Posted by Chip Patterson
College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Boston College , who starts spring practice Friday.
Can a new coordinator and another year of experience help Chase Rettig develop into the leader Boston College needs.
Since Matt Ryan's departure in 2008, things have been pretty shaky at the quarterback position for Boston College.
The situation may have hit a low in the 2010 season, with head coach Frank Spaziani trying out two different quarterbacks before finally settling on true freshman Chase Rettig. Once settled, Rettig helped the Eagles win their last five games of the regular season to earn a spot playing Nevada in the Kraft Hunger Bowl. It is easy to try and put most of the blame and responsibility on the quarterback and offense, but when the defense is playing as well as they did in 2010 the Hunger Bowl seems like a bit of a disappointment.
Last season the Boston College defense finished first in the ACC in rushing defense and total defense, while finishing second in scoring defense allowing just 19.5 points per game. In fact, most of the scoring done by Boston College's opponents early in the season was set up by offensive mistakes. In the first five games of the season, returning starter Dave Shinskie and Mike Marscovetra combined for nine interceptions. It does not matter who is lining up on defense, those kind of numbers will make life difficult for anyone.
That defensive unit returns seven starters in 2011. While the linebacking corps will look a little different without Mark Herzlich, but the most important piece from last year's unit will be back. Luke Kuechly (pictured) exploded on the scene in 2010, picking up All-American, all-ACC first team, and a runner-up for the Butkus Award. Kuechly is the only Boston College player in history to record 300 tackles in his first two seasons. There is little reason to think there will be much drop-off on the defensive end, which is why so much of the focus this spring will be on the new offense.
When Gary Tranquill retired after the season, Spaziani knew that he needed to bring in a coordinator that could help them with their struggles at quarterback in the post-Ryan era. Eagles fans are hoping that Kevin Rogers will be able develop Rettig into the type of quarterback that can make Boston College competitive again in the Atlantic Division. Rogers' track record would suggests he is up for the task. Rogers has been coaching for 36 years, with 28 of them coming at the college level. From coaching Bryan Randall during his 2004 ACC Player of the Year campaign at Virginia Tech, to coaching Donovan McNabb in his days at Syracuse, Rogers is a proven coach who will be asked to work his magic once again.
“I’m a quarterback guy and this place is as good as any with its history of developing quarterbacks,’’ Rogers told the Boston Globe. “And Spaz’s willingness to work with me in a number of areas, and with the tradition of offensive linemen that BC always brings in, and running an NFL offense . . . it was just a good fit.’’
As offensive coordinator, one of the tools that Rogers will rely on will be running back Montel Harris. Harris returns for his senior season with an opportunity to become the school's all-time leading rusher. Harris ran for 1,242 yards in 2010, good for second in the conference. Making his numbers even more impressive, Harris missed the final two games of the season after suffering a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery. However Andre Williams broke out in Harris' stead, rushing for 185 yards against Syracuse and then 70 against Nevada in the bowl game. The hope is that between the two running backs, there will be plenty of talent to take attention away from Rettig as he gets comfortable in Rogers' new system.
The more obvious responsibility for taking pressure off Rettig falls on the offensive line. (Duh) Unfortunately, the most important piece of that unit is one position that needs filling this spring. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo will likely be a first or second round NFL draft pick, and with Thomas Claiborne and Rich Lapham also gone Spaziani and Rogers will be looking for leaders to emerge in the next month. Whether it is a backup like John Wetzel, or a position change for right tackle Emmett Cleary; the Eagles will need a soilid line to utilize their talented backs.
With so many pieces returning from last year's defense, expectations will be for a return to the postseason. If the new system under Kevin Rogers can bring the offense up to par, fans in Chestnut Hill might get to see Boston College competitive in the Atlantic Division once again.
Boston College begins Spring Practice March 18
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