The lowdown on Boston College from an Eagles beat writer

The Clemson Insider recently caught up with Trevor Hass to get some insight on Boston College ahead of Clemson’s game against the Eagles. Hass covers Boston College football for The Boston Globe.

Hass hit on a number of topics during the following question-and-answer session, including what’s surprised him about Boston College so far, the Eagles’ method of attack on offense, the defense and more heading into Saturday’s game at Alumni Stadium.

Q.- How has Boston College performed through the first five games relative to what you were expecting coming into the season? A - They lost by one on a last-minute drive, which kind of set the tone for the start of the season. So they started 0-1. Then they went to Virginia Tech and lost that game. Got smoked. 

Q.- How has Boston College performed through the first five games relative to what you were expecting coming into the season? A - The offensive line was struggling again, and they’re 0-2. Things are getting a little dicey. Then they beat Maine, then they got smoked against Florida State, and then they beat Louisville by one.

Q.-How has Boston College performed through the first five games relative to what you were expecting coming into the season? A - So it’s kind of a wait-and-see situation at this point. They’re 2-3. They’re kind of in the middle of the pack. Obviously they’re expected to lose this game and then Wake (Forest) will be tough. 

Q.-How has Boston College performed through the first five games relative to what you were expecting coming into the season? A - So if they’re 2-5, then it gets a little interesting. But if they can get one of those games, then they’re 3-4 and they can still get to that six or seven wins. 

Q.-How has Boston College performed through the first five games relative to what you were expecting coming into the season? A - So it’s kind of wait and see at this point, but I would say they’ve underachieved just a tad, partially because the offensive line is pretty young. But it’s definitely improving the past couple weeks, so they are getting better.

Q.-Any surprises either good or bad to you so far? A - I would say just the run game was worse than I expected at the beginning. I thought that it would be average maybe just because they lost so many linemen. They lost Zion Johnson, who’s now with the (Los Angeles) Chargers. 

Q.-Any surprises either good or bad to you so far? A - One of the best linemen in the country last year, and the players around him were really solid as well. So without those players, I think it was fair to expect a learning curve this year with a lot of young guys, and I think people were surprised just by how much of a learning curve it was at the beginning. 

Q.-Any surprises either good or bad to you so far? A - But I think they have really made significant strides, and they’ve run the ball the best they have all season in recent memory.

Q.-Any surprises either good or bad to you so far? A - Against Louisville, they look pretty good. Pat Garwo was a 1,000 yard rusher last year, and he’s starting to round in to form. Alex Broome is the name to keep an eye on as well. He’s a true freshman.

Q.-Any surprises either good or bad to you so far? A - Really shifty and sturdy guy who can break tackles and get downfield. So I think the run game was slow at first. To be expected but a little bit slower than we might have thought. But now it’s coming along.

Q.-What’s the skinny on Boston College’s defense? And how do you think it might be able to create some problems for a Clemson offense that’s been much improved? A - I think that will probably be the key to the game. 

I think I expect BC to score a decent number of points. Maybe not 40, but somewhere in the 20s, I would say. So if BC can kind of keep Clemson in that 20s range, which is obviously easier said than done, that would go a long way.

I think BC’s secondary on paper is certainly its strength. They have a lot of guys who have experience there. (Defensive back) Jaiden Woodbey, who played at Florida State, is a really great player and could be a draft pick next year.

Elijah Jones is a good player. Josh DeBerry. Just a lot of solid guys back there.

Last year, teams would know that BC struggled defending to run, so they would just run the ball over and over again.

And their stats were a bit inflated because of that.

But at the same time, the secondary is very talented and played well all of last year.

This year, it’s been a little more up and down. They’re played pretty well in stretches, but they’ve kind of struggled in other stretches.

So I think this is a big prove-it game for the secondary. I think that will be the key to the game.

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