This week we were fortunate to be able to get insight from a great BC site, BC Interruption. We exchanged question and answers, so you can head over to their site to see my responses to their questions as well, which will be posted Thursday. The guys at BCI run a first rate site. I highly encourage you to head over there and check them out. I'd also like to thank them for their collaboration on this item. Below are the questions we posed about the Eagles along with answers provided by BCI site manager Brian Favat.
STS: Injuries/depatures have decimated you guys this year. Fill in our fans on the guys you're missing and the impact it has had on your team to this point.
BC has been without ACC Preseason Player of the Year Montel Harris for the first three games of the season. Harris came back for the UMass game, but got little work. He finally looked like the Montel of old in the loss to Wake Forest. His backup Andre Williams has been serviceable, but doesn’t have the same knack for finding holes in the offensive line and running between the tackles.
The Eagles also lost Ifeanyi Momah for the season, who went down with a knee injury in the Northwestern game. That was a particularly tough blow considering the kid caught 8 balls for 171 yards in the season opener. Combined with the losses of Clyde Lee and Shakim Phillips in the preseason – both who left the program – and the Eagles are left with a ton of talented, yet inexperienced guys in the receiving corps.
The Eagles secondary has also been decimated by departures and injury. Projected starting safety Okechukwu Okoroha was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules in late August. That was quickly followed by Dominick LeGrande leaving the program. C.J. Jones went down in the UCF game and is lost for the season. BC is starting just one projected starter – Donnie Fletcher – in the secondary, and even he has missed time already this season due to injury.
Finally our new offensive coordinator either took an indefinite leave of absence or was canned, depending on who you ask after the Central Florida loss. Our offensive line continues to be reshuffled, as well as our usually reliable run defense which has been shredded by basically everyone that BC has faced this season from Division I-A.
More after the jump....
STS: As you stated, star running back Montel Harris missed the first 3 games with an injury, but he did receive a full work load this past week against Wake Forest. How does he look coming back from injury?
I think Montel looks good and may be fully back to form. He rushed for over 100 yards in the loss to Wake and was bouncing off defenders like the Montel of old. I would expect to see Harris heavily involved in the Eagles’ offense again on Saturday.
STS: Keeping up with what's been going on with your offensive coaching staff has been difficult. Could you fill us in with what's happened since we played you guys last year? Who will be calling plays this weekend, and schematically how will the offense differ from last year?
Cliff Notes: BC kicked out OC Gary Tranquill and brought in former Minnesota Vikings QB coach Kevin Rogers to run the Eagles offense. Rogers’ mysteriously stepped down from his position after the UCF game, citing health concerns. Dave Brock has stepped in and is now calling the offense for BC.
Brock has some past offensive coordinator experience but the offense doesn’t look a whole lot different from what it did in the beginning of the year. That is, a healthy dose of the rushing attack between Harris, Andre Williams and Deuce Finch and short- to medium- routes from our WRs.
STS: With Montel Harris back, I'm assuming DC Kevin Steele is going to stack the box and make Chase Rettig beat us. Evaluate Rettig and his cohesiveness with his wide receivers.
Rettig hasn’t really had the time to operate and has been hurried or sacked quite a bit already this season. That said, Rettig isn’t exactly having a breakout performance in his sophomore campaign. He’s completing a little over 50 percent of his passes (52.1 percent) and has a TD:INT ratio of just 5:4.
Rettig has struggled with getting rid of the ball in time and has been lacking some touch on his throws. He also maddeningly can’t decide when to tuck the ball and run for the first down and when to throw. There have been several occasions where he could have picked up a first down with his legs but has instead decided to throw on the run, failing to convert in key situations.
Colin Larmond Jr. is slowly stepping into the lead WR role after the loss of Ifeanyi Momah, and has caught 19 passes for 342 yards and 2 TDs this season. While the receivers are holding onto the ball more than they were last season, when BC had an extreme case of the dropsies, the production coming from Rettig and the WRs still doesn’t seem to be there.
STS: Luke Kuechly is a big time playmaker at linebacker. Who else should Clemson fans be concerned about on defense?
Sophomore LB Kevin Pierre-Louis is another stud in the Eagles’ linebacking corps, and both he and Kuechly anchor arguably the best unit on BC’s roster. Senior FC Donnie Fletcher is the last remaining projected preseason starter in the Eagles secondary, and leads a relatively inexperienced unit along with R-Fr. SS Dominique Williams, Jr. FS Hampton Hughes and Jr. BC Jim Noel.
STS: Give us your take on Coach Spaziani. Does he survive this year if it keeps heading the direction it's going? And if so, how long do you give him to turn things around?
If by "keeps heading the direction it’s going," you mean finishing the year without a win against FBS competition, then yes, I don’t believe Boston College will retain Coach Spaz beyond this season. There are plenty of excuses floating around out there – this team is young, we just went through an ugly coaching divorce with Jagodzinski, we need to keep this recruiting class together – but none of those excuses seem to hold much water. If this year’s team finishes with just 1 or 2 wins, I would expect a change at the top in 2012.
I feel that Spaz has a particularly short leash. He’ll probably be given until the end of the year to turn things around, but with a brutal second half schedule, including five of seven on the road, there’s not much optimism surrounding this team and the second half of the season.