Spring Update: Boston College

It's been somewhat of a rocky transition for Boston College this offseason. New head coach Jeff Jagodinski has dealt with players leaving, coaches leaving, a shakeup in the football administration, and former coach Tom O'Brien taking a backhanded swipe at the program.

And that's all within the first three months of taking the job. Making matters worse is the weather hasn't exactly been spring-like, either.

O'Brien touched a nerve when he suggested that his move to N.C. State affords an opportunity to compete for a conference and national championship, something he implied could not happen at BC. The Eagles, however, have enjoyed two upper-tier finishes with O'Brien in the ACC since joining the league.

"I'm not going to get into that," said Jagodzinski, when asked by Boston media about O'Brien's comments on the first day of spring practice in April. "I'm not even going to comment on that, because it doesn't matter. It is what it is right now.

"I don't even know what was said, so... I guess that really doesn't matter anymore, does it? You worry about those guys right here, so... that'll be it about that deal. I don't want to get into that deal with him. What's the point? Is there one? No, there's not."

In addition to dealing with that controversy, Jagodzinski has been forced to quickly replace his offensive line coach, Jim Turner, a BC graduate who Jagodzinski hired.

Turner quit during spring practice for unknown reasons. The odd thing is he didn't just announce he was leaving, he actually packed his office in the middle of the night and decided not to show up for work the next day.

Assistant director of football operations Jill Hegarty and recruiting assistant Nick Uhlenhopp also resigned. Hegarty left to take a job in the private sector, while Uhlenhopp departed to become director of football operations at Western Kentucky.

QB Matt Ryan semmingly picked up where he left off from a year ago, quickly learning a new offense and demonstrating experience expected for someone with a 14-4 record.
In addition, backup quarterback Ross Applegate opted to transfer to another school.

Still, the Eagles return plenty of talent and are glad stability exists with returning starting quarterback Matt Ryan.

"I think, on any level, high school, college, professional level, you have to have that guy underneath center," Jagodzinski said. "Remember, he touches the ball every single snap of the game, every snap. He's a big part of it. If you don't have one of those ... I feel very fortunate that we do."

SPRING UPDATES: QB Matt Ryan -- He semmingly picked up where he left off, quickly learning a new offense and demonstrating experience expected for someone with a 14-4 record. Ryan completed 19-of-33 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown, a 59-yard bomb to sophomore Clarence Megwa in the opening moments of the Eagles' spring game on April 28. Many around the league expect Ryan to content for ACC Player of the Year honors and he's widely considered the top returning quarterback in the league.

LB Jolonn Dunbar -- He's the standout of a stout group of linebackers. He led the Eagles in tackles last season and should be a force once again in 2007.

DT B.J. Raji -- He thought about the NFL, but decided to return for senior year. He'll be one of the league's top-rated players. Raji is a terrific run-stopper who would seek to improve his consistency.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Eagles are expected to move into a more wide-open offense, featuring less runs between the tackles and more ambitious play-calling. Previously, under O'Brien, the Eagles were pretty straight forward and tried to win games on field position, running effectively and disciplined play. Having a veteran QB like Matt Ryan makes it easier to become more diverse.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Eagles return all four starters on the defensive line, and coupled with the strength at linebacker, this is where they hope to thwart teams. The biggest issue in the secondary, where top safety Ryan Glasper graduated and cover speed has always been an issue.

SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: The Eagles awarded a scholarship to PK Steve Aponovicius, a cult hero from last season after being a walk-on. The punting is stable. Senior Johnny Ayers returns after starting 37 consecutive games.

WORTH NOTING: Boston College is close to signing a two-year deal to play USC. According to Boston.com, the Eagles are close to signing on for a two-year series with the Trojans beginning in 2011. The Eagles also resume their series with Notre Dame this year in South Bend on Oct. 13. Boston College will play the Fighting Irish each year through 2010.

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