Boston College began spring practices yesterday, and the Eagles are confident they can contend for the Atlantic Division -- again. I caught up with offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo earlier this month for his take on BC’s outlook this season. Castonzo is one of those super-smart offensive linemen -- his classes this semester include Biochemistry 2, Developmental Biology, Physical Chemistry, and Advanced Research in a Biochem Lab -- and he hopes to have a cure for cancer some day. I think he knows what he’s talking about. Here are the highlights of our conversation:
You guys were able to do a lot with a little last year. What’s the outlook heading into spring ball, and what are your expectations for this season?
AC: Our expectations are an ACC championship. I’ve been a part of two teams that have gone to the ACC championship [game], and we lost it both years, which was really frustrating. But I know personally, seeing what we’ve got, seeing what we have had in the past, I think we’ve got a legitimate shot to get there and win it.
What are some of the things you see that make you say that?
AC: We’ve got a lot of veteran guys in key spots. Obviously Montel [Harris] at running back, you open up a little hole for him and the kid’s gone. He’s a real solid player. The fact that last year Dave [Shinskie] was really raw at the quarterback position, he was about as raw as you can get, having not played football in about seven years. He’s going to be much better. We’ll have some competition at the quarterback position, which will boost his game and whoever’s game is going to be our starter. At the wideout position, we have some really good playmakers. Colin Larmond is prepped to have a real breakout season and make some real big plays. I like having him as a deep threat out there. Our whole line -- with me, [Thomas] Claiborne, [Rich] Lapham, [Nathan] Richman -- we’ve got four out of five starters coming back. That speaks for itself.
Our defense, we’re pretty strong at every position. Our cornerbacks, we have DeLeon Gause, at safety we’ve got Wes Davis coming back. At linebacker we’ve got superboy [Luke] Kuechly coming back, and his counterpart, superboy [Mark] Herzlich. Our defense is pretty stout. I look around at different positions and I can’t find a glaring weakness in our team, which is why I feel like we’re solid all around.
Do you think you guys as an offensive line lived up to the reputation last year, in terms of the strong BC tradition of the position in the past?
AC: I think we could’ve been better than we were. I’m not sure what the reason was why we didn’t live up to what we expected out of ourselves. On the road, we had some problems, especially, but even having said that, we definitely re-established ourselves in the run game, which I felt was a big hurdle for us to overcome. We had heard a lot from the media and such that we weren’t the road graders, the guys who can open up holes in the run game. We felt that getting Montel almost 1,500 yards last year, we thought that we regained a little bit of swagger with the run game and we really want to take that into this year and open up some big holes for him.
Check back later for the second half of this interview.