2012 Boston College Preview - Do Or Die
Boston College LB Steele Devitto
Boston College LB Steele Devitto
Posted Jul 7, 2012

CollegeFootballNews.com 2012 Preview - Boston College Eagles

Boston College Eagles

Preview 2012

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By Richard Cirminiello

Head coach: Frank Spaziani
4th year: 20-19
Returning Lettermen
Off. 20, Def. 18, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 15
Ten Best BC Players
1. LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Jr.
2. TE Chris Pantale, Sr.
3. DT Kaleb Ramsey, Sr.
4. LB Steele Divitto, Jr.
5. OT Emmett Cleary, Sr.
6. DT Dillon Quinn, Sr.
7. OT John Wetzel, Sr.
8. RB Rolandan Finch, Jr.
9. WR Colin Larmond, Sr.
10. WR Bobby Swigert, Jr.
2012 Schedule
Sep. 1 Miami
Sep. 8 Maine
Sep. 15 at Northwestern
Sep. 29 Clemson
Oct. 6 at Army
Oct. 13 at Florida State
Oct. 20 at Georgia Tech
Oct. 27 Maryland
Nov. 3 at Wake Forest
Nov. 10 Notre Dame
Nov. 17 Virginia Tech
Nov. 24 at NC State
Make-or-break. Do-or-die. Now-or-never. All of the trite phrases assigned to struggling head coaches apply to Frank Spaziani, who is just a game above .500 in three seasons on the Heights.

Even worse for the Boston College program, last year's squad went 4-8 to become the first one since 1998 to miss out on a bowl game. Yup, this is going to be a huge season for the Eagles. At the very top of a growing to-do list during fall camp will be to get the new offensive assistants, four of them, further in synch with the personnel on hand. If Boston College is going to distance itself from the memory of last season, it'll have to start with a moribund attack that ranked in the ACC basement in total offense and scoring offense. In fact, the only man on campus who'll be under more scrutiny than Spaziani is new offensive coordinator Doug Martin.

You name it, and the BC offense struggled at it in 2011. Heck, this unit has been feeble for years, averaging a league-low 298 yards and 18 points a game last fall. Only 11 schools nationally normed fewer yards per play than the Eagles. The time has arrived for third-year starting QB Chase Rettig to evolve into more of a playmaker, a quest that will be aided by more support from the O-line. All-time leading rusher Montel Harris got the boot in May, but the staff remains very confident about the backfield trio of Rolandan Finch, Tahj Kimble and Andre Williams.

Defense will continue to be the cornerstone of this school, even in the aftermath of All-American LB Luke Kuechly's early departure to the NFL. The Eagles are sound up the middle, and will once again be tough to throw upon. However, someone has got to start pressuring the quarterback from the edge after the team produced just 11 sacks all season.

This is the end of the line for Coach Spaz if he's unable to reverse course at the school he's been employed by for the last 15 years. Boston College used to be one of college football's steadiest programs, the school that could be perennially penciled in for seven or eight wins. At an institution so accustomed to a certain level of success, it's hard to imagine back-to-back losing seasons being tolerated by the administration.

What to look for on offense: The backs to be fresh. Sure, it would have been nice to have all-time leading rusher Montel Harris around to take a victory lap, but no one on the Heights is panicking over his dismissal. The Eagles have what they feel are three quality runners capable of shouldering the load. Rolandan Finch, last year's leading rusher, and Tahj Kimble, this year's spring standout, are locked in a tight battle for the starting job. Andre Williams is an outstanding No. 3, a bruiser who can be deployed for short-yardage duty. The trio might not produce a 1,000-yard rusher in 2012, but collectively, they'll form a physical and productive ground game by committee.

What to look for on defense: The tackles to dominate. Remember when B.J. Raji and Ron Brace were still amateurs in Chestnut Hill? Okay, so the 2012 edition won't be quite that surly, but it will be difficult to penetrate from the inside. Kaleb Ramsey has been granted a medical hardship after missing all of last season, and will join 312-pound Dillon Quinn to give BC a rugged tandem of seniors on the interior. Not to be forgotten, backups Dominic Appiah and Max Ricci started games as rookies last fall, and redshirt freshman Connor Wujciak is coming on fast. Boston College is going to be both deep and talented at tackle, good news for a run defense that slipped in 2011.

The team will be much better if ... it improves its overall offensive efficiency. Hey, no one is expecting any miracles or overnight turnarounds from this group, but it'll have to produce on a much higher level than it has in recent years. The Eagles averaged an ACC-low 18 points a game, a number buoyed by a 45-point outburst at the expense of Massachusetts of the FCS. Boston College also ranked a miserable 91st in the country in third down conversions, and was 85th in red zone touchdown efficiency. All of these numbers must improve if the program is going to move higher in the standings.

The Schedule: here aren't enough breaks on the slate. Opening up with Miami at home will show how far the Eagles have come, and getting Maine will help get the pieces in place, but there aren't a slew of layups to count on for a strong record. Non-conference games against Northwestern and Army are on the road, and the final non-ACC game is against Notre Dame in mid-November. A run of four road games in five weeks is a big problem, especially with back-to-back games at Florida State at Georgia Tech. Closing out with Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and at NC State isn't going to be fun. BC couldn't get a worse interdivisional draw than Georgia Tech, Miami, and Virginia Tech.

Best Offensive Player: Senior TE Chris Pantale. A player such as Pantale is never going to get the recognition he deserves because his numbers don't exactly jump off the stats page. He caught a ho-hum 21 balls for 236 yards and three touchdowns, yet those closest to the program realize he's as complete a player as Boston College has on offense. Not only does the 6-6, 255-pounder possess excellent hands, an underutilized cog in the passing game, but he's also like having a third tackle on the field when the Eagles are running the ball. Pantale has a promising future at the next level, an athlete BC needs to make better use of in his final year.

Best Defensive Player: Junior LB Kevin Pierre-Louis. Now that Luke Kuechly is a Carolina Panther, Pierre-Louis is set to command a bigger spotlight on the Eagles defense. He's the prototype at weakside linebacker, performing with excellent range, closing speed and tenacity. In only nine games of an injury-shortened sophomore campaign, the 6-1, 215-pounder produced 74 stops, six tackles for loss, four pass breakups and a 96-yard fumble return for a score. Pierre-Louis is uniquely positioned to contend for All-ACC honors in his third year as a starter.

Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Chase Rettig. Yeah, it's sort of spot on, but Boston College is only going to elevate as a program if it gets a little more consistency from behind center. Rettig doesn't have to be Matt Ryan or Doug Flutie, but he does need to make more plays downfield, keeping the chains moving, and keeping defenses from ganging up on the running game. If the junior is even in the middle of the ACC pecking order in passing, it'll have a significant ripple effect on the rest of the program.

The season will be a success if ... the Eagles avoid a second straight bowl-less postseason. Six wins for this school are going to be more problematic than it might initially seem. The Week 2 visit from Maine aside, Boston College is staring down the barrel of a prickly slate that includes visits from Miami, Clemson, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, and trips to Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State. The program—and its coach—desperately need to rebound with a bowl berth after finishing 2011 four games below .500.

Key game: Nov. 10 vs. Notre Dame. The annual meeting between these two Catholic institutions has been an underrated rivalry ever since they first started meeting in 1975. There will be a lot at stake for both coaches, BC's Frank Spaziani and ND's Brian Kelly, who have been feeling the heat of late. Since the two programs must navigate difficult schedules in their quest for bowl-eligibility, this game at Alumni Stadium could go a long way toward determining who is home in December, and who earns a bonus game No. 13.

2011 Fun Stats:
- Touchdown passes: Boston College 12 – Opponents 8
- Fumbles lost: 10 – Opponents 3
- Sacks: Boston College 11 - Opponents 24
- 2012 Boston College Preview | 2012 Boston College Offense
- 2012 Boston College Defense | 2012 Boston College Depth Chart