This week we are fortunate enough to have AJ Black join us from Boston College's site BC Interruption. WIthout further ado, here are my questions and his answers on pertinent topics regarding this wee's game against BC.
STS: BC has changed offensive coordinators so much over the last few years that it is hard to keep up with what's going on with their offense. So please fill us in. What is the offensive strategy of this team? Do they want to pound the ball like BC of old or is there a different philosophy now?
BCI: Spaz churns out offensive coordinators like it's going out of style. The Eagles are now on their fourth offensive coordinator in the past three years-- Gary Tranquill, Kevin Rogers, Dave Brock and now Doug Martin. Martin is a complete change from the previous OC's, as he has instituted more of a spread offense, with much more of an emphasis on the passing game. Expect Chase Rettig out of the gun with one running back, and four wide receivers. The speed of the game has also accelerated under Martin, BC plays much more of a hurry up style than in years past. The running game honestly has been the biggest issue on offense, as the run blocks, play selection and inability to hold onto the ball have all negatively effected the running game.
STS: How has Chase Rettig progressed from last year to this year? From looking at the box scores, it appears he's put up some pretty good numbers. Is this a function of the quality of defenses that BC has played or is the progress real?
BCI: Chase Rettig has easily been the shining star on the 2012 season. Last year, Rettig was eaten alive by a poor offensive line, and a timid game plan. This year Rettig has the protection, and Martin is allowing him to make more throws. And the improvements have been huge. He hits his targets, minimizes mistakes and is making better reads. He has only thrown one interception and leads the ACC in yards per game.
STS: Clemson has many problems on defense, but the defensive line has just been eaten up by opposing OL's on running plays. Does BC have the horses up front to make the Tigers pay? And are any of the tailbacks potential game changers?
BCI: The Eagles' running game has been an abomination this year. As I mentioned earlier, run blocking has been terrible, and the backs have had trouble holding onto the ball. Numerous drives have died because of the run game. The Eagles have a solid offensive line, but they have gotten too cute on the blocking schemes, pulling instead of straight blocks which has led to plays getting blown up in the backfield. Don't get me wrong, the talent is there, Deuce Finch and Tahj Kimble are both solid backs, but they haven't shown much this year.
STS: Which BC defensive position is the strength of this unit and which is the weakness?
BCI: Easily the strongest part of the BC defense, is what it has been for years, and that has been the play of the linebackers. Nick Clancy leads the country in tackles, and Kevin Pierre Louis is third, which is fantastic, but also the result of what happens when your defense can't get off the field. The secondary isn't bad, but they aren't anything great either, and I worry about them against DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. The defensive line has been very ineffective this year, struggling to make initial hits, and getting little to no quarterback pressure.
STS: Clemson's offense appears to be one of the better offenses in the country. How do you see BC's defense attacking this offense in order to try to slow it down?
BCI: Frank Spaziani probably will try to defend against the passing game the way he always does, by setting the cornerbacks back seven yards and try to not allow Boyd to beat the Eagles deep. Another hallmark of a Frank Spaziani defense is the lack of a blitz, especially from his linebackers. I'd expect this to continue against Clemson.
STS: I'm going to stick with the win share exercise that I stole from Tomahawk Nation. Can you give us the percent chance that you think BC will win this game? Go ahead and take a stab at your best guess for the final score.
BCI: People are going to hate me on BC Interruption for saying this, but I am going to give BC a 10% of winning this game. I think both teams will score points, Clemson probably more frequently, and that a couple trademark BC mistakes will cost them the game. BC's defense is really bad, so I'd expect a big game out of Andre Ellington.
Clemson 49 Boston College 28