11 Who Need to Step Up: Part 2

"How dare I include Matt Ryan in a list of players that need to step up their game?!?!?! Look, I realize Matt Ryan is the best QB on the East Coast, but I don't think he's even hit his ceiling yet."

WR Brandon Robinson - Coming into the '06 season, the only BC receiver who had much of a track record was Tony Gonzalez. As the season rolled on, it became apparent that the Eagles had two solid receivers in Gonzalez and Kevin Challenger.

Coming into this season it seems many college football analysts around the country think BC is in a similar situation as the start of last season with regards to their receivers. The question has been asked "Does BC have anyone else that can catch passes besides Kevin Challenger?" My answer to that question would be in the form of another question back to this "expert". I'd say, "Would it surprise you to find out that Brandon Robinson had just 1 less yard receiving on the year than Tony Gonzalez last season? "

That fact would probably surprise the expert, and it probably surprised a few of you reading this article. It's true that Robinson turned the corner last year, but it remains to be seen if he can be more consistent. The receiver raised a lot of eyebrows with his insane 140-yard receiving day against BYU. After that game Robinson sporadically showed that he could be a very good #2 receiver, but he wasn't able to top the century mark, or for that matter, hit even 70 yards receiving again.

If Robinson can stay healthy and get down the new offense, he will thrive in Steve Logan's system. Robinson has the potential to be someone who can have 650-700+ yards receiving. If Robinson can come even somewhat close to that I think BC's offense will be in very good shape.

DT B.J. Raji - Some fans will be impressed when they walk into Alumni Stadium on Saturday and see a lean, mean BJ Raji. The big defensive tackle has "slimmed down" to 325 pounds while still keeping the strength that he had last year when he was a little bit more bulky. The weight loss has also helped Raji's stamina. As the DT told me, "I notice when we do line stunts how much more efficient I am. I'm quicker, I can play longer, faster... actually I can play much longer than I used to."

The Eagles could use more of Raji on the field. On quite a few occasions Raji terrorized the opposing offense. The problem was, it also seemed like Raji was too winded to keep that up throughout an entire game. It sounds like this shouldn't be as much of a problem this year.

QB Matt Ryan - How dare I include Matt Ryan in a list of players that need to step up their game?!?!?! Look, I realize Matt Ryan is the best QB on the East Coast, but I don't think he's even hit his ceiling yet. As good as Ryan played last year, he wasn't very good in BC losses(no surprise). In BC wins Ryan had 11 TD's and 6 INT's, where as in BC's 3 losses the QB had 4 TD's and 4 INT's.

It isn't just important for Ryan to have his best season simply for the team's W-L record. Coming into this season Ryan is pegged at having an outside shot at the Heisman. Well, if you're going to be mentioned in the same breath as the Heisman you have to follow through with a very productive year. If not, you're considered a little bit of an underachiever. As of late, BC has had a hard time breaking the stigma that they're a team that can't come through in big spots. A big year by Matt Ryan would go a long way in helping break those views.

S Wes Davis - Entering the season BC lists Jamie Silva and Paul Anderson as their starting safeties. Even fans with the most maroon colored glasses would have to admit that the duo doesn't have the best pass defense skills in the league. In Silva's defense, he more than makes up for that coverage deficiencies with his run stopping ability. As for Anderson, I think he's a decent backup and not a guy you want starting for you every week.

So I have to say I'm kind of surprised that Davis is not starting this year. I think he had more positive moments than Anderson did last season. Then again, I wasn't privy to watch preseason practice, so I don't know what Davis was performing like for the new coaching staff. In the end, I don't think BC can win the ACC without Wes Davis moving into a starting safety position by the end of the year. Whatever he's doing that does not impress the coaches has to get fixed fast.

DE Alex Albright - Albright comes in as the starting DE, as he won the job over Jim Ramella. Going into the '06 season, Ramella was the starter until he sustained a shoulder injury that kept him out for the year. This is an example of Coach Jags playing who he thinks is best over who TOB thought was best.

BC needs a DE that can wreak havoc and Albright is a perfect candidate for that. Albright had a nice season as a freshman, but now he has to go up against some of the best lineman in the ACC for an entire game rather than a few plays here and there. His 1st step is showing he can make big plays over a more sustained period of time during a game. It's a lot easier to come in and make a play fresh off the bench against a tired OL, then it is to go up against that same OL for the entire game playing a similar amount of plays. Albright is one of the players I have the least concern about being able to step up their game.


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