After a meager 57 yards and four first downs in Saturday’s 34-10 loss at North Carolina, Boston College coach Steve Addazio had one word to describe the team’s passing game.
“Woeful,’’ Addazio said.
After watching the tape of BC’s fourth loss of the season, and third on the road, no one on BC’s offense disagreed with Addazio’s assessment.
But instead of dwelling on the subpar effort, senior wideout Alex Amidon chose to focus on the challenge that looms Saturday, when BC takes on Virginia Tech at noon at Alumni Stadium.
The Hokies, who absorbed a stunning 13-10 setback at home against Duke, boast the nation’s third-ranked defense (248.8 yards per game), and a passing defense (157.8 ypg) that is second only to Florida State’s and has recorded a nation-leading 17 interceptions.
Amidon knows it will be imperative for BC’s receiving corps to win matchups and provide better targets for senior quarterback Chase Rettig, who completed just 10 of 20 attempts for those 57 yards (including eight for 38 yards to Amidon) against North Carolina.
“It’s going to be big,’’ Amidon said. “I mean, that’s why you play, right, to play the best in the country? This is an opportunity to do that. I think everyone is excited to compete against the best, and that’s what we’re going to have an opportunity to do.
“So it’s going to be very important, when we get those opportunities, to capitalize on them.’’
The Eagles will have to do so without junior wide receiver Spiffy Evans, who was lost for the season when he suffered a fractured clavicle in the second half against UNC.
“It’s definitely tough when a guy goes down during the season, especially when he’s a junior, an experienced guy,’’ Amidon said of Evans, who ranked fourth among BC receivers with 22 receptions for 257 yards.
Evans also was the punt returner, with 12 returns for 147 yards (12.2 avg), including a long of 34 yards.
Sophomore running back David Dudeck will switch roles and help fill the void in the receiving corps and on the punt-return unit.
“We’ve got younger guys trying to step up right now and they’re getting better,’’ Amidon said. “Hopefully, they’ll step up and keep playing.’’
But what will it take for the Eagles to rebound from their “woeful’’ passing effort? In what way was it instructive?
“I think it was a pretty big message to the team that we need to mentally prepare better,’’ said Amidon, alluding to issues such as penalties and turnovers that tripped up the Eagles. “Physically, I think our team is playing at a pretty high level. But, mentally, we’re not prepared enough, so I think that’s going to be a wake-up call to everyone on the team to prepare harder.
“Not on the field, necessarily, but off it. It’s just watching film and knowing your assignments and eliminating those MAs — missed assignments — all those things that we have to eliminate for this game.
“All the no-talent issues that should be strengths for us weren’t in that game. It was a wake-up call for us.’’
When the Eagles encounter elite opposition, their margin of error becomes miniscule.
“Against a team like this, we need to be able to play and be perfect in all the no-talent issues,’’ Amidon said. “Then, playing 100 percent effort on every snap with our toughness, we should be able definitely do some things against teams.
“We’ve seen that in some games, so we’ve had that going for us.’’
What remains to be seen is whether the Eagles can jump-start their passing attack against Virginia Tech’s defense.
“They’re going to play man coverage, they’re going to lock you down, they’re really physical, they’re really powerful [on the] interior, so yardage will be tough to come by,’’ Addazio said. “You’re going to have to play the field position game, and you’re going get your cracks in there, it will happen.
“We have a strong running game, and you can’t get frustrated. What happens is, you get a little frustrated and you spit the thing out there, the next thing you know, they’re bringing it back for 6 and scoring on defense.
“You can’t let that happen, that can’t happen. So this is a defense that’s really going to stress you.”
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.