Sunday, September 24, 2017

Another Sunday spent shooting down Addazio's logic

I did not have time to watch the game back on Sunday, so grades will have to wait until Monday. In the meantime, here is another post on Addazio's losing logic...

I don't know what statistics and probability charts Addazio believes in but he could spend Monday talking about the correlation between winning and field position. And use that stat to justify punting from Clemson territory five times on Saturday. Aside from the correlation/causation issue with that, I will counter with the only statistics that truly matters are points. BC only scored seven and that was because Addazio was content to punt away possession rather than risk giving Clemson better field position. You cannot beat anyone -- let alone a Top 5 team on the road -- only scoring seven points.

After I tweeted about the bad logic of punting there were a few responses that also pointed me towards some data. One was a good series on expected value given location. In laymen's terms, what that means is that every yard has an EV for scoring. Know what has a terrible EV? Punting from anywhere. Punting waves the white flag and keeps BC from scoring.

The other problem with punting when not scoring is that BC's Defense does not employ Spaz's old bend-but-don't-break. When you play a base D like Spaz's old squads, forcing a QB to go 95 yards without making a mistake had some statistical validity. While not exactly Don Brown, BC is still aggressive on D. That aggressiveness is in place whether we have a team pinned back or if we are in our own territory. So a big play can happen and will probably lead to an opponent's score. I like the aggressive D and don't wish to go back. But I wish our Head Coach adjusted his O to the new reality. He needs to score and forget about field position.

Here are some other stats or facts that will frustrate BC fans:

-- BC is currently 115 in Punts per Offensive Score at 2.8.
-- Mike Knoll is second in most punts with 33.
-- Addazio still only has one second half comeback while coach at BC.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Addazio goes conservative, still gets blown out

There are many questions about BC Football right now and very few answers. One answer we did learn Saturday was that Steve Addazio learned nothing last week against Notre Dame. Faced with the decision to play aggressively and upset a heavy favorite, he once again played not to lose and punted repeatedly from Clemson territory. It kept the game close for a while, but it also handcuffed his own offense. And in the end it didn't make a difference. Clemson crushed BC again.

I am not giving up on the season, but I don't see another ACC win on the schedule. All the potential toss-ups don't look that way anymore.

I will have grades and second viewing thoughts up late Sunday.


In-game comments post: Clemson

Can BC bounce back? Can we make it interesting? Can we avoid a blowout? I hope so.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday picks

Here are this week's picks.

Texas A&M-2.5 at Arkansas

NC State+12.5 at Florida State

Army+3 at Tulane

Pitt+9.5 at Georgia Tech

Miami (OH)+1 at Central Michigan

Wake Forest-6 at Appalachian State

Duke-1.5 at UNC

Michigan-10.5 at Purdue

Syracuse+21 at LSU

San Diego State-3 at Air Force

Last week I went 6-3. For the season I am 18-10-1.

Game Watches: Clemson

Here are this week's Game Watches. I hope you all have reason to celebrate.

Chicago Game Watch
Tobacco Road Tap Room
2249 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

Phoenix Game Watch
Gallagher's Sports Grill
7575 N. 16th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85020

San Diego Game Watch
Striders 100 J St
San Diego, CA 92101

Thursday, September 21, 2017

BC-Clemson preview

I think my best and worst in-person moments as a BC fan happened at Clemson. The best was watching the 2007 team clinch the division in Death Valley. The worst was two years later when Spaz played purely to keep it close during a multi-hour lightning delay. I won't be there in-person this weekend. I am hoping that I regret not going and BC wins. That would be nice. But deep down I think all I am going to miss is seeing another blowout.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game)
I know all assistant coaching profiles tend to glowing and used to build up a narrative. But even with that understanding, there is a lot to like about Joe Moorhead after reading this feature in SI. I have no idea what Jarmond has in mind if (or when) he needs to replace Addazio, but Moorhead checks many of my boxes. He has game management experience, program management experience, regional familiarity, history at a Jesuit school, and most of all Xs & Os acumen. In coaching changes you tend to emphasize what the new guy has that the old guy was lacking. Addazio is clearly not a good game manager or offensive wiz. Those two areas would be Moorhead's strengths. The concern about a guy like Moorhead would be if he could recruit at a high enough level to compete consistently. I am willing to roll the dice on that issue if the trade off is we have competent coaching and can score consistently. (Now that I've written this, Addazio will probably pull off the biggest upset in BC history this weekend and save his job.)

1. Play like the OLine played last week. The rebound performance of the OL was probably the best thing of the Notre Dame loss. They made Hilliman and Brown look better and BC was able to move the ball. This week this will be tougher. Clemson has arguably the best front seven in the country. Their goal is to get to the QB. If our OL can control the trenches, BC might not win, but it will give me hope for the remaining games on the schedule.
2. Bring pressure again and again and again. The ever increasing shift to read and react is not going well. I know the Brown style aggressiveness has its own risks, but I would rather see us allowing big plays off of getting burned deep rather than missed tackles as guys wait back.
3. Don't allow Bryant to run all over us. Three games and three times the other QB has had a field day running on us. That can't happen this week.

Gambling Notes
-- BC has lost four straight at Clemson
-- Addazio is 0-4 against Clemson
-- Clemson has won six straight in the series
The current line is Clemson+34

Factoid
Since joining the ACC, Addazio is the only BC coach without a win over Clemson. Remember even Spaz beat them once.

Scoreboard Watching
Seeing how a past opponent does sometimes gives you context on your game. For example, Northern Illinois upsetting Nebraska makes BC's win look a little more respectable. This week I will be paying attention to the Notre Dame-Michigan State game. My hunch is that Notre Dame is not that great. But if they whip up on the Spartans, then maybe part of last week's problem was getting an ascending team at the wrong time.

What I hope to see...
Davon Jones make an impact right away on D. I don't mind his move to LB. We need depth there and he's not getting on the field on Offense. I believe he is valuable, so having him sit on the sidelines is useless. I hope he is a natural on D and makes some plays right away.

BC is in trouble if...
We don't score in the high 20s. Addazio can talk up any stat he wants, but scoring remains the only stat that matters. We don't score enough -- ever -- and certainly don't score enough to upset a National Champion. Even if we slow down Clemson, the only way we are winning is by scoring 27+ points.

Overall
I don't think the game will be as close as the first half was against Notre Dame. Instead I just see Clemson building up a gradual lead throughout the game as they answer BC field goals with their own touchdowns. It is not an epic blowout, but still doesn't make anyone feel better.
Final Score: BC 20, Clemson 35

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Banks decommits

At a time when Addazio could use some good news, he got bad instead. New Jersey OLine prospect Khris Banks reopened his recruiting and decommitted from BC. He claims that BC is still in the mix, but that he just feels like he committed too early. Most of the online gurus think he is headed to Rutgers. What is ironic about Banks, is that although he might be the first decommitment of this class, his motivation doesn't seem to be driven by BC's rough start. Rutgers also sits at 1-2 with no real sign of turning a corner.

Some BC friendly folks have floated that BC cooled on Banks and has less need for offensive linemen in this class now that Baker is redshirting. I don't buy that logic at all. If BC likes a guy, they will find a spot for him and squeeze out an underperformer currently on the roster. Who knows? Maybe the staff will stay on him and get him to sign in February.

While Banks' change of heart may be personal, there will be others. Decommits happen in good years. They are more common when things go bad. As much as Addazio is trying to turn things around on the field, I hope he stays vigilant with the recruits. This class was shaping up to be his best. It would be a shame to see it fall apart. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hasselbeck interview helps poke holes in media (and some fans') narrative about BC job

As the game started slipping away from BC on Saturday, Steve Levy and Brian Griese started rolling out the media narrative about how hard it is to win at BC. Many of those points are all familiar to your average BC fan -- "facilities," "Boston being a pro sports town," and of course "admissions and academic challenges." At this point, I am so sick of hearing these things.

Every program in college football has some sort unique challenge. But anyone paying attention would also realize that each job has its own unique benefits. What also frustrates me is that recent BC coaches (and their staffers) have been some of the biggest sources of spreading these talking points. Call me cynical, but most of that is self-serving garbage that the coaches use to lower expectations and make their accomplishments look better. And watch, if and when BC makes a coaching change, you will read many media types and BC fans say "BC is a terrible job and no one will want it." More nonsense.

Fortunately there are some BC-connected folks who know better. Take a look at this interview Tim Hasselbeck did with WEEI. Tim knows that these Power 5 jobs don't grow on trees. There are hundreds of qualified guys who would kill to coach at BC. And even beyond the chance to run your own team, Hasselbeck also reminds everyone that the BC Head Coach makes $2.5 million a year! Even in a world where Alabama's assistant associate long-snapper advisor makes $500k, $2.5 million is a lot of money. Even if you worry about the Greater Boston cost of living, $2.5 million is a lot of money. Plenty of people want and will want Addazio's job. The sharks are already circling. So if we don't make a change or hire another loser, it won't be because of coaching salary or because Boston is a pro town. It will be because our leaders fail to execute...which is a different problem all together.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Second viewing thoughts and grades: Notre Dame

In his postgame press conference and comments on Monday, Addazio kept emphasizing how close BC is and how close these games are. After watching it back, I actually agree with him. But where Addazio sees the relative talent as even and a team playing well the majority of the game, I see it as an indictment of everything he's doing. If your team is close and in it, you shouldn't lose 29 points.

Offense: B-

Brown looked much better than last week. Some of his passes were a little behind or a little short (like that early one to Walker) but he made good decisions and overall, made good passes. He stayed poised in the pocket. I think we should let him run a bit. Not because he has speed, but because the plays are there.

Hilliman looked much much better. I know part of it was that he finally had some holes, but he also ran with purpose and got things to the second level. Dillon didn't get as many touches but looked decent.

Callinan played really well. He made some tough catches and also fought for yards. Jeff Smith did not look great and dropped two catchable balls. Thadd Smith got snuffed out on the jet sweeps. White was good. The Tight Ends blocked better, but the false starts were killers.

The OLine looked how they were supposed to look. Petrula got well deserved praise. The right side looked good. They all gave Brown enough time.

What I liked about the Loeffler's adjustment was that we rolled Brown more and used more play action. That helped settle him and gave the WRs space. I know it is ultimately Addazio's call, but I still think we get too conservative in the redzone. The 4th down call was not well executed.

Defense: F

The DLine needs to get better quickly. Landry is being misused and had some plays. I think at this point we need to give him the greenlight and just chase QBs. Dropping into coverage is a waste. Even reading and waiting is not what he does best. He did miss Wimbush on Wimbush's biggest run. Allen had a few tackles but is not making the impact promised in the summer. Ray needs to step up. Merritt had some good plays.

Richardson made some plays earlier but didn't make the stops as the game wore on. Schwab was fine. Bletzer is not playing poorly but he is not closing on enough plays and his speed looks suspect.

The DBs looked good in past coverage. They had problems helping the run. Look at ND's first big play. It came off a Moore missed tackle. Other than that, Moore played well. Yiadom was good. Dennis continues to play well. Harris was active and productive, but we need some game changing plays from him.

I am a Jim Reid fan and defender, but this was bad. It doesn't matter if you stop them on the majority of plays if it falls apart later. I wish we were more aggressive. I wish we would stop messing around with Landry and I wish we knew how do defend a simple zone read. It hurt us in all three games. We will be seeing it until we show we can stop it.

Special Teams: B

Special teams continues to be the lone bright spot. Other than Walker's fumble -- which BC recovered -- everything was good.

Kick offs were strong. Punt coverage good. Knoll is placing the ball well.

Lichtenberg did well.

Overall: F

I obviously spent a lot of time on the sequence before the half, but there is plenty of blame to throw at Addazio. Why does he keep punting from the opponent's territory? Knoll is making the decision seem smart by punting well, but most Pop Warner coaches know that the better move is to go for it. Landry's usage is also looking dumb. Whether he is hurt, you're trying to develop him in other areas or you truly believe you are resting him, the benefits are not showing. Addazio even said that DEs were not the problem on the first three scores. He's implying that even with Landry, Notre Dame still scores. But that is not a given. Landry draws extra attention and forced ND to switch plays. We can't assume anything about what happens if he had been on the field. Even how he used Wade late during the blowout is weird. Why not go for it there? Or give him more throws? What do you have to lose?

BC has many tough games ahead. Most should be competitive. However, if Addazio keeps coaching like he did this week, nothing will be close.