Boston College football’s passing offense has left much to be desired since 2009. Far away are the days of Matt Ryan charging his team down the field, that’s for sure. In comes a new offensive coordinator with a penchant for the pass; can he finally get this unit back on the right track after so many years of frustration?
Boston College Passing Offense, 2012
Offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach
Jim Bollman, offensive line
Sean Devine, tight ends
Aaron Smith, wide receivers
Rich Gunnell, offensive grad assistant (BC WR, 2006-2009)
Cory Martin, offensive grad assistant (Doug Martin’s son)
Shane Cranmore, sophomore, QB
Dan Crimmins, freshman, TE/WR
Jarrett Darmstatter, sophomore, TE
Carmen Dello Iacono, sophomore, TE
Donte Elliott, senior, WR
Mike Giacone, freshman, TE
Marcus Grant, sophomore, WR [ineligible]
Harrison Jackson, freshman, WR
Jeffrey Jay, sophomore, WR
Joe LaCorte, senior, WR
Austin Lommen, freshman, QB
Mike Marscovetra, senior, QB
Nigel Matthews, freshman, WR
CJ Parsons, sophomore, TE
Griff Rogan, sophomore, WR
Dave Shinskie, senior, QB
Christian Suntrup, redshirt freshman, QB
Joel Zoungrana, freshman, WR
*Offensive lineman now converted to TE
Boston College had one of the worst offenses in the nation last year. That is not opinion, either: it’s a fact. The numbers got downright ugly in 2011; first, as it pertains to the passing game:
• 167.83 passing ypg (100th FBS, 11th ACC)
• 111.66 passer rating (103rd FBS, 11th ACC)
And as for the rest of the team:
• 298.75 ypg (112th FBS, 12th ACC)
• 18.17 ppg (112th FBS, 12th ACC)
• 15.92 first downs per game (111th FBS, 12th ACC)
• 72% red zone conversions (107th FBS, T-10th ACC)
• 37.35% third-down conversions (91st FBS, 10th ACC)
I don’t care what anybody says: this is not going to be an easy fix. Boston College has had several years just like the last one on that side of the football, and 2011 may have been the worst yet. Literally nothing worked, and just as much blame was appropriated to the playcallers as the players themselves for execution. Now, BC is on a fourth offensive coordinator in four years under Frank Spaziani, and the playbook changes once again.
This will be a make-or-break year for Chase Rettig. He is going into his junior year, and if he doesn’t put it all together here, a likely new coach (under the new athletic director) in 2013 might not let him stick around as the starter for one more go. In fact, he might not even get to finish the year if he struggles. He got little help from his offensive line in 2011, which hurt matters quite a bit, but Rettig’s accuracy and poise were suspect at times. The best drive Rettig led all season was near the end of the first half at Notre Dame, but glimmers of hope like that are all we got. His backup, Josh Bordner, got playing time last season in a cheap imitation of the Wildcat, but I am not as yet convinced that he is ready to step in as the starter if needed. After all, if spring games were decisive and relevant, Mike Marscovetra would have been BC’s starter in 2010.
The receiving corps no longer has Ifeanyi Momah, who got inexplicably screwed out of a medical redshirt by the NCAA, but it’s still solid. Bobby Swigert, Alex Amidon, and Colin Larmond may not be the flashiest wide-outs, but they are consistent and reliable. The others and new guys coming in behind them also have had some success, whether at this level or in the high school game.
Doug Martin has expressed great interest in opening up the passing game, but we may have to see it to believe it with the way things have gone around here lately. Amongst other things, he’ll try to implement more of a vertical passing game with Rettig and attempt to utilize the tight ends. Of course, Chris Pantale getting hurt in practice didn’t help, and now BC is preparing to play an offensive lineman at that position. That would be Dave Bowen, though it does not fill me with good tidings to hear that a 285-pound lineman got trucked by a safety who is 80 pounds lighter (both for the fact that Bowen got hurt and they were going full-contact, allowing this to happen).
Without the offensive line holding up, this team is going nowhere, but if it can, Martin will have to open up the playbook and actually exercise some creativity. There are other moving variables, however, like Rettig’s accuracy and/or receivers catching the ball, but practice makes perfect. I’ll have respect for a team that tries to hit the home run by stretching the field every now and then, as opposed to the 2011 team that ran draw plays on 2nd or 3rd & forever and stayed conservative to a fault. I do not envy Doug Martin his task.