Brian: Plenty of story lines coming out of Boston College football media day. Predictably, the focus was on changes to the offense under new OC Doug Martin and Chris Pantale's injury. The coaches also addressed concerns about the defensive front four and the lack of a sustained pass rush. But one of the more overlooked storylines is the Eagles' offensive line. When asked what his biggest area of concern going into the season, Spaz had this to say about the OL:
"We've addressed a lot of them, in a lot of areas. ... Offensive line, we've addressed that over the last couple of years."
Doug Martin was similarly upbeat about the OL: "I think our offensive line has gelled together really well."
Martin was also very complementary of new offensive line coach Jim Bollman: "Jim [Bollman] has been great to work with. Obviously he's got a lot of experiences there from Ohio State, they were really good. He's an excellent offensive line coach."
Consistency on the offensive line was clearly an issue last season with Spaz tinkering with the starting lineup through the first four games of the season before settling on Wetzel-Vardaro-Spinney-White-Cleary as the starters for most of the season. Over the course of the season, BC used five different starting lineups on the OL.
As we enter fall camp, the depth chart again has Cleary and Wetzel as the tackles, Vardaro and Harris Williams the guards and Ian White at center. The only change from the season-finale's starting five is replacing Spinney at center with either White or Gallik.
Do you agree that the offensive line is one of those under-the-radar storylines heading as the season approaches? Thoughts on the strength of the OL relative to last year and the past few seasons?
Jeff: I don't think that success of the O-line is going to be a huge storyline this season but I do think that their success will directly correlate with the success of the offense overall. A QB's success is very easily quantifiable and easy to talk about about and easy to follow as a fan. The casual fan meanwhile probably knows when we have a very good offensive line and when we have a very bad offensive line but when the offensive line is performing at some level in between great and poor it is very tough to quantify.
Since we are returning much of the same offensive line this season as last year, and both lines are positions in college football that have another year of experience and strength training is as crucial as any position on the field to be successful, I fully expect the line as a whole to improve. But how we will quantify that improvement, sacks?, rushing yards? I'm not sure. Sacks and rushing yards are also dependent on the QB and the RB as well as the overall balance of the offenses play calling which will all make it impossible to quantify year over year improvement of the group.
Brian: Rettig has stated that he'll have more freedom in Doug Martin's offense. That's a good thing, right?
Jeff: I'm not certain it is. We know there is a lot of change for Chase this season once again and I hope not too much is put on him.
Jeff: It is unknown right now how long Pantale is out. Which ACC game do you hope he is back on the field in time for?
Brian: Great question. Early indications are that Pantale will miss six to eight weeks. My hope is he's back in time for the Army game so he can be worked into the offense a week before Florida State.
Brian: Colin Larmond Jr. noted that Randy Moss is his football role model and that his passion is "going after the deep ball." Do you think the Eagles offense can get more vertical this season?
Jeff: More vertical than not at all vertical last year, yes.
Jeff: Eagle in Atlanta does a nice job summing up how hot Spaz's seat is this season from a fan's perspective. Do you feel that today his seat is cooler than it was January 1st of this year?
Brian: Significantly less cooler than at the start of the year. The offseason has a funny was of making people forget about last season.
Brian: The new Alumni Stadium turf, bricks. Looks good, right?
Jeff: Stadium looks very good.
Jeff: You have two more Saturdays to do something other than dedicate all your time to college football until December? What are you going to do with that little remaining valuable time?
Brian: Plan out the fall college football travel schedule.
Brian: Last one. FS South ranks Boston College football's game day experience 9th in the conference, ahead of only Miami, Maryland and Duke. That OK with you?
Jeff: I can't argue against it at this point. The blatantly better experiences are Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson and N.C. State in my opinion. We're part of the next tier.