Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Trip to South Bend: Part II

Admittedly, I made it into Notre Dame Stadium after Notre Dame had scored it's first ten points.  I had made a detour to see the Father William Corby statue outside Corby Hall, which is an exact copy of a statue at the battlefield in Gettysburg (Father Corby was the chaplain of the all- Irish New York regiment in the Civil War).  Ms. SaturdaysOnShea and I made it into the game about mid-way through the first quarter, just in time to be reminded how inept our BC offense can be and how stellar our defense can be.

The biggest talking point from the game seems to be the inaccuracy of Chase Rettig.  Chase threw 20 incompletions over the course of the game, going 18- 38 with one touchdown and, mercifully, no interceptions.  Chase seems skittish in the pocket.  His never settles his feet and doesn't plant his back foot to throw.  Certainly, we are seeing a sophomore slump from Chase, but he seems to be digressing in his abilities as a quarterback over all, something we saw with Dave Shinskie as well.  At the beginning of the season Chase seemed to be the quarterback we had been looking for, showing sophomore mistakes but generally having an upside.  Chase has not gotten any better this season and that's a problem.  He deserves some of the blame, but so do the coaches and so does his O-line.  Personally, I believe that it has been the lack of an effective O-Line this season that has caused many of Chase's woes.  He doesn't set his feet because he's expecting to get hit the moment the ball is snapped.  He is forcing throws because he's used to throwing under pressure.  His passes are off target because he doesn't have or isn't expecting to have enough time for the play to develop.  With better coaching and a better O-Line Chase could be much better, and hopefully we will see a junior jump next year.  That is left to be seen.

Another problem that led to our offensive woes was the use of Bordner.  Although he scored a rushing touchdown to bring the game 10- 7, he was used sparingly and over time, the defense was able to recognize that Bordner in the game meant a running play.  It also disrupted any rhythm that Chase and the offense were getting themselves into.  I do believe that there is a place for Josh Bordner in this offense, but he needs to be used wisely and strategically.  Put Bordner in and have him throw one and run one to keep the defense off balance.  If teams see him coming in, they know that more than likely the ball will be run, not thrown.  If we want to go with a two quarterback system, we need to use that strategy better or not at all. 

The defense played an excellent game.  Although it was clear they schemed against him, Luke managed to become just one tackle shy of tying the all tie BC tackles record.  Our defensive pressure held Notre Dame to just 3 points in the entire second half and were able to force Notre Dame into long yardage situations and turnovers.  Max Holloway's interception could have been a game changer.  BC was down 6 and the interception gave us the ball on the Notre Dame 48.  A few plays later, though, BC could not convert a 3rd and 3. Additionally, the defense was able to effectively shut down Michael Floyd.  More than anything else, this kept us in the game.  The defense allowed Floyd just ten receptions for 92 yards and no touchdowns.  The defense played this game to win and kept fighting to the bitter end. 

BC should have, and could have, won this game.  If a few different things broke a different way, no penalties, better accuracy from Chase, the reviewed calls that went to Notre Dame, I really do think BC would have won.  However, winning teams shouldn't have to rely on "what-ifs" to win.  The fact of the matter is that this was not a very good Notre Dame team.  Losing by just two points means that BC could have just as easily won this game.  Better play calling and better coaching could have made this a very different outcome.  Some people are taking the moral victory out of this one.  BC was a 24.5 point underdog going into South Bend and lost by just two points.  I can't bring myself to take the moral victory when true victory was just as easily attainable.  BC played well but in too many situations left points on the field.  The team played hard and they deserved to win this game, but they have not been given the tools to succeed. 

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