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The Two-Minute Drill Talks Alabama-Clemson, Coaching Changes, and David Bowie

Lots to talk about this week as the 2015 season ends with a national championship game for the ages. All that and remembering David Bowie.

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AJ Black: It's been awhile since we sat down to talk some football, but with all of the upheaval going down in the Boston College program infrastructure, it's time to kick this back up and jam out.

Before we begin with some BC stuff, I know you watched part of that College Football Playoff national championship. How great was that game?

Dan Rubin: It's funny how you can go into a game and pick a team to root for but wind up walking out in support of both squads. There's a part of me that wanted to see Clemson win that game; their media guys are great, and it would've been a good win for the ACC. There's a part of me that wanted Alabama to win because I think Nick Saban is a tremendous coach who has built an absolute machine. Plus he was Bill Belichick's defensive coordinator in Cleveland, so there's a connection to me as a Pats fan there somehow.

In the end, I think both teams walk away from that with elevated profiles. Alabama walks away with the restored dynasty and Nick Saban once again the best coach in college football. Clemson walks away as the favorite for next season with Deshaun Watson widely recognized as an all-everything type quarterback. It also sets up the Tigers to be hungry next year to go after the title, which will be a storyline carrying ratings and drawing attention for next year as soon as the confetti stopped falling on this year.

It was great to watch a game of that caliber, especially because of all we dealt with this past season at Boston College. That leads us to the Eagles, AJ, and the offseason changes. Jim Reid is in. Scot Loeffler is also in. How important was it for Steve Addazio to act quickly and get his staff hired?

AJ: Oh it's huge. There are lot of balls in the air right now that need to be put in order. First off current players are going to want to know if they want to stick around with the new coaching staff, or if they want to go elsewhere. So far things are pretty quiet on that front, but it's inevitable that a player or two will not like something about the new coaches and decide to leave the program.

Secondly, recruits need to know if they want to still be part of the program. Clearly with De'Vante Cross and KJ Gray they decided that quickly after Don Brown left. But players may want to hear that BC's plans with them haven't changed because of a new coach. Also a coach like Loeffler may in fact make BC more attractive to potential recruits. If they hear that BC will be passing the ball more often, wide receivers that may have been on the fence (i.e Donald Stewart) may decide that BC may be the school to go.

All these decisions need to be relayed to players, recruits and remaining staff members though. BC has only announced the Reid move so far.

Dan, much has been made about the 1st in defense last in offense stats from 2015. How do you think the hiring of Loeffler and Reid will affect that for the upcoming season?

Dan: I'm on record several times over as saying I don't think the defense can sustain what they did last year. It takes such a perfect combination to be the top-ranked defense for the entire season that there's going to be a natural attrition to their stats. Whether that comes from injury, a bad outing, the right gameplan by an opponent, a scheme change, or whatever will ultimately be the determining factor in if they slide down the list.

That said, I don't think there's much of a difference between a team ranked #1 in total defense and a team ranked #15 in total defense. Once you're into a certain category, you're considered elite, and that should be the goal each and every week.

As for the offense, I think there will be improvements, but I know there will be growing pains along the way. Scot Loeffler will address some of the problems, as will the change in scheme and personnel. But I also know that BC's offense will look nothing like it did this past year, just like how last year's scheme looked nothing like the year before and the 2014 team looked nothing like 2013. Like any coach, you're going to have some warts, and you have to look past those to find the positives in what he's bringing to the table. Like I said this week, he isn't the perfect coach, but he represents moving forward and not spinning wheels in the mud.

If nothing else, bringing Loeffler to BC shows Steve Addazio is willing to make some changes. Even if he has the controls, there's a new voice and new perspective in the room. People who accuse Loeffler of being an Addazio puppet need to remember that we don't know what goes on inside the room and that he's a totally different person with different experiences. That plays a role in the conversation and it bears mentioning.

AJ - how critical is it that these changes work out with immediacy and what constitutes a "good enough improvement?" I feel like expectations are higher for BC even coming off the 3-9 season, but at the same time I don't know what potential outcomes and downstream impacts we could be looking at out of the Eagles?

AJ: I think it's do or die for Addazio this year. He has to win this year, there is no if ands or buts about it. After last season, the malaise that started with Spaz hit the Heights hard, and deservedly so. The team played terribly, well at least the offense did. BC needs to make a bowl this year, anything less than 7-5 given a very weak out of conference schedule is unacceptable. The offense, and more specifically the offensive line needs to straighten themselves out or all is lost.

A BC team with a good defense, they won't be elite again most likely, but a good Top 25 team matched with a serviceable offense should beat the following teams next year: all four OOC, Syracuse, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, at the very least. Get to a bowl, show positive trends in all aspects and Addazio should be alright.
Dan, speaking of job security, could you see Addazio losing his job after 2016 if BC struggles again?

Dan: I don't think so. I think he's going to be allowed to implement his system for his five years. BC also historically has a tendency to avoid itchy trigger finger on firing a coach that fast. That's not going to be something popular among people but unless the roof falls in again and the Eagles don't regress, he might buy some time.

Now that said, it's possible that if Addazio isn't popular within the athletic department that they fire him fast. Steve Donahue and Spaz both probably got an extra year because they were extremely well liked. That's something we have no way of knowing, though.

AJ - a lot of other movement along the coaching ranks. What are some of the key moves made that may benefit the Eagles in 2016?

AJ: One of the big moves that I would focus on is how the coaching shake ups in the ACC could help BC recruiting short term. BC has a handful of open scholarships caused by players leaving, so they could possibly get some kids who aren't all in on new regimes at school and BC could jump in snipe a player or two. That could be very helpful for the Eagles.

In terms of internal moves, I love the move of Al Washington from RB's to Special Teams. He is a special coach, and a fantastic recruiter, and deserves the promotion. I'm glad BC gave him charge of an entire unit, and I know some people are worried about his experience with ST, but remember he is coming from RB's, a position he had no experience with before either and he did perfectly fine there.


AJ: Dan, with 2015 in the books how will you remember this season?

Dan: As the year when the big time players gave big time performances in big time games.

It's never too early to predict next year. Who wins it all in ‘16?

AJ: I'm going with Clemson. Watson and Scott return, and I think Christian Wilkins is going to be an absolute force. Dabo will get his Natty in 2016. Finally Dan, David Bowie passed away earlier this week, what's your favorite song of his?

Dan: Heroes. I remember hearing it for the first time during the opening to NHL ‘99 (I think) and it never got old.

Last point - everyone has a tendency to make a music artist more popular in the immediate aftermath of his or her death. But losing David Bowie really hurt; he was a legend of his time, and he pushed the envelope. Between him and Lemmy, the music industry really took some hits.