There has been a lot of sarcasm streaming from the experts online this week after BC finished the Spring Game 6-2, even with a standard scoring game. There was lots of jokes, and snark basically saying "here we go again". But in the end those people don't matter, it's the head coach who should be evaluating how the team played and here is what Addazio had to say after the game and how the team played this spring:
"I'm more than happy," Addazio said of spring. "I told the team yesterday, 'This is the best fundamental development I've seen in spring football practice in a long time.' Fundamentals, just really good fundamentals. I felt great about what we're doing. I know we're a raw football team, but I really love this team. Their work ethic's incredible. They have speed. They have talent and they love it. They love coming every day. You can see it out there. So we've just got to grow and continue to develop.
Just from this writer's perspective I definitely saw signs of what Addazio is alluding to in his post game presser. Both quarterbacks (Darius Wade/Patrick Towles) looked confident, and Wade (threw for 181 yards) especially looked very fundamentally sound. The growth of the tight end position is also something that should be lauded. Even with it just being a spring game, it has to be said, these quarterbacks are a drastic improvement over the crew Addazio threw out there in 2015. It's truly night and day.
One of the biggest knocks of the best three years has been the lack of utilization of the tight end position, mostly due to the fact that Addazio has asked those players to focus on run blocking. This spring it seemed drastically different. Tommy Sweeney is going to be a legitimate threat all year. Good hands, and the routes that Scot Loeffler had him running got him open a lot. Chris Garrison who is returning from a season ending injury also could be a player that contributes at the tight end slot this season. Having tight ends actually pass catching is definitely a sign of progress.
The offensive line seemed not perfect but definitely better. Important to note that this being a spring game, the OLine was split and there wasn't much cohesion, but they did a pretty good job for most of the game and according to Addazio this progress has been clear to him during the spring. Certain players also looked to have bulked up, most notably Austin Stevens and Chris Lindstrom.
The defense is going to bring it again this year. While it will be hard to duplicate the output of 2015, the defense is still filled with guys who have developed into play makers. One of the biggest surprises of the spring game was the play of redshirt freshmen Tanner Karafa (DE) and Jimmy Martin (LB), who we got our first glimpses of this spring. They seem like they certainly will be contributors. And in terms of further development defensive tackles Ray Smith and Noa Merritt looked ready to jump in to the mix.
While the score of the Spring Game may not have reflected it, the play on the field showed an offense and a defense that were indeed what Addazio said they were. They were fundamentally improved, deeper, and the attitude and body language was a complete 180 from the previous year. Were they perfect? No, there were certainly errors and mistakes that need to be addressed. But should they give us something to look forward to this upcoming season. Absolutely yes.