Previewing Maryland-Boston College with Michael Vega from the Boston Globe

  • Steve Addazio has made Boston College bowl-eligible in his first season since coming over from Temple. His Eagles visit Maryland on Saturday.
Steve Addazio has made Boston College bowl-eligible in his… (Darren McCollester, Getty…)
November 22, 2013|The Baltimore Sun

To prepare for Saturday's football game between Maryland and Boston College, we traded emails with Michael Vega, who covers the Eagles for the Boston Globe. You can check out more of Michael's coverage on their website.

TRACKING THE TERPS: For an outsider looking in, the Eagles seem like a different team under Steve Addazio. Is that a fair assessment, and what specifically has he done to lead Boston College out of its dry spell

MICHAEL VEGA: The difference has been night and day under Steve Addazio. He has achieved no small feat in getting the Eagles bowl-eligible one short year after BC went 2-10 under Frank Spaziani. What Addazio has succeeded in doing is rebranding the Eagles as a physically and mentally tough football team.

Although it was his intention to implement a spread-option type of offensive scheme, he was smart enough to realize that doing so would not be playing to the strengths of this team. And so, with on offensive line loaded with road graters, and a big, powerful running back, Addazio made a commitment to establish the running game and to complement it with a play-action passing scheme.

Defensively, he brought aboard Don Brown to implement a high risk-reward attack-oriented defensive schemed aimed at causing as much disruption and negative plays as possible. Addazio, though, has been fortunate to have inherited a solid senior class, which has produced the school's all-time leading receiver (senior wideout Alex Amidon), the school's all-time leading scorer (kicker/punter Nate Freese), and a running back, Andre Williams, who broke the school's records for rushing yards in a game (264) and in a season (1,726) in one fell swoop with a 65-yard run in the fourth quarter of last Saturday's 38-21 victory over North Carolina State.It punctuated a career day in which Williams rushed for an ACC-record 339 yards, giving him 1,810 yards on the season.

Addazio knows he was fortunate to have those seniors lead the way for the rest of the team in his first year at the Heights.

As you mentioned, Maryland’s former defensive coordinator Don Brown is in his first season in that capacity with the Eagles. Has he made any significant changes to BC’s defense, and do you think his knowledge of Maryland will be a factor Saturday?

The first thing Brown did when he took over as BC's defensive coordinator was to challenge his players to step up their production in the pass rush, which posed only a token threat last season in recording six -- count 'em, six -- quarterback sacks last season.

Brown threw his players for a loss when he challenged them in the preseason to come up with 36 sacks this season.

Why 36? It was the number of sacks BC's opponents had last season against the Eagles.

Now the Eagles are seven sacks away from reaching their DC's preseason projection. Also, they have nearly doubled their production in tackles for loss with 71 this season after recording only 45 a year ago.

The defense is predicated on creating chaos through a multitude of looks and different defensive packages aimed at creating a mismatch and turning someone loose on the edge. Kasim Edebali leads the team with 9.5 sacks while Kevin Pierre-Louis, who ranks as BC's leading tackler with 89 stops, has four sacks.

Sure, Brown will have some familiarity with Maryland's personnel -- but much of it will be of the Terrapins defense. So it's not likely to influence how BC's defense goes about scheming for Maryland's offense. So I don't think it'll be much of a factor, if at all.

OK, tell us a little more about this Andre Williams character who is fast becoming a household name after last week’s performance?

Williams is a rugged 6-foot, 227-pound senior from Schnecksville, Pa., who, up until this season, had never rushed for more than 584 yards in a season. In fact, he only had one modest goal for himself at the beginning of the season: to rush for 1,000 yards. Asked why he was fixated on that figure, Williams replied, "Because it's the mark of any good back, plus I've never done it before."

Williams, apparently, sold himself short. A Doak Walker semifinalist who leads the nation in rushing (181.0 yards per game), Williams is 190 yards away from becoming the first running back in BC history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. And he needs 364 yards to pass Montel Harris (3,735 yards) as BC's career rushing leader.

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