Continuing our Pitt-Boston College week, I had the chance to participate in a Q&A with SB Nation's Boston College blog, BC Interruption. They posted my answers to their questions on Wednesday over on their site (check it out) and today, I've got A.J. Black's answers to my questions. You can follow him on Twitter and also BC Interruption.
Behold, yinzers -
Like Pitt, Boston College racked up a ton of rushing yards in their opener. That is going to be the Eagles' MO throughout the season, right?
Definitely. BC Head Coach Steve Addazio has come out on numerous occasions to say that the Eagles are going to be a physical running team. Now what we saw last week against UMass probably won't be what Pitt will see this week. BC ran the ball almost exclusively last weekend, I imagine that the Eagles are going to open up the playbook a little more to keep the Panthers honest. Whether that is through more play action, or strictly passing sets (Addazio wantsto use spread packages) remains to be seen.
Obviously, replacing Andre Williams is a monumental task. Can you give us a little insight on the running backs left to carry the torch this year?
There will be three names that you should look for in Friday's game. The main two running backs will be sophomores Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse. Willis was Williams backup last season, known for his speed, but bulked up over the offseason by putting on 20 pounds. He is technically the starter and will see most of the carries. However, Tyler Rouse, another speed back, saw a good chunk of runs as well last weekend. He had some big plays last year, mostly in garbage time but he should be someone that gets some playing time this season. Finally Jon Hilliman, a 4* recruit from New Jersey, came in as well. As he gets more and more acclimated to the offense his role will only increase. He is a big physical back.
With a new quarterback and the loss of Devin Street, the school's career leader in catches, there are some questions about the Panthers' passing game. Make no mistake - the Panthers will try to run, run, run. But if the team needs to take to the air more than they did against Delaware, what does the Eagles secondary look like?
The BC secondary is one of the biggest question marks on the team. Bryce Jones, a junior needs to take a large leap forward this year to become an ACC cornerback. He showed glimpses of this last year, but also got burned on numerous deep throws. He had a good first game, but seemed a little slow on a few longer throws. On the other end is Manny Asprilla, a senior CB, who is probably the playmaker in the secondary, he had quite a few interceptions last year and can make opponents pay for poorly thrown balls. The safety I would really watch out for is Justin Simmons, a junior who shot up the depth chart and made a huge play against UMass last week.
Dual-threat quarterback Tyler Murphy is a big key to the Eagles' season. As a modestly-ranked recruit, he picked up a Florida offer and was (according to Rivals) a two-star commit that was recruited in part by Steve Addazio when he was with the Gators. The bottom line is that the coach knows him and must like his ability, despite the fact that Murphy's offer list was somewhat unimpressive compared to most Gators commits. Are the hopes high for Murphy this season or are there real questions about how good he truly is?
There couldn't be more two quarterbacks that are polar opposites than BC's QB last season Chase Rettig, and our new QB Tyler Murphy. The Florida transfer ran a ton of read options last week and led the team in rushing, which is a huge change from Rettig who moved very very slowly. However Murphy doesn't have the arm that Rettig did, and I worry that he stares and locks in on receivers much too often. Again this was only the first week so it's a small sample size but I love Murphy's ability to move the ball especially when plays break down, but his decision making and accuracy didn't seem very sharp.
Here in Pittsburgh, we're doing all we can to temper enthusiasm after the team's 62-0 beatdown against Delaware. Personally, while impressive, it's still difficult for me to know what we have with this team. From your vantage point, did the game change the feelings of Boston College fans in advance of the game with Pitt? Did the game change their confidence level at all in feeling the Eagles can win?
At first when I saw the score I had the same reaction that our head coach did "that's just ducky". (Literally what he said). But I'm not going to read too much into a win against an FCS team, no matter how big of a beat down it was. I think for both teams this game will be a whole different beast as Pitt will find out that BC is no Delaware, and BC will find that Pitt is no UMass.
How do you see Friday's game shaping up?
I am really looking forward to this game, based purely on a matchup viewpoint. I love that both teams are a heavy hitting, rushing team, almost mirror images of each other. The question will be, what defense will be able to stop the other teams rushing attack and who can get their defense off the field. That will dictate who wins this game. BC was 5-1 at home last year under Addazio (with our only loss being a close one to FSU), so I think BC will continue the home magic and win, but it will be a great game and close on. Let's say 31-28.
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