Boston College hopes 2020 will prove to be a breath of fresh air for a program that struggled to achieve more than mediocrity under its previous head coach Steve Addazio.
After finishing the 2019 year with a 6-7 overall record, including a 4-4 mark in the ACC, the Eagles elected to oust Addazio and hire first-year head coach Jeff Hafley from Ohio State.
Hafley moved to Beantown after a short stint in the NFL but gained notoriety from his time as defensive coordinator for Ryan Day and the Buckeyes last year. Clemson travels to Alumni Stadium in Boston on Oct. 2 to square off in an Atlantic Division matchup with the Eagles in a Friday night tilt.
Expect BC to utilize its skill position players more than the typical bruising ground attack. New offensive coordinator Frank CIgnetti, who has a wealth of coordinating experience in the pros as the coordinator for the Rams and Steelers, will try to revamp the system.
Dennis Grosel is back at quarterback but Phil Jurkovec, a Notre Dame transfer, will likely take over after Anthony Brown transferred to Oregon after last season. Jurkovec completed 12-of-18 passes for 22 yards and two touchdowns at Notre Dame but has untapped talent that could manifest now that he is out of the shadow of Ian Book.
At the skill positions, wide receiver Kobay White is back and set for a breakout year as well as tight end Hunter Long and sophomore wideout Zay Flowers. Running back David Bailey will try to fill the shoes of A.J. Dillon, he toted the ball at least 10 times per game last year with 884 yards and seven touchdowns.
Boston College typically boasts a stout defense but dipped last year as it finished last in the conference in total defense. The Eagles return 16 of their top 19 tacklers from 2019 but need to show the ability to stop an opponent’s offense in 2020.
Hafley’s influence should help show some improvement this year after leading the Buckeyes to a dominant defensive season a year ago. Tem Lukabu has taken over the reins on that side of the ball after his time as an assistant at Mississippi State and with the Cincinnati Bengals. The main area of concern is a secondary that failed to stop anybody in 2019 but there is experience returning to that unit.
BC football players returned to campus on Monday after losing the majority of their spring practice to the coronavirus. The team has mandated a 14 -day quarantine for all of its student athletes and will begin formal in-person activities on July 6. Players are set to be tested next week after eight days of isolation.
According to an article on WGBH in Boston, Hafley told media members on Wednesday, “Now, you lose the time because you didn’t have spring football. But I think we picked a really good time. I think we waited to make sure we were ready and prepared. We didn’t want to rush back into it and we wanted to have a plan.”
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