Discount FSU Football Q&A: Boston College Eagles
We are very fortunate to have the SB Nation network of team locations to work with during game weeks. This week we are enjoying talking to him Neeraj Patel, the chief football writer at BC . County, SBN’s blog for Boston Eagles College. We chatted about Ted Lasso, the indie bands, and duh, the game.
TN: FSU and Boston College didn’t play last season, so it’s good to see you all again. Let’s play catch up. How did the 2020 season go at BC and what thoughts and feelings have surrounded the program this season?
BCI: Nice to see you guys too. I really missed this one. 2020 was a good year [wait] Eagles football team. This was coach Jeff Havley’s first year and the era of good vibes began. BC was in a state of extreme distress from the previous man. Attendance was dropping, the producer on the field wasn’t feeling well, and the coach was repeating the same cliches and coach talk. He ran his course and then some. Havely brought the energy he desperately needed. The team finished above 0.500 and went 5-5 in the conference. They played the really best teams too. They were also among the first to decline the bowl offer and opted to go home – which I felt was handled well given the way they handled all the restrictions. As this year approached, hopes were high. BC was a popular choice for the black horse for the crown, and in hindsight he was right. An elite midfielder with a plethora of great weapons made us feel very confident. Expect many, if not all, to exceed the seven-gain ceiling that has proven insurmountable relative to the previous regime. The win was made by more than seven, to say the least.
TN: After stints in Pittsburgh, the NFL, and elsewhere, coach Jeff Havley was in his second season at Chestnut Hill. His coaching record is 9-12 (7-9 ACC). It’s by no means easy to steer a program through Covid, plus the Eagles also have a transitional category on their roster due to Steve Adazio’s dismissal after the 2019 season. For FSU, both transfer categories have been difficult to manage. How do you feel about Havely at this point, and did the transitional class damage the roster at all?
BCI: It was an incredibly smooth transition. It’s really impressive how fast his heart is. One, yes, it was remarkable how it transmitted Covid. I think the team only finished with one case and it was late in the game. They didn’t end up losing many of the big names at all, and he brought in the right people to fill in the blanks. Most notably, of course, he brought in midfielder Phil Jorkowicz. The rest of the team agreed with Haveley’s preaching and credited him for bringing out the best in the pieces that were already here. You have to take credit for him and his crew for allowing Zay Flowers to appear in the receiver perhaps in the first round that he is today. Havely’s staff have jumped straight into recruiting and have successfully won recruitment battles for top local players and are already miles ahead for the upcoming chapters. I can go on. We love Havely and pray that he doesn’t leave every time. (Personally, I think it will last for quite some time).
TN: BC QB Phil Jurkovec lit Georgia Tech Last week, the throw for 310 yards was done at 15.5 yards per attempt for two TDs with 70 yards added for the lunge and three more pitches. What are Yorkovitch’s strengths and weaknesses as a corridor? Are there any specific passing concepts that BC would love to run under center with, or any kind of stats that could tell us more about the Eagles attack?
BCI: Jurkovec has been described as your Favorite indie band by an indie band Heading into the season when looking at the prospects for the NFL quarterback. He can do everything honestly. He looked less mobile last season, but since his injury – and what appears to be a more concerted effort as the year approaches – he’s lost a few pounds and has been showing off his wheels. He’s a great midfield passer and a perfect fit for this vertical passing team, and he’s really hard to take down. The way he can expand the plays has made comparisons with Ben Roethlisberger. I would say that he can sometimes force things out instead of doing the simple check. It’s really easy to be wary of threats out there and wait that extra second to let them open up, but it has led to objections in the past. Sometimes, that fast paced has to be there. I was hoping to see improvement on the field this season, but the injury of course derailed that (along with ACC chances (sad face). The guy hit the hand he received, so you can’t judge every throw so far. But boy, Did he look as pure as he always did last weekend?
As for the rest of the offense, I would have to adopt it last year for the passing offense. Flowers are the first to be mentioned. The All-ACC receiver topped nearly 900 yards last season, good for second in the conference and top 20 nationally. The offense as a whole averaged 294 yards per game. The team brought back 20 starting players, including all five offensive linemen, including All-American Zion Johnson. On the ground this year, Pat Garrow leads the way and is back 100 yards a day. He has over 900 yards dash and averages a 5.4 carry. This will only improve with defenses worrying about passing on the field.
TN: Jorkovic injured his wrist in September and there has been speculation that he may miss the rest of the season. But despite the surgery, he’s back. However, I see that the Eagles had a slip from four games (three on the road) against Clemson, North CarolinaLouisville and Syracuse. BC is 3-1 at home but 3-3 on the road. Was the streak of loss due to Yorkovich being injured, being on the road, or something else? How healthy is BC now?
BCI: It was almost a losing streak due to Jorkovic’s injury and I refuse to take any stock in those four games. I’ll pretend they don’t exist. And if we win this week, the ACC Atlantic will be on the line against Wake the following week. I will raise a banner. Even without Jurkvoec, Clemson had the chance of even a failed shot deep in the red in the final seconds of the match. Other competitions have seen the Eagles’ defense keep the match only to flinch the offense. At some point, the dam breaks, and this continues for a quarter of each game. The resulting deficit was too much to overcome. Just to take it a step further, training and execution weren’t good during the slip that didn’t really happen, remember. There was a clear lack of adjustments and the offense was not enough to highlight what midfielder Denis Grossell can achieve. I also think it had springs [gasp I said it @Dr Sharon] To some extent.
BC is turbulent, as most teams are likely to be at this point in the season. The concern is particularly on defense, as the team didn’t have a lot of depth to start with. Early and off-season injuries led me to believe 10 of my initial two depth starters. They’re talented too, but injuries definitely played a role. The secondary has been hit pretty hard lately with two safetys, the starting angle, and the nickel all starting to drop. Safety is off-season, but Brandon Sebastian is in the corner hoping for a comeback, while Josh Deberry is upbeat but a little less optimistic. The spare corner had fallen off as well, so there was a little bit of confusion there. Fortunately, Havley is a defensive back master and so it wasn’t that bad yet. Defensive captain and linebacker Isaiah Graham Mobley has been injured for several weeks now, but he’s hoping to be back this weekend as well. The defensive line was in need of the most improvement but he picked up an injury early on from inside. Recently, defensive end Shittah Sillah, the all-name candidate, had a blast last week and is likely to be called into question as well. Offensively, BC lost two veteran receivers to Kobay White and CJ Lewis, but thankfully, Trae Barry and Tyler Vrabel are back in action against GT.
TN: Ted Lasso’s references are always appreciated. You wrote in Your article on BCI After the GT game, the Eagles weren’t great at stopping runs, allowing an average of over 170 yards to dash per game, and they’re only average at not allowing big plays. FSU’s Offensive with Jordan Travis centers around an explosive dash that also seems to clash with deep blasting passes as FSU’s, like Yellow Jackets, rely on cut plays to score. Despite the win, BC ceded 30 to GT. How will the Eagles try to slow down the FSU’s attack?
BCI: The Eagles have had major struggles with their mobile midfielders. It’s not a strong defensive line, which is why teams are working everywhere. They’ve now played these types of quarterbacks for several weeks in a row. Therefore, perhaps they will be more adjustments in this regard. Last week, the team gave up 21 fast points at the start of the first half including the return of the kickoff. They quickly locked things out and only allowed nine things into the second half. Despite the difficulties in the running defense and the severe lack of passing dash (although a slight increase last week), the defense played well overall. They come out third (.328) and excel in defensive passing efficiency (115.79), both good for the top 20 in the state. The Eagles will be looking to continue success in the field and be patient in advance to make sure Travis doesn’t get too wild. They don’t do weird stealth games or anything, but they will continue to play their brand.
TN: Give us an expectation of the result. Last time I checked the line moved and the Eagles had a two-point home advantage. Do you think Boston College stopped FSU’s momentum after beating Miami?
BCI: Something about my happiness and confidence that I am now not losing the above seven win bet makes me anxious. I’ve been feeling incredibly good about the past two weeks, but I’ll be careful this week. I think Vegas is right with the close approximation. Hopefully it’s a little chilly and for former FSU guy Jaiden Lars-Woodbey to shine through. BC 30 – FSU 28
Thank you so much Neeraj for taking the time to chat with us! You can find it on Twitter @niraj_patel7. Click here to read our answers to his questions. Don’t forget to check out BC . County To meet your Eagles coverage needs.