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September 8, 2013Overpowering is not a word that has described the Boston College offense in a long time. Even when it's been successful, lately, that success has been a result of things like outpacing opponents, taking the air out of the ball, or just pure luck.
At some point early in the second half, offensive coordinator Ryan Day decided that the BC offense was done with quarterback Chase Rettig, who threw just four times in the third quarter, once in the fourth, and 14 times total. The Eagles didn't need him. They needed running back Andre Williams, and they needed the offensive line, but that was pretty much it.
While Williams was busy punching through the Wake Forest defense for a career-high 204 yards and the men up front finally created holes for him to run through, there was little Wake Forest could do. The Deacon defensive coaches were calling out BC's play calls before the snap, according to Rettig, but that didn't mean they were coming any closer to stopping Williams' power running up the middle and occasionally to the outside.
Although the balance was skewed toward the run game, with 29 rushing plays being called in the second half, the offense as a whole had an impressive night against Wake on Friday night.
Yes, he threw that easy third-down pass behind Alex Amidon, was picked off once, and he got held up in the pocket a little too often, but Rettig still got the job done. That 51-yard bomb to Amidon was impressive, and so was his touchdown throw on the move to Spiffy Evans.
Day seems to have found an offensive strength in putting Rettig on the move in designed plays to get him out of the pocket. Surprisingly, most of Rettig's poor decisions or execution have come from the pocket. Standing still, he can throw off his back foot too much. Something about being on the move, especially rolling out to the right, locks him in and makes him pretty efficient.
Unlike last year, there haven't been signs yet this season that BC can execute a high-flying shootout, if a defense eventually forces that hand by taking away the run game and the potential to set up the play-action. That's not all on Rettig, though.
Yet again, no wide receivers had more than one reception except Amidon. It's difficult to pin blame on the receivers, since there were only 14 chances to catch the football anyway, but this could be a concern, especially in the next two weeks.
It's not that BC should have got the receivers more involved, it made sense to stick with punishing ground game, but where will BC go with the ball against good defenses that take away the run and have a secondary that can at least contain Amidon?
Who knows. There haven't been opportunities to see the other receivers stand out. In some ways, it's a good problem for BC to have. The balance needed to swing back to the ground side of things, but some of that is coming at the expense of developing young wideouts.
Although health and depth was worrisome for this position going into the season, Williams shut some of that up on Friday. He was sick earlier in the week, he didn't practice because of a hamstring injury, and there still weren't many Deacon defenders that didn't take a beating from the big back.
Not much more to say here. Williams is finally back to the power running he showed against Syracuse his freshman year, with a lot of the credit going to his offensive line.
Williams impressive fought for yardage after contact, but the main contribution to the ground game came from pretty much the entire offensive line creating holes in a way this unit hasn't for three years.
The Wake front seven isn't great, but this group has had trouble creating running lanes against anyone. Williams had gaps everywhere against the Deacons. Day had Williams primarily going power right or power left. Then, with those plays building on one another, the Eagles didn't even have to run play-action. They just sent Williams to the outside. That was the variation in the offense.
The offensive line did give up three sacks, though, and letting the quarterback get hit on three of his 14 drop backs isn't good. Two of those sacks notably came on back-to-back plays which took Nate Freese out of field goal range.
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