BC football: Eagles rejuvenated by power run game
Boston College coach Steve Addazio has the components to reintroduce a dominant power run game to the Eagles offense.
Running the football is top priority in the coaching staff’s offensive plans and Addazio realized its full potential in his first year at The Heights.
In 2013, the Eagles devised schemes that allowed senior tailback Andre Williams to lead the nation in rushing with 2,177 yards.
Addazio changed tactics the following season when Tyler Murphy set the Atlantic Coast Conference record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,184. Murphy’s record was broken last season by Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville.
“Andre hadn’t done anything yet but we put that together and created an elite running game,” Addazio said during BC’s media day yesterday at Conte Forum.
“Then when Murph came in we changed our style with more spread principles with some option. With Murphy and Jon (Hilliman), when he was a true freshman, we really had an elite running game.”
After consecutive subpar rushing seasons, Addazio says BC has the ball carriers, athletic read-option QBs and an experienced front five to be an explosive rushing offense.
Hilliman, who has battled injuries the last two seasons, is a burner who rushed for 289 yards on 86 carries in seven games last season.
Davon Jones had 181 yards on 52 carries and showed breakaway speed in eight games.
But the tailbacks creating the buzz after four days of training camp are true freshmen Travis Levy and AJ Dillon, a blue-chip recruit who decommitted from Michigan to attend BC.
Dillon showed speed and strength on several rushes between the tackles while Levy scored on a long run during an 11-on-11 sequence.
“I think you are going to see the running game mature now because the line is maturing and the backs are maturing,” said Addazio.
The right Reid
BC defensive coordinator Jim Reid spent two of his 43 seasons coaching defense as the outside linebackers and edge rush instructor of the Miami Dolphins.
Reid’s top pupil in Miami in 2009 was hybrid defensive end Jason Taylor, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame tonight. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound quarterback hunter finished his NFL career with 139.5 sacks. BC defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni was the Dolphins defensive coordinator in 2008-09.
Reid made a favorable comparison of Taylor to BC All-America defensive end Harold Landry, a 6-3, 250-pound senior who led the nation last season with 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles.
“Harold has a great understanding of how to study film and how to practice and the intensity of it and the environment and awareness,” said Reid. “Jason Taylor had a long reach and (Landry) is that type of guy.”
Lost in the intense battle for the starting quarterback job between Darius Wade and redshirt freshman Anthony Brown is the steady improvement of true freshman EJ Perry of Andover.
Perry and John Fadule of Wellesley are fighting for the third QB slot and both will perform practice-squad duty once first string is settled.
“EJ is a fantastic athlete and he has all the measurables,” said Addazio. “He can throw, he is very competitive and he is just absorbing it all and getting it down.”