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Boston College Football: How Much Has The Defense Improved Over Past Three Years

Answer: A lot.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Addazio has improved Boston College in almost all sides of the ball (minus place kicking). One of the biggest changes has been Don Brown and the marked decline in points allowed per game. In three years BC has gone from the 75th scoring defense in 2012 to 21st in 2014.

Yesterday the website listed the 21 teams that have had defenses that have decreased the most on the defensive side of the ball. Boston College was one of the teams on that list, showing that they have allowed 8.4 fewer points per game over that span. Interestingly the site mentions that the Eagles are one five teams that experienced a coaching change over that time (Tennessee, Texas, Temple, and Louisiana Tech).

That's not really surprising, given that the change from Bill McGovern/Spaz to Addazio/Don Brown implemented such a sea change in terms of defensive style. Gone was the bend-but-don't-break style that allowed teams with superior athletes to slash the Eagles to death; instead, Brown has brought in a much more aggressive style that focuses more on blitzing and making plays at the line of scrimmage. It's not coincidence that the rushing defense went from 113th in 2012 to 2nd in 2014, and sacks went from 124th in 2012 (dead last) to 35th in 2014.

Looking forward, it will be interesting to see what Addazio and Don Brown will be able to do with this defense when the two deep is filled with more of their recruits. He has been able to put together a good defense with many of Spaz's recruits playing major roles, while filling in with fifth years when needed (Ty-Meer Brown, Seyi Adabayo). As recruits like Harold Landry, Isaac Yiadom, Connor Strachan and Christian Lezzer continue to mature, we may see an even greater return on defense. However, it's important to note that there may be some growing pains along the way as these underclassmen continue to learn the college game.

Going into the 2015 season, BC will have a very strong defensive line that should be able to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks. A healthy Mehdi Abdesmad will be a great compliment to Truman Gutapfel, Malachi MooreKevin Kavalec and Connor Wujciak who could become one of the best defensive lines in the ACC. But the rest of the defense could be a little raw, with lots of younger players jumping in to start at the linebacker positions and in the secondary. Head coach Steve Addazio and defensive coordinator Don Brown have done a great job establishing a system at Boston College, but 2015 might be their biggest challenge to date.