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Bad Scheme or Bad Execution? Well... Yes.

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They were one and the same this week

NFL: JUL 26 Packers Training Camp
Frank Cignetti can’t keep forcing Dennis Grosel into an Aaron Rodgers-sized hole
Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Boston College football is now roughly four full weeks into having Dennis Grosel as its starting quarterback. The first few weeks went well enough with the Eagles pulling out solid wins over UMass, Temple, and Missouri — UMass and Temple because those teams are bad, and Missouri because the BC offense was able to run up and down the field with impunity.

But with the Eagles facing their toughest matchup of the year, it was arguably the first time Boston College really needed to scheme their offensive game plan around their quarterback. Instead of looking like we’ve had weeks to plan for the moment, it looked like Grosel was plugged in mid-game with the team still expecting a pro-style deep threat under center.

After about the 50th time seeing Dennis Grosel launch a 50 yard pass downfield to miss an open receiver, I tweeted this...

...which seemed to draw mixed reactions. In general, the response was “this isn’t a scheme issue, this is an execution issue — Grosel has to make those plays.”

Well, yeah, sure, but the fact that Grosel has repeatedly missed on those throws means the coaching staff has to scheme accordingly. You would want a 6th year college quarterback to hit an open receiver downfield, regardless of his skill set; of course you do. But we’ve had plenty of opportunities to watch Grosel at this point and it just seems clear that the deep ball is not a reliable weapon in his arsenal. While I understand that saying “you struggle to throw deep” isn’t going to make any quarterback happy no matter how you frame it, this is not intended to be any kind of insult. Grosel is plenty talented and has the skillset necessary to win games. We just don’t seem to be utilizing it correctly.

If your quarterback is struggling to execute on long throws, you need to plan around that. BC lost downs all day trying to heave the ball into the end zone. But look at the last drive of the game (or rather, look at everything except the last snap, and never look at that snap again ever):

Yes! That’s perfect, why didn’t we do that for more of the game? Short 5-15 yard passes are Grosel’s bread and butter, especially with an elite receiving corps that can make things happen after the catch. It’s no coincidence that this was BC’s best drive of the game and one of the best examples of the Eagles moving the football effectively without the run game all season.

Yes, we all with Phil Jurkovec was still taking snaps, and yes, you wish Dennis Grosel had enough accuracy on his deep ball to execute with the big throws. But weeks after Grosel has taken over the reigns, it should be clear at this point what his skill set is, and it’s on the coaching staff to scheme around that.