Boston College running back Montel Harris might have been the most dependable player in the ACC last fall, not to mention the most durable.
Harris finished the season with 308 carries. Only three other players in the country -- Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs, Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, and Pitt running back Dion Lewis -- had more. Not even former Georgia Tech B-back Jonathan Dwyer surpassed the 300-carry mark last fall in the Jackets' run-based spread option offense. Those four players were the only ones in the FBS to eclipse 300 carries in 2009.
BC coach Frank Spaziani is hoping Harris doesn't have to do it again, but he said he's still "not very comfortable" with the depth and experience behind Harris.
"We don't have a proven back behind him," Spaziani said. "We think we have some prospects and potential back there, but potential means you haven't done it yet. We feel a little bit better than we did in the spring, but we've got a long ways to go there."
Harris started all 13 games last year and finished with 1,457 rushing yards. His 308 carries were the second-most in a season at BC. Should anything happen to Harris, the Eagles would turn to Rolandan Finch, who was out the second half of the season with mono, and fullback James McCluskey, who suffered a torn Achilles last spring and played in eight games last year.
Bottom line: If the Eagles are going to contend for the Atlantic Division again, they can't afford to lose Harris to injury or anything else.
"His durability was one of the more impressive things about him," Spaziani said. "We certainly don't want to make it a steady diet of handing him the ball 50 times a game -- unless of course we need to."
It certainly wouldn't be the first time.