Facing FSU's new defense

Facing FSU's new defense

The signature win of Frank Spaziani's short tenure at Boston College was the Eagles upset of Florida State at home in 2009. BC has won three out of four against the ACC power. With new coach Jimbo Fisher finally in place BC will face his new defensive coordinator Mark Stoops for the first time. What can they expect and how will they adjust?

For decades Florida State's Mickey Andrews used and aggressive man-to-man defense. Whenever BC faced the 'Noles, Andrews would send the house at the BC QB and force BC's smallish and slowish playmakers to beat their men.

In the closing years, BC had success against Andrews by simply overpowering his team's upfront. This BC offensive line set the tone and allowed for methodical running games and some big plays to open up downfield. And facing Andrews seemed to come at just the right time. Matt Ryan won in Tallahassee on a broken foot in 2006, Chris Crane won his first big game by killing FSU with his zone option read in 2008 and Dave Shinskie had the best game of his career in 2009.

With Mark Stoops in town, BC will have to adjust their approach. Stoops will employ multiple looks (mostly zone) and ask BC QB Chase Rettig to make tight throws into swarming coverage.

Upfront it will seem more familiar as Florida State will use their front four in a straight ahead manor. BC's offensive line -- which has struggled with speed -- will have to be sound and do a better job with the delayed blitzers.

BC's offense has struggled all year and is now facing the toughest team with one of the sports rising minds calling out the defensive signals. To succeed BC will need to go back to what worked in the past: winning in the trenches. If they have success there, FSU might not be able to drop all their LB into coverage opening up the field for Chase Rettig.

BC needs a lot to go right in order to win, but the first step will be to play smart against Stoops.

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