AJ Black: Welcome back to the weekly football banter. It has finally happened, BC won a game, man it’s been a while. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but there certainly was a lot to talk about that made me feel better about the direction of this team. Eric, on the offensive side of the ball where did you see BC improve?
Eric: I think we saw that BC could have a legitimate passing game. Patrick Towles has shown that he is a quarterback that’s in the top half of the best QB’s in the ACC rather than the bottom half. Tommy Sweeney, Jeff Smith and Charlie Callinan all had some nice grabs in the game and I think they form a trio of legitimate wide receivers and tight ends, each with different skill sets.
I also am impressed with how Myles Willis looks as the change of pace back. He only has received 9 carries, but at 5.1 ypc he is clearly being productive. The key with Willis is to bump him to a slightly bigger workload but not say 20 carries a game like Hilliman is getting.
AJ, what concerns do you still have about the offense?
AJ: I think the use of the running backs, and the play calls worry me. As you mentioned in our podcast, I was expecting Davon Jones to really step up this year as a back, but he’s only showed up a handful of times. We have seen what Hilliman can do with the offensive play calls he is getting, and it hasn’t really worked. I think Scot Loeffler would benefit from using Myles Willis, and Tyler Rouse more often, and add a few jet sweeps in there as well. Just watching the game it looks like the offensive line is getting killed on some of the standard run calls, take a handful of those out and add a few other calls and I think BC would be in business.
Eric---There have been a ton of big plays already so far this year by the defense. What defensive player has impressed you the most so far?
Eric: I’m going with Connor Strahan, especially considering that he was questionable to even play last weekend and looked like he was 100% health. Strahan has been all over the field this year and looks like a legitimate All-ACC candidate.
AJ what do you think about BC’s return game in special teams so far? Do you see improvement from last year?
AJ: I definitely do. Tyler Rouse is a legit punt returner, and is a massive upgrade over Sherm Alston who was a giant liability last season. It’s huge for BC to not be pinned back after every punt, and actually have a guy that move the ball safely without turning it over. Mike Knoll is just consistent on punts, which is great. Have to wonder if they are going to continue having him punt with Satchel Ziffler on the bench, maybe have him focus on his field goals? I want to root for Knoll on FG’s, I love a good redemption story, and if he could come up and make field goals consistently he would be just that.
Looking ahead to this week, BC is facing a fast paced offense for the first time this year. Do you think this works to the benefit or detriment of BC’s defense and the gameplan as a whole?
Eric: In year’s past I would’ve said it was a detriment to BC. Who can forget Spaziani’s team looking unprepared to handle Northwestern’s fast offense in the season opener a few years back. However, BC has tons of depth in the front seven so I have no concerns subbing those players in and out. As long as most of the secondary can hold up---and those are always the best conditioned players on defense---the fast paced offense doesn’t concern me.
AJ, do you get worried when Addazio has to coach against a super aggressive coach like Fuentes or do you think it works in BC’s advantage?
AJ: I honestly think that it works in BC’s advantage. I’m not sure what Virginia Tech is right now, but the one word I would use to describe them is sloppy. That seems to play right into BC’s hands. Fast paced football loaded with mistakes will just be devoured by this defense. Then BC can get the ball and drag out the football game again and get Fuentes team off his rhythm.
AJ: A huge weekend for ACC football, with Florida State and Louisville doing battle. Who you got in that one?
Eric: I like Florida State in that game and you may see me take them in my weekly picks column. I love Lamar Jackson, but this isn’t the Syracuse defense.
What is your drink of choice in this one? I’m going with a Shipyard Pumpkinhead with a shot of Vanilla Vodka.
AJ: Too early for pumpkin beer, but I’m going to go with a growler of Iron Mike IPA from the Moat Brewing Company in New Hampshire.
Eric, if it’s not going to be VT, what teams so far look beatable for BC?
Eric: Wagner and Buffalo should be layups, and Clemson, L’Ville and FSU are losses. The rest are 50/50 games to me. I know some people think NC State should be easy based on its loss to ECU, but ECU has a history of beating ACC teams in September.
Who is your X-Factor for BC on offense and defense this weekend?
AJ: I’ve been waiting for him all season, but I think it’s going to be Tommy Sweeney. I have a feeling we will see more play action this Saturday with passes heading his way. On defense, I’m going to go with John Johnson. He has been inconsistent at times this year, I’m looking for him to make a big play against the pass.