Steve Addazio has established a program at Boston College that you can set your watch to; while other schools tinker with this or that scheme, or overhaul coaching staffs, the Dazzer is over there defining routine with a team identity that remains concrete.
I think Addazio is a good coach—he’s also pretty likable—and installing a framework for the consistent processing of football often is the sign of a good one. But Addazio’s mark is also a low ceiling, and I do wonder how much longer that’s going to pass, even at BC, which seems to have a more patient administration than most places.
Addazio is 41-41 overall at BC and 19-32 in ACC play; the Eagles have finished 7-6 in four of the last six years, and it could have been five if their bowl game last year didn’t go unfinished because of bad weather conditions. He had one hiccup season (3-9 in 2015) but otherwise has been automatic in delivering decent results.
It’s only appropriate that BC sits at 3-3 heading into the weekend, and while I would made the Eagles an odds-on favorite to get back to a bowl with Anthony Brown leading the show, his season-ending injury may prove a season-demolishing loss.
Adding to the disappointment of losing Brown is the fact that he was turning a corner in his third year as BC’s starter and was probably headed for a career year.
The Eagles are never going to confound anyone about their priorities on offense: those priorities involve running the ball, running the ball more, and perhaps throwing the ball if there is some time.
But being a mystery isn’t a necessity when you have worked within the same identity for so long that you can execute its particulars in your sleep—and you’ve got a tank of a running back like A.J. Dillon.
Dillon has 745 yards rushing in 2019, putting him on pace for nearly 1,500 yards. He’s a lock for his third consecutive 1,000-yard season, which could only be derailed by an injury. Dillon is as tough as they come, though, and he has to be: dude has averaged 20+ carries per game every season at BC.
Brown had been thriving off of play action thanks to all of the attention that Dillon requires from opposing defenses. Brown still leads all ACC quarterbacks in yards per attempt, and that has plenty to do with BC’s excellent leveraging of play action.
Now the Eagles have to figure out how Dennis Grosel can handle those same concepts. Boston College’s passing game is an unknown quantity with Grosel under center; he has 38 career pass attempts in college, none before this season.
Shutting down Dillon is difficult to do even while knowing he’s going to get the ball, but if NC State’s defense doesn’t have to show any respect for Grosel’s throwing ability, that figures to be a problem for BC.
The Eagles need lots of production from their offense because their defense has been pretty bad all year. They head into this weekend allowing 6.3 yards per play and 476.2 total yards per game, both of which rank dead last in the ACC. Opponents are averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 8.5 yards per pass attempt. The latter number ranks 112th nationally.
Brown’s injury may mean that BC’s offense more often needs bailing out at critical times during the second half of the season, and I’m not sure this defense is up to it. Let’s hope the defense isn’t up to it this week, at least.