Countdown to Kickoff: 40 Days
As our 100 Days to Kickoff continues on, we begin our opponent previews to provide a quick look at each of the teams coming up on our schedule this season. Each team has changed and provides new challenges than in years past, so this week is all about learning about those changes and learning exactly what the ACC has to offer.
2016 Opponent Previews - Boston College
DL Mehdi Abdesmad and Connor Wujciak Yeah, this is the part where Boston College fans are just going to want to skip to the next section. This entire section is made up of defensive players, because they lost some key pieces in this defense. That all starts up front, where they lose Mehdi Abdesmad and Connor Wujciak. They both had solid seasons, but combined, their numbers are pretty impressive: 69.5 total tackles, 26 TFL, 10 sacks and a forced fumble.
MLB Steven Daniels And here is the team-leader in tackles from last season. Daniels finished with 66.5 tackles, 16 TFL, six sacks, an interception and two pass break-ups.
FS Justin Simmons One more key piece from the defense here, and he’s probably the best one. Simmons finished with 58 tackles, one TFL, five interceptions, two pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.
Defensive Coordinator Don Brown All of Boston College’s losses on the defense escalate to the loss of defensive coordinator Don Brown. Seemingly out of nowhere Brown led the Eagles defense to be one of the best in the entire country last season. They were disruptive and able to turn the ball over. They were as good as they were because of that defense.
HB Tyler Rouse One of the few bright spots for the offense last year, Tyler Rouse is looking to improve on his limited numbers from a year ago. Last year, Rouse finished with 100 carries for 422 yards (4.2 yards/carry) and seven touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the days of Andre Williams just running over everybody are gone. The closest back they have to Williams is sophomore Jon Hilliman, who averaged a paltry 3.9 yards/carry.
DE Harold Landry Losing two starters along the defensive line is never easy, but it is always nice to have the best one back, and that’s exactly what happened here. Harold Landry, a rising junior, was the Eagles’ best player along the defensive line, finishing with 48.5 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. With still two years of school left, he’s a guy to keep your eye on.
MLB Connor Strachan While not quite as good as the now-graduated Steven Daniels, Connor Strachan is still a pretty solid linebacker, but he will need to take a step forward this year. Last year, he finished with 61.5 tackles, 12.5 TFL, two sacks and two interceptions.
SS John Johnson Here’s the other half of the dynamic safety duo from a year ago. Simmons was the better of the duo, but Johnson is still pretty solid. He finished with 54 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks, three interceptions, three pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.
QB Patrick Towles (TR) A poor Boston College offense got a nice boost over the offseason adding former Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles as a grad transfer. Now Towles has never really been the best quarterback in the world, but the skill and the potential are there. Last season with Kentucky, Towles passed for 2,148 yards, nine touchdowns and 14 interceptions, while completing 56.1 percent of his passes. Towles will still have to actually prove he deserves the starting job, but he gives the Eagles another option that has some pretty solid experience.
QB Anthony Brown Coming out of St. John Vianney Regional School in Holmdel, NJ, Brown was rated as the 23rd-best dual threat quarterback in the country by the 247Sports Composite (0.8517). According to highschoolsports.nj.com, Brown had a pretty solid senior year, finishing with 2,028 yards, 31 touchdowns, five interceptions, 505 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns. He also completed 66.5 percent of his passes.
DE Bryce Morais Out of Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga., Morais was rated as a three-star recruit by the 247Sports Composite (0.8493).
OLB Ethan Tucky Out of Rutherford B Hayes High School in Delaware, Ohio, Tucky was rated as a three-star recruit by the 247Sports Composite (0.8684).
On offense, things seem a little bleak, but with the addition of Patrick Towles, along with the progression of the rest of the offense, there is at least a little bit of hope. On the defense, things seem a little bit more unsure, as there are quite a few pieces that need to be replaced. If you remember my Atlantic Division Preview, then you’ll remember that I’m pretty hopeful about Boston College. I think that they bring over enough pieces from last year that is should be a mostly smooth transition.
Projected Record: 6-6 (3-5 ACC)