BC’s defense has been one of the best in the country this year, ranking 14th in total defense, leading the country in rushing defense, and No. 19 in scoring defense. The Eagles will face a unique challenge in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, as Nevada runs the pistol offense -- a scheme BC doesn't see in the ACC. The quarterback lines up four yards back in the shotgun and the tailback is another four yards behind him for the majority of snaps. There are a few times when the running back is offset. Nevada enters the game with the nation’s No. 7 scoring offense at 42.62 points per game. It’s an intriguing matchup, and I caught up with BC defensive coordinator Bill McGovern to get his take on preparing for it:
If you could start off by telling me what it is exactly that makes Nevada’s offense tricky for those of us who don’t watch it all the time.
Bill McGovern: They’re very diverse in what they do but they’re also extremely committed to running the ball. They’ve got a great deal of skill and Colin Kaepernick their quarterback is just a phenomenal player. He can run, he can throw, he has a great control of the offense. He understands it extremely well. They run a bunch of different plays. It really makes you be assignment sound all over the field out of a lot of different formations. These guys, they have an outstanding passing game to go along with their tremendous running game.
In layman’s terms, what exactly is the pistol offense?
BM: That’s a good question. It puts a lot of things on where it’s a bit of a zone offense, an option offense, but that’s what they do so well – run a number of zone plays, option plays, quarterback keeps. It’s a combination, kind of a hybrid of an offense that really puts a strain on a number of things and attacks the perimeter and attacks the inside and has the passing to compliment it.
So how do you go about preparing your guys for something they don’t usually see and why don’t more offenses go this route?
BM: It’s a good question. You’d have to ask the offensive guys why. I’m sure it’s a lot along the lines of where certain coaches are a 4-3 team, 3-4 team, man team or zone team. Defensive coaches have certain beliefs of what they know best and believe in and are good at, and I’m sure it’s the same thing for offenses. This is what [Nevada] coach [Chris] Ault has done. He’s done a tremendous job there, along with his other coaches of developing this offense and they’ve got a great feel for what it is and they understand the little subtleties and nuances that can really give defenses problems.
How do you think you guys match up? Can you stop it?
BM: We’re going to try everything we can to stop it. They’re an outstanding offense. We’ve got to be able to do what we’re capable of doing and focus on us and make sure we’re where we’re supposed to be and try and give them problems at times. They’re an outstanding offense. It will really be the first time we’ve tried to go against it. It’s going to be a great challenge but our kids are looking forward to it.
Do you guys have to change anything that you do?
BM: In every game you go into you always try to have some things. You want to be good at what you do. That’s one of the things we’ve talked about here for a long time. They’re going to know their offense better than we know it, and we need to know our defense better than they know it. That’s one of the big things we’re trying to focus on and make sure our guys understand where they’re supposed to be in our defense and how they can execute our defense.