Another year, another winning season, and another bowl game for Boston College, their 12th consecutive bowl game. It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing looking product on the field, but the Eagles managed to finish the regular season 7-5 before losing their bowl game to Nevada.
The offense returns mostly intact, led by preseason ACC Player of the Year Montel Harris. Harris rushed for 1243 yards, but was banged up at the end of the year, which allowed Andre Williams to make a name for himself, rushing for 461 yards. Harris needs just 125 yards to become Boston College’s all time leading rusher, and just over 1000 yards to become the ACC’s all time leading rusher.
The Eagles went through three quarterbacks last season, starting with Dave Shinskie, who is likely regretting his decision to quite play baseball. Shinskie was replaced by Mike Marscovetra, who also struggled, before yielding to Chase Rettig, who will likely get the nod going in to the season. The three quarterbacks combined to throw for 13 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. In a word, the quarterbacks last year were brutal.
Every receiver of note returns this season. Bobby Swigert led the team with 39 receptions as a freshman, followed by tight end Chris Pantale with 31. No one else caught more than 16 passes last season. As a team, the Eagles only caught 180 passes.
There’s no denying that Anthony Castonzo will be greatly missed on the offensive line. He was one of the best offensive linemen in the nation last year. Despite his absence, the offensive line is still pretty experienced, and should be just fine leading the way for the running game.
It is believed that water covers 70% of the Earth, and land covers the other 30%. On the football field, Luke Kuechly covers 90% of the field, and the other 10 players cover the other 10%, and back up Kuechly in the rare instance he doesn’t make the tackle. Kuechly had nearly twice as many tackles as the second leading tackler, fellow linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis. Gone from this corps is the greatest story of college football last season, Mark Herzlich. All things considered, he had a pretty good season.
While the defensive line only returns one starter (Kaleb Ramsey), it doesn’t lack experience. The backups from last season saw a lot of playing time. Max Holloway started five games, but led the team with four sacks.
The secondary only returns one full time starter in Donnie Fletcher, but he led the team with five interceptions. Don’t be surprised if true freshman Al Louis-Jean ends up starting on the other side. The safeties are experienced, even though they didn’t start every game last year.
Both kicker and punter are back this season. Nate Freese was automatic from inside 40 yards, only missing once, going 22-25 overall. Punter Ryan Quigley averaged 41.5 yards per punt last season. The kick returns were handled by Andre Williams in the spring, so he could be the main kick returner. Montel Harris handled punt returns last year, and figures to do the same this year.
How will new offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers affect the offense? Having spent the last five seasons as the quarterbacks coach for the Minnesota Vikings, Rogers knows what it will take to get to the pros. His knowledge of the pro game should be a big boost to the quarterbacks, especially Chase Rettig, who should have a much improved season. The passing game should be better this season.
There is no doubt that the player with the most impact is running back Montel Harris. Provided he stays healthy, Harris figures to be a 1000 yard rusher with relative ease. Chris Pantale is not a bad option at tight end as well. Boston College doesn’t throw a lot, but when they do, Pantale is one of the go to guys.
This will be an interesting season for the Boston College Eagles. The Eagles will need more success from the passing game to take some stress off of the running game. The defense will be just fine with Kuechly on the field. But the schedule doesn’t do them a lot of favors. The first two non conference games are not cake walks, and some of their tougher ACC games are on the road. Their bowl game streak could be in jeopardy. If they get there, it will be by the skin of their teeth.