A year ago, Florida State allowed its first loss of the season to spiral into three straight defeats. The Seminoles have promised that won't happen this time around, and they'll get a fairly soft first test in Boston College, which is reeling after a 1-4 start to the season.
To find out a bit more about what's ailed BC this season and what the Seminoles will need to do to ensure a better outcome than last week, we checked in with Rich Thompson, who covers the Eagles for the Boston Herald.
NoleNation: A year ago, Chase Rettig threw for just 76 yards against the FSU defense, but he seems to have really blossomed this year. What's been the difference for him, and what has he said about how he'll approach this week's matchup against Florida State?
Rich Thompson: Chase always had the arm and the football intelligence. He's learned to read his progessions and buy time by stepping up in the pocket. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for with a confident pocket presence and accurate spirals. TE Chris Pantale broke his foot in training camp so Rettig has posted those numbers without a big target over the middle. Alex Amidon gives him the deep threat he lacked last season. My fear for Chase this week is that he will get chewed up by ther FSU pass rush. Army dropped him five times last week with a clever blitz package. I'm sure the FSU coaches took notice.
NN: The BC defense allowed more than 500 yards on the ground to Army a week ago, and they rank dead last in the ACC against the run. What's been the game plan this week for slowing FSU's ground game, which ranks as one of the better units in the conference?
Thompson: Army focuses everything on the run. They should never have gotten that much, but that is what they do. To be fair, DT Kaleb Ramsey, DE Brian Mihalik and OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis were out with injuries. The Eagles rush defense was exposed by Duke Johnson in the seaosn opener and people have been running ever since. The real killer stat was the 293 rushing yards Northwestern gained. If FSU establishes a consistent run, EJ Manuel will kill them with play action.
NN: Florida State is coming off an ugly loss to NC State last week in which the Seminoles failed to score in the second half. Is there anything B.C. can take from watching that game tape that they can use to their advantage this week?
Thompson: BC's only hope was a trap game against an undefeated and over confident FSU team. NC State did BC no favors. A riled Seminole Nation was the last thing the Eagles need.
NN: The bad start has already turned up the heat on Frank Spaziani, and with a new athletic director coming on board, his job status looks tenuous at best. What's the mood surrounding the team, and what will this week's performance against a quality opponent mean in the big picture?
Thompson: The kids like Spaz and they play hard for him. The alumni and the boosters want him gone. His recruiting classes have been a disaster. The new AD has a football background with Big Ten connections. Spaz had one foot out the door after Northwestern. Army pushed him down the stairs. Maryland is the only team they have a chance of beating.
NN: Boston College hasn't won a game in the ACC yet, but they kept things close against Miami and Clemson into the fourth quarter. What do the Eagles need to do this week to be in a position to win the game late against FSU?
Thompson: BC's only hope is to force a lot of turnovers and they have very few so far. BC can't stop teams from converting on third down. Northwestern (12-of-19), Army (8-of-16) Clemson (10-of-16). FSU will move the chains and burn them with big plays. It is a bigger mismatch than last year.
Many thanks to Rich for the insight. You can read more of Rich's Boston College coverage HERE.