We're very fortunate to have the SB Nation network of team-specific sites to work with during game weeks. Today we have A.J Black of BC Interruption here to talk Steve Addazio, a new offensive line, and a stout run defense.
TN: Boston College is coming off of two consecutive 7-6 seasons in Steve Addazio's first two years and has started the season 2-0. How are you feeling about the state of the program and what are your expectations for BC's 2015 campaign?
BCI: Clearly BC is heading in the right direction after two seasons that exceeded expectations. This is going to be an interesting year for the Eagles as they are going to have to redefine themselves again after losing QB Tyler Murphy. I'm not honestly sure what to expect from Boston College this year, they are young at many positions, but have a great stable of running backs and a stifling defensive front.
TN: The Eagles feature an overhauled offensive line in 2015. Tell us a bit about how this unit has fared so far and what you expect from them going forward.
BCI: This is the biggest question mark going into the FSU game. This is a young group, with senior Harris Williams and Dave Bowen anchoring them. Against Maine the group struggled the first half of the game, and BC couldn't do much of anything. Jon Hilliman couldn't run the ball, and there were multiple plays blown up because of poor blocking. But eventually they wore Maine down and the line played much better. Howard didn't have a chance against the line. FSU is going to be a real test for this group, hopefully BC's first two games helped the line gel, but again it's hard to tell.
TN: How do you expect the Boston College offense to attack this FSU defense? Which matchups will be key in determining how much success they'll have?
BCI: BC has only played Maine and Howard this season, so it's been hard to truly gauge where the Eagles are at this point. Sophomore Darius Wade has done a nice job as the QB, but again he hasn't faced a legit defense yet. His skill set will put BC's offense in a different spot than they were last year. He can and will run some option offense, but he also will run the spread. He has a much more accurate arm than Murphy, but is a little slower. I think BC's backs should be able to move the ball, but the key is going to be whether the Eagles are able to move the ball through the air. They have a handful of receivers that are speedy, and if they can keep FSU off balance that will certainly help the young offense.
TN: The BC defense has been stout, as expected, so far this season. What does Don Brown like to do on this side of the ball, and who should ‘Noles fans have an eye on Friday night?
BCI: Don Brown is aggressive on defense and for the first time he has the weapons to really open the defensive playbook. His plan is going to throw pressure at FSU from all angles, and try to confuse the Noles blocking schemes. There is some talent up front that Noles fans should watch out for. Look out for Harold Landry, a 4* defensive end, who has really started to improve this season, especially on the pass rush. Connor Wujciak and Truman "War Daddy" Gutapfel are massive tackles that really clog up the middle of the field, and are the keys to the rushing defense. BC had a lot of turnover at linebacker, but Steven Daniels a senior is a punishing hitter.
TN: While it appears that BC will probably be able to slow down the FSU run game, how confident are you that the Eagles' pass defense can improve from that of a year ago and keep the ‘Noles in check through the air?
BCI: In years past the Eagles have worn down on defense as they have lacked depth up front. This year they are rolling out four to five defensive ends, and four tackles, to keep players fresh. I think this is going to be a key to their defense, as this hopefully will prevent late game collapses. The secondary is young, and inexperienced for the most part, but they have speed, something BC has really lacked in years past. With some good speed on the outside and a solid pass rush, BC's pass defense should look much improved over 2014.
TN: In what Vegas expects to be a close game, special teams can certainly play a dispositive role in the outcome. How have the Eagles fared on special teams so far, and what do you expect from them Friday night?
BCI: BC's special teams was a train wreck last year, something Noles fans saw first hand during their matchup in Tallahassee. At the end of the season Addazio parted ways with the special teams coordinator and hired Coleman Hutzler from Florida. So far the kicking game looks promising. Alex Howell will be both the punter and place kicker. Addazio put a special emphasis on punt returns as the Eagles struggled with field position against Maine, so look for diminutive speedster Sherm Allston to be a big factor on punt returns. He's probably the fastest player on the team.
TN: Finally, give us a prediction. The ‘Noles opened as a favorite of about 10 points, which has since shrunk to 7.5 at the time of writing these questions. Are the Eagles able to pull off the slight home upset over the Seminoles?
BCI: I'm torn here, because it's the Red Bandana Night at BC (look up Welles Crowther if you don't know the story) so it will be a special game for the school. Emotions are going to run high with ESPN spotlighting the campus. I still have concerns about this team, especially on offense. It's going to be another BC/FSU classic, and should stay close, but I expect the Seminoles defense to frustrate BC and for Golson or Cook to make one play that puts away the Eagles. I'll go FSU 24 Boston College 17.