ACC Football 2013 Season Preview: Boston College Eagles

Boston College is Looking to Rebound From What's Been a Disastrous Program Downturn

Boston College is Looking to Rebound From What’s Been a Disastrous Program Downturn

Team: Boston College Eagles

2012 W-L: 2-10 (1-7)

Head Coach: Steve Addazio (0-0; first season)

Returning Starters: 16 (8 Offense, 8 Defense)

The Eagles hit rock bottom in 2012. The absolute lowest point you could hit — made even worse by where they’d been for much of the previous two decades. When your team and fan base become accustomed to bowl bids and contending for conference titles (as had regularly been the case since BC joined the ACC), a 2-10 train wreck is a tough pill to swallow. Yet that’s where Boston College sits now in the first year of head coach Steve Addazio’s reign. There’s talent on this roster; don’t think there isn’t. But in order to rebound and harness that talent, it’ll take the right coach. Is Addazio the right coach? We’ll soon find out…

Boston College’s offense will be completely revamped for 2013, as new OC Ryan Day tries to bring the team back to a more balanced attack than last year’s pass-at-all-costs disaster. They didn’t have the personnel to run that scheme (while they still finished 45th in passing yards per game), but I’m unsure whether they have the personnel to be run-first either. Addazio’s looking for a grind it out game, which means a lot of the onus falls on running back Andre Williams to far surpass the paltry 584 yards he amassed last season. He’ll have little help or experience there to assist him, though, which makes for a very tough hill to climb at running back. With more carries (he only had 130 last year), I’d bet we see a lot more production out of Williams, but perhaps not on the level you’ll get from the league’s elite ball-carriers.

Passing-wise, things are more settled, and we may actually see a rebound season from QB Chase Rettig. Forced to pass more often than necessary last fall, Rettig took a lot of sacks and suffered from turnovers. But with a balanced approach, maybe we see something like 17 scores, nine picks and around 2,800 yards on 55-percent passing, coupled with less sacks. Star receiver Alex Amidon should be able to help him out with all of that, however the jury’s still out on the offensive line. Replacing starters at both tackle spots is no small order, and it could make for some rough early outings as everyone gets settled.

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ACC Preseason Top 50 Players of 2013: #29, Kevin Pierre-Louis

Boston College’s Kevin Pierre-Louis is #29 on Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 50 Players for 2013

Boston College’s Kevin Pierre-Louis is #29 on Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 50 Players for 2013

Less than three weeks until college football kicks off! In the past, we’ve limited these lists to just the top 25 players, but this season, we’re upping our game to 50. So just about every day until the season starts, there will be a new player profile up here as we count down to the top ACC player for 2013.

Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.

No. 29, Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB/Boston College (Last Season: NR)

Boston College has had at least one elite linebacker on the roster for what feels like forever at this point, and this season, Kevin Pierre-Louis is no exception. A solid all-around player, Pierre-Louis has benefited from sharing a field with the likes of both Nick Clancy and Luke Kuechly over the past two years. But now it’s largely his show to run at linebacker. The question is can he rise to the occasion and become that game-changing defender he’s shown glimpses of in this past? Or will he cede the spotlight to a talented teammate (perhaps fellow senior LB Steele Divitto) once again? For what it’s worth, I think KPL’s finally ready to star for this defense.

To be clear, neither of the last two seasons have been disappointments for Pierre-Louis. He’s just been surrounded by more gaudy statistics from his fellow linebackers. Back in 2011, he notched 74 stops (six TFLs), along with a fumble return for a score, despite missing three games. Last year, he had 85 tackles (four TFLs), though he missed another three games then too. In his three-year career, he’s had 10 games with 10 or more tackles, showing the ability to take over games for stretches, though never at a Kuechly-like level. Over the last two seasons, part of that might be due to health (six missed games over that stretch), but again, a lot of it appears to be a result of his teammates’ greater abilities to make those plays.

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Phil Steele’s 2013 Preseason All-ACC Team

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd Headlines Phil Steele's Preseason All-ACC Team

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd Headlines Phil Steele’s Preseason All-ACC Team

As part of Phil Steele’s extensive 2013 season preview activities, today he released his picks for the All-ACC team. Not an overwhelming number of surprises to be found, but that said, there’s certainly some switches partisan fans might make here and there between first- and second-teams or third- and fourth-teams. Most notably, I’d probably move up UNC‘s Bryn Renner to the second team, while moving Virginia Tech‘s Logan Thomas down to the third — but the difference is negligible, really.

We won’t lay out the entire list for you here, but below we’ve included the first-team offense and defense, plus a school-by-school count of all players included on all four teams compiled by Steele. Regarding the latter, Florida State led the way with 19 players out of the 112 named, while Maryland had the least, with just three.

First Team All-ACC: Offense

QB: Tajh Boyd, Clemson

RB: Duke Johnson, Miami

RB: Devonta Freeman, Florida State

WR: Sammy Watkins, Clemson

WR: Rashad Greene, Florida State

WR: Stefon Diggs, Maryland

TE: Eric Ebron, North Carolina

C: Bryan Stork, Florida State

OG: Tre’ Jackson, Florida State

OG: Brandon Linder, Miami

OT: Morgan Moses, Virginia

OT: James Hurst, North Carolina

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ACC 2013 Spring Football Preview: Boston College Eagles

Steve Addazio's First Spring Practices at BC Will Set the Tone for His New Regime

Steve Addazio’s First Spring Practices at BC Will Set the Tone for His New Regime

As the ACC‘s spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing the big storylines for each of the league’s 14 (15, in this case) teams. Check back on weekdays for what to look out for during your school’s spring practices and spring game.

Team: Boston College Eagles

Spring Practice Start Date: February 28

Spring Game Date: April 13 April 20 (updated to reflect newly announced date)

The Eagles are undergoing a complete overhaul this offseason now that Frank Spaziani’s reign of terror is finally over. Head coach Steve Addazio brings a new intensity into spring practice, and by all accounts, he’ll be looking for “his guys” early, to see which players are set to help him rebuild this program from the depths of 2012’s 2-10 finish.

Offensively, there’s hope for continuity as former wide receivers coach Ryan Day takes over to run a group that only scored 19.8 points per game last year. Whether or not he can harness quarterback Chase Rettig‘s skillset into wins, however, will be his biggest test as part of his new role. Rettig and his connection to receiver Alex Amidon were the only positives for the struggling offensive unit. In order to fix things going forward, he’ll have to identify some new leaders along the line (perhaps Dan Lembke and/or Aaron Kramer at the tackle spots?) and establish a running game to take some pressure off Rettig. Last year’s backfield was among the worst in the country, and those same players — mainly Andre Williams and Rolandon Finch — are back again for 2013. With former offensive coordinator Doug Martin and his pass-happy (to a fault) system out of the fold, there’s at least hope for some balanced play-calling this season.

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ACC 2012 Season Preview: Boston College Eagles

If Boston College Hopes to Win in 2012, QB Chase Rettig and the Offense Will Have to Show Vast Improvement in a New System

Team: Boston College Eagles

2011 W-L: 4-8 (3-5)

Head Coach: Frank Spaziani (20-19; three seasons)

Returning Starters: 17 (10 Offense, 7 Defense)

After 13 years of successful football, rife with postseason berths, Boston College missed a bowl game in 2011. They posted a losing record for the first time since 1997, and experienced their fourth consecutive decline in overall wins from the year before. Of course, for any program, this usually means you’re in a free fall, and it’s time for the coach to be shown the door.

Yet up in Chestnut Hill, athletic director Gene DeFillippo decided that head coach Frank Spaziani and his mustache will get one more go-around to try and right the ship. Even with 17 starters returning this season though, can he do so successfully?

In 2011, the Eagles’ offense was absolutely abysmal. They finished 100th in the country in passing yards, 82nd in rushing yards and a ghastly 112th in scoring, with just 18.2 points put up per game. Quarterback Chase Rettig was largely unimpressive, the receivers were non-factors and the running game just never quite got going without the school’s career rushing leader Montel Harris (lost early in the season to injury). To fix this, Spaziani changed direction on offense, bringing in offensive mastermind Doug Martin. Continue reading

ACC Preseason Top 25 Players of 2012: #22, Kevin Pierre-Louis

Boston College’s Kevin Pierre-Louis is Number 22 on Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 25 Players for 2012

As part of our 2012 season preview, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC for this season, from 25 to one. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective, so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.

No, 22, Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB/Boston College

It’s unlikely anyone would ever be able to replace all-world former Eagles linebacker Luke Kuechly‘s production. But, if BC has to try and replicate one of the country’s best defenders, Kevin Pierre-Louis isn’t a bad substitute. Kuechly’s teammate last year, Pierre-Louis has started the season with plenty of hype and fanfare — considered first-team All-ACC, and named to the Nagurski (best defensive player) and Lombardi (best lineman/linebacker) watch lists, respectively. Without question, he’s the most important cog on this Eagles team, on either side of the ball, and their hopes could rise and fall on whether he can come close to Kuechly’s record-setting tackling output.

In just nine games in 2011, Pierre-Louis managed 74 tackles, recording seven or more in all but two of those games. While he’s a versatile linebacker for sure, with Kuechly acting as a ball-stopper at the point of contact, KPL was free to roam the middle of the field and protect against the pass. As the featured linebacker now, it’ll be interesting to see where his role heads toward; more run- or pass-focused. Since he’s not a big guy at all (6’1″, 218 pounds), we may see his speed employed much more in the flat, especially against west coast offenses, where he’ll thrive. Continue reading

ACC 2012 Spring Practice Expectations: Boston College

Montel Harris's Health Is One Of Many Concerns For Boston College This Spring

As spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing what needs to happen for the teams and players of the ACC, culminating with notes on all 14 spring games.

Today’s featured team: Boston College Eagles

For the Eagles, spring practice promises to be an intensive struggle to break old habits on offense, along with learning how to get along without defensive standout Luke Kuechly. For those unfamiliar, Boston College’s offensive attack was downright putrid last year. The team finished 100th overall in the FBS in passing yardage, averaging just 167.8 per game. They were 82nd in rushing yards, with 130.9 per game. And worst of all, the team finished 112th overall in scoring, at just 18.2 per game. Lucky for them, they’re experimenting with a new offensive coordinator for 2012, Doug Martin. Now, Martin was definitely instrumental in improving production in New Mexico State‘s passing game last season, with the Aggies finished 26th in the FBS in passing yards per game. But will he have the same effect on BC? And was his effect on New Mexico State really as great as the yardage figure advertises? While passing yardage went up, scoring was still poor (just 24.5 points per game) and the team only won four games. Now, the Eagles probably have better athletes than the Aggies, but they’re also facing better competition. Martin may be a great offensive coordinator, but he’ll have to prove himself against ACC competition to prove it. Continue reading