At Monday’s press conference, Steve Addazio said, “You’re never exciting enough for people.”
It was the kind of side comment that sneaks past reporters and doesn’t even make it onto the official transcript. Addazio said it, no one questioned it, and it was then lost among the player updates and general statements.
But the comment finds its way back to my brain as I’m watching the Eagles first struggle against, and then dominate Maine.
Fans find themselves asking the question, “Is this team exciting enough for my liking?”
Addazio’s insight should have been keyed in on, especially given the nature of last year’s team. If there’s one word to describe Boston College football last fall, it would have to be exciting. The atmosphere was electric every time Tyler Murphy broke off a signature ankle-breaking run and found the end zone, begging the question to fans, “Are you not entertained?”
Simply put, those fans were. Tyler Murphy was exciting, Sherman Alston was exciting, Jon Hilliman was exciting. The thing is, though, it wasn’t really reality. Last season ventured into the category of myth. Yes, the run game and defense were top-notch, but a team with a quarterback-turned-NFL receiver, who can barely throw himself out of a paper bag but can run like hell, leading a team to a potential bowl win only to lose on a missed PAT? Sounds like a fantasy land.
This brings us all back to the question Addazio brought up on Monday: What kind of excitement can this team bring to Alumni Stadium that differs from last year’s Murphy-induced hypnosis?
Offensively, this year’s team is very different from last year’s team—everyone knows that. There’s a new QB, a new line, a new offensive coordinator, but above all else, this year’s offense looks grounded in some kind of football reality.
Darius Wade looks like a real leader out there, and he can put some zip on the ball, too. He brings balance to a team that might have been the most unbalanced in Division-I last year. Where Murphy was the exception in college football, Wade is a genuine throwing quarterback.
How does this make BC any more exciting?
No longer will BC have to rely on the one big play to give the team momentum. Instead, the guys can look toward Wade to move them down the field with his arm rather than relying on a break-out run?
Still, Addazio maintains that the big plays are still there. He has hammered on the fact that this team is faster, more athletic, and more explosive than in year’s past.
In the press conference after the Maine game, Addazio and senior Bobby Swigert both described the Eagles as having a fully stocked arsenal, which is waiting in the darkest recesses of Alumni Stadium to explode onto the field. It’s not just Murphy and Hilliman anymore.
Indeed those big plays were there against Maine. In just one quick stretch, BC hit the Black Bears with a Thadd Smith jet sweep and then a Wade keeper to the outside for consecutive first downs to bring them just outside the endzone. Before I could finish a tweet about the last two plays, Tyler Rouse pinballed off multiple defenders and found the endzone to put the Eagles up for good. As the game went on and Maine tired, BC let it fly just a little more.
The one major problem is how young and inexperienced this team is. Addazio acknowledged that because of the youth, BC can’t handle its full arsenal right now. It should be a while before things get to full gear, and this year will require a lot of patience. This, however, leads to a fundamental problem in that patience is almost the opposite of excitement. How can one be feeling unbridled enthusiasm for a program with young talent but also have to restrain those feelings in the name of patience? Is it even possible to be patiently excited?
Inevitably, it all comes back to excitement surrounding Wade, who is already being unleashed, and a few plays from Saturday tell a big part of the story.
Wade zipped one inside to Smith on a slant route, who stretches out, defender in tow, for the first down. Simple, yet effective.
On another, Wade, feeling pressure, rolled out of the pocket to his left and found Swigert in the end zone for the diving touchdown catch.
Those weren’t the plays you saw last year. These are the kind of plays you see utilized by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning on signature drives. Wear down the defense with some simple, sharp routes and short passes, break off a few big plays, and march down the field. That’s some real NFL-style excitement—the kind that makes you look around in awe as these guys pick apart defenses.
And that may just be the ceiling for Wade, and that’s why this new-look passing game should be exciting enough for everyone, even if a little patience is required.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor