It’s time for another installment of BC Football 101. Our last two articles covered the coaching staff and the defense, so today we will be checking out the offense. As with the last couple articles, we will first take a brief look at last year’s offense before checking out which players are set to be the difference-makers for the Eagles in 2013.
Now, statistically last year’s defense wasn’t great, and the offense didn’t fare much better. Boston College was ranked 99th last year in total offensive yards with just shy of 350 per game, which is actually an improvement over their dismal scoring offense ranking, which was 109th, with the Eagles tallying 19.5 points per game. Those stats are just downright ugly.
Separately the passing offense was much better, ranked 45th in the nation with 259 yards per game, however BC did have the least amount of passing touchdowns (18) of any team in the top 50. The running game struggled mightily last season, and the Eagles had the sixth-worst rushing attack in the nation, averaging a paltry 90.9 yards a game, and tallying a meager seven touchdowns.
Now, having said all that, let me tell you why there is much reason for optimism with this 2013 BC Eagles’ offense. The majority of the offense is returning, as the Eagles only graduated four offensive starters from last year. They lose Colin Larmond Jr., a wide receiver that missed part of last year due to a team suspension, both starting offensive tackles Emmet Clearly and John Wetzel, and starting tight end Chris Pantale. Let’s take a look at who the leaders on offense will be in 2013.
The unquestioned leader of the Eagles’ offense will be returning senior, and now four-year starter, quarterback Chase Rettig. Rettig has developed into one of the better pocket passers in college football, however it is evident that he needs support around him to succeed. In order to be effective, he will need any semblance of a rushing attack or blocking, as he was sacked 36 times last season. However, despite last season’s apparent deficiencies throughout the offense, Rettig was able to put up some decent numbers, throwing for over 3,000 yards and putting up 17 touchdowns. If he does receive a solid running game, he is deadly with the play-action pass, and with new head coach Steve Addazio in the fold, look for Rettig to open things up this season and take the passing game to the next level.
Despite losing arguably their best ball carrier in Rolandan Finch, the Eagles’ ground attack looks to be in the hands of senior running back Andre Williams. Williams, now entering his fourth year as at least a partial starter, will look to be the go-to guy in the backfield this season, and his play the last three years has warranted a preseason candidacy for the Doak Walker award, given each year to the nation’s top running back. Williams, 6’0, 226 lbs., is a power running back who has a very strong north-south running style. However, due to last year’s struggles on the offensive line, Williams was too often bottled up in the backfield, or without a hole to drive through. Having said that, Williams did manage to lead the Eagles in rushing last season, tallying 584 yards and averaging 4.6 yards per carry. In order for the Eagles to succeed, Williams will need to be consistent week-to-week, and they will need the version of Williams who showed up against Army, rushing for 191 yards and two touchdowns, rather than the Williams who came to play against the Miami Hurricanes, who struggled to 49 yards on 18 rushing attempts.
Last year’s sole offensive Eagle to make the all-ACC team was wide receiver Alex Amidon. Amidon had one of the best receiving seasons in BC football history, setting single-season records for both receptions (78) and receiving yards (1,210). Amidon has been rewarded with a preseason candidacy for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top receiver. The senior was the brightest spot of last year’s offense, and has a chance to make BC history. Amidon currently finds himself 686 yards shy of BC’s all-time receiving record, and, barring injury, he should find that record relatively easy to accomplish. While he won’t blow you away with his speed, and though he struggled with drops at points last season, Amidon is an excellent route runner who can seemingly get open at will, and is a dangerous threat no matter where he lines up, be it on the outside or in the slot. He is Rettig’s favorite target, and look for him to have another outstanding year in 2013.
Make sure you keep an eye on junior wide receiver Spiffy Evans. Evans excelled in the return game in 2012, but with the lack of receiver depth behind Amidon there is a great opportunity for the junior to step up. The speedy Evans managed 22 receptions last year and was the Eagles’ fourth-leading receiver, but he will need to develop his route running in order to have a major impact. However, if Evans takes steps for improvement in 2013, he could be the deep-ball threat that Rettig has lacked in the past.
Despite being picked to finish dead-last by the media in 2013, this Eagles team is set to surprise this season. Just remember, the first game of the season against Villanova keeps creeping closer and closer, and we are just about a month away from seeing what Coach Addazio and his Eagles have in store for us.
Images courtesy of Boston College Athletics