FOOTBALL: Eagles Hope To Get Williams, Amidon More Involved
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 01:09
What do you do when your Mr. Reliable, or rather your Mr. Reliables, are taken away? For the Boston College offense against USC two weeks ago, the answer was not much, and the Eagles will have to get more out of their two primary offensive weapons against a talented Florida State defense this week to avoid a similar, ugly fate.
The Trojans limited BC senior running back Andre Williams and wide receiver Alex Amidon to a combined 61 yards and zero points. That yardage amount accumulated for just 11 percent of the duo’s total through the first two games of 2013, and USC pulled off the stifling performance by simply outmatching the BC attack.
The front seven wouldn’t budge, hardly allowing any running lanes through which Williams could break into the open. On top of that, the Trojans used their highly-skilled secondary to keep the ball out of the hands of Amidon outside of two catches, one of which came with the game out of reach.
“We tried,” BC head coach Steve Addazio said after the game about getting Amidon open. “We talked about it at halftime, ‘How do we get him the ball?’ They’re playing tight man coverage on us. They’ve got really good tight man coverage players. It’s not easy.”
Touting All-ACC corner Lamarcus Joyner, the Seminoles have the ability to contain Amidon the same way the Trojans did. If another week passes without a second receiver stepping up and breaking free for senior quarterback Chase Rettig, it could be a repeat of BC’s 83-yard performance against USC through the air this Saturday against FSU.
That means success for the Eagles will need to start on the ground and build, which has been the plan all season. The Seminoles so far have shown a very good run defense, but one that is not quite as dominant as the Trojans. Having faced Pittsburgh, Nevada, and Bethune-Cookman, FSU is allowing 3.36 yards per rush and 135 rushing yards per game, good for 29th and 46th nationally, respectively. It won’t be easy for the Eagles to run against this defense, but it also shouldn’t seem as impossible as it did against the Trojans.
“Obviously we’re not looking to speed this game up,’’ Addazio said. “We’re looking to slow this game down.’’
“I felt like we needed to get a lot of our work done earlier so that we could prepare for a real physical game,’’ Addazio said. “We’ve got to make it a real physical game, because that’s what we can do, so we need to do that.’’
Addazio said after the loss to USC that he didn’t think the Eagles offensive line got beaten up by the Trojans, but they also didn’t create advantageous gaps for Williams’ running. That offensive line will be facing a slightly different problem with this Seminole front seven.
“They’re a little bit bigger and a little bit stouter than USC,” said senior captain and right tackle Ian White. “They play different. USC was kind of quick-twitch, get-off-the-ball quick. These guys really want to stuff you in the hole then shed late, so it’s a little bit different style. Our mind-set is that we can run our offense against anyone.’’
“On their defense they’ve got some big, stout guys inside obviously led by [junior defensive tackle] Timmy Jernigan, also some great linebacker players with great speed,” Addazio said. “They can rush the quarterback, sack you, and accelerate to the ball on defense. So we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
It’s a great challenge, but Addazio thinks that a challenge two weeks ago has helped his team feel more prepared heading into this matchup.
“We’ve been working really hard to develop our team, to improve our team,” Addazio said. “I think the fact that we had to fly out to California in week three and play USC, which is one of the top ranked defenses in the country, can help you from that standpoint getting used to speed. So here we are getting ready to play this game and looking forward to it.”
The Eagles faced an average third down distance of more than seven yards against the Trojans. BC will have to find a way to be more successful on first and second down, especially with power running, to create more drives down the field against the Seminoles.
“I think obviously we need to have improvement in execution,” Addazio said. “What we’ve got to do is not play in the long field. That’s not going to help you. So we’ve got to not do that. We’ve got to be able to convert first downs when we have an opportunity to and get the ball in the end zone. That’s what we’re working on. We need to play physically and play with a high level of execution.”
Schematically, it doesn’t look like the Eagles will be doing much differently as they get ready to face another extremely talented opponent this week. For BC, it will just come down to execution again.