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BC's McLaughlin a 'big if'

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It looks like it's going to be a while -- probably into the start of the season -- before BC linebacker Mike McLaughlin will return to the field from a torn Achilles, and while it's not unexpected, it's an unfortunate timetable for a defense that could use some leadership and experience at linebacker.

"They're saying he might be available sometime the first week of the season," coach Frank Spaziani said. "Now, the best way I can decipher that is he'll be able to practice a little bit. He's not going to be able to do in and do everything he needs to do in preseason, so they'll ease him into it. Once the season starts, then it becomes a little more difficult to get ready. He's smart, and experienced, and if he's healthy, he'll be ready to go. That's a big if."

McLaughlin was voted defensive captain by his teammates last year, and started all 14 games at middle linebacker. He was second on the team with 89 tackles (53 solo), four sacks, and was third with 12 tackles for a loss. Eagles fans (and Maryland for that matter) might remember his incredible play against the Terps when he jumped over Maryland running back Davin Meggett's block to sack quarterback Chris Turner.

Without McLaughlin, the Eagles will look to Will Thompson, who saw significant time behind Robert Francois last year. The preseason depth chart lists sophomore Dominick LeGrande as the starting strongside linebacker and Nick Clancy as the weakside linebacker. Kevin Distaso and Alexander DiSanzo, their backups, respectively, will also get significant reps this summer. Of the two-deep at linebacker without McLaughlin or Mark Herzlich, the Eagles have only one upperclassman in Distaso.

The Eagles' entire front seven will no doubt have an entirely different look than it did a year ago.