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Opponent Breakdown: Boston College Eagles Defense

The Eagles defense has been inconsistent throughout the year.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Boston College Adam Richins-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College has seen their defense fall off as a program since Don Brown left the staff. But, they have always been respectable with some key players who led a solid group that could help them win games. Jeff Hafley and his staff have inherited a team that just doesn’t have the talent up front to get their scheme on track the way they want. While they’re not where they want to be, they have to be happy with their efforts in the game where they match up well from a talent standpoint.

The Eagles haven’t been great up front since Zach Allen left for the NFL a couple of years ago. They really struggled getting after the passer last year and this season has seen some of the same issues from their front four guys. Marcus Valdez is a talented player on the edge but he hasn’t had the success as a pass rusher that I expected, personally. Maximillian Roberts has 4.5 sacks on the season but this BC defense needs a more consistent pass rush from their front four.

The Linebackers are the strength of the defense as Boston College has the nation’s top two tacklers this season. Isaiah McDuffie leads the country with 87 tackles while Max Richardson is right behind him at 85. These guys are two of the best in the ACC and both of them can run really well. The Eagles are getting a bunch of tackles and a handful of sacks from them and they will absolutely be a problem for Louisville this weekend. These guys will exploit the zone scheme by fitting the running lanes well while also not missing many tackles. This combo makes for the most problematic situation for Louisville’s offense this year.

BC is solid at Cornerback with Brandon Sebastian holding down one side of the field. Sebastian has 9 PBUs this year to go with an interception. That puts him in a tie with Tre Clark at the top of the ACC in passes defended. While Sebastian is a stud on his side, the Eagles haven’t been as consistent on the other side of the field. Jason Matrie, Elijah Jones, and Josh DeBerry have all played solid but not at the level of Sebastian. I’ve been wanting Louisville to challenge opposing corners but I wouldn’t say this is the game they should start doing that.

Safety is a solid position for the Eagles with Deon Jones and Jahmin Muse playing well so far this season. Jones is a transfer from Maryland that filled a big need this offseason and allows Mike Palmer to be used for depth. Jones was recruited as a corner in high school but the few times I’ve seen him in coverage he seemed like he struggled a bit. He and Muse could give UofL an opportunity as targets in the pass game. But if the Linebackers are playing at their usual high level, these guys will get to sit deep in coverage which makes it hard.