Sports, Football, Fall

After Suffering Second-Largest Loss of His BC Tenure, Hafley Remains Optimistic About Young Players, Leadership

Positives were hard to come by in a 30-point loss for Boston College football. But for head coach Jeff Hafley—whose team lost 44–14 to Florida State in Week Four—highlighting the promising aspects of his young players remained important. 

Quarterback Emmett Morehead saw his first game action of the season on Saturday, replacing Phil Jurkovec in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. In his Sunday press conference, Hafley praised Morehead, who looked much more poised than he did in his one-game cameo against Syracuse last season

“I thought [Morehead] went in and did a good job,” Hafley said. “It’s probably the most comfortable I’ve seen him. … He’s a big guy with a strong arm who gets rid of the ball, and he works really hard to make sure that he understands what’s going on. So it didn’t surprise me.”

Though Hafley remained adamant that Jurkovec’s starting job is safe, Morehead has been getting first-team reps during practice. 

“[The coaching staff] do a good job of mixing [Morehead] in to make sure he gets reps with the ones and the twos,” Hafley said. “In his week of preparation, [Morehead] goes through it just as he would if he were the starting quarterback. … He has to be ready to go every week.”

Hafley also pointed at other young players as bright spots from Saturday’s game, including offensive linemen Jude Bowry and Otto Hess, running back Xavier Coleman, and wide receiver Joseph Griffin Jr., who all checked in for the Eagles once the game was decidedly over.  

“I was pleased at the end of the game when all those young guys came in,” Hafley said. “So if there’s a positive spot, I would say that there was some encouragement there at the end.”

Tackling was a huge issue for the Eagles during Saturday’s game, and it allowed the Seminoles to keep getting themselves into scoring positions. BC has struggled this season to come back from deficits, and many blown tackles Saturday didn’t help their efforts.

“We didn’t tackle well at all,” Hafley said. “And then just as a team, we need to start fast. We did a lot of things in practice all week last week to try to generate that to start fast. … And it was the opposite yesterday, so I need to change it up and then do something different because it clearly didn’t work.” 

BC allowed a touchdown on its opening kickoff, and Jurkovec threw an interception on the Eagles’ first drive of the game. 

Despite his team’s shortcomings, Hafley remains confident in the team’s morale and said he is certain it will respond well this week during practice. Hafley said he has been on teams in the past where he’s seen division in the locker room, but he said Sunday that the Eagles will not be one of those teams. 

“You work to improve and give your best every single day in everything you’re doing—not pointing fingers, not making it offense versus defense, not making it coaches versus players,” Hafley said. “It’s a great group of leaders. … It is tough right now, for sure, and that makes you have to come together more.”

September 26, 2022