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Tuesday October 4th

ACC preview: Boston College hopes to climb from conference cellar

In preparation for the North Carolina football team's season opener on Sept. 3, we've broken down everything you need to know about each team in the ACC. Check out the rest of our previews here.

Coach: 

Steve Addazio (fourth year at Boston College) 

Record last year: 

3-9 (0-8 ACC) 

When do they play UNC? 

N/A 

Where are they projected? 

Fifth in Atlantic Division 

How do they play?

Addazio is a coach known for his "ground-and-pound" style of offense and a stifling defense that led the nation in yards allowed per game (254.3) and per play (4.07) in 2015. 

However, his style of offense never got off the ground a season ago. Injuries on the offensive side led to a rotation of young players with limited to no collegiate experience, contributing to the Eagles' 0-8 free fall to finish the year. 

With the arrival of quarterback Patrick Towles, a graduate transfer from Kentucky, expect a more versatile offense. Towles has the arm strength and foot speed to give Addazio flexibility at the position. 

Who stands out?

In addition to Towles, the 2016 version of the Boston College offense will prominently feature redshirt sophomore running back Jon Hilliman. Hilliman missed the majority of the 2015 season with a leg injury, but he was an outstanding true first-year for the Eagles in 2014. He is expected to come back in style and should be a highlight for an offense that is looking to redefine itself. 

On the defensive side, look out for defensive end Harold Landry. The junior from North Carolina finished in the top 10 in the conference in both tackles for loss (15.5) and forced fumbles (four) a season ago. After the loss of defensive coordinator Don Brown, Landry's consistency will be key in maintaining a top-flight defense from last season. 

In 2015, senior linebacker Matt Milano finished in the top 25 nationally in tackles for loss (17.5) and blocked kicks (two) in 2015. He should be a hazard for opposing offenses in his final season with the Eagles. 

What is their biggest weakness?

Boston College was historically bad a season ago. The football and basketball programs combined to go winless in conference play, the first ACC school to ever do so. 

But this offseason saw the loss of Brown, who filled the defensive coordinator position at Michigan. In addition, the team has a new offensive coordinator in Scot Loeffler, who joins the Eagles after three years with ACC foe Virginia Tech. 

The Eagles will have many new faces both on the field and on the sidelines, which could establish a fresh dynamic early on or create even more instability for the program.

Why could they win the ACC? 

This team is haunted by the woes of a season ago, but Boston College seems to be trending in the right direction. A soft non-conference schedule and ACC matchups against Wake Forest and Syracuse could open the door for a winning record if the Eagles win some of the close games that evaded them in 2015. 

Addazio and his players have high hopes and the right tools to finally get out of the ACC basement.

@James_Tatter

sports@dailytarheel.com

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