College Football

Boston College knowledge: Jim Reid knows Iowa's offense

Eagles defensive coordinator helped shape Iowa's current linebackers

Boston College defensive coordinator Jim Reid, a former Hawkeyes linebackers coach, meets with Iowa Hawkeyes linebackers Josey Jewell and Aaron Mends, left, at The National September 11 Memorial in New York City on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017.  (Manish Gosalia/Freelance)
Boston College defensive coordinator Jim Reid, a former Hawkeyes linebackers coach, meets with Iowa Hawkeyes linebackers Josey Jewell and Aaron Mends, left, at The National September 11 Memorial in New York City on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. (Manish Gosalia/Freelance)

NEW YORK — Jim Reid coached Iowa’s linebackers for three seasons. Basically, when Josey Jewell was growing his game as an underclassmen, Reid was watering that tree.

But after the 2015 season, Boston College head coach Steve Addazio gave Reid a call and wanted him to come home and be defensive coordinator for the Eagles. That appealed to Reid, 67, who is from Boston.

And so now the Jim Reid Bowl. Just like Jim Reid always wanted.

“I never thought this would ever happen. What are the chances?” Reid said. “In one way, I was happy because I would be able to see them (the three senior linebackers whose careers he helped launch) and in another way, I felt just felt kind of sick that you’d have to compete against guys I have great admiration for. I loved all of those guys.”

Jewell, Bo Bower and Ben Niemann spent three years with Reid at the front of the room.

“He was a guy who liked to print out a lot of paper, kind of old school stuff,” Jewell said with a laugh. “He probably killed a couple of trees a day, which is kind of funny.”

OK, so it is the Pinstripe Bowl and there is a little discomfort for Reid. But think of the advantage. Reid spent three years in Iowa’s practices. He sometimes would sneak into the offensive meetings and check things out.

So, how do you stop or slow down Iowa’s zone blocking schemes?

“You don’t, you just hope to slow it down,” Reid said, “if you can.”

When Reid was at Iowa (2013-2015), Brian Ferentz was the Hawkeyes’ offensive line coach. Ferentz is the offensive coordinator now and things have changed, but ... OK, things haven’t changed, but the question still stands.

How do you stop Iowa’s zone blocking schemes?

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“It’s very difficult because everyone says inside zone and outside zone,” Reid said. “But with Brian Ferentz, there are unique tweaks to every play that he runs. Sometimes, the fullback is hitting the strong safety, sometimes, he’s hitting the inside backer.

“What he used to do to fool us all the time was run the outside zone and change the footwork of the tailback. For someone to say it’s inside zone and outside zone, they don’t understand the intricacies of the offensive line or of the zone scheme in particular.”

Along with that, Reid gave quick scouting reports of a few of Iowa’s O-linemen.

“James Daniels is playing great and our players hear that and recognize it,” Reid said. “They all wanted to know who No. 79 was. I told him he (senior guard Sean Welsh) would be your best friend if he were here, but Sean Welsh is playing great, really great.”

Yes, coaches and players throw around the term “gap integrity” a lot. Reid drops in what happens when you don’t maintain your gap.

“You get out of your gap, all you’re going to see is Akrum Wadley and that No. 25 on the back of his jersey in the end zone.”

— Reid is high on Brian Ferentz and his future.

Reid talked about a coaches clinic he attended where Brian Ferentz was a speaker in Chicago. It was standing room only and Reid said Ferentz held the room.

“He is a master of steps,” Reid said. “He’s a master of use of hands, of combo blocking and that’s from three years of facing him at Iowa. The other thing that makes him special is how he communicates with his players and the detail he coaches with.

“Not only is he a hard worker, but he’s a great communicator and a great teacher of the game.”

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— Reid’s defense took some punches this year in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It got ugly against Notre Dame with 515 rushing yards. The Eagles gave up 625 yards to Louisville, but still won the game, 45-42.

In their last five games, the Eagles held offenses to less than 300 yards twice (Virginia and Florida State).

Reid said he made things simpler so his players could rally to the ball better (Iowa had that same talk going into Penn State and Saquon Barkley) and that meant more base defense.

Reid credited linebacker Ty Schwab (leads BC with 101 tackles), defensive end Zach Allen (14.5 tackles for loss) and tackle Ray Smith (6-1, 305).

You’d think Iowa’s 19 interceptions would be a clear advantage. BC has 18 of its own.

“We just kind of simplified things a little bit,” Reid said. “We hitched our belts and just played ball.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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