Massachusetts at Boston College: BC offense vs. UMass defense


When you’re the only 0-3 team in a BCS conference, your numbers will tend to be exaggerated in a negative direction. Clearly, Boston College’s defense has underperformed to this point, but what about the offense? The expectations here might not have been great, but they were for something better than 2010 (though anything would have been an improvement over last year). So far, however, the Eagles haven’t seen it.

Last year, the Eagles were near the bottom offensively, across the board. They managed only 299 yards of total offense per game (109th in the nation; 12th in the ACC) and an utterly pathetic 18.5 points per game (also 109th and 12th, respectively). Of course, that team also had Montel Harris running the football, but with the inadequacy of the offensive line and other factors, I’m not sure he’d be doing much better than Andre Williams if he were here.

Speaking of national rankings, it’s a small sample size, but so far, it’s looked like more of the same for the Eagles offense:

That graphic lays out a very depressing tale. The BC offense, which was spotty in 2009 and abysmal in 2010, has continued its downward spiral and is playing more poorly than expected in 2011. In the five offensive categories listed, Boston College is dead last in the ACC, as well as in the bottom one-sixth of the FBS rankings, in four of them. Kevin Rogers, Dave Brock, Gary Tranquill, hell, Regis Philbin — it doesn’t matter who coaches this offense, because nothing is working.

It has to be a combination of the players and the coaching. The guys on the field themselves aren’t executing, and the coaches are not preparing this team to execute (or are making horrible mistakes with playcalling, scheming, etc.) The young talent on our team isn’t developing, and it deserves better than what it’s got now.

Chase Rettig, sophomore quarterback getting his first full season at the controls, is going to have to do a better job. There have been bits and pieces of things that we’ve seen and liked from him, but in the Duke game, for example, he was missing targets badly. This sort of thing has contributed to him being roughly a 50-50 passer so far this season. Furthermore, I don’t know what’s happened to “O-Line U,” but it’s not Boston College anymore. Linemen are getting run over and plays can’t develop properly.

Luckily for them, this week — and for possibly the only week of the season — they get what could be viewed as a reprieve. The Eagles are taking on a UMass defense which, by FCS standards, is much like their offense: OK. They have given up their share of yards and their share of points, but are closer to the middle of the pack than the top but far from the bottom. Simply put, this isn’t going to be like the Eagles playing Charleston Southern or Florida A&M. Given the additional fact that the Eagle offense has the ability to make just about any team look good, that’s of some concern as well.

Again, when you compare these two units, well, in a way, you can’t. The FBS team is almost always better than the FCS team, and again, I think this game between the Eagles and Minutemen is no exception. It’s difficult for me to say that Boston College has a better anything than anyone with the way they’ve played in the first three games, but it’s the truth. Both of these teams have only faced their typical level of opposition, but now, the Eagles are getting a big break. Even their pathetic offense should be able to cross the 20-point threshold; they may even be capable of scoring 25 or more points for the first time since the Kent State game in Week 2 of last season.

Frankly, I would be very concerned going forward if they’re not able to at least hit the quarter-century mark against UMass. Even a Dave Shinskie-led Gary Tranquill offense could drop 38 on an FCS team last season, and they haven’t done it to any team in their last fourteen games. They aren’t going to get a better opportunity than this to have a quote-unquote easy win, nor will their offense get a better opportunity to click. It gets much harder from here, so we’re going to need to see BC score early and often as they should against a team of UMass’s caliber.