Monday, September 8, 2008

Headlines: Stung by the Yellow Jackets

The Glass is half empty

Jeff: OK, Brian, you were at the game, tell me what you saw that you didn't like.

Brian: Well, where to begin? The offensive side of the ball was straight up ... offensive at points in the game. I think most indicative of our offensive struggles was - surprisingly - the touchdown pass that Ifeanyi Momah wrestled away from the defender in the corner of the end zone. Our seats are in section A and we watched as Chris Crane stared down Momah as soon as the play started, didn't look off any of the defenders, double pump faked before throwing the ball up for our 6'6" receiver to come down with the ball. Even though we scored the touchdown, Crane was ineffective at looking off the Georgia Tech defensive backs and telegraphed the pass. Everyone in the stadium and on the opposing sideline knew the ball was going to Momah.

Jeff: Yes, that was obvious on television and I didn't realize it looked that bad in the stands as well. Crane did that several times where he never even glanced at one side of the field.

Brian: There were also plenty of missed opportunities to put points on the board. When Georgia Tech fumbles three times in the first half and the Eagles only came away with 9 points, we left the Jackets in the game. In the second half, we didn't come to play. Two fumbles, an interception and a safety, and we didn't do ourselves any favors.

Finally, on special teams, the missed field goal at half killed our momentum. While I understand that Georgia Tech called the timeout to ice the kicker, a 30 yard field goal should be a gimme. There were plenty of mistakes in the game but you can definitely point to the missed field goal as a momentum killer and one of the differences in this game.

While we are kicking the ball straight on kickoffs, we need to get the ball further down the field. The special teams weren't that special. The punts from Billy Flutie weren't that impressive (where did Quigley go?), including an embarrasing effort to pin the Yellow Jackets deep that almost cleared the uprights and landed 12 yards past the Georgia Tech goal line.

Jeff: That's all you got? Letting Jags off the hook? Crane was horrible. He is only effective when the running game gets going and Haden and Smith were out in the second half so he stunk. Then even Crane was hobbling around. What happened to Davis getting some PT? At some point we need to see if he has a little better wheels than Crane. Even if his wheels and arm are only just as good I would love to see him get a chance because I am sick of seeing Crane throw completely uncatchable balls. It's one thing to miss a guy by a little but its another when the reciever just stops and watches to ball sail into the stands when he is wide open. But leaving Crane in the entire game through the first two games was not Jags' biggest mistake. We could've kicked a 50 yard field goal to tie that game and he left Bennett on the sidelines. Maybe Bennett only has a 25% chance of making it, but that's better than the alternative. The odds of our offense converting 4th and 6 were worse than 25%. And then add to that that we would've then had to hit a field goal which from any distance is far from a sure thing with us or stick it in the end zone which is equally difficult.

Brian: I agree on the 4th and 6th call. I said something in the stands during that play that we should have attempted the field goal. Other than that call though, I can't blame Jags too much for this loss. He wasn't executing the plays on the field. He didn't hold onto the ball while getting tackled in the end zone, miss his assignment on the Dwyer 43 yard touchdown run, or miss a chip shot field goal after being iced with a Paul Johnson timeout.

Jeff: Unrelated to the play on the field, the Gold Rush campaign was a complete bust! Perhaps it was because the shirt is Georgia Tech gold, but not enough fans participated to make it noticable that there ever was a Gold Rush. Great planning by the Athletics Department to kick off such a campaign in a year that our first two home games are against teams whose primary colors are gold! On TV, alumni looked no different than it did last year.

Brian: Jeff's finally coming around to my side of things. While all is not lost, we could be headed for a long football season if the Eagles don't start to put plays together. The BYE week comes at an opportune time before Central Florida comes to campus in two weeks. Hats off to Georgia Tech who capitalized on turnovers and were the better team on Saturday. In my opinion, however, BC is the better football team and we let one get away from us.

The Glass is half full

Brian: Jeff, you are ever the Boston College optimist. Tell me why this loss might not be that bad.

Jeff: We did lose the game, but the goal was never to go undefeated. The goal was to win the division and go back to the ACC championship game. Georgia Tech is on the other side so the loss hardly effects our chances of heading to the ACCCG. We still control our own destiny. But also, for all we know right now Georgia Tech is the best team that we will play all season. Clemson looked horrible last week, Wake Forest looked very beatable at home, Notre Dame stinks, Maryland, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech already have one loss and no one on our remaining schedule is 2-0 right now. Lastly, Paul Johnson and mobile quarterbacks are the two things that have given Spaz the most trouble of anything in the last decade and we only gave up 17 points Saturday (2 coming from that safety).

Brian: It doesn't matter that Georgia Tech is on the other side of the conference, as a loss is a loss in ACC play. Both Wake Forest and Clemson have easier Coastal division teams this year so an opening loss definitely puts the Eagles squarely behind the 8-ball as far as winning the division is concerned. I will agree that mobile quarterbacks have always given BC fits, but we did hold Georgia Tech to 3 of 12 on third down. It was just the broken plays where Nesbitt ran for 15-20 yards on third down that really killed any BC momentum.

Jeff: It absolutely matters that Georgia Tech is in the other division because we still control our own destiny. Wins or losses against Clemson and Wake matter a lot more than a loss to Georgia Tech. Look at last year. Winning at Viriginia Tech was great and all but as it turned out we could've lost that game and ended up 5-3 in conference and gone on to the ACC Championship Game. Now look back at the game and how BC played. BC just isn't going to win games this year turning the ball over 3 times and commiting a safety. And we only lost by 3 when doing all that on Saturday. BC's offense ran 24 more offensive plays than Georgia Tech and outgained them in total yards. BC made many many mistakes in this game but they were still only one play or one less mistake away from winning. Some bounces will go our way next time and BC is still going to win a bunch of games before the end of the season.

Brian: Agree to disagree. Every game in an 8 game season matters. The converse argument is we could run the table in the Atlantic, lose to Virginia Tech or North Carolina, finish 6-2 and be left out of the title game if Clemson or Wake go 7-1. We did dominate much of the game (at least in the first half) and I agree that breaks may go our way in the future. Except for a few broken plays and missed assignments, the defense played well, but that's about the only positive I can hold onto from Saturday's performance.


Raj said...

jeff- I agree with your overall assessment. I can't say I have any confidence in jags managing our team. After the lackluster 3rd quarter in Cleveland, and also a mediocre first half followed by a horrible 2nd, I have zero confidence in crane and jags.I haven't seen a tight spiral on target from crane yet this season, I'm not asking for the second coming of Matty ice (who is the MAN by the way), I'm asking for a an who doesn't make mistakes and moved the chains. Did chris crane bring anything to the table this weekend. Passing stats:18-35 for 142 yards, 4.1 yd avg 1 td 2 int. Rushing stats 10 carries for 13 yds. Now that's a dual threat qb. Chris crane should be benched and continue his run as a fifth year freshman.

Some were trying to convince me that we jags kept a tight lid on crane against kent st, so teams couldn't scout us. In my opinion if he passed more once that game was locked we would have known what we were getttin ourselves into. Right now I'm praying for bowl eligibility.

BCMike said...

Jeff is right. While a loss in-conference hurts, a loss in-division hurts worse. It seems BC is often in these two and three team ties for first place. While the loss hurts (god does it hurt...make the pain stop...), it's good that it happened early in the year instead of later, and it's good it's to an ACC team that we don't have to worry about being tied with (and therefore losing to) at the end of the season.

Bravesbill said...

I was also wondering what happened to Quigley. He looked awesome in the first game, then Flutie began punting. Flutie has no leg at all for one and doesn't have the skill to pin the opponent deep on the pooch kicks. And why is Apon still the starting place kicker? Bennett has assumed the kickoff duties and showed that he has a pretty good leg with those touchbacks he got last week. Apon has consistently missed those mid-range 30 yard FGs throughout his career. Bennett surely would have made it. And finally, I'd agree that BC should have attempted a FG to tie the game. Given the offense's struggles (esp. Crane), esp. in the second half, there was no way BC was going to convert a 4th and 6. Bennett has the leg the kick a 50 yarder. Jags might as well have let him attempt it. He had a better shot of hitting the FG than the offense had of converting a first down.