Well, that wasn’t fun. Boston College’s offense struggled mightily again on Saturday, putting up 6 points (two field goals) in a 21-6 loss to Syracuse.
With that performance, BC now has just 40 points in 4 ACC games -10 per game - a level of futility that is distressingly close to the 2015 team, which scored 73 points in 8 games, for a grand total of about 9.12 points per game.
So things aren’t great, and as was made pretty clear on Saturday, they’re not great well beyond the Phil Jurkovec-sized hole at the quarterback position. BC’s offensive line continues to struggle, the defense remains prone to giving up big plays despite their own big play ability, and the offense was unable to punch in multiple opportunities inside Syracuse’s red zone, including getting stuffed from the 1 yard line on 3rd and 4th down in the fourth quarter.
Another alarming parallel to 2015 is that now BC is shuffling through a pair of quarterbacks, bringing back memories of Steve Addazio rotating through both Troy Flutie and Jeff Smith as BC struggled to score points.
To be clear, neither quarterback exactly seized the reins on Saturday and demonstrated they are clearly head and shoulders above the other.
But it feels like BC’s best chance of winning at this point is to pick one quarterback and game plan around him, because they seem to have different relative strengths.
Jeff Hafley and the coaching staff need to identify which strength they want to work with, whose weaknesses they want to work around, and pick the game plan accordingly - because it still feels like BC is running the Jurkovec offense while plugging in quarterbacks who simply can’t do what Jurkovec could do. We’re still seeing a lot of the same plan BC deployed with Jurkovec - rotating through all the running backs, using TEs more in the passing game than to block, and running a fairly straightforward pro-style offense.
Emmett Morehead showed some potential for throwing deep, strong balls down the field, including hitting Zay Flowers on a long ball on his first career drive. However, his accuracy - as can be expected for a true freshman - isn’t quite there yet, as he also had some overthrows and misses as the game went on. That said, it’s pretty clear that in terms of arm strength, Morehead has the edge, and hopefully shows the raw skill that could be improved upon with more experience and reps. If BC wants the offense to find its footing by stretching the field, Morehead is the way to go - and you have to just accept that there will be growing pains with a true freshman QB.
On the other hand, Grosel has two advantages on Morehead - he’s faster, and he also has more experience running a variety of offenses during both the Addazio and Hafley regimes. So BC should try to design an effective gameplan around Grosel if they think that gives them the best chance to win. To me, that means going to more of a power formation, using tight ends to block more to support the O-line which hasn’t been at its best, re-emphasizing the running game (and perhaps picking a featured back to carry the load), and letting Grosel roll out of the pocket and have a series of either designed runs or plays where he can either throw or run depending on how the play unfolds.
Either way, with the season slipping away and the goals dwindling - from dreams of a special season, to hope for breaking the 7-win mark, to now just hoping to get back on track and claw toward bowl eligibility - this week is the time for the Eagles to adjust to the quarterback they have, not the one they want. And doing that means picking one quarterback, even if neither is far and away the better choice as of now.