We’re very fortunate to have the SB Nation network of team sites to work with during game weeks. This edition of the Opponent Q&A series features A.J Black of BC Interruption, SBN’s Boston College site.
TN: The Eagles sit at 4-5 (1-5 ACC) on the season. What were your expectations entering the season and how are you feeling about Steve Addazio’s future at BC?
BCI: I was really hoping that this was going to be a bounce back season for the Eagles, especially with the schedule they lined up. The Eagles had 4 cupcake out of conference games, and if things rolled correctly games they should have won against Syracuse, Wake and GT. They lost two of those games already, and most disconcerting they have been trucked against the good ACC teams. Not like beat, but absolutely destroyed. That is no good, and has made many many fans very upset with the progress of this program. There are probably two paths that the rest of the season could take. BC could go out and beat WF and UConn, and easily slide into a bowl, in which case Addazio will be safe. If BC loses two of three or god forbid all three (which could easily happen), Addazio will be canned by the end of the season. Another factor to consider is the future of our AD who's contract is up at the end of this season. What they do with him could dictate what happens with Daz.
TN: The Boston College offense has struggled mightily again this season, currently checking in at 122nd in the nation by S&P+. What have been the primary causes of this disappointing performance?
BCI: Our offense has been a giant dumpster fire this entire season for a few reasons. First and foremost the offensive line has not improved at all, no matter what Addazio says during his press conference. They are getting beaten physically by good lines, and make mental mistakes constantly which is probably the most frustrating part. Secondly Patrick Towles is not a very good quarterback. He's a nice enough kid, and makes some good plays here and there, but he is very inconsistent and goes through long stretches where he is more of a hinderance than an asset. I have no idea why he is still getting the nod, as I believe that redshirt sophomore Darius Wade wouldn't be much of a drop off plus it would give him some game experience. Finally, the play calling has been bad. Addazio and Scot Loeffler are continuing to try and implement this pro style offense, but its so heavy on the run that they can't move the ball.
TN: If the BC offense is to move the ball against FSU, how do you see it doing so?
BCI: A miracle from up above? But seriously, probably if Towles can get a little time in the pocket, he can try and hit some of his underneath routes that he did effectively against NC State. If the wide outs can resist dropping the ball so often, he might find some success. If BC is stuck in third and long, forget it. Might as well just punt.
TN: The Eagle defense, on the other hand, currently rankes 25th in the nation by S&P+. What are the strengths of this unit in 2016?
BCI: Those numbers are completely flawed in my opinion. Take out the three games against UMass, Buffalo and Wagner and you can see what the defense really is. They have let up 500 or more yards against the three ranked teams, and got blasted by Syracuse. I love some of the players, but they have been getting exposed this season. Harold Landry is an NFL caliber defensive end that causes mayhem in the backfield, while Matt Milano and Connor Strachan are both solid linebackers. What worries me about the defense has been the play of the secondary. I don't know if it's the kids, the loss of Steven Daniels at LB, or the loss of Don Brown, but they have regressed. The CBs are getting toasted on long plays (15 15+ yard plays given up all season), and their technique has been bad. Plus I don't know what Jim Reid has been calling, but I've seen a lot of man to man coverage with no safety help which Lamar Jackson exploited effectively.
TN: How do you see the BC defense attempting to contain Dalvin Cook and the FSU offense, and how successful do you expect them to be?
BCI: If BC is successful at one thing, it's preventing the run. As I mentioned before they have Landry who is solid on the edge, along with Zach Allen and Kevin Kavalec who are both good ends. The speed at the linebacker is a huge factor in stopping the run. Ty Schwab is that typical tweener linebacker who makes a ton of plays on the run .
TN: How have the Boston College special teams fared to date? Are there any unmentioned players that FSU fans should have their eyes on this Friday night?
BCI: Honestly? Not bad. BC finally has a reliable kicker in Mike Knoll who has been able to get field goals pretty consistently. Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse are both dynamic kick returner who make plays.
TN: Finally, let’s get a prediction. How do you see this one unfolding?
BCI: I have no faith that BC is going to be able to hang with the Seminoles on Friday. I expect FSU to jump up quick and build a lead that BC won't recover from. Let's say FSU 42-7.
Many thanks to A.J for his time and insight! Be sure to head over to BC Interruption for all things Boston College. Our answers to their questions will be up later.