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Pushing Back: A reader’s defense of Jeff Hafley

Virginia Tech v Boston College Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

In our most recent BCI Debates post, much criticism was leveled at Jeff Hafley and the BC football coaching staff over the Eagles’ 0-2 start. One of the commenters, pepe98, offered his response, which was thorough and worth reading - pushing back against the tone of some of the criticism and offering this defense. The comment in full:

“[Discussing firing Hafley] is ridiculous. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

I am 100% on team [Phil Jurkovec]. I am 95% on team Hafley.

Lets talk recruiting first:

2004 National Ranking: #32

2005 National Ranking: #52

2006 National Ranking: #35

Jags takes over

2007: National Ranking: #44

2008: National Ranking: #38

Spaz takes over

2009: National Ranking: #65

2010: National Ranking: #45

2011: Class Ranking: #39

2012: National Ranking: #69

Daz takes over

2013: National Ranking: #86

2014: National Ranking: #51

2015: National Ranking: #60

2016: National Ranking: #78

2017: National Ranking: #67

2018: National Ranking: #71

2019: National Ranking: #64

Hafley takes over

2020: National ranking: #62

2021: National Ranking: 37

2022: National Ranking: 40

2023: (still in flux) National Ranking: 46

Source: BCI

Recruiting is an inexact science but clearly its getting better. We don’t get the super freshman who start on day 1. Our guys take a couple years to mature and improve, they always have. Its folly to get rid of this guy before his players even get to be upperclassmen.

Seen some comments about how Hafley has lost the locker room. Based on what? One comment from PJ (and we will get to that), is that it?

Lotta complaints about not using the portal to find Olinemen. Here’s Hafley today.

He said they did look into the portal and this is what he said about the guys they considered.

1 can he get into school here. 2 does he have enough credits to play this year. 3 character kid? 4. they’re asking how much they’re gonna get paid.

We all know the answer to the last one. This a major impediment to recruiting and it will kill major sport at BC sooner rather than later. I had a too long rant about this on one of the recent basketball posts. So they looked. Hafley has done well in the portal - Tacaks, Gil and PJ at least. And they couldn’t find anybody. I don’t know, but I trust Hafley to do his due diligence - we’ve been given no reason not to.

Here’s Jon Hilliman responding, yesterday, to a tweet about Hafley being on the hot seat:

GM, Speaking as a former alum, let’s try to exercise some good faith in the plan. Hafley has brought in some MUCH (and I mean much) needed changes to the program. A LOT of what happened ln came down to execution and that’s on the PLAYERS. It’s week three. Things WILL progress!!

On PJ:

Love Niraj but his PJ quote needed the question.

“In the early part of the game, there were misconnections all over the place for the offense, in general. How do you go about, this week, correcting those?”


“I’d like to practice harder. Try to make it more competitive. Because it seems like we get in the game, and we’re just a little bit off. Plays that we’re hitting in practice...I mean, I was a little bit off early in the game.”

Basically - You had a bad game. How do you fix that? Practice harder. He says I was off. Don’t we want the QB, the leader to take responsibility? How can anyone really be upset with that answer?Grasping at straws if you are or think that’s a slight at the coach.

Here’s PJ on the program from August

“They taught me to love the game again,” Jurkovec said. “You can’t really replace that. I can’t pay that back.”

Here’s his dad:

“I think it’s evident in the people that I speak with that he’s a different person,” Jim Jurkovec said. “He’s happier, he’s more content. He’s at peace with where he is and who he is.”

Does this sound like a kid who’s upset with the coach?

This is the same article where PJ rips Kelly and ND. I’m fine with it. He was asked a question and answered it truthfully. Both deserve all the criticism they get. Kelly is gone, ND hates him for how he left, both the manner and the goodbye group text message to the players. None of us like ND, why are we getting on PJ for sharing our distain. They were not nice to him. Nice goes a long way. I tell my kids - don’t let anyone abuse you. So good for Phil, stick up for yourself, young man.

Stat time:

QBR of every guy who started most of a season since Foley with Flutie as well.

Dennis Grosel 124.4

Anthony Brown 126.9

Darius Wade 112.9

Patrick Towles 113.2

Tyler Murphy 126.2

Chase Rettig 118.5

Dave Shinskie 115.6

Matt Ryan 126.2

Paul Peterson 134.6

Brian St. Pierre 129.7

Tim Hasselbeck 133.4

Matt Hasselbeck 113.1

Mark Hartsell 115.1

Glenn Foley 130.5

Doug Flutie 132.1

PJ 137.8

His 2,558 passing yards over his first 10 starts (his whole first season) were the most by a QB in school history.

Jurkovec has thrown for 300 yards six times in 14 career games at Boston College. He is fifth in school history with the six 300-yard games. Matt Ryan and Doug Flutie own the school record with 12 career 300-yard passing games.,career%20300%2Dyard%20passing%20games.

Jason Baum:

Pretty remarkable … • Boston College totaled just seven 300-yard passing games from 2010-19, including just three games of 300+ passing yards since 2013. • In just 11 games under Jeff Hafley, BC has posted six 300-yard passing games.

Lets talk about last year. I was so excited, sure that 8 wins was the bottom with a real shot at the ACC title game. Vegas O/U was 7.5. I took the over. Then Phil broke his hand in game 2 and it was all over. We all thought he was done for the season. But no, he came back 2 months later rallying the troops during a 4 game losing streak that was so painful, to lead them to 2 victories against VT and GT. He was clearly still hurt and the season petered out against FSU and Wake. He showed us poise and toughness. He has earned at least the benefit of the doubt if not the near total support of the fans.

This year hasn’t been great. But to suggest he’s overrated or that the team would have been off if he left last yr is really poor form IMO.

He was adequate against RU.

23/41 for 285 and 3/2 - TD/INT. That’s fine. Good for a 128.5 QBR. Compare that number to the lost above, draw your own conclusion.

He was bad against VT

15/28 for 135 1/1 and 98.7 QBR

The best Olineman was injured in the summer. The second best didn’t play game 2, the other starting tackle missed the 2nd half. They played a walk-on at tackle in the second half. I don’t know how many tackles a team should have on scholly but they went thru at least 4. There was no other way the game was going to end with that line. PJ was pressured on 50% of the passing plays. The starting RB has 24 carries for 40 yards in 2 games. PJ isn’t good enough to overcome all that. You have to be honest, not many guys are.

How many here really predicted a big winning season here? The LV line went down to 6.5. I took the over. But that’s because I don’t bet a lot of money. There’s no way I’d put serious dollars on that. We were picked near the bottom by every single prognosticator. If you had outsized expectations this year I think that’s on you.

I just don’t know how many of the criticisms leveled here stand up to real scrutiny. This is my first substantive post game comment this year. Its been very disappointing, made more so by my expectation that the number of D1 - P5 seasons left is dwindling rapidly. You just cannot lose to RU at home to start the season. So, I get the disappointment, anger, frustration, general malaise, whatever else you got, I am with you. But as has been pointed out below - who you gonna get to replace him and there was legit concern that he’d get poached last spring. Now two games in he’s a bust and a fraud and needs to go. That’s crazy talk, man. You gotta ride this out. I don’t expect many wins the rest of the way. And it sucks and I hate it and like someone else said - what the hell did we do to deserve this!?”