AJ Black: Welcome to the banter Eric. The season is upon us, and the Eagles are heading to Dublin for their opening game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Let’s talk a little about individual matchups. Where do you think BC matches up well against their opponent?
Eric Hoffses: I think BC’s defense matches up well against Georgia Tech’s option attack. If you look back to last season the one team that was able to expose the BC defense as Clemson, which did that via an air assault. The BC defense has had the entire summer to work on playing against the option unlike the usual situation where a team only has a week to prepare. Also, I think the BC defense is more athletic than ever and won’t simply get outrun by the GT quarterback or any of the running backs on the edge. I’d be surprised if GT broke 21 points in this game unless the BC offense or special teams gives up a touchdown.
On the flip side AJ where do you think BC doesn’t matchup well in this game?
AJ Black: I know many on this board have been worried about the offensive line, and this opening game may feed into those fears. It’s a younger group, and I hate that BC is going up against an ACC opponent to start the year, in terms of allowing the kids to gel. I would have rather have seen them get their cream puffs out of the way early, and give the line a chance to play together and bond. Georgia Tech had a very good pass defense last year, but was near the bottom in sacks allowed (120th). It’s going to be really interesting to see how the line handles that Georgia Tech defense.
A lot has been made about the program not winning a conference game in almost two years. How important is this game to BC, and do you see it as a must win?
Eric: Yes, I think it is a must win. BC has three very winnable games on the schedule against Wagner, UMass and Buffalo and two other home games against Syracuse and UConn in which it should be favored. After that, BC is going to have to win some of the 50/50 games on the schedule away from home like this game against GT, or the road games at NC State or Wake.
Also, obviously this game could raise the team’s confidence and catapult them on a winning streak instead of making the team doubt itself right off the bat. A 2-0 start heading into VT would be idea. The last thing the team wants is an opening game loss and a quick turnaround against UMass with a cloud over the program. While UMass should be an easy one you can’t overlook how much trouble the team had against the Minutemen just two years ago.
AJ who is an X-Factor for you going into this game on both sides of the ball for BC?
AJ: On the defensive side of the ball I’m going to go with Truman Gutapfel. If he can really clog up the middle of that line, and prevent Georgia Tech from optioning up the middle that could limit what the Yellow Jackets can do on offense. If BC can push everything to the outside that really plays into the heart of their defense with their speedy defensive backs and linebackers.
On the offensive side of the ball I’m going to say the x-factor is going to be someone on the offensive line, and that will be Chris Lindstrom. One of BC’s biggest issues last year was their inability to run the ball inside. If Lindstrom can open up some holes in the GT defense, I could see a big run or two from Jon Hilliman or one of the other running backs. But if GT exploits Lindstrom it could be another long day for the offense.
Finally Eric, Addazio says that he is going to be using his running backs in a variety of different ways. It sounds like each player has a role within the offense. Can you give us a bit of an overview of what those roles may look like?
You are going to see Jon Hilliman as the starting running back and the primary 1st/2nd down and goal line back. Myles Willis will be the 3rd down back and will get a few 1st down carries in his own right. During the summer, Addazio was instructing the defense to “take it easy” on Willis, so clearly he wanted to keep him fresh to use him more. Look for Davon Jones to be a change of pace back for Hilliman. I guess there is always a chance of Tyler Rouse getting some short yardage carries as well, especially if Hilliman misses on any of those opportunities early on.
NO HUDDLE OFFENSE
AJ: Dublin is a great destination game for Boston College. Where would you like to see them play a game in the future, either domestic or abroad.
Eric: I kind of look at these trips in a business sense rather than where I’d like to visit to see BC play a game. With that at the basis for my answer, I’d like to see what kind of national attention BC gets out of this game before I’d consider another trip abroad. Once the program gets going in the right direction I’d also like to see BC host a game at Foxborough against a national brand name team.
Are you scared at all of oversleeping and missing kickoff with this start time?
AJ: No, I’m not. Given my history with BC football, I’ll be up anxiously pacing around my apartment probably somewhere around 5-5:30am, annoying my wife.
Final question Eric, drink of choice for a 7:30 kickoff. What will it be?
Eric: I’m going with an Irish Coffee and probably just regular Jameson in it with the game being in Dublin. If BC wins perhaps of Green Spot Whiskey made in Ireland. How about you?
AJ: I’m a Guinness man tried and true.