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Need to Know

Martin Takes the Keys to B.C.’s Offense

Boston College is on its fourth offensive coordinator in two years. The first, Gary Tranquill, served in the position from 2009-10. He was replaced heading into last season by former Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers, who piloted the Eagles’ offense for two games before taking a health-related leave of absence on Sept. 12; he never resurfaced in Chestnut Hill, though Rogers was hired as Temple’s quarterbacks coach in February – his health issues are behind him, you’d think. Then there was Dave Brock, the tight ends coach who picked up Rogers’ duties over the final 10 games of last season.

And now? We’ll never know what Rogers was capable of achieving at B.C., whether as a result of his own medical issues or a poor working relationship with the rest of the staff, but in Doug Martin, B.C. has its best offensive coordinator of the Frank Spaziani era.

Most know Martin as the former head coach at Kent State, but it’s in his capacity as a coordinator that he’s made his biggest mark: first at East Carolina, then for one season with the Golden Flashes and again last fall, at New Mexico State, he’s shown an ability to move the ball consistently in both the passing game and on the ground.

Martin has also indicated an ability to provide single-season offensive turnarounds, as illustrated over his lone season in Las Cruces. The Aggies had scored a combined 337 points over DeWayne Walker’s first two years with the program; last fall, Martin’s offense scored 319 points – an average of 24.5 points per game – to tie San Jose State for sixth in the WAC.

New Mexico State finished 25th nationally in passing, averaging 273.2 yards per game, and tossed 24 touchdowns as a team, nine more than the Aggies had compiled over the previous two seasons combined.

It’s clear that Martin was bogged down in the details at Kent State. He was one of many MAC hires – or Sun Belt hires, or non-B.C.S. conference hires – that quickly bring an also-ran into competitiveness but are unable to get a program over the hump. The Golden Flashes flirted with bowl eligibility, winning at least five games four times from 2004-10, but never broke through.

That doesn’t matter to B.C. and this offense. In fact, his somewhat disappointing stint at Kent State only increases Martin’s appeal to a remade offensive staff, which includes Jim Bollman as the new line coach, Sean Desai as the new backfield coach and Aaron Smith as the new receivers coach.

In addition, former line coach Sean Devine will shift to working with the tight ends, where he’ll replace Brock, who left to become Kyle Flood’s coordinator and receivers coach at Rutgers. The entire staff has been reworked to revolve around Martin and his ability to coordinate a winning offense. His head coaching experience will come in handy, in short.

There’s a reason this hire qualifies as Spaziani’s best since he was promoted into the top spot in 2009 – if we don’t count promoting linebackers coach Bill McGovern to defensive coordinator, which was an absolute no-brainer. The B.C. offense is and has been broken; if nothing else, Martin has the ability to turn this ship around.

His offense will look familiar. Martin’s system is extremely familiar to the one run by Steve Logan at B.C. from 2007-8; Martin was an assistant at E.C.U. during Logan’s entire 11-year run with the program. It’s not a coincidence that the Eagles have bottomed out since Logan left following the 2008 season – after Spaziani was hired – but in Martin, perhaps the Eagles will begin moving the ball like they did under Logan’s watch.

But there’s no Matt Ryan on this roster, of course, and the offensive line is far less imposing than in recent past. The receiver corps is largely devoid of big-play ability. Spaziani recently dismissed the most prolific rusher in school history, though that move hurts more in theory, less in production.

Again, this is where Martin’s recent history comes in handy. The Eagles will play a tougher schedule, but it’s not like Martin was working with a loaded roster of skill players at New Mexico State. Nor that he had stars at E.C.U., or at Kent State, where he tweaked his offense to fit the Golden Flashes’ run-first personnel.

But before putting a laurel on Martin, remember that he’s not a miracle worker – he’s just the program’s best coordinator since his former boss, Logan. However, Martin is the key to any projected rebound B.C. plans to take in 2012: his offense will determine whether the Eagles can reverse the program’s three-year decline into the bottom section of the Atlantic division.

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  1. 31southst says:

    I agree but I think you underestimate how conservative a coach Spaz can be. Even with Martin, we are still giong to kneel out the clock and punt on close fourth downs. Spaz simply doesn’t understand the concept of maximizing possessions.

  2. Matt Savin Hill says:

    BC with its present coach is mired in mediocricy. There’s a reason why some coaches earn big bucks: they get results right off the bat. Because of this some ADs think that by paying big bucks to a coach they’ve hired a winner when in fact they’ve hired an over paid loser. Spaziano has a losing record yet the AD thinks he is a winner because he’s paying him like a winner. The BC mindset is so bad and so happy with stasis that there little a new OC. can do except take his pay and go along. There’s no future at or after BC. It has become the ACC doormat in both major sports. The ACC regrets taking them in but puts up with them knowing you need something to rub its feet on. Oh, we’ll, 17 million is not a bad price to get to be a laughingstock. Go Eagles!!!

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