The Virginia Tech Hokies (0-1) look to get back on track Saturday night when the Boston College Eagles (0-1) come to Blacksburg for the home opener at Lane Stadium. The Hokies suffered an embarrassing season-opening loss to Old Dominion last week, where they committed 15 penalties and turned the ball over five times.
Boston College heads south, looking to bounce back from a difficult opening loss to Rutgers. The Hokies and Eagles have been annual rivals since their days in the Big East, and this game is always one of the toughest on the schedule.
To prepare for the Eagles, we spoke with Arthur Bailin from our sister site, BC Interruption, to preview Boston College and what went wrong last week.
We appreciate Arthur’s time; he gives us some good information ahead of Saturday’s game.
1. How did Phil Jurkovec look last week?— Shaky. The offensive line didn’t do him a lot of favors- I don’t have the numbers handy, but it felt like the defense was in his face an awful lot- but he also looked shaky even when he had time. He overthrew targets, his reads were suspect, and he missed more than his fair share of open receivers. His best play is when he can get the ball in Zay Flowers’ hands, which is why Zay was targeted so many times. Rutgers caught on to that, as will any team BC plays this year, and that slowed him down. Phil did eventually get the ball to transfer tight end George Takacs- who may emerge as a secondary target for the Eagles- but the damage was done. Long story short, there’s some definite rust there, and his decision-making didn’t get any better.
2. Your offensive line is normally a strength. How do you feel about it this season?— Brutal. There is no other way to describe it. This is a massive point of consternation from the fan base, and it was from the beginning. The Eagles are without Christian Mahogany which means they are trotting out a line that never started before— and that means everyone. Their inexperience really showed. Everyone offensively has stuff to work on, but it’s hard to really establish anything when the line can’t keep the front seven out of the offensive backfield. It’s a real cause for concern.
3. Why did Pat Garwo struggle last week?— I mean, not to beat a dead horse, but it was the line. The run blocking was atrocious.
4. What’s your impression of BC’s defense? How is the pass rush?— This is one I think I’m going to disagree with a few people on, but I think the defense was more than fine. Truthfully, it probably preserved the lead longer than it should have. There’s a lot of experience there— Vinny DePalma is back, so is Shittah Sillah, and I can go on and on. The defense definitely looked poor on Rutgers’ last scoring drive, but there are reports of confusion of assignments leading to the issues. Truthfully, I attributed it to Rutgers having the edge on possession for the game for wearing them down, particularly in the second half. But I think the defense will keep the Eagles around in games even if the offense can’t get going.
5. What happened in the loss to Rutgers?— BC jumped out to an early lead, struggled to get anything going in the first half, and in the second half, I think Rutgers picked up on what BC was doing, took advantage of a mismatch at the line, and chipped away at the lead until the last possession put them over.
6. Who is a player from each side of the ball that Hokie fans should know?—Zay Flowers is an elite receiver that we’ll probably see on Sundays next year. Truthfully he could have gone this year, but he came back, much to our excitement. On the defensive side, I happen to like Vinny DePalma. He’s reliable, he’s been a starter for a while, and he is always in the mix. I like his game a lot.
7. Who wins?— I’m not as optimistic as you, but I’ll give BC the benefit of the doubt one more time. BC 14, Va Tech 10.
Thanks again to Arthur for his time.