October 23, 2008

10 Thoughts

As October comes to an end Boston College has the opportunity to finish off an outstanding month of play. In the last two games BC has demonstrated offensive competence, scoring touchdowns when needed and moving the ball well against ACC foes North Carolina State and Virginia Tech. However their defense continues to be the story of the season.

1. Beating Virginia Tech is always great and on Sat BC clearly handed it to the Hokies, but were generous enough to keep VT in the game by providing them with 17 points off turnovers. If this game is played at a neutral site or in Blacksburg I would expect a different outcome. The offense, while it has put up impressive numbers recently, has to solve the turnover bug or BC will hand a game over to their opponents much like the Georgia Tech game earlier in the season.

2. VT was successful on defense when blitzing. Expect other teams to blitz Chris Crane every chance they get. Crane routinely threw off his back foot or into coverage when blitzed.

3. Chris Crane needs to see the blitz and attack where it comes from, not throw away from it. From above the field we as fans have the advantage of seeing a lot more, but I am sure the game film was poignantly studied to find the middle of the field wide open. BC utilized the middle early on its first scoring drive but abandoned the hashes on subsequent pass attempts. Utilizing the whole field will prevent the opposing corners from jumping the out routes like VT did last Saturday.

4. Another way to put pressure on opposing corners is to have the wide outs complete double moves, like an out and up. Brandon Robinson got open down the sidelines on such a move multiple times as the VT cornerbacks tried to cheat.

5. The running game at BC is healthy. The combination of Josh Haden, Montell Harris and James McCluskey is performing well and running with abandon. Consistently the trio gained five-yard carries. The development of the offensive line can be attributed to the success but I also believe the two tailbacks Haden and Harris have an extra step in their gallop.

6. Now that the offense has been discussed major props have to be given to team defense. BC held VT to only three points off an early turnover inside the 35. To me that was the turning point in the game. A bogus pass interference call on Kevin Akins on that drive is the only reason VT got the field goal.

7. What can you say, it has been written about everywhere...Brian Toal is snake bitten with injuries. Having his leg get caught while making a tackle is just unfortunate. First and Toal will always be remembered by fans and alumni and while I am sure he wishes he can be on the field and compete, his presence and leadership over the past five years has been a big part of the transcending evolution of what BC football is today. Best of luck.

8. What impresses me the most about this BC team defense is how well they tackle. BC hasn't given up yards after an initial hit. The one game where I think they struggled with that was Georgia Tech. They have corrected that issue and they come in flying in the gaps and off the edge and hit opposing running backs and wide receivers hard. They need to keep this intensity to win their remaining games.

9. This weekend BC travels to North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Last week UNC got caught in a trap playing a much inferior University of Virginia team. UNC has suffered from some injuries of their own losing their No. 1 quarterback in T.J. Yates and No. 1 wide receiver Brandon Tate. This will be the first time BC will be going in to a game this season ranked (No. 23). UNC has a tradition of playing well at home and three seasons ago BC laid a major egg at UNC losing 16-14. BC can win but it needs to improve upon its turnover margin.

10. BC is back in the driver's seat despite the early season loss. The team knows that they have to take care of business one game at a time. There are many talented teams who may appear out of the hunt but BC must not overlook any opponent on their schedule as some would love to play spoilers to the Yankees from up north.

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