Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Boston College Eages
Boston College Golden Eagles
The Eagles shocked people last fall when they won their final three games, including a bowl win over Maryland, to finish 7-6. The major issue that BC still has is that they have won all of just two ACC games over the last two seasons, and for that reason Steve Addazio is in a must win situation. THe main problem is that he may not have the talent on hand to do much better this fall.
What To Be Excited About: Offense
BC always seems to generate strong play on the line, and this season should not be much different. Four starters return up front in LT Aaron Monteiro, LG Elijah Johnson, C Jon Baker, and RG Chris Lidstrom. Anthony Palazzolo should step in at RT for the departed Jimmy Lowery. Four key reserves return as well to give BC one of the deepest lines in the league.
Jon Hillman and Davon Jones largely shared the load at RB last season, and that could be the case again. They combined for 903 yards and eight scores, but it sure would be nice if someone really took the job by the rings this fall and ran with it. If not, running behind this line should make things fairly easy for the backs that do get carries.
The top eight receivers all return, led by Michael Walker, Jeff Smith, Charlie Callinan, and TE Tommy Sweeney. Once the QB job is settled out, this group should provide plentiful targets in the passing game.
Mike Knoll was solid at PK as he hit 12/14 FGs last season, and will have the job once again.
What To Be Concerned About: Offense
We all know that in the game today, you need stellar QB play to succeed long term. The Eagles have not had a stellar QB since the Paul Peterson and Matt Ryan days, and that was a decade ago. Patrick Towles, the grad transfer starter last fall from Kentucky, is gone. He hardly covered being stellar to any degree. The job now likely falls to Darius Wade, who also was less than stellar in limited play last fall. Someone has to step up and seriously upgrade what the Eagles are doing at QB, or this ship goes nowhere.
The run game, while deep and still fairly young, has no real star or any real depth beyond the top two backs, who both failed to live up to standards last fall. Again, a star must be identified, or the Eagles are looking for a new coach after this season.
This offense lacks excitement overall, and star power anywhere outside of the line is completely lacking.
What To Be Excited About: Defense
BC is one of those schools that fall under the Linebacker U category, and they have two starters coming back there this fall. Connor Strachan is back, as is Ty Schwab. Strachan is solid at MLB, and finished with 11 TFLs last season, and led the team with 80 total tackles. Schwab finished with 61 tackles, and also added 5.5 TFLs.
There is some shakeup going on up front on the line, but Harold Landry, the beast from the east, has returned. Landry was the national sack leader with 16.5, and could have gone pro, but chose to return for his senior season instead. He is a certified top ten draft pick in 2018. Noa Merritt also returns at NT after finishing with 3.5 TFLs last fall.
Three starters return in the secondary in CB Isaac Yiadom, SS Will Harris, and CB Kamrin Moore. Yiadom and Moore combined for 15 PBUs in 2016, and will lock down at the corner. Harris finished with 37 tackles on the season, and also added four PBUs.
What To Be Concerned About: Defense
Losing John Johnson in the secondary is absolutely huge. He finished with nine PBUs last fall at FS, and was a massive insurance policy against the deep ball. Atem Ntantang is the leading candidate to replace him, but those are huge shoes to fill.
Landry is a surefire star on the line, but BC loses two starters up front, and that could effect his play this fall a bit. Kevin Kavalec was keeping offenses honest at DE opposite Landry last fall, but is now gone. Zach Allen, a junior, must replicate that effort this fall. Truman Gutapfel is also gone at NT, and that is a pretty big loss as well. Matt Milano also takes awat 58 tackles and 11 TFLs at LB with his departure. Look for Kevin Bletzer or Sharieff Grice to battle it out for his job as we head to fall camp.
While solid as the PK last season, Knoll was not nearly as solid as the Punter, averaging just over 38 yards per effort. It would be best if the Eagles could find a replacement at Punter, allowing Knoll to concentrate on PK duties.
2017 Schedule: 9/1 at Northern Illinois, 9/9 Wake Forest, 9/16 Notre Dame, 9/23 at Clemson, 9/30 Central Michigan, 10/7 Virginia Tech, 10/14 at Louisville, 10/21 at Virginia, 10/27 Florida State, 11/11 NC State, 11/18 U Conn, 11/25 Syracuse
With the schedule being what it is, I really do not see the Eagles returning to a bowl game in 2017, and that would place Steve Addazio right in the middle of the cross hairs to be fired at the end of this upcoming season. Nothing is going right in the BC athletic department as of late, and a new AD is in town, and the acceptable levels of mediocrity to just being all out bad in most sports is no longer sitting right with people up in the Heights. The talent level on offense is just not very good at all, not counting the line, and with no star power to speak of, it will be very difficult in the ACC for BC to move to the next level this fall. An apathetic fan base does not help either, and that is another reason for change.I could be wrong, but BC getting back to a bowl is a severe long shot.