2011 BC Football Retrospective, Part III: All The Rest

I’m on my way to zip code 02467 for a basketball game at Silvio O. Conte Forum — a team you may have heard of plays there — so some quick hits to wrap up the 2011 football season.

The Eagles excelled at:

• Punting. Ryan Quigley earned his keep this year, and he will be missed. The only problem was him punting too much.
• Taking a knee. No guts, no glory.
• The linebacker position. Luke Kuechly. That is all.

The Eagles shied away from:

• The second half of games. Boston College was a poor second-half team all year, scoring only an average of 7.25 points after halftime this season.
• Making field goals. Sophomore Nate Freese had a bit of a slump in 2011, making only 10/16 attempts.
• Comebacks. Boston College only came from behind at any point in a game once: against Miami.

Best moments of the season

• Seeing the sneering look of defeat on Tom O’Brien’s face. It’s the little things.
• Luke Kuechly’s pick-six against Miami. If this is it, he’s going out a winner…
• Luke Kuechly breaking the ACC & BC tackle records. …a big winner.
• Rolandan rumbles for 243 yards against Maryland. BC demonstrated that they still have a run game.
• KPL runs a fumble 96 yards to the house against UMass. Linebackers getting it done.

Worst moments of the season

• Freese nails the upright against Duke. Center the ball next time, or better yet, don’t let a doormat team hang around in a close game.
• BC quits against Florida State on national TV. Down 31, the Eagles go on a 7-minute drive, almost all runs, in the 4th quarter, then punt in FSU territory.
• Rettig sacked on final play against Northwestern. We knew what kind of year this would be.
• Montel Harris re-injures himself in his second game back. At least he tried.
• BC quits with 1:19 and two timeouts at Notre Dame. Not like they could have gone 50 yards and kicked a field goal or anything.

Final analysis

This year was not a success by any rational measure. I am not into moral victories, and I don’t believe 4-8 is an “improvement,” despite the results getting slightly better towards the end. The season didn’t start with the Maryland game, it just started to not be as bad. One must consider the entire body of work, and on that basis, it was not a good year. One must also consider that this is the first year in over a decade where BC has not been involved in postseason play. The bottom line is what matters to me, and in the words of Bill Parcells, “you are what your record says you are.” It says BC was 4-8, and the last time I checked, BC has gone from 9-5 > 8-5 > 7-6 > 4-8 since 2008. The trend is disturbing enough.

The offense has been horrendous since 2009 and there is little sign that anything will change any time soon. Yes, I think Chase Rettig is talented, and Montel Harris is a particularly memorable BC player, but nothing is working.

The defense started poorly and got a little better as time went on, particularly when they started changing looks and playing to their strengths. It worked out to be an average year.

Special teams yielded virtually nothing in the way of returns (101st in punt returns, T-87th in kickoff returns), but also allowed virtually nothing (37th in punt returns allowed, 42nd in kickoff returns allowed; the only major problem I can recall was UMass running a kick all the way back). Ryan Quigley was definitely the MVP on specials.

I don’t have to reiterate how I feel about the coaching staff and the way the football program is managed; I have made my thoughts on them abundantly clear.

It was a long, difficult season, and very draining. It has not been fun to write about BC football this year, and as such, I’m ready to put 2011 to bed. We have a learning but talented basketball team and a very good hockey team in season, along with a number of other Boston College varsity sports. They deserve our attention, and they will get it here.