Boston College has a new coach and a new outlook.
Is that enough to get the Eagles back into a bowl game in 2013?
Great question. What we do know is this: Steve Addazio will bring passion, energy and excitement to the sideline. He will bring a much more physical brand of football, both on offense and defense. Those are certainties. The bigger issue is whether he has the talent and personnel to turn a two-win team into a six-win team in his first year.
At this point, I am going to say the chances are remote, but not impossible. There are pieces to work with on both offense and defense. Chase Rettig, record-setting receiver Alex Amidon and special teams standout Spiffy Evans all return. Linebackers Steele Divitto and Kevin Pierre-Louis are back to anchor the defense. New coordinator Don Brown, who spent the past two seasons at UConn, will no doubt utilize these two players in his aggressive new scheme, which will feature plenty of blitzes. At UConn this season, linebacker Sio Moore finished second in the Big East with eight sacks.
But I have to wonder whether the Eagles will be able to play the physical running style Addazio prefers. The BC running game this year was virtually nonexistent, averaging about 90 yards per game to rank No. 115 in the nation. Is it good news or bad news that the four backs in the regular rotation all return? Andre Williams, Rolandan Finch, Tahj Kimble and David Dudeck are all scheduled to be back. Three starters on the offensive line are scheduled to be back as well.
Working on the run game is the No. 1 priority, especially since Boston College has its top receiver and starting quarterback returning. If the Eagles can establish the run, then they won't have to rely on Rettig throwing the ball 467 times next season. And they will be much more effective with play action, which should help as well. Addazio comes from the spread-option offense philosophy, so the personnel he has does not quite fit what he generally has done with his offenses, but he told me he is going to do what fits his personnel best.
There is no doubt that Boston College will look like a different team. But it probably won't be enough to get the Eagles back to a bowl in 2013.