Boston College's offense took a major step in 2020 under new head coach Jeff Hafley and offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. The team took a passing offense that was one of the worst in the country, and made it a Top 25 unit with new quarterback Phil Jurkovec and dynamic weapons like Zay Flowers, CJ Lewis, and Hunter Long. But they certainly were not perfect. What are some of the biggest questions at each position on offense that we are monitoring for 2021? Let's take a look.
Quarterback: Can Phil Jurkovec's Vision & Accuracy Continue To Improve?
There is no denying that that Phil Jurkovec has all of the tools to become an elite ACC quarterback, and potentially grow into one of the best quarterbacks in the country. However, he still has room for improvement. One of the biggest issues he had last year, was not seeing wide open targets on the field. Many times when plays would be reviewed, there would be a target that Jurkovec did not see that would have led to an explosive. This is fixable. As the game slows down for him, and as he continues to get more and more comfortable, he should be able to find those player. But some quarterbacks never take that next step. Expect him to get to that point but, we are going to need to see it.
The second part of the equation for Jurkovec is accuracy. Last season he finished 8th in the ACC completing 61% of his passes. In a conference full of really good quarterbacks that isn't bad, but if he wants to take that next step he is going to need to hit a few more passes, specifically in the short and intermediate range. This will help issues like getting hit too often, and red zone efficiency, both issues that also need to be fixed.
Running Back: Who Steps Up?
The running back position was a bit of a mess last season. They finished last in the ACC, with a 3.10 yards per carry (as a team), and was second to last only rushing the ball 101 yards per game. Part of that was due to the new scheme, which emphasized more zone blocking technique than Steve Addazio. Part of that was personnel. Clearly, power back David Bailey was not a good fit for this offense, hence why he entered the transfer portal and ended up with his former coach in Fort Collins. But who will be the back who steps up in '21? Travis Levy? He struggled last year, and seemed limited in his explosiveness. But he does provide consistency and veteran leadership. Will it be Pat Garwo, who struggled to stay healthy in 2020? Or will it be a new comer like Xavier Coleman or Alec Sinkfield? Regardless of who it is, the Eagles will need to find someone who can consistently move the ball if they are serious about becoming a more balanced offense.
Offensive Line: Can they return to 2019 form?
The offensive line did not play the way many expected in 2020. The crispness, clean play and overall dominance that should have come from at least four NFL draft picks was not there. There are a lot of different moving pieces here that could have caused that. Moving Zion Johnson to tackle was not a good move, and he is moving back to guard this season. Tyler Vrabel is completely healthy. And the unit as a whole is moving back to the positions they played in 2019. In addition they have a full spring to train properly and work in Matt Applebaum's scheme. They have all the potential in the world to become the best unit in the ACC, and one of the best in the country. But they have to improve in almost every aspect.
Wide Receivers: How will Kobay White's knee heal?
BC's wide receiver group as a whole don't have many burning questions heading into this season. Zay Flowers is as elite of a wide receiver to ever play in Chestnut Hill, and he has a solid group of players around him including Jaelen Gill, C.J Lewis, and Jelani Galloway. But they could have another explosive weapon if 2019 receptions leader Kobay White can return to form. He had a pretty significant surgery that forced him to miss all of 2020, and didn't returned to practice during the spring. Asking him to return to 2019 form, might be challenging, but if he can return close to form, Boston College may have one of the best wide receiving corps in the ACC.
Tight Ends: How will Trae Barry Transition to Power 5 Football
Trae Barry, a transfer from Jacksonville State has the difficult task of filling the shoes of Hunter Long who left for the NFL. Long finished last season as a second team All American, and arguably one of the best pure tight ends in the country. Barry, comes with a lot of fanfare himself. He was an All American last year, but at the FCS level, and many believe he will not only adjust well to ACC play, but become an NFL talent. But we have to see it. We have to see how he does against teams with good defenses.