We don’t like them. They don’t like us. That’s what makes this fun.
Renowned UConn-hater Grant Salzano of BC Interruption kindly volunteered his time to help us preview the Huskies’ matchup with Boston College at Fenway Park. You will definitely believe the things he said.
1) BC will be without starting QB Anthony Brown. What did he do well and what can we expect from backup Darius Wade?
Anthony Brown was (is!) raw but talented. As far as his success in the 2nd half of the year, it came partially as a result of his development but also partially from the coaches really opening up the playbook to use his legs. It's a cruel irony that after battling through the bumps and bruises that come from that style of play that it was a non-contact play that took him out for the year.
Going to Wade kind of limits BC in that you aren't going to see quite as many big, electric plays out of the QB. I would love to say that with Wade's experience you're maybe more likely to see fewer mistakes, but it just feels like he might be a step behind sometimes with his decision making. He isn't particularly sharp and really needs to make quicker decisions. Having said that, a week practicing with the first team will probably help a lot. And no disrespect (I'm kidding, I imply the most possible disrespect), but he could probably go 0 for 0 just handing the ball off all day and BC would cover this week.
2) The BC defense seems to be quite stout once again this year. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this group?
It feels weird to say this, because it seems like this is never true for us, but our secondary has been really excellent this year. BC is 23rd in pass defense. The corners have been very, very good pretty much across the board -- Yiadom, Moore, Cheevers... they've all been playing at a high level and making plays, and the numbers bear that out.
For weakness, I guess it's against the run (and the numbers show that), but we've certainly improved on that from the first half of the season. Our first few losses really came as a result of giving up chunk plays on the ground. We've done a lot better with that over the second half of the year.
The fact that the BC defense has been doing so well is pretty impressive given that the best player on the field, DE Harold Landry, has been out the last couple games, and was playing limited minutes in the games where he did see the field. It remains to be seen if he'll be playing at Fenway, but he'd (obviously) only make a good BC defense better.
3) RB A.J. Dillon is good. Discuss.
This kid is a grown-ass man. What a joy it's been to watch him play. I mean, just look at this. How could that not bring someone of their seat?
It has helped that the OL has really started to come together of late, but Dillon has been just as important, and probably more so. Frankly, it's when he's not busting out 50 yard runs that has been the most impressive. He always falls forward for a couple extra. He drags piles along to get dirty yards. With BC wanting to go "hard-nosed" and win on the ground, that's the sort of thing that makes a huge difference. It's a lot easier to move down the field when it's "6 yards and a cloud of dust" on each play, rather than 3.
4) UConn's defense is not great, but the secondary is by far its weakest link. How is the BC passing attack? Have any pass-catchers stood out?
I was reading the "Weekly Kickoff" that my colleague AJ Black put together and I thought surely he must be being hyperbolic. 500, 600, 700 total yards seemingly every game? How is it even possible to be that inept?
Then I looked up your pass defense stats. God. You aren't just last, you're really, really last. You allow 375 passing yards per game. 2nd worst is 305 yards. That's nuts. You guys are nearly 6 standard deviations above the mean in passing yards, and nearly two full standard deviations worse than the second worst team. Good Lord.
To answer your question, it doesn't really matter how good the BC passing attack is because apparently you could put me, personally, out there and BC could go Air Raid pretty much unopposed.
If you want a real answer, Thadd Smith and freshman Kobay White have been doing pretty well lately to give BC a passing attack that has been if not good, then at least PASS-able (PUNS!). Against normal teams, anyway. Expect a pair of Megatrons out there Saturday night.
5) Where do BC fans stand on Addazio in what has been an interesting season? Has he earned more time or is the 7-8 win range his ceiling and he’s gotta go?
BC fans are all over the place. We're a pretty fickle bunch. Things were more positive before we lost to NC State obviously... and now everyone's frustrated again. Granted, the frustration comes from the fact that we once again kept up just fine against a team ranked ahead of us, and yet we still lost another close game. That has sort of been Addazio's calling card.
Shorter answer: "Has he earned more time or is the 7-8 win range his ceiling?" -- Yes.
Personally I feel like we've got the talent to make some noise over the next couple years, but it remains to be seen if Addazio can win the games necessary to get over that 7-8 game hump.
6) So we heard that both teams will be on the same sideline. Any other oddities we should know about Football at Fenway (TM)?
Uhhhh... well, I didn't go to the Notre Dame game last year and neither did most people I know, because we didn't feel like spending $200+ to go. I do know that a lot of seats face the outfield rather than home plate, as a result of the park being used for football games often back in the day. That's also why right field is so much deeper than left field -- so you can fit 120 yards in there. So it has those things going for it, I guess.
Also I believe if you throw a pass that ricochets off the ladder on the Monster and into the seats, it's worth 3 points. Look it up.
7) Prediction for this game?
Originally I was going to say that if Anthony Brown were playing, I think we'd win by 40, but with Wade we'd take a step back. I think in any other game we would see a bit of a drop off from Brown to Wade over a full 60 minutes, but UConn's defense is such a horror show that I think either of them would put up pretty similar numbers.
I don't know whether BC is going to start out chucking it to take advantage of UConn's secondary or if they'll stick with their usual ground and pound. I think the answer is going to be somewhere in between, with BC looking really balanced. That's not going to be good for the Huskies. So I'll stick with BC winning by something close to 40 -- I'll call it 48-10 BC.
I would be shocked and embarrassed if we didn't cover the spread. 21 points seems like a pretty unjinxable cover. Again, with all due disrespect.