As College Football News rolls out their various season previews of all 12 ACC programs, each ACC Roundtable blogger has agreed to review and critique these reviews. The hope is that, as a roundtable, we can get the most accurate picture of each ACC program going into the summer. Here is our critique of their Boston College preview.
College Football News' first preview of an ACC school happens to be ours. There's not much in there that we don't already know about this team, and on the whole, they do a really good job of previewing BC for the uninitiated. The author for BC's preview is Richard Cirminiello.
If you have anything to add to this critique, please chime in in the comments section.
What to look for on offense
I agree that the development of the quarterbacks will be one of the primary focus areas this summer. But I think equally important and critical to the development of Shinskie and the quarterbacks will be the development of the receiving corps. Gone is BC's all-time leader in receiving yards Rich Gunnell, along with Justin Jarvis and Clarence Megwa (but was limited post leg injury). Shinskie will have to develop chemistry with a new receiving corps and a new center. Junior Colin Larmond Jr. (29 rec, 596 yards, 5 TDs) leads a group of young receivers that includes senior Billy Flutie, sophomore burner Clyde Lee and sophomore Donte Elliott. Chris Pantale and Lars Anderson will bolster the receiving corps as TEs and you may also see any number of our talented newcomers (Shakim Phillips, Bobby Swigert and Alexander Amidon) also contribute.
For having such an experienced receiving corps last season, BC had more than their fair share of drops this season. While I agree that BC doesn't need Shinskie or Marscovetra to be Matt Ryan, how successful either will be this year is largely dependent on whether the receiving corps steps up and limits their mistakes.
What to look for on defense
Herzlich is certainly the main preseason storyline for the Eagles' defense, but that's almost exclusively due to his off the field battle with cancer than his on the field performance this season. Even with a Herzlich that is 80-85 percent of what he was a season ago, the Eagles linebacking corps has the chance of being one of the best in the ACC (and possibly the NCAA).
I think the biggest thing to look for on the defensive side of the ball is the ability of the defensive line to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. After averaging 2.5 sacks per game in 2008 (good for 3rd in the ACC and tied for 26th nationally), the Eagles sack total fell to a paltry 1.38 per game (dead last in the ACC and 103rd nationally). The anchors of the defensive line - Alex Albright and Brad Newman - will have to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks if the Eagles hope to be successful.
The team will be much better if ...
Completely agree that the Eagles offense has to convert more on third downs. They'll also have to get more pressure on the quarterbacks (see above).
As we all know, this year's schedule is fairly manageable. The preview points out that BC has a fairly light November, with three of the remaining four games on the road. While those road games are against teams that aren't expected to make much noise this season - Wake Forest, Duke and Syracuse - two of those three stadium have been a bit of a house of horrors for the Eagles. BC is just 2-10 all-time in the Carrier Dome and 1-2-1 all-time when playing Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. Including a home game against Virginia, I wouldn't immediately write off any of those four opponents as easy Ws, especially Wake Forest and ... don't laugh ... Duke.
Best offensive player
Clearly the pick here is Montel Harris. When your feature running back goes for 14 of the team's 17 rushing touchdowns, there's not really a question who the best offensive player on the team is. The question becomes who will support Harris in the rushing game now that Josh Haden and Jeff Smith have left the Heights.
Best defensive player
Not only can Kuechly be an all-timer when it's all said and done, but his game can only get better lining up next to the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Key players to a successful season
As discussed above, you have to look toward the defensive line if the Eagles are to have success this season. In addition to the names mentioned in the preview (Albright, Newman and Holloway), the Eagles will look to senior Damik Scafe, Kaleb Ramsey and redshirt freshman Dillon Quinn to apply pressure on the quarterback.
The season will be a success if ...
Again, I agree that an Atlantic Division title should be the goal for this team. 8 wins should be the baseline, but it will likely take 9 (or 10?) to win the Division title over Florida State and Clemson. The Eagles aren't the most talented of the Atlantic Division title contenders, but the schedule breaks in such a way that you can't count out the Eagles from title contention.
The CFN preview is again right on the money. BC faces one of its toughest tests of the year when it travels to Tallahassee on October 16. While not impossible, if the Eagles drop the head-to-head game against the Seminoles, they will be facing an uphill battle if they want to win their third Division title in six seasons.