The Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation is hosting the football season's first ACC roundtable discussion. We did our best to answer his questions about Boston College as did other ACC bloggers representing (hopefully) 11 of the 12 programs. Over the next few days, Tomahawk Nation will post a wrap-up of all the participating blogs' answers.
Here are TN's questions and our answers:
Will your team be better than last year, why or why not? Will it show in the record, why or why not?
BC will likely be better on the offensive side of the ball and worse on the defense side. Overall, this is probably a net loss. Unfortunately, this will show in the Eagles' final record. Notre Dame has a better chance of beating the Eagles this year (the game in South Bend). Our game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg is nearly a sure loss, and it's difficult to find definite wins on our ACC schedule. A record of 9-3 (5-3 ACC) is likely a best, best case scenario with anywhere from 6-6 to 8-4 a possibility. In all liklihood the Eagles won't surpass their 2008 win total.
The ACC has been racked hard by injuries in the off-season. Which guys did your team lose and how will you replace them if you can? On the flip side, who are the newcomers expected to step up, if any?
I don't know if you can call it an injury per se, but obviously the biggest void for the Eagles to fill this season is in the linebacking corps with the loss of All-American Mark Herzlich. Add to this the uncertainty of when Mike McLaughlin will return from tearing his Achilles back in March, and the Eagles will need newcomers to step up at linebacker. The Eagles will look to sophomores Dominick LeGrande and Will Thompson to fill the holes left by Herzlich and McLaughlin. Spaz will likely also rotate in redshirt freshmen Alex DiSanzo and Nick Clancy as well as senior Kevin Distaso. Of that group, however, only Will Thompson has significant experience as he played behind Robert Francois. These Eagles will hopefully step up, but it would be unreasonable to expect them to completely fill the void left by Herzlich and McLaughlin.
Incumbent starting quarterback Dominique Davis leaving for academic reasons might actually be a blessing in disguise. This allowed the Eagles to go out and recruit another quarterback in Dave Shinskie, who appears to be the front-runner for the starting position. Also, where Jeff Jagodzinski and Steve Logan favored more of the duel-threat style quarterback (Davis and Tuggle), early it appears Frank Spaziani and OC Gary Tranquill favor more of the traditional, pro-style quarterback (Shinskie, Marscovetra, Rettig, Bordner).
Less importantly, it would have been nice to see WR Clarence Megwa back in pads during the Eagles opening practices, however Megwa injured his right hand and has had to sit out of practice. If Megwa can get back on the field, he will join a talented wide receiving corps that has the potential to be one of the better units in the conference (provided the starting QB can get them the ball). Still, we are glad Megwa is back and has recovered from a fairly gruesome broken leg injury suffered vs. Clemson last season. Again, if the QB can get the receivers the ball, I would expect big things from seniors Rich Gunnell, Clarence Megwa and Justin Jarvis. Hopefully, Ifeanyi Momah will step up and serve as more than a goal-line, possession receiver.
Which existing player (or group of players) must step their game up in order for your team to over-achieve?
Without a doubt, the preseason focus is on the starting quarterback position. We will only go as far as our starting quarterback will take us. Right now, the candidates are trying to shake off the rust in practice as no QB has any FBS game experience.
The Eagles proved last year that they could make noise in the ACC simply by having a competent, game-managing quarterback. If David Shinskie (or Tuggle/Marscovetra) can manage the game and not lose games a la Chris Crane, the Eagles will likely live up to or slightly surpass their preseason expectations. However, the starting quarterback will have to step up their game and be even better than Crane was last season if Eagles fans expect the team to overachieve this season. There are too many questions on the defensive side of the ball this season. To overachieve, BC will have to win the games they won last year with defense (Notre Dame, Virginia Tech round 1, Florida State) with their offense.