October 10, 2013
There hasn't been much stopping Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, and Boston College will have its hands full on Saturday in Death Valley with that task.
But one way to help that could be a successful ground-and-pound run game for the Eagles to keep Boyd off the field.
"That's a piece of it," said head coach Steve Addazio after practice Wednesday. "The other piece is you've got to get off the field on defense. You give this team too many cracks, they're going to hit it. They've got enough talent, you can't just give them multiple cracks. You got to get them off the field. You got to get your share of three-and-outs on them, and that's hard to do."
Coming off his career day against Army, Andre Williams is eager to take the next step against the No. 3 Tigers.
"It's the same talent level as Florida State and I think we're going to approach it with a similar game plan," Williams said. "Just make sure the offense can stay on the field and put up points when we get the opportunity."
Scoring those points won't come easily, though, as Clemson has only allowed one team (Georgia) to score more than 14 points against them. The defense ranks 16th in the country, allowing 16.6 points per game.
Behind what Williams called the best offensive line he's played with while at BC, Williams hopes he can continue to bruise opposing defenses, including the Tigers, with more of the same-running the ball down their throats.
"As an offense, that's got to be our brand: a physical team that runs the ball and wears defenses down and gets the game into the fourth quarter. I don't think that's going to change," Williams said. "I don't know if we've shown all the moves. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel, but you have to be able to dress up your plays in different ways. That's really what we've been working on this week."
And when Williams and the offense aren't on the field, BC will need to be weary of the Tigers' big-strike capability, something that hurt them badly against Florida State.
"(Boyd) is a veteran, big-time guy. This is a tough, tough deal," Addazio said. "They can make you look foolish quickly. Between Florida State and this team, you're facing two of the absolutely most talented offensive teams in America, without question. I don't see anybody else that matches up to them."
Linebacker Steven Daniels knows that he and his teammates will be tested, but he believes they are ready for the battle.
"They got a bunch of players out there, but we got our players," Daniels said. "We're just going to go down there and do what we do: play a tough football game and we'll look up at the scoreboard at the end of the game. We're gonna go play BC football."
The test the Eagles faced two weeks ago against Florida State has prepared them to a certain extent to face a team like the Tigers, Addazio believes.
"We've played an upper-echelon team," he said. "We've played a couple of them from a talent standpoint and one of them from a ranking standpoint. That's going to help us."
Rettig said that all five games, regardless of the opponent, have been learning experiences so far.
"I think every team we've played keeps us helping out," Rettig said. "You learn from yourself and you learn from (the opponent)."
Hostile atmosphere awaits
The Eagles might be hearing the Clemson fight song in their dreams this week as the tune has been blaring over the speakers at Alumni Stadium during practice this week. Addazio is aware of the hostile environment that awaits his team and he's trying to get them ready for it.
"It's going to be a big issue," Addazio said. "This is the loudest stadium I've ever played in. It's like an SEC stadium. We've got to prepare for it. This will be the most hostile environment we've been into. No question, this is severe. USC, we didn't need silent cadence out there. We're going to need all that here."
For Chase Rettig, it's not anything new as the quarterback played at Death Valley as a sophomore in 2011, a 36-14 loss. He believes that experience will help him out when he takes the field on Saturday.
"I think definitely it's an advantage," Rettig said. "It's a loud place. The coaches talk about visualizing the plays before they happen
you also kind of have to visualize the atmosphere in a game like this. It's definitely a loud environment so you just kind of have to try to control it and execute the plays on the field."
Though the team is aware of the challenge of playing in front of a crowd like Clemson's, they're not letting it affect the way they're approaching the game.
"It's a big-time environment," Daniels said, "but like Coach always says, we're going to pack our run game and pack our defense and pack our special teams."
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