ACC: Dominic Appiah

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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