COLUMN: Can The Bowl Drought End In 2013?
Published: Monday, December 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
With a new coach and his new staff on the horizon, the usually dim outlook on next year’s Boston College football team is starting to transform into a little brighter shine on Chestnut Hill. Whether a MAC contender or a proven BCSveteran is hired, the mood around BC right now is that things are getting better. The only question, though, is how quickly?
Lost in the madness of pipe dream candidates for the Eagles like Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco or Miami head coach Al Golden, and the potential that either one gets poached from his current school for the BC job, is the reality that a lot will need to go right for this team to make it back to a bowl game next season after a two year drought.
Most notably, the offensive line is losing two solid seniors in left tackle Emmett Cleary and right tackle John Wetzel, as well as the talented ChrisPantale at tight end. The ground game struggled enough in 2012, but without those three players anchoring an already unsteady run block, it’s unlikely the halfbacks will make it to the second or third levels. Major improvements will need to be made by redshirt freshman Dan Lembke and sophomore Aaron Kramer, and someone else still needs to step up at the tight end position.
The ground game isn’t completely taking a step back, though, as Andre Williams and Tahj Kimblewill be returning from injury at full strength and Deuce Finch should, in all likelihood, stay out of the doghouse of the new coach. This “three-headed monster” as Kimble called them never got a chance to breakout last year. They were almost never all available in the same game, but even when they were healthy, fumbles and a lack of open running lanes stunted their playmakingabilities.
If the offensive line doesn’t improve, quarterback Chase Rettig can’t be expected to make much improvement either. He couldn’t have done a better job considering how often he was faced with pressure from the defense and how obvious it was the Eagles were throwing after running for almost no gain on first and second down. If those two aspects of the game don’t take a step forward, neither can the BC quarterback. He’ll be throwing to the same receivers next season, minus Colin Larmond, Jr. although he barely contributed this year because of his suspension, and they likely won’t be playing in offensive coordinator Doug Martin’s scheme that Rettigloves so much.
There’s only a very small chance that the new coach holds on to Martin as the OC, but Rettig and the offense would greatly benefit from another year in the system. Rettig has said that he’s never had as much fun playing in a system than he did this season with the freedom that Martin gave him. Forcing Rettig and the rest of the offense into a new system might be good for the future of the program, but it won’t help the Eagles become bowl-eligible next season.
The defense is an even bigger question mark than the offense. Defensive tackle Bryan Murray and senior middle linebacker Nick Clancy are gone, but Al-Louis Jean is set to return in the secondary and Kaleb Ramsey might get a sixth season on the defensive line. If both guys return strong, and junior linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis stays healthy, the defense could easily improve especially with the promising final games of young players like Mehdi Abdesmad, Malachi Moore, and Justin Simons. The team still needs to tackle better and needs to find a more effective way to put pressure on the quarterback, but if a big name like Diaco is hired and all of the players return at full-strength then improvement on the defensive side becomes likely.