October 30, 2008
The bad taste of the performance against The University Of North Carolina has yet to go away for most. I understand the hysteria on the message boards, but everyone needs to remember the old BC Football slogans of the past...Always believe in BC.
1. BC was able to survive the interceptions against Virginia Tech but could not weather the storm two games in a row. Over the two games, three interceptions led directly to 21 points and another led to a ball on the 1-yard-line eventually leading to a touchdown. The unforgiving nature of defensive scores has put the defense behind the eight ball and has also forced the offense to abandon the run when falling behind. The excessive pressure has created a snowball effect and put more pressure on the play of quarterback Chris Crane.
2. Chris Crane continues to say the right things and says you must learn from your mistakes but how much longer can BC wait? Crane has had the daunting task of replacing Matt Ryan at quarterback. I have always said that Crane cannot think he can be Ryan but needs to be himself. Well seven games into the season and you could argue that there has been a regression come game time. While Crane began the season utilizing his legs he has all but abandoned this tool in the arsenal. Whether it's play calling or his decision he no longer is keeping defenses honest with his legs. He continues to lock on receivers and throws off his back foot when under pressure. I wish I could say he just had a bad game but the trends with interceptions is not promising. The crowd on Saturday will not be kind if the offense does not get off to a good start. That is the plain truth. I do not condone ever booing a student athlete as all student athletes deserve more than that from fellow alumni and friends, student athletes should be championed, but Crane was booed during the University of Rhode Island and the University of Central Florida games and both those games ended as wins.
3. Navy won on Saturday never throwing a pass running the ball over 75 times amasing 400 plus yards. BC needs to establish the run and pass off play action for its offense to be successful once again. The BC offense is at its best when it dictates pace. While I don't expect 75 rush attempts , I do expect a new dedication to the running game and an ariel attack downfield off of play action. Other adjustments may include no-huddle and whatever happened to Dominique Davis' 20 snaps a game.
4. I do not hide that I believe in coach Jagodzinski, however I think he needs to follow his own ideas more closely. He mentioned that Davis would get 20 snaps a game to garner experience. Davis has yet to take a snap in ACC play. Does he make his debut on Saturday versus Clemson?
5. The defense needs to be the leaders in the clubhouse and on the field. The heart of this team is the defense, losing Brian Toal and Wes Davis really hurt last week. This loss reminded me of the Maryland game of a year ago where the defense arm tackled and was suffering from multiple injuries. Hopefully players can learn their new roles and re-establish the defensive dominance.
6. The parity in the league has provided the opportunity for BC to still control it's own destiny. While dreams of an ACC title game may be unrealistic right now, BC is still in contention. Each game must be taken individually but getting a chance to return home for two weeks is just what the doctor may have ordered. All this despite the meltdowns on the board. BC lost a game to UNC on the road where UNC was coming off a bad loss. Hopefully BC can do the same against Clemson. Look at Virginia, they came into the ACC conference play looking like quite possibly one the bottom 30 teams in all of Div I, but coach Al Groh (much maligned) had done a great coaching job and continues to get by in close games.
7. Clemson is talented but has underachieved and now has an interim coach. What type of opponent can BC expect on Saturday? I hope for some colder air come Saturday, every little advantage can help, but Clemson just hasn't figured themselves out yet. They haven't established the run despite excellent running backs. Expect BC to shut down the run but if Clemson saw anything from the UNC game, expect some reverses, fake reverses and maybe even a tailback option throw. BC has shown a tendency to over pursue and not contain. Clemson has the speed and ability to make BC pay for these mistakes. BC will need to play its best game of the year to win.
8. Can Penn State, Alabama and Texas all win out and create a logjam come BCS title time? I really hope so. This would be the only way that a playoff can garner the attention that may be needed to get it implemented. If this scenario were to present itself, Penn State would probably be left out of the national championship game. I personally would feel really bad for Joe Paterno and company as I think they are better than Alabama but chaos among the pundits would be great fodder for the holiday season.
9. It will be interesting to see how the recruiting efforts end come Letter of Intent Day but I continue to have faith in the BC coaching staff. If the staff fails to fill the class with talent then by all means get on my case and theirs but I expect the staff to land a quality class based mostly on need.
10. You don't usually find out about your true character unless faced with adversity. After the Georgia Tech fourth quarter debacle BC ran off four consecutive wins and played better in each game until UNC. I don't believe they have played their best game of the season let alone a complete game. No better time than on Saturday.
PS Hope everyone got to see Mike Singletary rip into his team. Classic stuff! If you don't want to play for him you don't want to play football.
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