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What To Watch For: Boston College Eagles

We’ve reached the point of wondering if UofL is just a good chance to practice some things.

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

AJ Dillon could rush for more yards this year than he did last year

AJ Dillon was a quasi-backup running back for Boston College when the game against Louisville started last year. He ended that game as one of the best running backs in the ACC and one of the best true freshmen in the entire country. That’s how good he looked when he ran for 272 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was able to put up those numbers in his seventh career game.

This year, he is stronger and in better shape. He also looks a step quicker and a little faster. That doesn’t even factor in that his offensive line is even better than it already was. Then you throw in the fact that Louisville’s defense is at the very best just as bad as it was last year and it’s very hard to see Louisville holding Dillon in check.

Louisville has a chance to take another step on offense

UofL averaged 7.1 yards per play last week against Georgia Tech. Overall, the team looked awful in one of the worst losses in recent memory, but the offense actually took a step forward. Trey Smith and Hassan Hall both averaged over four and a half yards per carry. Jawon Pass completed 66% of his passes and he protected the football. They even had a handful of explosive plays in the passing game. Georgia Tech isn’t great on the defensive side of the ball, but neither is Virginia or Western Kentucky.

The offensive line is the liability of the offense right now and I don’t know why the personnel decisions have been what they have been. Louisville had an opportunity to return four of the five starters from last season’s line that showed progress late in the year. Instead, they decided to bench Kenny Thomas after the Alabama game. Then, when Robbie Bell returned from injury, he stayed on the bench. UofL is starting Linwood Foy and Nate Scheler instead. Neither of those guys could crack the starting lineup last season. I’ll go ahead and say that the offense won’t reach its full potential until they decide to play the best players on the line.

Boston College might use this game to try to open up their offense

One of the reasons that Boston College was hyped as the sleeper team in the ACC this off season was because they had this great offensive line and great running back. I was on somewhat of an island because I felt that the offense would be much better throwing the football. While they have improved, they don’t use their running game to push the ball down the field as much as I expected them to.

I think that the last few games will serve as eye openers for the BC offensive staff. AJ Dillon is great and you have to focus your offense around him but you should do that by running play action and passing the ball on first down. BC runs it about 75% of the time on first downs so teams are able to scheme to that. If you don’t do anything to keep the other team guessing, you’re wasting one of the best things about being on offense.

Louisville’s defense doesn’t defend anything well, so this should be a good opportunity for Scott Loefler to open things up and work the ball down the field some. He has a lot of speed outside with Kobay White and Jeff Smith. He also has 6-4 CJ Lee to throw it to down the sideline. At some point he will have to utilize them.

Will this Louisville Football team even show up?

The Georgia Tech game was one of the worst games that I have seen as a UofL fan. The offense turned the ball over early and got so far behind that it didn’t matter that they ended up playing well. The defense was swiss cheese from the first drive until the final play of the game when GT ran the clock out. It was awful from a fan standpoint and it was surely tough to actually play in that type of game.

At this point in the season, I think it’s completely fair to wonder if the team has or will check out on the season. We all know that Bobby Petrino is a tough coach to play for. He’s hard on his players and he’s hard on his staff. That doesn’t usually cause much of an issue when you’re winning games. I’m not so sure it works very well when you’re losing. At this point, you have to hope that the players have a strong bond and that they want to play for each other because getting killed by your coach every week wears you down.