The Boston College offense has already faced a lot of highs and lows this season, from the 2 late TDs to defeat Mizzou to the apocalyptic fumbled snap to lose the game to Clemson. Here’s how the Eagles offense has shaped up so far this year, and a look at how they may improve as the year goes on.
We all know the story at this point. Dennis Grosel was thrust into the starting QB role in Week 2 after Phil Jurkovec went down with an injury. Jurkovec is unlikely to return this season, and Hafley has already come out to say that the Eagles are sticking with Grosel into the future.
I asked Jeff Hafley if there is any competition for the QB1 spot, or if Dennis Grosel is "the guy" going forward:— Andy Backstrom (@andybackstrom) October 3, 2021
“Dennis is the guy. Dennis is a good quarterback. He’s our leader right now, and he took his team, our team, in Death Valley & came up 11 yards short. He’s the guy.”
The performance from Denny Dimes has been shaky at best, though. His biggest weakness is throwing the ball more than 10 or 15 yards downfield. Grosel just simply isn’t accurate on those long throws. Against Clemson, Mizzou, and others, we’ve repeatedly seen Zay Flowers get open downfield just for Grosel to way overshoot the receiver.
Grosel also struggles with holding onto the ball too long in the pocket. He needs to be coached up so he’s more comfortable throwing it away and taking the incompletion when necessary. Multiple times we’ve seen him hesitant to throw the ball out because nobody’s open, often resulting in a sack or just a dangerous throw.
Otherwise, he’s not bad. He’s accurate with short passes pretty consistently, something previous BC QB Anthony Brown often struggled with. And he pretty consistently correctly reads the open receiver as he goes through his progressions. Grosel just isn’t going to beat you deeper downfield, so Hafley and Cignetti need to gameplan better to their QB’s strengths. Sometimes it feels like the playbook hasn’t even changed since Jurkovec was QB. Grosel is not Jurkovec, and the playbook should reflect that. It killed the offense towards the end of the Clemson game with too many deep shots, and it will continue to keep haunting this team until the playcalling adjusts.
Patrick Garwo III has been a revelation. There were questions coming into the season on if Travis Levy or Alec Sinkfield were going to take lead duties from the backfield, but Garwo came up through the depth chart and surpassed both of them. He’s a dynamic runner that can pound it up through the middle and stumble for extra yards, while also holding a great ability to bump runs to the outside and kill defenses with his speed. He’s the prototypical star college RB, though he’s often very heavily-aided by his stellar OL.
Travis Levy has still been good in the passing game. Alec Sinkfield, along with freshman Xavier Coleman, have taken more of a backseat, but they are still viable options to give Garwo or Levy some rest. There have often been drives this season when Garwo has been completely benched in favor of these other backs, likely to keep everybody’s legs fresh and to tire out the opposing defenses.
This WR and TE corps have been exactly what we thought they would be. (We thought they would be great).
Zay Flowers is the clear WR1 and has earned it. His speed alone could get him to the top of BC’s depth chart, so adding in his agility and lateral ability is just icing on the cake. Trae Barry at TE1 is exactly what he was cracked up to be. Ever since his incredible hurdle over a Colgate defender in week 1, he’s been electric. He even led the BC offense in receiving yards this past week against Clemson. For depth, the Eagles boast Jaelen Gill, CJ Lewis, Jaden Williams, Joey Luchetti, and more. These are all skilled players who could be competing for the WR1 or WR2 slots at a lot of other ACC schools. Grosel has a lot of weapons at his disposal to make this passing game work.
And now the true stars of this BC offense. This BC OL has been pushing around fools all season to great effect. Pat Garwo has been dominant on the ground in large thanks to them, and Grosel has had lots of time to throw and figure out how this offense operates with him at QB. This OL was hyped up before the season while boasting 2 preseason All-Americans, and so far that hype was warranted.
If Jurkovec was still in at QB, this may well have been the best offense in the ACC or close to it. Unfortunately he’s not, and the Eagles must play with the hand they’ve been dealt. Grosel is somewhat capable and has certain strengths that can be catered to. BC has run the ball when they are able to with much success (like against Mizzou), but has struggled when they rely on Grosel’s arm (like against Clemson).
This comes down to the coaching and playcalling. Garwo didn’t get fed enough against Clemson. And Grosel was attempting too many throws that he can’t actually complete. This offense has the potential to be very serviceable and bring the Eagles into contention in a very weak ACC Atlantic, but it’s going to take a bit of fixing before they get there. Hafley and Cignetti have been impressive so far in their short tenures, but fixing this highly-capable offense is a problem that may define their year. It’s on the coaching now.