CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Chase Rettig #11 of the Boston College Eagles rolls out in the first quarter against the Northwestern Wildcats on September 3, 2011 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
In this week's iteration of Behind Enemy Lines, we talk with the best darn BC blog on the internet, BC Interruption. Make sure to head over there and read our answers to their questions, but first up: read on to see their opinions on which Terp QB they'd rather see on the field on Saturday, Frank Spaziani's job security, and much more.
Not much has gone right for Maryland this year, but it seems even less has gone right for BC. Have there been any bright spots for the Eagles this year, and if so where are they?
Let's see ... we didn't lose to Massachusetts, our only I-AA opponent of the year. And Luke Kuechly tackles anything and everything in a 30-yard radius. That's the list.
As you can see, very few things have actually gone right for the Eagles this year. Far more things have gone wrong. Everything from losing arguably our best receiver, the school's all-time rushing leader, a key member of the defensive line, two members of our starting secondary (kicked off or left team), two wide receivers (left the team during fall camp) to even our first year offensive coordinator, who stepped down for "health reasons."
Add up all those things that have gone wrong for the Eagles this season and it's not hard to see why we are sitting at 1-6 (though losing to Duke ... really?). That said, I still think a lot of these are excuses for covering up a poor first-half performance. This team has more talent than its record indicates.
Obviously, the injury of Montel Harris has been crippling for the Eagles' offense and a leading cause of the offensive ineptitude. How have the Eagles attempted to replace or compensate for the loss of his production?
Montel Harris is an outstanding back. No question. But to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how much more success the Eagles would have on offense with him in there every day. He's clearly the most talented of the BC running backs, but the Eagles offensive line continues to regress to the point where they aren't establishing the run like they used to. Holes aren't being opened and the Eagles' running game has suffered as a result (BC is now 100+ in rushing offense this season).
Rolandan "Deuce" Finch is a decent enough replacement for Harris (and Andre Williams, who is also out). He's a crafty running back that can hurt you on the ground and in the passing game as a safety valve.
But the Eagles' offensive ineptitude goes much deeper than simply the loss of Montel and Andre Williams and starts with some very inconsistent play from the Eagles' O Line.
This is rapidly becoming a standard question in these things: knowing what you know about BC's defense, would you rather the Eagles face a quickfire, spread-based attack manned by a running QB (C.J. Brown) or a more traditional pro-style system with a pocket passer (O'Brien)? (IE, which do you think would have more success against BC's defense?)
The Boston College D has done a really good job in recent years of bottling up otherwise mobile quarterbacks on the ground. Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, Tyrod Taylor, Brandon Connette, Russell Wilson come to mind as opposing QBs that have had little success on the ground.
I'd much rather see the Eagles face a quick fire, spread-based attack by a running QB than watch a QB pick apart a depleted Eagles' secondary. BC has lost three members of the projected starting secondary at the start of fall camp and has had to rely on a pair of freshmen to round out the starting secondary.
Though this season, the Eagles' D is uncharacteristically giving up over 165 yards a game on the ground and is nowhere close to the past few season's teams who were extremely stout against the run. But I'd probably still want this defense to face a mobile QB over a pass-first one.
We already know about Chase Rettig and his favorite targets in Colin Larmond, Jr. and Bobby Swigert, plus tackling machines Luke Kuechly and Kevin Pierre-Louis. Who is someone we don't know that'll have a big impact on the game on Saturday?
Keep an eye on the aforementioned RB Rolandan Finch. He's coming off a 18 rush, 92 yard performance last weekend at Virginia Tech (and he caught 3 balls for 53 yards to boot). He'll likely be the Eagles' feature back on Saturday and if the O Line can put together a decent enough performance, I'd expect him to have a pretty good day against a defense that has struggled to defend against the run.
So, is Spaziani getting the boot? Are there any rumblings on potential replacements?
It would appear we are very much marching towards a 1-11 season. If that's the case, then either Spaziani gets the boot at the end of the season or there will be some serious grumblings from alumni and the fan base.
Haven't heard anything about potential replacements but I'm of the opinion that the administration needs to clean house with the current coaching staff. The downward trend of the program has been swift and painful and not making a move at season's end will likely only prolong any recovery.
And we'll finish it off, as always, with a prediction. Who are you picking?
This game is a tough one to predict. The point spread clearly favors Maryland as does the home field advantage. BC has been close to putting together a complete game in spite of the coaching. This is probably one of only two games left on the schedule (vs. N.C. State on November 12 the other) that the Eagles have a realistic shot of winning.
The other thing to keep an eye on is Edsall's motivation. While at UConn, he made it no secret that he wanted to return to the Heights to take the head coaching position. He also lobbied hard for Boston College to play UConn in football. I'm sure he'd love nothing more than to knock off one of his former employers in his first year in the ACC.
Given the fact that the game is in College Park and this is more or less Edsall's "Super Bowl" at his "dream job," I'd give the slight edge to the Terps in this one. But I wouldn't be surprised either way at this point. Pressed for a prediction, I'll go Maryland 17, Boston College 14. As it stands, the BC offense is only really good for two TDs a game. Don't think that'll be enough to beat the Terps in College Park.