Over the past two years one of the biggest points of contention about Steve Addazio's offense has been the lack of a passing attack. While the Eagles finished last year 85th in total offense the passing attack was particularly underutilized falling to 124th in the country (129.3 yards per game). There could be multiple reasons why the yardage was so low last year. First Addazio emphasized the run because he wanted to eat up clock with long protracted drives that ate up as much time as possible and allowed his defense to rest.
Secondly, Tyler Murphy was MUCH better running the ball then throwing the ball where he could be inconsistent at times. Finally, the wide receivers that were used had difficulty getting open enough where Murphy could get them the ball. All of those factors added together made running the ball (which they did in a wide variety of ways) an offensive philosophy that gave the Eagles the best probability of scoring and winning games.
This year it looked like that might change. Darius Wade has been lauded by media members and his coaching staff as a very accurate passer. Also the Eagles have begun to assemble a nice stable of wide receivers, with speed, who could become weapons for Todd Fitch and the offense. At first it looked like all signs pointed to more passing, and less running.
But that is not the message Steve Addazio is sending. First, during the ACC Kickoff, there was an Addazio quote that made it clear that the offensive philosophy from 2014 hasn't changed. "Our plan to win is to play great defense, run the football, be great at special teams and control turnovers." Seems pretty clear. Then Andrea Adelson of ESPN talked with Addazio about his offensive philosophy and again they walked away with this "While the type of quarterback has changed, the emphasis has not -- Boston College wants to run the ball, and run it well. For this season, that means using the depth it has at running back to its full advantage".
Why would BC want to stick with the run as their bread and butter on offense? Their are a myriad of reasons. Darius Wade is going to be seeing his first real college football experience, and as Addazio has said, there will be a learning curve when it comes to live gametime experience. Secondly, Addazio has shown that what he does best on offense is to identify the strengths of the offense and create a scheme that compliments those components. In 2013 we saw a power running game with Andre Williams, last year we saw the option play. Right now if you look at BC's offensive roster, ask yourself, what is BC's strength. The answer at this point has to be running backs. Myles Willis, Jon Hilliman, Marcus Outlow and even Sherm Alston are the most talented group on the offense. Based on Addazio's comments you have to imagine that the offensive gameplan around this group. That would mean again more runs.
I think it's important to note that BC in all likelihood will have a more effective passing game this year, even if they don't throw substantially more than 2014. As we all remember there were multiple missed opportunities in the passing game last year, whether it was dropped passes or poorly thrown balls. If Wade is more accurate, and the receivers better at pulling in those passes, than it's logical that BC will have a more effective passing game and rack up more yards. However, don't expect them to come out of the gates with more of an emphasis on the passing game. BC is going to be a run first team, utilizing their strengths until Darius Wade and the wide receiver corp shows that they are ready to handle more of a role on the offense.