Few units in the country are worse at what they do than Boston College’s offense, and this is not news.
It is rather unfortunate that it must be said, but it is, in fact, the truth. The Eagles offense has been consistently one of the most dreadful in the country this year, and this extends back for several years. Their problems are well-documented: Bad offensive line play, inconsistent quarterback play, bad coaching, so on and so forth. Take your pick, or choose all of the above. Whatever the case may be, it’s been a disaster.
What is truly strange is that a few — not many, but a few — have called Boston College’s offensive performance this year a “blip.” One bad year; nothing more, nothing less.
And then there’s this, which is self-explanatory:
To analyze this chart objectively, one must conclude that the decline began under Jags in the year immediately after Matt Ryan’s departure. You can almost give a pass, then, for it declining a little more in Spaz’s first year. However, how does anyone explain the offense getting worse across the board in his second year and even worse in his third year? When the Eagles’ offense was ranked 109th in the country last year, many, myself included, assumed that it could not possibly get any worse with a more experienced Chase Rettig and a departed Gary Tranquill. Yet, we sit here today in 2011 as one of the top ten worst offenses in all of Division I-A/FBS. “Inexperience” at some positions does not excuse this (and this is far from being the basketball team which is almost all freshmen): many other teams have had youth on their offenses before and have managed to avoid being 113th in the nation. Furthermore, they’ve played almost a full season now; where’s the development and improvement?
In 2010, we hoped for a more developed Dave Shinskie, but he had, in fact, regressed. In 2011, we hoped for a more developed Rettig, and he’s been hit or miss, not taking into account his offensive line not performing. Before anyone says Montel Harris would have saved BC this year, recall that BC was 109th in the country in 2010 and he played most of that season — not only that, but he was the ACC’s leading rusher with 103.6 yards per game. Imagine that, even with the best running back in the ACC, the Eagles were still abominable.
In short, what has happened to the Eagles’ offense this year is not a “blip:” it is part of a pronounced downward trend and there is no reason to believe it will suddenly rectify itself, least of all this week at Notre Dame. This “turnaround” isn’t coming this season, and it never was, either. Of course, certain things that don’t help include employing the “Run, Run, Pass, Punt” offense and going to the football equivalent of the “Four Corners” in the second half when they’re leading (and just plain turtling up when they’re losing). This offense is not aggressive, it plays not to lose, it doesn’t take chances, and our players are not developing.
Now, the Eagles have to go to South Bend to face a Notre Dame defense that hasn’t been perfect but has done a lot of things right. The Irish are 36th in total defense and 27th in scoring defense (20.9 papg), but only 57th in both pass efficiency and rush defense. Further, they are in the top 25 of third-down defenses in the country and are tied for 30th in red zone defense.
The Eagles will have to look out for Notre Dame junior linebacker Manti Te’o. He had ten tackles in the last game these two teams played against one another and is the Irish leading tackler with 91 this season (which, of course, pales in comparison to Luke Kuechly’s 168). He also leads their team in sacks with just 4.5; Notre Dame has been a middle-of-the-road team this year with regards to putting the quarterback on the turf.
This is a big advantage for the Notre Dame defense. Frankly, it is difficult to imagine the Eagles scoring on any defense worth a damn, even in a rivalry game. It would be more shocking if BC scored over 20 points than under 10, and Notre Dame should have a good day — too good, in fact. The Irish don’t give up many yards, and the Eagles don’t get many. That’s what you call a bad matchup.