BC offense showing marked improvement

The ACC’s leader in receiving yards per game does not play for Clemson or Florida State.

The ACC’s leader in passing yards does not play for Clemson or FSU, either.

Surprise: They play for Boston College.

The hire of offensive coordinator Doug Martin, combined with maturity and consistency, has made a difference in Chestnut Hill, as the Eagles’ once struggling offense is finally showing signs of life. Whether or not Boston College can keep pace with Clemson when the Tigers come to town on Saturday remains to be seen, but Clemson’s porous defense is sure to be tested. BC receiver Alex Amidon is the league’s leading receiver and ranks fourth in the country in receiving yards per game (122.0 ypg). Quarterback Chase Rettig leads the ACC and ranks 11th among all FBS quarterbacks in passing yards per game (317.0).

“They’re just much more dynamic,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “They’re totally different looking at them as far as throwing the football and their efficiency in throwing the ball and really understanding how to attack a defense. They’re still big up front. They do a good job with their three-step game, and they’re keeping you off balance with the play-action. They’ve got shifts and motions and they’re playing at a tempo. They’ve never been a tempo team. You watch the Miami game, and heck, they’re snapping the ball and Miami’s not even lined up. They’re barely getting down. That’s a real change. They do a good job of throwing the ball to the running backs, they run the lead draw and the zone as good as anybody, and they do a good job with screens. They still have their physical approach they’ve always had, but just much more dynamic and attacking you in different ways.”

Last year, Boston College was No. 112 in the country in total offense, No. 112 in scoring offense, and No. 100 in passing offense. After three games, the Eagles have the top passing offense in the ACC and No. 16 in the country.

Swinney said it all starts with the quarterback.

Rettig has completed 72 of 127 passes for 951 yards, six touchdowns and one interception through three games. He has completed close to 57 percent of his passes and has thrown 114 times without an interception.

“This guy can play,” Swinney said. “… You don’t throw for 1,000 yards in three games by accident, especially when you’ve played Miami and Northwestern in two of those opponents. I’m very impressed with what they’re doing offensively.”

BC will need to keep it up in order to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole in conference play. The Eagles started the season with a loss to Miami, but will play their first Atlantic Division opponent on Saturday. BC outgained Miami in total yardage despite the 41-32 loss, but hurt itself with three turnovers.

Coach Frank Spaziani said Boston College has been unable “for a number of reasons to be successful on offense,” but that Martin has helped change that. Spaziani said Martin understands what the players can do within the scheme he wants to run.

“He’s always part of the solution, not the problem,” Spaziani said. “He looks at the positive things, and so far we’ve had a lot of positive things. We need more of them.”