#53 Boston College Football Preview

Boston College Eagles

Overall Rank: #53
#8 Atlantic Coast Conference

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2010 Record: (7-6, 4-4)
2010 Bowl: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. Nevada (L 20-13)
Coach: Frank Spaziani (16-11 at Boston College, 16-11 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Rogers
Defensive Coordinator: Bill McGovern

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Montel Harris, RB, 1,243 yards
Passing: Chase Rettig, QB, 1,238 yards
Receiving: Bobby Swigert, WR, 504 yards
Tackles: Luke Kuechly, LB, 183
Sacks: Max Holloway, DE, 4
Interceptions: Donnie Fletcher, CB, 5

Other Key Returnees: WR Alex Amidon, K Nate Freese, S Jim Noel, TE Chris Pantale, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, DT Kaleb Ramsey, RB Andre Williams

Key Losses: OT Anthony Castonzo, LB Mark Herzlich, OT Richard Lapham, DT Brad Newman, DT Damik Scafe

Boston College had half of a really good team in 2010. The Eagles’ defense was one of the best in the country, ranking 13th in total defense. The offense, however, was a horror show and ultimately kept BC from competing for the ACC title. Many of the same players who struggled to put points on the board are back, so the 2011 campaign figures to hinge on whether they will show enough improvement for the Eagles to really soar.

Boston College had the No. 1 defense in the ACC last season, and the Eagles again should rank high this year, even with the departure of team leader Mark Herzlich, who bravely returned to the field after missing the 2009 season with cancer. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly has followed Herzlick’s standard for excellence. Kuechly is coming off of a monster season in which he led the nation with 183 tackles. He is a favorite for the Butkus and Nagurski awards and projects as a first-round draft pick if he chooses to go pro in 2012. Assisting Kuechly are productive teammates like defensive end Max Holloway and cornerback Donnie Fletcher, who snagged five interceptions last season. While the picture is less rosy on offense, running back Montel Harris stands out as a bright spot. He added to his impressive stat line with 1,243 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns in 2010, leaving him just 1,003 yards away from breaking Ted Brown’s ACC career rushing record.

BC struggles to run the ball (despite the presence of Harris), pass the ball or score points – other than that, the Eagles are in great shape on offense. Clearly, Boston College’s problems on that side of the ball weighed heavily on Head Coach Frank Spaziani, so much so that he turned to the NFL for a new offensive coordinator following the retirement of Gary Tanquill. Kevin Rogers comes from the Minnesota Vikings, for whom he served as quarterbacks coach for five seasons. Whether he can get quarterback Chase Rettig to resemble the pre-2010 Brett Favre remains to be seen. Playing as a true freshman, Rettig completed only 51 percent of his passes and had nine interceptions compared to just six touchdowns. Building a cohesive attack probably will be complicated by the fact that the Eagles lost three starters on the line, including first-round draft pick Anthony Castonzo.

The Bottom Line:
If Boston College’s offense can at least be average, the Eagles could be a surprise contender in the ACC. But for that to happen, Rettig has to look more like Matt Ryan and less like the wide-eyed freshman he was last year. But the Eagles have a lot going for them – namely, their stout defense and the reliable Harris carrying the ball. The schedule is challenging, but BC should at least match last season’s seven wins.

Projected Bowl: Military Bowl

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 127.92 (90th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 171.15 (97, 10)
Total Offense: 299.08 (109, 12)
Scoring Offense: 18.46 (109, 12)
Rushing Defense: 82.77 (1, 1)
Pass Defense: 226.92 (76, 9)
Total Defense: 309.69 (13, 1)
Scoring Defense: 19.54 (19, 2)
Turnover Margin: .62 (22, 2)
Sacks: 1.54 (90, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.38 (84, 9)

Madness 2012 NFL Draft Rankings
#34 Luke Kuechly
#65 Montel Harris

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