Posted: 8:04 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013
By Brian Favat
"That was a tough football game today, which is something that we absolutely anticipated. We played a very good football team. It's a team that has an outstanding quarterback, some outstanding playmakers and they played well. I thought that we fought hard. I am real proud of the way the team went in at halftime. We had to make some adjustments at halftime on both sides of the ball. We had to shore some things up. We had far and away too many missed assignments on defense in the first half of the game, guys not in the right place. We had a good opening drive on offense and then they started really coming at us with a lot loaded in the box. I thought Ryan Day and Donnie Brown did a great job of adjusting at halftime."
This point has been hammered home ad nauseum, but the coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for the halftime adjustments. It wasn't a perfect second half by any stretch of the imagination, but the coaching staff did what it needed to do to effectively shut down the Villanova offense in the second half.
The halftime adjustments were a big reason why Boston College avoided a similar fate to Georgia State (Samford), Iowa State (Northern Iowa), Kansas State (North Dakota State), No. 25 Oregon State (Eastern Washington), San Diego State (Eastern Illinois), South Alabama (Southern Utah), UConn (Towson) and USF (McNeese State).
"We went to more play action in the second half. Understand that our game plan on offense was that we wanted to try to pound down a little bit because we kind of outmatched them up front a little bit, so sometimes you have to be a little patient with that. It was time in the second half we really start to try to take some strikes at it, which we did. Obviously it was a shame that we didn't convert that screen pass for a touchdown to Alex Amidon.
"Overall I am very, very proud of the kids, the way they fought. They faced adversity. They had to overcome adversity. First games, sometimes, are very often like that. Right now, this is what I know, fifty percent of the BCS teams in the country have a win, and fifty percent have a loss. We have a win. We have a lot of work to do. We know that. You've got to start. Our first goal was to win the opener.
"All in all, game one, we've got a lot of work to do but some of the important things that you'd like to see, in terms of the character of your team, you saw. The toughness of your team, you saw. Finding a way to win, you saw. Sloppy, yes. Things to be cleaned up, yes. We'll move from here."
I get trying to outmuscle the Villanova defensive front in the first half. I'm glad the staff didn't stubbornly stick with this strategy throughout the game otherwise the second half could have ended up very differently. I'm not sure how much of this was Addazio / Day trying to keep the playbook vanilla in an effort not to tip their hand too much. One of the advantages a new staff has is in the unfamiliarity the opponent has for both your offensive and defensive schemes. With Boston College's week 2 opponent having a few extra days of rest and watching BC on TV, the coaching staff may have tried to see if they could pull away by using the ground-and-pound approach.
As maddening and frustrating as the insistence on running on first and second was, it did open up the passing game and some very good play action passes.
"It's special for our kids. I've been coaching a long time. I just want to have some good moments happen for these players. They came off a very, very disappointing season. They haven't had a ton of things to be excited about. They worked really hard. They had total belief in what we were doing. It was total buy in. Never one time, did we ever, ever, have anybody that gave anything less than 100 percent commitment, buy in. All you do is you hope and you pray that, that will result in some positive feedback. Almost in a weird way, the way they had to come back to win this to me, probably helped us from the standpoint of building our program. I am really happy for our players."
Good advice for fans as well.
"I think our running game is something we didn't really have to go on every play last year. So it's nice to have a running game and then obviously you can tell from what we did and what our game plan was to not get play action and it definitely worked out for us."
Again, it's nice to establish the run, but judging from the small sample size we have now, the Eagles' ground game is only going to go as far as Andre Williams will take it. That is, unless another back emerges and shows that they can contribute.
"I was definitely surprised that they had single coverage it was something we looked at on film because Temple played them last year and Coach Addazio was at Temple last year. So we figured they knew some of the stuff that would be coming at them. On film they played a lot of man coverage, sometimes press, so that was part of our game plan. That we would go in and when they would cloud the box up with eight or nine guys we'd be able to hopefully have that guy eight or nine yards off, and a quick throw to Alex and pick up six or seven yards and it has a chance to be a big play if it breaks one tackle. It was part of our game plan but even with a lot of guys in the box we run the ball pretty well at times. So we just have to keep moving forward, we're 1-0 that's the most important thing and we just have to make all the corrections this week and have a good week at practice. We have to continue to be excited to be at practice every day and build as a team."
If BC knew Nova was going to stack the box, I would have liked to see the staff switch to more play action and deep balls earlier. I can only think of a few times where Rettig threw the ball further than 10-15 yards. The offense is going to need to go more vertical and less horizontal on some of these passing patterns because some of those passes aren't going to work against quicker, more athletic defensive backs.
"I think we just went back to what we did in the first drive really. We pounded the football and had lateral play action. It's amazing what momentum can do for you and we just played a lot better. We can't stall like that after one drive. We just have to continue to play hard and execute."
"We've got a great OC, Coach [Ryan] Day and he just puts us in the right places. Coming into the first game neither team really knows what's going to happen so I guess it just plays into that too. The other team can't really plan as well because they don't know what we were going to do. It's the first game and things like that happen."
"It's very encouraging. To face a little adversity in the beginning and overcome that proves that we can do that game in and game out. Now it's time to correct the mistakes which is a lot easier to correct after a win, then move on from there."
This is a solid point. Setting aside the coaching staff's halftime adjustments for a moment, would previous BC teams have responded so well in the face of adversity coming out of the locker room for the second half? That's not a knock on the team as much as it is a deficiency of top-down leadership from the coaching staff. Glad to see the team come back firing on all cylinders after getting smacked in the mouth in the first half. That type of experience is habit forming and can help this team later in the season in some of these toss-up games (starting, conveniently, on Friday night).
"Coach Brown always tells us never let them cross that magic line. Even though on a couple gimmick plays they were able to do that twice, we got back to the fundamentals and made sure they didn't cross that line again."
Even with the halftime adjustments, I felt there were some defensive miscues in the second half, particularly in third down situations. But to KPL's point, they didn't allow Nova to cross the goal line again which is all that really matters.
"In the first half we just started off a little slow. When we came into the locker room before the second half we just told each other to calm down and relax and we'll get things rolling, we'll get it together. So when we came out in the second half we just had the mindset that we were going to come out and play as hard as we could, and we did."
"I can't really say anything about it. I was just playing coverage, but from what I know the D line got in the back field, hit the quarterback, he had to throw the ball up so all the credit should go to them"
Team. Team. Team.
"I've already been here for two years, this is my third year here and we started off every year 0-1. When I first got here I had never been 0-1 in my life so now that we're 1-0 in my third year it actually feels great. I'm not trying to have another 2-10 year, but it's just the start."
It's easy to forget that there's a significant portion of the roster that has lost five out of every six games (sophomores) or three out of every four (juniors). Football is a grind and any win can be used to build some momentum for the rest of the season. The schedule gets significantly tougher very quickly, so it was great to send the players that have been through a lot these past few years out as a winner in the opener.
"After coming off of two wins in a year you want to come back out there and prove that that's never going to happen again. So when we got that chance to get back out there we were excited. It was after the spring, after the summer, being back out there together you're ready. We just had to calm ourselves down. Near the end of the second quarter we started to (calm down) and then we went into the locker room for half time. Like Manny said, we just told ourselves to calm down, that stuff was done and we just moved on and came out and had a third and fourth quarter shut out."
"I think it just kind of came naturally with our run game. If you only run the ball and you don't really have any play action pass you can't be successful so I think it just advanced out of the natural workings of our offense"
Hopefully Wolford can build on his big opening day performance. Definitely has the opportunity to shine in Addazio / Day's offense.
Postgame quotes via bceagles.com.