Nine games through the 2015 season, the Eagles have demonstrated a clear-cut divide between offensive and defensive production. The Eagles’ defense bears the distinguished honor of being the top-ranked unit in the nation, allowing merely 223.8 yards per game. Led by experienced players and NFL-hopefuls including Steven Daniels and Connor Wujciak, the defense remains solidly dependable.
The story on offense couldn’t be more different. Averaging merely 275. 7 yards per game, the Eagles are the second-worst team in the nation in terms of total offense, ahead of only UCF. To give some perspective, the team ranked first in total offensive production, Baylor, is averaging over 400 yards more than the Eagles. While Addazio has reiterated his commitment to running the football, BC’s offensive identity remains ambiguous; Saturday’s loss to Virginia Tech certainly only increased the questions surrounding that identity.
Although Troy Flutie started the game, Addazio decided the quarterback's two uninspiring drives were enough, opting instead for a new signal caller—John Fadule. Who you ask?
At 6-1, 215 pounds, Fadule is a local standout from Wellesley, Massachusetts. After graduating from Wellesley High School, Fadule played for a year as a postgraduate at Choate. During his sole season at the prestigious boarding school, Fadule led his team to a 10-0 record and earned All-New England honors. Throughout most of this season, Fadule’s duties have been limited to practicing with the scout team. While Fadule remains young and inexperienced, he has surely benefited from practicing against BC’s stout first team defense.
Days before the game, rumors began circulating that Coach Addazio was considering playing the freshman walk-on. Last Monday, Addazio indicated his willingness to evaluate Fadule as a viable part of the game plan. "I'm gonna put the best player on the field," Addazio said. "And I'll weigh it all in. Whoever I feel is best prepared to win."
With injuries to Darius Wade and Jeff Smith as well as lackluster play from Flutie, Addazio turned to Fadule late in the first quarter.
Fadule showcased his talents running the ball, finishing the day as the Eagles' leading rusher with 53 yards on 11 carries. Fadule’s production on the ground was especially encouraging considering BC’s running backs continue to struggle. The Eagles' rushing core, mainly featuring Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse (as a result of injuries to Jon Hilliman and Smith), only managed to combine for a meager total of 28 yards.
Whether due to injuries or an inexperienced offensive line, the Eagles' rushing attack continued to disappoint against Virginia Tech. However, Fadule managed to find limited success on the ground, including an explosive 25-yard scamper on his first play. Addazio has always reiterated his commitment to the running game, but Saturday he utilized more passing plays -- Fadule connected with 8 of his 20 attempts for 143 yards.
Despite Fadule’s encouraging performance, Addazio declined to commit to him as the starter for next week’s matchup against North Carolina State. Based on statistics alone, Fadule seems to be the more favorable starter as long as his limited action isn't taken into account.
“I thought John Fadule came in and did a really good job,” Addazio said. “For a guy that was on the scout team two weeks ago, now having to run an offense other than off of cards. He had toughness. He had confidence. He ran people over. He threw the ball. He ran the ball. That was nice to see. The energy rippled through the team a little bit on both sides of the ball."
Let’s face it: Fadule probably isn’t capable of channeling his inner superman and single-handedly saving the Eagles' offense; that goes without saying for the rest of the 2015 season as well. However, with BC’s bowl game aspirations practically out of the picture, playing Fadule might be more than just a feel-good story of a freshman walk-on.
Saturday marked the fifth straight loss for the Eagles, indicating an increasingly downward trajectory of the 2015 season. At 3-6, BC has yet to register a win against an ACC conference opponent. As the 2015 season drags on, BC has had little to celebrate on offense. While the quarterback controversy remains alive as ever, the reality is that the season will only continue to disappoint fans -- regardless of who starts under center.
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