Spring Football Notes

Boston College began spring practice this week. This is the time of year when the coaches figure out who worked hard in the off-season and who needs more work. For many of the coaches on the staff, this is the first time they will get to see their new charges in live action. To kick off our coverage, we will take a look at some of the potential story lines for this spring.

Spring practice is less about practice than it is about evaluation. It is six months until BC begins preparing for their first game of the fall. Between now and then, the coaches will need to evaluate all of the returning players and then get a look at the in-coming freshman in the summer.

For the returning players, this is the time of the year where they begin to make their case for a spot on the two-deep. This year, they will also get their first sense of the new coaches on the staff. This is Coach Spaziani's first spring as head coach. Inevitably he will have his own way of running things. The players and new members of the staff will begin to find out what he expects and how he will run the program.

The biggest job of the spring will be installing the new offense. Coach Spaziani made clear he will be scrapping the spread formation and returning to a more traditional college offense. He hired old friend Coach Tranquill as Offensive Coordinator to install his offense. That means a return of the power running game and a vertical passing game.

For the kids and the coaches, the biggest challenge this spring will be learning the new terminology and their new responsibilities in the offense. That means the offense will be behind the defense, particularly early in spring. The story to watch here is just how quickly things begin to even up. If by the spring game, the offense is becoming productive in scrimmages that says the transition is going about as smoothly as can be expected.

The next big story is related to the first. The quarterback position will get the most attention from fans. Dom Davis comes into spring with a slight edge over Justin Tuggle for the starting job. His time as a starter last season gives him something all coaches favor, experience in live action. Unlike the other quarterbacks, the coaches have some clue as to how he will respond when it counts.

That edge, however, is small and mitigated by the new offense. Tuggle is a guy who many think can become a big time player for BC. He will be given a fair chance to win the job. Davis, having had a taste of the starting role will not give it up easy. That sets up a big competition in spring for the starting job that will likely roll into the fall.

That's not the end of it. Cody Boek has moved back to quarterback. He came to BC to play QB and now has a chance to show the new staff he is worthy of consideration. At the minimum, he will be in the mix to win the backup job. That puts pressure on both Davis and Tuggle. In short, the quarterback competition will generate a ton of interest and will probably not resolve too much in the spring. It will, however, setup the fall competition.

Unlike previous springs, the defense will have plenty of question marks. The loss of Raji and Brace opens the door for the young guys to win starting jobs. In the spring, the competition will be between Scafe, Giles, Deska, Ramsey and Murray. Other than Murray, there is plenty of experience amongst this group. The story in spring will be about who gets the upper hand for the starting spots and whether Murray can push for time as a backup.

The linebacker spot is now a position to watch. McLaughlin going down with an Achilles means two starting jobs are now open. Herzlich will be one of the starters, but whether he is moved inside or left outside is an open question.

The other two starting spots and the second unit are up for grabs now. Bagan, Williams, Thompson, Clancy and DiSanzo will now have an opportunity to win jobs in the two-deep. Williams and Thompson have the inside edge, having performed well early in their careers. Clancy is the one name to watch as he impressed the staff in his first year on the scout team.

The secondary could provide the most fun in the spring. This is a position loaded with young talent. There are also a number of returning veterans. Rollins, Fletcher, Bowman, Gause and Davis will have the early lead for the starting spots. All have played and played well. At this point you can probably pencil them as starters.

There are, however, plenty of young guys who will push or playing time this year. Atkinson, Elliot, Hayden-Martin, Johnson, LeGrande, Okoroha and Okpara make up a stable of young talent that will begin their push for playing time this spring. Despite the presence of experienced players at this position, the competition in spring will be some of the best we have seen at defensive back in a long time.

Notes: BC has limited media access to spring again this year. Media acess will be limited to the three scheduled scrimmages. Those will be held on April 4th, April 18th and the spring game, April 25th.

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