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Boston College Football Half-Way Report: Offense

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The 2013 Boston College Eagles football regular season is already half over. We spent the entire winter, spring, and summer counting the days, waiting for football to return, and in what seems like a very short amount of time, it’s already half done. Cherish these moments of football, because they are precious indeed.

We have enough of a sample size to be able to evaluate the performance of individual Boston College units. This report will examine the Eagles offense, which has seen several areas of improvement.

BC Offense 10.12.13

The overall numbers have not been great for the Eagles, but they do reveal several competencies. First, the run game has evolved from legitimately one of the worst and least-productive in the nation to one which is at worst average. Considering the Eagles have two play-making backs in Andre Williams and Myles Willis and an offensive line that is succeeding at run blocking, this is a fair assertion; the facts back up the numbers. Additionally, Boston College has rarely turned the ball over and is near the top of their conference in holding onto the football. They are averaging just one lost turnover per game so far this season; last year, the Eagles averaged two (24 turnovers in 12 games).

Meanwhile, the passing offense has taken a back seat to the power-run philosophy of Steve Addazio and Ryan Day, and the numbers reflect that. They also indicate that Chase Rettig has been an efficient passer, which is statistically valid but does not take other factors into account. Anyone who has watched the first six Boston College games has seen a senior quarterback who is having an up-and-down year. The second half of the Clemson game perfectly encapsulated those peaks and troughs: Rettig connected with Alex Amidon on a 69-yard touchdown strike after a well-executed play action, but later in that game, Rettig needlessly fumbled away a ball which was returned for a touchdown. It has not been a big year for the senior by any means, but he is certainly not doing everything wrong. To his credit, three of his only four interceptions were against Clemson and Florida State and he’s completing passes at a good clip (64%), which explains his high efficiency rating.

A thin receiving corps has not made his job easy, and the offensive line has been less proficient in pass blocking as opposed to run blocking, so it’s not all his fault. What we can say is that Rettig has done well this year with the play action since Week 1, and the coaching staff would do well to keep that a part of his repertoire. Despite not being a perfect fit for the kind of offense Steve Addazio wants to play, Rettig is not, nor should he be, in any danger of losing his starting job. Burning a freshman’s redshirt at this stage in the season would be short-sighted nonsense when it is apparent that the Eagles may well make a bowl with an adequate Rettig under center. Much like Steve Donahue and Eagles basketball (but with less-severe turnover), Boston College football is starting all over next season and the new quarterback deserves a full season to grow.

As has been the case since day one, Boston College is lacking depth in several areas, especially at wide receiver. Alex Amidon is far and away the top receiver, catching 45 percent of the Eagles’ receptions, while Spiffy Evans is a distant second (amongst actual receivers), and then take your pick thereafter. In fact, to demonstrate the disparity and the depth issues: Amidon has 38 catches and is first on the team; running back Dave Dudeck is second with eight. Evans and fullback Bobby Wolford are tied for third with seven each, and nobody else has caught more than five.

It has not been easy for this offense to generate yardage, but it is clear now what their identity is on this side of the football: Boston College is a downhill-running, play-action, grind-it-out sort of team. Through a difficult first half of the schedule in which they played arguably their three hardest games of the year, the offense has at least done well enough to help the team to three wins. In the second half of the season, do not expect an explosion, but do expect the Eagles to continue to maintain their identity and look for Andre Williams to continue his strong play.

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