Check out what esteemed members of the Boston College sports media has to say about their Eagles, heading back to California for their first trip to the Golden State since the 2011 Emerald Bowl against Nevada.
1. Boston College is coming off two noteworthy victories at home to start the season before traveling across the nation. How much confidence is this team playing with after matching their entire win total from last season?
After four years of toiling under Frank Spaziani, most BC fans are just elated to see the Eagles return to their style of rugged, tough nosed football. Two wins was all we had last year, and we have already matched our win total from 2012 (pathetic I know). There is optimism, and excitement, but still a little hesitation about the team, since we have only beat Villanova and Wake Forest.
2. The next two games for the Eagles could be the toughest stretch of games on the season slate. Therefore, how important will it be for the Eagles to come out fast and aggressive early in the contest on the road?
Very important, especially on defense. Boston College's offense is not going to be the wild run and gun spread that BC was using last year. It is much more conservative, which I will get into later. I think the key for the Eagles will be to force turnovers or quick three and outs, especially early. If the Eagles can turn the USC crowd against Kiffin quickly like last weekend, the energy of the Eagles may be enough to leave LA with a win.
3. Chase Rettig has started strong in his fourth year under center for this BC Offense. For those of us just getting introduced to his style of play, describe what he brings to the field and how Boston College can ride his leadership to victory.
Chase has had quite the career at Boston College, for good and bad. Mostly bad. He is on his fifth offensive coordinator in the four years he has been on campus, and he has been a model QB in picking up the new schemes. Last year he was asked to throw the ball a ton, and the offense went through his arm, and he struggled. He has also had some bad offensive lines around him that have gotten him sacked a lot. This year, he is asked to do much less, but he also has fewer weapons around him. Alex Amidon is his favorite target, and I would expect him to get quite a few looks on Saturday.
4. Andre Williams has well-documented injury concerns which he has been battling throughout much of the season. How will the Eagles manage his carries this week against the USC defense and how important is the running game for their success?
Unless Williams is hurt I don't think BC will be managing his carries this weekend. He ran the ball 35 times against Wake Forest last Friday, and honestly BC doesn't have much depth behind him. David Dudeck is not an every down back, Tahj Kimble is recovering from an injury and Addazio has been vague on what's going on with him, and Myles Willis appears to be redshirted unless they are dire. Ryan Day's offense is going to necessitate that Williams touch the ball frequently, and that is what I would expect on Saturday.
5. The Eagles defense has been playing excellent bend but-not break defense throughout the first two games of the season. Who are some players to watch on this defense that should be flying around the football in the Coliseum?
On defense the big players on the front line are Kevin Pierre Louis and Kasim Edebali. Both are seniors, and Edebali has rejuvenated a front line that managed just 6 sacks all of last season. He has made huge gains in terms of his ability to pass rush, and has gotten to the quarterback multiple times through the first two games. KPL is also a senior, and is a major talent, but one that was overshadowed in the past few years because of Luke Kuechly, and injuries last year. He has an instinctive nose to diagnose plays, is a hard hitter, and covers a lot of ground. In the secondary I would look at Bryce Jones and Manny Asprilla the corners. They both have made multiple big plays this season, and if USC's passing attacks flounders, they will be opportunistic.
6.Finally, last time these teams met the Trojans were led by Pete Carroll and defeated the Eagles in San Francisco. What has changed with the BC Program (whether philosophy, style of play, coaching) that makes them more prepared to defeat the new-look Trojans this time around?
How much time do you have? Last time we saw you Frank Spaziani was still the coach of Boston College. Just like what you are dealing with now with Kiffin, Spaz was a mess as a head coach. He was a terrible X and O's coach, he couldn't recruit, he couldn't motivate, and the players didn't respect him. His defense played what we call the "Spaz Cushion", a seven-eight yard cushion that the corners lined up in, that allowed good offenses to nickel and dime us to death, and great offenses to torch us. The offense has been a train wreck since the last time we faced off.
Gone is the BC AD and Spaz, and in comes Steve Addazio a high energy, grind it out old school football coach. He is all about running the ball, balance and playing aggressive defense. The fans and players have for the most part completely bought into Addazio, and the results are clear on the field. They make far fewer errors, players are making tackles, and the energy is palpable.