FOOTBALL: Power Running Game Dominates Scrimmage
Published: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Updated: Sunday, April 7, 2013 22:04
If Saturday morning’s spring practice and scrimmage are any indications of what to expect in 2013, the Boston College football team won’t tiptoe along the path back to prominence—the Eagles are going to lower their shoulders and run.
“The guys are working really hard,” said new head coach Steve Addazio, “they have a really good attitude.”
The first of three Saturday inter-squad matchups provided a glimpse into the ground and pound style of offense that Addazio has utilized since his days as Tim Tebow’s offensive coordinator at Florida. Only a year removed from a pass-first approach under OC Doug Martin and a 119th-ranked rushing game, the Eagles demonstrated their intentions to chip away at opposing defenses from the ground.
“We’re kind of hunting and pecking still,” Addazio said, “trying to see what we can do and probably over the course of the next seven days, try to condense this thing a little bit better. That’s what we’re in a footrace to do right now.”
After the sudden departure of running back Deuce Finch and amidst hopes for junior Tahj Kimble to return from injury, carrying duties will fall to veteran Andre Williams and rising sophomore David Dudeck. Both players were extensively featured in the Eagle backfield on Saturday morning. Addazio realizes that increased responsibility for the veteran Williams can turn out to be a major focal point of BC’s offensive scheme.
“We have a real bona fide power back in Andre Williams,” he said. “I’ve been around a long time, put a lot of focus on the run game, and that guy is a big, strong, powerful back.”
The new Eagle head coach’s emphasis on the rush involves adjustments under center as well. After becoming only the fourth Eagle quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in a single season, rising senior Chase Rettig found himself handing off and keeping the ball for a QB run more frequently than last year.
Yet Rettig, who threw for a score and showed the same poised decision-making skills that made him successful in 2012, appears to have bought in to his head coach’s style.
“We just really have to be a running football team,” he said. “We have to be able to run the ball, establish the run. A lot of guys who are quarterbacks and receivers don’t want to hear that, but if you can establish the run it just opens up so much of the play action game.
“At the end of the day, with all the questions about the various offensive things, the biggest thing for me this year is getting the 10 guys with me in the huddle and taking them into the end zone, scoring points, and doing whatever we can to win football games.”
As much as BC’s offense featured a new look on Saturday morning, an emergent style of intensity appeared on the other side of the ball. Under new defensive coordinator Don Brown, the Eagles placed more stress on man-to-man coverage and quickness to the ball. Rettig made note of the adjustment from his position at the offensive end.
“It looks like more of an attacking defense,” Rettig said. “Obviously, they’re a lot more aggressive.”
Quickness on defense and a steady diet of man-to-man coverage resulted in a shining moment for one of BC’s veteran defensive anchors. Defensive back Sean Sylvia picked off a deflected pass from backup quarterback Mike Marscovetra and returned it to the end zone for a touchdown.
Although the junior seems to have adapted to Brown’s fast-paced coverage, he stressed that the success or failure of the Eagle defense will be its ability to adjust as a cohesive unit.
“We’re doing a lot of stuff that we had never did,” Sylvia said. “It’s a big adjustment at first but a lot of guys are responding pretty well to it. I think it’s going to start clicking. The light bulb will turn on and I think it’s going to be a different complexion than last year.”
Beyond revitalized tactics on both sides of the ball, Saturday morning revealed that the Addazio era of BC football will be defined by high-intensity play, regardless of the scenario. Throwing the team’s quarterbacks into a circle of teammates to participate in the hard-hitting, one-on-one Oklahoma drill to catalyze practice set the tone BC’s head coach was looking for.
“We have a lot of competitiveness out here which you can see a sense of that this afternoon,” he said. “There’s a lot of competitiveness, so I think when you compete and you like football, you just get better.” n