2014 BC Preview: What You Need To Know
Boston College RB Myles Willis
Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Boston College (Getty Images)
What You Need To Know...
Boston College Preview
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer
What You Need To Know About The Offense: Murphy to the rescue. At least that's the hope around the Heights. The Eagles are entrusting their mediocre offensive attack to Tyler Murphy, who spent the first four years of his career at Florida. He'll not only be learning a new offense and new personnel, but he won't have access to predecessor Chase Rettig's security blankets, RB Andre Williams and WR Alex Amidon. Boston College could struggle to match last year's average of 27.7 points, its highest total in six years. Sure, the O-line will be sound, aided by another Gator transfer, RT Ian Silberman. But the skill position players, especially the wide receivers, will be among the least scary in the ACC. There is hope in the backfield, as quick-hitting sophomore Myles Willis prepares to take the baton from Williams. Willis and Murphy are both capable of beating defenses with their feet, but BC will be as balanced as a two-legged stool if someone from the receiving corps doesn't emerge in a hurry.
What You Need To Know About The Defense: Second-year coordinator Don Brown is going to have his hands full with this defense in 2014. There's not a lot of blue-chip talent on hand, especially now that DE Kasim Edebali and linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto have graduated. Brown will look to build around LB Steven Daniels, a nice player, and a veteran secondary that was ransacked over the top throughout the 2013 campaign. The Eagle defensive backfield won't get better overnight, though it could be aided by an improved pass rush. Last season's top two sackers are gone, placing the onus squarely on up-and-coming Malachi Moore and veterans Brian Mihalik, Mehdi Abdesmad and Connor Wujciak to pick up more of the slack along the D-line. BC has historically been a scrappy bunch on defense, but it'll have a hard time slowing down the more talented opponents on the schedule, such as USC, Clemson, Louisville and Florida State.
1. C Andy Gallik, Sr.
BC's anchor up front is about to begin his third season as a full-timer at the pivot. The 6-3, 299-pound senior from the state of Illinois is the face of the Eagles' desire to become more physical in the trenches under head coach Steve Addazio. Gallik earned Third Team All-ACC last season, doing his part to open holes and ensure that RB Andre Williams captured the Doak Walker Award. Gallik is smart and experienced, and determined to rise within the ACC hierarchy.
2. LB Steven Daniels, Jr.
All-stars Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto have graduated. It's Daniels' turn to headline the linebacker corps on the Heights. One of the rising stars on defense for BC finished third on the team a year ago with 88 tackles to go along with 6.5 stops behind the line and three sacks. Daniels is a stout and physical 6-0, 257-pound junior, who does his best work sifting through traffic and filling lanes in run defense. When he hits opponents, it leaves an impression that lasts the rest of the game.
3. QB Tyler Murphy, Sr.
For the second consecutive year, the Eagles have picked up a key free agent from Gainesville. Murphy will serve as a perfect one-year stopgap at quarterback now that Chase Rettig has graduated. As a Gator, Murphy filled in for an injured Jeff Driskel last year, completing 112-of-185 passes for 1,216 yards, six touchdowns and five picks before suffering his own injury on Nov. 9. Murphy is also an outstanding athlete, which will give Boston College offensive wrinkles it hasn't had in many years.
4. S Sean Sylvia, Sr.
Sylvia is one of the bare-knuckle enforcers of the Eagle defensive backfield, a gritty, blue-collar defender. The 6-0, 200-pounder is capable of playing multiple positions, but he's at his best when he's looking for someone to pummel from the free safety spot on the field. The senior is poised to start for a second straight year, while looking to build upon last season's 68 tackles, which were good for fourth on the team.
5. WR Shakim Phillips, Sr.
Phillips is both talented and timely for a program that was pining for more help on the outside. The two-year UConn Husky is returning to the campus where his career began, BC. Phillips used Storrs as a two-year proving ground, catching 60 passes for 805 yards and four touchdowns. At 6-3 and 206 pounds, he has NFL size to go along with the hops to make plays high above smaller defensive backs. The window this summer will be small, but he hopes to develop chemistry with another import, former Florida QB Tyler Murphy.
6. CB Manuel Asprilla, Sr.
Asprilla started the final four games of 2011, and he hasn't looked back since. The Eagles' top cover cornerback started all but one game a season ago, making 68 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two interceptions and a team-high six pass breakups. The 5-11, 178-pounder is fearless and he can stick to opponents, but his wiry frame can become a major problem when he's matched up with bigger, physical receivers.
7. RB Myles Willis, Soph.
The challenge of replacing Doak Walker Award winner Andre Williams belongs to Willis, last year's primary backup. Coming off the bench as a rookie out of Georgia, Willis impressed with 346 yards on 60 carries. The speedy 5-9, 192-pounder also scored touchdowns three different ways, running, receiving and on a kick return. Unlike his predecessor, Willis is much smaller and quicker, relying on his speed around the corner to get upfield. However, he has added considerable muscle to handle the rigors of being an every-down player.
8. S Dominique Williams, Sr.
After Spencer Rositano was lost for the year to an injury, it was Williams who stepped to the forefront to deliver his best season as an Eagle. The career backup started the final 10 games at strong safety, making 65 tackles and 3.5 stops for loss. Williams is a 6-0, 218-pound power puncher from Brockton, Mass., with a chip on his shoulder. He's also the recipient of the Jay McGillis Memorial Scholarship, given to the team's DB who best exemplifies team dedication, leadership by example and a competitive spirit.
9. OG Bobby Vardaro, Sr.
Vardaro has been a salty fixture on the interior for the Eagles. He's started 32 consecutive games at left guard, a model of durability as a run blocker. The 6-5, 306-pound veteran has the know-how, grit and intensity to once again be an asset for Steve Addazio's ground-oriented attack. Vardaro bring toughness and a blue-collar, no-nonsense attitude to the Boston College front wall.
10. DB Bryce Jones, Jr.
Jones laid the foundation for what coaches hope will be a breakout second-half to his BC career. As a sophomore, the wiry 6-1, 174-pounder started all 13 games at cornerback. While there were growing pains, to be sure, he possesses the agility and the closing speed to eliminate some of last year's blown coverages. In an active first season in the lineup, Jones chipped in 62 tackles, 5.5 stops for loss, two interceptions and a team-high three fumble recoveries.
11. WR Bobby Swigert, Sr.
Fingers are crossed that Swigert will be able to return from a horrible knee injury suffered in November of 2012. He hasn't played since, and he didn't suit up in the spring. However, the sure-handed Swigert has been a productive pass-catcher throughout his career, making 106 grabs for 1,262 yards and eight touchdowns. It'll be all hands on deck this fall, as Boston College attempts to replace Alex Amidon, who was responsible for almost half of the team's receptions in 2013.
12. DT Mehdi Abdesmad, Sr.
Abdesmad was off to his best year with the Eagles, when misfortune struck on Sept. 28. The starting tackle suffered a season-ending torn left patellar tendon during a violent collision with Florida State TE Nick O'Leary. At the time of the injury, Abdesmad had already amassed 17 tackles, 3.5 stops for loss and two sacks in less than four games. The 6-7, 290-pound Montreal native has the frame to remain inside, but can also be used as a disruptive pass rusher at end.
2013 Boston College Preview