Weak offense is a big BC talking point

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / September 21, 2009

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For two games, the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’’ adage fit for the Boston College football team as it ripped through Northeastern and Kent State with ease and without what Eagles coach Frank Spaziani called any “touch of adversity.’’

A day after a 25-7 loss to Clemson in the Eagles’ Atlantic Coast Conference opener Saturday, Spaziani’s mind-set had changed for a simple reason: The BC offense, led by redshirt freshman starting quarterback Justin Tuggle, was indeed “broke.’’ And it wasn’t any better during the brief time that Dave Shinskie called the signals in the second quarter.

Bottom line: Spaziani and his staff know they have to fix the offense in a hurry, since Wake Forest is coming to town Saturday, followed by Florida State, then BC travels to Virginia Tech. It’s “game on’’ in the process of determining whether the Eagles are any good this season.

“We were disappointed,’’ Spaziani said yesterday about a performance in which the defense didn’t allow Clemson an offensive touchdown but the offense was abysmal. BC had 54 yards of total offense, the worst since 1980 when it was held to 92 yards in a 21-0 loss to Navy.

“We’ve seen the problems, and we’re in the process of moving forward,’’ Spaziani said.

The coach said anything could be changed, including the situation at QB, which could mean true freshman Mike Marscovetra will get more reps during practice this week and maybe a larger role against Wake Forest.

“There’s never a quick fix,’’ said Spaziani. “Losing maximizes the problems. The problems aren’t going away. It’s how we address them. We have to manage them differently. The problems are correctable.’’

One of the disturbing facts about Saturday was not just the loss, but what the Eagles couldn’t do against Clemson, which is a solid defensive team but had not displayed such dominance.

BC had 17 possessions against the Tigers, and 14 were three-and-outs or worse (because of interceptions). Eighteen of the Eagles’ 28 rushes were for 2 yards or fewer. Not counting sacks, four of those rushes were for losses and five were for no gain.

“The quarterback situation is problematic,’’ said Spaziani, who did say that a positive was Tuggle getting experience under fire for the first time in his career.

Defensively, things should improve if cocaptain and middle linebacker Mike McLaughlin returns to practice full time tomorrow as expected. McLaughlin, who tore his Achilles’ tendon in a March workout, has been slowly preparing himself for his final season at BC and said after Saturday’s game that he is ready to go for Wake Forest.

“If he is back, he will be working with the first team,’’ said Spaziani.