After coming up short in a primetime matchup with No. 2 Clemson, the Hokies look to rebound this week with an improved offensive performance against a decidedly stingy Boston College defense. It surely won't be easy, but at 2-3, the Eagles provide a welcome respite from the finely-tuned machine that is Dabo Swinney's Tigers.
JC: Boston College has hovered around mediocrity for much of the Steve Addazio era, but the burly former Florida assistant has managed to stick around in Chestnut Hill for five years running. Is Boston College ready to move on if the Eagles don't go bowling this season? What are the major gripes most fans have with Addazio's program?
ATL: No one knows what the future holds, including Addazio. We have a new AD, which is never a good sign for a coach on the hot seat. But the AD, Martin Jarmond, has never been an AD before. So we don't know if he will be patient or fire Addazio if the team doesn't go bowling.
I think the major gripe with Addazio is how bad the Offense has been the past three years. This is a supposed Offense guy yet BC continues to have the worst O in the Power 5. That sort of consistent failure is due to a coaching problem in how we practice, game plan and adjust.
JC: While dynamic offenses certainly haven't been BC's calling card, stingy defenses have remained a constant throughout Addazio's tenure. Led by defensive end Harold Landry, this year's group has been solid if not a bit underwhelming against top competition. Can this unit begin to stack up to Don Brown's fearsome defense in 2015? Beyond Landry, who are the standouts Hokies fans should be keeping an eye on?
ATL: Each year that he is gone, the D gets further from Don Brown's style and approach. We are using much more zone this year instead of man coverage. That's the most obvious change.
As far as standouts, Safety Lukas Denis has burst on the scene as one of the big surprises of the year. All the DB's are pretty solid, so that is one Brown hallmark still with the team.
JC: After a less than encouraging first year in Chestnut Hill, Scot Loeffler handed the reigns of his offense to a redshirt freshman quarterback this fall in Anthony Brown. There was preseason talk of Loeffler opening things up for the athletic Brown, but have you seen that promise shine through on the field?
ATL: Brown has been OK. In the first few games, he threw a lot. Since then, they have gotten more conservative. When facing quality opponents, the results have not been good.
Loeffler "opened things up" by adopting an up-tempo style. So far it is not making a difference in scoring or efficiency.
JC: Setting aside a choppy performance against No. 2 Clemson, the Hokies' offense has been a pleasant surprise in Year 2 under the watchful eye of Brad Cornelsen. How do you expect defensive coordinator Jim Reid to try to slow down Josh Jackson and Cam Phillips?
ATL: As I mentioned above, BC is playing more zone and blitzing less. The whole approach is becoming a bit bend but don't break. What's killed BC has been the big play. I imagine against VT, it will be more of the same. BC makes stops, but allows enough scores to get through so that it all falls apart.
JC: Does next week's road matchup with Lamar Jackson and Louisville make Saturday's contest even more significant for the Eagles? Does this Addazio team have the firepower to recover from what potentially could be a 2-5 start?
ATL: I don't think BC is thinking that far ahead. This is a night game at home against Virginia Tech. There is no next week for anyone. They need to pull off an upset and get momentum turned around.
JC: Prediction time: do the Hokies rebound from a primetime disappointment against Clemson, or can the Eagles pull off the upset?
ATL: Although I think the Hokies are overrated a bit, I don't see BC pulling off the stunner this week.