The featured image for this article is both necessary and appropriate. After all, what does it show? A player for the other team, likely with open space in front of him, breaking free of an abortive tackling attempt by the Boston College defense. This picture might not say a thousand words, but it says enough about the problems faced by the Eagles so far in this 2012 season. On Saturday, this unit will be put to the test again as Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense takes center stage.
First, the Boston College defense, which has plummeted to lows this program has not seen in a long while. For the third week in a row, the same chart on the BC defense, updated to include the Florida State game:
What can one even say at this point? This is not a decline over an especially long period: two years ago, the Boston College defense was considered by many to be elite. Now, it is legitimately one of the worst in FBS.
The worst part is that as far as the rushing defense goes, prepare to drop even further. The Yellow Jackets run the exact same type of offense that Army does, with the key difference being that Georgia Tech has better talent. Paul Johnson’s team has been sputtering defensively, but offense has not been a problem. They average almost 38 points per game and almost 487 yards; the former is 26th in the country, and the latter is 17th. As one-dimensional as it is, this is a very good Jackets offense.
How lucky Boston College is to get to play some of the toughest rushing offenses in the nation (sarcasm indicated). Army is #1, and Georgia Tech is #3. They average about 331 yards on the ground per game, and given that BC’s run defense is so poor, it is likely that the Yellow Jackets will have their way with BC on the ground. Quarterback Tevin Washington is the leading rusher with 408 yards, but GT spreads it around — six players have at least 149 rushing yards, and eight have at least 90.
The gameplan is probably the same as Army’s: run it at will, but know that you can take a chance with the pass, because even if the Eagles don’t stack the box, they have a nice, plush cushion that will essentially give the other team free yards before contact. So long as one does not make an ill-advised throw, especially deep, the chances of a completion for a gain is not exactly low. As it is, the Eagles allow a 64.8% opposing completion percentage, though they have six interceptions. All of Boston College’s picks were on pass attempts of at least 15 yards (20, 15, 44, 40, 25, and 23 yard passes), and most were over 20, but the Eagles are probably not going to get to the shorter dink-and-dunk type balls.
Tevin Washington is not Trent Steelman — in other words, he passes the ball a little more. The numbers are good, though Washington does not average 15 pass attempts per game and therefore is officially unranked by NCAA statistics. He completes about 63% of his passes and has thrown four touchdowns so far this year.
Georgia Tech’s plan will be straight-forward: run the ball often and sprinkle in some passes, especially when BC is giving the short yardage. Expect to see a somewhat more creative version of the Army offense, also taking into account the fact that Georgia Tech has an experienced offensive line with plenty of size, unlike the Black Knights.
Boston College will require a much, much better effort than anything we have seen so far if they are going to come close to shutting down the Jackets’ offense. As it stands right now, this is a significant matchup disadvantage for the Eagles, as offense is GT’s strength and defense is BC’s weakness.