Today we play a game of Good Cop/Bad Cop, discussing what's on our mind after the Eagles have wrapped up spring football and head into the long summer break.
Suspect #1 - Ifeanyi Momah as a defensive end
Jeff: I'll play Bad Cop on this one because I want to see Momah as a WR. Defense wins championships and offense sells tickets. I want to see the offense have some threats through the air when we play the more athletic defenses on our schedule. Without someone stepping up to be a solid second option out of our WRs good defenses are going to be able to limit us to running the ball and throwing play action to our TEs. Meanwhile, I think the defense can be strong enough to win us a lot of games without Momah.
Brian: I'll go ahead and play the Good Cop here. There's no question Momah should be playing on the defensive side of the ball this season. The Eagles had a woeful pass rush in 2009 and Momah can only help bolster one of the biggest defensive question marks heading into next season. Plus he had a monster game at DE in the spring game (2 sacks and a pass knockdown). I will concede that BC will struggle to replace Rich Gunnell, Justin Jarvis and Clarence Megwa in the receiving corps. That being said, if opposing defenses study film on the Eagles offense from two seasons ago, it won't take them long to figure out how Momah figures into the Eagles passing attack. Within ten yards of the endzone, the BC QB takes a two-three step drop, lofts one into the corner of the end zone, and prays the 6'6" receiver comes down with the ball. I think there's enough young talent in the receiving corps to make up for the losses of Gunnell-Jarvis-Megwa. The front four of the Eagles defense has me much more concerned going into the summer, and based on athletic ability and his performance in the spring game, I think Spaz should keep him on defense.
Suspect #2 - Montel Harris as ACC’s 2010 Leading Rusher
Brian: I will play the Good Cop on this one. Montel Harris will lead the ACC in rushing next season. This is simply a matter of the number of options that ACC programs with the best rushing attacks have returning next season. Georgia Tech’s triple option offense led the conference last year, averaging over 295.4 yards per game. But you know that Georgia Tech has more rushing weapons than just Anthony Allen. Virginia Tech finished second averaging 208.2 yards per game, but with the return of Darren Evans, Ryan Williams is likely to have less carries this season. Clemson will struggle to replace C.J. Spiller and his 1,212 running yards from a season ago. Finally, Florida State and Miami have several options in the ground attack, which will likely limit any one player from carrying a bulk of the workload. But I think the most important reason this will happen is the strength of BC’s offensive line, who only lose center Matt Tennant to the NFL this season and return four starters from a season ago.
Jeff: Another year of DC's looking at tape of our offense will limit Harris's ability to rack up the yards on the ground. He will be held in check and will tire out earlier in the season without Haden backing him up. Harris will manage to be up towards to top of the leaderboard in the ACC this season; just not #1.
Suspect #3 - Christian Ponder as Toughest QB Eagles Will Face in 2010
Jeff: I will take Good Cop here and say this is a no brainer. Ponder is without a doubt the best quarterback that the Eagles will face. He now has plenty of experience and carried what would've been an otherwise pitiful Seminole offense last season to get them to be half decent. Ponder is the real deal as far as college QBs go which the ACC has a shortage of this coming season. NC State's Russell Wilson might give the Eagles and some other teams a hard time but he is not a true QB anyway so Ponder will give Spaz the biggest fit.
Brian: You leave me no choice but to reluctantly play the Bad Cop here. I'm going to go with not Christian Ponder but rather Tyrod Taylor, who returns as a senior for the Hokies (but it feels like he's been in Blacksburg for about 7 years). The BC defense has historically struggled with mobile quarterbacks, and while Ponder put up huge numbers against the Eagles defense a season ago (29-42, 341 yards passing, 23 yards rushing), BC did manage to keep him out of the end zone. Taylor was nothing but a model of efficiency in Virginia Tech's blowout win over BC (7-10, 126 yards, while passing for 2 TDs). Taylor's has had good games and bad against BC throughout his career, but seems to get the W when it most counts. Especially with the fact that opposing defenses will have to respect the dual threat in the Hokies backfield, I think Taylor will have an even better year this season, improving on his league-leading QB rating from 2009. Tell you what though. After Taylor, Ponder and R.W., this might be one of the least imposing lineups of opposing team QBs in quite a few years.
Suspect #4 - A 4-0 Non-Conference Record for the Eagles
Brian: I will again play the Good Cop on this. BC is going to coast to a 4-0 record in non-conference play this season. The Eagles, despite being somewhat offensively challenged, should easily coast past Weber State and Kent State based on the strength of their defense alone. Then, if you assume BC will drop its first game of the year at home on September 26 vs. the Hokies, I expect the Eagles to rebound nicely sending Notre Dame home empty-handed in the last BC-ND game of the current series. Believe it or not, I think the toughest non-conference game next season will be traveling to the Carrier Dome and playing what I think will be an improved Syracuse squad. Historically, the Dome has been a house of horrors for BC, as the Eagles have gone a mere 2-10 against Syracuse playing in the Carrier Dome. Ultimately though, I think Marrone has the Orange football program on the upswing, but it won’t be enough this year to take down BC.
Jeff: Weber State - check ...
Kent State - check ...
Notre Dame at home - probably a win with Clausen gone but not a guarantee.
Going to the Carrier Dome in what will be a meaningful game for Syracuse to put themselves and the Big East on the map against a BC team that has nothing to play for because they'll be off to Charlotte and the ACC Championship game the following week - LOSS. Just look at how pitifully Clemson and Georgia Tech finished the season in the non-conference rivalry games when the ACC Championship Game was a week away. The Eagles will be on upset alert for sure.