CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 01: .Duke Johnson #8 of the Miami Hurricanes runs through the arms of Nick Clancy #54 of the Boston College Eagles during the game on September 1, 2012 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jeff: On Friday we talked about which side of the ball you were more concerned about entering the season and we both agreed the offense was of a bigger concern. Fast forward to Saturday afternoon and we saw Chase Rettig easily throw for 441 yards and the team score 32 points, which is good for the second most points scored by the team in the Spaz era against an ACC opponent. I say Chase easily threw for 441 because there were about a dozen drops or catchable balls that were not hauled in, so his numbers in the end could have been even better than the career highs he posted.
Also the team very nearly scored 37 points since as I was watching at home it appeared that we twice scored a touchdown on the teams' final drive of the game just to be denied by the officials. So now that you have had time to see the 2012 Eagles in a real game, is there going to be anyone out there worried more about our offense than our defense? And how did we go so quickly from not being able to score more than 24 points against ACC opponents for three straight season, to the almost track meet we saw Saturday?
Brian: Actually, it was the defense that I cited as the bigger concern considering the offense has nowhere to go but up. And up the offense did just that -- to the tune of 537 total yards, 441 passing, 29 first downs and 32 points. Rettig looked great on Saturday, missing maybe 2-3 throws all game. The offensive line bought Rettig a ton of time as he seemed to settle into Doug Martin's offense with ease.
But before I get off the offense, I did want to point out how how BC struggled running the ball. The Andre Williams and Tahj Kimble fumbles were very costly, but the BC run game only managed to eke out 2.8 yards a carry, not getting much of anything going. When you boot the one RB on the roster who can hold onto the ball with any confidence, you better have a backup plan. Williams came out of the gate strong, scoring a TD on the Eagles' first offensive possession, but as the game wore on, he couldn't seem to get much of anything going. The Kimble fumble, while not on a rushing play, was a huge momentum swing. Hopefully Rolandan Finch plays next week and the offense gets more consistency in the run game going forward.
Back to the D. It was the defense, not the offense, that I was 100x more concerned about going into the opener. Unfortunately, that unit confirmed my suspicions on Saturday afternoon. After forcing a three-and-out on the Canes first possession, the D was shredded by Stephen Morris on any number of screens and short slant passes. I would be surprised if more than 1-2 Morris passes traveled 10 yards in the air all game. Morris only averaged 4.6 yards a completion, throwing short outs and letting the Miami WRs dink-and-dunk their way down the field.
When the D finally made adjustments to the short passes, Miami RB Duke Johnson torched them on two home run plays. The first Johnson made almost everyone miss and on the second, the D was really poorly positioned from the get-go. The tackling was some of the worst I've ever seen for a Frank Spaziani-led defense. Guys were just banging into Hurricanes players hoping that they could hit the turf instead of wrapping up and bringing them down.
The scheme can be fixed, but Spaz and McGovern will have to make adjustments. Much like in last year's Duke game, the BC D was killed with passes underneath. The tackling and fundamentals will take longer. Miami is hardly the most athletic team BC will face this season, so it could be a long, long season if the Eagles don't figure things out -- and quick -- on defense.
Jeff: Turnovers is the concern about the offense but I'll let your 100x more concerned craziness go for now. And Miami is more athletic than Wake Forest, Maryland, N.C. State and Georgia Tech. And more athletic than all our OOC opponents.