True it is very early, but let's look at what Boston College is going to need to do to beat a team like Villanova. Though the Wildcats are only a FCS team, BC can't look past them, or let their emotions get the best of them. Today let's look at what BC is going to need to do, and not do to defeat Villanova and start Steve Addazio's tenure off on the right foot.
1. Return to Boston College football. It can't be said enough, but the days of Frank Spaziani are done. No more Gary Tranquill, Doug Martin and a constant tinkering of offense. What Steve Addazio and Ryan Day need to do is return to the glory days of Boston College football. No more haphazard spread offenses that are going to net big yards, but also give the ball back to the opponent quickly. What we need to see is BC controlling not only the line of scrimmage, but the game clock as well. Use Andre Williams and whatever other backs Addazio sees fit, and run the ball down Villanova's throat. Use the run to set up Chase Rettig on the play action pass, and watch, two things will happen. BC will keep their suspect defense off the field, and Rettig won't spend half the game on the turf.
2. Don't be stupid. The last thing BC needs is to come out of the locker room jacked out of their head, overly excited about their first game, only to make a boneheaded mistake that puts them in a hole. My brain immediately goes back to Dave Shinskie lining up under the wrong lineman during the first play of the game against Weber St. Alumni Stadium should be rocking, but it is going to be up to the Eagles to keep their emotions in check. Of course they should be excited, but don't get crazy out there.
3. Stack the box against Robertson. As we talked about on Tuesday, John Robertson is an excellent scrambling quarterback, who probably has better legs than he does arm. Watching Boston College against option offenses last season was like watching Mary Poppins on acid. It was terrifying. Each week on this blog we would be screaming for Spaz to adjust to the QB situation, and he never did. I have faith that Don Brown will make these adjustments. Bring up the safety, make Nova beat you deep. Dare Robertson to throw it against your cornerbacks, he only averaged about 13 completions per game, so if you are going to make them beat you, do it with his arm. And while you are at it...
4. Get pressure and don't miss tackles. I will be saying this all summer, but if Don Brown can fix the horrid tackling this group executed last year, this team will immediately improve. We don't need to see a Weber St.-esque close performance in Addazio's opening game. Nova running back Kevin Monangnai is a legit threat, and you don't want to be letting him wiggle out of your grasps to stretch out drives. Make your tackles against the run, make Robertson uncomfortable, and get the defense off the field. Rumor has it that Don Brown will be playing a lot more aggressively, which should be fun to watch against a team like Villanova.
5. Strong Special Teams Play. I am already telling you, Spiffy Evans is going to have a break out year. Last season we saw glimpses of it, but I think this year will be the year we really start talking about how special he is. Also it is going to be up to new punter Alex Howell to make sure that if BC's offense isn't clicking that Nova isn't getting great field position. Hopefully Nate Freese won't be asked to do much, but if he is asked, we need to see some consistent kicking as well.