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Analyzing the Atlantic: BC Gutted

Seemingly every Eagle integral in the team's moderate success last year has left the nest.

Quiet down, I gotta concentrate on throwing this pick. (Or, look, he was always an Eagle at heart.)
Quiet down, I gotta concentrate on throwing this pick. (Or, look, he was always an Eagle at heart.)
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Addazio led a remarkable turnaround in Chestnut Hill last year, guiding Boston College from 2-10 to 7-6 and a bowl game in his first season. While it was impressive that Addazio got more out of the players he inherited than his predecessor, Frank Spaziani, he may be hard pressed to build on that success in year two. Even the most ardent BC supporters (all four or so of them) will need to buy a program to figure out who the heck these guys are in 2014.

Offensively, the obvious loss of greatest import is Heisman finalist Andre Williams, who ran for 2,177 yards and 18 scores a year ago, approximately half of which seemed to come in his game against N.C. State. Gone too is Alex Amidon after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in the receiving category. The pair accounted for 67.8% of the team's yards from scrimmage in 2013.

The Eagles are going the grad transfer rental route at quarterback with former Florida clipboard holder Tyler Murphy charged with replacing game manager extraordinaire Chase Rettig. The run-first Eagles only asked Rettig to throw it 20 times a game last year, but he was effective when he did chuck it, posting a 140.6 QB rating.

(Aside: Between Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon's five seasons as a starter for the Pack, only Wilson eclipsed a 140 QB rating in a season with a 147.8 mark in 2009, but of course neither had the luxury of an offensive line or a running game.)

Murphy, pressed into action due in part because Jacoby Brissett transferred to State, filled in less than admirably for Florida last year, posting a 121.1 QB rating and managing to throw for over 175 yards just twice in seven games. But Addazio won't ask Murphy to do much but manage the game; he could prove to be an efficient second fiddle behind the power running game provided that said running game doesn't suffer a precipitous decline sans Williams. Though, at 5-9, 192 pounds, Myles Willis is not nearly the beast Williams was, he does give Addazio at least one exciting returning maker of plays. Willis went for 346 yards on 60 carries last year (5.8 average). He had four total touchdowns, including a 38-yard scamper, a 52-yard reception, and a 98-yard kickoff return.

With the losses of Keven Pierre-Louis, Steele Divitto (Best porn name in ACC other than Belle Knox?), Kasim Edebali, and Kaleb Ramsey, an already porous and unathletic BC defense is arguably every bit as decimated as the offense. Pierre-Louis, drafted in the fourth round by Wilson's world champs, was fifth in the ACC with 108 tackles in 2013 and also recorded six sacks and a pick six. Divitto was fourth in the league with 112 stops, Edebali was ninth with 8.5 sacks and forced a league-high four fumbles, and Ramsey, the defensive end opposite Edebali, was drafted by the 49ers in the seventh round despite contributing little in terms of stats (16 solo tackles and two sacks).

The Eagles allowed 34 or more points six times last year and were outgained by an average of 61 yards per game. State, by comparison, only allowed 34 points once (to FSU) before throwing in the towel down the stretch and doing so in each of its last four games. Even with the late-season collapse, the Pack outgained opponents by a slight margin on the season (about four yards per game). In other words, BC lost basically its entire offense and the best players off of a defense that was probably a fair bit worse than the sieve that State ran out there last year. The Football Outsiders F/+ metric pegged the Pack as 77th defensively last year; the Eagles were 92nd.

If matters don't seem glum enough in Chestnut Hill, also consider that BC lost Mr. Perfect Nate Freese, the veteran placekicker who went 20-for-20 last year. Freese, who also handled punting duties, was a seventh round selection in the draft (Detroit).

Obligatory table:



Returning Offensive Starters

Returning Defensive Starters

Kicker and Punter Returning

Players Lost in Draft

2013 Score

Boston College

7-6, 4-4



No to both



N.C. State

3-9, 0-8



Yes to both



*Out of 13 (they list the third wide receiver and the second tight end as starters on the depth chart)

When looking at all that Wake Forest and Boston College lost from what were already teams that State was able to compete with last year on the road--the BC game was 20-14 with eight minutes left--it inspires much in the way of hope. Both teams have to come to Raleigh this time. If the Pack is to follow the statistical trend of winless-in-conference teams adding an average of two wins the following season, these games are likely those games. If they're not, it's going to be a really, really long wait for basketball season.