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Boston College Football: Explosive Plays Have Been A Dud

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NCAA Football: Boston College at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College Football is averaging a paltry 15 points a game so far during the 2017 season, good enough for 120th in the country. Just watching the games, you can see that the offense is clearly not clicking efficiently enough to put points on the board. Now there is a myriad of factors contributing to these struggles. One, offensive play calls have been very conservative, as head coach Steve Addazio has gone with a vanilla play calling system, probably to protect redshirt freshman Anthony Brown and a retooled offensive line that can’t stay healthy. Secondly, the team has consistently made mistakes that have killed drives, whether it was penalties or dropped passes.

But what we want to explore today could be the major reason Boston College Football’s offense is not scoring points, the lack of explosive plays. Watching the games, you can write out BC’s offensive scheme with your eyes closed. Run up the gut with A.J. Dillon or Jon Hilliman, mistake, jet sweep or another inside run, incomplete pass. If any of these plays connect, they are never “big plays”. In fact BC is 127th in the country in yards per play, averaging a paltry 3.94 yards per play. The statistics are even more damning for the passing game, which is 128th in the country, averaging 4.6 yards per pass attempt, only rated higher than the Army Black Knights an option team and UTEP who is an offensive train wreck.

The statistics show that BC only crawls around the field, making very small gains at a time, and praying that nothing goes wrong. What could mitigate the crawling pace of the offense? Explosive plays! And this is where BC’s offense really goes flat. If you break down plays into yardage chunked gains this is where BC falls

  • 10+ yards: 62nd (not bad)
  • 20+ yards: 109th
  • 30+ yards: 125th
  • 40+ yards: 130th (they have zero plays that have gone 40+)

If BC wants to score points they have to take more chances, and more importantly they have to hit on those plays. There are no statistics out there that show attempts for big plays, but BC clearly has tried a few (Brown to Michael Walker against NIU for instance). Being more aggressive and trying plays that have a higher ceiling in terms of yards may be the key to fixing this offense, if BC can make some chunk plays, it’ll counter balance the mistakes and get them primed to put points up. Plus it will keep defenses honest, and allow BC’s bread and butter, the short pass and running up the guy to open up more.

The sad part is we can post the statistics until we are blue in the face, but it is going to be on the coaching staff to make adjustments. If Steve Addazio and Scot Loeffler are content on just taking 3 yards at a time, you can guarantee this offense is going to go nowhere. They need to take chances down the field, and they need to do it soon.