Boston College Offense: Changing Gameplans Against Colorado State


In Saturday’s loss to the Colorado State Rams, it certainly appeared that the Boston College offense changed its approach.

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In the previous two weeks, the Eagles rushed for over 400 yards per game and threw a six-headed rushing attack at the opposition, being USC and Maine. The Boston College offense diversified the carries, with the other team having to adjust for a half-dozen different ball carriers. The returns are early, but when it was done, it worked.

Against Colorado State, things changed. Tyler Murphy took the ball himself on many occasions, but Jon Hilliman was the only running back to get significant attention with 24 carries. Myles Willis had just six, Marcus Outlow was a non-factor (though he had one long catch), and Sherman Alston and Tyler Rouse never touched the ball.

Look at the game details: there were a number of short gains for the Boston College offense on the ground. The Eagles had only five rushing plays over ten yards; in the USC game, for example, they had 13. Against Maine, 16.

Not to say Hilliman did not perform well, but it was more than just the Eagles shrinking the size of their running back committee. The Boston College offense took weapons out of its own arsenal.

The problem on Saturday on offense — and remember, defense and special teams were also equal partners in the defeat — went beyond personnel. For reasons that escape all of us, they went away from plays that worked and failed to adjust in the second half when it became clear that the Rams were sniffing out the one-dimensional playcalling.

Boston College mixed in a few more passes than in the previous games, but where were some of those reverses that ended in big gains against other opponents? Why stick with the vanilla plays and abandon much of the creativity and a bit of trickery they had shown the previous few weeks? Against Colorado State, the Boston College offense lacked some of the aggressiveness it had shown in the run game in their victories.

Some of it was trimming down the number of looks the Eagles give the opposing defense in terms of personnel, but a lot of it was adopting a more conservative gameplan with the run. At the same time, Boston College got on top of the passing offense a bit more; Murphy was not bad, but he did make a few ill-advised throws and the overall talent at receiver is suspect, which will hurt the team all year.

We had seen flashes of the creativity in the games Boston College won; the question is why it never made it into the Colorado State game.