BC Offensive Coordinator Steve Logan understands the concept of playing to his offense’s strengths.
One might argue that if I inserted his predecessor’s name in the above sentence, it would turn the statement entirely false. (I would be one to make that argument) The proof lies in BC’s offensive schemes and strategy over the past 15 games under Logan, which to the average BC fan, look like day to the previous staff’s night.
In 2007 BC had Heisman candidate Matt Ryan throwing the football 50 times a game en route to an 11-win season. Steve Logan utilized his quarterback’s strengths – namely, his arm – to stretch defenses and put points on the board.
In 2008, BC’s goal since the Spring has been to establish more of a rushing attack.
“We didn't need to try and break any of Matt Ryan's records,” said BC senior signal-caller Chris Crane regarding BC’s first win of the year over Kent State on Saturday night. “Our mantra’s been ‘we want to run the ball’.”
In the offense’s second campaign under Steve Logan and Head Coach Jeff Jagodzinski, the Eagles have a more mobile quarterback in Crane, who spent his season debut running the ball all over the Kent State defense and orchestrating Steve Logan’s schemes flawlessly.
“The game plan was to go out and execute error-free football,” said Crane on Wednesday afternoon. “Little did we know we'd have no penalties and no turnovers, but that's what we were shooting for. In that sense I'd say we accomplished what we wanted to.”
(Editor’s note: Renowned disciplinarian, innovator and program-builder Tom O’Brien never coached a BC team to zero penalties and zero turnovers in a game)
The meticulous Crane led BC on scoring drives of 55, 47 and 88 yards, capping two of those drives with touchdown runs. The penalty-free football is a testament to the preparation and coaching of the new regime, and also the relaxed nature of BC’s quarterback. The zero turnovers were a result of Crane “managing the game” and playing “mistake-free”, two quarterback traits that lead to wins 99% of the time.
Speaking of night and day, BC has a pair of young, speedy running backs to complement the mobile Crane in Jeff Smith and Josh Haden.
“Josh and Jeff are small fast tough guys who can get to the edge,” said Crane. “We put up 230 yards on the ground – I couldn’t think of a better way to start the season.”
Throw in bruisers James McCluskey and occasional RB, full-time LB Brian Toal and you’ve got one heck of a rushing attack. In fact, BC fans saw a lot of that rushing attack on Saturday night. That's not to say, however, that the Eagles won't air it out if need be.
"We're going to be playing teams where we have to put points on the board fast," said Crane. "Some teams will try to take away the run and force us to pass."
Kent State tried to take away the run, but it didn't seem to matter. The Eagles had no need to throw down field to win the game.
In fact, it looked like the Eagles were running the same few plays over and over again. Because they were. But that’s all part of the plan.
“The goal is to mask the same play so a defense can't recognize it,” explained Crane. “We can probably run the same play three different ways right now. Our goal is to be able to run one play 20 different ways.”
When on a single play you’ve got two hand-off options, a quarterback who can throw on the run and turn it upfield, and a corps of receivers and tight ends who have hundreds of collegiate receptions under their collective belt… well, I don’t have to do the permutations. But 20 is certainly not an exaggeration.
“We want to keep the defense on their toes,” said Crane.
In this day and age of beauty pageant college football where style points and margin of victory seem to count to the pollsters and the talking heads more than they should, BC’s win in Cleveland certainly could not be considered sexy by any stretch.
But that’s the beauty of Logan’s offense; he knows just how much of the playbook he needs to win, which leaves plenty of unused pages in that playbook for BC’s ACC opener versus Georgia Tech on Saturday.
So just how much of the playbook did BC fans see on Saturday night in Cleveland?
According to Logan's quarterback, “The tip of the iceberg.”
Michael Chevallier is the publisher of EagleInsider. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.