Monday Morning Quarterback

Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. That may be true in the metaphysical sense, but in the world of college football, the opposite is true. After all, Monday Morning Quarterback could not exist unless it was possible to point out those responsible for failure. The fact is, in football, failure has many fathers.

The first two weeks were hard on this space. There were nits to pick, but there was also the risk of seeming like a jerk. So, we had to dine on scraps and dance around the fact BC had won their first two games in impressive fashion. Now, thank Jesus, we have a full buffet to dine on without fear of backlash.

The first thing that comes to mind on this glorious morning is the reaction from some of the fans. We read the blogs. We read the message boards. We feel the pain. We also see a bunch of fans ready to throw the whole program over the edge because of one bad game. Every one of the histrionic "experts" was talking about a rebuilding year a few weeks ago.

This is a r-e-b-u-i-l-d-i-n-g year. That means it will be messy at times. There are new coaches, new schemes and a bunch of new players. Oh, they also have three quarterbacks getting their first game time. We love criticism, but it should be grounded in something close to reality.

That aside, there are plenty of things that did not make much sense on Saturday. The first is why the BC staff gave Shinskie just four snaps. Clearly, Tuggle was not getting much done in the passing game. It is hard to throw from your back, even when you have a good arm. When he had time, he could not find a receiver with a compass and map.

If the plan was to give Tuggle the game and see if he adapted, then why bring in Shinskie at all. What possible benefit to the team or Shinskie was there to be gained by four snaps? The way things were going at that point, they had nothing to lose by leaving him and seeing if he could provide a spark. It was not like things were going to get worse.

Similarly, why in the world did they keep Tuggle in the pocket all day? Maybe one day he will be an accurate passer that can zip it into tight spots down the middle of the field. Everyone thinks he can be that guy one day. He is not that guy now. Like most young quarterbacks, he has problems with his mechanics and does not read defenses very well.

The book says you roll the guy and let him make some easy throws to receivers following him across the formation. It also gives Tuggle a chance to run the ball, which is something he does well. Instead, we only saw a handful of roll-outs and just two running plays from the QB.

Another highly questionable decision by the coaches was the on-sides kick after the touch down. The argument in favor is that they had some momentum and maybe they catch Clemson napping. Get the ball back and perhaps put together a drive.

Reality, however, says you don't do that. It is highly unlikely that you get the ball on an on-sides kick. That means you are more likely to set up Clemson in great field position. Even if you get it back, your offense is not going to drive fifty yards down field for a score. They had not gained fifty yards all day.

The right answer was to kick it off and let your defense make a stop. Get a three and out and you get the ball at close to mid-field anyway. Get a turnover and maybe you get an easy score. Your defense has played great all day. Give them a chance to turn the game and maybe turn momentum. Instead, they set up Clemson for an easy FG.

Back to the quarterbacks for a second. OK, they tried Shinskie for a few snaps and went back to Tuggle. Despite the lack of production, they stuck with him the rest of the way. As noted above, we don't buy into that thinking, but there it is. Maybe they simply felt it made no difference and they wanted to give Tuggle the time.

That's fine, except they did not get Shinskie or Marscovetra in once it was clearly over. Once you put up the white flag and begin to use the rest of the game as a learning experience, it only makes sense to get some guys in the game so they can learn. They already burned Marscovetra's red-shirt. May as well stick him out there for the final series to get his feet wet.

As noted above, it is easy to find fault in a loss, particularly one of this magnitude. Another old football expression is that you are never as bad as you look when you lose. That's true here. BC is a better team than they showed on Saturday. What has to happen now is the coaches have to better prepare their kids to face the rest of the schedule. Otherwise, Monday Morning Quarterback will be a very busy boy the rest of the season.


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