Lots of blame to go around here with the coaches and players both coming up short of where they should be.
Let’s start here. I thought this was a very disappointing game from a coaching standpoint on defense.
I did not agree with the defense playing in as many zone looks as they did. Primarily, my biggest issue was with the way they elected to drop in to zones.
Louisville defensive coordinator Bryan Brown clearly expected Boston College to throw the ball often in this game. But the Eagles actually ran the ball more seemingly to take advantage to a Cardinals defense without nose tackles Jared Goldwire and Dezmond Tell available for the game due to injury.
But, on passing downs, Louisville was dropping every linebacker into a zone often (including the rush linebackers Yasir Abdullah and Nick Okeke). This development actually ended up hurting the team quite a bit in the passing game more than you might think.
Abdullah and Okeke are not nuanced coverage players in any sense and Boston College went right at them in those situations. It may seem like a smart idea to drop more players in to coverage when the Eagles are so successful as a passing offense.
However, in this case, a player such as Abdullah or Okeke being mis-aligned in zone actually hurts the team a great deal as there were a lot of open spaces and mismatches in the zone due to being out of place in coverage from those two linebackers.
The coverage by the safeties in the backend was also pretty brutal in this game as they were struggling to identify receivers crossing through their zones through much of the game.
Abdullah has been rushing the passer so well in the past couple of weeks. I did not understand the reasoning for the amount of zone coverage for him in this game. Boston College’s biggest threat on offense (Zay Flowers) was the main beneficiary of finding himself wide open and getting behind the Louisville zone consistently
No sacks and no pressures all day long was a significant issue for the defense in this game as you might expect. It’s been an issue all season with typically one player in each game generating pressure. In this game it was Diaby generating pressure while nobody else really had much to speak of.
Abdullah was dropping into coverage often and did not have his typical amount of pass rushing reps. It was disappointing to see after he had been so strong recently.
Generating no sacks in games just is not going to do it. BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec is fine as an athlete but he surely is not a world beater to avoid being sacked even one time.
With a very under-recruited defensive line and edge rushing unit failing to produce, Brown needs to get creative in his defensive play calls to generate pressure. It’s a shortcoming of the team that just does not create enough havoc as it stands.
The 2021 recruiting class currently has five defensive trench players committed, according to 247 Sports. That tells you how the staff feels about the defensive line.
Louisville only has six sacks this year from players who are not blitzing. Meaning, only six sacks have been produced by players with their hand in the dirt or that are pass rushing off the edge consistently. That’s about as low as it gets for any team and it is something that has been foreshadowed by other issues with football team.