2007 Boston College Preview

Posted Jul 19, 2007

Preview 2007 Boston College Eagles Preview

Boston College Eagles

Preview 2007

By Michael Bradley & Pete Fiutak

- 2007 BC Offense Preview | 2007 BC Defense Preview
2007 BC Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Boston College Preview 

Why would Tom O’Brien leave a program which he guided to eight bowl games (and seven straight post-season wins) to go to a school in the same conference with no real tradition, in what might appear to be a lateral move?

Money talks, and O’Brien, who was unhappy with his salary at BC and no doubt seduced by better facilities, a more lenient academic setting and a broader recruiting base, left Chestnut Hill for North Carolina State and a new challenge. While the move surprised many, it left Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo with a tough job. He needed to find a new head man who wouldn’t demand a multi-million dollar contract, but who had the fire and talent to keep BC winning games – it has averaged 8.8 wins over the past six years – within a somewhat restrictive setting.

Head coach: Jeff Jagodzinski
1st season
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 18, Def. 23, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 17

Ten Best BC Players
1. QB Matt Ryan, Sr.
2. CB DeJuan Tribble, Sr.
3. DT B.J. Raji, Sr.
4. LB Jolonn Dunbar, Sr.
5. OT Gosder Cherilus, Sr.
6. OG Ryan Poles, Sr.
7. LB Brian Toal, Sr.*
8. FS Jamie Silva, Sr.
9. DE Nick Larkin, Sr.
10. LB Tyronne Pruitt, Sr.
*if healthy

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

Sept. 1

Wake Forest

Sept. 8

NC State

Sept. 15

at Georgia Tech

Sept. 22


Sept. 29


Oct. 6

Bowling Green

Oct. 13

at Notre Dame

Oct. 25

at Virginia Tech

Nov. 3

Florida State

Nov. 10

at Maryland

Nov. 17

at Clemson

Nov. 24


2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2006 Record: 10-3

8/31 at Central Mich W 31-24
9/9 Clemson W 34-33 2OT
9/16 BYU W 30-23 2OT
9/23 at NC State L 17-15
9/30 Maine W 22-0
10/12 Virginia Tech W 22-3
10/21 at Florida State W 24-19
10/28 Buffalo W 41-0
11/4 at Wake Forest L 21-14
11/11 Duke W 28-7
11/18 Maryland W 38-16
11/23 at Miami L 17-14
12/30 Meineke Car Care Bowl
Navy W 25-24

The winner of the sweepstakes was Jeff Jagodzinski, the former Packers’ offensive coordinator who spent a couple of years (1997-98) directing the Eagle attack. Though he doesn’t have a big name and there were rumors in Green Bay that his departure was not greeted with wailing and gnashing of teeth, Jagodzinski will likely satisfy the sector of Eagles faithful who weren’t always completely thrilled with O’Brien’s somewhat conservative offensive philosophy.

The biggest question is whether “Coach Jags” can continue the success and perhaps even build on it, while also adding a bit more pizzazz, with academic requirements that are stiffer than many in the league. Inheriting a team with 17 returning starters, including All-ACC QB Matt Ryan, is a nice start, so there’s not likely to be much of a grace period, if any.
This is a good enough team to get to the ACC Championship game, and it has the right makeup to possibly win the whole thing, if Ryan can ease the coaching transition and make everyone around him better. O’Brien instilled a belief that the program could and should win no matter what. Now those beliefs should carry over, even if the leader isn’t around anymore.

What to look for offense: BC’s offense averaged 400-plus yards a game while Jagodzinski coordinated the offense a few years ago, but don’t expect a wide-open attack. Ryan’s strong play will allow for a productive passing game, but Jagodzinski’s roots as an O-line coach will mandate a strong running profile with a new zone run blocking scheme. The return of top backs L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender will provide more balance, and won’t put the entire offense on Ryan’s shoulders.

What to look for on defense: The decision to keep defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani was a good one. He’ll direct a group that returns the entire front seven, which made play after play after play in opposing backfields. A secondary that produced 21 interceptions last year must replace two starters, but overall this should again be a physical, stingy outfit, particularly against the run.

The team will be much better if … one of the receivers can become a big-play threat. One of the offense’s biggest problems has been its inability to burn teams on the deep ball. Kevin Challenger is solid, but he isn't necessarily a home run hitter. Junior Brandon Robinson or sophomore Clarence Megwa have potential and could provide an instant upgrade.

The Schedule: Jagodzinski has a good team returning, with the potential to get off to a big start if the Eagles can get by a road trip to Georgia Tech and the season opener against defending ACC champion Wake Forest. Army, UMass and Bowling Green in a three-game lull should get the team fully tuned up for an absolutely brutal second half of the year. It doesn't get much tougher than at Notre Dame, at Virginia Tech, Florida State, at Maryland, at Clemson, Miami. Good luck, rook.

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Matt Ryan.  After battling painful foot and ankle injuries, a healthy Ryan returns to the Heights for his final season as the league’s most experienced quarterback and a Player of the Year candidate.  He’s got a next-level arm and Brett Favre-like toughness, to go along with a new passer-friendly offense that’s going to supercharge his numbers.     

Best Defensive Player: Senior CB DeJuan Tribble. Senior linebacker Jolonn Dunbar will lead the team in tackles, and senior tackle B.J. Raji is the top pro prospect, but Tribble is the star of the defense. He led the team in interceptions, and with a shaky secondary returning, he'll be vital at erasing one side of the field.

Key player to a successful season: Senior RBs L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender. The 1-2 tandem will likely swing more towards Callender, who fits the new coaching style and blocking scheme beter. Together, the veterans have to add more pop to an offense that became too reliant on Ryan when things got tight. While these two backs aren’t necessarily special, they should provide far more balance if the new coaching staff commits to running the ball.

The season will be a success if ... the steady winning tradition continues with the new coaching staff. With ACC road games against Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Clemson, not to mention the home dates with Wake Forest, Florida State and Miami, an ACC title is likely out of the question. However, for a program that hasn’t won fewer than seven games since 1998, anything less than a bowl season and a strong run in the ACC title race will be a disappointment.

Key game: Sept. 15 at Georgia Tech. Could this be an ACC title game preview? Probably not, considering the schedule, but if BC can win their opening two games against Wake Forest and NC State, it’ll be 3-0 with a win in Atlanta. If might be a must-win, considering the next ACC game is at Virginia Tech over a month later.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Red zone scores: Boston College 37 of 46 (80%); Opponents 24 of 35 (69%)
- First half scoring: Boston College 194; Opponents 107
- Kickoff return average: Boston College 25.9 yards; Opponents 17.1 yards


Related Stories
2007 Boston College Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 19, 2007
2007 Boston College Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 19, 2007
2007 Boston College Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 19, 2007

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