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Summer Scheming ‘23: Boston College Eagles

The Hurricanes will have to overcome holiday distractions and colder weather to face the Boston College Eagles on Black Friday to end the 2023 regular season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 19 Boston College at Notre Dame Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes will head north on Black Friday to face the Boston College Eagles on Friday, November 24th. Miami is at home against Louisville the week prior, while BC is at Pitt on the previous Thursday. Miami and BC has a start time, noon on ABC. Miami holds an 24-6 all-time record over BC, but the Eagles won the last matchup between the two, in 2018.

Jeff Hafley, a defensive backs coach by trade, is a former wide receiver at Siena College. After playing at Siena, Hafley coached running backs at WPI. Hafley switched to the defensive side of the ball for his second year in coaching and hasn’t looked back since.

Over two decades, Hafley has also coached at Albany, Pitt, Rutgers, and with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, and San Francisco 49ers before finally serving as co-DC at Ohio State before taking the head job at BC. At BC, Hafley has put together a 15-20 record (9-17 in the ACC) while being eligible for two bowl game appearances.

Per Bill Connelly’s SP+, the Eagles are the 72nd overall team in FBS heading into the 2023 season. BC is ranked 87th on offense and 53rd on defense.

Summer Scheming SWOT Analysis

This year’s Summer Scheming will look different than in years past by featuring a SWOT Analysis on each opponent the Hurricanes will face in the 2023 season. SWOT in this iteration will stand for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Traditions* (not Threats). We’ll discuss one cool tradition from each of the football programs on the ‘23 schedule.

Strengths: DE, CB

For all of the Eagles woes in 2022 under Hafley, defensive end wasn’t one of them. Donovan Ezeiruaku and Neto Okpala combined for 21.5 TFL’s, 10.5 sacks and four PBU’s a year ago. Having dominant edge play can help the rest of the roster to settle into their roles.

Cornerback is another strength for BC. Elijah Jones logged 13 PBU’s with two INT’s and three TFL’s last year. He’ll be joined by Harvard graduate transfer Alex Washington. The safety room has two returning players and a transfer from Long Island University.

Weaknesses: Talent, no QB1

Hafley’s squad has slumped from six wins in ‘20 and ‘21 to just a 3-9 record in 2022. Boston College just hasn’t added the midwestern talent one would have expected but has hit up the east coast fairly consistently. BC just hasn’t had the speed and explosive playmaking needed to consistently score, or stop, touchdowns.

Now they’ll be in a bind without a true number one quarterback. Six-foot-five, 230 pound Emmett Morehead steps in for Phil Jurkovec who transferred to Pitt this off-season. Morehead threw 10 TD’s and six INT’s a year ago. He averaged only 6.5 yards per pass attempt in ‘22.

Morehead is sharing time with junior Matthew Rueve and UCF transfer Thomas Castellanos as well as freshman Jacobe Robinson. Castellanos and Robinson are more dual-threat types where Rueve and Morehead are pro style QB’s. You know what they say- when you have four QB’s you really have no QB’s.

Opportunities: New OC, O’Keefe

Steve Shimko is the new Boston College quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Shimko previously served as tight ends coach under OC John McNulty. McNulty lasted one year with the Eagles. Prior to BC, Shimko was with the Seattle Seahawks as an assistant QB’s coach working with Russell Wilson.

Speaking of the offense, UCF transfer WR Ryan O’Keefe comes to BC for a change of venue. In the Gus Malzahn offense O’Keefe was used as a wingback type with ~75 receptions and ~20 carries per season.

Under Josh Heupel the five-foot-ten receiver was a big play threat with almost 20 yards per catch. He could be the big play threat BC needs to open up the run game and raise their points per game from a lowly 122nd in FBS.

Traditions: Red Bandana

BC alumni Welles Crowther is honored by the annual Red Bandana Game at Boston College. Crowther was a hero on 9/11 by sacrificing his life in the World Trade Center.

For those who do not know the story, Boston College’s annual Red Bandanna game is held each football season to honor 9/11 hero Welles Crowther, a BC alum who heroically sacrificed himself to save many lives during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center buildings on September 11th, 2001. You can learn more about Welles Crowther’s story by watching the full documentary here.

Eagles scheme remix

With Boston College having a new offensive coordinator and a quarterback competition, I’m giving them the Georgia Tech treatment from the Yellow Jackets SS piece. We’ll look at a few plays from each QB and how the defense played them via “What’s open?” for Miami.

The offense at BC loves 11 (one running back, one tight end) and 12 (one running back, two tight ends) personnel groupings. The defense is a fairly standard 4-2-5 defense.

Emmett Morehead

Above- We’re looking at the little things on throws that turn 15-yard gains into 5-yard gains. A simple slant thrown behind a wide receiver can cause an interception in tighter coverage, but here just results in a small gain instead of an explosive.

Above- When you pound the run game like BC wants to the play-action nakeds come open. Here it’s a little motion from the WR with split zone type action. Morehead does a good job of using touch on this throw to keep the receiver in some stride.

Above- With limited contact on QB’s in spring, the QB’s have been running fools all over the ACC. We’ll see about this during actual games. Morehead shows he’s not completely immobile.

Above- A deep fade that was uncapped at the snap but the cornerback beat the WR on the deep fade for the PBU. Not sure if this is because BC lacks speed or if the Eagles CB’s are going to be this good at man coverage.

Above- What are the QB’s doing vs. “What’s open?” We all know Tyler Van Dyke likes smash-type concepts. A now with the slot fade works to perfection. The CB plays down on the now while the NB is eaten alive on the slot fade.

Jacobe Robinson

Above- With tighter coverage on his slant, Robinson jams this throw in there with a better ball placement than Morehead had on his slant.

Above- I love the arc’ing h-back as a lead blocker for inside zone read. If the defense scrape exchanges you at least have someone to pick the LB up as opposed to an open kill shot on your QB. Robinson with an explosive run showing off what he brings to the table.

Above- Robinson has a big arm but lacks touch on his deep ball. In the first half of the spring game he made a few cool throws (jump pass type deal under pressure) but you can see he’s young and lacks the polish of Morehead and Rueve.

Matthew Rueve

Above- BC quarterbacks were much better off on slot fades instead of throwing these unCAP’d but clearly beaten fades. The BC cornerbacks won the day on fades.

Above- Rueve forced the big play where Morehead took more check-down type throws. This is a mesh variation and if he works deeper cross down to shallower cross his shallow is open for a completion.

Above- Another now + slot fade. Rueve drops this thing in there beautifully the CB couldn’t make a play on it. Where the CB’s won outside fades, the nickels lost slot fades.

Above- Rueve showing amazing zip with ball placement here. If you think you can play FBS football, think again. What a perfectly placed ball there.

Above- Rueve throws his TE open while not leading too far into the defender on the other side.


I think the competition has a slight edge to Morehead. It’s hard in spring games to give that accurate of a reading because Morehead was given more reps to get continuity and into a flow. When you’re ‘the other guy’ re Robinson and Rueve, you’re pressing a lot more. You have less chances to get your nod from the coaching staff.

GY Counter

Morehead did take advantage of his check downs better than Rueve, but Rueve was more accurate than Robinson. Robinson looked good moving once he decided to scramble, but Morehead had a much better feel of the pocket and avoided sacks better than Robinson.

Old school toss from under center

This will be a tough competition for Hafley in what could be his last chance if the Eagles aren’t a bowl team again. I think Garwo will have a more 2021 type of season vs. his 2022 disappointing showing (could say that for the entire offense besides Flowers).

Starting QB Week One: Emmett Morehead.

Canyonero Keys to Victory

1- Stop the run. Pat Garwo is a former four-star prospect but struggled in ‘22 with only three yards per carry. BC will want to run the football, and their big game on the ground can’t come against Miami. Hopefully a new DC and new ILB (Francisco Mauigoa) can cure some of Miami’s run stop issues.

2- Protect Tyler Van Dyke. BC’s biggest strength on defense is their pass rush. Miami can’t allow the BC defensive ends and linebacker pressure to get to Van Dyke like plenty of pressure and hits did last year. Without Van Dyke Miami will be lucky to win a game in ‘23.

3- Lock down O’Keefe. BC doesn’t have a big play threat now that Zay Flowers is in the NFL. Flowers caught 12 TD passes even with bad QB play last season. O’Keefe is the big play guy so put your best CB on him and lock him down.

Prediction: Miami by 7.