As you can see in the above video, the philosophy of “offensive balance” was something that Steve Addazio and new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler preached before the start of the season. Since he arrived at Boston College, the Eagles have been a run first team, first with a power running game featuring Andre Williams in 2013, an option running game with Tyler Murphy in 2014, and whatever the heck 2015 was. But it seemed at the beginning of this season that it was all going to change. I was skeptical if that was possible, but with the addition of transfer QB Patrick Towles, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities.
Now every season is different, every gameplan requires different modes of attack, but with 12 games in the books, I think it’s fair to evaluate BC’s offense as a whole against previous year’s offenses.
In terms of overall yardage, there isn’t much of a change in total over all yardage between 2015 and 2016, with BC averaging 273 yards a game last year, and 288 this year. Both numbers are near the basement, and one of, if not the lowest in P5 football. Given that they are almost identical, we should be able to see if BC was more balanced in how they picked up yards and if they tried the pass more often.
If we are going to look at balance there are a few stats that need to be analyzed. The first is passes/rushes per game, and the second is yards. In 2013 the Eagles averaged 20.3 passes per game with Chase Rettig & in ‘14 they averaged only 16.7 passes per game which makes sense since Tyler Murphy’s legs were the weapons. Looking at 2015 and 2016, they a) are almost identical, and b) mirror the output of 2013. In ‘15 BC averaged 20.7 passes per game, and this year they averaged 22.8 passes per game. So as you can the increase in passes is negligible. Mind you this does not account for plays that break down that resulted in Towles scrambling.
In case you were wondering BC ran the ball 514 times this year, compared to 505 last season.
In terms of total yardage through the air Boston College only averaged 110 yards per game in 2015, slightly lower than the 129.1 they achieved in 2014, and much lower than the 154.8 they achieved in 2013. This season they achieved 141.5 yards per game, which is certainly an anemic number but still an improvement than the previous two years.
Clearly Boston College has miles to go in terms of finding balance on offense, or a working offense in general. The amount of times BC threw the ball this year did not change significantly, they were just “more effective” when they threw the ball. There are certainly other factors that may have caused Addazio to rely less on the pass than he intended (poor blocking, dropped passes, inaccurate passes), but if he really is going to buy in on a balanced offense, he is going to need to show more of a commitment to it in 2017.