Nothing beats the feeling of going through the week after a blowout win. South Florida, South Beach, South By Southwest....don’t matter, Cards won by 40. This was a win the Cards needed not only to get back to the line of level, but one they really needed to have a good chance at seeing postseason action with the way the rest of the schedule looks. Speaking of needed wins, Week 5 includes another “must have” as the Cards travel up nort’ and look to win their second in a row this season, and second in a row against the Eagles of Boston College.
This week I got a chance to speak with Arthur from ‘BC Interruption’ and spent the entire interview breaking down college hockey and how the Sox are building up their bullpen for a 2023 run at the pennant, but I erased all that and just focused on the matter at hand, football.
Hellllloooooo fellow 0-2 in ACC, brethren! While a win over the Bulls last week got the Cards back to .500 we ain’t talking Jordan and Pippen, but a 1-3 South Florida squad who will fight to get 4-5 ̶r̶i̶n̶g̶s̶ wins. Around these parts the “stank” has not worn off from an uninspired opener with Syracuse and back to back wins over BC and Virginia is about the only medicine that can address the early season indigestion. While the expectations for BC weren’t “win the ACC’’ level, it seems like a slow start has plagued the outlook for the rest of 2022. Where are BC fans four games into the season?
Pretty bad to be honest. I think there was a range of expectations commiserate with how rosy our view of the team was, but it has been far worse than anyone has imagined. The offensive line has been far worse than any of us could have possibly imagined, and that’s creating a whole lot of issues offensively. Phil Jurkovec has been under pressure on just under half his dropbacks this season, which is more than any other FBS quarterback by 3.4 percentage points. The result is that the pass game can’t get established, and because of that Pat Garwo has been all but neutralized. The defense has been ok, but when the offense can’t stay on the field it creates issues for them. Long and short of it, things are bad, and I think there’s a lot of BC fans with a lot of unanswered questions about how Jeff Hafley let it be this bad.
The biggest surprise for me, on outsider, is the minimal impact the offense has seen from the certifiable weapon at QB, Phil Jurkovec. While Zay Flowers is getting his numbers is he the only wideout on the roster? Why is BC not stacking up passing yardage like banners in The Garden?
I mean, it comes back to the offensive line not giving any time in the backfield. I’m in the party that Phil is not blameless either– the times he has had time he is overthrowing his receivers left and right. His first interception last week when he threw behind Zay to the FSU cornerback seems like a good example. But BC will always be as good offensively as its offensive line. And, well, it’s bad.
A third of the way into the year injuries have already started to take their toll on teams and their respective outlook on how the year may play out. Any notable injuries that may impact either side of the ball this week?
We found out Shiitah Sillah is out for the year with an injury last Saturday. That’s a huge hole to fill. The offensive line has also had some attrition, but not to beat a dead horse, they haven’t been playing well enough in any combination for one injury to matter.
Louisville’s offense has started to look better each week as they settle into the season, mostly because they are letting Malik play his game now and not forcing him to sit in the pocket. The Cards ‘bevy of backs’ will also look to make an impact on the ground this week as the BC rushing defense has given up nine touchdowns already. What can we be looking for from the Eagles defense when the Cards have the ball?
We’ve seen a lot of bend and not break on the defense. The talent is there, BC has had a lot of returners. The corps has been somewhat disorganized but with the right direction it can slow down a lot of offenses. If they get that straightened out the talent is there. But you’re right, the defense has been shaky at times. If BC can get organized and not let Malik pick apart the coverage, the defense can keep up.
There was some “discussion” on the BC Interruption site this week about the merits of Coach Jeff Hafley and what he has done thus far with the program. What say you about the staff and where you hope to see the team in the next 2-3 years?
Things need to be better. This year has been nothing short of an abysmal disappointment. You return guys like Zay Flowers and Phil Jurkovec–both who were slated for high draft picks coming into the year–and it feels like the team needed to make this the year it cashed in and had the season I think a lot of us have been hoping for awhile. But the team has been ill-prepared, ill-equipped and just a floundering mess, and it’s hard to lay that anywhere other than the feet of Jeff Hafley. Now, cooler heads would say that Hafley is an inexperienced coach who needs to learn–and we all knew that coming in. And that’s 100% valid, he came in with just coordinator experience, this is his first head coaching job. But the rose colored glasses are off for everyone, and there needs to be a reckoning for how this got so bad.
Got to be honest, the fact that Louisville opened as a bigger favorite against BC than they did against USF was shocking to me. I thought we were maybe looking at a 10-11 point game but betters have moved the Cards to over 16 point favorites at last glance. Is that a crazy number? How do you see this one playing out?
I’m going to go ahead and delude myself and try to talk myself into having hope for this game (it’s the BC way after all). BC has played some very good defenses this year. Rutgers is 9th overall in total defense, Va. Tech is 10th, Florida State is 28th. Glossing over the fact those teams’ ranks may be inflated by virtue of playing BC, it’s worth noting Louisville is all the way down in 52nd in total defense, and 94th in rush defense. That indicates that maybe the front seven of Louisville isn’t as strong as the teams BC has faced. Now, will that make up for the house of horrors the BC offensive line has become? Nope. But it may be an opportunity for BC to find its sea legs offensively. On the other side of the ball, Louisville has one of the best rush offenses in the country, which may be BC’s kryptonite, but the pass offense is more in line with its defense. This is all to say if BC can contain the run this may be a game that BC could be competitive in.
But I’ll stop deluding myself and say that there isn’t a lot of confidence here. Sixteen points seems steep, but I do think Louisville should be the favorite, although I wouldn’t bet the farm on the Cards covering. Or heck, do it anyway, BC is 0-4 against the spread this year.
Big thanks to Arthur and ‘BC Interruption for their time. If you are interested in Boston College, college hockey, and all things Eagles, this is where you need to be. This week the Cards can establish something which has eluded Satterfield most of his time here in Louisville and that my friend is momentum. A win this week qualifies as a “streak” and a win next week is full blown “Big mo” heading into the bye. The Cards may very well play six ranked times in their last six games (yes, that includes a possible undefeated JMU) so stack up the W’s while you can. They need this one. Go get it, fellas. Go Cards.