Sports, Football, Fall

Hafley Talks Offensive Struggles and Potential Improvements in Week Three

Heading into a critical Week Three matchup against Maine, Boston College football finds itself in a two-game hole to start the season. Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech marked BC’s second loss of the season, and head coach Jeff Hafley is under pressure to win in his third year. Hafley spoke with the media Sunday afternoon to address what went wrong during Saturday’s game—especially on offense—and what can be done to improve going forward.

“Obviously my expertise is on the defensive side of the ball,” Hafley said. “I’m trying to be down [with the offense] and be supportive and helping any way that I can during practice. I try to go down there more often than I did in the previous years, … but I hired those guys and I’ve been allowing them to coach. … I’m just doing the best I can to help them out right now.”

Notable new hires include offensive coordinator John McNulty and offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo. DeGuglielmo has his hands full this year with an offensive line that returned zero starters and has no players with much game-time experience. 

Offensive line struggles, combined with growing pains associated with McNulty’s new system, have resulted in a sluggish start to BC’s offense. The run game, in particular, has stalled out, limiting the offense as a whole.

“We have to get creative,” Hafley said. “You have to find ways to run the ball—whether it’s on the perimeter, whether it’s gap schemes, zone schemes, [or] spreading it out. We have to run the football.”

Hafley also addressed the offensive line and the struggles it faced. BC was without starting left tackle Ozzy Trapilo due to an injury, leaving the line even more fragile. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec was sacked five times and made his frustration known, slamming his helmet after a bad play and commenting on improvements he’d like to see in practice after the game. 

The hits Jurkovec took were detrimental to the Eagles, and Hafley said he knows that something has to be done about the O-line.

“Schematically, we’ve got to … figure out what [the O-line] can do and handle so they can execute at a high level,” Hafley said. “And then there’s some things we talked about this morning that hopefully you’ll see next week where we just don’t ask them to do so much.”

The result of the line’s performance on Saturday was Jurkovec constantly scrambling out of the pocket and making inaccurate throws.

“You’d like to have him reel it back, but sometimes it’s pretty hard when you’re getting hit,” Hafley said. “He’s a competitor and he wants to win, and he keeps getting up, and he keeps getting back in there and competing.” 

Jurkovec said after Saturday’s game that he would like the team to “practice harder” in order to be better prepared for in-game situations. Hafley’s response to Jurkovec’s comment was to compliment the quarterback and how he practices.

“I just think you got to keep working at it,” Hafley said. “You know, we go through competitive periods where we’re good on good. And then we do some scout team periods to give the looks of the other teams. I have a ton of respect for Phil, how hard he’s been playing, and how hard he practices. … We’ve just got to keep working [and] become more efficient.”

September 14, 2022