Boston Colleges: Connor Wujciak

Eagles searching for playmakers

November, 1, 2012
NEWTON, Mass. -- Playmakers.

When you get right down to it, winning teams have them and losing teams don't.

Right now, Boston College doesn't seem to have many.

[+] EnlargeDavid Dudeck
Bob DeChiara/US PRESSWIRETrue freshman RB David Dudeck scored BC's first touchdown in a 20-17 win over Maryland.
"I don't think right now on defense we have playmakers," linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis said this week. "We have a lot of potential -- and that's including myself -- but, once again, like I said after last week, everyone's making steps in the right direction.

"Every once in a while, we have someone that makes a play, but playmakers, to be considered that, you have to do that on a consistent basis."

The Eagles have had playmakers in recent seasons, guys who had the innate ability to find the ball on defense (guys like Alex Albright, Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly) or to find the hole on offense (Montel Harris). But those guys are gone, moved on to greener pastures and new pursuits.

In their place, the Eagles have mostly inexperience and instability.

Frank Spaziani has played nine true freshmen this season, and has six redshirt freshmen on the two-deep roster. Two redshirt freshmen have started back-to-back games on the defensive line, a position of utmost importance to the BC defensive scheme.

To the pleasant surprise of the Eagles, a few of the young players forced into action showed glimpses of playmaking ability in the team's 20-17 win over Maryland.

Linebacker Tim Joy came thisclose to a sack of Caleb Rowe, blitzing up the middle and unloading on the QB just as he threw. Defensive back Justin Simmons had a key coverage to prevent a third-down conversion early in the game, then later came up with an interception that prevented a score.

And running back David Dudeck caught a touchdown pass on the Eagles' second snap from scrimmage, on a play-action pass out of the backfield.

But perhaps most important was the play of those two redshirt freshmen on the D-line, Connor Wujciak and Kieran Borcich.

Spaziani has long said that good defense always starts up front. And while he's not trying to make excuses, the coach doesn't hesitate to point out that flux on the defensive front -- BC is still waiting to have the same starting four two games in a row -- has hurt the Eagles' consistency on D.

The message about the importance of the line has been received by the rest of the unit.

"I said at the beginning of the season, the defensive line is the heart of the defense," Pierre-Louis said. "They've been doing a tremendous job. They're getting a whole lot better, which has helped us shed blocks easier without offensive linemen getting in our faces right when the ball is snapped."

Against the Terrapins, the 6-foot-4, 267-pound Wujciak made his presence felt with six tackles, including one for a loss. The 6-3, 264-pound Borcich also had an impact, making just one tackle but demonstrating an ability to capitalize on chances to make plays.

On third-and-8 at the BC 45, Borcich dropped into coverage just behind the line, and when Rowe's pass found him he was ready.

"I'm not gonna lie, it was a lot of luck," he said of his interception. "That was actually the second time in my life I've ever carried a football in a game. I was just praying not to fumble, pretty much.

"I think we caught the offense unaware and were able to make a play on the ball, which you always want to do."

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