Boston College recently wrapped up their first session of summer practice inside the Fish Field House, and Alumni Stadium. A unique camp, the players not only had to learn a new playbook under first year head coach Jeff Hafley, but had to contend with the added uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yesterday we discussed some of the takeaways from the summer camp. Today let's look at five questions that still remain about this Boston College team. As mentioned before, the media has not been allowed to view practices this year due to the pandemic, these are based on interviews with coaches and practice reports.
5. How improved is the defense?
Jeff Hafley is a defensive guru, one that helped turn Ohio State from a middling statistical group, into the best in college football in 2019. His pedigree is impressive, and his style should immediately improve the defense. Also since coming to Boston College he has also brought in a trio of veteran transfers to bolster the defense as well. (Deon Jones, Chibueze Onwuka and Luc Bequette). The reports coming out of camp sound promising, but until we see the Eagles line up against another team, we will not know how improved they actually are. The talent is certainly there, especially at linebacker, where BC has some real playmakers and depth. But how much has the defensive line and secondary grown since a disastrous 2019 season?
Readers have asked about this group and how much they could grow since 2019. My response is that if they could turn into a middle of the road group statistically this team will win six plus games.
4. The tight end position
Hunter Long is going to be an All-ACC caliber tight end, and a huge weapon in the passing game. But after Long there isn't much in terms of experienced talent. Danny Dalton a local transfer from Penn State hasn't been mentioned much this summer. While Joey Luchetti looks to be the backup, but he isn't a Hunter Long, and has ping ponged between tight end and defensive end at BC. Charlie Gordinier, Brendan Smith, Spencer Witter and Hans Lillis all could be contributors but are young. Tight end is a very physical position, and depth is important. BC's depth at this point is questionable.
3. The final guard position
The starting five on the offensive line is pretty much set with Tyler Vrabel, Alec Lindstrom, Ben Petrula and Zion Johnson ready to go. The biggest question mark has been that other guard position, and BC has tried out almost a half dozen options this summer. Finn Dirstine and Christian Mahogany were the names that popped up often at the spot, but BC also tried out freshman Ozzy Trapilo, and moved Ben Petrula to guard while slotting Jack Conley at tackle. With the talent on this line, we will have to wait to see who is the final cog.
2. Status of Luc Bequette
By all reports, Boston College landed Cal transfer defensive end/tackle Luc Bequette last week. However, neither the school or Bequette have announced it officially yet. He may already be on campus, but it is important to note that in all likelihood he will have to quarantine for fourteen days before he can join the team. If he hasn't started that yet, that could put him in quarantine until game week against Duke. He has to learn the playbook and practice with his team before he gets big snaps. Right now this is a huge question mark for the team.
1. Jeff Hafley's in game coaching ability
Everything that the new coach has done to this point has been positive for the program. Players, coaches and recruits have all bought in to the first year head coach and all signs point to Hafley creating a strong program in Chestnut Hill. However, there is still a big question mark that needs to be answered. How will he handle big situations in game? Former head coach Steve Addazio was plagued with questionable and inconsistent in game decisions, can the new head coach improve? And how will the offense run? Will offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. be calling all the plays? Hafley may be fantastic in game situations, but we don't know that yet.
Some big questions still remain about this team, and we won't get answers until BC takes the field against Duke.
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