Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile

Advanced

Scouting FSU's Opponents: Boston College

August 20, 2011 09:00PM avatar
Boston College Eagles
2010 Record: 7-6 (4-4, ACC)

OFFENSE

Scheme:
Boston College has run basically the same offense since Tom Coughlin was the head coach back in the early 1990s—a pro-style, run-heavy offense that typically utilizes one-back looks. BC has started to use some spread looks in recent years, but is still a run-first, pro-style team. Head coach Frank Spaziani brought in Kevin Rogers to run the offense after Gary Tranquill retired. Tranquill at times relied too heavily on the run and Rogers, a former coordinator at Syracuse who was coaching in the NFL the past five years, will be asked to still run, but achieve better balance. In the spring, Rogers showed a willingness to use spread looks, five receiver sets, and everything in between in an effort to keep the defense guessing.

Quarterbacks: It is always hard to say that one person, or position, holds the key to a side of the ball, but that may be the case with BC. It seems pretty safe to say that the Eagles will have a solid running game because they always seem to. However, they need to improve throwing the ball, where they ranked 97th in passing offense and a dismal 111th in passing efficiency. Much of the hopes for improvement lie with sophomore Chase Rettig. A sophomore, Rettig (1,238 yards, 51%, 6 TDs, 9 interceptions) was thrown to the wolves as a true freshman and started the final 9 games of the year. Rettig certainly took his lumps, but the coaching staff is convinced that he has the arm strength and mental makeup to be the best QB since Matt Ryan.

The coaches surely hope Rettig pans out because the depth behind him is fine in numbers, but not necessarily in talent. Junior David Shinskie (618 yds, 48%, 5 TDs, 6 ints.) has started 13 games over the last two years, but he has been inconsistent to say the least. Ditto for junior Michael Marscovetra (369 yds, 59%, 2 TDs, 4 ints.), who saw action in 5 games last year but was also erratic. The most talented guy on the bench may be redshirt freshman Josh Bordner, but it seems unlikely he would see the field if Rettig got hurt.

Running Backs: The main reason that the running game is no worry is because senior Montel Harris returns. Not the fastest or most impressive-looking back, Harris (1,243 yds, 4.6 average, 8 TDs, 18 receptions, 112 yds, 1 TD) is just a workhorse who churns out yards and is on the verge of breaking several school and conference rushing records. On the downside, Harris recently underwent surgery and will be out 3-4 weeks, meaning he will miss the start of the season. In his absence, expect sophomore Andre Williams to get the carries. Williams (461 yds, 4.9 average, 2 TDs, 4 recs) emerged as Harris’ heir apparent last year after rushing for 185 yards in his lone start against Syracuse. With a nice blend of size and speed, Williams has the coaching staff excited. Depth behind Williams is a bit scarce after some transfers, but sophomore Rolandan Finch is returning from a knee injury and should provide some help.

One of the few teams that still use a fullback, BC is starting from scratch after James McCluskey and Codi Boek both graduated. Freshman John Traeger leads to start the season at the position.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Last season, an untimely injury and youth led BC to have one of the ACC’s worst units. With last year’s top eight receivers returning, plus one key piece back from injury, this year’s unit should be much improved.

The player returning from injury is junior Colin Larmond, who was lost last year to a knee injury. Larmond had nearly 600 yards on just 29 catches in 2009 and has the size and speed to be a big-play threat. In Larmond’s absence, sophomore Bobby Swigert (39 receptions, 504 yards, 12.9 average, 4 TDs) stepped up and led the team in receptions. While not impressive physically, Swigert is good at finding holes in the defense and rarely makes mistakes. Senior Ifeanyi Momah (19 recs, 296 yds, 15.6 avg, 3 TDs) has bounced around between offense and defense, but started all 13 games last year. While not all that productive, Momah brings great size (6-6, 240) to the position. Sophomore Alex Amidon (16 recs, 338 yds, 21.1 avg, 2 TDs) is a big-play threat out of the slot. Classmate Jonathan Coleman (14 recs, 260 yds, 18.6 avg) is still raw, but he has a great size-speed combo and tons of upside.

At tight end, the Eagles have a great one-two punch in junior Chris Pantale and senior Lars Anderson. Pantale (31 recs, 338 yds, 10.9 avg, 1 TD) finished second on the team in receptions last year and is a good blocker and receiver. Anderson (10 recs, 71 yds) backs up Pantale, but can also help out as an H-back and fullback. A good receiver, Anderson is a nice outlet and has plenty of experience.

Offensive Line: For the first time in several years, BC’s line underachieved in 2010 and questions abound with just two starters back. Last year’s unit was inconsistent, paving the way for just the 90th ranked rushing offense and finishing 84th in sacks allowed. Again, with just two starters back, this unit is surprisingly worrisome given BC’s pedigree at this spot.

The first order of business is to replace LT Anthony Castonzo, a high NFL Draft pick that protected Rettig’s blindside. And that spot isn’t settled just yet. In the spring, the coaches tried junior Emmett Cleary, who started five times at RT and five times at LG last year, at the position. Cleary has played well wherever he has been put. Junior John Wetzel, the backup to Castonzo last year, is the other possibility. If Cleary does move to LT, redshirt freshman Seth Betancourt would push Wetzel to start at RT.

The inside spots are less worrisome with two starters back. At center, senior Mark Spinney returns after starting the final 8 games last year. With intelligence and a great work ethic, the line seemed to improve once Spinney was starting. Spinney supplanted senior Nate Richman, who then moved to LG. A two-year starter at the pivot, Richman seems to be more natural at guard. There is a good battle at RG between sophomores Ian White and Bryan Davis. White started 3 games last year, but Davis had a slight edge at the end of spring practice. Regardless of who starts, the backup will be the first off the bench at either guard spot.

DEFENSE

Scheme:
Since head man Frank Spaziani was the defensive coordinator under Tom O’Brien and Jeff Jagodzinski, not much has changed on defense for many years in Boston. BC plays a fairly basic 4-3 that strives to force the opposing offense to drive the field without making a mistake. The Eagles also attempt to stuff the run to make opponents one dimensional. Most years, the recipe has worked. In 2010, BC ranked 1st nationally in rushing defense, 13th in total defense, 19th in pass efficiency defense, and 19th in total defense. Because they are well-coached and disciplined, expect BC to remain stout on defense.

Defensive Line: The defensive line annually has been great against the run, but not so great in generating a pass rush. That was true last year as BC ranked #1 against the run, but just 90th in creating sacks. The Eagles again look stout up the middle, not so explosive on the outside.

The good news is on the interior, partly due to the return of senior Kaleb Ramsey. A nine-game starter last year, Ramsey (39 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks) showed off nice explosion, although he sat out the spring after shoulder surgery. So long as that injury doesn’t flare up, Ramsey should push for postseason honors. Battling for the other spot are junior Conor O’Neal and sophomore Dillon Quinn. O’Neal got 3 starts in 2010, but made just 7 tackles despite his quickness. Quinn (11 tackles) is a former top recruit with good size.

BC returns three upperclassmen at end, but talent isn’t exactly flowing. The best of the bunch is junior Max Holloway, one of last year’s most productive players. Holloway (36 tackles, 14 for loss, 4 sacks) has good speed and pass-rushing ability but has never been an every down starter and has to prove he can hold up. The other end is a battle between seniors Kasim Edebali and Dan Williams. Edebali (13 tackles) made 4 starts last year and has great upside, but he is still raw and needs to work on his fundamentals. Williams has the edge in experience, but is not as talented.

Linebackers: BC typically, and quietly, has one of the most productive LB corps in the country and that should again be the case despite the loss of Mark Herzlich and Mike Morrissey, two inspirational leaders. The return of MLB Luke Kuechly, one of the best defensive players in the country, certainly helps. Kuechly (183 tackles, 10.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 interceptions) is everything you look for in a MLB—tough, strong, nasty, and a tackling machine.

The outside guys aren’t shabby either. A freshman seems to emerge every year at LB for the Eagles and that guy last year was WLB Kevin Pierre-Louis. Pierre-Louis (93 tackles, 2.5 for loss) has shown great speed and range but could still stand to add a little bulk. Replacing Herzlich on the strongside will probably be sophomore Steele Divitto or junior Nick Clancy. Divitto (20 tackles) played in 11 games last year and the coaches think he has a bright future. Clancy is a former safety who made just 6 tackles last year but should play a larger role this year now that he knows the position. Adding depth is senior Will Thompson (16 tackles), who has gotten plenty of playing time over his career.

Secondary: Even though BC has to replace a few starters, they always seem to be solid in the secondary and no one seems all that concerned about new guys stepping in and having to step up.

At corner, senior Donnie Fletcher returns with real NFL aspirations. Fletcher (56 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 5 ints.) is a solid cover corner with good instincts. The battle to start opposite Fletcher is between sophomore C.J. Jones and junior Jim Noel. Jones (16 tackles) isn’t the biggest guy, but seems to be a good cover guy. Noel (36 tackles, 4 ints.) started some last year and has great size (6-4, 190).

There are very few concerns at safety, where three players who have starting experience return. At FS, junior Okechukwu Okoroha is back after starting the final 6 games. Okoroha (27 tackles) got more comfortable as the year wore on and seems solid, if unspectacular. There are two good options at SS in senior Dominick LeGrande and redshirt frosh Dominique Williams. LeGrande (27 tackles) is strong against the run, being a former linebacker. Williams is still raw, but has the size and toughness that the coaches crave.

Special Teams: With everyone back, BC should be solid here. Sophomore kicker Nate Freese is back after hitting on 22 of 25 attempts. While not boasting a huge leg, Freese is nearly automatic from 40 yards and in. Senior punter Ryan Quigley averaged 41.5 yards per punt and led the ACC in punts inside the 20-yard line.

The coverage units were very good last season, ranking 20th in kickoff coverage and allowing just 5.7 yards per punt. The return units need work, though, as BC ranked just 104th in punt returns and an awful 118th in kick returns.

Schedule: BC typically plays a fairly weak non-conference schedule, but this year’s slate isn’t so easy with road games against UCF and Notre Dame and a home opener against a tricky Northwestern squad. The ACC slate is pretty tough as well with road games against Clemson, VA Tech, Maryland, and UM, with the Clemson, VT, and Maryland games coming back-to-back-to-back. Home dates with FSU and NC State will be tests.

Overall: BC is one of those teams that you underestimate at your own peril. On paper, they always look like a 6-6 team that will struggle against everyone, but usually they manage to gut out 8 wins and fight for the ACC Atlantic title. Last year the Eagles slipped as they experienced a bad combo of youth and injuries. This year they have more experience at several key spots, but there are concerns about the offensive line and the pass rush especially, as well as a brutal road schedule. While BC should be at least average on offense and very good on defense, the schedule alone makes it seem like the Eagles are a 7-5 team at best. It looks like BC will be in a dogfight to get to a bowl, but they likely will still be a spoiler in the Atlantic Division.
Subject Author Posted
Scouting FSU's Opponents: Boston College TomRob August 20, 2011 09:00PM



Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login