November 15, 2009

BC/Virginia Offensive Report Card

Quarterbacks: D+

Dave Shinskie killed the first drive by throwing an interception to Ras-I Dowling in the endzone. He held the ball too long, advertised his throw, and threw into traffic.

He managed to overcome his mistake, hitting Colin Larmond deep on what should have been a 65 yard touchdown, and was able to throw for a 35-yard completion to Rich Gunnell while being hit from behind on the first touchdown drive.

Virginia's secondary did what the numbers say they do, and that's covering the pass well. Shinskie's numbers suffered from at least three drops - one by Gunnell, Larmond, and Jarvis each. Jarvis' drop was a sure touchdown.

Then Shinskie threw a pick six as he was being hit. If this was hockey his plus/minus would have been in negative numbers until he had the game-winning one yard touchdown sneak.

Tranquill dialed Shinskie's number, as he should have, but I didn't know Drew Bledsoe lent him his old cleats before the game.

Shinskie finished the day 13 of 27 for 148 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Running Backs: A+

Montel Harris embraced the role of being The Man. He rarely went down after first contact, and was patient enough to let the guards pull out in front of him on powers and traps.

Running small and breaking through tackles, Harris' jersey was dirty from the word 'go'. On one carry, Harris was stopped two yards beyond the line of scrimmage but mustered another four before going down.

Montel was a forgotten man in the third quarter, but he started the fourth quarter with straight carries of 21, 9, 21, 9, and 4. He finished with 152 yards rushing on 38 carries, and he should jump up into the top 15 for most rushing yards in the nation.

Harris deserves the game ball for his effort, as this victory would not be possible without his heroic effort.

Offensive Line: A-

The offensive line was blowing big holes up the middle all game. In the first half they dominated Virginia, giving Shinskie all day to throw the ball, but Nate Collins and Virginia's pass rush upped their intensity in the second half which led Shinskie to get hurried and pressured often.

The line gets a solid mark for opening the way for Harris to gain 151 yards on the ground. They stood their defenders up, and controlled the line of scrimmage in the running game.

On their seven minute, 70 yard, game-winning touchdown drive, Thomas Claiborne threw a monster seal block where he literally blocked two defenders on 4th and 1 to keep the game alive.

Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends: C-

Colin Larmond dropped a no-doubt-about-it touchdown pass that hit him in stride and he just flat out dropped it. Rich Gunnell was there to pick up his teammate with a 35-yard catch to make up for Larmond's folly on the following play.

Justin Jarvis got his first touchdown since the Clemson game to get BC on the board. However, in the second half he ran a one-yard out on third and three which resulted in a punt. Jarvis then followed that up with an alligator-arm drop in the second half. Then Gunnell dropped a strike from Shinskie the very next throw.

did make a great leaping grab to move the chains in the fourth quarter and keep the clock rolling. This group can thank him for improving their grade.

Offensive Coaching: D

I don't want to sit here and play armchair quarterback, second-guessing the play call that led to the pick in the endzone, but let's face facts. When you're getting five to six yards per carry all the way down the field and you need a yard and a half on third down, why do you call a pass? That's how to beat Virginia, running the ball. With not even a play-fake, Shinskie's end zone interception was doomed from the start. The entire defense read pass from the get-go, and the result was a huge momentum swing for the Cavs right off the bat.

Alright, I've calmed down and so did Coach Tranquill as the game went on. The key was to keep getting four yards per carry on the run, set up play action, then scorch Virginia deep. Tranquill called up a beautiful play-action pass bomb on the Larmond drop, and then came back with a 35 yard in to Rich Gunnell on the following play, which was the key play on the first touchdown drive.

However, when the Eagles had such a clear advantage in the running game, and you as the offensive coordinator do not exploit it for an entire quarter, it was clear Gary Tranquill was out to lunch.

Montel Harris had 85 yards on 17 carries in the first half, an average of five yard per carry, then Tranquill forgot he had Montel Harris in the third quarter, as BC had only five running plays versus 10 passing plays.

Finally, Tranquill came back to his senses as he gave Montel the ball 20 times in the fourth quarter.

Tranquill had Shinskie going to his left (he's right handed) on a rollout, which led to almost another near-pick right after his second interception. On the Eagles fourth down conversion, Coach Tranquill decided on a slow-developing power to Harris which was luckily blocked beautifully by Thomas Claiborne.

Even the D-list announcers doing this game on ESPN 360 saw that Tranquill was out-thinking himself from the booth. It goes without saying that he over-complicated what should have been a simple offensive game plan.

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