A stream of consciousness following BC’s 23-10 loss to Virginia Tech last night.
I said it last week and I’ll say it again - This is horribly broken. Whether it be the frustrating play on the field, the vibe you get being in the stands or around Eagle fandom, the media engagement in the city or just in general, the failure of Boston College as a brand..it’s not good...and last night was just another example.
There weren’t a huge amount of Virginia Tech fans last night, but the place definitely felt more like Lane Stadium North than Alumni Stadium. The attendance was announced at 32,057, but that must have counted players, coaches, staff, security, vendors, officials, mascots, you name it. The only real Eagle noise came through the loud speaker system piping in the band. The BC student section was essentially empty by late in the third quarter, although it never got remotely close to filling.
Attendance isn’t everything, but it is a sign of interest and although some jumped on me for posting a misleading picture from last week, let’s do it again.
This photo was taken with 12:30 to go in the 4th quarter and literally hundreds of empty seats in Section D, most of which never filled in the first place. It is the worst I can ever remember for a great weather night game.
The BCAA Hall of Fame class - for 2017 was inducted last night at halftime and was one of the best of all time. Headliners were hockey goaltender Scott Clemmesen who was in the nets for the Eagles dramatic 2001 National Championship win vs North Dakota. Joining Clemmensen among others were, Men’s ice hockey forward Bill Guerin, former Patriot center Dan Koppen and the all time leading scorer in Men’s Basketball history, Troy Bell. The biggest ovation of the night though was for former Head Football Coach, Tom O’Brien. You can find the rest of the list here.
Speaking of O’Brien - the slide of BC football coincided with his departure after the 2006 season to take the job at NC State. Many of you speak fondly of Jeff Jagodzinski, but from my perspective, he was the beneficiary of the rock solid foundation built by O’Brien. Other than the backslide in year two of the Jags regime, we will never know what might have been, but there were plenty of reasons to believe it wouldn’t have continued.
The prevailing theory is that O’Brien departed over issues with then AD Gene DeFillipo (that wouldn’t have made him the only one) but the level of consistency, toughness and talent hasn’t been approached since.
O’Brien drove a lot of BC fans crazy, with consecutive 4-7 seasons in his first two years, but after that never had a losing record. The complaints mostly were around his conservative nature, breaking through what BC fans felt was a glass ceiling and leaving some big game win opportunities on table. It can though be argued that O’Brien is the greatest long term coach in BC history and without a doubt took this program to a level that we would all like to see it achieve again.
O’Brien spent a lot of his time as a lieutenant - for former Navy and Virginia coach George Welsh, which reminds me there are lieutenants and there are generals. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a lieutenant, but there is a next step to be the general. O’Brien was able to take that step, but BC has spent many years looking at lieutenants in search of promotion to general and whether it be Dan Henning, Frank Spaziani or Steve Addazio have missed that distinction more often than they have hit it.
Constantly changing offensive philosophies has definitely stunted the growth of this team. No question there are other reasons, whether it be recruiting, injuries, the inability to have a returning QB, other coaching issues, but while it has been much more commonplace to have turnover not just in personnel but at the coordinator level, the programs that have been able to stick with a staff and a philosophy and groom to that have always done best.
Boston College has changed their offensive philosophy every season since Addazio’s arrival. Some of that is based on personnel and many will argue it looks the same to them regardless of the year, but five years into this, not to know who you are and what you want to be, then recruit to that, has hurt.
There hasn’t been consecutive years where the philosophy has stayed consistent.
Despite Steve Addazio channeling his inner Donald Trump, it is unlikely to “come together and be beautiful”
If BC does go winless in the ACC this season and at this point, although there are five league games left, the Eagles won’t be favored in any of them, it will mark the first time since Duke in 2000 and 2001 that a program has gone winless in either back to back or 2 out of 3 seasons since the conference expanded to eight league games in 1994.
No program outside of Duke has gone winless in the ACC twice PERIOD in that stretch and only NC State (2013) and Georgia Tech (1994) have done it at all. besides the Blue Devils and potentially Eagles 2015, 2017).
The frustration with the Eagle offense continues but this isn’t anything new against Virginia Tech and actually BC did better than they’ve done in years. The 16 first downs marked the most since 2012 (20). It’s been since 2008 (the first VT game that year) that BC has gotten more than 20 in a game. Total offense of 344 yards, the best since 2014 (368), prior to that, you have to go back to 2008 (game 1) to find the last time BC broke the 300 yard mark and it’s been since 2003 since they got over 400 (461).
BC’s 153 yards rushing are the most since 2014 (258) but in the past 16 VT games, the Eagles have been held under 100 yards on the ground eleven times.
BC’s 191 yards passing were the most since 2011 (194). BC hasn’t had a 300 yard passing game against the Hokies since Matt Ryan did in in game 2 - 2007.
Anthony Brown was the team’s leading rusher last night. It wasn’t by design and I thought Brown probably fought a bit too hard for yards, but he is a pretty strong runner and as I’ve been touting, if he is truly a dual threat QB, that side of it, by design, would help.
The BC defense played good not great, but showed a lot of mettle in goal line situations. One of my questions going into the game was how good the Eagle pass defense was and we got an interesting answer. Although they gave up 322 in the air, they also put constant pressure on Josh Jackson sacking him five times for minus 35 yards, which in college ball come off the rush statistics.
This was the first time the Eagle linebackers were targeted and they struggled getting depth and along with the secondary, had tackling issues.
Steve Addazio is now 4-13 in ACC home games and 10-24 in ACC games overall. After his first 13 ACC games, his record stood at 7-6, but since a win over Virginia Tech in 2014, has gone 3-18 in his last 21.
This is horribly broken.