Saturday, July 21, 2007
Boston College Preview
2006 Results: 10-3 overall, 5-3 ACC (T2nd Atlantic Division); beat Navy 25-24 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl
Offense: Senior QB Matt Ryan returns, along with tandem tailbacks LV Whitworth and Andre Callender, WR Kevin Challenger (well, maybe, as he was MIA in the spring for curious reasons), and 3 out of 5 offensive linemen. New OC Steve Logan looks to be a decent fit for those who like the run-first approach that BC has long been known for. The major kink in this overall unit is the offensive line....OL coach-of-a-few-months Jim Turner departed over "creative differences" in April, and Jack Bicknell Jr was brought in shortly thereafter. On top of that, a new zone blocking scheme is being implemented. It's tough not to envision Matt Ryan frequently scrambling for dear life and a bunch of tackles-for-loss on poor Messrs. Whitworth and Callender this fall.
Defense: Eight starters return (we're not including LB Brian Toal, as it appears that he's going to sit out the season due to nagging shoulder problems), including the entire defensive line. Despite the loss of Toal, the LB unit should still among the best in Eagle history due to the depth and experience of the returnees. CB DeJuan Tribble anchors the secondary. Last year's defense allowed just a paltry 15.7 points per game, a school record.
Special teams: K Steve "Sid Vicious" Aponavicius is back, and on scholarship to...ummmm...boot. P Johnny Ayers return for his 15th season (actually 4th, but I swear he was punting for the Eagles back in that '93 upset of Notre Dame), while Jeff Smith and DeJuan Tribble are both back to handle kick and punt returns, respectively.
Coaching: Out- Tom O'Brien, just the winningest coach in school history, champion of 7 straight bowls, but never a conference champ and a big-time keister-clencher at least once per season if you believe much of the Eagle fanbase. In- Jeff Jagodzinski, O'Brien's OC from 1997-98 and then NFL'ing it for the last 8 seasons, but with nary a head coaching gig anywhere before. More importantly (to BC fans), he presents a complete 180-turn personality-wise from the stern O'Brien. Still, it's the major uncertainty regarding Jags' return to the college game, and how his style will mesh with the existing talent, that makes the Eagles such a mystery this season, on top of all the question marks and unknowns elsewhere in the Atlantic Division. In perhaps the most important move of the brief Jags Era, DC Frank Spaziani was convinced to remain in Beantown.
For What It's Worth: That Bicknell name should sound familiar; Jack Sr was BC's head coach from 1981-1990 and helped make Doug Flutie a household name.....the Eagles renew their "Vatican Bowl" rivalry with Notre Dame this year, and BC owns a 4-game winning streak over the Irish.....BC was second in the nation last year with a +15 turnover margin.....Jagodzinksi's two year stint as OC (1997-98) in Chestnut Hill yielded the 2nd and 4th most productive offenses of O'Brien's 10-year reign.
Schedule Analysis: A very interesting, and potentially lethal, trio of games kick off the year - the opener at home with Wake Forest, the I can't friggin wait to see this return of Tom O'Brien with his Wolfpack in week 2, followed by a trip to Atlanta to face the Jackets in the third week. The midsection out-of-conference slate provides a breather (yes, even the Irish, who should be hovering in the .500-zone this year). But those last five games are brutal....three road contests against Virginia Tech, Clemson and Maryland, mixed in with Florida State and Miami at home. Sorry fellas, no Duke or UNC to cruelly bludgeon this year.
Projected Wins- Army, UMass, Bowling Green, @Notre Dame
Projected Losses- @Georgia Tech, @Virginia Tech
Toss-Ups- Wake Forest, N.C. State, Florida State, @Clemson, @Maryland, Miami....and yes, I realize that I'm saying half the schedule is too close too call
For More Opinionated, Yet Delightful, Eagle Insight: Eagle in Atlanta, For Here Men Are Men
Blast-From-The-Past, Feel-Good YouTube:
This one never gets old