We can all recite the names of BC offensive linemen who have gone on to have successful careers such as Gosder Cherilus, Damien Woody, Tom Nalen, Dan Koppen, & Anthony Castonzo. Now take a look at the offensive line — heck, look at the offensive line for the past three plus seasons — it’s gone. Steve Addazio promised when he came in that he would build BC back into a tough, physical program, but when is that getting here? We haven’t seen it. Instead we have seen offensive line play that is not anywhere near the level you would expect out of a former offensive line coach.
Every year it seems to be a different excuse, whether it is injuries or youth, but you can count on them like tax season and death. This season is no different:
Jon was the most veteran player we had up front. Jon was the one that hadn't had the most career starts. Jon as the center runs the whole offensive line with all the calls and everything that we do. And the compounding problem we had, okay, was that Shane Leonard has been out for three weeks. And so our backup center was down as well. Okay. Now, what's happened is, you know, we talk about this offensive line, how excited I was about the offensive line, and I still am. But we've taken some hits. We lost Elijah in the spring for the year. He was a starter. Now we've lost Jon Baker for the year; he's a starter. We've had Shane Leonard gone for three weeks. He was one of the top six players and then Sam Schmal was out all week last week. So four of the top six players were out; three -- two for the year, and one will be over a month when it's all said and done.
So that has affected the chemistry that we have. Thank God we actually have some depth right now. We actually have some depth. Now, our depth is a little youthful, but we're so excited about a guy like Ben Petrula. Ben's going to be a really fine player. But as I said Saturday, that's a tall order. When you tell a guy, hey, you're going to start for the first time in your career, your first college game, and by the way, you're going to play a position you've never played before; and by the way, that's the position on the offense that has to make all the protection calls. In any offense that's who does it.
There it is. In less than two games, BC is basically back to where we were last season. Look, I get that injuries happen, and yes they are tough, but when Addazio brags that he has 16 offensive linemen in camp but now says that they are young again, you can’t have it both ways. What we have seen out of the line this year just seems to mirror the problems we have seen since Addazio has taken over. Sloppy plays (two botched snaps from two different centers), penalties, the complete inability to open holes in the running game, and quarterbacks constantly running for his life.
This is Year 5, these problems should have been fixed, especially when it’s “his guys” that are lining up. Some of these problems are clearly technique, when 300+ lb lineman Aaron Monterio is constantly getting pushed around by smaller NIU defensive linemen that is a problem, one that coaching should be able to fix. Some of the problems clearly lie in play calling as well. When defenses don’t respect the pass, and Addazio’s offense has given them no reason to, they are going to overload the box and make life hell for these guys. Again this is on the coach. Stretch the field more, and be successful at it, and this will open holes for the running game and relieve pressure/congestion on the line.
This is a crucial stretch of games upcoming for Boston College, ones that could have ramifications down the road. If the line does not improve, the offense is going to continue to play poorly and teams like Notre Dame, Clemson and Virginia Tech will blow them out. BC, and more specifically Steve Addazio can’t afford to get blown out every game during this stretch.
Certainly Boston College must play better, but that starts and ends with drastic improvement from the offensive line.