Opposing bloggers have been kind these week in answering questions about the coming season. Let’s close out the week with one more. Purdue and Boston College have never met in football, but they will meet this season in West Lafayette and in 2020 in Boston. A.J. Black of B.C. Interruption was nice enough to answer my questions after I answered his questions about a month ago.
T-Mill: Purdue and Bostom College have never met in football, but we have played a few times in basketball of late. What can you tell us about Eagle Football?
AJ: If you want a brief history, BC football was very good and almost won a national championship in 1940, they reemerged in the early 80’s under Doug Flutie who famously beat Miami with a Hail Mary pass and won the Heisman. After some solid years under Tom O’Brien, his players got BC to two ACC Championships under Jeff Jagodzinski. In 2007 Matt Ryan burst on the scene with a heroic defeat of VT, and at one point during the season BC was #2 in the country (before it all fell apart). Jags was a good in game coach, but struggled to recruit and was fired after our AD got pissed and let him go for interviewing with the New York Jets, a job he didn’t even get. Instead of doing an actual search, our AD hired his buddy Frank Spaziani who was DC at the time, and he was way over his head and basically torpedoed the program until BC hired Steve Addazio from Temple. Daz has been good at times, infuriating at others, and has kept BC at a consistent 7-6 pace since his arrival.
T-Mill: BC has had a great defense but bad offense for a few years now, but last year the offense woke up in spurts. Was it all A.J. Dillon or was it more?
AJ: It was a combination of things. AJ Dillon clearly was the biggest reason, but the offensive line really clicked near the end of last year. BC will be bringing back 7 guys this year that have had significant starting time on the offensive line. Tommy Sweeney is a stud tight end, who could be one of the best in the country, and definitely looks NFL bound, and QB Anthony Brown looked to be going in the right direction before a non contact injury ended his season last year.
T-Mill: A.J. Dillon definitely looks like a stud and Purdue has to replace most of its front 7. What does he do this year for an encore?
AJ: Do what he did consistently for the entire year. The crazy thing about Dillon’s numbers is that he really didn’t start to get the lion’s share of carries until about halfway through the season. Addazio had him start out as a backup to Jon Hilliman (who transferred to Rutgers), and then added more and more to his workload, culminating in the Louisville game and that amazing truck stick hit he delivered on a defender.
Oh my. AJ Dillon just sent a defender straight into the turf pic.twitter.com/BQh67iso9N— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 14, 2017
T-Mill: The defense is likely going to be strong again. Who are the standouts?
AJ: Zach Allen is a first round talent on the defensive line, who was over shadowed by Harold Landry last season but actually out played him. He is primed to really be a star this year, with a real keen knack for diagnosing plays and making big hits. The secondary is also stacked. Will Harris and Lukas Denis are probably the best safety combination in the ACC, with Denis the ball hawker and Harris the hitter. I think the position that doesn’t get enough credit but could really stand out are the linebackers. Connor Strachan missed all last year due to injury, but he is back, and could be the best linebacker on the team. John Lamot really stepped up last year as a freshman and made some big plays, while Kevin Bletzer made some big plays himself.
T-Mill: The Purdue passing offense is likely going to test a really good secondary. Does this become a defensive struggle or does Dillon and the renewed offense make it more fo a shootout?
AJ: I would think of this more of a shootout. Last year BC allowed some big plays, but by the end of the year it became as dangerous on offense. If Purdue can’t contain Dillon, this is going to open up the play action pass which has been sneaky good especially if Brown returns to form.
T-Mill: Finally, what are your thoughts about Purdue and West Lafayette in general? Any of your crew coming to the game?
AJ: I think this is a coin flip game, but I like Dillon against the Purdue front seven, so I think BC will sneak with a close high scoring game. Unfortuantely I won’t be able to make it to the game, my wife and I are expecting our first child right around the date of this game, so I won’t be going anywhere. I know that some BC fans are making the trip though!