Position Preview: Quarterbacks

Returning starters are supposed to be sure things. They're players you can count on to grow and mature. When you have a returning QB, coaching staffs get doubly excited with the idea of expanding the playbook and winning tough games on the road. BC should have that this year, but Dave Shinskie is not your typical returning starter and BC's quarterback outlook remains unpredictable and influx.

Unpredictable and influx is not necessarily a bad thing. Shinskie and his challengers all still have very high upsides. BC also has enough pieces on offense to make their job less challenging. If Shinskie retains or is beat out by one of his younger challengers, the BC QB won't be asked to do too much…just play smart football.

Shinskie, who won the role after Justin Tuggle struggled in the early part of 2009, has all the tools. He's got a big arm, a big enough body to take hit in the pocket and showed surprising elusiveness and athleticism in spots last year. BC's other experienced QB is Mike Marscovetra. He earned playing time with strong practice play and has many backers around the program. Two early enrollees -- Chase Rettig and Josh Bordner -- also hope to compete for playing time.

Big Question: Will Dave Shinskie make major leaps in his progress this year? He set numerous BC records for BC freshmen. He saved the season when Justin Tuggle's round peg didn't fit in Gary Tranquill's square hole. He showed great skill considering he hadn't played organized football since 2002. Underneath all those storylines were some facts and off the record concerns. Shinskie didn't improve game to game. In fact he regressed a bit. While he had a big arm, Shinskie wasn't as accurate as the team needed him to be. He often locked into one receiver and didn't work all his progressions. Plus there was real concern among the staff that he might not adjust to the structure of college football. Even though he was the oldest guy on the team, there were maturity concerns. Minor League Baseball is professional, but the schedule, preparation and lifestyle are completely different from big time college football. Some wondered if Shinskie would mentally commit to football and also become more focused and disciplined when he was away from the team. All reports seem to indicate that he has improved and matured. If that maturity follows him to the field, he might start looking like a 26-year-old and not a true freshman.

Little Question: Who will redshirt? BC is not in the habit of playing true freshman quarterbacks. They played two last year. The assumption is that Josh Bordner will redshirt this season. No one knows about Chase Rettig yet. The coaches won't sit him if he is their best option. Marscovetra could sit too and get back on a five year track. Shinskie's age and experience make it unlikely he would sit out.

Style and Scheme: All four contenders are tall, pocket passers with strong arms. While none are running threats, all are fairly athletic and can move when necessary.

BC sells its offense as "pro style." Traditional is probably more accurate. The QB is usually under center and is asked to make a variety of throws. But not many of the short, timing patterns you see in a West Coast or the wide open field that some spreads use.

Factoid: In the past three seasons, three different Pennsylvania Quarterbacks led BC in passing.

Outlook: If the offseason buzz is to be believed both Shinskie and Marscovetra have made big improvements from their first year. This is good news for BC fans and bad news for the ACC. Last year the team won five conference games yet only got good QB play in three of those wins. If Shinskie can become one of the better QBs in the league, BC could be back in the ACC Championship Game.

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