Blackout Preview! Boston College Eagles and your Florida State Seminoles (Finished)

I WILL liveblog this for you guys, barring some sort of unforeseen stuff.

The suspension info is here

The Pick 3 contest is here.

Other Previews: Chantrant, Scalpem

I will withhold my thoughts on the final discipline until campus PD releases the report.  I will say that these suspensions are the correct move, in light of the National TV coverage and the pending NCAA mess.  I stand by my sources who believe Surrency and Reed are done at FSU.

Here's your coverage Map

081115_8pm1_medium

The announcers are Brent Musgambler ("you're looking live"), Kirk Herbstriet, and Lisa Salters (on the sidelines.)

The weather? 

8pm
Mostly Clear
53°F
49°F 10% 45°F 74% From NW 11 mph

I'll take that.  Preview inside (big.  mega big)

We have second-guessed Bowden's stand on discipline before, but not any more. The 'Noles are in the thick of an ACC championship race and play a tough game Saturday against Boston College, but Bowden has suspended some  key players who were involved in an on-campus brawl earlier this week. Many coaches would have fallen back on the old tried-and-true ploy of letting the legal process take its course, but Bobby suspended these guys even before anybody has been arrested.  Bianchi.

When BC has the ball

My head is more clear in this area, so I will start with that first.  

Boston college is big on the offensive line (4 guys over 310).  I don't think they are anything special and are are definitely not as good as some of their lines in the past.  They want to pound the rock.  Their backs are not very big (5-8, 190).  They have a good TE (yikes).  Their wide receivers are not impressive.  From what I've seen (3 games), Robinson is the best of the bunch.  Their QB is strange.  Chris Crane is a big kid (6-4, 240).  He's not immobile, but he's not fast.  Think Ben Rothlesberger's build with a 'lil less mobility.  He has a rocket of an arm, but he is inaccurate.  The guy just isn't very precise.  He may throw better than an average deep ball.

 

BC Offense against ACC Opponents



Total Off.

Rushing
Passing




Opponent Pts Plays Yds YPP No Net Att Comp Yds YPA TD Int
Georgia Tech(16-19) 16 77 262 3.4 41 120 36 18 142 3.9 1 2
@ North Carolina St.(38-31) 38 81 578 7.1 30 150 51 34 428 8.4 2 1
Virginia Tech(28-23) 28 69 300 4.3 37 82 32 16 218 6.8 1 3
@ North Carolina(24-45) 24 63 244 3.9 21 40 42 28 204 4.9 2 3
Clemson(21-27) 21 69 236 3.4 30 120 39 18 116 3.0 1 0
ACC TOTALS 127 359 1620
159 512 200 114 1108
7 9
ACC AVG/ Game 25 72 324 4.5 32 102 40 23 222 5.5 1.4 1.8
Minus NC State 22 70 261 3.7 32 91 37 20 170 4.6 1.3 2

3.7 yards per play against defenses that are somewhat comparable to the 'Noles.  I don't need to tell you how bad that is.    A QB rating of 84.  He did light up NC State though.  Outlier anyone?  

So, what does BC's offense do? (not much, haha, I know)  They operate almost exclusively out of the shotgun from what I've seen.  They use their TE as a wing and sometimes go with heavy personnel (double TE, 2 backs).  There are 2 important injuries to mention here.  First, they are without their 250LB fullback, James McClusky.  Second, Clarence Megwa, wide receiver, is out, also with a broken leg.  Megwa was decent, not great.  They like to run draws and RB read plays out of the gun.  This offense really doesn't impress me.

Despite being unimpressive, a few things scare me.  First, they like go to max protect a LOT.  This is scary because we have been so blitz heavy.  Mickey knows that we can cover their wideouts one on one, but how much will he blitz?  Patrick Robinson can lock down their wideout Robinson.  I worry though, they we bring the house, go man-free, never get there with the blitz, and get burned on a deep ball.  If there was ever a game to use pass interference-- this is it. 

Secondly, they have shown that they will run some option.  Crane will keep it once in a while, but mostly he just pitches the ball to the RB.  I'm not sure how much we've prepped for this in this specific game, but since we faced option over the last 4 games, and BC's is not that good, we should be okay with it. 

The key players for the Noles will be the interior defensive linemen.  They don't need to play out of their minds, but do need to have a decent showing.  The other key group will be the corners.  If we lock down BC's wideouts (and I suspect we can), they will be hurting. 

I hope that FSU crowds the line of scrimmage, but decides to wait and see whether it can get pressure with the front 4 guys.  If they need to blitz, fine, but let's let Everette and the boys try to do their thing first.  Crane is tough to sack because of his size.  Crane does not read defenses well and makes some really dumb decisions.  

BC also rarely surrenders tackles for loss (2nd best in the Nation).  We can't get frustrated and play undisciplined if they are gaining 1-2 yards consistently.

Did you know? 

FSU's defense is giving up 100 less yards per game this year than they were at this point in 2007?

 

3rd Downs

The Noles lead the Nation in 3rd down conversion defense, as opponents have converted only 18% of 3rd downs (21 of 116).  Let's check the breakdown: Wake 13.5% Miami 13.3%, GT 33.3%, NC ST 11%, VT 9%!!, Clemson 13%

BC has struggled mightily on 3rd downs, and they seem to be regressing!  Feast your eyes: Wake 13.5% Miami 13.3%, GT 42%, NC ST 50%, BC 50%, UNC 38%, CLEMSON 17%, ND 21%

Think BC will hold the football for long stretched?  Me neither.

 

Another BC Issue

Boston College cannot make field goals.  Out of 120 NCAA teams, they are 114th in field goal kicker rating (a measure of how many points the team has earned out of how many were expected in a given kicking situation.  For instance, they expect less than 50% of field goals over 50 yards, so the point value would be less than half of a field goal, say 1.33 expected points.  EP's are valued at around a full point.). 

As a result of this, BC has decided to go for 4th down more often, and also punt in that range 35yard to 25 yard range.  Their kicking game is truly awful.  They should convert some of those, but an offense that struggles in all other phases of the game can't expect to excel in 4th down.

 

So, what will happen? 

They will go max protect often, and they will have the opportunity to go deep as we blitz into max protect.  Crane, however, is inaccurate and our corners can definitely take care of their skill players.  He'll hit 1 or 2 deeper balls. He'll find the TE a few times as well.  He'll also fumble once and have a ball deflect off his receiver's hands which will be intercepted by the FSU defense.  BC will get a few runs where their backs are stymied at the line, FSU's defenders cut inside due to impatience, and the back bounces it to the outside.  BC doesn't have enough variety in their routes to keep the corners from locking in.

NOTE: they are a slightly above avg screen team, but just as we prepped for option several weeks in a row, the Clemson screen prep should be fresh in our minds.

 If FSU can get the insane pressure from the defensive ends, BC won't score.  BC's LT Castonzo will try to handle Everette 1-1 and will fail, so they will have a TE or back help out.  Not having their huge fullback here will hurt them.  The key here, will be the combination of Moffett and White, as they will face a massive (6-8 322lbs) but slow right tackle.  They can beat him.  Even if they beat him, however, Crane will step up in the pocket.  The DT's must get SOME sort of pressure, and I expect us to use stunts and twists to do just that.  I predict that Justin Mincey brings his A-game at the DT spot, now that he is finally healthy again. 

In the end, I expect BC to rush 30 times for 85 yards (including sacks), and throw 35 times for 183 yards.  They'll score 14 points, and eschew field goal opportunities.  

 

When the 'Noles have the ball

Well, the suspensions are going to hurt.  No way to dance around that.  As is usually the case, nothing is as bad as it seems (the suspensions, BC's offense), and nothing is as good as it seems (our defense). 

I was totally prepared to pick a 34-0 win this week.  I am now changing my pick. 

Let's take a look at BC's defense.  I count 4 Seniors, 6 Juniors, and 1 sophomore in the starting 11.  They have an amazing defensive tackle tandem which gives teams a lot of trouble.  I went over how to block this in a well received piece earlier this week.  Their defensive ends are not impressive to me.  They are slightly bigger than normal, but are not that quick afoot (though Ramella is quicker than the other who is 285lbs).  They lost their best defensive end for the year (Alex Albright), who was a total sack monster.  Their LB's are decent,  but here again, they lost their best linebacker-- All America Candidate Brian Toal.  The secondary has a ton of interceptions and they are experienced.  I think this is a veteran, experienced, smart and well coached defense.  They are not stocked with talent, however, so don't go giving them insane amounts of credit.  

Again, let's go to the chart of their games against ACC teams. 

 

Total Off. Rushing Passing
Opponent Pts Plays Yds YPPA No Net Att Comp Yds YPA TD Int Sacks TFL
Georgia Tech(16-19) 19 53 235 4.4 40 162 13 6 73 5.6 0 0 2 5
North Carolina St.(38-31) 31 55 253 4.6 22 35 33 19 218 6.6 1 0 5 6
Virginia Tech(28-23) 23 65 240 3.7 38 150 27 12 90 3.3 0 1 1 4
North Carolina(24-45) 45 66 352 5.3 36 114 30 19 238 7.9 3 0 3 4
Clemson(21-27) 27 64 339 5.3 31 87 33 21 252 7.6 1 3 2 7
ACC TOTALS 145 303 1419 167 548 136 77 871 5 4 13 26
ACC AVG/ Game 29 61 284 4.7 33 110 27 15 174 6.4 1 0.8 2.6 5.2

BC gives up more points per game in ACC play than any other team, and they are trending downward in their last 2 ACC games.  They are a fraud, as we discussed earlier in the week.  For all the talk of their amazing pass efficiency defense, they are allowing a QB rating of 115 in ACC play, and have allowed an average of 245 passing yards in the last 2 ACC games (again, a bad trend).  They've given up more TD's than picks.  Remember how bad that Clemson O-Line was and how immobile Harper was?  They only had 7 TFL's in that game-- in Chapel Hill.

Further, they've performed poorly on the road... as Noth Carolina  and NC STATE! lit them up for a combined 76 points! 

I think these injuries have hurt this squad more than many believe. 

Boston College plays a lot of soft Cover 2.  Their LB's take deep drops and their corners often drift very far.  They try to make you go down the field in small chunks.  They do not allow the deep ball.  They try to defend the run with 7 players.

In watching the BC game, I noticed that they picked Jimmy Claussen 4 times, and ALL OF THEM were on forced deep balls.  We must avoid interceptions in this football game. 

A quick rundown of who will replace the suspended guys:

EASTERLING- OWENS

SURRENCY- FORTSON

REED- GIVENS

It could be much worse (the other guys are total scrubs, playing wise). 

In other years, this would cripple FSU; but not this year.  Let's take a look:

 

Total Off. Rushing Passing
Opponent Pts Plays Yds YPP No Net Att Comp Yds YPA TD Int
Wake Forest(3-12) 3 64 220 3.4 28 102 36 12 118 3.3 0 5
Miami (Fla.)(41-39) 41 84 469 5.6 53 310 31 14 159 5.1 1 2
North Carolina St.(26-17) 26 80 392 4.9 45 138 35 23 254 7.3 1 0
Virginia Tech(30-20) 30 57 248 4.4 38 89 19 11 159 8.4 1 0
Georgia Tech(28-31) 28 65 384 5.9 36 196 29 17 188 6.5 2 1
Clemson(41-27) 41 63 419 6.7 36 266 27 16 153 5.7 1 1
ACC TOTALS 169 413 2132 236 1101 177 93 1031 6 9
ACC AVG/ Game 28 69 355 5.2 39 184 30 16 172 5.8 1 1.5

The only team to shut down FSU's running game was Va Tech.  In no way does BC's defense resemble Virginia tech's scheme.  VT played aggressive press coverage and loaded the box.

FSU can run the football, and they've done it on everyone.  Clemson, GT, and NC State are all zone heavy teams and FSU gashed them.  This is a new FSU team this year.  To my knowledge, no running backs, offensive linemen, or tight ends have been suspended. 

What changes will we make?

FSU will be more conservative than usual in this game.  Why?  Interceptions.  In a normal day, the Noles would drop 40+ on this squad.  Because of BC's zone heavy look, errant throws are often picked (though much less often in ACC play and NEVER on the road).  I worry that some of the replacement guys will not be in rhythm with Ponder.  Still though, Ponder is very comfortable with Parker, Carr, and Owens.

We must avoid receivers running wrong routes and the resulting "errant" throw floating to a Safety.

I expect FSU to use a lot of Chollie (2 BACKS, 3 WR GUN), ChollitTe (2WR, TE, 2RB GUN).  Luckily, we run a lot of these sets anyways. We will not come out in the 5 wide look.  Scrap that.  One common look that we often run is Hawaii (Gun with trips wr and one back, and a wr on the other side).  In this look, we will go (from trips side, outside-- Carr, Owens, Parker, and Fortson on the other side, probably running a lot of deep routes to keep the threat alive).

What we will NOT see is inexperienced receivers running routes that require a lot of precision.  If Givens or Fortson are running precise timing routes, I'll lost my mind. 

This WILL hurt us some, as some zone busters (notably all-curls and the double out routes) can require precision.  Expect Preston and Owens to run those. 

Additionally, we will see a few throws to Caz Piurowski. 

Maybe most importantly from the passing game perspective, we will throw the ball to our running backs.  I want to see BC's linebackers consistently try to deal with these guys in space.  Their deep drops should leave stuff open underneath.

WE WILL NOT SEE TIM ORANGE OR THE REST OF THE NO-NAME WIDEOUTS.  That is silly stuff.  We don't need them, we don't need to sub that much. 

The one positive in this game is that their defensive ends are not exceptional speed rushers.  They do not have the edge guys that GT, VT, or Clemson have.  BC will get pressure up the middle with those DT's.  To counteract this, FSU will roll the pocket.  That's good, as we have a mobile offensive line and they are adept at establishing a new pocket.  These BC dt's don't want to chase people.  We want them in chase mode, not "drive McMahon into the center" mode. 

BC does blitz to get pressure.  They often drop those DT's back into coverage.  We should NOT struggle with that.  I love when teams drop huge players into coverage.  They will also blitz without dropping the DT's, and then play zone behind the blitz.  This leave obvious, large holes in the zone.  Can FSU exploit this?  I'm not sure.  Preston and Owens can recognize and sit down.  I'm not sure about Carr.

The running game will really be important here, and we are a running football team.  FSU will look to run the stretch play and the draw play.  I think BC will be able to slow it down somewhat, but this is an aggressive running team that used the run as a weapon, not as a maintenance tool.  We will look to get the corner on these guys.  Getting to the 2nd level will be key, and out linemen are quick enough to do this.

Cutback running could be HUGE here, as BC is definitely worried about FSU's speed, and they will quickly look to cut off the corner.  Backside cut blocking will be paramount as we look to gash them on the comeback.

What will happen?

FSU will look to go up-tempo at times to tire out the big guys up front.  They will throw 27 times for 190 yards.  Jimbo will find a way to get his playmakers the ball with some space to work with and ask them to do the rest.  He will be very conservative as he knows our defense is fully capable of shutting down the Eagles.  He will NOT ask our replacements to run routes they are not comfortable with.  He will throw passes in the flats to Antone and Jermaine Thomas, which should help keep their corners from slagging back like Wake's did.  We will continue to throw the bubble screen to Parker and Maybe to givens, as BC will not play their defensive backs in the faces of our slot guys.  We will throw the middle screen to both Parker and Fortson.  Crossing routes underneath the deep drops of the linebackers will also be available (these can be run by any receiver).  We will ask Preston Parker, Greg Carr, and Rod Owens to play a huge number of minutes.  Ponder MUST be patient.    The Noles will run the ball 38 times for 185 yards (including sacks).  They might not dominate in the running game early, but Jimbo has shown a determination to stick with the running game.  The Noles will go for 27 points, which is slightly under BC's ACC season average.  Graham Gano is the best kicker in America, by far, and he should make at least 1 long field goal after a stalled drive.  The Noles will commit no more than 2 turnovers and will force  BC to go on long drives, which they will not consistently accomplish.  

Noles 27, BC 14. 

GO NOLES!  BLACK OUT BC!

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