BC preseason preview: Many questions

Previewing the 2013 season for new coach Steve Addazio and the Eagles.

Boston College Eagles

Coach: Steve Addazio (first year at BC, 13-11 overall)

Team's 2012 record: 2-10 (1-7 ACC)

Key losses: RT John Wetzel, LT Emmett Cleary, WR Ifeanyi Momah, RB Rolandan Finch, TE Chris Pantale, LB Nick Clancy, DB Jim Noel

Key returnees: QB Chase Rettig, C Andy Gallik, RB Andre Williams, WR Alex Amidon, DT Kaleb Ramsey, LB Steele Divitto, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, DE Kasim Edebali

Newcomer to watch: LT Matt Patchan. It’s not often that a possibly NFL-caliber offensive lineman drops into a team’s lap right after it loses two O-line mainstays to the league, but that’s exactly what happened to the Eagles with Patchan. A 6-foot-7, 300-pound senior, Patchan knew Addazio from his injury-plagued career at Florida and chose to transfer to BC after his former coach got the job. If he’s healthy in 2013, which is no sure thing for a player who’s missed two full seasons with medical issues, Patchan could make a big impact for the Eagles.

Biggest games in 2013: vs. Villanova, Aug. 31; vs. Wake Forest, Sept. 6; vs. Army, Oct. 5.

Biggest question mark heading into 2013: Depth. The Eagles don’t have much of it, especially at key positions like QB, RB and WR. If injuries strike at those spots, can Addazio & Co. patch the holes?

It could be a long season in the Heights if the answer to that question is no.

Forecast: The Eagles won two games in 2012 and if they’re going to improve on that dismal win total in 2013 they need to win their early home games.

Addazio’s Temple squad opened its 2012 season, the first back in the Big East, with a 41-10 dismantling of FCS foe Villanova. If BC can manage a similar result, it will be halfway to its 2012 win total after just one game.

BC has another potentially winnable game on the schedule in Week 2 when Wake Forest comes to Chestnut Hill for a Friday night game on ESPN2 (8 ET). Jim Grobe’s Demon Deacons were just 5-7 (3-5 ACC) in 2012, and with the game at home this might be BC’s best shot at an ACC win.

From Week 3 on, things get significantly more difficult on paper. There’s a trip to USC to take on the Trojans, then an open week and a visit from Florida State before Army comes to town in Week 6.

The Eagles have said their goals are to win the opener and to get bowl eligible. The former is probably a good deal more doable than the latter, but if either is to be achieved they’ll have to prove they can pull off Addazio’s new emphasis on a power run game and an attack-style defense.

Rettig, Williams and Amidon are expected to provide the bulk of BC’s production on offense, which could clearly benefit from more balance in 2013 as it was heavily pass-happy in 2012. Addazio has talked up freshmen RBs Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse in camp, and Amidon said that Spiffy Evans and Dan Crimmins are playing well so far.

Pierre-Louis and Divitto form the core of what should be a solid linebacking corps, with Ramsey back for a sixth season on the D-line after injuries derailed his 2012 season. If his teammates are to be believed, you’ll hear Mehdi Abdesmad’s name more this season, too.

Bottom line, it would be hard for 2013 to be as bad as, or worse than, 2012 was for BC. The question is just how much better it can be in Year 1 of the Addazio era.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.