Weber State at Boston College: Defenses and Special Teams


Welcome to Defense and Special Teams Wednesday. Today we’ll stack up Weber State’s defense and Boston College’s defense, and again, we’ll be going off of last season’s stats and some reasonable projections for this year.  Then I’ll have a few words on the special teams for the Eagles and Wildcats.


Boston College’s defense allowed 4,259 yards of total defense in 2009, which works out to 327.6 yards per game (26th in FBS). The Eagles gained 23 defensive turnovers, which was tied for 50th. BC’s 19.77 points allowed per game was 3rd in the ACC and tied for 19th in FBS.

Weber State’s defense allowed 21.67 points per game, tied for 41st in FCS. In the air and on the ground, the Wildcats’ opponents racked up 4,510 yards, or 375.83 yards per game. That was a dismal 82nd in the subdivision.

I had planned on breaking the rest of the defense down into its sub-units, but the fact of the matter is that there’s just very little scouting material on the Weber State defense available online. I’m also not in possession of any past game film, so I’m not going to get too worked up over it. We’ll just have to dig in with what we have.

The Eagles are returning much of their defensive line, including Alex Albright, Brad Newman, Kaleb Ramsey, and Damik Scafe. Dillon Quinn, who was on his way to starting, was recently suspended for a violation of team rules and won’t be suiting up until the Domers come to town. Ifeanyi Momah was supposed to be switching to defense to provide a spark, but as wide receiver (his natural position) has become thin, he’s switched back to offense. The starting defensive line for this game will probably be some variation of Scafe, Albright, Max Holloway, and Newman.

BC’s line has traditionally been very good at stopping the run (14th in FBS in rush defense; 2nd in the ACC last year) and will probably continue to be. As for a pass rush, however, they weren’t able to generate one last year, and without the extra help from Quinn in these next few games and Momah who’s back on offense, I’m not so sure they’ll be able to do it now, either. Granted, in this first game, I don’t think it’s going to be a huge handicap, anyway.

Boston College has a pair of potentially devastating linebackers for opposing offenses to face: Luke Kuechly and Mark Herzlich. We know what Kuechly will give the Eagles: a lot of tackles, speed, and the occasional turnover. Herzlich is a total wild card: we all want him to return to form, but it can’t be realistically expected. In fact, playing in this Weber State game might be out of the question. Another guy I’ll be looking out for will be Kevin Pierre-Louis, who made the two-deep depth chart in the spring and by all accounts has done very well. Moving further back into the secondary, this is typically a good group for the Eagles (though two of last year’s starters have left), and given Higgins’ propensity to throw a lot of interceptions (and the fact that Weber State will probably be going to the air early and often), guys like Dominic LeGrande and Wes Davis will get their chances. Weber State, for their part, picked the ball off 11 times last season.

Weber State’s defense was in the middle of the FCS pack in stopping the run (as it had been the year before). Their first 2009 FBS loss, Wyoming, torched them on the ground for 246 yards.  On the other hand, Colorado State managed only 63 yards but still found a way to win.

The Wildcat defense gained 19 turnovers in 2009, tying for 66th in FCS. Combined with the 27 offensive turnovers, that works out to a -8 turnover margin last season, putting them in the lower echelons of the subdivision.

Special Teams

After initially appearing like BC would have Ryan Quigley do double duty as the punter and placekicker, freshman Nate Freese seems to have taken the placekicking duties. In the final preseason scrimmage, he hit a 48 yarder but hit the crossbar on a 49 yarder. On punting, Ryan Quigley has come a long way from the guy I saw shank several 20-yard punts at Alumni Stadium back in 2008. He comes into the season now as the ACC’s 5th-best punter.

Weber State lost their punter/kicker, Mike Snoy, to graduation. It’s both a good thing and a bad thing I suppose – he was great at punting – in the top 10 in FCS, in fact – but dreadful at field goals (only 12/20). Weber State’s scrimmage reports (and lack of a depth chart) give us few clues as to who the new guy will be, but judging from the roster, it will be a freshman.

The Wildcats actually averaged the second-most punt return yards in FCS last season and were 7th in kickoff return yards, though Tim Toone was responsible for those punt returns, and he’s gone. It looks like running back Bo Bolen may continue to get kickoff return duties.


Weber State’s defense isn’t all that good from what little I can see. They’re an average defensive school for FCS, which most certainly won’t cut it when facing an ACC program (despite a few offensive issues here and there). Boston College’s defense isn’t without its flaws, but it’s still a much better unit overall and boasts some intriguing future professional talent. The Wildcats are a pass-heavy team, and BC’s pass rush is an issue coming into this season, but they’re helped out by the fact that Higgins throws a ton of picks. I’m going to have to give BC a significant edge in the defensive category, and due to the new guys taking over on both teams, an ‘inconclusive’ on special teams.

Of course, one new complicating factor coming into play now will be Hurricane Earl.  As I write, it appears as though the track has shifted slightly west, which means a near miss of New England on Saturday.  I’m not sure about the rains, but it’s likely that there will be strong wind gusts which could impact the passing game for both teams.  We’ll have to see how it all plays out.

Tomorrow, we’ll be bringing back an old favorite: this week in ACC football.