Sunday, September 18, 2011

Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Duke

One of the reasons I like reading Michigan blog MGOBlog is because Brian works in game theory and probabilities into his reviews. In the one of his wrap ups of the crazy Notre Dame-Michigan game Brian quoted Brady Hoke on the final :08 seconds:

“With eight seconds left? We had two timeouts, so we were at least going to give it a shot in the endzone. If Denard would have scrambled and got tackled, I think we had enough time to call a timeout. I may have gone for the touchdown and gone for the win [anyway]. Why not? I mean, you play to win. That was a good win.”

Spaz drives me nuts in a lot of ways, but what confounds me is his unwillingness to adjust his style or strategy as the game conditions change. Forget that he's blown double-digit leads before, the biggest concern is that with the game on the line, he limited his number of opportunities to score! He spiked the ball when he didn't need to. He kept running without taking a shot into the endzone. If you are ahead you can rationalize conservatism and playing for the kick. When you are down, you cannot. You need to press until you take the lead!! Later, in the defense section, I will get into Spaz's signature scheme coming back to haunt him.

Spaz apologists can shift blame to multiple people, but no one else controls our approach, time management and strategy. The missed kicks hurt, but Spaz had lost the game long before with his approach.

Offense: D+

Rettig has moments of brilliance, some moments where he shows his age and then makes some flat out bad throws. What concerns me about the bad throws is that there is often no need. He has time. He has enough strength and often has good footwork, so I don't know why some of these are off. On the bright side Rettig looked great and made good decisions on the broken plays. Maybe we should use more shot gun and just let him chuck it over and over.

Swigert made some nice catches. Larmond was good. Coleman made a nice catch, but is still raw. For example, he should have been ready for Rettig's back shoulder throw. Pantale and Anderson were good...I wish we tried to get it to them in the redzone.

Kimble's TD was nice, but I was more impressed with some of his catches in traffic. He has good hands and uses his body well in one-on-one matchups. Carrying the ball wasn't as effective. It was nice to see Finch back. He might be better at cutting and blasting through the hole than the other two guys. Williams showed great power but still doesn't have that elusiveness nor instincts in traffic. Dan Williams did a great job as a lead blocker.

Wetzel and Clearly both played well. Too bad the interior guys weren't as strong. I don't know what is up with Richman. It doesn't seem like he is 100% as he had some mental lapses (missing late blitzers) and got overpowered. Gallik was ok. White probably had his most uneven performance of the season. Vardaro was ok.

There were simple plays I liked that were perfect calls at the perfect time: like Kimble's screen. We also had some more play action and downfield throws. All of that was positive. Yet there were still multiple drives that were just ugly. Even though we didn't win, I think Brock called a decent game. I don't think he was the problem.

Defense: D
I've been killing the DTs, but this week the DEs didn't do much. Quinn made the most news with his boneheaded penalties. He also started flushing their pocket late in the game. Now we need him to wreck havoc earlier in the game. Ricci was ok. Rudolph was ok. Harris Williams was fine. But as a group they just didn't make enough plays.

I don't want to diminish Kuechly's big day, but KPL was just as good. Luke covered more ground, but KPL was able to be disruptive in their backfield, had some great plays closing on their runners and is getting better in pass coverage. Divitto was solid. Clancy was fine. A few other LBs got on the field but didn't make big plays.

Fletcher was good again. Noel was really good...he did a great job tackling and also helped out on tackles in his area. Louis-Jean was pretty good but didn't play as much. The bigger issue were the safeties. Sylvia has really good instincts but his good plays were negated by his bad ones. He's also got to wrap people up and not just throw his body around. Williams screwed up on their TD where he didn't get the player or the ball. Rositano looked ok. Hughes looked better but still didn't make a big impact play.

We faced this same offense last year and watched them move the ball at will. Why did we think this year would be any different? We couldn't get pressure. We couldn't stop the run. We gave them the flats and they took it. We finally went to man coverage but still gave them huge cushions. What was that going to accomplish? They could still complete the passes. I understand that our defense is built on forcing the other team to make precise passes...and it is usually effective. But when facing a team that wants to dink and dunk in the passing game, you have to mix it up.

Special Teams: F
Freese made two nice kicks...oh, yeah, he also missed an XP and the game-winning field goal. I hate killing a kicker, but he's got to make the easy ones. They're more important since they are a higher percentage play.

The big head scratcher was the squib to end the first half. But are we really surprised by failure to grasp time, distance and timeouts?

I don't know why we started doing the Rugby style punts. Quigley's been one of our most consistent performers. Why screw it up.

Rositano's block was nice. (Did you know that was the first block during Spaz's tenure?).

Our kick returns were fine.

Overall: D

Some would say that losing to Duke would earn an 'F.' I went with a 'D' because we did have a chance to win the game. BC is close, unfortunately the schedule starts to get tougher

I lost hope in Spaz a long time ago. Now my hope lies with the players and assistants. BC is a special place and this team is better than its record. I hope that pride and competence make a difference and we start winning some games despite of the clueless game management from our head coach.


About Five said...

Almost beating a loser program that any school that actually plats football is embarrassed to be beaten by gets a passing D. Easy grading in the new America.

Patrick said...

When an incompetent coach who has been in the game of football for five decades botches the end of the game so badly that any reasonable observer is left to conclude that he is struggling to keep his head above water...what does he do?

Pulls his kicker down with him:

“We thought we’d make it and get the first down,” Spaziani said of the third-down play call. “He’s got to make it — middle, schmiddle.”

I will not root for a man like that. It's his responsibility to put his guys --- who are kids --- in a position to succeed. When he fails to do so, it's not somebody else's fault. #firespaz. #firegene. #cleanhouse #avoidbecomingSyracuse

Smitty said...

New lows for BC football. Fire Spaz, fire Gene! CLEAN HOUSE....or back the football program and bring back Lax! Hofstra did it!

Thomas said...

The problem with us in finding a new head coach is that Gene would probably require Spaz be kept on as D-Coordinator, which is why we didn't get the guy we wanted when Jags ended up being the hire. Whoever/whenever/however the next guy gets here, he needs to be given the freedom to build from the ground up. Gene trying to micromanage the football team is what's gotten us here. It really does seem as if he's got Napoleon Syndrome.

philibusters said...

I am the Maryland fan last week that gave an outsider's perspective.

I watched 10% of the BC Duke game. It was more or less on at the same time as the Maryland - WVU game, though I caught some of during commercials and since the game actually started a half hour later I watched it during Maryland's halftime and after the Maryland game was over so I caught the ending.

Last week I think the two most likely scenarios for BC were 7-5 or 6-6, but it was a bad weekend for BC. They lost to Duke and then UCF lost to FIU (trap game) and Northwestern lost to Army. Looking at BC's resume, they have lost two home games to mediocre teams in Northwestern and Duke, so its tough to get excited about them.

I still think BC is a decent team, but I doubt they go bowling at this point. They are going to lose other games where there offense is okay at times, but stagnant at other times, and their defense gives them a solid, but not great effort.

Against Duke what I just described is exactly what happened. The offense stagnated the second half (I didn't catch enough of it see why it stagnated) and the defense did reasonably well, but its not an elite defense. Just a solid defense.

Looking at the rest of the schedule BC has

UMass: They need to win this, they have more talent. So far BC has had lackluster execution and good execution can make up for talent, so BC needs to make sure they execute well enough that there superior talent comes.

Wake Forest: A must win at home if this team is going to go bowling. There will be teams later in the season, that BC probably has a talent deficit with. Wake is probably about even with BC this year, so this being a home game its a must win for BC. A loss and the odds become stacked against BC reaching a bowl game.

@ Clemson--Clemson recruits well and traditional has solid talent. This year isn't that much difference, though they have slightly less talent on defense like last year. The past few years Clemson has been average on execution and there are reasons to believe despite the win over Auburn, Clemson is still like that. In past years, BC has been able to steal a road game like this against a decent, but not great Clemson team. This year BC doesn't seem to have the same execution as past years so stealing a game like this will be harder. Nevertheless this is a huge opp. for BC here to steal this game and get into the ACC race.

@VT : VT has been the best of the ACC for the past few years and I think they still are. VT should win this game easily. Thats what should happen on paper based on what we know of the teams from the first couple weeks of the season, not necessarily what will happen.

philibusters said...

@ Maryland: Maryland will likely go in favored, but its an opportunity for BC to steal a game. Last year Maryland dinked and dunked their way to victory @BC. On paper they should win at home, but a game BC is certainly capable of stealing.

Florida State: On paper FSU is quite a bit more talented. Maybe superior execution gives BC a shot, but FSU in my opinion should win this game by multiple scores.

NC State: You can pretty much see my Wake comments. NC State is probably a similar team to BC, you have to win this game at home. Both Wake and NC State are home games, they have to win those.

@ Notre Dame: ND on paper has better talent. ND could be 3-0 but poor execution has them 1-2 (after two weeks they were 117 out of 117 in turnover ratio, not sure what they are after the Michigan St game) If they continue to execute poorly BC has a shot, but on paper ND has more talent and should win this game.

@ Miami: Another one on paper Miami should win. Traditionally over the last five years, Miami's execution has met their talent level, but Al Golden is a good coach. I expect Miami to win.

BC is talented enough, where they could win any of their remaining games. But looking at the odds they have to win games they should be favored in UMass, NC State, Wake and steal games like the UMD where they will likely be minor underdogs if they are going to get six wins to go bowling. I see very little margin of error at this point for them so I don't see them getting six wins. Maybe 4-8 is my guess after the Duke loss.

Patrick said...

Your overly optimistic assessment of our season is flattering and appreciated.

But we have two more games left in the "collapse after halftime" portion of our season. Then we begin the "over at halftime" slate.

mod10aeagle said...

When I coached my kids' various sports teams in their pre-high school years, the primary objective was to provide a sense of what it means to put focused effort toward a collective goal (i.e. teamwork) and enough good, clean, wholesome fun for the kids to want to do it again next season. I get the feeling that Spaz and GDF have the same philosophy. Neither of them seem concerned about the results, whether that's measured in Ws or butts in the seats. It's really weird.