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 Football 2013 Payback Games: Boston College

Eagles Fans Were Crushed By Last Year's 30-23 Defeat vs. Virginia Tech; Can They Bounce Back in 2013?

BC Fans Were Crushed By 2012’s 30-23 Defeat vs. Virginia Tech; Can They Bounce Back in 2013?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Boston College Eagles

Opponent: Virginia Tech Hokies

Last Year: Loss, 30-23 (OT) vs. Virginia Tech

This Year: November 2, vs. Virginia Tech

In an otherwise hapless season of ACC play, the Eagles did manage a win against a depleted Maryland team, while also forcing overtime in an eventual loss versus a seven-win Hokies squad. Those are the highlights. But despite the use of the word “forced,” Boston College was not in this game by chance of a miracle — they’d actually outplayed Virginia Tech for the majority of the contest. Ultimately, their downfall would be decided by some overly conservative play-calling from former coaches Frank Spaziani and Doug Martin.

With just over one minute remaining in regulation, BC received the ball on their own 17 yard line. Possessing some momentum and reasonable amount of time, one would surmise the offense would at least attempt to move the football and try to get in range for a game-winning field goal (score was tied at 23 at the time). Instead, two running plays and a kneel-down sent it into overtime as a perturbed Chestnut Hill crowd booed. In overtime, the BC defense was on its heels for the entirety of a six-play touchdown drive by Tech. And then the offense took over, down seven and needing to get it in the end zone to force another overtime. The plays? Rush up the middle for no gain. Poorly-drawn pass play that resulted in a Chase Rettig sack. Incomplete pass. And then a seven-yard pass on 4th and 11. End of game.

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ACC Football Standout Senior 2013: Boston College

Boston College Wide Receiver Alex Amidon is Poised for a Strong Senior Season in 2013

Boston College Wide Receiver Alex Amidon is Poised for a Strong Senior Season in 2013

As schools’ academic years are wrapping up, last season’s juniors are about to become this season’s seniors, and with that comes extra responsibility and expectations. In the ACC, while there were plenty of players selected in the NFL Draft, the conference still returns a strong group of seniors — many of whom are set to make a strong impact in their final seasons of eligibility.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be going team-by-team in the ACC to identify the “standout senior” that’s key to his respective squad, and why he’s so important. Think we should’ve featured another player, though? Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.

Boston College Eagles: Alex Amidon, WR

Following two mildly productive seasons at wideout, Amidon seemingly exploded in his junior year, to the tune of 78 catches for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns. For a Boston College offense that struggled mightily in 2012, he still managed to be as consistent as they come, catching at least five passes in all but three games. Now, as a senior, can he improve upon his record-setting performance?

With new offensive coordinator Ryan Day focusing more heavily on the running game, some may think Amidon’s due for a drop-off. On the contrary, it may actually end up a huge boost to both his productivity and eventual NFL Draft stock, in my opinion. After the first few games of 2012, it was obvious that quarterback Chase Rettig was likely going to target Amidon between eight and 10 times per game, resulting in more and more double-coverage. This was noticed most extensively late in the season, when he was held to five catches over the final two games, for just 53 yards. By implementing a run-first attack, Boston College will be able to open up the passing game a bit more (as Amidon himself alluded to last month when speaking with ESPN’s Heather Dinich), and will also give Amidon ample opportunity to show off his blocking chops. At only 5’11” and 186 pounds, he’s a bit undersized, and doesn’t necessarily have the strength to hold up against linebackers, but facing off with defensive backs, he should do fine.

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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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