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Gettin' Familiar With: Boston College

You can find this picture of Tyrod Taylor about to be lit up by Luke Kuechly in the dictionary next to "fear".
You can find this picture of Tyrod Taylor about to be lit up by Luke Kuechly in the dictionary next to "fear".

Oh, yeah, football. 

Time to look at them Boston College Eagles that will be taking the field in a few days. Of course, most of this is irrelevant, since what really matters is Dan Persa's Achilles, but, fie with that. This is our weekly time where we discuss our upcoming football opponents and disparage them greatly. I have missed it much, the disparaging. We will discuss Boston College's hilarious offense and terrifying defense.

Jump! How can you be sure that this is reality? P.S. I've framed you for my murder. So just go ahead and jump.

Thus far: Silly category! It's the first week of the season! So let's talk about Boston College last season. One can divide BC's season into three distinct acts:

Act the First: Playing Weber State and Kent State, two easy victories. Dave Shinskie was the quarterback, though he did throw two interceptions against Weber State. Was it foreshadowing?

Act the Second: Yes, it was foreshadowing. Virginia Tech shut out BC, who would go on to lose five straight, including a 31-13 loss to Notre Dame and a 44-17 loss to NC State.

Act the Third: Montel Harris emerges as the hero. BC rolls off five straight victories against the chaff of the Big East, (Ed. note: ACC. Whoops. Not like it makes a difference.) with Harris eating up 100+ yards on the ground in four of the games before missing the season-closer against Syracuse due to injury.

Epilogue: A 20-13 loss to La Pistola of Nevada in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Altogether, not an inspiring season: seven wins, but only one comes against a winning team from a BCS conference (Syracuse). The offense was piddly, only averaging 18.5 points per game, but the defense was downright steadfast, only allowing 19.5.

Us and Them: Only three appearances between the Iggles and the Wildcats, and two of them have been shutouts. NU won 45-nil back in 1961 when NU was good at football, 31 years later, BC returned the favor with a 49-0 shutout when NU was bad at football. The 1993 rematch, as detailed on LTP yesterday, saw a come-from-behind 22-21 victory by a Cats team that would finish 2-9 over a BC team that finished 9-3. 

When they got the ball: So, yeah, BC was mighty bad on offense last year. But luckily for them, their offensive coordinator, Gary Tranquill, must have agreed, because he retired. They went out and got Kevin Rodgers Rogers as their offensive coordinator, the former Minnesota Vikings QB coach, who taught Brett Favre everything he knows about having his career ended by Corey Wootton and ignoring Joe Webb. Changes are afoot, and the Eagles' offense will no longer revolve around draws to Montel Harris. For example, Boston College's season-opening depth chart features three WR's rather than two and a fullback. Passing! 

Sophomore Chase Rettig is the QB, however, his freshman year stats aren't exactly awe-inspiring. He was actually third on the team in QB rating behind Shinskie, the noted 27-year old junior who gives me the jibblies and Mike Marscovetra, who completed a team-high 58.6 percent of his passes. Rettig completed only 51.3 percent - yeah, another 20 percent and he'd be Dan Persa, almost. He's not particularly mobile and threw nine picks to only six touchdowns, never surpassing 230 yards in an outing. Long story short, 12-for-16 with two picks for 133 yards against Wake Forest isn't exactly inspiring my awe-detectors. This all said, the Boston Globe seems to think he's getting better with age. 

Rettig's targets are pretty middling too: only one receiver with more than 500 yards, two with more than 30 catches. Sophomore Bobby Swigert had the game of the season with seven catches for 133 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame only three games into his collegiate career and senior Ifeanyi Momah - also a part-time defensive end - is on my ticket stub, but nothing to write home about. They also have a sophomore named Alex Amidon whose only skill appears to be catching one pass every two games for 35 yards and a touchdown, so I'm crapping my pants hoping this isn't that game. He also frequently looks to tight end Chris Pantale over the middle.

Montel Harris is the team's feature player, which is quite a downer, because he's injured. Andre Williams is his backup at running back, and although he sprained an ankle, he's purportedly good to go. Don't sleep on Dre, just look at what he did after Harris was injured last season: 108 yards on only 12 carries against Virginia, 185 - yeah, 185 - against Cuse on 42 carries. The sophomore is explosive, even if he ain't Harris.

When we got the ball: Best rushing defense in the country? Best rushing defense in the country,both in yards per game and per carry, allowing a measly 2.68 yards per attempt. How? Luke Kuechly, aka Keak Da Sneak, is the best player in the ACC according to ESPN (Harris was No. 5) and led the nation in tackles and solo tackles last year. He's 6-foot-3, 237, and ready to kill you. He "collects tackles like fraternity guys hoard t-shirts", which means... *walks over to t-shirt drawer* *looks past all the pinnies* *opens second t-shirt drawer* HOLY CRAP THIS GUY COLLECTS A LOT OF TACKLES. (This apparently makes Bryce McNaul the sorority girl who throws on one of your rush shirts in the morning before leaving while you're still asleep so as not to look to obviously walk-of-shamey on the walk back home and never offers to give it back or even exchange it for one of their million billion sorority t-shirts.) What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Keak Da Sneak. He's easily an all-American, earned four conference player of the week honors last year, and has had at least ten tackles in 22 straight games. Prepare to hear his name. He doesn't have spectacular physical attributes and only had 1.5 sacks, but his instinctive nose for the ball is something that doesn't just happen. Simply put, the middle of the field is not safe.

He's joined at linebacker by Kevin Pierre-Louis, he of the tri-name, and Steele Divitto, who replaces Mark Herzlich and therefore is the only linebacker Phil Steele didn't put on his all-ACC lists, despite, you know, the name. On the line, defensive end Max Holloway led the team with four sacks last year and a whopping 14 tackles for loss, although half the line graduated.

You'll be pleased to know that despite that menacing front, there are problems with BC's defense. Well, hold up, let me correct that: BC's passing defense could be worse than their rushing defense. Tied for fifth in the country last year allowing only 5.8 yards per attempt, and 20 picks, eighth in the country. Their two best ballhawks are back, Donnie Fletcher at corner and Jim Noel at safety, who combined for nine picks. And those ridiculous linebackers did their job, as Herzlich and Kuechly combined for seven as well. Noel was supposed to move to corner from safety, but the dismissal of Okechukwu Okoroha and transfer of Dominick LeGrande - who was supposed to start - saw Noel forced back to safety and Hampton Hughes, a former walk-on who was switched to safety less than two weeks ago starting opposite him. Still not a pass defense to trifle with, though, with Fletcher in the mix.