Boston College and NC State have more in common than their division home.
They have both turned to former Florida quarterbacks for help this upcoming season.
Jacoby Brissett appears to be the future for the Wolfpack after sitting out 2013 because of NCAA transfer rules. Tyler Murphy, meanwhile, will get every opportunity to win the starting job after transferring to Boston College last week. Murphy has immediate eligibility for his final season as a graduate transfer student.
Brissett and Murphy spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons as backups at Florida, talented dual-threat players hoping for an opportunity to start. Both earned their first career starts because of injury, but neither had much of a future with the Gators. In 2012, Brissett lost a competition to win the starting quarterback job to Jeff Driskel and opted to leave the program after the season ended.
In NC State, he found a program transitioning to a spread scheme under Dave Doeren that seems to be a perfect fit. Doeren had success with dual-threat quarterbacks Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch at Northern Illinois. With Doeren as coach in 2011, Harnish ranked No. 9 in the nation in total offense; in 2012, Doeren's final year with the Huskies, Lynch ranked No. 2 in the nation in the same category.
What was glaringly missing from the NC State offense in 2013 was an ability to run the spread scheme with Pete Thomas and Brandon Mitchell behind center. Doeren has already declared Brissett will be his starter headed into this season, even though Thomas returns.
Murphy also played behind Driskel but ended up starting six games this past season when Driskel got hurt. Murphy elected to transfer, however, knowing Driskel would be ahead of him on the depth chart again.
College football observers know Driskel has struggled for the bulk of his career in Gainesville after coming into the school as one of the most highly touted recruits in the nation. What does it say that neither Brissett nor Murphy could unseat a player who has led the Gators to some of their most anemic offensive showings in years?
Maybe it says that Brissett and Murphy are perhaps better suited for the spread option offenses both NC State and Boston College want to run. Boston College coach Steve Addazio recruited Murphy to Florida in 2010 when he was still an assistant there and the Gators still ran this type of offense. Florida transitioned away from this style when Will Muschamp was hired, leaving Brissett and Murphy ill-suited fits.
Addazio also has said he wants to diversify the offense with a dual-threat quarterback behind center, what he has done throughout his career. Murphy may have gone 2-4 last year in his starts with the Gators, but he is the only quarterback on the BC roster to have started a collegiate game. If Murphy wins the starting job, Addazio can better tailor the offense to his strengths, something that did not happen last year in Gainesville.
Things might not have worked out for Murphy or Brissett at Florida, but they are being given a second chance in the ACC. How they perform will go a long way toward determining how BC and NC State do in 2014.