The Q&A comes at you this week with an interview with Niraj Patel of BC Interruption. The Eagles and new head coach Jeff Hafley hope to salvage their season after a 4 game losing streak, which was broken last week against the Hokies with the return of the injured QB1, Phil Jurkovec. The Eagles come to Atlanta with some momentum and trending upward, so it will be yet another test to see if Geoff Collins’ social media presence and twitter account dedicated to his shoes are cool enough to win games on the football field.
1. Without being super fluent in all things BC, I saw last week was Red Bandana day for the Eagle’s game against VT. For those of us unfamiliar, what can you tell me about that tradition?
The Red Bandana Game is a great tradition. It started in 2014 and is in memory of Welles Crowther, a former BC lacrosse player who heroically saved many lives on 9/11. Welles was working in the South Tower, and sprung to action to help those in need. A number of people recounted a man wearing a red bandana who helped save their lives, which was later discovered to be Welles — who sacrificed his life that day. Highly encourage anyone who hasn’t seen the full video of the Man in the Red Bandana to check it out. It is a bit annoying that the game doesn’t often take place near the anniversary. I get it with scheduling sometimes, but it just doesn’t feel right. This year, BC was on the road on September 11th, and still donned the special red bandana uniforms in commemoration.
2. I know a lot of BC fans were very excited to get QB Jurkovic back last week after what was thought to be a season-ending injury. What part did he play in the victory over the Hokies and breaking the 4 game losing streak? His stat line is efficient but not eye-popping, is he that much of a difference maker at the position?
Phil Jurkovec completely revitalized the team last week. You’re right that his numbers weren’t anything we’re accustomed to, but he clearly exuded confidence throughout the team and his leadership was on full display. The problems with BC the past four weeks have been complete ineptitude on offense. The scoring and yards per play plummeted, and teams quickly realized that the backup couldn’t really stretch the field. Jurkovec only ended up throwing 13 passes, but he was able to connect on a couple of gorgeous deep balls which had been missing from the offense. He had some rust and got picked off once (should have been twice) when trying to make an off script play down the field, but it wasn’t that shocking given the severe lack of practice time and need to build back timing with receivers. He’s a huge difference maker. Honestly, it felt like the ball just magically found its way back to BC. Even when he made mistakes, deflections, fumbles, everything was coming up Eags. Last week also saw BC play conservatively. It was a lot of ball control and field position in part definitely to ease Phil back in. It’s only a matter of time before the prolific offense we all expected to show up.
3. I see that BC plays Wake on the traditional “rivalry week” Saturday, is that who you would consider your biggest rival? If not, who would it be? And does it vary by sport at all?
This is a great question. It’s not often Wake for this week, although the game has been somewhat comically referred to as #TheRivalry by some. We’ve played Syracuse a number of times for the typical rivalry week. That game had a lot of fanfare inside the building. Syracuse might be the closest thing to a rival in football, with the old Big East ties and what not. Wake is a good one too though, but there isn’t much substance to the rivalry. It definitely varies by sport. There’s a level of rivalry with Notre Dame historically speaking but I wouldn’t say it’s all that’s reciprocated. Hockey is big at BC and there are a number of regional rivals. Unfortunately, those rivals don’t have football or don’t count. I think every BC fan has a team or two that they see as their own personal nemesis, but the big school rivalry just doesn’t really exist in football.
4. What’s the Eagles fans’ consensus so far on Hafley? Are you excited about the direction the program is going? What do you want to see him improve upon?
All love. Hafley quickly turned around the general lackluster sentiment around the program. Fans are packing the stadium, the alumni fervor is strong, and former players feel like they’re so much closer to the program now. Hafley is more transparent and makes himself more open to everyone. The on-field performance has also been up to par. He’s helped BC usher in a more modern offense, while still maintaining typical BC archetypes. Recruiting is at a huge high as well.
I’d like to have seen a bit more from him during the stretch without Jurkovec. He still needs to prove himself to me in terms of making in game adjustments. Last season, we often saw the team put together a great half of football, only to see it all come apart. This season, during said losing streak, the lack of adjustments were on full display. As he continues to construct the roster in his image, there won’t be any excuses and we’ll need to see improvement on this front.
5. Georgia Tech’s offense has been a mixed bag this year, to put it nicely, so who or what position group are you hoping to see have a big day on defense in order for BC to win back-to-back games here in November?
There are some injuries at each level of the defense, but I’d say most of all I would like to see improvement on the containment of Jeff Sims. BC historically hasn’t had the most success containing more mobile quarterbacks, and this season has seen running backs feast as well. The defensive front is who I’ll key in on here. They’ll be most indicative of how the game goes.
6. And finally, how does this game play out? Who wins and how?
I’m feeling on top of the world with regards to BC football after the surprise return of Jurkovec. With that, I’ll take BC 35-20.
Thanks again to Niraj for taking the time to chat with us this week. Don’t forget to head over to BC Interruption to check out my answers to his questions.
We’ll see you at Bobby Dodd on Saturday.