ACC: Dan Crimmins

Boston College spring wrap

April, 29, 2014
Apr 29
11:00
AM ET
Three things we learned in the spring about the Boston College Eagles:

1. Tyler Murphy is the starting QB. Surprised? Well, you shouldn't be. The Florida transfer, who was recruited to Gainesville by Steve Addazio when the coach was an assistant there, always seemed like the front-runner to win the No. 1 job, and the second-year BC head coach raved about Murphy's poise and pocket presence throughout the spring. His SEC experience should prove beneficial for the Eagles.

2. More dynamic offense on the way. Replacing Andre Williams will definitely be tough for one man to do. But Addazio is confident that the rushing attack as a whole could be very productive, as having a quarterback such as Murphy will help stretch the field and give defenses more to look out for from the backfield. Running backs Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse had strong springs as well.

3. Secondary makes some strides. BC took several hits among its front seven, but Addazio is confident that the defensive backs are slowly but surely on their way to leading this defense. While the pass defense struggled last season, ranking last in the ACC, the secondary brings back all of its starters from 2013, led by Manuel Asprilla.

Three questions for the fall:

1. Who steps up at linebacker? Stalwarts Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto leave behind a massive hole. Mike Strizak and Sean Duggan bring some experience, and the staff liked what Josh Keyes brought to the table this spring. But will it all be enough to replace the combined 220 tackles that Pierre-Louis and Divitto made last year?

2. Where are the pass-catchers? BC's leading returning receiver is a running back, as David Dudeck caught 10 passes last season for 84 yards and a touchdown. The passing game was overly reliant on Alex Amidon last season, and the Eagles return just two receivers who made catches in 2013: Dan Crimmins and Harrison Jackson, who totaled 15 grabs for 107 yards and a touchdown last season.

3. Are there enough proven bodies on the roster? Addazio has said he loves the collective attitude, but BC said goodbye to a deep and talented senior class last year and will still be roughly six scholarship players short of the max. Summer enrollees might have to take on bigger roles than the staff would probably prefer.

One way-too-early prediction:

BC's progress will not be reflected in its record in 2014. That might be a tough reality for a program that absolutely shattered expectations in Addazio's first year, and he certainly has the Eagles ahead of schedule, but BC probably loses too much veteran production on both sides of the ball to win eight or more games in 2014.
By all accounts, Boston College has very little in the way of depth at running back and receiver -- two major areas of concern for the Eagles as fall practice nears.

Coach Steve Addazio, in fact, called the depth at running back "alarming" because there is essentially nobody proven behind Andre Williams. Rolandan Finch is gone; Tahj Kimble is coming off ACL surgery and his status for practice remains up in the air. That essentially leaves David Dudeck as the backup going into August, and the Eagles hoping one of the two running backs they signed in February can come in and play immediately.

While the Eagles were happy with the way Williams stepped up this spring, depth is absolutely necessary at the position -- especially when you consider the way this team plans on running the ball.

"Depth is obviously a major concern," offensive coordinator Ryan Day said in a recent phone interview. "It’s something we’re trying to address, but at the same time we can’t draft anybody so we’re going to have to manage the best we can. Dudeck did a good job this spring. He hasn’t played much running back. He got throwing into the fire last year, but he’s getting better. He’s going to have to provide some depth."

The Eagles don't have anybody proven at receiver beyond Alex Amidon, either. Addazio said it appears as if Bobby Swigert will miss this season and take a medical redshirt because of setbacks to his injured knee. Spiffy Evans will be relied upon to take on a much bigger role this season, and Day mentioned Dan Crimmins as a player who needs to step up as well.

"We need that group right there to come along faster than they did this spring," Day said. "They’ve been challenged by the head coach himself, by myself by their position coach. Alex has played a lot of football here, but overall, that’s a pretty young group. Alex has to help those guys come along and show them how it is to be a Division I college receiver, and the work it takes. The challenge has been set forth with those guys."

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