Wednesday, October 31, 2012
BC WR Alex Amidon continues to amaze
By Jack McCluskey
NEWTON, Mass. -- Though Boston College has struggled this season, it's certainly not because of a lack of effort from its leading wideout.
Alex Amidon, widely acclaimed as one of the hardest workers in Chestnut Hill, is having a historically good season for the Eagles in 2012.
WR Alex Amidon is charging into BC's record book with a prolific 2012 season.
Before this season, the junior's career high in receiving yards in a single game was 102. The 5-foot-11, 186-pounder did that as a freshman against NC State on Oct. 9, 2010.
In the first eight games of 2012, Amidon has eclipsed that mark five times. His five games with 100 or more receiving yards is the second most in a single season in Eagles history, behind only Brian Brennan. Brennan had six such games in 1983.
With his 137-yard performance Saturday, Amidon moved out of a tie with Rich Gunnell and Darren Flutie for second place on the Eagles' single-season list. And with six career 100-yard games, Amidon is tied for third most all time with Pete Mitchell (only Brennan and Gunnell have more, with eight).
Amidon has 57 catches this season, which ranks eighth all time in the BC books. If he continues to average 7.125 catches a game in the final five games, Amidon would finish with 92 and shatter the BC record for receptions in a single season (76, by Andre Callender in 2007).
But wait, there's more.
He's currently fourth in the country in receiving yards per game, with 117.9.
The wideout needs 57 yards to post just the second 1,000-yard season for a BC wideout in school history, and the first since Brennan had 1,149 yards in 1983. Already, Amidon's 943 yards is the third highest total in school history.
Obviously a big part of all of this is the offense's new reliance on the pass under coordinator Doug Martin. Long a running and defense team, Martin has installed an uptempo, quick-strike passing attack that has produced big numbers (at least for BC) this season.
Quarterback Chase Rettig is in the top 25 nationally in passing yards (2,199, tied for 24th) and yards per game (274.9, tied for 21st) in Martin's system.
But none of that should take away from the things Amidon is accomplishing.
"Doug Martin has done a great job with our offense, certainly utilizing the talents that he has available to him," BC coach Frank Spaziani said in his weekly conference call Wednesday. "We all recognize what Alex brings to the table, and Doug has done a good job in bringing it to the field."
Spaziani cited Amidon's consistency as a big reason for his success, and called him "deceptively fast."
Fellow wide receiver Johnathan Coleman said he isn't surprised at the year his Biletnikoff watch list-nominated friend is having.
"Alex Amidon is, like, the hardest working kid I've ever seen," Coleman said before practice Wednesday. "I knew he was bound to have a big year this year. We did a lot of work during the offseason."
As the numbers pile up, opposing defenses are paying more and more attention to Amidon, sometimes to their own detriment. Coleman found himself wide open for the game-winning TD against Maryland in part because of all the attention the Terps paid to Amidon.
"I knew eventually that was gonna pop open, because we run that play a lot -- the slant with a flat underneath it," Coleman said of the game-winning play. "They've seen it on film. Amidon has caught at least 20 balls off that play. So they just pumped on it. Chase helped him out too, with that pump fake."
It wasn't a surprise play. Nothing fancy. Amidon just lined up wide right, with Coleman in the slot, and ran a slant over the middle of the field. Rettig pumped hard in that direction, but really the defenders were already cheating toward No. 83.
"They knew we were running that play," Coleman said. "And if you rewatch it, everybody bit down on it. Like three people. So that just left me open, they kinda forgot."
That gaffe cost Maryland, and gave BC its first win over an FBS opponent.
Having worked with him on and off the field, Coleman knows what it takes to try to run with Amidon.
"He has a high motor," he said, "so no one's gonna be able to keep up with him."
And until someone finds a way to stop him, Amidon will keep running deeper and deeper into the record books.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.