It was not all that long ago when Matt Ryan and Boston College were ranked second in the BCS standings, thinking about playing in a BCS Championship game. It is amazing to recall that Boston College was a top ten football program just a few seasons ago. That is how far this program has fallen as their head coach was canned for flirting with another job opportunity and his replacement failed to plug holes in a sinking program.
Boston College football needs help. A lot of help. The Eagles have won fewer and fewer games for five straight seasons now, going from an 11-win team in 2007 to winning just two games this past season, the lowest in program history since going 2-9 in 1989.
Is Steve Addazio the one to lead the Eagles back on their way up in ACC? Well, we'll just have to wait and see.
Why We Like the Hire
Boston College's football program is in desperate need of new life. Addazio is just the kind of energetic guy that can create a spark in a program.
With the hiring of Addazio, Boston College brings in a high-energy guy who is a New England guy that knows the region and understands the importance in getting Boston College football to mean something once again. A native of Connecticut, Addazio played college football at Central Connecticut, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees. His coaching career started in the region, first as an offensive line coach at Western Connecticut then as a head coach at Cheshire High School where he led the school to four consecutive state titles.
Addazio also has experience at some big time programs, most notably as an assistant under Urban Meyer at Florida. With stints at Syracuse, Notre Dame and Florida (and Indiana), Addazio has developed a knack for competing at a high level at the college level, and he comes to Boston College with at least a little experience running a football program.
Boston College has nowhere to go but up it would seem, so Addazio's bar is not exactly high.
Why We Don't Like the Hire
For the most part, Addazio is grossly unproven as a head coach. Two seasons at Temple have given Addazio a grasp for running a football program, but he enters a completely different situation at Boston College compared to when he arrived at Temple.
At Temple Addazio followed Al Golden, who led a massive rebuilding project at Temple to achieve heights previously unthinkable on North Broad Street. Golden resurrected Temple football from out of nowhere using a strong recruiting philosophy to bring in players with NFL talent, highlighted by running back Bernard Pierce. Addazio had as close to a stacked roster as many will ever have Temple, and he took them to the first bowl victory in program history since 1979, largely with a roster built by Golden. This past season Temple took some steps back as they moved in to the Big East, so we can't necessarily place too much blame on Addazio for a decreasing win total. The point here is we have yet to see what Addazio can do with a rebuilding project.
When it comes to offensive style, there is not a whole lot of creativity. Addazio's run-heavy offense lacks diversity which makes it relatively easy to game plan against for opposing defenses. Addazio's failure to mix things up on offense put a strain on his position as offensive coordinator at Florida under Meyer and it has failed to do much damage against the top teams in Big East play with the roster he had to work with.
Boston College needs a lot of help, and it will take a good amount of time to have the Eagles back in the mix for an ACC championship game appearance, especially with new teams coming in to the conference next fall, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh now having the same recruiting grounds and sales pitches to offer.
What Kind of Talent Does He Inherit
Boston College is coming off a rough season, to put it kindly. The Eagles ranked last in the ACC in rushing offense and 11th in rushing defense. But the roster has a lot of young talent looking to change the tune in Boston. But in Addazio's first year he will have a number of upper classmen leading the way on both sides of the football.
Senior quarterback Chase Rettig is coming off a 3,000-yard season with 17 touchdowns. Running back Andre Williams will be back after leading the team in rushing with just 584 yards in nine games. The Eagles will also bring back one of the top kickers in the ACC, with Nate Freese connecting on 90 percent of his field goal attempts last season (18-of-20).
Senior linebackers Steele Divitto and Kevin Pierre-Louis should be back but the Eagles lose the ACC's leading tackler in linebacker Nick Clancy moving on to the NFL. Boston College will also bring back one of the top young defensive backs in the ACC with Sean Sylvia. On the defensive line Boston College will look to bring back Kasim Edebali for his senior season after finishing fourth among ACC defensive linemen in total tackles this past season.
Yeah, But Can He Recruit?
We'll see what Addazio is made of, trying to recruit to a metropolitan-based college football program looking to dig itself out of the cellar of the ACC at a school perhaps more known for their hockey than their football, as hard as that might be for some to comprehend. At Boston College Addazio will have far less to work with in recruiting pitches than he did at Florida, where he was credited with the recruitment of players such as tight end Aaron Hernandez, defensive tackle Dominique Easley, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and more. Addazio was named the national recruiter of the year in 2010 by ESPN. A pair of BCS championship rings is always a nice sales pitch on recruiting trips as well.
But recruiting kids to come to Florida is a whole different world than recruiting players to come to Temple and Boston College.
Unless your school is based in Los Angeles, recruiting college football players to play in a big city is usually tough to accomplish, at least when it comes to northeastern schools. Addazio is coming off two seasons trying to recruit kids to come to Philadelphia. At Boston College, Addazio's job should be easier because it has been proven the Eagles can build a winner.
There is much to be learned about Addazio. He is still raw on head coaching experience at the college level and he has yet to take over a program in need of a complete overhaul. There is certainly no lack of energy in Addazio, and he will be a very vocal and enthusiastic leader for Boston College, a personality that should help spur some much-needed enthusiasm for the program, but he still needs to show some more as a head coach. A bland offensive style can help build a foundation but against the elite programs in the ACC, flaws in coaching could be magnified.
Overall, a solid hire considering the realistic options available for Boston College, but still some questions to answer over time. For now, we'll play this cautiously optimistic.
Coaching Hire: B