Boston College Review: OL Struggles, Defensive Tackles Improve

DaShawn Crawford, Virginia Tech
DaShawn Crawford has provided a boost to Virginia Tech’s defensive tackles. (Will Stewart)

I didn’t catch this game. I was completely in the dark on it until I heard the final score shouted out about an hour after the half-empty stadium completely emptied. I caught up with the message board vitriol a little around midnight, and otherwise was out of the loop until getting a viewing in Tuesday morning. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting…I guess I had more of a Grant Noel-type game in mind. Not that this was a pleasant review, knowing what was coming.

One positive of the broadcast was that Mark Herzlich did a good job calling the game. He reminds me of Chris Spielman and Daryl Johnston when they were starting out. Nothing flashy, speaks to what he knows, calls it fairly, walks back wrong reads, and he’s ten times smarter than most analysts. A few times I thought I’d found a play I’d write up, and then he’d explain it and make my thoughts redundant; with that in mind, I’m not as video-heavy today.

We saw some things we wanted to see. On defense, you knew BC would have a few runs just because of who had the ball, but overall the interior d-line played well. Jarrod Hewitt (DT, #5) and DaShawn Crawford (DT, #36) were disruptive, and while they didn’t get a heap of stats themselves, they made it possible for teammates to have nice finishes. The safety play was improved. The linebackers (all four of them) were consistent with their gap fills, even when confronted with wide surfaces and bunch sets. AJ Dillon (RB, #2) and the crew weren’t stopped by any stretch, but they were contained.

The offense had enough success to force BC out of the two-high shell they camped in during the second half of last year’s game. The young receivers were sure-handed. The passing game managed to work vertical routes with more success, and even had success over the middle, i.e., they made completions at times without any WRs getting hammered. Willis showed nice touch on a lot of throws and had some good progressions.