AJ: The Boston College Eagles are back in the win column after defeating the Temple Owls on Saturday. It wasn’t a clean win though as BC looked sloppy again in all three aspects of the game. The defense was torched by a subpar Temple offense, special teams was marred by at least three big blunders, and the offense returned to the “pound the rock” predictable rhythm, which was mostly effective, it did continue to show some concerning signs in quarterback Anthony Brown. Eric, welcome back, what part of the game concerned you most?
Eric: The passing game has struggled to get back to the level of success that was attained against Wake Forest. The easiest thing to do is blame Anthony Brown for that, but I’m blaming the coaches. BC continues to be predictable to figure out on first down running the ball 76% of the time. On second down that number drops to 64.4% which is probably closer to what the number should be. If you want to take it a step further, on 3rd and less-than-3 BC has run the ball 18 times compared to passing just 4 times which is an 80/20 ratio. Even when I extend that out to situations of 3rd and less-than-6 the Eagles are running 76.6% of the time. Those numbers tell me that BC is being too predictable on play calling. I understand that BC has the best running back in the country and you have to give him the rock, but when the other team knows what is coming based on down and distance it makes everything much easier to defend. AJ how about you?
AJ: I have to say that the defense is the most concerning part of the BC gameplan so far. That is now three straight opponents who have had good success in the air against this defense. Now you can chalk part of that up to Lukas Denis getting ejected for targeting, but I worry going into NC State and a very good quarterback that they are going to get exposed even more. Also up front I am concerned. Zach Allen had a great game, but Ryquell Armstrong tore that defense up, this all needs to be cleaned up against a ranked opponent.
What weaknesses do you see in NC State that you think BC can exploit?
Eric: The timing of the game certainly works in BC’s favor. NC State has a bye week and then Clemson on deck so there is certainly the potential of a lookahead game here for the ‘Pack. Also, NC State’s competition has been garbage this year especially with that game against West Virginia getting cancelled earlier in the year. I don’t think the schedule has gotten NC State prepared for a good team like BC. It will be important for the Eagles to take advantage and jump out quickly. What does Boston College do if AJ Dillon is out due to the ankle injury he suffered against Temple?
AJ: In order for their offensive gameplan to work they are going to need to run the football, which if they are Dillon-less will need to be a steady diet of Ben Glines and David Bailey. I thought Glines did an admirable job against Temple, not really doing anything flashy, but keeping the sticks moving. If Dillon is out, getting 3rd downs manageable for Anthony Brown will be key. I don’t know what happened to the BC play action pass, but they need to use it more, with or without Dillon because when it is clicking it can be very effective.
Eric, I wrote about it earlier, but want your two cents. If Colton Lichtenberg is limited, and its up to either of the freshman kickers, would you want to see BC going for 2 more often?
Eric: At this point what do they have to lose? AJ, what does BC have to do to win on Saturday?
AJ: The Eagles really need to tighten up their play and reduce the amounts of careless errors that have plagued them the last three weeks. If they are going to want to win against a ranked team they can ill afford points off of special teams turnovers, and careless penalties. I think BC can even still win with a conservative offensive gameplan (they almost won last year with one), but if they make tons of mental mistakes, NC State is going to win big.
TWO MINUTE DRILL
AJ: We are almost half way through the season, what Non-AJ Dillon player would you say has been the MVP for the Eagles?
Eric: I’m going Zach Allen because he is one of the few players that has been good in the last three games. AJ, against Syracuse we saw Trevor Lawrence go down, and without Kelly Bryant the team scraped together a win. How do you feel about this new transfer/redshirt rule?
AJ: I know there is certainly some gray area in this rule, but I like it. Players need to have some freedom, especially since they are giving up their body and time. While guys like Bryant may make decisions that could hurt their team, they need to look out for themselves and their future.
Eric, last question. If Boston College could add a food to their concessions. What would you want to see and why?
Eric: How about some more specialty sandwiches? It wouldn’t be that hard to make a pressed Cuban sandwich, or some burgers/grilled cheese sandwiches with special topping options. Maybe BC needs to bring in HoffaBBQ as a consultant.