Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
BC Offense vs. UMass Defense: Breakdown
As stated, Boston College is going to run the football. At this point, the coaching staff has been nebulous as to their plans for replacing Andre Williams. They could lean heavily on Myles Willis, or they could do running back-by-committee, getting Tyler Rouse, Marcus Outlow, and/or Jon Hilliman into the fun in addition to Willis.
Willis is going to be the primary back, but do not be surprised to see a distribution of carries in Week 1. This is a good time for Al Washington and others to figure out who might be best-suited for the role, though they will not burn the freshmen redshirts of Outlow or Hilliman unless they intend to play them on a somewhat regular basis. If you do not see those two within the first couple games, save for an injury, you probably won’t until 2015.
The new variable is Murphy, who can and will run with the football when the situation allows. His predecessor did as well, as all quarterbacks should, but Murphy is a full-fledged dual-threat quarterback and he is more than willing to take off with the ball. He will occasionally throw it to someone like Crimmins, Phillips, or Josh Bordner, but he will get more experience on Saturday with handing it off or running free himself.
It is worth noting that Boston College’s offense was almost completely slanted towards the run, and the Minutemen defense was one of the worst in the nation last year at stopping the run (107th, 215.5 yards per game).
Meanwhile, it would appear the Minutemen might be starting two seniors and a handful of juniors, though an official depth chart is yet to be released (though expect it to come very shortly). One name to which to pay attention is linebacker Stanley Andre, a senior who led the Minutemen last season with 111 tackles. One potential issue for them is that their second and third-best tacklers from last season are no longer with the team.
As noted previously, the Minutemen do not get to the quarterback — at least not in 2013. Justin Anderson led the team with four sacks, Brandon Potvin had two, and eight other guys had either a half or a whole sack, that’s it. Anderson, a former Maryland product, is no longer with the team, and neither is Potvin.
Unless Whipple’s new defensive coordinator, Tom Masella, pulls a Don Brown and successfully blitzes the stuffing out of the Eagles, pressure on Murphy will likely be manageable. Brown and Masella are former co-workers at UMass, so perhaps.
BC Offense vs. UMass Defense: Final Analysis
The Eagles have lost playmakers on offense, but so have the Minutemen on defense. This could be a year of “learning the new system” just like it was for the Eagles’ defense last season.
Ultimately, it is going to come down to talent and scheme. Boston College’s offensive scheme worked in 2013 because the offensive line played well and the running back(s) executed. Against an opponent such as this, it does not have to be blistering like Andre Williams sometimes was, but it has to be effective. If UMass resembles anything of their 2013 team, and the Eagles are effective with the players they now have, they should be able to run all over the Minutemen defense.