Spring Practice Primer: Boston College Eagles

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

College football never ends, and during the next few weeks teams will be getting ready for the 2013 season in their spring practice sessions. Here's a look at the Boston College Eagles and what they'll be working on this spring.

Alex Amidon set a single-season school record in 2012 with 1,210 receiving yards. (USATSI)
Alex Amidon set a single-season school record in 2012 with 1,210 receiving yards. (USATSI)
Spring practice began: Feb. 28

Spring game: April 20

2012 record: 2-10 overall, 1-7 ACC

Returning starters: 14 (seven offense, seven defense)

The Least You Should Know about Boston College This Spring

-- Steve Addazio faces a frustrated fanbase with a clean slate. Frank Spaziani's dismissal in 2012 was not a singular result of a historically bad season -- the worst since 1978 -- but rather the last straw after a steady decline in the football program. The Eagles' win total decreased each season after winning the ACC Atlantic Division in 2007, falling to 2-10 in 2012. New athletic director Brad Bates made his first big hire with the former Temple coach, investing in the energetic Connecticut native to revitalize the Eagles. Because of this investment, Addazio likely has some wiggle room with his boss. The fans, however, are hungry for Boston College to return to the winning ways that resulted in 12 straight bowl appearances from 1999-2010.

-- Looking for balance with a ground attack to help Chase Rettig. Senior quarterback Chase Rettig posted career highs in 2012 for passing yards (3,055), completion percentage (54.2 percent) and passing touchdowns (17). While Rettig's play was noticeably improved, his numbers were boosted by 38.9 pass attempts per game -- a stat that reflects the inability to run the ball and the frequency with which the Eagles were forced to overcome a deficit. Luckily, Rettig's favorite target, Alex Amidon (78 catches, 1,210 yards, seven touchdowns), returns along with veteran wide receiver Bobby Swigert -- though Swigert will miss spring practice recovering from offseason knee surgery.

With the passing game apparently set personnel-wise, the big question marks offensively lie at running back and along the offensive line. Boston College finished with the No. 119 rushing offense nationally in 2012, averaging just 90.9 yards per game on the ground. Tahj Kimble will sit out spring practice recovering from offseason surgery, so who will step up from the group of Dave Dudeck, Rolandan "Deuce" Finch and Andre Williams to own the starting job at running back? Addazio describes his plan for the offense as a strong pro-style running game that's used to set up the play-action pass. Look for plenty of work on that first step this spring.

-- Don Brown is back in Massachusetts. One of the first decisions that Addazio made after his arrival in The Heights was to hire Connecticut defensive coordinator Don Brown. Before his time as defensive coordinator at Maryland and UConn, Brown posted a 43-19 record as the head coach at UMass from 2004-08. The Spencer, Mass., native has spent most of his 30-year career in New England, leading impressive defenses at nearly every stop. At Boston College, Brown inherits a strong linebacker unit, led by returning starters Steele Divitto and Kevin Pierre-Louis. It will be interesting to see how Brown uses the talent left from a decent but inexperienced 2012 unit.

-- Anybody and everybody on the field will have a chance to start fresh. Judging by Addazio's comments in recent weeks, it does not seem as though the Eagles will be rushing into permanent scheme or personnel decisions in spring practice. He recently told ESPN.com that he was looking for "work ethic" and "attitude" more than anything else this spring. In that case, you have to think every player has an equal chance to impress the new staff. No starter from last season should assume his job is safe for 2013, especially after one of the worst finishes in school history. With Addazio looking for toughness, a player could rise up from below the radar this spring to become an unexpected contributor in 2013.

For more college football news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCFB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, college football newsletter, and get the Eye On College Football Podcast from iTunes. You can follow Chip Patterson on Twitter here: @Chip_Patterson.

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