Yesterday we took a look at all the questions and storylines for the BC Eagles' offense. Today we look at the defense and special teams. Once a stalwart of the BC game plan, BC's defense fell from 13th in the country in 2010, to 70th in 2011. There were times where the defense turned it up, like the game against Miami, but against teams like FSU and Clemson they looked absolutely putrid. How will they it around in 2012?
Who Replaces Luke Kuechly?
Kuechly is irreplaceable, but BC is going to have to move on and find someone to not only fill his position, but make up for the play making ability he brought. Looking at the 2011 depth chart, the only linebacker listed as MLB was Will Thompson, and he is gone as well, so it will have to be someone else who steps in. Could it be Sean Duggan, who could move over WLB and immediately get starting time. Or could they slide over Nick Clancy or Steele Divitto? Or might it be a freshman like Steven Daniels, who has experience playing inside linebacker?
In terms of defensive play making ability, you wouldn't have to look much further than Kuechly's linebacking partner Kevin Pierre Louis. Injuries hampered KPL in 2011, but he has shown that he can be a game changer. I expect a big junior year out of him.
How Will The Secondary Look in 2012?
Of any position to be hammered by injuries and player attrition, the secondary had to be hit the hardest. They lost Dominick LeGrande and Okechukwu Okoroha before the season started, then proceeded to lose Dominique Williams and C.J Jones to season ending injuries. Not to mention that Donnie Fletcher battled injuries for the first half of the season. BC's pass defense struggles reflected that, as they finished 81st in the country in 2011.
Turnover should not really affect BC next season. True they are losing Fletcher to graduation, but currently everyone else will be returning next year. The additions of a healthy Jones and Williams should bolster their efforts, and a more seasoned Al Louis-Jean should give them three solid CB's. Manny Asprilla, Sean Sylvia and Spencer Rositano had solid freshmen efforts, and should add depth. On the recruiting front, Spaz hasn't added any depth currently, which he might want to get on unless he wants to trot out Hampton Hughes again.
What Does BC Do With Kaleb Ramsey?
2011 was a lost year for Ramsey. Expected to be the star on the defensive line, Ramsey only managed to get in one game before shutting it down for the season. BC fortunately received a medical redshirt, and Ramsey will be returning. After Ramsey's injury, a new player emerged Dominic Appiah, a freshmen who finished the season strong at left tackle. Spaz and Bill McGovern have an interesting dilemma on their hands: Do they move Appiah or Ramsey to right tackle? Both of these guys are going to need to play, and Dillon Quinn/ Max Ricci most likely will be dropped in the depth chart. It could be a lot of fun watching Ramsey and Appiah on the same line next season.
Who replaces Ryan Quigley?
Imagine 2011 without Ryan Quigley. His ability to pin opposing teams deep in their territory kept BC in games, and prevented other games from spiraling completely out of control. Now he is gone, and there doesn't seem to be a clear recruit on their radar, it appears that Gerald Levano will be the punter by default. Levano is a walk on, with zero game experience, which means punting has gone from a position of strength to a giant question mark entering 2012.
Can Nate Freese Overcome a Rough 2011?
Let's be fair to Nate Freese for a second here. 2011 was basically two seasons in one for Freese, Northwestern and Duke, and everything else. Freese missed three huge field goals for the Eagles against NU and Duke, and then only missed four the remainder of the season, three of those during the monsoon in Maryland which was basically played in a mud pit. He only missed one other field goal the other 9 games, true he didn't kick at all against Virginia Tech/FSU/Clemson, but he was a perfect 4-4 against Wake Forest. BC needs points anyway they can get them, and Freese will need to be consistent next season.