Boston College coach Frank Spaziani has received plenty of preseason questions about his offense and how he plans on replacing linebacker Luke Kuechly who is now with the Carolina Panthers. While the following players have not dominated storylines, they will be key in the team's level of success in Spaziani's fourth year as head coach.
Offense: The much-needed improvement in quarterback play has understandably gotten a lot of preseason attention at Boston College. However, the Eagles have been a program built on physical play with a solid run game, and that is why running backs Rolandan Finch, Andre Williams, and Tahj Kimble are the X-factors in Chestnut Hill. Finch got the most work of the three last year and rushed for 705 yards. Williams rushed for 517 yards and Kimble had 156 yards. Quarterback Chase Rettig will need the running backs to produce to take some of the load off his shoulders.
Defense: Sophomore defensive end Brian Mihalik had six tackles and broke up two passes during his true freshman season in 2011. He played in the team's final nine games and is on top of the depth chart this year at one defensive end position. Mihalik is 6-8, 285 pounds. Last year, he was listed at 233 pounds in the team's final regular season game against Miami. In the team's first preseason scrimmage this past weekend, Mihalik had two tackles for loss including a sack. The Eagles need someone to generate a pass rush after having 11 sacks all of last season, and Mihalik could be the guy.
Special teams: Junior kicker Nate Freese has made 32 of his 41 career field goal attempts at Boston College. He made 10 of his 16 tries last year after going 20 for 23 in 2010. Freese did make a 52-yard field goal against Wake Forest, and he was one of two kickers along with Florida State's Dustin Hopkins to make an attempt of 50 or more yards in the ACC. The Eagles had six games decided by single digits last year, and unless the offense kicks it up a notch, there could be more close games in 2012 . A good kicker can be the difference between a win and a loss.
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