The more potent of the two offensive halves of Boston College these last few years has undergone many changes. When the Spaziani era began, BC had the “1-2 punch” of Josh Haden and Montel Harris. That became just Montel Harris, who had a great BC career before injuries sidelined him and he was unceremoniously dismissed from the team. It’s now officially a new day for this unit as Rolandan Finch looks to do greater things as the Eagles’ featured back.
Boston College Rushing Offense, 2012
Fullback (position not listed on depth chart)
Jake Sinkovec, junior
See offensive line preview
This unit was leaned on more heavily than the passing game last season, and part of that had to do with the relative success that Rolandan Finch and his backups had running the football. BC totaled over 100 more rushing attempts than quarterback throws, but in spite of that, the Eagles only had the 8th-most prolific run offense in the ACC in 2011. Their 130.9 yards per game was about average nationally, but 20 yards fewer than the opponent average for last season. Seven teams in the ACC had more yards per carry than the Eagles.
Actually, the Eagles’ stats are inflated a bit by the Maryland “snow game,” in which they ran 62 times for 372 yards. BC spread about 1200 yards over the remaining eleven games, the average of which (109 ypg) would have dropped them to 10th in the ACC. Finch and the others have some talent, there’s no denying that, though the offensive line didn’t really help matters. Looking at what they accomplished last season objectively, however, the BC run game had its bright spots but was no better than decent.
You can attribute this to the loss of Montel Harris (aside from a game and a half) if you’d like, but BC’s rush offense was 9th in the conference with Harris in 2010 and managed a few less yards, with about the same in yards per carry. It’s not worth worrying about not having him anymore because they’re roughly at the same level of production as-is, and he wouldn’t be here much longer, anyway.
Heading into this season, we’ve heard of an injury to Rolandan Finch, and Andre Williams and Tahj Kimble have both been sidelined for much of summer practice. In the latest scrimmage, BC offered up walk-on Mike Javorski and Ted Davenport, cornerback, at the halfback position. This makes my overall point on depth, and BC’s lack of it, quite clear.
With Doug Martin coming in and pledging to open up the passing game, it’s possible that we’ll see the Eagles rely on Finch, Tahj Kimble, and Andre Williams less (though the injury status of the latter has been a matter of dispute for some time and we may have to wait until September 1 to see if he gets into the games). Still, more creativity is needed here as well. There were a number of times last season where Boston College stuck to some very conservative, predictable runs in places where they were not necessary, and this lack of boldness helped send the team to eight losses. Martin certainly needs to diversify the passing playbook, but some variation in the rushing attack will help as well.