Another season is upon us, and therefore it’s time to embark on the whimsical journey of the weekly opponent Q&A. Sometimes we only gain a little insight, but often our football brethren from across the country share a wealth of knowledge about their respective teams and what we may see when they roll the ball out there in the next few days.
The Cards next opponent are the Eagles of Boston College. Just saying that out loud I froze a bit and stared off into the distance, and instead of visions of sugarplums dancing in my head it’s Zay Flowers and also AJ Dillion going for a few hundred yards as I sit in Cardinal Stadium dumbfounded at what I was watching. I have some mental scars from BC, but do the Eagles have the ‘dawgs’ to pull it off again this year? Only one way to find out, and that's talk to our friends over at BC Interruption. I sat down with Kieran and he spun a web of tales about the 2023 Eagles that may spook a few readers, but hopefully prepares you for what to expect come Saturday. Check it out.
If I hop in my time machine and roll all the way back to......one week ago...…the Boston College game did not scare me all that much other than it just being an inner-conference foe where anyone can knock off anyone week to week. That theory almost came to fruition last Saturday as the Eagles nearly knocked off Florida State at home. What happened? BC rise to the occasion? FSU look bad? Both?
I think it was probably a bit of both.
and the BC offense definitely gave Florida St. some trouble. Castellanos seems to have provided the team with a bit of a spark since the Holy Cross game, and maybe FSU just overlooked the Eagles now that the Seminoles are ranked as highly as they are. It was kind of a classic trap game, but BC just could not get out of their own way. They set a school record with 18 penalties, and the last penalty cost them a chance to get the ball back one last time in a close game. The Seminoles might have played down to their competition, but BC couldn’t take advantage of it and instead of collecting their biggest upset in years, they just lost a tight ballgame.
I watched a bit of BC in the first couple weeks and then watched them last week against FSU. Am I crazy to think Castellanos took a major step in his development? He seemed to make some really nice throws on the move and use his legs much more efficiently than the first couple weeks. You think this is the ‘new and improved’ version or he just had a good week?
I do not think what we’re seeing from Castellanos is just a flash in the pan. He is a legitimate threat running and throwing the ball, and he’s improved in every game he’s played in. Now that he’s cemented himself as the starter, I think the coaching staff has been able to tailor their play calling more specifically to Castellanos, which will only continue to help him. He also plays with a certain confidence and edge that BC hasn’t had in their QB in a while, and that has been nice to see. And he’s only a sophomore, so hopefully he can continue to improve as a passer, while BC finds him more weapons through the portal and on the recruiting trail.
Louisville’s defense has frankly been a bit of an unsung hero as the offense seems to disappear for large stretches at times. Who, beyond Castellanos, is someone for them to circle this week on tape (I still have AJ Dillon and Zay Flowers nightmares)?
I would say running back, Kye Robichaux, could be someone to look out for. He doesn’t actually lead the team in rushing, Castellanos does, but at 6’0, 216, he has shown he can be a tough runner behind what seems to be an improved offensive line. He’s averaging 14 rushes/game, and 4 yards/carry, and I would like to see BC commit running him a little bit more because he could certainly wear down a defense. Like I mentioned, Castellanos leads the Eagles in rushing, so failing to account for him as a runner would be a costly mistake because he has speed and a tendency to run, even if he’s not given designed runs.
While I sometimes like to dig around in the analytics and find some interesting trends to ask about...this one is pretty surface level, Kieran. What in the word is going on with the penalties? Boston College currently has 38 penalties this season through three games, and that is dead last in the FBS. Where are they mostly coming from? Is this a discipline issue overall or mainly one side of the ball?
Yeah, penalties are something that has plagued this team for a while now, and not just this season. We’ve talked about this a lot over at BCI, and none of us are really sure why the penalties are still such a big issue. The coaching staff has to know what a huge problem it is; penalties almost cost BC the Holy Cross game, and like I said earlier, they also cost them a shot at one last drive in the FSU game. It seems to be an all around discipline issue. While the coaching staff can’t make up for the talent that BC lacks going up against other Power 5 schools, it seems like they should be able to rein in their players and cut down on the penalties. But at this point, who knows how much they’ll really improve there.
While the Louisville offense has looked very sharp at times....they have also looked down right rough in games as well. How does the BC defense plan to attack this Jeff Brohm offense?
I feel like the Boston College defense has been tough for me to figure out so far. They’ve given up 27 to NIU, 28 to (FCS opponent) Holy Cross, and 31 to FSU. I guess they’ve done just enough to give the BC offense a fighting chance, but they have still allowed opponents to score fairly easily. Vinny DePalma is a sixth-year linebacker who is the unquestioned leader of the defense and he’s played pretty well thus far, leading the team in tackles. The BC secondary has been relatively average, but I thought they held their own against a talented FSU receiving corps. The defensive line has had troubles getting to opposing quarterbacks, with only 2 sacks through the first 3 games. I would love to see the pass rush really get after Jack Plummer, and maybe co-defensive coordinators, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and Sean Duggan can scheme up some more creative blitzes and rack up a few sacks.
The spread is fluctuating a bit but it still seems to be hovering around double digits. Is this a double digit type game or do you think we’ve got a tight one coming down the wire?
I really could see it going both ways. If BC can cut down on their penalties, and Castellanos can be aggressive while also taking care of the football, I think the Eagles could keep it close. But if they continue to give away yards on penalties, and the defense falters at all, I think the Cardinals could walk away with a comfortable win. Hopefully BC can do enough to keep it an interesting game, but if I had to make a prediction, I think Louisville will come out on top, 30-17.
Big thanks again to Kieran for his time. Feel free to follow BC Interruption on the old ‘Twitter-X’ site right here for all things Boston College. Also, go check out my Q&A with the BCI guys right here once the post drops. While my heads says this is a 10-14 point victory my gut is telling me this looks like one of the classic Brohm headscratchers where they let Castellanos go for over a hundred on the ground, they let Lewis make some plays at wideout, and the Cards offense is never in rhythm with a half filled stadium due to the rock concert across the street. I really hope I’m wrong and I just having BC nightmare flashbacks but I don’t feel good about it at all. Eagles 27-21