When sports fans say "The most frustrating thing isn't that they're losing, it's that...(fill in the blank)," I disagree 100% of the time. Winning cures all ills and losing is always the most frustrating thing, no matter what else is happening with the team.
The second most frustrating thing about this season, however, is that it has felt repeatedly like we're watching the same game over and over again. The defense plays great and keeps the other team off the board for as long as humanly possible. The offense again and again and again and again vomits on its own shoes and can't even move the ball, much less actually score or get back in to the game. Lather, rinse, repeat.
What I've been hoping for over these past few weeks as BC's hopes for postseason football went completely down the drain is something to latch on to - some sort of sign that progress is being made, or that there's some semblance of a coherent plan to make the offense better as BC begins the long process of aiming for a stronger season in 2016.
We saw some fleeting flashes of mildly enjoyable offense with John Fadule at the helm against Virginia Tech and NC State due to his toughness and battle level, but ultimately that always was going to be just something short term. Nobody really thinks Fadule is in the long-term plans at QB unless both Darius Wade and Anthony Brown are way, way behind where we hope them to be next fall.
Last night, however, we saw a few things that we could actually latch on to.
It's pretty sad, at this point, that just enumerating "some things BC did on offense that were good" is worthy of a story, but that's the situation we find ourselves in:
-BC hit a field goal. I mean, all kidding aside, did anyone really expect that to go through the uprights?
-Jeff Smith, of course, looked much better in limited action than he did earlier in the season. He had his best day passing (5 for 6) and obviously was able to use his blistering speed to run for that long 80 yard touchdown. I remain hopeful that either Wade or Brown will have the kind of passing touch necessary to be ahead of Smith on next year's QB depth chart, but if Smith improves his game, he could be in the picture. The read-option offense could work if BC had some semblance of good offensive line play and had more healthy weapons in the rushing game.
-The aforementioned line did play a tiny bit better down the stretch, giving Smith and Fadule a little bit of time to operate. BC had 214 yards rushing and only allowed 2 sacks. That's some real progress from where the line play had been two weeks ago, so that's something.
-Other young guys made some nice plays for BC: Richard Wilson showed some liveliness at halfback. Tom Sweeney made a nice play. Thadd Smith continues to show some promise, though that early drop on a nice pass from Fadule that could have sent him to the house was frustrating.
The down side here however is that I still didn't get the sense that BC had a coherent plan on offense even as they heated up and started making plays. It was once again a throw @#!@# at the wall approach - the antithesis of what BC had done to find success on offense in Addazio's first two years. The other issue is that Addazio's glaring clock and game situation management issues, while obviously low on the list of reasons why BC is struggling this year, will ultimately pretty clearly come back to bite BC in some big situation when the team is playing better. I think we can all pretty much take that one to the bank.
I still think BC needs to make a change at offensive coordinator in the offseason and that opinion won't be swayed by anything that happens on offense at Syracuse. There are some tools in the toolbox, however young and raw they may be, but the current offensive coaching staff hasn't demonstrated the ability to max out what they have available to them and show concrete progress.
At least last night, however, we saw some guys make plays, for the first time in what felt like forever... and if they can go get a win at Syracuse, it will mean at least some sort of momentum going in to the offseason.