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BC pushing its way toward respectability

10/6/2013

NEWTON, Mass. -- The highlight may end with Andre Williams sprinting into the maroon paint of the end zone, toward a delirious student section, but it began before the big back even had the ball.

As quarterback Chase Rettig peeled back from center, pivoting and sticking the football into Williams’ waiting arms, the oft-unsung playmakers were doing their work.

Right guard Harris Williams pulled first, running left across the back of the offensive formation and clearing out an Army linebacker intruding in the backfield. Right tackle Ian White was right behind him, steaming left and into the hole opened by left tackle Matt Patchan and left guard Bobby Vardaro.

Andre Williams had the ball now, legs churning toward the left side of the line. Two Army defenders, a linebacker and a safety, had the direction of the play sniffed out and crept forward toward the line and the ball carrier.

But the 6-foot-5, 302-pound White was ready for them.

The massive lineman plowed into the linebacker, clobbering him backward into the safety, then falling on both of them in a heap.

With a gaping hole to gallop through, Andre Williams picked up a head of steam, broke one arm tackle and took it to the house for the touchdown.

“With the offense that we run, it’s important to set the tone early and let them know that we’re going to run downhill on them all game,” White said after the Eagles’ 48-27 win. “And if they want to beat us they’ve got to stop it. We did what we were supposed to do: We won the game and ran the ball.”

White may have reversed the order of those last things, but really who was going to correct the oversized O-lineman? After seeing White complete the rare “double pancake” on the Black Knights, no reporters ventured a counterpoint to the Conway, N.H., native.

He said he’d never had a double pancake block before.

“I’ve had ones where you pancake one guy and it trips up another guy, but not like that,” he said.

Williams didn’t see the impressive block as it happened, too busy looking for daylight to run to, but the back certainly appreciated the hard work White and the line put in. As far as he’s concerned, that play -- and many of the other plays his linemen made Saturday -- deserved high marks.

“A double pancake?” Williams said afterward. “I hope Coach Frye gives him a double-plus on that -- a triple-plus -- because they clearly did an awesome job clearing it up for me.”

After the play, White celebrated where he was while other teammates ran down to the end zone to greet the running back.

“It partially had to do with the fact that I was still down at the 30-yard line instead of in the end zone and I was tired, so I didn’t want to run all the way down there and celebrate with him,” White, who sports a bushy beard that would fit right in with the 2013 Red Sox, said with a laugh. “But I met him on the sideline. It’s not about me and what I do, it’s about what we do as a team that’s important.”

That’s what stood out to BC coach Steve Addazio.

“I feel great about the fact that we’re bringing BC football back to where BC football was, which was a big, powerful offensive line that could run the ball and were big and physical,” he said. “Now, hey, listen guys, you know where we are. We’re a work in progress right now.

“Right? I mean that’s what we are, right? As I’ve said, we’ve got a lot of this in us right now.”

Addazio motioned up and down with one hand as he spoke.

“But for what it was today we took a step forward toward bringing our program back to where we all want it to be,” he said, “which is a big, physical program, a tough program.”

An offensive line that paved the way to 320 rushing yards, by far the most in a single game this season (120 more than the previous high, set in Week 5 against Florida State), and 48 points, the most since the Eagles scored 52 on NC State in 2009, demonstrates that the Eagles are making strides in that regard.

With the next game coming on the road in Death Valley against No. 3 Clemson, those strides need to continue.

“We’re not delusional,” Addazio said. “We’re 3-2, we’re fighting and scratching for every possible win we can get. But I think the footprint and foundation is starting to be laid.”

And for BC, once again that foundation is visible in the work that comes before the highlight reel plays.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.