Not even 48 hours after one of the worst losses in program history, Boston College’s Steve Addazio was left with more than enough to evaluate.
The fourth-year head coach started with himself.
An anemic offense, an overwhelmed defense, inexperienced and mistake-prone young players, and a hostile road environment created the imperfect storm that led to the Eagles’ 49-0 loss to Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium Saturday.
“When you’re teaching, you’re coaching, you’re a player, you have to be able to be evaluative — self-evaluative, coach-evaluative, as a coach you have to be self-evaluative,” Addazio said. “You take these games and you go through them in great detail. That’s what we did. And understand whatever the deficiencies are — whether it be coaching, playing, whatever it is — and have a very honest dialogue with each other.”
What Addazio found was that, in game-planning for a Virginia Tech team with an up-tempo offense and a notoriously aggressive defense, he may have loaded his team with more than it could handle.
“I felt like we probably schemed a little too much for this game, meaning they had a very unique style of defense and offense and you try to really scheme a little bit,” Addazio said. “We’re pretty young. Sometimes you do too much of that and all of a sudden, you’re [having] guys doing things that maybe we don’t have enough reps at as opposed to sticking core.
“And I think that we probably got a little ahead of ourselves, which made us look like we’re nowhere. That can have a counter effect on you sometimes. I think we’re going to really make an emphasis of going back to real basics.”
Penalties, turnovers, dropped passes, and blown coverages cut the Eagles down at the knees. A team that played at a fast game speed in its first two games, showing flashes of balance and promise on offense that were missing a year ago, took a dramatic step back against Tech, getting caught in the headlights in front of 60,054 fans in Blacksburg and playing “tentative,” Addazio said.
“Some of that is the venue, some of that is our inexperience, and some of that is making sure we’re aware of our inexperience and our venue,” Addazio said. “And I think those are things we’re going to really consciously work at.”
Just as distressing to Addazio was a rushing attack that mustered only 44 yards — including 17 from quarterback Patrick Towles. Running back Jon Hilliman lost nearly as many yards (11) as he gained (13) on his 10 carriers.
“We are young up front, and we’re not handling well right now some of the things that are going on, and I think that I’ve got to do a better job of simplifying the run game,” Addazio said. “I’ve got to do a better job of simplifying it and giving our guys a better chance to continue to fire off the ball and be able to pick up pressures and movements and keep things going.”
Sitting on 10 straight losses against Atlantic Coast Conference teams, the Eagles have two weeks to regroup, with games against Wagner and Buffalo before being tested again against Clemson Oct. 7.
“We showed great progress Game 1, Game 2,” said Addazio. “ I think it was duly documented. Our ability to throw the ball, our ability to strike balance, the way we played on both sides of the ball, the speed with which we played, how fast we were playing, our team’s athleticism, it’s all real. It wasn’t make believe.
“For all the things I’ve spent time talking about here, that didn’t happen on Saturday. That’s ultimately my responsibility, and it didn’t happen.
“There’s going to be highs and lows left to be played the rest of the season. We’ve got to weather it. Obviously when you put a lot into something and it doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, it can be crushing.
“You’re a competitor, you’re devastated, then you realize over the course of the next 24 hours, ‘I’ve got to put that away and I’ve got to get ready to move on.’ ”
Offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom has played in all three games, but he has practiced sparingly since the start of the season. He suffered a high ankle sprain in preseason camp, then rolled his other ankle at the start of the season. “He’s got two ankles right now, so it’s hard,” Addazio said. “Hard to push off, hard to drive, hard to practice and when you try to get the swelling out of their for the next game.” . . . Kickoff for the Eagles’ matchup with Buffalo on Oct. 1 will be 1 p.m.