Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE
UMass Offense vs. BC Defense: Breakdown
Last week, UMass named Blake Frohnapfel as their starting quarterback. He is a former quarterback for the Marshall Thundering Herd who transferred up to Amherst and has two years of eligibility. He saw limited snaps for Marshall in each of his last two seasons — having thrown a total of 45 collegiate pass attempts — though he completed most of them.
Frohnapfel’s career line is 35-for-45 for 386 yards, 5 touchdowns, and two interceptions. Those are nice numbers, but too small of a sample size to make sweeping judgments. He can apparently run as well, though again with a small sample size: he had 78 rushing yards on four carries against FIU in November. Yet, “dual-threat” appears nowhere in his scouting report: Frohnapfel is more of the traditional pro-style quarterback, and that’s the sort of offense Whipple runs.
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Of course, any offense would be a step in the right direction for UMass, a team that only broke the 20-point mark twice last season and was across-the-board one of the worst in FBS statistically.
Mark Whipple was a quarterback in his playing days and was a quarterbacks coach by trade; it is not a stretch to suggest that the offense we see from UMass will lean upon Frohnapfel. However, Whipple’s last UMass team, 2003, actually saw slightly more rushing attempts (515) than passing attempts (433). If they go to the run, expect sophomore Lorenzo Woodley to be doing most of the work; last season, he had 84 carries for 314 yards and two touchdowns.
As for Boston College, the Eagles will be attempting to spread consistency, but they will have to do it with some new faces. Freshman defensive end Harold Landry immediately comes to mind: word is that he has made the two-deep out of camp, meaning he will play. If he is anywhere near as good in college as he was in high school, he can help keep Boston College’s pass rush afloat.
That phase of the defense almost literally went from worst to first in FBS between 2012 and 2013, as it was dead-last in 2012 but top 20 in sacks in 2013. Don Brown blitzes, blitzes, and then blitzes some more, which led to the high sack totals, but the overall defensive numbers still need help.
It is there that some of the old faces can contribute. Steven Daniels is thought to be one of the leaders amongst the linebackers, if not the entire defense, while senior captain Sean Duggan is also expected to contribute. A fully-healthy defensive end Mehdi Abdesmad should help keep the pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, as is his wont, while senior Manny Asprilla, one of the most consistent performers on defense since his arrival, looks to begin his final season in the Eagles backfield the right way.
UMass Offense vs. BC Defense: Final Analysis
We would be lying to you in suggesting that the Eagles defense is going to be fearsome. There is hope for improvement, but it may still be a few years away from returning to the level of smothering its opposition. They will have their moments, however, and one of them could be against a weaker opponent like the Minutemen.
Yet again, just like in the battle of BC offense vs. UMass defense, UMass offense vs. BC defense is going to come down to talent. Unsurprisingly and though relative, Boston College has more of it.
Even by changing coaches to Mark Whipple and changing quarterbacks from AJ Doyle to Frohnapfel, it is hard to imagine the Minutemen offense taking a huge leap. They will likely show signs of improvement, because it would be almost impossible not to, but it would take some spectacularly awful defense by the Eagles for UMass to break 30 points. We have been disappointed before, but the Minutemen look to be short on playmakers. Boston College must use it to their advantage.