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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2012 ACC Football Season Recap: Boston College Eagles

After a Disastrous 2012 Season, We Try to Find a Silver Lining for Boston College Football

After a Disastrous 2012 Season, it’s Tough to Find Positives for Boston College — Though We Do Try

Team: Boston College Eagles

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

Postseason: N/A

Top Offensive Performer: Alex Amidon, WR

Top Defensive Performer: Nick Clancy, LB

The talk heading into the 2012 season was that new offensive coordinator Doug Martin would be letting the reigns loose on a passing game that had been ranked 100th in the nation back in 2011. And sure, that did happen. The Eagles were ranked 45th in the country in passing yards per game this past season, and QB Chase Rettig — once thought to be a lost cause in a failing system — threw for more than 3,000 yards (nearly equaling his previous career total). But despite the increase, it didn’t really result in points scored. BC scored 19.8 points per game this season; more than last season’s paltry 18.2, but the team only moved from 112th to 111th in total scoring offense year-over-year. That average was also boosted by a four-game stretch in which they scored 31 points or more three times (but won just one of those contests).

Where Martin and the Boston College offense failed most, however, was the running game. After career leading rusher Montel Harris left the program this summer, the Eagles struggled to find any real consistency with his replacements, Rolandon “Deuce” Finch and Andre Williams. But it’s not entirely right to blame the backs, when it was Martin’s system that really caused the issue. In 2012, Boston College ran the ball just 345 times (versus 437 times in 2011). Predictably, the Eagles’ run game was a disaster as a result of the rushing/passing inequity, only racking up 90.5 yards per game (119th in the country). Even more predictably, Doug Martin is no longer with Boston College and will be taking his one-dimensional offense back to New Mexico State next season.

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ACC Football Preview 2012: Preseason Offensive Unit Rankings

Even Without Sammy Watkins for Two Games, Clemson Should Have the ACC’s Top Offense

We’re literally one day (and some hours) away from the start of the 2012 season, so obviously, we’re rolling out tons of arbitrarily ranked lists to peruse before kickoff. The focus of this list? Every ACC offense. Along with the ranked list, we’ll provide some background to legitimize said arbitrary ranking. Don’t agree with us? Voice your opinion in the comment section.

Want more lists? Be sure to check out the defensive and coaching rankings set to be posted later on today!

ACC Offensive Unit Rankings (Preseason)

1. Clemson Tigers: Clemson has lost very little on offense, after putting up nearly 34 points per game last year. If they manage to pick up the pace even further this year, and survive the first two games without Sammy Watkins, it should be a wild ride.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels: Installing the spread for an already-potent attack, new head coach Larry Fedora is excited about the possibilities. QB Bryn Renner should excel, and it will be interesting to watch how star halfback Giovani Bernard defines his role in the new formation, too.

3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: The ‘Wreck will once again sport their lethal triple-option, with more capable backs than I can ever recall. A-back Orwin Smith should shoulder a good deal of the load, along with QB Tevin Washington, en route to another season averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground.

4. Florida State Seminoles: Beyond QB EJ Manuel, it’s still uncertain who the primary weapons will be for the ‘Noles, but collectively, there’s just too much talent available for them to fail. With an easier schedule, they should be able to surpass last year’s average of 30 points per game with little difficulty.

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ACC Football Standout Senior 2012: Boston College

A Healthy Montel Harris Could be the Key For a Boston College Offense That Struggled Without Him in 2011

While we won’t be naive (and/or like Rick Reilly/Peter King/insert-your-own-cliched-columnist) and claim there’s some sort of pristine or pure honor in playing out your four years that other players just don’t get to experience, we’d still like to point out the senior players that are likely to stand out in 2012. These players have put in the time during their college careers, and now serve as the cornerstones of their respective teams’ potential success this season.

We’ll be going team-by-team to identify the “standout senior” that’s key to his team, and why. Have a different thought on the matter? Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.

First up, for Boston College, it’s fifth-year senior running back Montel Harris, who’s hoping to come back strong from 2011’s injury-plagued season, and a spring practice session that ended far too early for anyone (coaches or fans) to get a true look at him in his final season of eligibility. Continue reading

2011 ACC Season Recap: Boston College Eagles

Luke Kuechly Was One of Boston College's Only Bright Spots During the 2011 Season

Team: Boston College Eagles

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

Postseason: N/A

Top Offensive Performer: Chase Rettig, QB

Top Defensive Performer: Luke Kuechly, LB

Under head coach Frank Spaziani, the Eagles have fallen from conference title-contender to league also-ran rather swiftly. Going back to their Big East days, BC had made 12 straight bowl games, which counted among the best streaks in the country. Since 2009 though (Spaziani’s first year), there’s been a sinking feeling amongst Eagles fans to coincide with their decreasing offensive proficiency. And the 2011 season was no different. Boston College’s offense was among the worst in the nation, averaging less than 300 yards per game and only 18.2 points per contest (112th among FBS teams). Their leading rusher, Rolandon Finch, had just 705 yards, while lead receiver Colin Larmond caught just 34 passes for 528 yards. Top offensive performer Chase Rettig was similarly unimpressive in comparison to his ACC peers, ranking 10th in pass efficiency while throwing for just 1,954 yards and 12 touchdowns. Worst of all, the team only topped 20 points three times in 12 tries. Continue reading

ACC Top 10 Single-Game Performances of 2011

Who Had the Best Single-Game Performance of an Exciting 2011 ACC Football Season?

Continuing our extensive recap of an entertaining 2011 season of ACC (plus Syracuse and Pittsburgh) football, we move on to the top 10 single-game performances of the 2011 season. These were the best offensive and defensive efforts by one single player, that stood out above all others. As you’d imagine, with so many evenly-matched teams and players this season, no part of this selection was easy. Nonetheless, your top 10 single-game performances. Please feel free to disagree in the comments below.

10. Andre Branch, DE/Clemson (11 tackles, 4.0 sacks @ Virginia Tech): Established early as the class of the ACC this year, Clemson and Virginia Tech’s October clash was supposed to be a very close matchup. What happened instead, however, was a 23-3 blowout — a direct result of the Tigers’ defensive pressure, led by Branch. Seemingly all over the field, the senior defensive end helped hold the Hokies to just 125 passing yards on the day.

9. Sammy Watkins, WR/Clemson (345 all-purpose yards, 3 TD @ Maryland): Watkins and the high-powered Tigers’ offense spend most of the second half of this game mounting an enormous comeback, but don’t blame the deficit on the freshman receiver. One of the nation’s standout first-year players, his highlight reel in this game alone included two big third-quarter receiving TDs, as well as a stunning 89-yard kickoff return to take the lead for good.

8. Dwight Jones, WR/North Carolina (10 catches, 101 yards, 3 TD vs. Duke): Saving his best game of the season for the final regular season match of his career, the senior set season-highs with 10 catches and three touchdowns. While Jones was the Heels’ most impressive offensive weapon all season, it was this performance that really put him into the upper echelon of a talented ACC receiving group.

7. Luke Kuechly, LB/Boston College (23 tackles vs. Duke): Kuechly was a tackling machine for the Eagles in 2011, racking up a grand total of 191 in just 12 games of action. His ultimate reward: the Bronko Nagurski Award, for the nation’s top defensive player. While every game he played was impressive, this one in particular was one of the year’s best tackling performances for any player.

6. Ryan Nassib, QB/Syracuse (24 of 32 passing, 240 total yards, 5 total TD vs. West Virginia): Who knew that this fantastic performance on a Friday night in October would end up being the last hurrah of both Nassib’s and Syracuse’s seasons? In spite of their five-game collapse to close out the slate, this Orange fan will still try to remember their stunning 49-23 win over the Mountaineers most of all. You could occasionally get a glimpse of how much Nassib improved from 2010 to 2011, and this game was an all-out tour-de-force of that growth as a leader on the field.

5. Rolandon Finch, RB/Boston College (243 rushing yards, 2 TD @ Maryland): Finch recorded just 705 yards and three TDs rushing this entire season. So, when looking at his numbers from this late October game versus the Terps, the totals look even more impressive. The Eagles would record 372 yards on the ground that day, to just 32 passing. An embarrassing display for a Maryland defense that expected an easy day against BC’s 112th-ranked offense.

4. Rodney McLeod, CB/Virginia (7 tackles, 3 interceptions @ Maryland): I’m sure you’re sensing a theme with Maryland by now. While McLeod had just four interceptions all season, he managed to pick off three passes in one game against the Terps. The number is currently half of his career total of six. It appears Maryland just has that effect on people.

3. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (30 of 42 passing, 416 total yards, 4 passing TD vs. Auburn): What better way to announce your arrival in the national consciousness than versus the defending BCS champs? After looking shaky the previous Saturday against FCS competition, Boyd and Clemson came out swinging against Auburn and it paid huge dividends. Sure, the SEC still looks down on their southern brethren, but Clemson, behind some scary-good numbers from its sophomore quarterback, at least quieted the scoffing for a day.

2. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (27 of 46 passing, 367 passing yards, 6 total TD vs. North Carolina): The only player to appear on this list twice, Boyd and his performance in this October victory was as a huge resume-booster for the quarterback’s then-budding Heisman trophy campaign. The dominating performance would also double as one of the Tigers’ biggest claims to a top-ten ranking. Much of the damage in this one occurred during a horrifying third-quarter in which Clemson scored 35 points to really stick a dagger in UNC’s hopes.

1. Mike Glennon, QB/NC State (36 of 55 passing, 306 passing yards, 6 total TD vs. Maryland): Who else but the Terps’ defense could’ve given up this performance? Down 41-14 in the third quarter, with a bowl berth on the line, Glennon would account for four touchdowns over the final 20 minutes of the game. The incredible, 27-point comeback to win would be a rubber-stamp on a surprisingly successful Wolfpack season, and an exclamation point on Glennon’s career (limited ’till this point).