BOSTON, Mass. — Boston College might have a new offensive coordinator in Scott Loeffler, but Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables says the Eagles still have the same philosophy as before – a tough, physical unit that will mix things up a little bit with multiple personnel.
Venables said they even have similarities to what the Tigers saw in last Saturday’s gut-wrenching victory over Louisville.
“You don’t have Lamar Jackson back there, but they have another duel threat type of guy that throws the ball really, really well,” he said. “They just don’t get in two tights. They are quite a bit more diverse than that and they do some things exotically that are always difficult.”
The quarterback is 6-foot-5, 253 Patrick Towels, who is one of the hardest quarterbacks to bring down in the ACC. Towels has only been sacked four times heading into Friday’s 7:30 p.m. kick in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Towels has thrown for 806 yards, while completing 50.9 percent of his passes. He has six touchdown passes to only three interceptions. He has rushed for 174 more yards and three more scores.
Not exactly Lamar Jackson type numbers, but Venables says they are effective nonetheless.
“They do a very nice job on how they run and play-action to complement things,” the Clemson coach said. “They have a ton of personnel packages, too, that all kind of create different issues for you. So it is like every week. There will be some similarities and some difference and you have to start over again to play well.”
However, the Eagles effectiveness depends on how you look at who they have played.
Against lower level FBS teams Buffalo and UMass, BC’s versatile offense wasn’t very versatile. They totaled just 344 and 400 yards. The best game came against FCS foe Wagner, who the Eagles beat 42-10. They had a season-high 490 total yards in that victory, including 300 yards rushing.
“That is kind of that feast or famine style of play and they can lull you to sleep,” Venables said. “They have a very nice play-action package out of what they do and as everybody recalls in ’14 we had plenty of guys get behind us against a very talented and experienced defense with pretty much the same style of play.”
Virginia Tech didn’t have much trouble with the Eagles’ offense. The Hokies held BC to 124 total yards in a 49-0 thumping in Blacksburg, Va. Georgia Tech, who Clemson beat 26-7 on Sept. 22, held the Eagles to 352 total yards. The Tigers had 442 yards of offense against that same Yellow Jackets’ defense.
But Venables says BC always has something special for Clemson, and he is expecting the same on Friday night.
“They always have a nice little wrinkle and package that is for us every year. His guys are always tough and physical as you saw,” Venables said. “They have the big personnel out there on the field and we put our big people out there, too, and the next thing you know they are running the ball and they slip somebody in behind us.”
But that was two years ago, and this is now. Venables might say BC is like Louisville, but so far they have done nothing to prove it.