November 1, 2012
Effieciency on 1st Down
Bookending a game full of stagnant and ineffective offensive possessions for Boston College on Saturday against Maryland were two successful, fast-paced scoring drives.
The Eagles opened up with a David Dudeck touchdown set up by a great punt return from Spiffy Evans, and then closed the game with the game-winning drive championed by quarterback Chase Rettig. If BC is going to keep its winning streak alive on Saturday in a road game with Wake Forest, the offense will need to get rolling much more consistently.
"It's something we do in practice," Emmett Cleary said of the two-minute offense. "We've seen throughout the season that not a lot of people can stop our no-huddle. We have a certain amount of confidence that once we get that first first-down we really get rolling and it's difficult for people.
"It was a team effort," Cleary continued, referencing the game-winning drive. "With the offensive line, we'd been having problems with protection all day, and we cinched it up tight and made some time. Rettig played out of his mind, obviously, and guys were getting open."
As successful as the drive was, though, there were still gaping holes in the BC offensive attack. The Eagles consistently found themselves facing long third-downs after getting very little production on first and second down. It's the main reason BC didn't convert a third-down until 52 minutes into the game.
"Just run the ball on first down better," Rettig said when asked how BC can set itself up better for third-down conversions. "I read some stat that our average third down before the two-minute drive was like 10 or 11. We can definitely make it easier on ourselves. If we're going to run the ball on first down it needs to be for three or four yards, and then a play-action or anything just to get a couple yards to make it easier on yourself when its second-and-long or third-and-long."
Rettig also described how crippling it is for an offense to continuously try to convert third-downs from a tough distance.
"For whatever reason in the game, first downs weren't very good for us," he said. "If we can fix our first downs we'll be able to put ourselves in much better situations. The hard thing is, you're in third-and-10 and the offensive coordinator is put into a situation where he has to call a pass play - and our conversions in the two-minute drill were good, but obviously the defense knows you'll be passing the ball in that situation. We've got to do a better job of controlling our down and distance."
The responsibility of picking up those first down rushing yards will once again fall on Andre Williams, who mentioned discipline and execution as keys to success.
"We just have to be disciplined and be able to be precise and execute," Williams said. "We see in every game it's always the precision and execution that hurts us. If we're not precise and we can't execute then we hurt ourselves, but if we can put it together then like coach Martin says we can score 30 or 40 points."
After opening the season with four 30 points game in its first five contests, the Eagles have only put up an average of less than 15 points per game the last three times out. If BC is going to get back to the scoring rhythm it had earlier in the year, it's going to start with each first down this weekend against Wake.
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