Dave Shinskie looked like a pitcher with a dead arm. His indecisiveness and lack of technique was exploited by a hungry UNC defense. Coach Spaz alluded to the fact in his postgame press conference that most of the BC turnovers turned into touchdowns for the Tar Heels. Shinskie had five, and should have had six turnovers, had it not been for a bad defensive pass interference call that negated another interception.
The offensive line shares a good deal of the blame for the first quarter debauchery, and we'll get to them shortly. Shinskie was out of synch with his receivers, went back to throwing off his back foot, and should have called ahead before throwing that pick-six in the first quarter. Shinskie locked on to his primary options, and couldn't seem to look off the safety or corners.
Even as UNC's pressure died down in the second half, Shinskie continued to play like an inexperienced freshman.
Shinskie seemed to not be on the same page as Rich Gunnell, and on one interception Uncle Dave didn't seem to trust the route, holding the ball too long waiting for Gunnell to get open on a seam route, and by the time he released it, it was too late. His hesitation allowed the UNC secondary to close on Gunnell resulting in the pick.
Shinskie also threw his hands up with a shoulder shrug on a miscommunication on an option route with Gunnell that resulted in a dump off to Montel Harris.
Mike Marscovetra's first pass was picked on a 'robber' formation where the free safety sat back, played centerfield and Marscovetra didn't look off his receiver.
I know there's two games left to the season, however I think we can put to bed the notion that Chase Rettig will have second thoughts on his commitment to BC due to Shinskie already being in place.
Running Back: A
Montel Harris continues to be a beast running the ball. Harris averaged 5.7 yards on 23 carries, resulting in yet another 100-plus yard effort.
If we had to pick one highlight (and there were many), Harris had a 14 yard run in the second quarter where he ran the safety, kept his balance due to his low center of gravity, all while breaking a tackle from a second defender.
Harris was gashing UNC all day outside, stopping on a dime, and cutting upfield, which resulted in two runs over 20 yards. This offense would be lost without him.
Offensive Line - Pass Protection: C- Run Blocking: A-
Matt Tennant certainly didn't disappoint the NFL scouts that were in attendance. He held his own and then some against Marvin Austin, where other BC lineman struggled. UNC's coaches picked up on this, as Austin would line up on Tennant, but then stunt outside on his pass rushes as the game went on.
If you take away the first quarter disaster, the line made the proper adjustments against the speedy UNC front seven. Shinskie was rarely under pressure in the final three quarters, and it allowed the Eagles to recover from being down 21-0.
Anthony Castonzo has regressed as the season has come along, and he looks like he's playing through some bumps and bruises that he's accumulated this season. Robert Quinn was blowing by him like he was standing still on passing downs in the first half, and the Eagles had more success on the ground when they ran to the right side of the line.
In summary, the offensive line looked unprepared for how fast this defense actually was, but give them (and the coaches) credit as it appeared that they were able to hold the Tar Heels at bay for the final three quarters.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C+
This is a tough group to grade when Shinskie was having such a tough day, but Chris Pantale deserves credit for at least one interception, as he was open over the middle on a deep post, mistimed his leap, and the ball deflected off his fingertips. This overshadowed his three receptions.
Rich Gunnell had a consistent effort, separating from defenders, and running a nice drag route for the Eagles only touchdown.
Justin Jarvis was the only other player in this group with a reception, but in all fairness, the passing numbers suffered due to Shinskie's lack of getting rid of the ball, rather than his receivers getting open.
Play Calling: C+
It took Gary Tranquill two quarters to realize that the weakness in the UNC zone was the deep middle. When he started to exploit that weakness, it resulted in the chains moving, however Tranquill didn't account for the defense adjusting for that gap.
Also, for a team that is so powerful when they run the ball north and south, there are an awful lot of calls that are too slow developing, especially against a defense of this magnitude. On the first scoring drive, BC had a 3rd and 1 from the UNC 8 yard line. Tranquill called a slow developing power play, where Nathan Richman pulled while having a defender lined heads up on him. That left the tackle Castonzo with an impossible reach block, and two defenders filled the hole for a two yard loss.
Tranquill does get props for the bazooka play call where they ran a reverse to Shinskie, who had a receiver streaking down the field. Too bad Shinskie couldn't pull the trigger as he couldn't get his feet set, which resulted in a sack.
On the other hand, his worst call was on third and goal on the second field goal drive, where he had two guys line up in front of Shinskie out of the shotgun, they both went in motion to the right, and then Shinskie rolled right, attempting to throw a screen back to Harris on the left side. This play is better suited between the 40's, not from the five yard line. Shinskie was nearly picked, and this play was indicative of how the Eagles should have more quick-hitting plays when they get in the red zone, instead of trying to fool the opposition.
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