Boston College Preview 2006 - Offense
Boston College Eagles
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Boston College Eagles Preview 2006 - Boston College Offense

What you need to know ... In a league with Florida State, Miami, and Virginia Tech, it was BC who led the ACC in total offense. Granted, it was the best of a lousy lot averaging only 388 yards per game, but it was able to consistently move the ball. The passing game gets QB Matt Ryan back, but needs Tony Gonzalez and several career backups to take the place of Will Blackmon and Larry Lester. The running backs are the strength with several great options led by the 1-2 punch of L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender. Despite the loss of some key players, the line will still be very good.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Matt Ryan
121-195, 1,514 yds, 9 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: L.V. Whitworth
189 carries, 807 yds, 5 TD
Receiving: Tony Gonzalez
28 catches, 414 yds, 5 TD

Star of the offense: Junior QB Matt Ryan
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior WR Tony Gonzalez
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Brandon Robinson
Best pro prospect: Junior OT Gosder Cherilus
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Ryan, 2) Cherilus, 3) OG Josh Beekman
Strength of the offense: Running back
Weakness of the offense:
Wide receiver

BC bombed away for 242 yards per game and shouldn't have a problem matching that. Matt Ryan has seen enough work over the last two years to be more than ready to be a steady leader. If he goes down, the Eagles have a spare in Chris Crane, who has the same makeup and talents as Ryan. Cutting down on interceptions would be nice after throwing 12 as a team last season. With question marks at wide receiver, Ryan has to be sharp.
The key to the unit: Backup Chris Crane has to get a little work early to get his feet wet. Matt Ryan knows what he's doing, so Crane has to step in right away in blowouts. Will BC continue to give the backup time in the second quarter? It might not be a bad idea.
Quarterback Rating: 6.5

Projected Starter
- Matt Ryan, Jr. - 121-195, 62%, 1,514 yds, 8 TD, 5 INT, 37 carries, 94 yds, 2.5 ypc, 5 TD
Mostly known for getting his block knocked off, literally, against Clemson in one of last season's biggest hits, the 6-5, 221-pound junior came up with a nice year in a rotation with oft-injured Quinton Porter. Ryan ended up seeing time in ten games with his biggest performances coming in the MPC Computers Bowl win over Boise State throwing for 256 yards and three touchdowns and in a come-from-behind victory over Wake Forest with two touchdown passes late in the game. He has a great command of the offense, a nice arm and surprising mobility. 

Top Backups
- Chris Crane, Soph. - 3-4, 42 yds
Crane got a little bit of work in the blowout win over Ball State and is now the main number two option. He's a huge 6-5, 228-pound bomber with a live arm and enough mobility to be a threat around the goal line. 

Running Backs
It's not a flashy, well-known group of backs, but there aren't any more solid backfields in the ACC. L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender each have two years of experience and should combine for well over 1,500 yards again. A.J. Brooks is back after redshirting last season to add more flash to the mix this year. J. Survival Ross moves from tailback to fullback to give the offense another weapon to work with when steady blocker Mark Palmer isn't in.
The key to the unit: Everyone needs to stay happy. There are enough backs to work with to go to a tailback-by-committee approach without going away from whomever's running well. A.J. Brooks and J. Survival Ross are weapons that need to be used.
Running Back Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- L.V. Whitworth, Jr. - 189 carries, 807 yds, 4.3 ypc, 5 TD, 23 catches, 244 yds, 10.6 ypc
The 220-pound Whitworth has worked great in tandem with the smaller, quicker Andre Callender. Whitworth was a steady back throughout the season and an almost certain 75-yard rusher whenever he got more than 15 carries. He's a good receiver who can make the key catch, but he isn't going to break off too many big plays despite showing more speed this spring.

- Fullback Mark Palmer, Sr. - 8 catches, 40 yds, 5 ypc
Only a blocker, the 6-3, 245-pound senior didn't see any carries last season and was used sparingly as a receiver after missing time with a concussion. The former Utah transfer caught 18 passes in 2004.

Top Backups
- Andre Callender, Jr. - 142 carries, 708 yds, 5 ypc, 3 TD, 22 catches, 141 yds, 6.4 ypc
A bit more explosive than L.V. Whitworth, Callender is a great complement to L.V. Whitworth. He isn't quite as good in a workhorse role as L.V. Whitworth, but he has more 100-yard games with three in ACC play last season. With his speed, he should be able to bust off more big plays as a receiver.
- A.J. Brooks, Soph.
A good speedy back to throw into the rotation once in a while, the 199-pound Brooks ran for 319 yards and three touchdowns in 2004. He redshirted last year and should be involved more and more getting 5-7 carries a game.
- Fullback J. Survival Ross, Sr. - 15 carries, 71 yds, 2 TD, 1 catch, 19 yds
The 207-pound Ross has sprinter's speed, but he hasn't worked out as a tailback. He'll be used as a fullback to get him on the field more and to used his wheels as a receiver out of the backfield. The heavy blocking work will be left up to Mark Palmer.
- Fullback Brian Toal, Jr. - 23 carries, 56 yds, 2.4 ypc, 6 TD
The star linebacker is also a tremendous goal line threat. He needs to return health and will primarily focus on improving as a linebacker, but he's a big weapon for the team's power game.

Losing top two receivers Will Blackmon and Larry Lester hurts mainly because Blackmon was the type of weapon that defenses had to gameplan around. BC doesn't have one of those coming back with a decent, pedestrian group that will put up numbers in the efficient Eagle passing game, but won't scare anyone. Tony Gonzalez has been a nice reserve and now has to turn into a steady number one target, Kevin Challenger has good quickness, Taylor Sele has gamebreaking speed, but hasn't shown it off yet, and Brandon Robinson will be the X factor as a promising young number four receiver. The tight end situation is up in the air after losing Chris Miller. Ryan Purvis, Ryan Thompson, and Vanderbilt transfer Jon Loyte are all big and can all catch.
The key to the unit: Tony Gonzalez has to be Will Blackmon, and a steady tight end has to emerge.
Receiver Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- Kevin Challenger, Jr. - 16 catches, 184 yds, 11.5 ypc, 1 TD
The Canadian native is a small, quick receiver who should blossom in a full-time role. He was a steady reserve throughout last season and caught a big touchdown pass against Wake Forest. He'll do most of his work on the inside where he'll need to use his quickness to bust off big plays after the catch.

- Tony Gonzalez, Sr. - 28 catches, 414 yds, 14.8 ypc, 5 TD
A strong reserve over the last few years, Gonzalez has to grow into the number one role after leading the team in touchdown catches and finishing second behind Will Blackmon in yards per catch. He has been streaky over the last two seasons with his biggest performance coming last year with six grabs for 104 yards and a touchdown against Wake Forest. Now he has to be steady.

- Tight end Ryan Thompson, Jr. - 3 catches, 37 yds, 12.3 ypc
Thompson will get the first crack at the opening at tight end after being used sparingly last season. Even at 254 pounds, he's the team's smallest tight end option and will have to be a consistent receiver to hold off Ryan Purvis and Vanderbilt transfer Jon Loyte.

Top Backups
- Taylor Sele, Sr. - 14 catches, 142 yds, 10.1 ypc
Sele saw all his work in the first half of last year before getting banged up. At 6-0 and 203 pounds, he's a bigger, faster option than Kevin Challenger on the inside. He has the raw speed to be a gamebreaker, but he hasn't shown it off yet.
- Brandon Robinson, Soph. - 7 catches, 94 yds, 13.4 ypc, 1 TD
With good quickness and nice hands, Robinson should be used more this year as a number three receiver and a backup behind Tony Gonzalez. He caught a touchdown pass in garbage time last year against Wake Forest and has shown flashes of big-play ability in practice.
- Tight end Ryan Purvis, Soph. - 6 catches, 12 yds
The 6-4, 261-pound Purvis made his biggest impact against Florida State catching three passes, but they only went for nine yards. He has the athleticism to grow into a receiver, and his big body makes him a strong tight end. 

Offensive Linemen
The line was the best in the ACC last season allowing a mere 15 sacks and paving the way for 145 rushing yards a game. It was also one of the league's biggest lines. Now there's a little bit of work to do losing star center Pat Ross and tackle Jeremy Trueblood. Josh Beekman will try out at both center and guard with the ability to be the anchor at either spot, while Gosder Cherilus is an emerging star at right tackle. James Marten has to shine in place of Trueblood on the left side, and Kevin Sheridan has to come up with a big year in the middle. More depth needs to be developed.

The key to the unit: Center and the left side. The right side will be one of the best in the ACC with Josh Beekman and Gosder Cherilus, so the left side has to come through big in pass protection. Consider the line a work in progress.
Offensive Line Rating: 7.5

Projected Starters
- OT James Marten, Sr.
One of the team's steadiest linemen over the last two seasons playing 24 straight at left guard, the 6-8, 315-pound senior will move outside to take over the left tackle position. He's a good enough athlete to handle the switch, but it's asking a lot for him to be as good as Jeremy Trueblood was.
- OG Ryan Poles, Jr.
The 6-4, 310-pound junior saw plenty of time last season as both a tackle and guard. He's a great talent who can play either spot on the left side starting out at guard.
- C Kevin Sheridan, Jr.
Sheridan has huge shoes to fill replacing all-star Pat Ross in the middle. He saw enough time as the understudy to know what he's doing right off the bat. His play is the key to the line; if he shines, Josh Beekman can stay at guard.
- OG Josh Beekman, Sr.
Able to potentially end up at center, the 325-pound senior will likely start out at right guard. He's good enough to earn all-star honors at either position with great athleticism and tackle-like pass protection skills.
- OT Gosder Cherilus, Jr.
Cherlius took his lumps starting every game as a freshman, improved as a sophomore, and now he should be one of the ACC's better tackles. He's 6-7 and 320 pounds with NFL potential as a pass blocker.

Top Backups
- C/G Ty Hall, Jr.
Able to play anywhere on the line, the 6-5, 296-pound Hall saw time last year behind Gosder Cherilus at right tackle, has played at left tackle, was listed for a time as a backup center, and will start out this year behind Ryan Poles at left guard but could end up at center.
- G Tom Anevski, Jr.
He has seen a little bit of time and will be in the guard rotation a bit more this year behind Josh Beekman on the right side. He could be a nice fill-in on the left. The 6-4, 301-pound junior could even end up starting if Beekman spends time at center.
- T Clif Ramsey, Soph.
A scout teamer as a redshirt freshman, the 6-6, 305-pound sophomore will play a key role behind James Martin on the right side. He'll be groomed for a starting spot in 2007.

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