11 for '11: Protecting Rettig, Pressuring Opposing QBs

Chase Rettig #7 of Boston College passes the ball during their game against the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park on January 9 2011 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

As fall camp is underway, this series explores 11 topics and themes related to the 2011 Boston College Eagles football season. Previously on 11 for '11 -- The Maturation of Chase Rettig, Consistency in the Secondary, Starting the Season StrongThe Health Of Montel Harris and Freshman Contributors.

In 2010, Boston College quarterbacks were sacked 30 times for a total of 193 yards, an average of 2.31 sacks allowed and 14.8 yards per game. Both statistics were five year highs for the Eagles' O-Line and are somewhat indicative of the offensive line's struggles a season ago.

The BC O-Line allowed 11 more sacks as compared to last season, an increase in nearly one sack per game. See the below table for the last five years sacks allowed.

Year G Sacks Sacks Yards Sacks / G Sacks Yards / G
2010 13 30 193 2.31 14.85
2009 13 19 145 1.46 11.15
2008 14 22 161 1.57 11.50
2007 14 20.5 183 1.46 13.07
2006 13 24 170 1.85 13.08

With Rettig performing well in fall camp and both Harris and Williams' status up in the air for the season opener, it will be even more important for Richman, Wetzel, Spinney, Gallik, White and Cleary to give Rettig time to operate. If the line doesn't gel and opposing Ds get to Rettig, it might be another long season for BC.

Though the Eagles line allowed 30 sacks last season, over the last five years the line has allowed a total of 115.5 sacks for an average of 1.72 per game. That's good for 36th best nationally. The flip side of the very same coin is which opposing team's offensive lines have been more or less Swiss cheese when it comes to allowing opponents to bust through and sacking their signal caller. 

There's good news here, with seven 2011 opponents averaging giving up over 2 sacks per game over the last five seasons. The biggest offender, believe it or not, is Virginia Tech, who has allowed 182 sacks for 1,075 yards, or 2.68 per game. That total ranks the Hokies 113th best in the country over the time period. Duke's O-Line hasn't fared much better, giving up 157.5 sacks for 1,013 yards and 2.63 per game. Looking at last season's totals alone, both Northwestern and N.C. State gave up 40 sacks, ranking them sixth worst in the country in that statistical category. 

Full 2011 opponent chart (and rest of the ACC) below.

Rank Program Total G Total Sacks Total Sack Yards Sacks/G
11 Georgia Tech 67 87 607 1.30
35 Clemson 66 113.5 782 1.72
36 Boston College 67 115.5 852 1.72
44 Florida State 66 117.5 731 1.78
56 Central Florida 65 121 817 1.86
69 Miami 64 126 942 1.97
82 Wake Forest 64 137 901 2.14
87 Maryland 64 142 1,004 2.22
94 N.C. State 62 144.5 946 2.33
97 Northwestern 63 147 958 2.33
98 North Carolina 63 148 982 2.35
100 Virginia 61 144 1,020 2.36
106 Notre Dame 63 154 1,091 2.44
111 Duke 60 157.5 1,013 2.63
113 Virginia Tech 68 182 1,075 2.68

A big knock on Spaz's defenses over the years has been a lack of pressure on opposing QBs. This season facing a bunch of relatively inexperienced signal callers -- including Clemson's Tajh Boyd, Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, Florida State's E.J. Manuel and N.C. State's Mike Glennon -- and a less than 100% Dan Persa in the opener, the opportunity is there to put more pressure on opposing QBs and disrupt the passing game. Hopefully the line will be more opportunistic this season as they go up against O-Lines that have given up more than a few sacks over the past few seasons, including Virginia Tech, Duke, Notre Dame, Northwestern, N.C. State and Maryland. 

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