Monday Morning Quarterback

The reason for the loss at Notre Dame is obvious to anyone who watched the game. Statistically, you have a better chance of winning the lottery than winning a game after five turnovers. The fact that it was close and BC had a chance to win at the end is something of a miracle. Putting that aside, there are some things that could have been handled better by the coaches.

The first thing that comes to mind is the first drive of the game for the Eagles. The razzle-dazzle is nice and it is good to see the staff is willing to use some gadgets on offense. The problem was the timing. BC is a young team and this was a big game. These plays seldom work and often result in disaster. The reward, of course, makes the risk worth it once in a while. If it works, it is a big play, maybe a TD.

In this one, the time for that was probably the second drive. Get the offense settled down and let Shinskie ease into the game. Everyone in the building knew Notre Dame was going to focus on Harris. Let them think about it for a series before trying the flea-flicker. The result here was a wasted down. That led to a quick out and punt back to Notre Dame.

There was no harm, but the potential benefit was wasted when the offense and their defense was not ready for it. No one can say Coach Tranquill is conservative and this underscores that point. It is just a question of timing on this one. Maybe later in the game it would have been more effective, after BC had run their offense for a series or two.

On defense, it was a good day for the kids and the coaches. They had a great game plan that worked as well as anyone could have expected. The one major complaint is the super-soft defense at the end of the first half. After a slow start, BC was taking control of the game and had a three point lead with four minutes left. They had just scored a TD and had momentum.

The defense then went into the super-soft zone, allowing Clausen to dink and dunk down the field for a touchdown. He completed eight passes for 64 yards. Do the math and that's eight yards per completion. A little tighter coverage and maybe they slow that drive up a bit or kill the drive. There was simply too much time on the clock to go into a prevent defense against that offense.

Back on the offense, the game probably turned early in the fourth quarter when BC stoned Notre Dame at the goal line. That was a great stop, but gave BC the ball at their one yard line. That's impossible field position that seldom results in a first down, much less a long drive. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the offense ends up kicking from their end zone, giving the ball back at midfield.

BC decided to run the ball three times. Every team takes this approach. The idea is to get six or seven yards and make it easier for the punt team. Maybe you get lucky and get a booming punt and switch the field position. If you get really lucky you get a first down and then punt from somewhere closer to the twenty. That's the theory.

The reality is the other team almost always gets the ball at midfield or better. That means they score more than fifty percent of the time. In other words, the odds say you end up giving the other team a score, unless you get the ball out to the twenty, at a minimum.

The right choice at that time was to throw the ball. The worst that would happen is a pick six. You may get safety, which would have been better than what happened on the next series. Given how crappy the ND secondary played all day, the odds favored throwing it from the end zone. In fact, the odds favored just running it through the back of the end zone and taking the free kick.

Admittedly, no coach is willing to roll the dice pinned inside the five. The only coach willing to take a safety is coaching in the NFL and is the smartest coach in football. But, they were willing to open with a trick play, there's no reason not to roll the dice in that situation.

Over all, the BC coaches had a great game plan. They called a great game. But, close games are lost by the team that makes the most errors. Everyone can point at the fumbles and interceptions. The coaches made a few mistakes too. Change any one of them and maybe this is seven in a row, instead of the third road loss of the season.


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