Now that we’re a couple days into the mourning period over the injury to Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec, we can start looking at the season outlook a bit more clearly. Losing our QB1 is going to sting and the offense is going to take a hit, but if BC starts picking up losses, it’s not going to be because of who is under center.
Dennis Grosel is a solidly capable college quarterback. He did, after all, have that monster 520 yard game (tying the BC record) in his start against Virginia last season with Jurkovec injured. He’s also got real, solid experience for a backup — which normally is an overstated quality in sports, but actually holds a lot of water for a position that’s about 70% decision-making.
No, if the Eagles start to struggle, it’s going to because of the defense. There are still plenty of pieces on offense for the team to put up more than enough points to win games (that OL is vaunted for a reason, and praise the sweet baby Jesus that Zay Flowers is alright). Look no further than Grosel’s 520 yard start against Virginia last year as a good example of this — the Eagles put up all those yards in a loss, and you really can’t pin that on Grosel starting in place of Jurkovec. You aren’t going to win many games where you give up 43 points.
If there’s one takeaway from the UMass game that’s worth mentioning beyond losing our quarterback, it’s that the defense really didn’t impress against a team that they should have easily handled. To give up 28 to a team that’s roughly at the level of UConn (well, ok, that’s almost beyond hyperbole, but still) is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. The Minutemen weren’t really out of the rear-view mirror until the fourth quarter, and their offensive stats were pretty decent for a losing team. UMass actually won the time of possession battle (ouch), put up a reasonable 335 yards of offense, and were pretty close to the Eagles in a lot of stats, including putting up 20 first downs to BC’s 24. That’s not going to get it done against real teams, and has nothing to do with who’s running the show on offense.
Yes, it’s true that Jurkovec’s special talents would have helped mask the flaws in the defensive unit by keeping them off the field and keeping BC on the right side of a lot of shootouts. But that doesn’t take the D off the hook for their struggles over the last season-plus, and certainly isn’t any excuse for their lackluster effort against the Minutemen.
Losing Jurkovec to injury should really put the focus on the defense and what they’ll be able to do in the coming weeks — the Eagles will go as far as their D, not their QB, will take them this year.