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FOOTBALL: Point/Counterpoint; Should Doug Martin Return As OC?

An Inconsistent Record Raises Doubt

Heights Staff

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

When it comes to breaking up, a clean split and a fresh start is the best policy. While dragging out a breakup only leads to more pain, a complete separation— albeit difficult at first— allows the injured parties to start fresh and look toward the future.

Just like a jilted lover who deletes his ex’s number to help forget about the past, Boston College athletic director Brad Bates needs to remove all associations with the Frank Spaziani era, and dismiss Doug Martin as offensive coordinator.

Although Martin has only guided BC’s offense for a year, the time for a change is now. Bates’ search for a new head coach continues to turn up exciting names of potential candidates, and it’s clear that Bates is looking toward the future.

In a radio interview with 98.5 ESPN, Bates described his vision of BC as, “A place that gives a coach every opportunity to have a high level of success and achieve that vision of excellence that we strive for in our football program.”
Bates could take major steps toward achieving this goal by removing Martin and allowing a new coach to bring in a new system and handpick the personnel he wants running it.

The easiest argument for retaining Martin is to keep the offense in a familiar system. Yes, keeping Martin would prevent junior quarterback Chase Rettig from working with his fifth coordinator in four years, and yes, Rettig improved under Martin’s watch. Although it would help Rettig, Bates can’t gamble BC’s long term future for the sake of the 2013 season. Inconsistency has marked Martin’s career, and from year to year, Martin has had extremely mixed results.

From 2004 to 2010 as Kent State head coach, the success of Martin’s offenses fluctuated heavily, recording national rankings of: 46th, 110th, 73rd, 76th, 36th, 96th, and 102nd.  His 2011 season as Offensive Coordinator at New Mexico State was solid, and his offense was ranked 47th. This past year with the Eagles, though, his offense recorded a pathetic 99th. While Martin has had three impressive offenses, his career offense averages a measly 76th in the country. Does Bates really want to put BC’s offense in these hands going forward?
Looking back on the past season, Martin’s offense with BC displayed a number of disturbing trends. First, the offense steadily regressed as the season developed. BC began the season with exciting play calling and high scoring battles. By the second half of the season, however, it appeared BC was incorporating more and more groan-inducing draws up the middle, and the Eagles failed to score more than 20 points in four of their last six games.

Second, BC’s passing offense was dangerously reliant on junior wide out Alex Amidon, who was fantastic all season, catching 7 touchdowns and wracking up an impressive 1210 yards. After Amidon, junior receiver Jonathan Coleman caught 4 touchdowns and recorded 489 yards. Beyond Amidon and Coleman, no receiver had more than two touchdowns, or 300 yards. Down the stretch, it became apparent that when teams were able to shut down Amidon, Rettig had great trouble finding the end zone.

Third, the complete stagnation of BC’s running game was completely unacceptable. The Eagle’s running backs combined for seven touchdowns and 1086 yards the entire year, and BC’s rushing offense now rots at the bottom of the rankings, a dreadful 117th out of 124 schools. Over the course of the season, Martin and Spaziani utilized a rotating stable of running backs. The lead rusher, Andre Williams, ran for four touchdowns and 584 yards, and an average of 4.5 yards per carry. Additionally, the mystery decision to limit junior running back  Deuce Finch to four games on the year shrouds this offensive coaching staff in mystery. Even more disturbing, Amidon, with only four carries, was the fifth best rusher on the team. He accounted for one of the seven rushing touchdowns, and had only 56 fewer yards then the 3rd best rusher
Obviously, it is unfair to attribute all of these failures to Martin.  Spaziani was the one calling the final shots, and his shortcomings decimated the program. Some of those shortcoming fall on Martin, though, who must be held accountable, and his track record does not inspire.  If Bates really wants to achieve his “vision of excellence,” now is the time to fire Martin, make a clean break from the Spaziani era, and look toward the future.

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