Looking around college football (and the NFL), it appears that most offenses have moved towards a quicker fast paced offense. Logically it makes a lot of sense, you get more plays off, you wear down defenses quicker, and that leads to more points. Of course there are exceptions to the rule where teams are still grinding it out (looking at you Stanford), but that raises an interesting question. Where does BC currently stand in the ACC in terms of their tempo?
David Hale of ESPN.com recently dove into the statistics, and put together what teams had the fastest tempo in the ACC. The stat he looked at was how long it took a team to get the ball and snap it.
His evaluations were done from 2011-2013, which means a few things for Boston College. One, we have had five offensive coordinators during that time, each that brought a different offensive scheme to the table. Kevin Rogers, and Dave Brock were kind of run of the mill standard offenses, Doug Martin was very fast paced, and Ryan Day seems more on the slower paced side. Combining all of these various schemes together is a little unfair and convoluted but let's see what Hale came up with. Secondly, having a stable group of skill players that knew the system and what was expected of them is crucial in a faster paced offense. BC really hasn't had a chance to develop that.
1. Clemson (21.4 seconds)
2. North Carolina (24.0 seconds)
3. Syracuse (24.1 seconds)
4. NC State (24.4 seconds)
5. Duke (24.8 seconds)
1. Georgia Tech (28.0 seconds)
2. Virginia Tech (27.2 seconds)
3. Boston College (27.1 seconds)
4. Florida State (27.0 seconds)
5. Pittsburgh (26.3 seconds)
No surprise here, honestly if they are comparing this against Jeff Jagodzinski's years with Steve Logan I would expect BC to drop precipitously. The difference in pacing was staggering between the open spread that Jags had, to the slow plodding drives we saw under Spaz and methodical time killing drives under Ryan Day. But with a stable of young running backs could we see BC pushing the tempo more in the future? It's a lot easier to run a physical running game that moves quickly if you have multiple guys to switch in and out. More moving parts works in the favor of the Eagles, and we should see that difference in game speed this year when it's not a one back show on offense.
Looking at the other teams there shouldn't be much of a surprise. Clemson under Chad Morris has gone to a lightning quick paced offense, with more points, the same with UNC, Syracuse and Duke. Interestingly those four teams have seen their wins improve over that time as well. Looking at the slowest paced teams there seems to be a common theme. All five teams here for the most part have a healthy reliance on the run game.
How about on the other side though, how has fast paced offenses effected the amounts of points allowed?
Increase In Points Allowed
1. Boston College (42.3 percent)
2. Clemson (35 percent)
3. North Carolina (22 percent)
4. Pittsburgh (17.9 percent)
Yikes. Again this is just data, and there is a lot of ways you can interpret BC's struggles. One looking back to 2010, BC had one of the best defenses in the country, and that skill and execution slowly eroded away over the past three years. Or you could look at it another way, have offenses adapted to a point that BC needs to adjust as well on the defensive side of the ball. Clearly we watched Bill McGovern's bend but don't break system both work (2010) and completely fall apart (2012). With so many slashing slot receivers that can quickly get down field, that system doesn't seem to be the best option at this point.
But what about Don Brown? He is more apt to sell out and get after the quarterback, and force the quarterback into making mistakes or taking a sack. Will that be the answer? It was certainly a mixed bag last season, but as we have seen in recruiting Boston College has changed their approach in what they are looking for in terms of defensive players. They are moving away from the standard three down linemen, linebackers who have their assignments and the secondary. What we are going to see more is a hybrid, with linebackers that can drop back into coverage, safeties up at the line of scrimmage. That confusion and movement could be the answer that get's BC's defense back on track, but it might take a year or two for Brown's guys to get into the system.