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How Conservative Has Boston College Football's Offense Been?

Looking back at last season, one of the biggest complaints from fans was the conservative play calling of Spaziani and OC Gary Tranquill. It's hard to find faults in the defense, but the offensive game calling is a completely different story. Game after game we all watched in horror as Montel Harris ran the ball 40+ times a game and then wondered why he broke down near the end of the season.

There were other complaints though as well. Why didn't BC ever go for it on 4th down? Did the Eagles even have a vertical passing game? I wanted to see how conservative the BC offense has been, and how it matches up against the offense when it was run by Jags and Logan.

To start off this discussion let's look at the statistics for the fourth down trends for Boston College:

2007 2008 2009 2010
Attempts 23 25 11 6
Conversions 12 16 7 4
Conversion % 52% 64% 64% 67%


As you can see in the table above, BC went for it on fourth down roughly 25 times a year in the two years they were coached by Jags and Logan. When Spaz  and Tranquill took over, the fourth down attempts drastically decreased, but the conversion percentage remained roughly the same. BC also ranked dead last in fourth down attempts last year -- tied for 119th with South Carolina. Was this due to more conservative play calling or because the offense was less effective and put them in fourth and longs? 

Next let's look at the overall offensive statistics:

2007 2008 2009 2010
Passing Yards 4,535 2,471 2,423 2,225
Rushing Yards 1,416 2,006 1,788 1,662
Total Yards 5,951 4,477 4,211 3,887
Yards Per Play 5.5 4.6 5.1 4.8


Here there is a downward trend in almost all offensive categories. Obviously in 2007, you have Matt Ryan so the passing yards are going to be slightly unrealistic. However from 2008-2010, Boston College has had the 74th, 88th and 91st ranked passing games, respectively. Not good.

This is where Kevin Rogers steps in. Remember while at Virginia Tech he helped Marcus Vick achieve the best QB rating in the ACC. The hope is that he can have the same effect on an arguably better quarterback in Chase Rettig. This year's success depends on Rogers' ability to transform Rettig from a skittish freshman with happy feet into a strong signal caller with confidence in his abilities.

As we have mentioned before, BC has a very tough schedule this year and pounding the ball with Montel Harris all game is not going to cut it. They need to figure out a way to get Chase Rettig going and establish a more consistent passing game to compliment the run. BC last year average a dreadful 5.3 yards a pass. The Eagles have the weapons this year to stretch the field in Ifeanyi Momah and Colin Larmond Jr. Here is a stat that will shock you: BC ranked 28th in the country last year in passes that went over 20 yards. But how many of those came against the Weber and Kent States of the world?

Don't look at these statistics and get depressed. Instead, look at this way: Gary Tranquill is gone and hopefully so is the bland conservative game calling we have all become accustomed to in recent seasons. A new era is here at the Heights and Kevin Rogers may finally show Spaz that it's OK to go for it on fourth down, and the offense can score points during a two minute drill. Maybe, just maybe, BC offense will surprise us in 2011 and become something that will make us proud again.