Preview: BC Defense

IrishEyes previews the Boston College defensive personnel, a group paced by a pair of physical safeties, undersized defensive ends, and a true freshman tackle-leader on the weak side.

The Eagles allow just 3.1 yards per carry (2.8 to rank No. 7 nationally last year) and have yielded just over 212 passing yards per contest. BC stands 37th in points allowed (20.7 per contest through seven games) and 27th nationally in total tackles-for-loss with 50 (Notre Dame has recorded 40 TFL in one fewer contest).

The BC defense earns its keep on 3rd down, limiting opponents to just over a 29 percent conversion rate, good for 11th in the nation. The Eagles have allowed 13 total touchdowns this season, five of which occurred in the team's 48-14 defeat in Blacksburg to Virginia Tech.

For a preview of the Boston College offense click here.

Front Seven

  • Weakside Defensive End – Redshirt-junior #98 Alex Albright: Was honorable mention All ACC as a true sophomore in 2007 but missed most of last season due to neck injury suffered in Week Two. Has 16.5 tackles-for-loss and 10.5 sacks in his last 23 games dating back to the beginning of the 2007 season. Albright is undersized at 6'5" 248 but plays with a good burst and will be a handful if he flips side in passing situations vs. Irish left tackle Paul Duncan, who has excelled as a run blocker this season but can have trouble with quicker defensive ends. A

    Albright leads the Eagles in tackles-for-loss (6.5) and the defensive line in total tackles (22) this season.

  • Strongside Defensive End – 5th-Year Senior #86 Jim Ramella: The 6'4" 247 veteran has started 23 consecutive games at defensive end and played He's posted a sack, two TFL, 14 solo stops and forced two fumbles (both vs. N.C. State last Saturday) this season after finishing with 35 tackles, 4 sacks (including one of Clausen in Chestnut Hill), and 9 TFL in 2008.

    Both Ramella (St. Ignatius) and his bookend Alex Albright (St. Xavier) hail from Ohio, the home state of eight current BC Eagles. Ramella is one of three BC defenders to start in each of the team's seven games in 2009.

  • Defensive Tackle – Senior #52 Austin Giles: Has 15 tackles (3.5 for lost yardage) after moving inside to help replace the departed tackle tandem of B.J. Raji and Ron Brace. At 6'3" 278 pounds, Giles started 12 games at defensive end last season (in place of the injured Albright) and finished with 25 tackles (6 TFL) and 3 sacks. Giles has started 25 games in his college career and posted a career-best five solo tackles vs. N.C. State last Saturday.
  • Defensive Tackle – Sophomore #96 Kaleb Ramsey: The true sophomore has just six tackles, two of which have been sacks, while plugging the middle in place of injured DT Damik Scafe who has battled a neck/shoulder injury since Week Two. At 6'3" 274 pounds, Ramsey (two starts this season to Scafe's five) is listed as one of the Eagle's starting DTs for Saturday's matchup (it will be Ramsey's third start his season as the sophomore from Uniontown, PA also earned the designation vs. Wake Forest and at Virginia Tech).

    Combined, Ramsey and Giles weigh about 100 pounds less than last year's (drafted) tackle tandem of Raji and Brace.

  • Strongside Linebacker – Junior #53 Mike Morrissey: The 6'2" 219-pound redshirt junior earned his first career start last Saturday and has totaled 14 tackles (5 for lost yardage), one sack, one pass break-up, and a fumble recovery this season. His father is Jim Morrissey, who played professionally for the Bears (1985-92) and Packers (1993).

  • Weakside Linebacker – Freshman #40 Luke Kuechly: The 6'3" 225-pound true freshman ranks as BC's unexpected tackles leader with 69, including 6 for lost yardage. Kuechly posted a career-high 14 tackles (10 solo) last week vs. the Wolf Pack and has led the Eagles in tackles in six of seven games this season.
  • Middle Linebacker – Senior #34 Mike McLaughlin: The squad's defensive captain, McLaughlin tore his Achilles in the spring but will make his fifth consecutive start of the season Saturday in South Bend and has started 23 games in the middle for the Eagles over the last three seasons. At 6'0" 245 pounds, the senior from Woburn, MA has 22 total tackles after finishing second on the squad last year with 89 (12 for lost yardage).

    McLaughlin recorded 9 stops and broke up a pass in BC's shutout victory last year over the Irish.


  • Field Cornerback – Junior #6 DeLeon Gause: Has 22 tackles on the season in six starts. The 5'11" 179-pound Gause started 10 games last season and three more in 2007, including the ACC Championship game.

    Gause usually wears jersey #9 but will don the #6 this Saturday to honor slain Connecticut cornerback Jasper Howard.

  • Boundary Cornerback – Senior #20 Roderick Rollins: The 6'0" 189-pound pesky CB has 3.5 tackles for loss (17 total) already this season to augment two pass break-ups and a pick (vs. Wake Forest). Has started five games, yielding two stars (FSU and Va. Tech) to Donnie Fletcher (below).
  • Strong Safety – Senior #8 Marcellus Bowman: Another Ohio product (Girard) Bowman has started two games last year but along with free safety Wes Davis, Bowman ranks as on the only Eagles DB to earn a start in each of BC's seven contests in '09. The 6'2" 225-pound senior ranks second on the squad with 33 tackles (1 sack and 1 forced fumble as well) and posted a career-best 8 tackles vs. Florida State in Week Five.
  • Free Safety – Junior #45 Wes Davis: Posted a big effort vs. the Irish last season with 8 tackles and a forced fumble. At 6'1" 221 pounds, Davis ranks sixth on the team in tackles and is the only BC defensive back with more than one interception (Davis has two interceptions including one last week in the win over N.C. State). Davis recorded 60 tackles and 6 PBU in 12 starts at free safety last season.
  • Nickel Cornerback – Sophomore #19 Isaac Johnson: Earned the start vs. Virginia Tech in Week Six and responded with a sack in the Eagles blowout loss. At 6'0" 183 pounds, Johnson ranks third on the team with 26 tackles (2 TFL/1 sack) and has also recorded an interception and forced a fumble.

Key Reserves

  • Cornerback – Sophomore #4 Donnie Fletcher: At 6'1" 196 pounds, the sophomore from Cleveland has started twice in Rollins' stead this year after making nine starts as a true freshman in ‘08 . Fletcher recorded six tackles and a pick in last year's contest with the Irish.
  • Linebacker – Sophomore #26 Dominick LeGrande: Has started five games this season but the 6'2" 218-pounder from Staten Island ceded his spot to Mike Morrissey last Saturday. LeGrande has posted 22 tackles (2 for lost yardage) a sack, and two interceptions this season.
  • Linebacker – Redshirt-freshman #44 Alexander DiSanzo: 6'3" 222-pounder from Don Bosco Prep (NJ) ranks fourth on the team in tackles (25) and 5th in tackles-for-loss (3) after starting on the weak side in BC's first four contests.
  • Defensive Tackle – Junior #55 Damik Scafe: 6'3" 291-pounder is the team's proven starter but has battled a neck/shoulder injury since mid-September while starting 5 games this season. Scafe missed the September 19 loss at Clemson.
  • Defensive Tackle – Junior #47 Brad Newman: Started last Saturday (opposite Giles) at defensive tackle. The 6'2" 256-pound Newman recovered a fumble vs. the Irish last season and hails from the same high school (Manasquan, NJ) as Maura Weis, a point noted by her husband in his Tuesday press conference.
  • Safety – Freshman #23 Jim Noel: Talented 6'4" 181-pound freshman posted two tackles last week vs. N.C. State and could challenge for a starting role next season. Top Stories