Team: Boston College Eagles
2012 W-L: 2-10 (1-7)
Head Coach: Steve Addazio (0-0; first season)
Returning Starters: 16 (8 Offense, 8 Defense)
The Eagles hit rock bottom in 2012. The absolute lowest point you could hit — made even worse by where they’d been for much of the previous two decades. When your team and fan base become accustomed to bowl bids and contending for conference titles (as had regularly been the case since BC joined the ACC), a 2-10 train wreck is a tough pill to swallow. Yet that’s where Boston College sits now in the first year of head coach Steve Addazio’s reign. There’s talent on this roster; don’t think there isn’t. But in order to rebound and harness that talent, it’ll take the right coach. Is Addazio the right coach? We’ll soon find out…
Boston College’s offense will be completely revamped for 2013, as new OC Ryan Day tries to bring the team back to a more balanced attack than last year’s pass-at-all-costs disaster. They didn’t have the personnel to run that scheme (while they still finished 45th in passing yards per game), but I’m unsure whether they have the personnel to be run-first either. Addazio’s looking for a grind it out game, which means a lot of the onus falls on running back Andre Williams to far surpass the paltry 584 yards he amassed last season. He’ll have little help or experience there to assist him, though, which makes for a very tough hill to climb at running back. With more carries (he only had 130 last year), I’d bet we see a lot more production out of Williams, but perhaps not on the level you’ll get from the league’s elite ball-carriers.
Passing-wise, things are more settled, and we may actually see a rebound season from QB Chase Rettig. Forced to pass more often than necessary last fall, Rettig took a lot of sacks and suffered from turnovers. But with a balanced approach, maybe we see something like 17 scores, nine picks and around 2,800 yards on 55-percent passing, coupled with less sacks. Star receiver Alex Amidon should be able to help him out with all of that, however the jury’s still out on the offensive line. Replacing starters at both tackle spots is no small order, and it could make for some rough early outings as everyone gets settled.
Defensively, there’s a good deal to like here in the back seven, as the Eagles employ yet another strong group of linebackers that should anchor the entire unit. Kevin Pierre-Louis has boatloads of experience and could be due for a breakout year, while Steele Divitto should pair with him well while manning the opposite outside linebacker spot. The two combined for 177 stops last season (this with Nick Clancy also in the fold), and should easily surpass that type of production this season. In the secondary, the hope is that experience yields better results, as the team returns three of last year’s four starting defensive backs. In 12 games last year, opponents threw for 2,908 yards on 62.5-percent passing against BC; figures that cannot continue if they hope to turn the tide on their luck. But it’s hard to defend the pass well when no one’s applying any pressure at all. The Eagles were a stunning last in the country with just six sacks on the entire year. They thankfully replace a lot up front, though that also creates a bit of a learning curve. Until Boston College can pressure opposing passers, they’re likely going to struggle mightily.
As mentioned in the intro, there’s talent here, but it’s going to take some time to congeal. Rettig and Amidon will be fine in the passing game, though what of the offense beyond those two? Can they establish an actual running game that puts up more than just 90.5 yards per game (last year’s figure)? The offensive and defensive lines — long-time strengths for Boston College — are major liabilities for the time being, and could spell doom for the team on both sides of the ball if new faces don’t hit the ground running. At linebacker they’ll be fine, but will Pierre-Louis and Divitto be forced to shoulder too much of the load in comparison to the D’s other nine players?
Steve Addazio knows what he’s doing up in Chestnut Hill, but it’s going to take a little bit of time for it to completely pan out. Boston College has a manageable schedule with some real winnable contests (Army, New Mexico State, Villanova), plus plenty of swing games too (any Atlantic Division game but those against Clemson and Florida State). I’m just curious if BC (fans and program) has the patience to wait. After the last few disastrous seasons, I’m tempted to say yes. However take it from someone who knows: No matter how far your program falls, it’s never easy to tell yourself that four wins is a “successful” year.
Prediction: (4-8) (1-7); no postseason berth