Second viewing thoughts and grade report: NC State
I usually start these reviews with my mood after rewatching. "Was there hope for the future?" "Are things worse than I thought?" etc. Watching back today, I felt worse. A lot worse. Forget all the issues surrounding the program. Forget the tidal wave of criticism. I'll get into my Spaz game "theory stuff" later this week. What bothers me most is that we are failing at one of the basic jobs of any coach at any level and that is making players better each day. Some of the guys are playing better but many of our guys are not improving. They are making many of the same mistakes. That is not a talent issue. That is a teaching issue. When things are going wrong everything is magnified. I don't know if we have bottomed out but the next few weeks will be telling. Can the staff stop the bleeding and can they connect with their players? There are plenty of winnable games left on the schedule. BC has the pieces. I even think some of the coaches are very good. I just think the pieces are not working well together now. Let's hope that someone gets us turned in the right direction.
On Saturday I tweeted that Rettig with one leg would have been better than Shinskie or Marscovetra. Dave Shinskie is a lost cause. Do you realize now he has played significantly in 17 games? That's more time than Chris Crane ever got. It's approaching how much time Quinton Porter got. Do we really need to give it any more time. I understand that he was away from football for a long time, but his regression in some football basics is startling. As mentioned in the game, his footwork and balance are messed up. A few of the tips came as a result of him throwing in sort of a 3/4s motion. NC State totally confused him with where the pressure was coming from. He would point things out presnap and be completely wrong as the pressure came from the other side. This became a problem as he was checking down into the heavy coverage. To Tranq's credit, he gave him some easy throws to make. Shinskie couldn't do it. Marscovetra wasn't great. I don't think he is the answer as he still had trouble deciding when to stay in the pocket and still forced some bad downfield throws. But he seems capable enough of hitting some short passes. Maybe that is the best we can hope for (other than Rettig getting a bit healthier).
Harris played well enough. He made positive plays. In fact I don't think he is getting the ball enough. Really happy with Phifer -- he made people miss a few times. Williams's work was all done in garbage time, but he looked promising. McCluskey did a really good job lead blocking. If he can keep this up, he might get on an NFL roster.
The WRs were okay considering all the passes that we missed. Swigert seems to find enough space each time the ball gets near him. He should really be the focus of the QBs. Amidon's TD was in garbage time and he seems a little hyper in some of his play but he's got good upside as well. Even though he got the TD, Momah needs to do a better job holding onto the ball. Phillips is no longer a redshirt. Let's hope he makes a big impact. The TEs were fine but didn't really get a chance to do much good or bad.
There has been a lot of talk as to why Claiborne is not starting. I can say that he is not playing as well as he has in the past. Is it because they keep pulling him in and out? I don't know. I do know that when he pulls he often whiffs on his block. But when he is able to go straight ahead he still looks good. White has been playing more in place of Cleary and looking decent. The other starters were fine. There were fewer mistakes, but also not a ton of push.
Last year we broke nearly every BC rushing record in the book against this team. Last week Virginia Tech ran for more than 300 yards against NC State. We don't pass well, yet Dave Shinskie threw the ball 24 times. Harris only ran 14 times. I don't care that we were down early. I don't even care if they started crashing the line. Sometimes being effective on the ground is just about being stubborn until you wear them down or something breaks. Don't worry about being predictable running as players are already whining about how predictable our offense is. At this level predictability is not a problem. Execution is. Think of 2008 when Steve Logan was dealing with an equally frustrating QB in Chris Crane. Eventually he resorted to running the zone option 15-20 times a game because it was a play that Crane, Harris and the line could run. At this level, once you establish something like that you can then build on it. We have no bread and butter play. I've been harping on it because it is true. I don't know if Tranq is trying to adjust to each team but at a certain point you just have to worry about your own. Get some plays that work that any QB can perform.
The defensive line is maligned but I think they played pretty well. In general they contained Wilson and even sacked him. Albright continues his strong season. Ramsey was good. Scafe was fine but had a dumb penalty. Newman was a bit quiet. O'Neal was fine. I keep waiting for Quinn to do something big. Holloway and edebali was hustling.
The linebackers had a bit of a letdown. Kuechly was very good although he did get beat on that one TD. KPL also struggled in pass coverage and seems to be overpusing a bit. Morrissey got lost contain on one of Wilson's scrambles and missed a few tackles. Devitto was okay. Herzy -- even with a bum leg and a busted hand -- is still pretty darn good. He was making good decisions, just a little slow. I remain frustrated that we are not rotating LBs more. Kuechly should play ever down, but there is no reason KPL, Morrissey and Herzy shouldn't get a breather for some of the other guys. Someone new might make a play.
Fletcher had another good game and is putting together a decent season. Davis's game was a little rough. He should have helped on the TD that went into Kuechly's area and missed a tackle. I know people are harping on Gause, but he was fine. LeGrande makes some good plays and is playing hard but the dumb penalties are killers.
I give McGovern credit. He mixed things up. We shifted the front four a lot. We blitzed a lot. We intercepted Wilson twice and slowed down their rushing. But we need to do more. I understand the philosophy but at this point we don't have the offense to compliment this type of scheme. We need to get the other team off the field faster.
Quigley is going to be the offensive MVP the way he is punting. He did a good job of pinning them in. The block was not Quigley's fault. I am actually surprised that NC State backed off after blocking the first one. I expect FSU to come after us since our first line guys let people walk in free.
Freese missed a FG but was still fine.
Fox and Gause got a lot of return chances and were fine.
Put aside some of the big picture things that are amiss and just focus on how Spaz handled this game. Why start the second half with Shinskie? Why start him at all? Why keep shuffling the OLine during the game? Why didn't we use the bazooka? Why are the QBs and WRs not on the same page? It just looked like another lifeless mess.