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Boston College Football: Breaking Bad Lessons From To'hajiilee

The on-field product still isn't signature Boston College football, but the quality is significantly improved.

Jim Rogash

[ SLIGHT AND I MEAN SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT if you aren't caught up with Breaking Bad or want to watch the series from beginning to end without any prior knowledge of the characters or plot line STOP reading and skip down to the part after the break YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED]

There is a scene in one of the final episodes of Breaking Bad that has a great bit of dialogue that reminds me of Boston College fans' reaction to this past weekend's Florida State game. The episode To'hajiilee opens with the neo-Nazi White Supremacist group, led by Jack Welker, supervising the end of a methamphetamine cook by Todd. Todd is desperately seeking the approval of his Uncle Jack and his lieutenant Kenny. More importantly, Todd, in creepy Todd fashion, is trying to get in the good graces of Lydia Rodarte-Quayle, the new head of distribution in the post-Heisenberg Southwest meth drug trade world.

Todd's goal is simple: replicate the quality of the product previously manufactured by Walt and Jesse, a notoriously potent and 99.1% chemically pure crystal methamphetamine that goes by the name Blue Sky for its distinctive light blue coloration. In attempting to bring his crystal meth cook up to Heisenberg-ian levels, Todd is successful in getting the purity of the product to 76%, but Lydia notes its lack of the trademark blue coloring, which is what her foreign buyers demand.

Todd: 76 percent.
Jack: Nice going!
Lydia: Where's the blue?
Kenny: Where's the what?
Lydia: The blue color ... does it come later when this hardens? Where is it? I am correct in assuming this should be blue.
Jack: See I'm thinking the headline here should be 76 percent.
Yeah. Whole lot more than it was. Dude that looked like Wolverine, he couldn't crack 70.

Lydia becomes obsessed, so singularly focused on one signature aspect of the product -- Heisenberg's distinctive blue-coloring -- that she fails to appreciate that Todd has achieved a level of purity that few have been able to replicate.


For those blaming the coaching staff or the offensive play-calling for BC's loss to Florida State, you, like Breaking Bad's Lydia, are simply focused on the wrong things and can't seem to appreciate the positives from this game.

See, because I'm thinking the headline here should be ...




The Eagles' coaching staff called a good game on offense. Day established the running game early and mixed in play-action and other offensive playbook wrinkles to the tune of 397 yards and FOUR passing touchdowns. FOUR. The most passing touchdowns in a single game since Matt Ryan threw for four in a 2007 win over Bowling Green. That's a span of nearly six full seasons.

Andre Williams was solid in the running game (28 carries, 149 yards). Through four games, Williams ranks 12th nationally and leads the conference with 505 yards on 103 carries.

The most successful drives on Saturday were the ones where the Eagles established the run early, then mixed in play-action to open up the passing game. All four of BC's touchdowns were on play-action and set up by the run. It was arguably the best offensive performance from BC since the Eagles hung 52 on N.C. State four years ago. When factoring in the quality of the defense the Eagles faced, you may have to go back (much?) further than that.

Is this what the BC offense will look like even a year from now? Probably not. But even the broadcasters made note of the fact that this isn't where Addazio/Day want to take the offense. BC wants to look like Florida. This year, it has to settle on Stanford in an effort to match the current skill set with scheme.

The other headline is the fact that the BC defense was gashed for 41 points, including a pair of big play HRs in Rashad Greene's 56 yard TD and the Winston-to-Shaw 55-yard Hail Mary. The Boston College pass coverage has given up nearly 600 yards in the last two games alone. As a unit, there are far too many coverage breakdowns when the front four can't get to the QB in time.

That, unfortunately, is the dirty little 'dude' secret on D. Don Brown has to employ dynamic blitz and pressure packages to get to the QB to cover up the rather sizable talent gap in the secondary. Because when the DL or LBs don't get to the QB in time, or can't get him down fast enough, the defensive backs are exposed and left in 1-on-1 coverage situations; often to disastrous results. That's more than a one-game aberration. That is becoming a pattern that needs to be addressed. Preferably before the Clemson game.

Both the deficiencies on offense and defense can be mitigated on the recruiting trail as the coaching staff brings in recruits at offensive skill-positions (especially at QB and WR) and in the secondary that are better suited to Addazio, Day and Brown's schemes. The play calling is not the issue as the schemes are devised to match the current talent on the roster.

The on-field product still isn't signature Boston College football, but the quality is significantly improved. Take time to appreciate the positive headlines from Saturday's loss. The football program, much like Walter White's empire, wasn't built in a day.