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Boston College Defense Set to Improve Under Defensive Coordinator Don Brown

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Greg M. Cooper – USA TODAY Sports


Boston College football is adjusting to big changes this spring, beginning with the coaching staff. Former Temple head honcho Steve Addazio was brought in to replace coach Frank Spaziani, who was fired after the Eagles’ 2-10 season, and Addazio made a big move early by hiring Don Brown as his defensive coordinator.

Addazio will have free rein to reinvent a program that has been in steady decline for the last five seasons  – basically, the Eagles haven’t done much worth mentioning since Tom O’Brien left and Matt Ryan went to the NFL  – and hiring Brown will have an immediate impact.

Brown was a smart but surprising pick; many thought Addazio would bring defensive coordinator Chuck Heater with him from Temple. Brown has an excellent track record as a defensive coach, and he’s familiar with ACC football, having served as the DC at Maryland in 2009-10.

In the last two seasons, when Brown was the defensive coordinator at Connecticut, the Huskies’ defense finished in the top 10 in rush defense (fourth in 2011, seventh in 2012) and in the top 20 in sacks and tackles-for-loss.

Brown will take over a Boston College defense that was ranked 100th in total defense in 2012, 111th in rush defense, and dead last in both sacks and tackles-for-loss.

The Eagles’ D has a talented returner at linebacker, Kevin Pierre-Louis, who earned All-ACC Honorable Mention last season. Pierre-Louis averaged 9.4 tackles per game, good for third in the ACC, but he’ll need to be more of a leader to help the team move forward after losing first-team All-ACC linebacker Nick Clancy to graduation.

The linebackers this season will be coached by Sean McGowan, who came from Temple along with new defensive line coach Ben Albert. Defensive backs coach Kevin Lempa was most recently at Columbia, but he also overlapped with Brown on Maryland’s coaching staff, where he was the safeties coach while Brown was the Terps’ DC.

It may take some time for the defense to adjust to the new coaching staff, but it would be difficult (and in some cases, impossible) for the unit to be worse than in 2012. Even more promising, Brown’s defenses at other schools have often improved dramatically between year one and year two, so BC fans can look forward to a future of sound defense, unlike what they’ve seen around Chestnut Hill in recent seasons.

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FSU Weathers the Storm, Survives BC

It was raining, it was pouring, Jameis Winston was set on scoring.

The inclement weather had no effect on Winston’s touch and efficiency today, hitting his receivers in the hands repeatedly, whether they were catching the ball or not.

At times where Rashad Greene dropped the ball, Nick O’Leary picked it up. Florida State‘s gloveless tight end was the most sure-handed Seminole on Saturday, hauling in a one-handed catch, a touchdown, and extending drives under the rainy canopy of Doak Campbell stadium.

This game just felt different, at least in the beginning. FSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead on their first drive, and for what felt like the first time in forever, went into halftime with the lead.

Winston was obviously hurting, but his bum ankle had no impact on his poise.

Tyler Murphy‘s ankles were just fine, and he made a significant contribution on the ground, But in the end, it was the arm and accuracy of Winston that made all the difference.

Better late than never yet again, the Seminoles had their most complete possession at the end of the game. Greene made two clutch catches to move the chains, and the tandem of Dalvin Cook and Karlos Williams chewed up clock and consumed yards when Boston College was desperate for a stop.

The bullseye on your back can weigh as much as the mounting pressure, but when you’ve been there before, you play as if there’s nothing that will stop you from getting there again.

In true 2014 Seminole fashion, FSU drove through the heart of the storm and through the heart of the Eagles to keep their repeat dream alive.

Jerry Landry is an ACC Football writer for Follow him on Twitter @Jerry2Landry“Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

On a bum ankle and in the rain, Jameis Winston proved heroic once again.

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Boston College vs. Florida State Score Prediction

How close can Florida State get to the fire and not get burned? Perhaps the Seminoles are Dragon-born.

When you’re the defending National Champs, you have a bulls-eye on your back and everyone after you is a trained archer. The Seminoles are coming off back-to-back strenuous victories, and Boston College is coming off a bye. The Eagles have also performed well on the road with wins at both NC State and Virginia Tech, and they have the propensity for the upset, beating then heavily-favored USC at home back in September

Three weeks ago, this information would coax me into taking the Eagles on a moneyline bet in Vegas. But now, we have a thorough record of Florida State’s incredible ability to finish off games. The Seminoles have outscored their opponents 204-101 in the second half, including a 20-3 surge against Miami.

Boston College will likely head into halftime with the lead, as Florida State is averaging an 8.8-point deficit when they head into the locker room. And if the contest were only 30 minutes, BC could blow up the College Football Playoff. But in those following 30 is when we’ll see the onslaught of Florida State. That’s when we’ll see Rashad Greene break free and burn a seam through the Eagles’ secondary. Then we’ll see Jameis Winston scramble and create offense outside a crumbling pocket. That’s when Dalvin Cook will wait for the hole and burst through it into the end zone. When the water gets hot, the Seminole offense becomes fluid.  

Look for Florida State to put this one away early by their standards, tacking on a field goal late to win this by two possessions.

Prediction: Florida State 31, Boston College 21

Jerry Landry is an ACC Football writer for Follow him on Twitter @Jerry2Landry“Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Boston College has leveled giants before, but can they do it again this Saturday against the Seminoles?

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Florida State-Boston College Preview, Prediction

You could argue that no team in the nation has been disrespected more than the Florida State Seminoles this season. However, you could also argue that they are the most overrated team in the nation. Florida State is one of two unbeaten teams left in the nation (Marshall is the other) and yet they are still ranked just No. 3 in the country. The Boston College Eagles are looking to wear down the Seminoles in a week 13 matchup.

Florida State’s passing offense has been one of the best in the nation this year (11th), which is no surprise seeing as it has the reigning Heisman winner under center. Jameis Winston isn’t having nearly the same success as he had a season ago, but he is still making the most of a scandal-ridden season. Winston has passed for 2,844 yards, 18 touchdowns and an elevated 12 interceptions while completing just 65 percent of his passes. Senior wide out Rashad Greene has become the clear No. 1 target this year, catching 75 passes for 1,042 yards and five touchdowns while the next closest receiver, Jesus Wilson, has just 423 yards and four touchdowns. Florida State’s run game has been lethargic, however, ranking just 105th nationally. Karlos Williams hasn’t lived up to the hype while freshman stud Dalvin Cook‘s stock is quickly rising. Cook is soon to be the team leader in yards, rushing for 508 and seven TDs.

Boston College’s offenses is basically the exact opposite of Florida State’s. The Eagles have one of the worst passing offenses in the nation, ranking just 122nd, while boasting one of the best run games, ranking 12th. Florida-transfer Tyler Murphy has been a godsend for the Eagles’ offense despite his unimpressive passing numbers. Murphy has passed for just 1,293 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions while running for a team-high 1,006 yards and nine touchdowns. He is clearly known more for his ability to run, not his inability to pass. His top targets in the pass game have been Josh Bordner and Dan Crimmins who have 301 yards with three scores and 288 yards, respectively. Freshman back Jon Hilliman is second on the team with 620 yards and a team-high 11 scores while sophomore Myles Willis has been solid, rushing for 413 yards and two TDs.

Defensively, the Eagles have been stellar this season. If it weren’t for the top-notch defense, Boston College wouldn’t be bowl eligible after 10 games. Boston College has the 23rd-best scoring defense as well as the 16th-best total defense in the nation. Florida State has struggled a bit more than they had hoped to this season, ranking 33rd in points allowed and a much less impressive 58th in total yards allowed per game.

Boston College will travel to Florida State to take on the Seminoles at 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 22. The game will be broadcasted on ABC/ESPN2.

PREDICTION: Boston College 21, Florida State 31

Want to see the Eagles take on the Seminoles in week 13? Check out ScoreBig for tickets.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at

Boston College will travel to Florida State to take on the Seminoles in week 13. Who will come out on top?

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