Boston College runs a fairly straight forward 4-3 defense. We play a lot of zone and call on the defensive line to create most of the pass rush. Under Defensive Coordinator Frank Spaziani BC rarely blitzed this season. For the most part this formula was successful…until Syracuse. Now heading into the North Carolina game, who knows what to expect?
As mentioned the defensive line is the strength of the unit. Mathais Kiwanuka came into the season as one of the leading pass rushers in the Big East. The double
teams he drew this season slowed his stats but freed up his linemates for big seasons. Bulman and Mettling both had strong showings this year.
The linebacking core has traditionally been a weak point under TOB. This season was different. Junior Ray Henderson is a good coverage LB and does a good job
spying the opposition QB. Freshman standout Brian Toal showed an immediate impact and led the team in tackles.
The defensive backs, as usual, were a little small and slow, but played well as a unit. Will Blackmon has the most raw talent, but was pulled from his starting spot after freelancing and allowing too many big plays.
The defense did not give up a lot of points throughout the season. And played well against a variety of schemes (spread, traditional, etc.). But they were susceptible to giving up the big play – with the Wake game being the perfect example.
Before Syracuse I would have said that BC had one of the top defenses in the country. Even after 'Cuse I still feel that way. The test is can they adjust. Syracuse ran a lot of sweeps and tosses -- avoiding the line and calling on the linebackers and dbs to make plays against their tailbacks. They ran away from our strength -- the big front four to our weakness -- the tackling of our linebackers and defensive backs. The plan worked. And most frustrating of all, we could not adjust. If North Carolina comes out heavy against the run, our linebackers and dbs will have to step up.