With one day of spring practice for Boston College underway, we wanted to underscore what we touched on from the initial press conference last Wednesday when it comes to the offense.
The hiring of offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian appears to be one of continuity, not upheaval. You could see it in the way Bajakian spoke about not only the personnel the Eagles have coming back, but how they use it.
If the Boston College fans were hoping to see an offense next season that looks totally different than the other ones we've seen under Steve Addazio, they'll likely be disappointed. Obviously, we won't know for sure until the season actually kicks off, but it was obvious how much Bajakian hit on the smoothness of the transition as being key to his desire to take the job. Those aren't the words of someone who wants to come in and do a total overhaul.
And, from our perspective, that's the right decision.
BC's offense was not broken last season. Not only was it mostly effective from a statistical standpoint, but it had an identity that was unlike most you'll see across the landscape of college football. Going with an up-tempo, run-first offense with "12" personnel is not common. You simply don't see many teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference or anywhere that look like the Eagles when they line up. That's an advantage you don't want to relinquish.
Also, personnel-wise, it would not be prudent to tear down this scheme and start over. Even though the talent at the wide receiver and quarterback positions have improved immensely, the feature player remains running back AJ Dillon. He can do more than just run the ball, but you want the base plays to remain hand-offs to him and emerging sophomore-to-be David Bailey.
The most effective wrinkle off those calls are the play-action looks to the slew of capable tight ends and receivers, as most of quarterback Anthony Brown's big plays through the air last season came this way.
Could Addazio have revamped his philosophy and gone with a more traditional spread look? Well, sure, but he is entering his seventh season with the Eagles having recruited into one way of doing things. If he did a total U-turn with his offensive philosophy, the likelihood of a temporary step back would have been greater.
Will Bajakian bring his own wrinkles to the table? For sure. You're not going to see a play-for-play copycat of what former OC and current Bowling Green coach Scot Loeffler did. We didn't get the chance to ask Bajakian on his thoughts about the jet sweep, a Loeffler staple that added a nice misdirection element.
But the meat and potatoes are probably going to be the same, and for what BC has on the roster right now, we think that's a good thing.
Signing Day leftovers
UMass coach Walt Bell continues to have success convincing in-state talent to come on for his preferred walk-on program.
Tewksbury linebacker Trace Trant is the latest to join up after announcing his decision on Twitter. A Merrimack Valley Conference Small Division All-Star, Trant was a key member in his team's run to the Division 3 state title game. . . .
Speaking of PWO players to watch, keep an eye on Governor's Academy running back Quin Stott, who joined BC's class. Even though the Eagles' position room is stacked at that position, Stott was one of the best backs in New England this past season, and is athletic enough to be an asset on special teams if he doesn't have the ball in his hands. . . .
Although he is on the shorter side at about 5-feet, 9-inches, Amanda "AJ" Walker of Brockton was still one of the best interior defensive linemen in the state over the course of his career with the Boxers.
Normally, a defensive tackle his size gets overlooked by colleges. However, credit Franklin Pierce for seeing Walker's potential and picking him up for their 2019 class. He's one of the more athletic, technically-sound players in the state, and his overall strength makes up for his lack of height.
Comings and goings
There are a number of coaching moves along the high school ranks that caught our attention, but the two that have stuck out the most are George Peterson leaving Lexington to take over at Chelmsford, and Justin Kogler going from Old Rochester to West Bridgewater.
Peterson did an excellent job at Lexington, and he heads to a Chelmsford program that has not had a winning season since 2013. Still, that does not mean it is impossible to win there. The Lions were one of the most consistent programs in the state in previous decades, with tremendous participation numbers a hallmark of their success.
We don't know how quickly the turnaround will come, but we believe Peterson can get the Lions competing for MVC Small titles by the time he's done there.
We spoke to Kogler over a week ago about his move, and he stressed how the move was a family-based decision, and a tough one. However, he leaves Old Rochester in good standing, and Kogler feels the Bulldogs will be loaded again for a deep run in 2019 after taking them to the Div. 6 state title game this past season.
Bill Panos was more than just a great coach for West Bridgewater, but a Hall of Fame one, and a model for all small-school leaders. It's not easy to consistently win at that level, but Panos created a tradition at West Bridgewater that was unmatched by most schools that size.
Luckily, that town is getting another mentor in Kogler who has won everywhere he has been, and will likely keep that ball rolling in the right direction.