Preview: BC Offense

IrishEyes examines the Boston College offense: a group that found its leader after a Week Three loss at Clemson and one coming off a dominant rushing performance last Saturday in a 52-20 win over N.C. State.

The Eagles rank 51st nationally in rushing offense and have the nation's 106th ranked passing attack through seven contests. The statistics, however, are a bit skewed as BC struggled to find a quarterback through the season's four games.

BC has scored 121 points over their last four contests and boast the nation's No. 3 red zone offense (24 scores in 25 trips inside their opponents' 20-yard line, including 19 touchdowns).

The 5-2 Eagles are 0-2 on the road this season.

Skill Position Starters

  • Quarterback – Freshman #15 Dave Shinskie: Coming off an efficient outing last week vs. N.C. State in which the 25-year-old freshman (see below) passed for two touchdowns and 187 yards on 13 completions in a 52-20 win over the Wolf Pack and the program's ex-head coach, Tom O'Brien. The 6'4" 216-pounder has also engineered home victories vs. Wake Forest and Florida State. Shinskie took the helm full-time vs. the Demon Deacons and guided the Eagles to a 27-24 OT win in Week Four.

    BC opened the season with no experienced scholarship quarterback after the summer transfer of Dominique Davis, but Shinskie, who spent six seasons playing minor league baseball, signed with the Eagles nine days after Davis' suspension and subsequent transfer. After a trio of quarterbacks paced the BC offense over the first three contests this season, it was Shinskie who solidified the attack following a Week Three loss at Clemson.

    Over his last four starts, Shinskie has guided the Eagles to three home victories, completing 62 of 105 passes for 626 yards and 7 touchdowns in those contests. In his road start at Virginia Tech, Shinskie scuffled to a 1-12 passing effort that included a 22-yard interception touchdown by the Hokies in Virgina Tech's 48-14 Blacksburg beatdown of the Eagles.

  • Running Back – Sophomore #2 Montel Harris: Gained 120 yards on 23 carries vs. the Irish last season in Chestnut Hill. The 5'11" 200-pound sophomore produced a career day last week vs. N.C. State with 27 carries for an astounding 267 yards and 5 touchdowns (Harris was named Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts vs. the Wolf Pack). Harris has totaled 756 yards and 10 touchdowns in seven games this season.

    The under-recruited Harris set a program rushing record for freshmen with 900 yards and five separate 100-plus yard efforts last season. The hard-charging back from Jacksonville was not offered a scholarship until late January 2008 and has since torched his nearby college choice, Florida State, for 50 carries, 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in two BC wins vs. the Seminoles.

  • F – Sophomore #87 Lars Anderson: Weis praised Anderson for his versatility, noting the 6'3" 247-pounder is also used as the Eagles "move" tight end. The old school blocker has yet to carry the football but does have five receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown (Virginia Tech). He caught 9 passes for 84 yards and a score last season as a redshirt-freshman. Both Anderson and his backfield mate Harris hail from north Florida.

    The "F-Back" is a hybrid FB/TE/H-Back in the Eagles attack.

  • (Z) Wide Receiver – Senior #18 Rich Gunnell: Productive target entered the season as the program's 10th all-time receptions leader. Gunnell paced BC in both catches (49) and touchdowns (4) last season. Weis noted the 5'11" 196-pound Gunnell for his route-running ability and reliable hands.

    Gunnell has 22 receptions (11.8 per catch) and four touchdowns this season. The senior from Notre Dame high school (New Jersey) doubles as the Eagles punt returner, averaging 14.6 yards on 10 returns including a 55-yard score in the season-opener vs. Northeastern.

  • (X) Wide Receiver – Senior #82 Justin Jarvis: A lanky target at 6'5" 196-pounds, Jarvis has 59 career receptions for 666 yards and 6 touchdowns. The senior ranks fourth on the team this season in receptions (8) after securing 26 last season to rank third on the squad. Jarvis scored the Eagles only touchdown in an ugly offensive performance (25-7) at Clemson in which BC managed just 54 total yards. The contest vs. the Tigers preceded Shinskie's full-time ascension to the team's starting QB role.
  • Tight End – Redshirt-freshman #81 Chris Pantale: 6'6" 244-pound redshirt-freshman ranks third on the team in receptions (12) but is primarily an underneath target averaging 7.7 yards-per-catch. Pantale caught a late-2nd Quarter, go-ahead touchdown pass from Shinskie in the team's win vs. Wake Forest in Week 4.

Offensive Linemen

  • Left Tackle – Junior #74 Anthony Castonzo: A pre-season All-ACC selection, the 6'7" 295-pound Castonzo was the program's first true freshman to start on the offensive line in more than a decade (2007). A member of the pre-season Lombardi Award Watch List (nation's top lineman or linebacker).

  • Left Guard – Sophomore #75 Nathan Richman: 6'6" 292-pound redshirt sophomore is the line's only newcomer and made his first career start in Week Three at Clemson.
  • Center – Senior #65 Matt Tennant: 6'4" 291-pound senior has started 35 consecutive games in the middle of the Eagle's line. As Weis noted in his Tuesday press conference, Tennant is the true leader of the offensive line…a familiar situation for BC who continually churns out solid interior linemen and NFL prospects, regardless of their status upon arrival on campus.
  • Right Guard – Junior #78 Thomas Claiborne: Part of a huge right side, the 6'3" 325-pound redshirt junior began his career as a defensive lineman but has started 20 consecutive games at guard for the Eagles. A member of College Football News All-Sophomore team last year.
  • Right Tackle – Junior #66 Rich Lapham: Stands 6'8" 322 pounds and will pose a major challenge for developing redshirt-freshman Kapron Lewis-Moore on the edge. The redshirt-junior from Amherst, NH has started in 20 straight at right tackle and is one of three starting linemen from the New England area (Claiborne and Richman hail from Massachusetts)

Key Reserves

  • Wide Receiver – Sophomore #10 Colin Larmond, Jr.: Serves as the teams primary No. 3 WR and big-play threat, averaging more than 21 yards per reception. Larmond's four touchdown catches have covered 57, 17, 48, and 59 yards respectively.
  • Tight End – Junior #88 Jordon McMichael: Has four receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown (a 50-yard score to put the Eagles on the scoreboard vs. Wake Forest).
  • Running Back – Sophomore #1 Josh Haden: Started 13 games last season as a true freshman, finishing with 479 yards and a touchdown while catching 13 passes for an additional 100 yards. Undersized at 5'8" 181 pounds and has ceded the bulk of the backfield's carries to classmate Montell Harris this season though Haden does have 58 carries for 213 yards and a score.
  • Running back – Freshman #29 Rolandan Finch: 5'11" 201-pound back from Albany, IN (attended St. Xavier in Kentucky) has 28 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown as a true freshman.
  • Quarterback – Redshirt-freshman #7 Justin Tuggle: 6'3" 222-pounder from Alpharetta, GA started the season's first three games for the Eagles (2-1) and has thrown for 4 touchdowns (and 3 interceptions) while completing 13-37 passes for 229 yards on the year.

Season Results

  • BC 54 Northeastern 0
  • BC 34 Kent State 7
  • @Clemson 25 BC 7
  • BC 27 Wake 24 OT
  • BC 28 FSU 21
  • @Virginia Tech 48 BC 14
  • BC 52 N.C. State 20

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