A JERSEY GUY: Hafley Must Rebuild As Well as Retool at BC

Mark Blaudschun

There is only one way to describe what new Boston College football coach Jeff Hafley saw on Thursday in Birmingham as Cincinnati splashed past an over-matched and under-prepared Eagle team.

Hafley, who came to BC from a year's stint as the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State, should label BC's 38-6 loss in the Birmingham Bowl as a "UFO'' incident.

Something happened, but no one is quite sure, so the best thing would be to let it pass without further comment.

The Eagles were over-matched from the start, playing with a lame-duck coaching staff, an interim head coach, interim offensive coordinator and without several starters including the starting QB and star running back AJ Dillon.

Now it is time to move on.

Hafley's shopping list is long.

He must build a coaching staff.

There are no shortage of candidates, although there is competition.

Potential offensive coordinator Scott Turner, who Hafley knows from their days as assistants at Pittsburgh, may remain in the NFL on Ron Rivera's new staff with the Washington Redskins. Turner, who worked on Rivera's staff at Charlotte this season, interviewed with the Redskins on Friday and could wind up as either the OC or quarterback coach.

A late possibility could be just fired Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead, who has New England roots.

Whether Moorhead wants to jump back into the pool as an assistant, or take a year to assess his situation, is uncertain.

Things appear more promising on the defensive side where sources in New Jersey said that Michigan linebacker coach Anthony Campanile is the odds-on favorite to be Hafley's defensive coordinator. Barring a last minute complication, an announcement could be made within the next few days.

It would be a good kick off move by Hafley, who is regarded as a rising star.

So is Campanile, 37, who came to Michigan from BC, where he spent two seasons on Steve Addazio's staff, and was debating returning East to be part of Greg Schiano's staff at Rutgers (he played for Schiano at RU) or join Hafley's new staff at BC as the DC.

As of late Friday afternoon, BC and Hafley appear to have won that battle.

Player-wise, BC needs help in several areas, including wide receiver and quarterback. With the bulk of this recruiting season finished, acquiring new talent through the transfer portal appears to be the most likely method of getting players who can help immediately.

Michigan wide receiver Tarik Black remains a prime target. Black, who grew up in Connecticut, put himself in the transfer portal last month.

BC fans should have taken a long look at Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey in Hoosiers' Gator Bowl 23-22 loss to Tennessee. Ramsey was the starting IU quarterback at the beginning of the season, lost his job to freshman star Michael Penix and then regained it when Penix was sidelined for the season with an injury.

Penix will be back at IU next season, but Ramsey has a year of eligibility remaining and could put himself in the transfer portal. If he does, Hafley and BC would be interested.


Mark Blaudschun