As we get closer to Saturday night's ESPN kickoff, time to discuss some of the most important parts of the Boston College Eagles, an opponent that has started 1-1, including an ACC conference opening loss to Pittsburgh last Friday night.
We would like to thank BC Interruption writer AJ Black for divulging his thoughts in this Q/A session.
1. Since running back Andre Williams took the sole responsibility of carrying this offense, how will the Eagles replace his Heisman Trophy candidate productivity?
There will be three names that you should look for in Saturday's game. The main two running backs will be sophomores Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse. Willis was Williams' backup last season, known for his speed, but bulked up over the offseason by putting on 20 pounds. He is technically the starter and will see most of the carries. However, Rouse, another speed back, saw a good chunk of runs as well last weekend.
He had some big plays last year, mostly in garbage time but he should be someone that gets some playing time this season. Finally Jon Hilliman, a 4* recruit from New Jersey, came in as well. As he gets more and more acclimated to the offense, his role will only increase. He is a big physical back.
2. The story of quarterback transfer Tyler Murphy was well documented this offseason, but what has he done to this point in the year and how will Boston College look to utilize his skill set on offense?
It's been a mixed bag so far for Tyler Murphy and the Eagles. Murphy looked fantastic on the ground against UMass, running for over 100 yards. But his arm and accuracy has been a mixed bag so far. He threw a horrible interception against the Minutemen and missed about a half dozen open targets against Pitt.
He is fast and when he makes his decisions quickly he does a solid job. However, against a defense like USC, I worry about what Murphy will be able to do, especially if he is sloppy again.
3. Last season, Boston College looked overmatched right from the opening whistle, falling behind 28-0 rather quickly and were limited to just 184 yards of total offense. Does coach Steve Addazio have anything planned to spark some life into the Eagles' squad before facing the Trojans this time around?
Who knows. He said he was going to open the playbook against Pitt, and I didn't see anything different between the UMass gameplan and the Pitt gameplan. What I would love to see is the Eagles move around some of the wide receivers. BC has been using a lot of screens and short passes on the flat to some of our bigger wide outs, with poor results.
What I would love to see Addazio do is switch in some of the speedier but less polished receivers into that spot. See if their quickness can catch USC off guard. Also, I want to see more designed runs both with the backs and Murphy. Less of the breakdown QB scramble and more of the hike it and take off plays.
4. P/K Nate Freese was a flat out dude last season. How will the Eagles fill the massive special teams hole he provides, and (more importantly) does Alumni Stadium play much of a factor for kickers and punters not used to the environment?
Right now it's a duo doing the kicking with Alex Howell taking the long kicks and Joey Launceford kicking the short ones. They both are certainly downgrades from Freese and have already missed two kicks this short season. Howell also will be doing the punting, he averaged over 46 yards a punt last week.
5. Who on the defensive side of the ball should USC really fans be aware of when Cody Kessler and company run their up-tempo offense?
There are a few defensive players you will want to watch out for on Saturday. Josh Keyes had a miserable game against Pitt, but I think he could bounce back and make plays. He is a dynamic and speedy linebacker who can get to the QB quickly.
Mehdi Abdesmad, coming back from a massive leg injury, is a beast at DT, but still looks a little hesitant. Also, watch for Kevin Kavalec a sophomore who was probably the only defensive player last week to not look completely lost.
6. Your predictions for the game? Can Boston College play spoiler, or at least put relative fear into USC's heart on Saturday night's primetime meeting?
I am still skeptical about what BC will be able to do. The Eagles looked soft on the offensive and defensive line and that is the last thing BC needs against an opponent like USC. Add in Murphy's struggles and I expect results similar to last season.
I'll go with USC 35 BC 10.