Another gut punching loss yesterday for the Boston College Eagles, as they dropped a very winnable game in front of a sparse crowd at Wallace Wade Stadium. There was a whole lot to question in this one, coaches, players, and refs, so let's take a look at who stood out for the Eagles.
Steven Daniels: Boston College held Duke to 35 rushes for 33 yards, and the stout Daniels was one of the big reasons. The new leader in tackles, finished the game with 7.5 tackles, 2.5 for loss, and a sack. He continues to be a very physical presence, and his quick moves seal holes opened in the running game.
Matt Milano: Big game again for the sophomore linebacker who racked up yet another sack, his third of the season. He plays a great foil to Daniels. While Daniels is a much more physical run stopped, Milano is a pass rusher, and has the speed to get back in coverage, something Daniels has improved upon but still struggles at time. Milano is now just a half sack short of team leader Harold Landry.
Thadd Smith: One of the biggest questions I have had about the offensive game plan has been not utilizing Smith. He looked to be the most explosive of the WR's, but really hadn't been targeted that often. Against Duke he showed a glimpse of what he could be capable of. He finished the game yesterday with two touchdowns catches, and helped stretch the field when they needed points. Again, not to beat a dead horse, but Addazio needs to use him more often, he could be a gamechanger.
After The Dropped Punt: Not often do you see a team get the ball at the 14 yard line, get a quick first down, and then stall out on the one yard line. This was a statement drive for the BC defense who kept the Blue Devils out of the end zone on four straight plays at the 1. As the offense floundered, the defense basically gave the team points when the team needed it most.
Flutie's Arm/Smith's Legs: Were either QB's perfect? No. Were they good? Not really. But both moved the ball when Addazio utilized their strengths. Going forward, make the offense based around their strengths. Smith clearly struggles throwing the ball, so moving forward if Addazio is going to run the option stick with Smith. Or if he wants to throw it, stick with Troy Flutie. Keep it simple.
Playcalling: Not going to beat a dead horse here, everything has been needed to be said has been said. The first half was probably some of the worst calls I've seen this year. Duke clearly was stacking the box and not respecting the pass, yet BC went for the three yards pile of dust over and over again. They couldn't move the ball at all, but like in previous weeks, BC adapted in the second half, and they were able to move it, even if it wasn't anywhere close to perfect. It still looks like BC is playing not to lose, which of course is not going to win you many games. Addazio needs to figure out some sort of identity for this offense, and stick with it. If it means using Flutie and Smith in certain packages, then go for it, but at least have it make sense. Right now it looks like both QBs are being thrown out there willy nilly, which has to be confusing to the entire team.
Sherm Alston: Please, please please take him off of punts Addazio and Hutzler. If Myles Willis is healthy use him, orMichael Walker, anyone at this point has to be an improvement. Alston clearly is pressing, making mistakes which are hurting the team. Give him a break, take him off for a while, because BC can't afford to be turning over the ball like that.
The Final Drive: After re-watching the game it was clear how awful the final drive was, not sure why Jeff Smith threw both passes. Run the option at least once with Smith, he was averaging 5 yards a carry as it was. When Flutie went down with an apparent injury, BC looked lost out there, they struggled to keep the rhythm going, and it cost the Eagles the game.
The long snapper, heck the whole field goal crew: Special teams again struggled yesterday missing two field goals, which of course left 6 points off the board for Steve Addazio and crew. The dropped snap was particularly brutal because it could have been a chip shot for Colton Lichtenberg. Glad to see BC isn't missing extra points, but they need a consistent field goal game, because all signs point to the Eagles needing all the points they can get.
Refs: That call that went against Thadd Smith was absolutely brutal.