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Grading the 2021 Eagles: Offensive Line & Offense Final Grade

Our final grades for the line and the offensive unit as a whole

Offensive Line

AJ: Expectations were high heading into this season, and for the most part the line did not live up to those lofty goals. Christian Mahogany was a revelation on the inside, becoming one of the better guards in the ACC, while Zion Johnson was All American and deservedly so. But there were still major issues with the line. The tackles struggled, some of it was due to injury (Tyler Vrabel seemed banged up all season), but there were bigger issues at play. The mistakes they made both in run protection and keeping Dennis Grosel/Phil Jurkovec upright were a major problem, especially against teams that had good pass rushes. They were able to batter smaller defensive lines, but that is not how a good offensive line should be built, they need to be able to battle against every team, and this year they did not. Positives? They helped the rushing attack find itself again. All in all it was a disappointing season, and there will be concerns moving forward. Grade C

Mitch: This is objectively a disappointing end to this exercise. Entering the season, many expected the BC offensive line to dominate. They returned all five starters, three of whom were seniors or older. They were also all returning to their more natural positions in a scheme they would ostensibly be more comfortable in. This belief held for the first third of the season, with the offensive line paving the way for a resurgent rushing attack and helping maintain a limited passing game. However, the middle third of the season quickly turned to disaster. Injuries and poor play at the tackle spots neutered an already blunted passing attack. The scheme and lack of adjustments from the coaching staff certainly didn’t help the line but their struggles were apparent.

In the final act of the season, the line seemed to turn a corner, coinciding with Jurkovec’s return. However, it proved to be a false spring, exposed by the ferocious pass rush of Florida State that battered and bruised Jurkovec. On one hand, the expectations for the offensive line may have been set too high. Some called them overrated, which I would push back against. The interior offensive linemen were all excellent, especially Christian Mahogany, who elevated his game to another universe as the junior member on the line. I would agree, however, that the offensive line proved disappointing. Many of the issues in pass protection persisted from last year, especially concerning given the cohesion and chemistry within this unit. Nevertheless, they were more than competent in the running game and still gave the passing attack opportunities the quarterbacks could not consistently capitalize on, earning a perfectly average grade.

Grade: C

Final Grade for the Offense

AJ: This season was the equivalent of three seasons crammed into one. You had the first quarter, that featured four wins out of conference. Then there were the dark days of October, where the offense was reminiscent of 2015 in the fact that the team couldn’t move the ball all and getting into the end zone was near impossible. The final quarter of the season saw some return of the effectiveness but a tail off at the end. The most disappointing part was BC’s inability to figure anything out or adjust after the absence of Phil Jurkovec. Dennis Grosel had a very disappointing tenure as replacement, but the scheme didn’t do him many favors either. For a year that had such high expectations, one injury seemingly derailed everything. Hopefully 2022 will be a return to a high scoring, effective offense. Grade C-

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Mitch: The 2021 edition of the Boston College offense illustrated the paramount importance of two key position groups: the offensive line and the quarterback. One could argue that if your offense is subpar at one or even two of the other position groups (RB, WR, TE), the offense can still survive and succeed. However, poor quarterback play puts a relatively low ceiling on any offense. Sometimes, an elite running game can overcome this. But when the offensive line is not dominant, it becomes nearly impossible for an offense to be successful. These issues were most apparent in the middle three games of BC’s season: NC State, Louisville, and Syracuse. The offense combined for 27 points, averaging out to only nine per game. During this stretch of games, defenses loaded up the box to stop the run, and Dennis Grosel could not complete passes to take advantage of their realignments. This offensive futility contributed to some failings by the defense as well.

However, for almost every terrible outing by the offense, there was almost an exact mirror counterpart where the offense flourished. For every Syracuse, a Georgia Tech; for NC State, Missouri. Therefore, with this bipolar offense, it feels appropriate to give them a mediocre grade. There were aspects that worked very well and others that failed spectacularly. Some of the blame certainly lies with factors outside the control of the players (injuries, coaching, etc.). Nevertheless, a middling grade seems most apt.

Grade: C

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