AJ Black: The champagne bottles have been cracked, the monkey is off our back, and BC has an ACC win to brag (?) about. The celebration is over now though as a pissed off Louisville team is heading to the Heights with a high flying offense, a Heisman candidate quarterback, and a chip on their shoulder after they eeked by UVA on Saturday.
Eric, first question. As I just mentioned the Cardinals barely beat the Cavaliers on Saturday. Should Boston College see this as a team that is flawed and beatable, or is this a sign that the Cardinals are going to want blood on Saturday?
Eric: I think that it’s tough to figure out which version of the Cardinals that you’re going to get on Saturday. At times this team has been a force like when they destroyed FSU, or even ‘Cuse and NC State. On the other hand, this team barely snuck by Virginia and only beat Duke by 10 points.
I think the big thing for Addazio is to figure out quickly which version of Louisville he is facing on Saturday. If it’s Louisville’s “C” game then maybe it makes sense to crack the rock all game and try to extend the game into the 4th quarter. However, if it’s a Lamar Jackson Heisman “statement game” then Addazio is going to have to get aggressive and pass on first down and throw in some trick plays to stay in the game.
AJ, looking at last week’s win, what impressed you most about the Boston College gameplan?
AJ: I’ve mentioned it a few times, but it deserves repeating, I was pretty happy with the play calling on the offense. For the first time all season BC was truly balanced, something Coach Addazio had said was the plan from the beginning. Now the execution (especially in the 2nd half) was a mixed bag, but watching that first half, I got what he and Loeffler are aiming to install, and if they can get it to click, I can dig it.
Eric, the game wasn’t all roses and rainbows. What did you see on Saturday that still has you concerned?
Eric: The secondary still worries me. NC State put up over 300 yards in the air and the ‘Pack don’t have one of the elite passing attacks in the ACC. I think that Jackson could throw for over 400 this weekend.
Also, I think Addazio dodged another bullet with his poor clock management at the end of the first half when he didn’t let the time run off of the clock before calling a timeout. If NC State ends up scoring on that drive and BC loses the game is that not the biggest storyline from the game?
AJ, what worries you the most about this upcoming matchup?
AJ: At first I would instinctively worry about Lamar Jackson’s legs, but it’s actually his arm that worries me. What I see as the biggest issue and people on this site have pointed it out, is the secondary. If BC focuses too hard on Jackson running the ball, he’s going to beat them deep, the Cardinals have some excellent wide receivers who can win those one on one matchups against suspect defenders. If that happens, I see BC going into VT/Clemson mode where they scramble to adjust, lose the edge up front, and the Cardinals and Jackson to be specific will move the ball at will.
Eric, if BC is going to beat Louisville they need to do ________?
Eric: I touched on it earlier but it really depends on how the game plays out early. I know that Addazio’s first instinct is to try and at least keep the game close so that he doesn’t shake the confidence of the team. On top of that, I’m sure he doesn’t want a third blowout loss against a conference opponent this season.
The thing is though if Louisville has its “A” game then the slow it down approach isn’t going to work and the game will probably play out like the Clemson game with BC progressively falling further and further behind as the game goes on. The L’Ville defense is allowing only 3.2 yards per carry on the ground this year and I don’t think that BC is going to be able to run on them. Addazio is going to need to be aggressive even if it isn’t his philosophy. The great coaches adapt though and don’t just stick with the game philosophy regardless of the situation.
AJ, lots of bowl talk again as hope springs eternal. Think BC will be bowling again even after this rocky patch of games?
AJ: I do. I know I went from blow the program up to optimistic in the span of one game,but that one game was huge. Now the future of the program isn’t going to be dictated by one game, but certainly makes the end of the season a little more interesting to watch with some important games coming up. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really care where BC ends up, I just want to see them in a bowl game, for the players. As much as I’ve hammered the coaches, these kids deserve to win, and representing my school I want to see them get those opportunities that football players at other schools get.
Final question Eric, does Saturday’s win impact your outlook at the remainder of the season?
Eric: I think that it certainly makes the rest of the season more intriguing fur sure as far as storylines go. Addazio now has a realistic chance to hit his magic number of six to keep his job and the Eagles have a much better chance to get to 6-6 and pretty much guarantee themselves a chance at a bowl.
At the same time I think we might be crossing up the excitement of winning an ACC game with the overall trajectory of the program. What I mean by that is NC State is a team that kept it close with Clemson, which is impressive for sure, but their wins have come against William and Mary, Old Dominion, Wake, and a mediocre Notre Dame team in a game that was played in hurricane conditions. With FSU, @ Cuse, Miami and @UNC left I’m not sure sure that the ‘Pack even are a 6-6 team this year.
AJ: One team I’ve enjoyed watching is post Les Miles LSU. Do you think Ed Orgeron will remain their coach in 2017?
Eric: If they beat Alabama and roll to the SEC Championship game then yes.
AJ, the CFB rankings came out this week. Any surprises?
AJ: I was floored that Texas A&M was so high. I figured that Washington or Louisville or both would have been higher than the Aggies.
Eric, final question, and let’s consider this a random one. It seems like Nick Saban and Bill Belichick are like brothers in the way they attack a football game (yes I know they are from the same coaching tree). What NFL coach reminds you most of Steve Addazio.
Eric: This might surprise you but I’m going Rex Ryan. Addazio obviously isn’t as bombastic, but he does give easy quotes for the media to use. On top of that, they both like a ground and pound offense and like to use aggressive, blitzing defenses.