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Opponent Breakdown: Boston College Offense

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Steve Addazio is coaching for his job. Can he get a big upset this week?

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

For the third straight year, Boston College has one of the worst offenses in the country and Steve Addazio is saying it will work itself out. This is the third year that BC is averaging lest than 4.5 yards per play. This is also another year where the offense has failed to utilize the few playmakers they have. BC has a new athletic director. He’s young and he comes from an Ohio State program that believes in on the field success and off the field progressiveness. I think Steve Addazio knows his job is on the line and pulling off a road upset would go a long way.

The Eagles haven’t had an above average quarterback since Tyler Murphy left but they’re getting solid play from a redshirt freshman this year in Anthony Brown. Brown was recruited by offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler when he was at Virginia Tech and decided to head to BC to play in his offense. Brown is a dual threat guy but he is comfortable in the pocket and he doesn’t really bail out like most young guys. He has a strong arm but he has really struggled with his accuracy on short throws. I was actually pretty impressed with his throws down the field but he needs his receivers to make a play to help him out and that hasn’t happened much.

Louisville has been abysmal when it comes to defending the pass but I can’t imagine that BC has the talent to exploit that. They also don’t really have the system or play calling that would worry me. BC runs a pro style type of offense and they love to run the ball between the tackles even when it doesn’t work. They do throw the ball short a lot but I think that UofL’s move to press more often should help them there.

Jon Hilliman is back for BC this year and he’s teamed up with true freshman AJ Dillon to make up a jumbo sized backfield. Hilliman missed most of the season two years ago and never really seemed to be back to normal last year. He looks like his old self again to me and he’s been able to get a handful of big runs so far this year. Dillon is a big back that will likely become a star in whatever offense BC is running when Addazio is gone. Dillon and Hilliman could have a big impact in this game after Louisville showed the world that they’re allergic to tackling last week. Two huge running backs isn’t really what they need right now.

BC has some speed and talent on the outside but they do a really poor job of utilizing it. They like to use Thadd Smith on jet sweeps but they don’t ever use him as a decoy. Obviously the defense notices this and Smith doesn’t have much room to work with. They also like to throw the ball down the field to Jeff Smith and Kobay White. Neither of those guys are very big and they don’t really separate from coverage. It would make more sense for them to use those guys for quick screens, and quick outs on early downs. They could also use them in bunch formations in hopes that they could make a catch and make a guy miss. These plays also make for easier throws for Brown.

If Loeffler and Addazio are worth even a percentage of their contacts they will look to air it out against Louisville. NC State’s top three receivers had their longest catches of the season last week. They joined six other players that have caught their longest past against the Cards. Boston College should look for those easy throws we’ve seen all year and they should also look to push the ball down field to Smith, White, and Michael Walker. Tommy Sweeney is another option at tight end. He is one of the most targeted players on the offense and Louisville is just as bad at defending passes over the middle as they are outside.

The Boston College offensive line is really solid compared to the rest of the offense. They don’t do a great job opening up holes for the running game but I fault the play calling more than the line. Loeffler really likes to run the ball using the same play designs. If you continually run the ball on first and second down and all of the runs are power runs between the tackles it becomes pretty predictable. BC has only given up 5 sacks this year and a few of those were coverage sacks. They’ve done a really good job of protecting Brown and Loeffler has done well to put him on the move some. Louisville hasn’t registered a sack in two weeks and they might not be able to change that.