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.