ACC: Wes Davis

Boston College spring game storylines

April, 15, 2011
The Eagles will play their spring game at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Montel Harris, the ACC's leading returning rusher, and his backup, Andre Williams, are likely to be held out for "safety reasons," according to a school spokesman. The Eagles have been using backups in their scrimmages. Here are three main plot lines to watch:
  • How the offense looks under first-year coordinator Kevin Rogers. Rogers has a reputation for developing quarterbacks, and Chase Rettig should be better in his second season as a full-time starter -- if he and his teammates grasp the new playbook quickly. Rettig threw for 1,238 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions as a true freshman last season.
  • The secondary. The Eagles suffered key losses with the graduation of DeLeon Gause and Wes Davis, but true freshman (spring enrollee) Al Louis-Jean has turned heads in spring drills. Senior corner Donnie Fletcher will compete for All-ACC first-team honors this season, and Jim Noel cemented his position with an outstanding sophomore season. Sophomore C.J. Jones is expected to compete for a starting role as well.
  • Eagles in the trenches. For the first time in years, the Eagles will have a different look on the offensive line, as only two starters returned from last year's team. Defensively, only one starter returned in Kaleb Ramsey, who started nine games last year at defensive tackle. The good news is that BC has plenty of defensive linemen who have had significant playing time.

Frank Spaziani gets contract extension

December, 20, 2010
In the midst of a season of change in the ACC, BC has opted for stability and extended coach Frank Spaziani's contract for two years (through the 2015 season), the school announced on Monday. Spaziani had three years remaining on his original contract.

“Frank Spaziani has done a terrific job in his first two seasons as our head football coach,” athletic director Gene DeFilippo said in a prepared statement. “There is no doubt in my mind that he has our program headed in the right direction. He is a man of uncompromised integrity and principle, and he has provided great stability to our program. He has overcome some obstacles along the way and is building the foundation for great things to come. This contract extension is an indication of the university’s confidence in him.”

“I am very appreciative of this contract extension,” Spaziani said in the release. “As I have said in the past, I am honored to be the head football coach at Boston College; there’s no other place I would rather be. I look forward to leading this program into the future.”

It's a good, timely move for BC that will give the staff some security as it comes time to close in on recruits -- especially as the staffs at Maryland and Miami are in transitions (or, in Maryland's case, falling apart). It's also a deserved extension, as Spaziani continues to squeeze the most out of his undermanned teams.

The Eagles began the season 2-5 and were plagued by injuries to key defensive starters Alex Albright, Wes Davis and DeLeon Gause. The receiving corps was hurt before the season even started when Colin Larmond Jr., the team's leading returner, suffered a season-ending injury.

Midway through the season, 25 of the 44 players on the team’s two-deep were freshmen or sophomores. Led by the nation’s leading tackler, Luke Kuechly, and the ACC’s leading rusher, Montel Harris, the Eagles became the first team in ACC history to win five consecutive games after losing five in a row. In so doing, they became eligible for their 12th consecutive bowl game.

Having to depend on so many young players made for a rough season, but it also gave the program a jump start on its future, especially at quarterback, where true freshman Chase Rettig took over.

Friday mailblog

November, 19, 2010
You asked, I answered ...

Kylegtfan in Atlanta, Ga., writes: I read your blog every day and enjoy it, but as a GT fan my year has been bad enough, but now you go and predict my Jackets to fall, at home, to duke, on SENIOR DAY! C'mon HD Tech won by 39 last year... yes Tech is probably the biggest disappointment in the ACC this year, but Duke putting up 35 on the jackets in Bobby Dodd? C'MON even you can't believe that. My prediction... tech wins by 3+ TD because they are so disgusted by your prediction.

HD: I know, I know, man, sorry. Look, I picked your Jackets to win last weekend and look what happened -- they scored 10 points! Duke is playing good football right now and I know David Cutcliffe will have them prepared and ready. I could be totally wrong, but I think the Blue Devils will show up and at least make it a close game.

Bob in Stamford, Conn., writes: Will anyone wear # 31 for BC on Saturday? With Wes Davis the Jay McGillis scholarship student-athlete, it seems someone should carry on the tradition of wearing the late player's number on senior day. If not Davis, who will it be, if anyone? In my opinion, it is one of BC's better traditions.

HD: DeLeon Gause was actually the McGillis award winner this year. (Davis last year.) Oddly enough, both are injured and won’t play, so BC will forego the jersey this year and Gause and Davis will be introduced at the game as the past two winners.

Danny in College Park, Md., writes: Heather,I couldn't help but notice you neglected to discuss Danny O'Brien in "What to Watch in the ACC" Rookie Quarterback discussion. I'm willing to say already that he has ACC Rookie of the Year locked up, and he could very well lead this team to an ACC Championship game. What are your thoughts on DOB and his place in the future of this program, including your prediction with what will happen in the next two weeks?

HD: Well, that's because Danny is the starter. That was in reference to backup rookies EJ Manuel and Stephen Morris. As for DOB and his future, I think he has the ability to be a special quarterback for the Terps, and that's one big thing they've been missing. Regarding the next two weeks, I think Maryland is good enough to win one of those games, but not both of them.

John in Madison, Fla., writes: Why is it that FSU statred out the year running the ball with ease against opposing teams, and now the Noles are having difficulty having a steady ground game?

HD: FSU didn't get worse -- the defenses have gotten better. Clemson, Carolina, BC -- all in the top half of the ACC in rushing defense. And it's not going to get any easier for the Noles. Guess who's No. 3 in the ACC in rushing D? The Terps. Plus, there has been a lot of inconsistency up front for FSU this year with injuries. They've had three different starters at left tackle and three at right guard.

John in Raleigh writes: Hey Heather, where's the love for Nate Irving been? He only broke a NCAA record with 8 TFLs last week and now ranks second in the NCAA for TFLs on the season?

HD: Yeah, you guys are totally right. I got a lot of notes in the mailbag about Irving, and he probably deserved more ink this week. The problem is, it came against Wake Forest, and he's been overshadowed by two other players -- Da'Quan Bowers and Luke Kuechly. Irving has been an incredible story this year considering his comeback, and if the Pack win the Atlantic Division, he should get some consideration for Defensive Player of the Year, but Kuechly and Bowers have been better this year.

BC's Luke Kuechly among nation's best

November, 16, 2010
BC linebacker Luke Kuechly was around the ball so much against Duke last week you’d think that he was the one carrying it.

[+] EnlargeBoston College linebacker Luke Kuechly
Mark Dolejs/US PresswireBoston College linebacker Luke Kuechly leads the nation with 146 tackles.
Kuechly finished with a career-high 21 tackles, broke up two passes, forced a fumble and recovered another on the next series.

Did you get that? Twenty-one tackles. Neither team could even get that many first downs.

When it comes to making tackles, no one in the country is better.

Kuechly is the only player in the nation to have two games with at least 20 tackles. He also had 20 at NC State on Oct. 9. For the second straight year, Kuechly has ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the country in total tackles and solo tackles. Last year he finished second in total tackles. This year he leads all players with 146. Yet after two seasons of racking up flabbergasting numbers, Kuechly is one of the most under-the-radar players outside of the ACC.

“Luke Kuechly is a great football player,” said Duke coach David Cutcliffe. “He is a humble youngster; I know him well. I think he is the best defensive football player in college football. Absolutely, without question. And I will vote in that regard.”

Cutcliffe wouldn’t be the first.

As a true freshman last year, Kuechly earned All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America. His 158 tackles were the most by a BC defender since 1993 and his 12.15 tackles per game were the most by a rookie since the NCAA began tracking tackles in 2003.

And somehow, this year, he’s even better.

“Now that I’ve got a year under my belt I think I’m more comfortable with the whole scheme of our defense,” he said. “I feel more comfortable not only with what I’m doing, but with what other people are doing, too. That’s allowed me to play a little more comfortably out there and have a little more confidence in what I’m doing.”

Despite his breakout season as a true freshman, it took Kuechly, a former high school safety, some time to learn the position. He was thrown into a starting role last year after Mark Herzlich was diagnosed with cancer and Mike McLaughlin ruptured his Achilles.

"He worked at it," said defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Bill McGovern. "He was one of those guys when he came in the meeting room he would ask questions. He wanted to know where he was supposed to be and how he fit, what was going on and why he should be doing that. He learned the game quickly. He takes a lot of pride in understanding what's going on, what we're doing on defense and also how the offense is attacking him."

Apparently, not very well.

Against Duke, Kuechly extended his streak of games with 10-plus tackles to 19, which is the nation's longest active streak.

In addition to his playmaking abilities, what separates Kuechly from many of his peers is his humility.

The interception at Wake Forest? He passed it off as just being “in the right place at the right time.” The forced and recovered fumble at Duke? “I was just kind of around the ball.” His ridiculous stats? “If I have two tackles and we can win the game I’m perfectly OK with that.”

Those within the program have nicknamed him everything from Boy Wonder, to Superman and Clark Kent (because of his studious, off-field look with glasses), but Kuechly said he’s just an “average student” in BC’s business school, taking some electives and trying to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

He’s got some time to decide.

The fact that Kuechly is a sophomore means the best is yet to come. But how does he top what he’s already done? He self-scouts every week to find out.

“I need to work on angles to the ball and things,” he said. “I missed a couple of tackles this past weekend because I took poor angles to the ball. There’s some things in pass coverage I need to work on, get in better position, not only help myself but help the secondary behind me. That’s one of the things that kind of goes unnoticed if you don’t particularly know what you’re looking at. I have to get in better position for pass coverage.”

Regardless of how much success he has, or how much progress he continues to make, one thing that’s unlikely to change about Kuechly is his modesty.

“The biggest thing is that I didn’t get to where I am by myself,” he said. “There’s people who were constantly helping me out, guys like Wes Davis and Mark Herzlich. Everyone around me has really helped me get to where I am today. Without them I wouldn’t be in this situation. The thing that you have to keep in the back of your mind is that there’s always somebody better than you, and there’s always somebody who helped you get to where you are.”

And right now, Kuechly is at the top.

ACC's lunchtime links

November, 2, 2010
Another good Thursday night game to look forward to ...

What to watch in the ACC: Week 9

October, 28, 2010
Here’s a look at 10 things to keep an eye on this week, in no particular order:

[+] EnlargeChristian Ponder
Reid Compton/Icon SMIFSU quarterback Christian Ponder needs to bounce tonight against NC State.
Quarterbacks in Raleigh. Both Christian Ponder and Russell Wilson are two of the veterans in the league, but they’ve both struggled with interceptions recently. Ponder threw three in the win over Boston College and lost a fumble, and Wilson threw three in the loss at East Carolina. Odds are whichever one rebounds, comes out on top.

NC State’s run defense. It will be one of the biggest keys to the game, as FSU enters Raleigh with the No. 19 rushing offense in the nation at 211.71 yards per game. NC State is holding opponents to 148.13.

The replacements in BC. BC defensive end Alex Albright’s season ended last week with a broken fibula. It’s Max Holloway’s job now, and safety Wes Davis is definitely out after sustaining a neck injury against Maryland. Okechukwu Okoroha is expected to start in his place. Cornerback DeLeon Gause did not practice on Wednesday but is still listed as day-to-day.

Bowl eligibility. Maryland, NC State and Miami are all chasing their sixth win of the season this week. So far, only Virginia Tech and Florida State are bowl-eligible in the ACC. It’s of particular importance to the Terps and Wolfpack, who were both home for the holidays last year.

Clemson’s turnover-free streak. The Tigers have gone three straight games without turning the ball over -- a first in school history. The Clemson offense has run 196 consecutive plays without a turnover, a streak that dates to the last play of the Miami (FL) game on October 2. Overall, Clemson has four games this year when it has not committed a turnover. BC’s defense has had 18 takeaways this year.

Nation’s top tacklers in Chestnut Hill. Saturday’s game between BC and Clemson will feature two of the nation’s top tacklers in BC linebacker Luke Kuechly and Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. Kuechly leads the nation in tackles per game with 13.9 and is three shy of 100 tackles for the season. Bowers leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss, and he is on a record-setting pace with 10 sacks in seven games so far this season. Boston College is one of the worst teams in the country in sacks allowed with 2.86 per game. Bowers needs three more to set the record for most sacks in a season in school history by a defensive lineman.

Wake Forest running back Josh Harris. In his first career start against Virginia Tech, Harris rushed 20 times for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Harris’ 241 yards rushing were the most ever allowed by Virginia Tech, surpassing the 239 by Temple’s Paul Palmer in 1986. Harris became the first Deacon since 2005 to rush for over 200 yards in a game. Maryland has the No. 4 rushing defense in the ACC, holding opponents to 143.6 yards per game. The Terps have held each of their last three opponents (Duke, Clemson, and BC) under 100 yards on the ground. It’s the first time the defense has done that since 2004.

Maryland’s secondary. Two players who are having great seasons are flying under the radar in College Park, Md. Against Boston College, safety Antwine Perez had a career-best two interceptions and recovered a fumble. Perez is second on the team in pass breakups (six) and tied for third in the league in interceptions (0.43 pg). Kenny Tate is the leading tackler in the ACC among defensive backs (8.0 per game). He is also atop the league chart with four forced fumbles, the most by a Terp since Milton Harris also had four in 2005.

Shoop vs. Shoop. UNC offensive coordinator John Shoop will face his older brother, William & Mary defensive coordinator Bob Shoop. It is believed to be one of only three matchups in college football this season pitting brothers against each other, according to UNC’s sports information department. (The other two involve Oklahoma). Both Shoops are in their fourth seasons at their respective schools. Carolina is averaging 365 yards per game and the Tribe is allowing just 318 yards. May the best Shoop win.

Pass defenses in Charlottesville. The ACC’s top two pass defenses will be featured in the Miami-Virginia game. Miami leads the ACC with 149.1 passing yards per game allowed, and Virginia follows at 165.4. The Canes have 14 interceptions, Virginia five.

Back and forth in the ACC: Weeks 8/9

October, 25, 2010
It’s time to look back on Week 8 one last time and fast-forward to Week 9:

[+] EnlargeO'Brien
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaMaryland's Danny O'Brien threw three TD passes in a 24-21 win against Boston College.
The good: Quarterback redemption. One week after throwing three interceptions apiece, Virginia quarterback Marc Verica and Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien guided their respective teams to victories without one interception. Even Duke quarterback Sean Renfree, who threw five picks in the loss to Miami, cut it down to only one interception against Virginia Tech. And Miami quarterback Jacory Harris only threw one interception while UNC’s T.J. Yates, who had only thrown one all season, threw two against the Canes.

The bad: Injuries. None was worse than the motor scooter accident at Maryland, which left starting offensive lineman Pete DeSouza in intensive care with two broken bones in both legs. But Boston College also lost a leader for the season when starting defensive end Alex Albright – the Eagles’ top pass rusher and a team captain – broke his fibula and will miss the rest of the season. Starting safety Wes Davis, another team captain, suffered a neck injury but has full mobility and has been released from the hospital.

The ugly: Virginia’s attendance. The Cavaliers finally got an FBS win, but Hoo cares if nobody was there to see it? The announced crowd was 36,600 – the fewest in Scott Stadium since UVA played Duke in 1997.

The broken: Streaks. Miami coach Randy Shannon was awarded the game ball after snapping his three-game losing streak to North Carolina coach Butch Davis, and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney snapped his three-game losing streak to Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson.

The unbelievable: Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt, who was just 44 yards shy of becoming the ACC’s most prolific rushing quarterback, was held to two rushing yards against Clemson.

The front-runners: Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers continued to make cases in the races for offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively. Taylor threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns, and Bowers had his 10th sack of the season and finished with 2.5 tackles for loss.

The Atlantic Division takes center stage in this week’s top three games:

Florida State at NC State: It’s lost some of its luster since NC State lost to East Carolina and wasn’t able to hold onto its spot in the Associated Press Top 25 for more than a week, but it should still be a great game that holds championship implications. The winner of this game should be considered the favorite to win the Atlantic Division.

Wake Forest at Maryland: The Terps can become bowl eligible with a home win on Saturday, but the Deacs have had a week off to rest and prepare and could play the role of spoiler.

Clemson at Boston College: It’s a chance for the Tigers to continue their momentum, and they’re catching the Eagles at one of their lowest points in years. BC never quits, though, especially at home, and considering its poor start, Clemson can’t afford to overlook anyone.
Boston College senior defensive end Alex Albright has a fractured right fibula and is done for the season. It's terrible news for Albright, a team captain and genuinely good guy, who has battled injuries his entire career. And it's obviously not good news for BC's defense. Albright had nine tackles for loss this year, 4.5 sacks, an interception and two pass breakups.

Safety Wes Davis, who injured his neck and was carted off the field and taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital during Saturday's game against Maryland, will be discharged from the hospital today. He has full movement and is listed as day-to-day. That's two of BC's four captains, and two very good people. Cornerback DeLeon Gause has a knee injury that doesn't need surgery and is listed as day to day.

BC's defense was the one good thing it had going for it, and a lot of it was because of the aforementioned players.

BC injury update

October, 23, 2010
Boston College safety Wes Davis was taken to St. Elizabeth's hospital for further observation and a precautionary CT scan during the Eagles' game against Maryland, according to a school spokesman. Defensive end Alex Albright will get an X-ray after injuring his right ankle in the first series. He spent the game sidelined on crutches wearing a protective boot.

Odds are I won't know any more until coach Frank Spaziani's weekly Sunday teleconference, but I'll update you earlier if I hear anything else. The bottom line is that BC fans should hope both of these players are back on the field as soon as possible, as they're two of the best leaders and players on defense.

Wes Davis injured for BC

October, 23, 2010
Boston College safety Wes Davis was immobilized and carted off the field against Maryland. I'll update you once I hear what the official word is from BC. The Eagles will miss Davis in this game, not just for his contributions on the field, but for his leadership as a team captain.
Boston College fullback James McCluskey's best memory of playing Notre Dame is from 2008, when he broke his left fibula on the last play of the game with a minute left and had to be helped off the field by trainers.

Yes, that was his best memory. After all, BC won, 17-0.

As McCluskey said, the storied “Holy War” rivalry is “not just another game.”

[+] EnlargeBC/ND
Matt Cashore/US PresswireBrandon Robinson celebrated his touchdown with tight end Ryan Purvis during Boston College's 17-0 win over Notre Dame in 2008.
“Even though I broke my leg, we won,” he said, “and I was happy to be a part of that.”

It doesn’t matter that Notre Dame is 1-3, or Boston College will be breaking in a new starting quarterback and coming off its first shutout at home in over a decade. Beating the Irish carries a lot of weight in Chestnut Hill -- so much so that McCluskey would rather break his leg and win than stay healthy and lose.

“Yeah,” he said, “I would.”

Boston College and Notre Dame are the only two Catholic universities to play football in the FBS. The Irish lead the series 10-9, but the Eagles have won six of the past seven games. Boston College is coming off a 19-0 loss to Virginia Tech, but there’s no time to sulk, as Notre Dame appears on the brink of turning things around under first-year coach Brian Kelly, who was born in Everett, Mass., and raised in Chelsea, Mass. Notre Dame is looking for its first win in Alumni Stadium since 1998.

“Every Sunday after practice we always tell each other once we walk off the field today, on Sunday, we say that game’s over with, let’s move on,” McCluskey said. “We can’t afford to waste any days at practice looking at it like, ‘Damn, I wish we’d won last week.’ We know how prepared we have to be, how important it is to get good days of practice in. For what we want to do, what our team goals are, it’s just as important as an ACC game even though it doesn’t have an effect on our chances to go to the ACC championship.”

It does have an effect on bragging rights. Boston College’s defense was able to force Virginia Tech to kick four field goals instead of scoring touchdowns, but will face one of the better passing offenses in the country on Saturday. No other Notre Dame quarterback has passed for more yards through his first four career starts than Dayne Crist, who has 1,155. The Irish are averaging 315.5 passing yards per game, but have lost three in a row to Michigan, Michigan State and No. 16 Stanford -- hardly a string of cupcakes.

“Despite their 1-3 record they’re a very good football team,” said coach Frank Spaziani. “They’re big, strong and fast and extremely well-coached. They have all the pieces to the puzzle, they just ran into a little bit of a buzz saw early on in a new regime. We’re looking for a very good football team to come in here, a very hungry team.”

Boston College safety Wes Davis, a native of San Diego, said he has embraced the rivalry and can sense how much it means to the fans and the students on campus.

“The students are a little more interested,” he said. “I think you’ll see some more butts in the seats before game time. This is my fifth year here. I know how it’s going to be, how excited people are for it. There’s definitely a different atmosphere, but from a team perspective it’s status quo.

“It would be ridiculous for us to say we’re preparing any different for Notre Dame than we did for Virginia Tech,” he said. “That would be asinine. I don’t think Notre Dame is doing that either. As a whole we respect how much our fans enjoy this atmosphere and the game. It means a lot to the folks here.”

It also means a lot to the players -- just ask McCluskey.

BC names captains

August, 11, 2010
Defensive end Alex Albright, offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, free safety Wes Davis and fullback James McCluskey -- all seniors -- have been elected captains in a team vote.

Castonzo, regarded as one of the top left tackles in the country this season, was an All-ACC preseason pick and is a Rhodes Scholarship nominee. Albright made 32 tackles last season and his eight tackles for a loss ranked second on the team. Davis started all 13 games at free safety last season and led the team with three interceptions. McCluskey appeared in eight games last year after recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon in the spring.

Boston College spring wrap

May, 7, 2010

2009 overall record: 8-5

2009 conference record: 5-3

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense: 7, punter/kicker: 1

Top returners

LT Anthony Castonzo, TB Montel Harris, LB Mark Herzlich, LB Luke Kuechly, FS Wes Davis, CB DeLeon Gause, RG Thomas Claiborne, RT Rich Lapham.

Key losses

WR Rich Gunnell, C Matt Tennant, RE Jim Ramella, LB Mike McLaughlin, DT Austin Giles

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Harris* (1,457 yards)

Passing: Shinskie* (2,049 yds)

Receiving: Gunnell (880 yds)

Tackles: Kuechly* (158)

Sacks: Ramella (3)

Interceptions: Davis* (3)

Spring answers

1. Shinskie is older (he’s 26 now) and a little wiser. He has become a smarter player since he walked off the minor league baseball bus last year as a 25-year-old pitcher. Coach Frank Spaziani said his quarterback situation has survived a trip to the emergency room, but is still in “intensive care.”

2. The offensive line should live up to the tradition this year. Even with veteran Castonzo out this spring with a broken foot, it was clear this group has the ability to return to its old standards. With four starters returning, this line should pave the way for another outstanding year for Harris.

3. Kuechly still hasn’t reached his potential. The freshman All-America selection finished second nationally in tackles last year, but Spaziani still wants Kuechly to improve. Kuechly thinks he can and he wants to. He practices with a lot of intensity despite leading the ACC in tackles a year ago.

Fall questions

1. At what level will Herzlich be able to play? That’s the great unknown. He’s back and has been conditioning, but he hasn’t done any hitting. There seems to be a fairy tale vision of what it’s going to be like when Herzlich returns -- and anyone who has followed his story should be hoping for that storybook ending -- but it’s a lot more complicated and unclear just how much he’ll look like the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year.

2. Will Shinskie hold onto his job? Despite his progress, the quarterback job is still open heading into summer camp. Will the other two quarterbacks -- Chase Rettig and Joshua Bordner, both who enrolled early -- be able to challenge him for the starting job? Redshirt sophomore Michael Marscovetra is also in the mix.

3. Who will Harris’ backup be? It’s one of the thinnest positions in the conference, as Rolandan Finch, who had mononucleosis last year, tore his ACL in mid-April. Freshman Sterlin Phifer is an option, but it was hard to tell from the scrimmages because there wasn’t a lot of rushing with the hopes of keeping everyone healthy. Phifer had 15 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown in the first two scrimmages.

Checking in with BC's Castonzo

March, 19, 2010
Boston College began spring practices yesterday, and the Eagles are confident they can contend for the Atlantic Division -- again. I caught up with offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo earlier this month for his take on BC’s outlook this season. Castonzo is one of those super-smart offensive linemen -- his classes this semester include Biochemistry 2, Developmental Biology, Physical Chemistry, and Advanced Research in a Biochem Lab -- and he hopes to have a cure for cancer some day. I think he knows what he’s talking about. Here are the highlights of our conversation:

[+] EnlargeAnthony Castonzo
Ric Tapia/Icon SMIAnthony Castonzo is confident BC can contend for the ACC title in 2010.
You guys were able to do a lot with a little last year. What’s the outlook heading into spring ball, and what are your expectations for this season?

AC: Our expectations are an ACC championship. I’ve been a part of two teams that have gone to the ACC championship [game], and we lost it both years, which was really frustrating. But I know personally, seeing what we’ve got, seeing what we have had in the past, I think we’ve got a legitimate shot to get there and win it.

What are some of the things you see that make you say that?

AC: We’ve got a lot of veteran guys in key spots. Obviously Montel [Harris] at running back, you open up a little hole for him and the kid’s gone. He’s a real solid player. The fact that last year Dave [Shinskie] was really raw at the quarterback position, he was about as raw as you can get, having not played football in about seven years. He’s going to be much better. We’ll have some competition at the quarterback position, which will boost his game and whoever’s game is going to be our starter. At the wideout position, we have some really good playmakers. Colin Larmond is prepped to have a real breakout season and make some real big plays. I like having him as a deep threat out there. Our whole line -- with me, [Thomas] Claiborne, [Rich] Lapham, [Nathan] Richman -- we’ve got four out of five starters coming back. That speaks for itself.

Our defense, we’re pretty strong at every position. Our cornerbacks, we have DeLeon Gause, at safety we’ve got Wes Davis coming back. At linebacker we’ve got superboy [Luke] Kuechly coming back, and his counterpart, superboy [Mark] Herzlich. Our defense is pretty stout. I look around at different positions and I can’t find a glaring weakness in our team, which is why I feel like we’re solid all around.

Do you think you guys as an offensive line lived up to the reputation last year, in terms of the strong BC tradition of the position in the past?

AC: I think we could’ve been better than we were. I’m not sure what the reason was why we didn’t live up to what we expected out of ourselves. On the road, we had some problems, especially, but even having said that, we definitely re-established ourselves in the run game, which I felt was a big hurdle for us to overcome. We had heard a lot from the media and such that we weren’t the road graders, the guys who can open up holes in the run game. We felt that getting Montel almost 1,500 yards last year, we thought that we regained a little bit of swagger with the run game and we really want to take that into this year and open up some big holes for him.

Check back later for the second half of this interview.

ACC injury reports: Week 12

November, 20, 2009
Here are the guys who are down n' out for Week 12 ...



LB Mark Herzlich (illness)


RB Rolandan Finch (illness) - DOUBTFUL

DE Alex Albright (ankle) – QUESTIONABLE

DT Kaleb Ramsey (ankle) – QUESTIONABLE

FB James McCluskey (leg) – QUESTIONABLE

OT Mike Goodman Jr. (illness) – PROBABLE

CB Isaac Johnson (illness) – PROBABLE

DE Jim Ramella (ankle) – PROBABLE

LB Dan Williams (back) – PROBABLE

FS Wes Davis (leg) – PROBABLE

RB Montel Harris (back) – PROBABLE



DaQuan Bowers, DE, knee

Thomas Austin, OG, ankle


WR Austin Kelly (upper body) -- Probable

LB Abraham Kromah (leg) -- Probable

QB Thaddeus Lewis (leg) -- Probable

LB Vincent Rey (leg) -- Probable

K Will Snyderwine (leg) -- Probable

RB Re'quan Boyette (leg) -- OUT

DT Vince Oghobaase (leg) -- OUT

WR Johnny Williams (knee) -- OUT

RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON

OG Mitchell Lederman (foot) -- OUT FOR SEASON

QB Sean Rengree (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON

WR Tyree Watkins (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON

S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON



76 OT Garrett Faircloth (hip)

70 OT Antwane Greenlee (knee)

51 LB Aaron Gresham (knee)

44 LB Maurice Harris (neck; out for the season)

62 OG Rodney Hudson (knee)

97 DT Demonte McAllister (knee)

94 DT Justin Mincey (knee)

81 TE Caz Piurowski (knee; out for the season)

7 QB Christian Ponder (shoulder; out for the season)

74 OT John Prior (knee)

27 CB Xavier Rhodes (thumb)

11 LB Vince Williams (back)


9 WR Richard Goodman (groin)



DB Ray-Ray Armstrong – Lower Extremity

QB Jacory Harris – Upper Extremity


LB Sean Spence – Lower Extremity

DB Vaughn Telemaque – Upper Extremity


RB Lee Chambers – Lower Extremity

WR Thearon Collier – Lower Extremity

FB Patrick Hill – Lower Extremity

DB Sam Shields – Lower Extremity

Surgery and Out for the Season

DL Dyron Dye – Lower Extremity

DL Marcus Forston – Lower Extremity

LB Jordan Futch – Lower Extremity

TE Richard Gordon – Upper Extremity

LB Shayon Green – Lower Extremity

DE Gavin Hardin – Upper Extremity

DB Ryan Hill – Upper Extremity

DB JoJo Nicolas – Upper Extremity

DE Adewale Ojomo – Jaw



Joshua Adams WR Shoulder

AJ Blue RB/QB Knee

Curtis Campbell DB Wrist

David Collins OL Foot

Shaun Draughn TB Shoulder

Carl Gaskins OT Knee

Matt Merletti S Knee

Trevor Stuart DS Knee

Ryan Taylor TE Knee

Jamal Womble TB Wrist


Devon Ramsay FB Ankle

Gene Robinson DB Back



Mario Carter, TE - knee

Ryan Cheek, LB - hip

Denzelle Good, OL – shoulder

T.J. Graham, WR – stress fracture/leg

Steven Howard, WR - knee

Nate Irving, LB - leg

Colby Jackson, FB – knee

R.J. Mattes, OG - knee

Everett Proctor, QB – shoulder

Jeff Rieskamp, DE – sports hernia

Rashard Smith, CB - knee

Javon Walker, S – knee

James Washington, HB - knee



Vic Hall (hip)


Kris Burd (shoulder)

Darren Childs (neck)

Matt Conrath (ankle)

Colter Phillips (leg)

Jameel Sewell (shoulder)


Out for Season

Darren Evans (ACL)


Beau Warren (knee)



Friday, 11/28
Saturday, 11/29