Friday, October 23, 2009

Eagle in Atlanta | by Jay

As we've done in the past, we had a little Q&A yesterday with Bill from the excellent Boston College blog Eagle in Atlanta. Our answers to his questions are over there; below are his answers to ours.

BGS: What the hell? You guys were supposed to be terrible this year.

Eagle: Well I think there are a couple of different factors in play. Unlike Notre Dame, the general media doesn't really pay attention to the little details when it comes to BC. They see two DTs get drafted, no returning QB, weird coaching turnover and Herzy's unexpected cancer and think "BC's done." Yet no one realized that most of the offense was coming back, the DBs were probably the best group BC has had and that there was plenty of young talent at Linebacker.

I expected BC to be a bowl team this year but even the most optimistic BC fan probably didn't think we would be a top the standings in the division and nearly bowl eligible by Halloween. Ultimately I think it speaks to the underrated nature of good position coaching and player development. Under three different coaches now, BC has been able to find 3 and 2 star guys, get them in the program and make them better each year. Some day people will catch on, but for now BC uses the "no respect" card to their advantage.

BGS: We usually think of Boston College teams as a veteran-laden unit filled with tough 5th-year guys. This year your leading passer and tackler are freshmen (even if Shinskie is a year older than Matt Ryan). Are those two just notable outliers or is Spaz breaking the mold a bit in terms of relying exclusively on veteran players? If so, do you see this as a good thing?

Things started to change when Jags came in. While TOB was pretty strict about redshirting, Jags wanted to play the guys who could play. Spaz has done a little of both. He is sitting most of the guys he could and the ones who are playing are a little bit about their skill and our lack of depth at QB and LB. I don't think it is a good or bad thing because I imagine that long-term BC will continue to find and develop kids that fit in their system.

BGS: ND has been using the wildcat this year to somewhat surprising success. BC has also been using the wildcat to get the ball into Harris's hands more often. What's your take on BC's use of the wildcat, and do you expect a lot of it against ND?

I like the idea of the wildcat. The strength of the team is the Offensive line and Harris, so why not call plays that build on that strength? The pattern so far is use it occasionally regardless of the opponent. Then if the other team has trouble stopping it (like NC State) keep running it. If Notre Dame cannot stop it early, expect to see it over and over until something gives.

BGS: Do you miss Jags at all? Why, or why not?

I am probably the wrong person to ask about Jags. I liked Jags and have remained one of his bigger apologists. I've done my best to let it go and winning has made the sting better. But I am not alone in missing him at times. Jags confidence and aggressiveness had its drawbacks but on gameday it also gave you a feeling you could beat anyone. And during games he never took he foot off the gas. Spaz has been opposite of that. It felt like we were playing not to lose against Virginia Tech and Clemson and going to prevent and clock killing nearly cost us Florida State and Wake Forest.

BGS: Finally, where do you think this game will rank in terms of toughness on BC's schedule this year? Easier than Virginia Tech?

I think this will be the best offense BC plays this year. But I don't think the crowd or the defense will be as intimidating as a trip to Virginia Tech. I also think there is something to be said for playing Notre Dame at this point in the season. The guys have confidence, really want to win and believe they can. I don't think things will be easy, but the team should be ready and motivated.