At the conclusion of their 3-9 season, we knew there would be changes for Boston College. The status quo, unsustainable because of its lack of success, needed a shakeup. That started with the first natural step of roster attrition and the departure of Marcus Outlow, Sherman Alston, and Jordan Gowins. It continued this week with the announcement of the incoming transfer of fifth year quarterback Patrick Towles.
Towles, a Kentucky product and former starter for the Wildcats, is the centerpiece of a very obvious change in thinking. Out of 128 teams, the 2015 Eagles finished 126th in total offense and 122nd in points per game. They dealt with too much youth, too many injuries, and too much inexperience. It was a year in which we knew there would be a drop off in production (but maybe chose to ignore it based on the previous two seasons' results) but couldn't foretell that steep of a cliff.
By bringing Towles, Addazio is hitting the pause button on his offensive mindset. I can't see a reason why Darius Wade won't receive a medical redshirt for last season, meaning he starts 2016, one again, as a sophomore. That means the Eagles can coach up the players behind Towles with the playbook they want to install, whether it's the spread option, the pro set, etc. Regardless of what happens in this upcoming season, they're able to teach and coach up the players behind with the playbook they want to install, just as they did with Tyler Murphy in 2014.
In addition, it means BC is able to add depth to its quarterback position. If Wade were to come back this season and be ineffective as a starter, there would be calls to play Anthony Brown. Playing Brown essentially reboots the team back to the '15 season, where they were forced to play quarterbacks under developed and not ready to play. By adding another QB, Brown should be able to redshirt his freshman season without issue and be given three years to develop before he needs to start. In the event Wade played ineffectively and the coaches didn't play Brown, they would have to choose from the same players who ultimately were under center this season.
If you think about it, adding Towles allows them to extend the development cycle, which is a huge asset when players only have four years of eligibility. With him starting at the QB position in 2016, BC is able to get two full years of Darius Wade as a starting quarterback as a junior and senior in '17 and '18. If Brown redshirts this season, he wouldn't have to play until '19 - when he's also playing in his junior campaign. It sets up a cycle where BC can develop a QB for three years, then play him for two. That may not interest a player who wants to play right away, but as we found out this past season, that's something so few true freshman are ready to do.
That does mean the guys further down the depth chart may run into problems since it's simply too crowded, but for the coaches, the stability at the top allows them to promote and enhance players from within. The knock on Jeff Smith was that he was far too raw of a passer to have been playing in games; he could redshirt this year and receive a year to work on his mechanics and abilities.
The knock on Troy Flutie was that he wasn't suited to run the option offense. He now is a clear QB3 but with a shift to pro style offense, he could find himself in a mindset where he could make some noise down in the depth chart. Even if a QB isn't playing, a kid can learn and develop his skills by supporting and working with teammates in the film and study rooms.
The knock on John Fadule was that he simply wasn't a Division I quarterback. But we know he has heart and desire, which means he's going to drive the other quarterbacks on the roster. He earned playing time by fighting for it, starting for the Eagles until a concussion knocked him out of the game and into a protocol. He's always going to be a wildcard.
Just because the Eagles are bringing in a quarterback doesn't mean the future is bleak. The position is stabilized, meaning the coaches can continue to implement the game they want without mortgaging everything. They gain the ability to extend development by another crucial year. This creates opportunities, and opportunities create healthy competition. After a bleak and despondent 2015 season, there's cause for excitement for 2016 and beyond. And that's all we can really ask for as the offseason gets underway.