Run and Shoot: Look who's back

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Look who's back

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass - Players, not coaches, win games. But let’s be honest, the big story line in today’s Boston College vs. NC State match-up – and possibly a big factor in the outcome – is the man coaching his 62nd game in Alumni Stadium, but his first on the visiting sideline.

Tom O’Brien is back in Chestnut Hill with NC State just nine months after ending a 10-year tenure at Boston College with a 75-45 overall record and an NCAA-best 7-straight bowl wins. It’s clear the game, and the ire of the fans, will be focused on the returning head coach.

"All the talk is about the coaches," said BC linebacker Mark Herzlich this week. “It doesn't matter who is back on the sideline. It's who's on the field."

Fair point, Mark. And thankfully for O’Brien’s successor, Jeff Jagodzinski, most of the talent on the field will be wearing maroon and gold. The Eagles new run-and-gun offense has given BC fans something to be excited about and given ACC Preseason Player of the Year Matt Ryan a sore arm. He threw 52 times in a 38-28 win over Wake Forest last week, putting up 408 yards and the most touchdowns (5) in a game since a guy named Flutie roamed the field.

O’Brien, meanwhile, has to deal with several key losses: starting running back Toney Baker and senior defensive tackle Demario Pressley to knee injuries, and quarterback Daniel Evans to a terrible first outing. Evans' replacement, Nebraska transfer Harrison Beck, could struggle against a BC secondary led by shutdown corner DeJuan Tribble, who picked off three Wake Forest passes last week.

O’Brien knows his opponent well, but superior talent – not to mention a desire for some revenge – should be enough to put the Eagles on top.

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