We are happy to have BC Interruption as a part of SB Nation now. With their great coverage of BC sports and a smart but fun style, the guys are a perfect fit for the network. If you haven't yet, check out their site and you will find our answers to their questions as well.
BSD: After last week's performance there has been plenty of media attention regarding BC's quarterback situation. Tell us a little about the strengths/weaknesses of each of the candidates. Will more than one of them likely see snaps on Saturday?
BCI: The answer the second half of your question first. Yes, more than one of the BC quarterbacks will see snaps on Saturday. Don’t be surprised if three (or more!) quarterbacks take snaps on Saturday. Spaziani seems to have shown his hand a little and at this point, all indications are that Dave Shinskie will start this Saturday. Justin Tuggle will also play. The wildcard will be true freshman Michael Marscovetra, who may also see the field this weekend.
As for the strengths/weaknesses of each candidate, if you ask Spaziani, all three candidates have done little to separate themselves from the pack. This seems to be the reason why we are now three games into the season and a starter has yet to emerge. Early on, Tuggle seems to be making better decisions and has the best ability to run with the ball. Shinskie has looked rusty, particularly in the Clemson game, but has a bit stronger arm. Some say that Marscovetra has the best arm of the bunch, but he is the youngest and most unproven of the bunch.
To be honest, it won’t matter who we throw under center on Saturday if the offensive line doesn’t step up their game.
BSD: It seems that BC's defense has been stout for the past several years. What are the strongest areas of the D this season? Has the run defense been able to at least partially counteract the loss of B.J. Raji?
BCI: The strength is in the secondary. Safeties Wes Davis and Marcellus Bowman have been solid contributors to the Eagles secondary. Corners Roderick Rollins (Sr.) and DeLeon Gause (Jr.) have also been solid. Behind these guys is a wealth of talent including Jim Noel, Okechukwu Okoroha, and Donnie Fletcher. The Eagles led the country in interceptions last year (26), and the secondary has been equally as strong this year, ranking #5 in pass defense.
The surprise has been in the linebacking corps. With the losses of Mark Herzlich, Mike McLaughlin and Will Thompson, the Eagles have had to rely on a very young linebacking corps early. Freshman Luke Kuechly has played very well through three games, filling in for the injured McLaughlin. McLaughlin returns to the field this weekend, but I would expect both Kuechly and McLaughlin to share the workload at MLB.
While it is hard to replace nearly 800 pounds at defensive tackle in B.J. Raji and Ron Brace, so far the Eagles front four have held serve. For the Northeastern and Kent State games, the Eagles held our opponents to under 100 yards rushing. At Clemson, we held Spiller & co. to 151 yards on the ground.
BSD: It feels like Rich Gunnell has been at BC for 8 years, especially after the dagger he delivered to Wake Forest late in the game last year. Is he the primary deep threat this season? What other receivers should we keep an eye on?
BCI: Gunnell is still the primary deep threat for the Eagles, but he isn’t the only threat in the receiving corps. Keep an eye on Justin Jarvis and Colin Larmond, Jr. RS Freshman Clyde Lee has also been a pleasant surprise. He’s a burner and has averaged 10.7 yards per catch. Clarence Megwa, returning from a nasty broken leg injury suffered last year at Clemson, is also a solid contributor in the group of Eagle receivers.
The tough part about evaluating the receivers, quite frankly, is that they haven’t seen the ball much. Given the offensive line struggles and the dismal offensive performance at Clemson, the Eagles offense hasn’t been able to get these guys the ball much. Of the group, only Gunnell and Larmond Jr. has eclipsed 100 yards on the season through 3 games.
BSD: How do you feel the crowd will be this weekend? Is the general tone of the BC fanbase optimistic for the remainder of the season?
BCI: The game is currently close to (and should) sell out because it is Boston College’s Parents’ Weekend. This is good news that most of the seats will be filled on Saturday but it probably won't be one of the loudest crowds ever at Alumni Stadium. Many of those fans might be those parents who just come to one game a year or this might be their first game ever. Also as a result, the students might not be quite as game ready as they would otherwise be for a 2:00 game.
As for the general tone of the fanbase, even though we are three weeks in, I still don’t think anyone really knows what the Eagles have. Particularly so on offense. The coaching staff’s indecision on a starting QB has certainly contributed to this feeling. This weekend’s game will be a huge litmus test in terms of finding out exactly what we have. If the Deacons simply blow the Eagles out of the water on Saturday, with tough games against Florida State, Virginia Tech and NC State coming up, I fear that the wheels will fall off the Eagles bandwagon.
BSD: What concerns you the most about facing Wake Forest?
BCI: Misdirection plays. Wake always has a play or two against BC that looks like it’s going right until some speedster comes down the left side with the ball for a 30 yard gain. Those plays worry me. If BC can keep Wake from getting a few big plays, BC will come out on top.
BSD: How has the new coaching staff graded out so far? Which changes in strategy have been welcomed and which ones are many of the fans questioning?
BCI: I have to cop out on this one and give Coach Spaziani and the Eagles coaching staff an incomplete here. The Eagles have beaten the teams they were supposed to beat and suffered a humiliating defense at Clemson (humiliating, at least on the offensive side of the ball. Maybe a bit on special teams too. Why you actually kick to Spiller? We have no idea). This week is the Eagles new coaching staff’s first test. Can they rebound from the loss to Clemson and have the young Eagles ready on Sunday? Will the offensive line come to play? Will we continue to be conservative with the offensive playcalling? Still a lot of unanswered questions on this test so we really can’t grade the job this coaching staff has done quite yet.
BSD: For Wake fans making the trip to Chestnut Hill, what hometown digs are must-visits? (restaurants, bars, etc)
BCI: For starters know that most of the action will take place in Cleveland Circle. The BC dive bar of choice is MaryAnn’s in Cleveland Circle, but I can’t imagine that would be any fun for Wake Forest fans to go to. In the Circle, there are some good bar/restaurants to check out (Roggie’s / Cityside) as well as choice of two solid pizza places (Presto's or Pino's). Finally, no trip is complete without attempting the Godzilla burger challenge at Eagle’s Deli. When on campus, both Shea Field and the Mods (an area of modular apartments for the senior class that is home to some of the best pre-game tailgates) are fun scenes to experience.
BSD: The last few games between Wake and BC have been very entertaining and meaningful in the overall ACC race. Any predictions?
BCI: The past few years’ Wake-BC games have always gone down to the wire and have had some very strange and wild finishes. I don’t expect this year to be any different. Riley Skinner has struggled in his three games against the Eagles, posting a 3:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. I’ll predict these struggles continue for Skinner on Saturday. Of course we’re biased, but I think with the game at home, the Eagles will do just enough on offense and the defense will remain stout, possibly turning a Wake Forest turnover into points. Eagles win 23-21.