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Opponent Breakdown: Boston College Defense

While the BC offense has shown improvement from last year, the defense has glaring issues.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 13 Kansas at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Boston College made coordinator changes on both sides of the ball after last season and the results have been pretty much opposite. The offense is playing well with more throws down the field while the defense has been gashed by just about everyone they’ve played. Steve Addazio made an in-house change by moving his linebackers coach to DC and he now has two coaches that have a lot of NFL experience calling the plays. So far, it looks like that NFL experience hasn’t helped the defense much.

BC lost a lot of experience and production up front and it has shown so far. The Eagles only have five sacks on the season and only two have come from defensive linemen. They’ve gotten a lot of tackles for loss on the year but more than half of them were against Richmond and a Virginia Tech team that seems to be quite bad now. This is where UofL has to take advantage of things. If they can gain yardage in the run game and avoid sacks, they should be able to open up their passing game. When your defensive line isn’t making plays, you have to bring your linebackers up and likely a safety. That aggression opens you up for play action passes and UofL has some sort of play action built into almost every pass play.

The best group on this defense is the linebackers. Max Richardson and Jon Lamont are veteran guys who have developed into really nice play makers. Richardson leads the team in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. Louisville had some issues blocking FSU’s linebackers last week but it seemed like Kansas had some success with some zone blocks a couple of weeks ago. Richardson and Lamont were held in check in that game so maybe the staff can take some things from that Kansas game plan. That’s so weird to type, but Kansas ran for 329 yards against them and opened up a bunch of easy passing lanes for their quarterback.

To put it bluntly, BC’s pass defense has been terrible so far this year. The lack of a pass rush is obviously a huge part of that, but it’s obvious that they have real issues covering people when you watch their games. Brandon Sebastian is a bright spot out of the group. Sebastian is a tall and long corner at 6-1/190. He got some experience last year and it seems to have helped him this year. He has made a few plays on the ball that took some real confidence to make. Opposite Sebastian is Tate Hayes who is a converted quarterback and first time starter. Hayes has struggled to say the least. He’s the guy that Louisville could target.

This secondary will pick off any throw that is off the mark. BC as a program is extremely impressive when it comes to interceptions and even this group that is playing subpar football has picked off eight passes already. Mike Palmer leads the team with two picks and he kind of epitomizes the group as a whole. Palmer was on the bad side of a “Top Play” a few weeks ago when Rutgers’ running back shook him in the open field on his way to a 70 yard touchdown catch. Palmer tends to be around the ball a lot but he’s been picked on a good amount this year in pass coverage. I expect BC to load the box and leave their secondary exposed a bit. Palmer won’t likely be able to handle Tutu Atwell on his own. Louisville has to take advantage if they can get that matchup.