Boston College has been really struggling offensively, they were not all that explosive in wins vs. Weber State and Kent State, but it has gotten worse the last few weeks.
The crux of the BC problem, of course, is the quarterback position. The Eagles (2-3) have started both David Shinskie and freshman Chase Rettig, while Mike Marscovetra has come off the bench in each of the first five games, wins over FCS foe Weber State and Kent State and decisive losses to Virginia Tech, Notre Dame (both at home) and North Carolina State.
The quarterback numbers are ugly.
The three players, all still young (in Shinskie's case at least in terms of college experience; he's 26), have combined to complete 51.8 percent of their passes for 1,059 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Chase Rettig started against Notre Dame, shook off a slow start, was getting some rhythm and then sprained his left ankle. His status was up in the air as the week began, but he reported improvement late last week.
Things had gotten so bad that Spaziani said Sunday even redshirting freshman Josh Bordner, the scout team quarterback, had to be considered.
"Everything's on the table," Spaziani said.
The passing game has affected terrific RB Montel Harris who can be an effective offensive threat. Part of the QB's struggles has been no one on the outside strikes fear into defenders. Three of the top four WR's are freshmen(the other a sophomore).
It is hard to see the offense having much success on Saturday. They have been able to hit on a few bigger pass plays and Rettig has talent, but the FSU defense should have their way with BC.
The running game has been much better than expected and that success should continue this weekend. Ty Jones is expected to return to the field after nursing an ankle injury. Chris Thompson and Jermaine Thomas both had standout performances last Saturday night.
Coach Fisher made a point of saying that Ponder was performing exactly as expected and is "doing the things it takes to win". That is certainly true, but the passing game could be better. This will be another opportunity to show firepower. Thomas got off to a slow start and responded, it is now Bert Reed's turn to do the same. It is time that he makes some big plays.
FSU's OL manhandled Miami, they should do the same with BC. Coach Trickett is finally starting to get the attention that he deserves on a national level. One of the best signs for FSU was that they were able to continue winning(and dominating) up front even without starting LT Andrew Datko.
This is not a great BC defense, but it's not a bad one, either. It's really a case of being asked to do too much in light of the offense's struggles. The group seems to be wearing down. Luke Kuechly continues to be a tackling machine and Mark Herzlich is now playing with a busted hand. Alex Albright, finally getting a chance to play and not watch because of injury, has stood out up front. The Eagles are fifth in the country against the run and now face a Florida State offense that is averaging 223.50 rushing yards per game. BC is 101st against the pass, 39th in total defense and tied for 66th in scoring defense. By the way, teams that get inside the BC red zone, score. The Eagles are tied for 114th in the nation in that department, yielding 16 scores on 17 tries. However, eight of those have been field goals.
The defense has been light's out since the OU debacle. Defensive Coordinator Mark Stoops deserves a lot of credit for getting this unit on track so quickly.
FSU should be able to load the box and force BC into to try and beat them through the air. Micheal Harris had a great vs. Miami, he is certainly a player to keep an eye on down the stretch. Finding fault in this defense the past four weeks is hard to do.
BC is 3-2 against FSU since joining ACC play. That figures to be evened up on Saturday. Vegas has FSU as 21 point favorites and that seems like what the 'Noles SHOULD do. But they have to do it. We will be able to learn a lot about this team on Saturday.