ACC: Bobby Vardaro

Q&A: BC center Andy Gallik

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
2:00
PM ET
Spring practice is underway at Boston College. The Eagles held one practice just before spring break, then returned to the field Tuesday to resume workouts. I had a chance to catch up with veteran center Andy Gallik after practice to talk about goals for this upcoming season and how the Eagles are going to answer questions at running back and quarterback.

How are things different this spring in Year 2 under Steve Addazio?

Andy Gallik: Last spring, the big thing was understanding Coach Addazio’s philosophy as a whole for the team. This year, despite the many losses we had and being a younger unit, the guys that have been around have stepped up as leaders and it has been a little bit easier of a transition because we’ve already spent over a year in the offensive and defensive schemes that we’ve run. So it’s been a little bit easier transition than we had last springtime.

[+] EnlargeAndy Gallik
Michael Tureski/Icon SMIAndy Gallik says the Eagles will remain a physical, run-first team, and he's excited about the competition at QB to replace Chase Rettig.
Have you stepped up more as a leader?

AG: I feel like it’s a role that I should take over as the center, being a fifth-year guy. I’ve played a lot of football since I’ve been here so I know what it takes to show up in practice and do everything the right way with working and fundamentals from period to period in practice because it transitions over to Saturdays when you’re playing in the games.

How do you duplicate the success you had running the ball last year without Andre Williams?

AG: We definitely have the same mentality of being a tough, physical unit, not just all around but especially up front on the offensive line. We return myself, Bobby Vardaro and Harris Williams and we also return Seth Betancourt at tackle, who has played a lot of ball since he’s been here as well. So even though we lost Andre, we do have a good stable of running backs ready to step in. Everybody knows the mentality we have as an offense, running downhill, being physical, being extremely tough. Everybody has the right mindset going into the spring again.

What was it like changing that mindset to being a physical, tough football team?

AG: The guys in my class when we were recruited, the offensive scheme we were in was centralized around being a tough and physical unit up front, but we got away from that the last couple years with the different offensive coordinators and the type of offense we ran. When Coach Addazio came in, it was something we had done before, but we got away from it a little bit. Coach Addazio not only stressed the toughness but bringing the techniques and really working the fine details of the work that we do.

You have to replace Chase Rettig at quarterback. Now you have players with a different skill set competing to win the starting job. What has that transition been like so far?

AG: It’s definitely a little different because I’ve been with Chase my whole career, but Tyler Murphy comes in from Florida, who has a lot of starting experience in a great conference. Darius Wade is a freshman who has a lot of ability, along with James Walsh. We’ve seen a different dynamic with guys who are more mobile and can run with it. It’s definitely interesting and really exciting to play in this offense now because we have more options to attack defenses.

What have you seen out of the three quarterbacks competing for the job so far during workouts?

AG: They’re all really extremely talented. When I first saw them throwing, we were working out on our own and I saw the arm strength in all these guys and how quick they are and I couldn’t believe all the options we have. So it’s going to be an interesting spring to see the competition grow between all the quarterbacks.

As the center, how is your role impacted with an open quarterback competition?

AG: It’s definitely a different transition working with different guys but in terms of snapping -- snapping stays the same. The competition, it’s not up to me. Everything I do as the center stays status quo but in terms of their playing styles, that’s out of my hands but the chemistry is something that’s going to have to be built throughout spring ball between each of the quarterbacks that I do work with.

What is the mentality among the players this spring, knowing you had success a year ago?

AG: Last year we felt like we fell a little bit short. We did make a bowl game and that was an amazing experience, but all of us wanted to win that bowl game. For us to lose, it left a sour taste in our mouth going into the offseason. Everybody is really hungry. We’re all aiming for an ACC championship, not just going to a bowl game. We want to raise the bar and improve on last year.

ND's 2012 opponents, Week 10: BC

July, 27, 2012
7/27/12
10:30
AM ET
Week 10: Nov. 10 at Boston College (at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass.)

Time/TV: TBA

Series: Notre Dame leads all-time, 12-9

2011 record: 4-8 (3-5 ACC; fifth place, Atlantic Division)

Head coach: Frank Spaziani (20-19, three years)

Returning starters: Offense: 9; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

QB Chase Rettig, RB Rolandan Finch, RB Tahj Kimble, RB Andre Williams, WR Colin Larmond, WR Bobby Swigert, TE Chris Pantale, LT John Wetzel, LG Bobby Vardaro, RG Ian White, RT Emmett Cleary, DE Kasim Edebali, DT Kaleb Ramsey, DT Dominic Appiah, DT Dillon Quinn, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB Steele Divitto, LB Sean Duggan, CB Jim Noel, SS Spenser Rositano

Key losses

RB Montel Harris, TE Lars Anderson, C Mark Spinney, DE Max Holloway, LB Luke Kuechly, CB Donnie Fletcher, FS Hampton Hughes, P Ryan Quigley

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Rolandan Finch* (705 yards)

Passing: Chase Rettig* (1,960 yards)

Receiving: Colin Larmond* (528 yards)

Tackles: Luke Kuechly (191)

Sacks: Max Holloway (2.5)

Interceptions: Luke Kuechly (3)

Three questions for ... ACC blogger Heather Dinich:

Coach Frank Spaziani and players talked a lot this spring about how the worst thing to happen in the 2011 season was the campaign ending, as BC made strides late. Is it possible to build off that momentum in 2012?



Heather Dinich: BC doesn’t have much choice but to answer that with an emphatic ‘yes’ because the Eagles open the season against Miami. That game will set the tone for both programs, and we’ll learn a lot about both of them in Week 1. Voting members of the media picked BC to finish fifth in the Atlantic Division this fall, ahead of only Maryland. The key to whether or not they surpass that is how quickly the offense executes the playbook of yet another offensive coordinator. Offensive lineman Emmett Cleary told me at media days that too much has been made of the turnover at the coordinator position -- that it’s just football and they can learn it. That’s coming from a BC offensive lineman, though -- they’re smart guys. The lack of continuity there will be a factor for some players.



All-everything players Montel Harris and Luke Kuechly are gone, but there is plenty of depth both in the backfield and at linebacker. Can those units maintain production this season?



HD: There’s talent and depth at both positions. Of course, BC would like to have the ACC’s record-setting running back on its roster, but the Eagles will survive without him, especially since the offensive line should be one of the more improved units on the roster. Rolandan Finch and Andre Williams combined to rush for 1,222 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Tahj Kimble had 43 carries and eight catches. At linebacker, nobody can replace Kuechly, but Steele Divitto is sure gonna try. Kevin Pierre-Louis could also be one of the more talented linebackers in the ACC.



Given recent seasons, staff turnover and the mysterious dismissing of Harris, it would appear -- at least on the surface -- to be a do or die year for Spaziani. How does BC respond this year?

HD: Yes, I think his job is on the line. The Eagles, at the very least, must go bowling for Spaz to keep his seat cool. At least that’s my guess. I have little doubt that BC responds like it always does -- with a chip on its shoulder. Spaziani told me at ACC media days that he has a chip on HIS shoulder, and those are the types of players BC recruits, too -- solid, hard-working, blue-collar guys who simply love the game. They’ll play for anybody. BC might not be the best team in the ACC, but you can always expect the Eagles’ best effort.

Boston College spring wrap

May, 8, 2012
5/08/12
11:30
AM ET
2011 overall record: 4-8
2011 conference record: 3-5 (5th, Atlantic)

Returning starters: Offense: 9; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners
LT John Wetzel, RT Emmett Cleary, LG Bobby Vardaro, RG Ian White, TE Chris Pantale, QB Chase Rettig, RB Rolandan Finch, RB Tahj Kimble, RB Andre Williams, WR Coin Larmond, WR Bobby Swigert, DE Kasim Edebali, DT Kaleb Ramsey, DT Dominic Appiah, DT Dillon Quinn, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB Steele Divitto, LB Sean Duggan, CB Jim Noel, SS Spenser Rositano

Key losses
C Mark Spinney, TE Lars Anderson, DE Max Holloway, LB Luke Kuechly, CB Donnie Fletcher, FS Hampton Hughes, P Ryan Quigley

2011 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Rolandan Finch* (705 yards)
Passing: Chase Rettig* (1,960 yards)
Receiving: Colin Larmond* (528 yards)
Tackles: Luke Kuechly (191)
Sacks: Max Holloway (2.5)
Interceptions: Luke Kuechly (3)

Spring answers

1. Chase Rettig makes strides: Rettig was thrown into the fire early, and he has endured plenty since, with injuries, new schemes and last year's 4-8 campaign. Now a junior, and playing for another new offensive coordinator, Rettig has the command of the offense and should benefit from playing behind an experienced offensive line.

2. More running back depth than BC probably hoped for: Montel Harris and Andre Williams couldn't go in the spring game. Then Tahj Kimble injured himself early in the contest. Finch, who played a lot last season with Harris sidelined, ended up shouldering the load, and it will take a group effort this season with Harris out of the picture. Injuries and a dismissal gave BC a better look at its backfield talent than it had probably hoped for, but the group effort this spring should benefit the Eagles come fall.

3. Defense looking to build off 2011 finish: Coach Frank Spaziani said the worst thing about last season was that it ended. BC is hungry to build off its 4-8 campaign, as the team hopes to carry the momentum from winning two of its final three games. A long offseason gave the defense time to think about that finish, which was keyed by a unit that held each of the final three opponents to fewer than 20 points.

Fall questions

1. Who will replace Luke Kuechly? The short answer is no one. Kuechly's legend will only continue to grow with each passing day. But the Eagles do return plenty of talented linebackers, led by Steele Divitto and Kevin Pierre-Louis. It will take a collective effort and then some for the linebackers to make up for the loss of Kuechly, but their attitude in trying can certainly rub off on the rest of the defense.

2. What happened with Harris? The school's all-time leading rusher was dismissed from the team after the spring for a repeated violation of team rules. The backfield is used to playing without him after his injury-plagued 2011 campaign, but the suddenness of Harris' departure -- which Spaziani will not get into -- has to have some effect on his former teammates, especially with Harris having been primed to chase the ACC's career rushing record this season.

3. How will the offense transition under Doug Martin? Spaziani said he was impressed with the unit coming out of the spring, but a fifth offensive coordinator in five years has to be challenging for the players. Martin has said he is looking to increase the pace, and he'll have nine starters back to work with come preseason camp.

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