Jeff Hafley picked up his first win as Boston College’s head coach on Saturday, topping the Duke Blue Devils 26-6 in a convincing win. The offense, buoyed by the arrival of transfer quarterback Phil Jurkovec, looks explosive; the defense, full of young contributors, looks opportunistic.
Eagles fans should not overreact to one game, but if Hafley can build on his strong debut, the future of Boston College football looks bright. The win also gave some insight into what this new-look team is about, offering three clues to what the rest of the season could hold.
- Zay Flowers is destined for a big year.
If Saturday’s performance is any indication of how Zay Flowers will perform in 2020, watch out for the sophomore receiver as a potential All-ACC candidate. Flowers had five catches for 162 yards and a touchdown on Saturday, leading former Eagles quarterback Anthony Brown to give him props on Twitter.
Flowers is athletic, explosive, and likely to give opposing defensive backs problems, even in a tough ACC. Early on, he looks like Jurkovec’s favorite target, and a strong rapport between the two could bode well for offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti’s group.
- Phil Jurkovec needs to improve his pocket presence.
Jurkovec rebounded from a lackluster first half with a strong finish to Saturday’s game but took six sacks on the day. While Eagles fans will not complain about his 300 yards passing and two touchdowns, the transfer quarterback needs to improve his pocket presence.
The ACC’s elite pass-rushing groups will not be as forgiving as the Blue Devils, and getting the ball out quickly will be imperative to the offense’s success. Jurkovec has a solid group protecting him, but if he does not hone his internal clock and know when to escape the pocket, sacks and fumbles could become an issue.
- The defense knows how to find the ball.
The Eagles generated five turnovers in Saturday’s dominant win, and replicating that strong effort is likely the key to success for this group. Jahmin Muse and Isaiah McDuffie both picked off Duke quarterback Chase Brice, while Marcus Valdez, Josh DeBerry, and Deon Jones each recovered a fumble.
Turnovers are admittedly unpredictable, but stealing possessions will be critical for an Eagles team which faces a brutal ACC slate. Hafley is a brilliant defensive mind, and if he can keep disguising looks like he did on McDuffie’s interception, a group which posed some questions entering the season could become a strong point.
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