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Boston College Football 2018: Grades For Defense Through Bye Week

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How did the defense stack up for the first half of the season?

NCAA Football: Boston College at North Carolina State
Air Allen
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston College Eagles sit at 5-2 as they head into their bye week, a number that can be evaluated and judged a myriad of different ways. Today, we are going to just break down the defense, look at the positions, some statistics and assign a grade up to this point. It’s kind of a Progress Report for the team at this point. Earlier this week we broke down the offense and tomorrow we will grade the coaching. You have an opportunity to vote as well. PLEASE DO NOT VOTE ON THE COACHING STAFF OR SCHEMES, WE ARE JUST LOOKING AT PLAY BY THE POSITION GROUPS

(I had a real hard time grading the positions here, because I feel that the offensive gameplan, especially when it hits a snag, really puts the defense in a bad position forcing them to be on the field often without much of a breather)

Defensive Ends

NCAA Football: Boston College at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Easily the anchor of the defense, Boston College has had two NFL caliber players starring this year in Wyatt Ray and Zach Allen. Ray, has really blossomed into an elite pass rusher, leading the nation in sacks with 8.5 sacks, and becoming a really explosive player with great speed. On the other side of the line is Zach Allen, who started the year off quietly, but has exploded over the past two games becoming a nightmare both against the run, and now as a pass rusher. In last week’s game against Louisville, he was unstoppable against the option, and has even effectively dropped back in coverage, snagging an interception against Ryan Finley and the NC State Wolfpack. Ray and Allen are going to be the key to this defense moving forward, their dynamic play making ability can mask deficiencies in other areas, and force opposing offenses to adjust schemes to manage them.

AJ’s Grade: A

Poll

What Grade Would You Give The Defensive Ends?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    A
    (233 votes)
  • 25%
    B
    (86 votes)
  • 2%
    C
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (1 vote)
331 votes total Vote Now

Defensive Tackles

NCAA Football: Boston College at North Carolina State James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Going into this season this was been an area of concern for the Eagles, as they got gashed up the middle frequently in 2017. Ray Smith and Tanner Karafa have been the primary defensive tackles, and both have had moments of good play. But the struggles that we were expecting have reared their ugly head multiple times this year. Against Wake Forest, BC was chewed up by Cade Carney who ran for 298 yards, most of it right up the gut. This worrisome trend continued against Temple, who ran for 191 yards, and NC State who ran for 225. Now this isn’t all on the DTs but they are the first line of defense, and they really struggled to separate from opposing offensive linemen. Some of these struggles may be linked back to the offense, who ran such a fast paced tempo, that when it

AJ’s Grade: C

YOUR GRADE

Poll

What grade would you give the defensive tackles?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (7 votes)
  • 15%
    B
    (45 votes)
  • 46%
    C
    (136 votes)
  • 32%
    D
    (96 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (7 votes)
291 votes total Vote Now

Linebackers

NCAA Football: Boston College at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

I thought this would be a sneaky position of strength this year, with Connor Strachan and Max Richardson returning from injury to give good depth. For the most part the group has been inconsistent. Strachan has had his moments, Kevin Bletzer has really come on strong as of late, and Richardson looked good against Louisville. John Lamot hasn’t been much of a factor, and Davon Jones pre-injury was a nice thumper up the middle. Bigger picture wise, this group either a) struggles against faster teams or b) is worn out when they are thrown back on the field constantly because of the tempo offense. Could be a combination of both. AJ’s Grade: C

Poll

What Grade Would You Give The Linebackers

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    A
    (14 votes)
  • 19%
    B
    (58 votes)
  • 50%
    C
    (147 votes)
  • 20%
    D
    (61 votes)
  • 4%
    F
    (12 votes)
292 votes total Vote Now

Secondary

This is a tough unit to grade because they have been so inconsistent. On one hand, Boston College is 5th in the nation in interceptions with 5. They have been superb at taking the ball away, with Hamp Cheevers, Lukas Denis and Taj Amir Torres all registering an interception. However, there is the other side of the coin, the games against Wake Forest, Temple, NC State and Purdue when they got shredded through the air. Brandon Sebastian certainly has struggled at times, but looked good against Louisville, can he build upon that game? BC has some talented receivers to look ahead to, and some good passing attacks (Clemson, VT, and I would never count out Syracuse).

AJ’s Grade: C+

Poll

What Grade Would You Give The Secondary

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (8 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (109 votes)
  • 37%
    C
    (106 votes)
  • 17%
    D
    (50 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (11 votes)
284 votes total Vote Now

OVERALL

As I mentioned before this grouping has been really hard to judge because they are so hamstrung by the offense when that side of the ball is floundering. However, there certainly has been positive moments (Zach Allen, Wyatt Ray and all the INTs), and the negative ones (struggling to get off the field/missed tackles etc). Putting those factors all together, and the fact that they have had moments of solid play mixed with moments of unadulterated struggle, they earn a grade of....

AJ’s Grade: C

Poll

What Grade Would You Give The Defense?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (4 votes)
  • 26%
    B
    (77 votes)
  • 57%
    C
    (168 votes)
  • 12%
    D
    (35 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (6 votes)
290 votes total Vote Now