rhythm for everyone

Curran: I agree. It wasn’t a 2-QB system because they didn’t really split time. Morehead threw 10 passes over 3 drives. That’s not a fair chance.

Curtis: I am totally fine with taking another 2 QB approach in week 2, but you’ve got to give both guys a shot. Let’s see how well Morehead can actually air it out! That will go a long way in determining his level of upside. As for Castellanos, he struggled with his passing game early but he made an impact through the air in the 4th quarter during those two comeback drives, so I’m waiting to see if that can be replicated.