For Boston College fans, the last two years were tough to watch.
The defense was still one of the best in the nation, ranking in the top ten against the run and holding opponents below 20 points per game during each season. Star players like Mark Herzlich, Luke Kuechly, Alex Albright and Mike McLaughlin all had great success and continued the Frank Spaziani tradition of great defenses.
Unfortunately, the offense wasn't holding up its end of the bargain. Sure, running back Montel Harris had great success running the football and currently stands on the doorstep of one of the oldest rushing records in the country, but at times he was the only source of offense. As a result, he was overworked, which may have led to the torn meniscus in his right knee that cost him the last two plus games of last season, all of the spring, and now potentially the first three games of the upcoming season or more.
The passing game was a disaster. Four different quarterbacks have tried, with varying degrees of mediocrity, to give the BC offense a credible aerial attack. But, in the last two seasons, the passing game had an average ranking of 101 of 119.
There were two schools of thought on the teams offensive situation. The first was that talent was the issue, experienced talent to be more precise. You could certainly make the case that it was indeed a problem. Among the four QB's to see playing time the last two seasons (Dave Shinskie, Mike Marscovetra, Justin Tuggle and Chase Rettig), only Tuggle started a game as anything but a true freshman, and that experiment lasted all of three games before he transferred to a junior college (he is now enrolled at Kansas State).
In fact, the offense was so young at the skill positions last year, the starting quarterback (Chase Rettig), wide receivers (Bobby Swigert, Alex Amidon) and running back (Andre Williams) were all either true or redshirt freshmen during BC's bowl loss to Nevada in San Francisco.
The other more popular school of thought is that the blame fell on offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill. It was said that Tranquill was far too predictable in his play-calling and was too far out of touch with his players and the modern college game to craft a competent offense.
The school subscribed to the latter theory, allowing Tranquill to leave on his own terms at the end of last season and replacing him with former Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks coach and Notre Dame and Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers.
The road that Rogers took to Boston College has been a subject of debate in the last few months, but he wanted to set the record straight.
"I was let go by the Vikings when Leslie Frazier took over, and about a week later I got a call from Spaz," Rogers said. "I was still sorting out some other offers at that point, but I came in for an interview a few weeks later and talked with him. Then about a week after that I was offered the job. I never talked to [BC Athletic Director] Gene DeFilippo or John [DeFilippo]."
Despite spending time in the NFL coaching the likes of Brett Favre with great success, the decision to return to college was easy.
"Coaching college kids is a real joy in terms of helping and developing them, trying to be a factor in their lives," Rogers said. "I'm a career college coach, I've been a college coach basically my entire life, so this is an easy transition."
Entering his first season as the offensive coordinator at Boston College, Rogers is best known for his development of college quarterbacks such as Donovan McNabb (Syracuse) along with Brian Randall and Marcus Vick (Virginia Tech). As a result, it would seem that the person most likely to benefit from Rogers tutelage would be sophomore QB Chase Rettig, who continues to develop at a solid rate.
"In all fairness, he's a 19 year old kid, but his heart is in the right place, he's got a great motor and most importantly, it's not too big for him." Rogers said. "He's coming along really well and he's going to be a good player."
One of the biggest questions surrounding Kevin Rogers and the Boston College offense is what type of style we might see from him. During his previous stops as a college coordinator, Rogers was best known for his high octane, diverse attack under dual threat quarterbacks like McNabb, Vick, Randall and Notre Dame QB's Arnaz Battle and Matt LoVecchio.
"The type of offense you run is dictated by the personnel you have." Rogers said. "Two years ago this team won eight games with a guy who showed up on campus in July from playing baseball. You do what you have to do in order to win games. Hopefully, depending on our players and how they learn, we're going to be a little bit more diverse."
As the offensive coordinator at Boston College, Rogers will often find himself on the opposing sideline from all three of his former college coaching stops, and this year will certainly be no different. With both Notre Dame and Virginia Tech on the road slate this year, there will likely be a lot of reminiscing about his old stomping grounds.
"Well, I was relieved of my duties at Notre Dame and I left under very good circumstances at Virginia Tech, so you can kind of figure out the emotions involved there," Rogers said. "I have two kids that graduated from Notre Dame and at that point in my career it was a lifetime dream to coach there."
As for his return to Lane Stadium, Rogers was notably more nostalgic.
"At Virginia Tech, I love those guys down there," he said. "It was a fun place to coach and it was a fun place to play and they treated me great. [Hokies head coach, Frank] Beamer is one of my best friends, so that will be a little bit different, but it's going to be a lot fun and we want to beat those guys."
On the surface, Rogers appears to be a big step forward for Boston College as an offensive coordinator, but creative play-calling will only get you so far. He'll have to live up to his reputation as a developer of quarterbacks and help Chase Rettig reach his potential if he hopes to have the kind of success he enjoyed while on the staff at Notre Dame and Virginia Tech (three BCS appearances).
Rogers will be tested early, as the absence of leading rusher Montel Harris will greatly impact the game plan against two very formidable opponents in Northwestern (September 3) and Central Florida (September 10).
But the reality is that even a moderate improvement offensively might be enough to catapult this team back to the ACC Championship Game given the strength of the defense.