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Defensive Review: Boston College

It's time to put the Boston College game under the microscope and see what we can find.

Which defense lived up to the hype?
Which defense lived up to the hype?
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

This is long and I encourage you to read this installments.  I'm making a conscious effort to keep it as understandable as possible if you are a casual fan. However, if you want to learn, you still have to try even if it's only a concept or two per week that you fully digest. I'll use pictures for the pivotal plays if you learn better visually.  If you rewatch the game, or even specific parts of it, this can be used as a companion piece.  And yes, I know this is the defensive review but I always like to lead off here by discussing the offense.

We can rest easy Tiger fans because "The McFadden-O'Rourke Trophy" is secure.  I'm not sure if that's on Dabo's preseason goal-list but, who wouldn't want to put on that leather helmet and get used in a countless number of vines by opposing team's fans.  Nevertheless, we won a game we should've won and all of our season goals are still intact. This week we will get back on the road where hopefully, we will have a cleaner game than we did in our last road contest.

  • Artavis Scott was very gingerly running the ball back on kicks and punts. He ran away from contact a good bit. He didn't want to cut it up. I wonder if that rib shot he took last week was still bothering him.
  • ScElliot clearly saw on film that BC's secondary could be had deep. The first play of the game was a deep ball to Artavis Scott. The third play of the game was a deep ball to Hunter Renfrow. Both guys were open and both balls were overthrown. The array of deep shots came on nearly every drive and we haven't seen that kind of commitment downfield by ScElliot until this game. This shows that they are willing to adapt and adjust their style to attack the defense where they are vulnerable. That is a good sign and demonstrates a willingness to adapt and a lack of stubbornness.
  • DeShaun Watson was 16 of 19 on balls thrown underneath in the first half and 0 for 8 on deep balls.
  • BC does a great job of getting run fits on defense and collapsing the interior line. There really isn't room for Gallman's "press the hole and cut elsewhere" style, although in the 2nd half he did find some success. The "no cut" style of Zac Brooks was a better fit in this game. Brooks looked great and I think he earned himself even more reps after this game.
  • The first deep ball to Charone Peake was just out of the reach of his hands. He could've done a better job selling out for the ball (what's new), but tried to catch it in stride. That's fine, just don't be upset when someone that will sell-out for the ball takes your position.
  • On the roughing the punter play in the 1Q, the ball actually went between the BC player's outstretched arm and helmet. That was about a 10 inch window, so we were very fortunate. The BC player just simply ran around the upback. The upbacks should get some attention in practice this week if they didn't get it at halftime.
  • I had Watson taking 7 "Cringeworthy" hits in the game (that's an official stat, right?). The hit that seemed to hurt his hamstring was the late hit that drew the roughing the passer penalty.

Here is a key for my shorthand in alphabetical order in case you need to refer back to it as you read this: 22 Front = Both DTs lineup on the guard. Alley = area between the OT and WR.  BCB = Boundary Cornerback, Blast = FB lead play in the C gap with a kick out on the DE or seal on the LB. Bullet -ILB A or B gap blitz.  Crack- WR blocks down on S or LB.  C0, C1, C2, C3, C4 (quarters) or C6 (quarter, quarter, half) = coverage scheme by the secondary. Dig route = 15 yard square in. EM = end man on the line of scrimmage. FCB = Wideside or field cornerback, Fire- S, NB, LB blitz from the outside D gap.  Green Dog = man blitz when your man stays in to block or is not in the formation. Iso = FB lead play in the A or B gap. IV= Inverted Veer. IZ = Inside Zone or Zone blocked play inside the tackles. Jailbreak - 7 or more blitz.  LOS = Line of Scrimmage. Man = man to man coverage.  OV = Outside Veer or option play where the FB dive hits the B or C gap.  OZ = outside zone run or zone blocked play off-tackle.   PA =Play Action, PBU- Pass broken up.  Power = backside OG leads into B gap hole. Power Sweep = FB lead to the D gap with OG pulling around. Red Dog (overload)- LB and S/NB blitz on the same side. Robber - S or LB moves to take away crossing routes. Sky - SS moves up two yards, takes flat, CB and FS take deep third.  Slant Right/Left - entire DL slants to one direction in unison.  Soft = CBs/NB playing well of the WR until he gets to the 1st down line. Stretch = zone blocked run just inside the last offensive player on that side.  Stack - the 3 LBs are stacked directly behind DL.  Stalk - WR blocks DB in front of him. Sweep = TB/QB run, often FB/ H-B lead play to the D gap.   TE stunt - Tackle shoots outside gap and end loops around on the inside. TFL = tackle for loss. TO - Triple Option. Trap - playside DT is left unblocked, backside OG pulls to block that DT, RB runs underneath. Twist = one DT crashes on a slant and the other DT loops around and fills the hole he just left. ZR =Zone read option play.

Coach/Player shorthand:  BB = Ben Boulware, BJ = B.J. Goodson, BV = Brent Venables, Car = Carlos Watkins, Mac = MacKenzie Alexander, OD = Dorian O'Daniel, Shaq = Shaq Lawson, Tank = Cordrea Tankersley, War = Christian Wilkins

Thoughts within a play will be separated by a comma (,)

Each plays will be separated by an ellipsis (...)

First downs separated by a paragraph

Comments on a drive will be done in italics

Offensive Personnel will be listed as a 3 digit number where it is listed: # of RBs, # of TEs, # of WRs like 212, which is 2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR.

BC comes into the game with the #1 defense in the national rankings and a largely inept offense. They are 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the ACC.  They have switched to a running QB this week and will undoubtedly try to manufacture some big plays against a Clemson defense that has show the propensity to give up big plays.


1st Drive, BC 37, 14:20, 0-0

1st and 10, I Formation-Unbalanced Line Wide (3 TEs) vs. 4-3 Under, C Gap Power, big hole to the outside but Dodd sheds and gets the RB for a loss of 1...2nd and 11, I Formation Twins-Wide vs. Nickel Soft-C2, Iso boundary, BB obliterates the FBs block attempt, Car pushes the OG into the backfield, BB and Shaq get the RB for a loss of 3...3rd and 14, Shotgun 113 vs. Dime of Doom WLB and NB Fire, straight drop, BB applies pressure, throws to shallow crosser by the slot (our old friend from the ND game), WR is smacked as he catches it by Green, gain of 4...PUNT

They are playing 2 TEs and moving them around from TE to WR to OL.  On defense, it's tough to find those guys at first and declare strength.  They mess with us on the first play of the game by lining up 3 TEs in a row on the wide side.  On 2nd down, we played a soft Nickel C2 look which is not at all what you would normally play against 2RB, 2TE, 1WR personnel. The Dime made an appearance on 3rd down and you can really see how we should've jumped into that against ND because, as the Bo Jackson commercial says, "you can't run crossers against a dime package."

Watson throws an interception on a deep ball. Guillermo brings the Safety down with a German Suplex at our own 20. We have a RedZone Sudden Change situation for the defense early.

2nd Drive, CU 20, 11:10, 0-0

1st and 10, Offset I Boundary and Unbalanced Line Wide vs. 4-3 Under FS Fire, IV, great fake by the QB, Dodd loses contain, Tank brings him down after a gain of 10...

This was all about the QB fake. The QB made his decision early and fooled Dodd like he was David Blaine visiting Pendleton Preschool.  Green did a good job of setting the edge, so if Dodd would've just come down the line, he would've made the play for no gain.  Great execution by them.

1st and G, CU 9, 230 Offset I Boundary Unbalanced Line Wide vs. 4-3 Under, they do some motioning with the TEs and we get confused about strength, C Gap Power, the TEs wall off the BB inside, the OG seals Goodson, Kearse sets the edge, Green makes a physical play to hold this to a gain of 3...2nd and G, CU 6, Gun 131 vs. Nickel, IV wide, give to the RB, Shaq takes the RB and gets him for a gain of 1...3rd and G, CU 5, I Wide Unbalanced Wide vs. 4-3 Over C0, PA Blast Wide, Blanks anticipates contact from the FB, and when it doesn't happen falls down,

FB is wide open in the flat, complete, great call, great job by their FB beating our NB, TOUCHDOWN BC.

This is man's football right here.  They are basically doing what I think ND would've done if their TEs would not have gotten hurt. We don't have that beast of a SAM to handle the TE like we had last year with Goodson. To compensate, we are just putting Kearse on the LOS, and more or less, using 2 men to do what Goodson was doing last year by himself. This is successful until they go play action and our undersized guys are trying to get downhill. I would have O'Daniel in there.

We get the roughing the punter penalty, a 50 yard slant to Artavis, and a Watson scramble for a TD.

3rd Drive, BC 15, 5:25, 7-7

1st and 10, Ace 2 TEs vs. 4-3 Nickel soft C2, PA bootleg wide off of IZ, we are literally giving them a free 5 yard curl, QB throws it into the dirt though, terrible throw, incomplete...2nd and 10, Gun 112 strength wide vs. Nickel, high snap, IZ, Car gets pushed off the ball and into BJ, BB can't knife in fast enough to make the play, Tank runs him down for a gain of 10...

1st and 10, BC 25, Ace Unbalanced Wide/Twins Wide vs. Nickel, Power Sweep (which has created problems for us in the past),TEs seal Shaq and BB, BJ sets the edge with one OG, Blanks comes too far upfield anticipating the RB bouncing it but he cuts it up in the C gap instead, Mac dives at the knees of the other OG and ends up taking out  him and the RB, wow, great job by Mac, gain of 5...2nd and 5, Gun 122 Twins-Wide vs. Nickel C4, Counter Dive play to the RB, Shaq abuses the LT and almost makes the play for a loss, Car and War get double teamed out of there, OG gets to BB off the double team, huge hole in the middle, War chases the RB down from behind after a gain of 8...

1st and 10, BC 36, I Twins-Wide TE boundary vs. 4-3 Over, PA Iso, looking for the homerun but it's not there, Shaq forces the QB to the other side wide, QB runs around Dodd and gets the edge, finally throws downfield on the run to a crossing TE on a deep over route, ball was underthrown and the TE couldn't catch the ball in front of Tank at the 3 yard line, whew, incomplete...2nd and 10, Gun 131 vs. 4-3 Over Sam Fire, high snap, Blanks picked up by the TE and kicked out, IV, play stopped, FALSE START BC...2nd and 15, Gun 113 Twins-Wide vs. Nickel MLB Bullet, straight drop, blitz picked up, thrown over the middle into double coverage, should've been picked by BB for a pick 6, incomplete...3rd and 15, Gun 203 vs. Dime of Doom, straight drop, Draw, Shaq abuses the LT and is there to turn the RB to the other side, Car pushes the C back 4 yards, Dodd sheds and makes the play for no gain, FALSE START BC, well they let that play go for a while...3rd and 20, Gun 104 vs. Dime of Doom Kearse Fire, rollout wide, Kearse is in a foot race with the QB to the edge, QB ain't gonna win that, QB throws it out of bounds, incomplete...PUNT

Often they are playing with 2 TEs which gives BC a 7 on 6 advantage in the box (8 on 6 if they run the QB Lead), but then at the same time, we also had our LBs 5 yards deep and NB at 6 yards deep as well. Clearly, we think their offense's only hope is converting a big play.

A promising drive stalls at the 25 and Huegel knocks down the FG.

4th drive, BC 25, 1:09, 10-7 CU

1st and 10, Offset I 230 vs. 4-3 Over C2, Counter Dive Boundary, Pagano gets washed down, OG seals Goodson, pulling OG helps LT with Shaq, Blanks makes a diving shoe-string play to save a big gainer, Blanks appears to be shaken up, gain of 5...2nd and 5, Pistol 221 vs. 4-3 Over FS Fire Slant Right (O'Daniel in), Power O, OD pushes the TE into the backfield which throws off the pulling OG, BB with a backside fill, Kearse sheds the FB, BB and Kearse crush the RB for a gain of 1...3rd and 4, Gun 5 Wide vs. Nickel, END OF QUARTER

2nd QUARTER, 10-7 CU

3rd and 4, Gun 4 Wide vs. Dime of Doom (Blanks back in), quick out to the slot, Kearse playing way off, WR gets the first down, gain of 6...

1st and 10, BC 37, Gun 113 Unbalanced Boundary (Same formation we ran the trick play on UL and it sounds like the fans are trying to tell the defense that) vs. Nickel, IZ, good push out of Pagano and War put a stop to that after a gain of 1...2nd and 9, I Formation 2 TEs vs. 4-3 Under, Power O, DTs get washed down, OG seals off BJ, Shaq and BB get him down for a hard earned gain of 3...3rd and 6, Gun 4 Wide vs. Nickel MLB Green Dog, BJ gets through and flushes the QB to the boundary, QB turns on the jets and runs past BJ and BB to get the edge, wow, QB runs out of bounds after a gain of 2...PUNT

It's hard to watch us play with one hand behind our back. I just want those LBs and DBs up close to shut down any chance they have of running it.  However, I also know that the plan BV is employing is sound and probably the right thing to do.

The awesome 4th down call gets us a Brooks TD.

5th drive, BC 32, 7:11, 17-7 CU

1st and 10, I Formation 3 TEs vs. 4-3 Over MLB Green Dog, we aren't sure how to line up against this, PA Iso, BJ applies pressure, thrown away, incomplete...2nd and 10, Gun 122 vs. Nickel Zone Dog w/ MLB and FS, Dodd drops, Speed Sweep wide(FSU runs this), Shaq obliterates the TE, War and Goodson shove their OL three yards deep into the backfield, Car comes down the line and makes the play with BB for a 1 yard gain...3rd and 9, Shotgun 113 vs. Dime of Doom Red Dog w/ BB and Kearse, blitz gets picked up, straight drop, throw to the fade is overthrown and JJ and Tank were there anyway, incomplete...PUNT

Weeeee're Baaaaack.  Ok, we returned to our normal aggressive defensive style and had our best defensive series of the night.  They tried to catch us coming downhill on 1st down and sneak the TE out but, we stayed home. Great 3 and out there. We'll see if they adjust by trying more misdirection or continuing their power oriented attack.

Then this happened...

If you were at the game and took part in this, it looked awesome on TV, and more importantly, captured the cool as hell, fun, and spontaneous happenings for which the Death Valley faithful are known. Tip of the cap to you all.

They came out and sent 5 and 6 every play and we didn't handle it well. Watson was sacked on a 2nd and 1 and the drive stalled.

6th drive, BC 25, 4:30, 17-7 CU

1st and 10, Shotgun 221 vs. 4-3 Under, Counter Dive, they've run that too many times and BB meets the RB a yard deep in the backfield and gives him a face full of hair, eyes, and teeth, loss of 1...2nd and 11, I Formation Twins-Wide vs. 4-3 Over Sam Fire, Counter Iso, Blanks is waiting on the RB in the backfield and trips him up, RB stumbles back to the LOS, no gain...3rd and 11, Gun 4 Wide vs. Nickel Double Bullets, Dodd drops, straight drop, we got a wheel route and Kearse doesn't see it, thankfully neither does the QB, throws to the deep out on the other side instead, overthrown and Tank and Green were there, incomplete...PUNT

2nd series in a row of aggression and they decided to keep the power coming for the most part. We seemed to dodge a bullet on the backside wheel route though so, we'll see if they come back to that later.

Watson throws a pick after Zac Brooks gets annihilated by a blitzing LB in pass pro. That guy was coming way to fast to stand there and catch the hit. I would've run out there to meet him and cut him. Maybe he'll think about how fast he wants to run in there next time.

7th drive, CU 41, 1:27, 17-7 CU

1st and 10, Shotgun 122 vs. 4-3 Under, Speed Sweep Reverse Pass, BB is all over it in the backfield, the coverage was there, the WR tucks it and dives back towards the LOS for a loss of 1...2nd and 11, I Formation 2 TEs vs. 4-3 Over, Sam and BCB Fire, PA Iso, Tank flushes the QB wide, QB has to throw it away out of bounds, incomplete...3rd and 11, TIMEOUT BC...3rd and 11, 0:33, TIMEOUT BC...3rd and 11, Shotgun 113 Trips-boundary vs. Nickel C2 5-Under, straight drop, BC runs double crossing routes by the outside WRs and a deep-out by the inside WR, Blanks forgets he's playing zone and runs with the inside crosser instead of passing him to Goodson, Mac passes his crosser off to Blanks and Blanks is nowhere to be found, the QB read it perfectly and completed the ball for a first down, Goodson brought him down at the 25, that's a killer on 3rd and 11, gain of 17...

1st and 10, CU 25, Spike...2nd and 10, 0:26, Shotgun 4-Wide vs. Nickel Double Bullet (well timed by the LBs), straight drop and quick fade to the boundary WR, broken up by Tank, however PASS INTERFERENCE on Tank, Tank didn't get his head turned around, legit call...

1st and G, CU 10, Shotgun 203 vs. Nickel MLB Zone Dog, Shaq drops, Lead Draw, DL still in their rush lanes, nice hole, BB takes out the FB at the LOS, Shaq and Kearse get him down at the 3...2nd and G, TIMEOUT BC, 0:06, FG is Good.

Schematically, on the big 3rd down and 11, we played to stop the run leaving in our Nickel look and not going to Dime. This was a saavy move by BV because BC is in 4 down territory so the most likely playcall would be a draw. BC threw anyway and we had a bust that led to a big conversion by them.

Halftime, 17-10 CU

Well, this was the most yards the BC defense has given up in a game yet this year...and it's only halftime. Yes, we accomplished that feat in the first half even though we were 0-8 on deep ball attempts and threw 2 INTs. In other words, our C-game offensively is good enough to put up 30+ against a very good defense.  Our pass protection in the 2Q was not good and that needs to be cleaned up.

Give BC credit for shutting down our rushing attack but, is it a legitimate overpowering of our OL or is it that they are using DBs to get downhill and attack.  It seems to be the latter as we have WRs running free downfield on almost every play.

This was not the best half of football I've seen from our defense. Schematically, we were lined up very soft against their jumbo formations.  This created more seams for the RB and put more responsibility on the DL to defeat blocks and make plays.  BC's offensive line is, as they are every year, pretty salty. What they lack in athleticism they make up for in Football IQ and toughness.  They are a sound offensive team schematically with limited skill position talent.  They are not able to challenge all areas of the field consistently and the style of ball that they play reflects that.

The positive is that the defense didn't allow any back breaking plays and held the BC offense in check. Much like the GT game, offensive turnovers directly led to BC's 10 points.

3rd QUARTER, 17-10 CU

8th drive, BC 28, 15:00, 17-10, CU

1st and 10, I Formation 3TEs Unbalanced-Wide vs. 4-3 Under MLB Bullet, C Gap Power, BJ gets through and forces the pulling OG to take him instead of leading into the hole, FB kicks out Mac, BJ and Dodd get the RB for a gain of 3...2nd and 7, TIMEOUT BC...2nd and 7, Ace 122 vs. 4-3 Under, Power Sweep, Shaq blows up the TE back into one of the pulling OGs, beautiful, the other OG blocks Kearse and allows the RB to get the corner, Kearse finally runs him out after a gain of 8...

1st and 10, BC 41, Ace 131 vs. 4-3 Over, PA off Power, Pagano is back there immediately to flush the QB wide, QB cuts it back to the middle and Car and Dodd get him down for no gain...2nd and 10, Ace 212 vs. 4-3 Over Double X, Lead Draw, BB gets hit in the legs and can't make the play, Green has to tackle him for a gain of 8...3rd and 2, I Formation 3TEs Unbalanced-Wide vs. 5-3 Goalline, Pagano with a great jump off the ball and pushes the C back 3 yards, supposed to be a Power play but the pulling OG can't get around the C, Car and War stuff him for no gain...PUNT

Great stop in short yardage there.

We start the half with a drive of a lot of chunk plays and get a FG.

9th drive, BC 25, 8:47, 20-10 CU

1st and 10, Shotgun 122 vs. 4-3 Over FS Fire, rolls into the blitz, thrown out of bounds, incomplete...2nd and 10, Shotgun 131 vs. 4-3 Over, IV, give to the RB wide, War gets doubled, Shaq gets kicked out, RB avoids BJ and Dodd and cuts to the boundary, BB gets caught in the wash of the double team, RB gets a crease between War and Shaq, TE seals off Tank and it's a footrace, Green drags him down after a gain of 45...

1st and 10, CU 30, Ace 212 vs. 4-3 Over, Power Sweep Wide, Dodd sets the edge, Blanks defeats the pulling OGs block, Dodd and Blanks get the RB for a gain of 1...2nd and 9, Shotgun 4-Wide vs. Nickel C4, PA Jet Sweep, rolls wide, BJ on the chase and forces the QB to throw it away...3rd and 9, I Formation Twins-Boundary vs. 4-3 Over NB/BCB Fire, C Gap Power to the boundary, War obliterates the playside OG and pushes him into the pulling OG, Shaq manhandles the LT, Tank and Blanks are closing in on the outside, nowhere to go, Shaq and War get the RB for a loss of 3...TIMEOUT CLEMSON...PUNT

By not letting them even get 5 yards after the 45 yard run, they couldn't even attempt a FG. Great job of tightening up and asserting our dominance up front.

Watson drops two deep balls into the hands of Artavis Scott on this drive. The 2nd one was a 51 yard TD.

10th drive, BC 25, 4:27, 27-10

1st and 10, Offset I-Wide Twins-Wide vs. 4-3 Over BCB Fire C1, straight drop, Tank gets in there and gets the sack, loss of 3...2nd and 13, Pistol 131 vs. 4-3 Over BCB Fire, IV boundary, QB keeps, tries to get the edge but Tank and Green shut that down for a gain of 1...3rd and 12, Shotgun 113 vs. Dime of Doom Kearse-Fire ET-Stunt MLB-Bullet, FALSE START BC...3rd and 17, Shotgun 5-Wide vs. Dime of Doom Kearse-Fire, Tunnel Screen Boundary, not very well defended but Dodd brings the WR down for a gain of 10...PUNT

4th QUARTER, 24-10 CU

11th drive, BC 21, 13:45, 27-10

I Formation 2TEs vs. 4-3 Under, Iso, FB handles BB, luckily Byers gets off a block and makes the play and knocks the RB out of the game, gain of 5...2nd and 5, Offset I-Wide Unbalanced-Wide vs. 4-3 Over Sam-Fire BCB-Fire, C Gap Power Wide, Blanks just shoots a gap right at the snap and goes flying through the backfield taking the TE with him and taking out the pulling OG, ok, Shaq sets the edge and gets a hit but can't wrap the RB up, ditto War, ditto BB, ditto Tank, uh oh, RB squirts out and it's off to the races, brought down by Green, gain of 18...

Poor Tackling erased an otherwise dominating play for the defense here.

1st and 10, BC 44, I Formation Twins Wide vs. 4-3 Over Slant Boundary NB-Fire, Blast, Blanks takes on the FB and draws the block of the TE, BJ with an excellent scrape outside, RB cuts inside back into Blanks and they bring him down for a loss of 2...2nd and 12, Shotgun 212 vs. 4-3 Over, Speed Sweep, Shaq destroys the TE and sets the edge, they get OL on the LBs, Mac shoots in with great awareness and cuts the RB down, wow, loss of 2...3rd and 14, Shotgun 113 vs. Dime of Doom, straight drop, QB throws to a 5 yard crosser in front of Mac, incomplete, wouldn't have been enough for the first down anyway...PUNT

They really needed to score on that drive to have a chance. We made some fatigue mistakes by missing tackles but as soon as we make a mistake we turn it right back up and dominate.

A long run after the catch by Cain leads to a Leggett TD.

12th drive, BC 35, 6:38, 34-10

2nd String is in now.

QB bootleg only gets 1. Good hustle by Byers to get over there after Yeargin lost the edge...They try to throw a RB screen but out blitz gets there too fast. Incomplete.  After a false start penalty, they take a shot downfield. Baker was beat but the ball was overthrown. PUNT

13th drive, BC 28, 4:50

On the first play, the line just gets blown out of there and the RB gets 21. Robinson had a chance but couldn't bring him down. They throw downfield into double coverage and JJ should've had an INT.  They convert a 4th down on a FB swing route and missed tackle.  That takes the ball inside the 5.   Pagano has his nice blowup of the Center to force a 4th down and Goal.  On 4th down, BC scored on a bootleg to get to the Final Score 34-17.


Stat of the Game:

The offense averaged 6.5 yards per play against the top defense in the nation.

The eye test says...

I was disappointed that we were unable to run the ball with consistency but it was clear that they were selling out to stop the run and stop us from getting the edge.  They basically tried a reverse Louisville on us where they gave us the deep ball and prevented us from running in the A-Gap and getting the corner on bubble screens and outside runs.  We mixed up the play calling and found some ways to get the RBs out on the edge using swing passes. Once Watson settled down, we were very proficient moving the ball. We've seen several different strategies to stop our offense and so far, and we have been balanced enough to take advantage of whatever the opposing defense gives us.  The only thing we haven't seen is someone try to do what we just did to BC defensively and play under-manned in the box and try to take away the passing game altogether.  I don't think we'll ever see that unless we are behind in a game late.  We've already proven that we are willing to stick with the run if an opponent gives us run-looks.

Our DL was asked to do more than they have in other games and I thought they passed the test. Granted, BC is not known as an offensive juggernaut but the OL and TEs had a numbers and size advantage in the box a good bit. Our DEs and DBs were stellar in edge setting in this game. We gave up a couple long runs and we had our usual occasional issues with Power Sweep but we held up outside and kept their RBs off the perimeter. It's apparent that our run defense is just as good on the perimeter as it is in the box. Hopefully, this will pay dividends when we face Dalvin Cook in a few weeks.

With all of their jumbo packages, we used more Under than we have all season.  When we went Under we would bring Kearse up to the LOS and both he and Blanks would act as sort of a duel-Sam LB.

Mac had his best tackling game of the season and really rose to the challenge of playing a power team. I thought he had been a little tentative towards contact in the past but he was aggressive in this game. This game erased some of my concerns that Mac might get picked on in the run game down the road.

Where was the Shermanator? Sherman Alston is more quick than fast, but he hurt us last year in Chestnut Hill. This year, we kept him in check and I barely remember his name being called for anything other than a punt return.


Game Ball: Shaq Lawson (BV asked Lawson to hold down the whole right side of the line against power formations and he crushed it. Hell of a job setting the edge and playing on the other side of the line of scrimmage.)

All American Level Performance: None

All ACC Level Performance: Shaq Lawson, MacKenzie Alexander, T.J. Green

Honor Roll: Scott Pagano, Ben Boulware, Kevin Dodd, Cordrea Tankersley, Jayron Kearse, B.J. Goodson

Solid: Everybody else

Less than solid:  Travis Blanks. His recognition and instincts are lacking and I'm not sure he's 100% right now.  He displays a lot of toughness but, I would give O'Daniel some more reps.

Past Game Balls: Scott Pagano (Wof), Ben Boulware (ASU, UL), MacKenzie Alexander (ND), Dorian O'Daniel (GT)