This week's edition of the Opponent Blogger Q&A features ATL_eagle of Eagle in Atlanta. We talk Steve Addazio, Tyler Murphy, and the keys to a Boston College upset of the Seminoles on Saturday afternoon.
TN: The Eagles currently sit at 6-4 (3-3) and 34th overall by F/+. What were your expectations for Steve Addazio's second season entering 2014, and what are they for the rest of it?
ATL_eagle: I expected the team to be about 6-6 so in a way they have already exceeded my expectations. Although it was his second year, most BC fans (myself included) viewed this season as the real transition year. We lost much of last year's talent and productivity and the recruiting gaps of the previous staff were going to be exposed this year. Yet Addazio did a good job of covering the gaps with his young talent, finding a few 5th year transfers and coaching to the team's strengths. While there have been some frustrating losses, the job he did in games like USC and a strange rain-delayed NC State game show me that Addazio is a better game coach than his reputation.
My expectations for the rest of the season are a close game with Florida State, a win over Syracuse and a competitive bowl game. If we lose out and finish 6-7 (after the bowl), I think this Addazio honeymoon will be over.
TN: The Boston College offense ranks 25th in the country by F/+ to date, a nice improvement from a 49th-ranked unit in 2013. What has led to this step up in production?
ATL_eagle: I think Addazio and OC Ryan Day are running their preferred offense now (a run-first spread with power concepts). Last year they adjusted to their talent and were still a run-first power team, but didn't have a mobile QB. I think there is also more diversity in the skill players this year. Murphy can score at any moment and we have a few more young playmakers this year.
TN: Continuing on that train of thought, what does Tyler Murphy bring to the table for the Eagles, and what will he need to do to give his team a chance to beat the Seminoles on Saturday?
ATL_eagle: Murphy is a great runner. Not in Cam Newton sense where he cannot be brought down or in Michael Vick sense where he can spin away from anything. He's just fast and has a good feel for where to go. Plus he's got good balance in traffic. He's deceptive but very effective.
For this game, Murphy needs to break off a few big runs and avoid mistakes in the passing game. He really forced things against Louisville and it cost BC.
TN: The BC defense checks in at 46th currently, having struggled in its last two games against Virginia Tech and Louisville. What do the Eagles do well on this side of the ball, and where have they experienced problems?
ATL_eagle: BC is good at stopping the run but the numbers are not as resounding as they were before the past two games. The biggest problem is getting off the field on 3rd downs and team's adjusting to the blitz. Allowing conversion after conversion cost BC the Colorado State game and nearly cost them the Wake Forest and Virginia Tech game.
TN: How will the Boston College defense look to slow down Jameis Winston and the FSU offense? Which players will be most important to doing so?
ATL_eagle: I think the biggest challenge BC will have is bringing down Winston. Think of the broken plays he made in last year's game in Boston. If BC brings pressure and gets to him, they need to bring him down. That will fall mostly on LB Josh Keyes, but DEs Kevin Kavalec and Brian Mihalik also have to close.
TN: How have the BC special teams fared to date?
ATL_eagle: Special teams have been terrible. BC cannot trust anyone to make a extra point. The kickoffs have been short. Virginia Tech converted a fake punt and Louisville blocked a punt.
The returners have been decent and so has the punt coverage, but Addazio will have to assess the entire Special Teams unit in the offseason.
TN: Finally, give us a prediction. What are your keys to a BC upset of the ‘Noles, and how will the game play out?
ATL_eagle: I think BC can and will win. The key will really be Murphy and BC's willingness to stay with the run, even if Florida State crowds the box.