The Boston College Eagles had a strong season in 2009, winning eight games and making the Emerald Bowl. Their top flight defense lost some talent, but the team still has what it takes to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
26 year old sophomore quarterback Dave Shinskie returns as the starter. The former baseball player had a decent season last year, throwing for just over 2,000 yards with 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He should be better with another year of experience under his belt. His top receiving target Rich Gunnell, the school’s career leader in receiving yards, is gone. The team’s second leading receiver Colin Larmond will step in to the number one role after gaining 596 yards with a 20.6 yards per catch average.
Regardless of the passing game, the strength of the team is on the ground. The offensive line returns four starters, led by left tackle Anthony Castonzo, and should be one of the best in the conference. Running back Montel Harris is also one of the best in the conference. Harris set freshman and sophomore rushing records at B.C. in his first two years. Last season he gained 1,554 yards on the ground. His projected backup, Rolandan Finch tore his ACL in the spring and will miss the season. Because of this, the depth at the running back position is thin.
The Eagles’ defense was great in 2009. Five starters are gone, including defensive linemen Austin Giles and Jim Ramella. The biggest story of the defense though, is the return of linebacker Mark Herzlich. The 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year sat out all last season while battling and overcoming bone cancer. How he will play in his return is unknown, but the leadership and courage he brings to the team is immeasurable. Joining him in the linebacking corps is Mike Morissey and Luke Kuechly, who finished second in the nation as a freshman with 158 tackles. The rest of the defense should remain solid and keep Boston College in all of its games.
If Shinskie can play better this season and the defensive transitions will not be too much, B.C. is a team to watch out for. A lot of the season rests on the legs of Harris, but the Eagles should again score about 8 or 9 wins this year.