Gridiron Audibles: Three Weeks, Three Losses for Boston College

GRIDIRON AUDIBLES by Christian A. Guarino
GRIDIRON AUDIBLES by Christian A. Guarino

Three weeks. Three losses. The Boston College Eagles have just endured perhaps their worst stretch of football during Steve Addazio’s tenure as head coach.

It started at Alumni Stadium with an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Wake Forest. The Eagles and Demon Deacons did their best to give the game to each other and yet in the end, BC proved the more resilient side in futility. Handed a golden opportunity after Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford fumbled deep in his own territory with 56 seconds to play in a 3-0 game. But BC simply didn’t want the game.

The Eagles’ offensive play calling was singularly devastating when it mattered most, calling a run play for Tyler Rouse with no timeouts and 29 seconds on the clock. Rouse was stuffed by the Demon Deacons, and quarterback Jeff Smith’s spike to ensure another play hit the Alumni Stadium turf at the same time the clock struck :00. The game should have been a gimme for the Eagles; instead they were once again done in by an atrocious offensive output.

Next up for the Eagles was a road affair with Clemson. The 5th ranked Tigers exposed the Eagle’s defense with 532 yards of offense. To this point, the top-ranked BC defense had been brilliant, allowing a stingy 140 yards per game. “I thought we came out and played hard,” said Addazio. “I thought we made some strides out there.”

Perhaps the strides that Addazio was referencing was the “explosion” by his offense for 17 points, their largest output in nearly a month of football.

And finally last Saturday the Eagles brought their downward spiral to Kentucky, continuing the trend with a 17-14 loss at Louisville.

Once again the game came down to the Eagles’ offense and once again the unit shrunk from the challenge. This time quarterback Troy Flutie was sacked on 4th-down

In a battle of defenses, the Cardinals D outplayed their Eagle counterparts to the tune of 14 tackles for losses (-57 yards in total), tallied 8 sacks of Eagle QB’s and allowed just one third-down conversion on 14 attempts. The Eagle’s longest drive of the game went for 29-yards.

Despite being outplayed by the opposition in the last three weeks, the problem for Boston College is not its defense. Offensive play calling and the lack of production at the quarterback position has plagued the team since starter Darius Wade suffered a season ending injury in week three versus Florida State.

The old football adage “If you have two starting quarterbacks, you actually have none” has never been truer than in the case of the 2015 Boston College Eagles.

Addazio and company need to make a decision and stick to it. The confusing play-by-play, matchup-by-matchup approach hasn’t fooled anyone. Flutie is a traditional pocket passer while Jeff Smith excels scrambling. It’s easy for defenders to know what’s coming just by looking behind center. This approach by Addazio has cost his team a chance at a bowl game this season. Winning football teams strive through continuity, not gimmicks. Unfortunately, in 2015, that may be Addazio’s only play.

Christian A. Guarino, a Boston North End resident, writes about football and soccer for the Boston Post Gazette.