Boston College has done a lot of things right through the first four games. However, there has been one aspect of their game that hasn’t been clicking. The run game.
Through the first four games, the Eagles are third from the bottom in the nation in running (one of the teams below them is an Air Raid team). They have averaged a paltry 60 yards a game, and their 1.87 yards per carry is the bottom in the entire country.
Watching Boston College’s offense seemingly fall off a cliff from 2019, is even more incredible because it appeared that former head coach Steve Addazio left that aspect of the offense in good shape. The Eagles had four offensive linemen who were preseason All-ACC and ready to open giant holes in the defense. While running David Bailey was primed to become the star of the offense, showcasing his deceptive speed and brute strength.
None of that has happened.
Just eyeballing the games, a few observations have stood out. The offensive line is struggling, especially in the run game. Seemingly the only time BC gets anything on the ground is when they run it outside on pitches or sweeps. Secondly, David Bailey hasn’t run as “violently” or physically as in previous years. It seems he goes down much easier than in previous years, and isn’t shedding tackles. Finally, offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti has had to play from behind in a few games, and has all but abandoned the run. We didn’t see this against Pitt, but that was the case against Texas State and UNC.
The inability to get four yards on the ground a carry hasn’t bitten BC yet, but it could in the future. Defenses are going to do the opposite of year’s past, and sell out on the pass, and try to pressure Phil Jurkovec while blanketing Zay Flowers and Hunter Long.
Boston College has a golden opportunity this weekend to get the ground game going. Virginia Tech has struggled mightily against the run so far this season. While their numbers are bloated by a small sample size, VT is near the bottom of the country in rushing defense, and have allowed nine touchdowns on the ground in three games. The Hokies really struggled against UNC, allowing just over nine yards a carry.
Head coach Jeff Hafley has preached that the run game will come around. He doesn’t expect the Eagles to become a one dimensional offense. This week he told the media, “I think you’re going to see the run come out. Just be positive and patient, I’m very positive and confident in our o-line and our ability to run the football. I’m also very confident in us throwing the ball down the field. We’re going to do both, and I look forward to everybody seeing that.”
The ability to run the ball, could also open up the pass game, and make it even more lethal, Hafley said. If defenses have to respect the run, that could give Zay Flowers the extra step he needs for a big play, or give more favorable coverage to Long. But that part of the game hasn’t arrived yet, and we will see on Saturday if the Eagles can finally get it going against the Hokies.
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