(An outsiders musings about what is happening at Boston College, aka The Heights)
A year ago, Boston College entered the final phase of its regular season in a crisis mode. The Eagles were 4-6, coming off a bad loss to Florida State, with an ineffective quarterback, needing to win their final two games to become bowl eligible.
One of the decisions that BC coach Steve Addazio had to make was whether to end the redshirt season of a highly touted freshman quarterback (Anthony Brown).
Fast forward the clock.
BC enters the final phase of the regular season in a semi-crisis mode. The Eagles are 5-5, and coming off a close, but significant loss to North Carolina State. They need to win one of their next two games against UConn or Syracuse to become bowl eligible. And they are doing it without an established QB because Anthony Brown went down last week with a major injury to his right knee which could keep him sidelined until the middle of next season.
One of the decisions that Addazio must make this week is whether to end the redshirt season of a highly touted freshman quarterback (EJ Perry).
Adding to the intrigue is the possibility that if BC does finish with a pair of losses, new BC athletic director Martin Jarmond could decide that five seasons without a clear sign of progress in the program is enough to look for a new coach.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
The next chapter of this drama will be played out Saturday night at Fenway Park against a UConn team which on paper does not look like a major challenge for the Eagles.
There are complications--the loss of Brown, rain in the forecast and a decreasing lack of confidence in redshirt junior Darius Wade, who will probably be the starter against UConn, but could be lifted very early in the proceedings if the Eagles struggle on offense as they did in the second half in the loss to NC State a week ago.
A year ago, Addazio decided to stick with his starter, graduate senior transfer Patrick Towles, and the Eagles ended the year with a pair of victories to become bowl eligible. They went to 7-6 with a win over Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.
Addazio conceded later that he probably should have played Brown last season, which would have given him some valuable experience going into this season.
Now, Addazio must make the same decision about Perry, who came to the Eagles as a highly touted QB from Andover, Ma.
Addazio has hedged his bets all week about who will be playing QB against UConn. Wade remains the starter on the depth chart, but that could change in a heart beat or in a series. Complicating the situation is the extent of Brown's knee injury, which could keep him on the sidelines until the middle of next season.
""Darius has been preparing hard and playing hard,''' said Addazio earlier this week. ""EJ Perry is completely on board and ready to play. So that's already been discussed early with me and his family and he has a tremendous, competitive mindset.''
Addazio is not closing any doors. ""All things are on the table,'' he said. ""Whatever it takes.''
If that is the case and Wade cannot do the job--and there is very little support for Wade as a long term QB anywhere in the BC football offices or elsewhere--and he doesn't play Perry, BC will start its second consecutive season with a QB with no college football experience.
There appears to be little doubt about what the BC game plan will be no matter who is playing QB. Give freshman RB AJ Dillon the ball.
BC needs to win the game on Saturday because beating Syracuse in the Carrier Dome has always been a problem for the Eagles. The Eagles have not beaten Syracuse at home since 2010 and have won only two meetings against the Orange in the Dome since 1997.
The bigger picture of where the Eagles are at QB is even more perplexing. With Brown's injury there is no clear line of succession.
Perry could be the right QB at the right time for the Eagles or it could be too early or he could fail to live up to high expectations. No one has any answers to any of those questions right now.
What is more clear is that BC needs to win on Saturday night and Addazio, knowing what is at stake for himself and the program, is willing to do what is necessary to make that happen.[/membership]