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Five Plays: Boston College Eagles

Louisville v Boston College Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

Last week it was hard to keep this post to five plays because there were so many good plays by this Louisville team. We can reverse that this week with so many big plays given up by the defense and so many blown opportunities by the offense.

Let’s just get into it.

Boston College didn’t reinvent the wheel to figure out their issues in the run game. They just used a pulling blocker to gain a numbers advantage. However, this play was DOA from an alignment standpoint. UofL has four players to the wide side of the field, so they don’t have an extra player to the strong side of the offensive formation. BC blocks down and washes out the defensive line and linebackers and their pulling blockers are matched up with secondary players. Easy win.

The alignment issue didn’t come up all game but it has been an issue for a while now. This is one of those “this is who you are” types of things that you can’t explain away.

I know the post is called “Five Plays” but you get a bonus play here because this is just a maddening sequence to me. Malik Cunningham is unbelievably talented and he is just running the plays that are called. I want to point that out because he catches heat as if he is the one making these decisions sometimes.

But what in the world is this play calling? It’s second and goal from the 11 and that also means that you have the 10 yards in the end zone to work with. BC is obviously going to play man because the field is shortened and instead of maybe trying to use Tyler Hudson and his length or utilizing some misdirection to get a receiver open on a bootleg. Or, hell, maybe using Malik as a decoy. Maybe even giving him options with the ball in his hands with an RPO or speed option. They just run a QB draw and then a read option.

Both of these plays put all of the pressure on Malik to do Malik things and it shockingly doesn’t work every time you try it. Instead of getting a touchdown, they get a field goal and field goals get you beat.

On the very next drive, UofL gets the ball in a position to get a touchdown and Malik just flat-out misses AHB on a play where he gets behind the defense. This is the second straight week he blows an opportunity for a big play touchdown and as good as he’s been, he needs to make these easy throws.

Here’s another play where BC’s pulling blockers give them a numbers advantage. The missed tackles in the open field may get the focus but a running back having no one within 7 yards of him two yards past the line of scrimmage means the defensive front got mauled.

I won’t pretend to be smart enough to understand how you defend this to get the stop but UofL’s defensive line made absolutely no plays last weekend. They had been getting a lot of penetration in previous games but they were completely neutralized in this game. That has to change.

I know Scott Satterfield and Bryan Brown both talked about this play and owned that it was a bad call but I just can’t figure out what the call even is. Some guys are in man coverage while others appear to be in zone coverage and the single coverage would usually mean a heavy blitz. Instead, some guys look to be biting on the play action while others drop into short zones.

My hope is that this was a coverage meant to confuse Phil Jurkovic and it just ended up being the wrong call at the wrong time, but calling anything that puts Zay Flowers on a safety is unexplainable.