The lull of the college football offseason is in full swing over the next month. I’ll try to fill that void on the blog by taking a look at all of Virginia Tech’s 2013 opponents and (hopefully) getting some insight from a beat writer who covers each team.
The next team up is Boston College, Virginia Tech’s annual Atlantic Division crossover opponent. Like last year, I’ve had some trouble getting in touch with a BC beat writer (they all double on the Red Sox or Bruins this time of year), so this might have to suffice for the Eagles.
Who: Boston College Eagles
When: Saturday, Nov. 2
Where: Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Series history: Virginia Tech leads 15-6 (Last meeting: 2012 in Chestnut Hill, 30-23 Hokies win in overtime)
The coach: Steve Addazio, first season; 13-11 in two years at Temple
Last year’s record: 2-10 (1-7 ACC, 6th Atlantic)
How they got there: Boston College’s descending win total since 2007 finally hit bottom last year, leading to Frank Spaziani‘s expected dismissal. The Eagles beat Maine and Maryland — that’s it — and had number of losses that seemed out of character for what is usually a tough BC defense. Spaziani’s crew gave up 575 yards to Northwestern and 595 to Army in early-season losses that set the tone for what would happen the rest of the year. Boston College showed some fight near the end, turning in a decent effort against Notre Dame in a 21-6 loss before losing to Virginia Tech in overtime, a game it should have won (and one that epitomized the Hokies’ struggles last year). New athletic director Brad Bates didn’t waste any time by doing what everyone expected and firing Spaziani, replacing him with Addazio, the Temple head coach and former Florida offensive coordinator, an offensive-minded coach who has roots in the Northeast.
By the numbers
- Rushing offense: 90.92 ypg (115th nationally, 12th ACC)
- Passing offense: 258.92 ypg (45th, 8th)
- Total offense: 349.8 ypg (99th, 10th)
- Scoring offense: 19.83 ppg (109th, 11th)
- Rushing defense: 214.08 ypg (111th, 11th)
- Passing defense: 242.33 ypg (75th, 7th)
- Total defense: 456.42 ypg (100th, 10th)
- Scoring defense: 29.67 ppg (74th, 9th)
- Turnover margin: -.42 (88th, 8th)
Offensive starters returning/lost: 6/5
Defensive starters returning/lost: 7/4
Biggest loss: LB Nick Clancy. Maybe it’s something in BC’s defense. Maybe it’s something with its official scorers. But the Eagles always seem to have a linebacker that racks up tackles ever year. Last season it was Clancy, who led the team and was third in the NCAA with 145 tackles to go with 10 pass breakups. He was the leader of that defense.
Team linchpin: QB Chase Rettig. BC’s offense lagged last year, but it’s hard to blame that entirely on Rettig, who threw for 3,065 yards and 17 touchdowns. There were also 13 interceptions and a 54.2 completion percentage, but Rettig remains the best offensive option the Eagles have, particularly with a running game that was among the country’s worst last season. With a defense not expected to be remarkably better, the Eagles are going to have to score plenty of points to stay in games. Rettig, who has 33 career starts and over 6,000 passing yards, is their best bet.
Watch out for: WR Alex Amidon. Rettig’s favorite target emerged as one of the country’s top pass-catchers last year. Amidon won’t scare you physically (he’s 5-foot-11, 186 pounds), but his production will make you take note. He caught 78 passes for 1,201 yards — both school records — to go with seven touchdowns last year, making for a good No. 1 receiving option.
The 2013 schedule
- Aug. 31: vs. Villanova
- Sept. 6: vs. Wake Forest
- Sept. 14: at Southern California
- Sept. 28: vs. Florida State
- Oct. 5: vs. Army
- Oct. 12: at Clemson
- Oct. 26: at North Carolina
- Nov. 2: vs. Virginia Tech
- Nov. 9: at New Mexico State
- Nov. 16: vs. N.C. State
- Nov. 23: at Maryland
- Nov. 30: at Syracuse
The buzz: After a Dead Man Walking season for Spaziani, there’s some energy that’s been injected into the program by the hire of Addazio, who called Boston College his “dream job.” That enthusiasm should help on the recruiting trail, where BC has lagged in recent years, and bring some life to a program whose fans have seen a diminishing win total the last six years — from 11 in 2007 to two last year. That transformation won’t happen overnight. The hope is that Addazio’s roots can revive recruiting in the Northeast while he maintains his ties to occasionally dip into Florida. But that will take time — maybe a coupe years, in fact. The defense last year was the worst its been in hears in Chestnut Hill, and that’s not an overnight fix either. Still, most would consider last season’s 2-10 mark rock bottom, which means there’s no place to go but up. A schedule that includes games against USC, Florida State and Clemson in the first six weeks doesn’t help, though.
Why they should be excited: There have been four BC quarterbacks to throw for 3,000 yards in a season – Doug Flutie, Glenn Foley, Matt Ryan and now Rettig. That’s pretty good company and a good pace to start for the Eagles. He and Amidon are a strong duo, and BC has three starters back on the interior line. That’s a good base to work with for new offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who played for Chip Kelly at New Hampshire and has worked for Urban Meyer, Al Golden and Tom O’Brien. Defensively, they have quite a bit back, including two starting linebackers and three members of the secondary, and hope to avoid the injury bug that ravaged last year’s unit. Senior linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto combined for 177 tackles last year, so they’re productive. Spiffy Evans, a receiver by trade, was a punt return star, averaging 25.3 yards, which would have led the nation if he had enough returns to qualify. Hokies fans will remember his 40-yard return in the game last year.
Why they should worry: Where to start? This will be Rettig’s fifth offensive coordinator in four years, a remarkable stretch that makes it impossible to build any continuity, so it’s hard to tell how he’ll react to working under a new system once again. Addazio has used a spread offense that still has a power running game at previous stops, and figures to do so at BC as well, although his personnel isn’t much of a match. Rettig’s not a runner, and the Eagles’ ground game last year ranked last in the ACC and 115th nationally. Making matters worse, BC lost its two starting tackles (including All-ACC pick Emmett Cleary) in addition to running back and frequent problem child Rolandan “Deuce” Finch, who left the team this spring. He ran for 431 yards last year despite being benched for six games. Although BC returns leading rusher Andre Williams (599 yards), it still could have used Finch. Defensively, BC was among the ACC’s worst in most of the major statistical categories last season, making for an uphill battle for new but respected defensive coordinator Don Brown, who has been at Maryland and Connecticut in the last four years. Most troubling is a defensive line that had only six sacks last season, last in the FBS. No wonder seven of BC’s 12 opponents last year threw for at least 240 yards.
The more you know: Boston College is one of two teams from BCS conferences to have a 10-win season and 10-loss season in the past six years. Kansas is the other.
- Alabama: Team overview | Ask a beat writer
- Western Carolina: Team overview | Ask a beat writer
- East Carolina: Team overview | Ask a beat writer
- Marshall: Team overview | Ask a beat writer
- Georgia Tech: Team overview | Ask a beat writer
- North Carolina: Team overview | Ask a beat writer
- Pittsburgh: Team overview | Ask a beat writer
- Duke: Team overview | Ask a beat writer