Dan Rubin: After the finish of 2015's 3-9 regular season record, we knew Boston College would make drastic changes. There was no way the status quo could stay the same. It began with the transfers out of some athletes who needed to head for greener pastures. It continued this week with the transfer announcement of Patrick Towles, the former starting quarterback from Kentucky.
Let's take this from the top. AJ - I know you love bringing in Towles. What in particular do you like about this move?
AJ Black: There are quite a few aspects of this move that I really like. First of all, BC had very little depth at QB last year with any experience. With one move BC now have two passing QB's with some experience (Wade/Towles). If Addazio is going to throw the ball more he needs QB's with arms and he now has them. People complained (rightfully) that Addazio was using the youth excuse all year, and so what did Addazio do? He addressed it immediately.
Dan, Towles is going to be a completely different QB than anyone on the roster. Do you think this signifies a change in the style of offense the Eagles will be playing in 2016?
Dan Rubin: I think it does. Towles has shown a good amount of quickness in the past; he ran for over 300 yards in 2014. This past season, he broke off a 33-yard run against Florida and a 21-yard run against Tennessee. But since he's so big and capable of going downfield, I think it signifies a shift that the pistol spread option offense is going to transition into more of a pro style offense. You aren't bringing in a 6'5", 250-pound guy to run a read option every play and run up and down the field. You're bringing in that guy to throw downfield, which is something that BC couldn't do last season.
AJ, it seems like Addazio is addressing and reconstructing his offense on the fly, but there are still going to be concerns. There's going to be a lack of depth at running back, and there's going to be some quarterbacks who are likely to take a hit. Who are the guys on the team who will be most impacted by the shift in thinking by the coaching staff?
AJ Black: I have to think the backup quarterback situation is going to be something we are going to want to watch. Clearly Wade and Anthony Brown will be next in line for the two deep, but after that the situation remains unclear. I have to wonder if BC is planning on throwing the ball more if they are going to move Jeff Smith to another position. He came to BC as an athlete, so you never know, they could find another role for him on the team like they did with Elijah Robinson. Also have to wonder what Troy Flutie's future with the team will be. He is going to be buried behind at least three-four other QB's.
In terms of the other positions, I think BC should be in decent shape at the WR position going into 2016. They are getting back Ben Glines and Chris Garrison, who should add depth to the position and will be adding true freshmen like Chris McStravick, KJ Gray and Kobay White. The running back position however is going to be something that needs to be addressed after the loss of Marcus Outlow and Jordan Gowins. The Eagles only have three-four RB's on the roster which is not adequate, especially for a team that relies on the run like the Eagles do. Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse only have a year left, so they are going to have to get a player or two via transfer or recruiting. That is certainly something that BC will have to address.
Speaking of recruiting, grabbing two transfer QB's in three years could be seen as a negative on the recruiting trail. Dan, are you worried how recruits will perceive BC's development of their quarterbacks?
Dan Rubin: I don't know that it's going to be a problem, at least not right away. Depending on how the 2016 Eagles fare, the ‘15 season will always be some type of aberration because of the amount of young guys who played and the amount of injuries the team dealt with. I know it was frustrating to hear Steve Addazio talk about it week after week, but I talked with several people in football. They all said the same thing - they didn't understand how BC could play with 65 freshmen or sophomores in uniform.
At the end of last season, I don't think there's an immediate impact because Addazio did a good to solid job over the first two seasons of his tenure. Think of David Cutcliffe, who went 4-8, 5-7, and 3-9 in his first three seasons. It took a little while to really set a foundation. As a result, Addazio, for right now, is still doing a good job on the recruiting trail.
But I think the next couple of years are going to be really key. After all, the future isn't the future anymore; it's the present. If Wade doesn't progress, if these receivers aren't the answer, if the offensive line doesn't get better, if Hilliman doesn't return to form - it's eventually going to impact him. The one year gap was expected by pretty much all the football insiders. They just didn't think it would drop off like it did.
Bottom line is there's always a pressure to "win now." I think Addazio even said it during Tyler Murphy's season. Clearly he wants to continue progressing and developing his guys, and I think stabilizing the position is the first step. It's too tough to judge it fully until we have a full couple of years to show for it. Plus, remember that Towles is only here for one season, meaning Darius Wade and Anthony Brown are still the quarterbacks of the future. Wade is eligible for a medical redshirt, meaning he should repeat his sophomore season in 2016.
Simple question to wrap this up - do you still think Wade is the QB of the future?
AJ Black: I do. I think it's unfair to say that Wade is not a starting QB after only 42 passes behind a sieve-erely underwhelming offensive line. I'm guessing that Addazio is going to have Towles and Wade compete during the summer (or spring if Towles gets here in time). Wade can certainly earn that spot and show why Addazio wanted him to be the starter all along. D-Wade has a few more years left depending on if he will be granted a redshirt for 2015. From everything I've read, he can be "the guy", but if he doesn't earn it, Patrick Towles and Anthony Brown should be ready to take the reigns immediately and in the future respectively.
Dan Rubin: I agree. X gets the square. Wade will still have an opportunity, but you ALWAYS want an insurance policy.