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Boston College Film Review: Second Quarter

NCAA Football: Boston College at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The second quarter saw the Louisville offense explode again with two touchdowns and a few big plays. The defense started to make some plays in the second quarter, too but they again made to many mistakes that allowed BC to move the ball with ease. The offense probably could have put the game away in this quarter if they had hit two of the big throws they missed down the field. They ended up not getting points on either drive when they could have ended the half with 35-42 points.


Here’s my hot take: I don’t mind this play. Louisville gets beat by a really fast guy on a perfect throw by a guy who is really good at throwing the deep ball. Chandler Jones is in man coverage here with Khane Pass as safety help. Jones doesn’t immediately turn and run, which is normal because he has safety help. But, I compared Zay Flowers to Tuta Atwell last week for a reason. He’s Florida fast and he shows that here. Pass probably should have gotten out of his backpedal earlier so that he could get involved in this play, but this is a play that you can live with. You get beat by good plays sometimes.


G.G. Robinson has made a lot of plays this year that won’t show up in the stat sheet in any way. Here he gets off the ball so quickly that he runs the right guard out of the play and in doing so forces the center to turn completely away from the direction of the play. That leaves a clear path for C.J. Avery to make a big hit in the backfield.


I’ll openly admit that I was wrong about Chandler Jones. I felt that he was a little overrated coming out of high school and i didn’t think that he played all too well last season as a true freshman. He’s been killing it in run support this year and he shows why here. He processes this play quickly and starts to work outside and up the field as soon as he sees what’s coming. Then he just discards a block from a tight end like it’s nothing and gets the runner down after he strings out the play. Added bonus of Russ Yeast flying up the field here.


This is a pretty rough play for Rodjay Burns. From everything I can tell, he’s responsible for the back out of the backfield on this play and he ends up kind of freezing after the h-back fakes the block on him and slides past him. There’s a similarity to the long pass play that BC hit to the tight end in the first quarter as the motion seems to maybe confuse people. Dorian Etheridge ends up trying to chase down the number two receiver here which would put Burns on the back with the corner outside on the receiver. But we also see the safety covering the guy Dorian is chasing.

Plenty of the coverage issues over the last two weeks have been on Louisville but some of the plays we saw against BC were due to BC just designing some really nice things in their passing game that confused Louisville’s defense.


Let’s all watch Marshon Ford kill a guy. Ford has been a great addition to this offense and the staff deserves credit for identifying his skills as well as putting him in the right spot to succeed. It’s also great to see Tutu making guys miss with the ball in his hands. He’s been able to show off his speed this year, but this is the type of play they need from him as a play maker.


Javian Hawkins got to show a little bit of why he won the starting job in this game. He showed how he fit earlier this year because he showed the patience and vision needed in the zone scheme but now he’s making guys miss and getting yards after contact. He also shows off some insane balance on this run. After he gets past the guy in the hole, his lower body is going left and his upper body is going right. He then just sticks his foot in the ground and spins to his left and still separates from the defenders. This is a touchdown if Max Richardson wasn’t so good. Most guys don’t take the angle he does after the spin move.


The offensive line played out of their minds on Saturday. Caleb Chandler clears out the nose tackle with ease on this play and we all get to see how mobile Mekhi Becton is as he flies up to the linebacker and meets him a yard and a half from where the linebacker was when the play started. Becton is somewhere between 340 and 365 pounds and he’s moving more quickly than a guy much smaller than him. Then you have Marshon Ford doing what he does to seal the end on the backside. All three guys clear a ridiculous hole for Hawkins to just jog through.


These two plays give us “Good Russ” and “Not so good Russ”. On the first play he shoots through everyone and cuts AJ Dillon down at the ankles. One thing I really liked about this play is that he waits a beat before committing to getting up field which is a good thing but when he does commit he gets going in a hurry. You couldn’t draw this up better as to how you tackle a big back on the edge.

On the second play he gives too much attention to the run and gets lost in coverage. The motion doesn’t confuse him and the route isn’t the issue as you see him try to grab the tight end as he runs by him. He just has his eyes in the backfield and fails to cover his man. You can see at the end of the clip that he pats his chest saying that was on him. This defense is all about doing your job and trusting others to do theirs. These guys just aren’t there yet.


Watch T.J. McCoy and Adonis Boone on this play. McCoy fires off the ball and gets up to the second level quickly but more importantly, he doesn’t lunge or get out over his pads. He takes the linebacker on heads up and gets enough of him that Javian Hawkins can fly right past him. Boone just washes out the nose tackle and runs him all the way out to the ACC logo. Tyler Haycraft also does enough to give Javian a path by getting up to the second level with speed. Sometimes you just have to get in the way.


It looks like Micale Cunningham looks to Dez Fitzpatrick outside on this play but doesn’t make the throw because there’s a linebacker underneath. He pumps and then looks deep where Tutu Atwell is running free behind the safeties. I like that he sees the coverage take away Dez but it looks like he has him open again after the pump. I actually love that he immediately looks deep because the safety on that side of the field is already aligned too far to the outside at the snap and Micale trusts his line to hold up for him.

You can literally see him look up the field and then wait a beat as Tutu runs past the backside safety. Atwell has to make this catch. He gets clipped by the safety but he’s not even fully extended here. Louisville didn’t get points on this drive and it allowed BC to stay in the game much easier.


Yasir Abdullah had a breakout game on Saturday and it was nice to see him get on the field as more than just a package guy on third downs. Here he makes the play without actually making the play. He takes on a 300+ pound left tackle and gets into the backfield with the tackle pretty much falling over trying to keep up. They end up hitting the running back and Chandler Jones is there to clean it up after blitzing.


Hey, it’s G.G. Robinson again. He’s at left end on this play and he sniffs out another screen and takes the passing lane away from the quarterback. That forces the throw into the ground with Amonte Caban and Abdullah there to get the QB hurry. Mark Ivey had to love this play.


It took me a while but I finally found the holding call on Rodjay Burns’ long punt return. It looks legit to me with the possibility that some guys got their feet tangled up. Typically when you see a blocker fall on the back of a guy like we see here, the blocker was pulling the back of the jersey and got tripped up. But there are a few guys all running together here and it could be that they all just ran into each other and the BC guys falls. Who knows, but at least makes sense why the flag was on the ground during the replay they showed a few plays later.


Louisville still gives up too many tackles for loss and they always seems to look just like this. Haycraft allows his man to set the edge while also pushing him back into the play. McCoy doesn’t get to his block in part because Boone doesn’t get a strong enough chip before he takes off to the second level. That allows the nose tackle to get across McCoy pretty easily and he ends up running down the play. I don’t know that there’s really a fix here outside of guys just executing better but it’ll be something to keep an eye on as the season goes on.


So, I think that this play was in Bobby Petrino’s playbook also. It’s a play with two receivers running deep crossers with the outside receiver running a skinny post. The play action pulls up the linebackers which creates a path for the crossers. Micale just has to pick the open guy. The backside coverage being man makes this an easy decision and he hits Dawkins wide open because no one runs with him.

This is also another example of Cunningham hanging in the pocket and allowing the play to develop. I don’t know that Satterfield would have even called this play a few weeks ago. Micale’s feet would’ve started moving and he would have taken off. Instead he re-sets his feet when he sees a little bit of pressure and puts the ball on the money without being able to step into the throw.


There aren’t too many things better than seeing a guy work their way up the depth chart and absolutely kill it when they get the opportunity. Abdullah shows off his great closing speed here as he recognizes the screen and just blows by the lineman that is supposed to block him. He also wraps up on the tackle as opposed to trying to throw a shoulder into the runner. This is perfect execution from him.


We saw this happen in the Notre Dame game and it’s not really a great sign that the same thing happens a few weeks later. This is a basic “Tampa Two” type of shell zone where everyone occupies the zone behind them. The two safeties are going to get depth while being responsible playing over type of the outside receivers. The corners will sit on routes in the flat or run with the receivers. The key is the linebackers getting depth and not allowing the quarterback to hit an easy throw up the seam. They let the quarterback hit the easy throw up the seam.

Rodjay Burns and Dorian Etheridge both bite on AJ Dillon coming out of the backfield for some reason. Burns should be where C.J. Avery is in his drop and that would have made this a tough throw with Khane Pass bracketing the tight end. It may have still been completed but at least it would have been a tough completion. With the situation as it were, they should have been giving up the short throws. Instead they allowed the big one.


Louisville allowing BC to drive down the field with a backup quarterback was rough to watch. They started the drive with a big negative play but somehow gave up a handful of easy completions. The drive culminated in this easy touchdown pass to Kobay White. It’s hard to figure out what coverage they’re in but it looks like Chandler Jones