Thursday, November 17, 2005

Eagle Scout

A scouting report from a guest blogger today. Eagle in Atlanta follows Boston College sports and gives Terp fans a preview of what they can expect from Tom O'Brien's team.
The last time Boston College played in College Park was 1986 resulting in a 30-25 victory for the Eagles. Maryland has only played BC twice in school history with a 1-1 record.

On head coach Tom O'Brien's philosophy:

The general philosophy of head coach Tom O'Brien is conservative and inflexible.

On Offense, this is what you can expect: Standard pro sets. Majority out of the I with a TE and two wideouts. Our offensive coordinator rattled around the Walsh coaching tree, so we are very reliant on the short passing game.

We've been a run first team for most of O'Brien's tenure, but haven't had a feature back for two seasons. Both of our tailbacks are sophmores. They both get carries early on and then the staff goes with the hot hand. Andre Callender has more speed and elusiveness. Whitworth is more of the power back.

On Defense: Standard 4-3 with two deep zone coverage the majority of plays. Heavy rotation to keep guys fresh. If the second teamers play well they stay out on the field. We've used more blitz this season than in past. It will either come from the weakside linebacker, the weakside corner or the strong safety.

On BC's quarterback situation:

We just switched quarterback's last week. Matt Ryan's number against NC State weren't that impressive on paper but he added an element -- the deep ball -- that had been missing for weeks. He also has the better arm and seems to make better ingame decisions. He pulled a miracle coming off the bench against Wake earlier this year, so for a core of group of fans, he can do no wrong.

On the matchup with Maryland's receivers:

The key will probably be our DBs against your wideouts. Everyone in our defensive backfield is smallish. And they give the opponents plenty of space. We give up chunks of yardage in order to avoid the big play.

Key player few fans have heard about:

The one guy aside from Kiwi who is a difference maker is DT B.J. Raji. He is a load, yet extremely agile and makes more downfield tackles than any 330 pounder deserves to. I don't know how he keeps it up without getting gassed. He has dominated most centers this season. He is just too much to handle. If he is getting penetration he can disrupt the running game and passing game.

Could tip the balance in a close game:

Special teams: a disaster waiting to happen every week. That might seem like hyperbole. But we never get consistent performance on special teams and it costs us games every year.

I would say EIA is spot on about DT B.J Raji. In the few games I have seen this year he eats up blockers and makes LB Brian Toal and DE Mathias Kiwanuka look great in the process. Speaking of LB Brian Toal, he is a guy I wish Maryland had landed a few years ago. The Terps were in the early running for Toal but went in a different direction and signed Eric Lenz out of Urbana. Lenz has since left the team for disciplinary reasons. With Wesley Jefferson, Erin Henderson, Chase Bullock, Dave Philistin, Chris Clinton and others Maryland won't be hurting for good linebackers next season, but it would be nice to have Toal in your back pocket.

Another impressive factor about Boston College is that they rarely land elite prospects, yet always seem to field competitive teams. In the last few years they have only had about one 4-star recruit a year and most of their classes are filled with solid 2 and 3-star players. They get the most out of the kids that come to Chestnut Hill. Maryland fans would be whining about all the 2-star and lower players that Jim O'Brien has recruited if those were Maryland's classes. Just goes to show that rankings are fun but don't predict a players success.

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