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2007 Boston College Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 19, 2007


Preview 2007 Boston College Eagles Offense

Boston College Eagles

Preview 2007 - Offense

- 2007 Boston College Preview | 2007 BC Defense Preview
-
2007 BC Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Boston College Preview 

What you need to know: It's Matt Ryan's offense and everyone is just playing in it. The new coaching staff will install a new zone blocking scheme, putting a premium on quick, flashy runners, but the line might not be suited for the system. The receiving corps is decent, but nothing special, and the tight ends are promising. It all comes down to Ryan, who'll have more control in the attack, able to change things up a bit on the fly, and he should be tremendous now that he's healthy. He was the best quarterback in the ACC last year, and that was with a broken foot.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Matt Ryan
263-427, 2,942 yds, 15 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: L.V. Whitworth
174 carries, 791 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Kevin Challenger
47 catches, 543 yds, 5 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Matt Ryan
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore OT Pat Sheil
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Brandon Robinson
Best pro prospect: Junior OT Gosder Cherilus
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Ryan, 2) Cherilus, 3) OG Ryan Poles
Strength of the offense: Matt Ryan, running back experience
Weakness of the offense:
Second tackle, offensive line depth

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: Senior Matt Ryan was the best quarterback in the ACC last year, completing 62% of his passes for 2,942 yards and 15 touchdowns with ten interceptions, and he did it with a broken foot for most of the year. The 6-5, 218-pound senior ran for four touchdowns, but he's not exactly a runner and he doesn't exactly fit what the coaching staff might want. Even so, Jeff Jagodzinski is a huge Ryan fan, going out of his way to praise him this spring. Ryan's a great decision maker, tough as nails, and has a great future at the next level. No, he's not going to tear off and big runs, but he's mobile in the pocket and does a great job of avoiding the rush.

Projected Top Reserve: 6-4, 232-pound junior bomber Chris Crane might seem like only a bomber, but he has surprising rushing skills with two touchdowns, both against Buffalo, and positive yards overall. He completed 22 of 32 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown with an interception in a limited role, and he was great this spring. He'll be the main man going into next year.

Watch Out For ... Crane to see more time. It'll take a bulldozer to get Ryan off the field, but the coaching staff will want to get Crane work just in case. Someone has to be ready for the future.
Strength
:
Ryan. Because he's tall, because he plays in Boston, and because he wears No. 12, he gets compared to Tom Brady. On a collegiate level, that's not insane. He always makes the right throw, has good arm strength, and makes everyone around him better.
Weakness
:
A quarterback to fit the philosophy. Offensive coordinator Steve Logan would like a running quarterback to be able to add something different to the attack. He'll be happy to settle with Ryan.
Outlook: Matt Ryan might be the ACC Player of the Year with the talent to carry the team on his back and finally get BC over the hump. Chris Crane proved this spring that he can be a good fill-in. It would've been nice to have had Ross Applegate around as a third option, but he transferred.
Rating: 9

Running Backs

Projected Starters: While often playing second-fiddle in the running game, the new blocking scheme should mean a big season for 5-11, 204-pound senior Andre Callender. A darting, quick back with 1,978 career yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 62 catches for 497 yards, he has done just about everything for the offense except be a workhorse with only four games out of 42 with 20 or more carries. He'll still be part of a rotation, but he'll be the team's most effective back.

Paving the way, when a fullback is used, will be 6-2, 240-pound redshirt freshman James McCluskey. After coming to BC as a star linebacker, he was moved over to the offensive side early on and could end up getting a few carries here and there. He has the potential to be a good, unsung cog in the attack.

Projected Top Reserves: 5-11, 216-pound senior L.V. Whitworth has had a great career with 2,221 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns, and 68 catches for 580 yards and a score. He's been the team's starter, even though he's been in a rotation with Callender, splitting carries almost evenly. A slam-between-the-tackles runner, he's a tough back who doesn't quite fit the new offensive style, but will still be effective. Banged up at the end of last year, he struggled in the season finale against Miami and only carried the ball two times against Navy. Now he's back and ready to be a 15-carry-a-game back again.

Junior A.J. Brooks has had a hard time finding carries with just 19 for 66 yards and two scores. A speedy back who should shine under the new coaching staff with the ability to burst through the line and potentially tear off a few huge runs. He's only seen mop-up duty so far, but he could play a bigger role.

Watch Out For ... Whitworth to be slowly phased out. He's a good runner, but he simply isn't the right fit for what the coaching staff is going to want to do. He won't lead the team in rushing again.
Strength
:
Veterans. Callender and Whitworth have seemingly been around forever as a consistent, productive 1-2 punch. Yeah, Whitworth might step aside a bit for Callender, but he'll still get a good amount of work.
Weakness
:
Goal line back. With top short-yardage runner Brian Toal likely to not get the job anymore, thanks to a bad shoulder, either Whitworth has to use his size to be the main man inside, or this could be a slight issue.
Outlook: The offense won't revolve around the ground game like it did under Tom O'Brien, but it'll still be effective. The zone blocking scheme needs quick backs who can cut back and be creative. That's Callender more than Whitworth, and even Brooks could grow into a serious threat to become a top producer.
Rating: 7


Receivers

Projected Starters: Back as the number one receiver after catching 47 passes for 543 yards and five touchdowns is 5-9, 178-pound senior Kevin Challenger. He missed all of spring ball hurt, but he's expected to be back by the start of the season to be Matt Ryan's steady go-to target. Not necessarily a possession receiver, he's not a deep threat, either. He's a tough, quick playmaker with nice hands. He's as reliable as they come.

The Eagles lost Tony Gonzalez, who had a strong season with 43 catches for 491 yards and five touchdowns, but there's a good chance there's an upgrade at the position with the emergence of 5-10, 195-pound junior Brandon Robinson. He finished third on the team with 36 catches for 490 yards and a touchdown, and had an amazing spring, showing off great deep speed and playmaking ability. Now he has to prove he can be consistent.

Back at tight end is 6-4, 254-pound senior Ryan Thompson, who caught 12 catches for 141 yards. Part of a rotation, he'll be the team's best receiving tight end and could have an expanded role after coming on over the second half of last year.

Projected Top Reserves: Even when Challenger is back, 6-1, 212-pound sophomore Clarence Megwa will be a major factor in the offense after a terrific spring. He caught 12 catches for 126 yards, but he was great in spring ball and should be more of a deep threat than Challenger and will see time in three-wide sets.

Behind Robinson will be 5-11, 205-pound sophomore Rich Gunnell after making eight catches for 97 yards. He has good quickness and the ability to play inside or out. Not the deep threat Megwa is, he'll have to find his turn in the rotation as the fourth target in the mix.

While Thompson will be the receiving tight end, 6-5, 271-pound senior Jon Loyte will be the top blocker. He caught six passes for 42 yards and two short touchdowns, but he'll mostly be used in two tight end sets to be like a third tackle.

Watch Out For ... Robinson. The coaching staff has been counting on him to grow into a dangerous field stretcher who opens everything up underneath. The passing game needs him to be steady.
Strength
:
Tight end. Thompson and Purvis aren't going to earn any All-ACC honors, but they'll be a solid tandem that does a little bit of everything well. They can be a bigger part of the passing game, make the big blocks, and do anything needed.
Weakness
:
Number one receiver. Challenger is functional, but he won't produce much more than a big yawn from most good shutdown corners. He'll get his 2-to-5 catches a game, but Robinson and Megwa have to step up and turn into the dangerous playmakers.
Outlook: Serviceable. This is a serviceable receiving corps that'll look good with Matt Ryan throwing the ball. It'll run good routes, keep the chains moving, and do just enough to make the offense go. It won't get shut down cold by anyone, but it won't light anyone up like a Christmas tree, either. With the way Ryan will spread the ball around, everyone will get a turn.
Rating: 6.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: Three starters return to the line led by a fantastic left side. 6-7, 318-pound senior Gosder Cherilus, who'll be a top 100 draft pick next year. With his size and pass protection skills, he's a good talent. With 37 straight starts, he's a rock who'll be counted on to make the big block on every key running play.

Next to Cherilus is 6-3, 295-pound senior Ryan Poles, an All-ACC caliber performer who could play tackle if needed. He started every game last year on the left side and could be moved around where needed. With his athleticism, he should be absolutely perfect for the new zone blocking style.

A little bit of shuffling went on this spring with starting center Kevin Sheridan moving to right guard for a stretch. While the 6-3, 290-pound senior might end up there, he'll likely be back in the middle to start the season. He missed a little bit of time banged up, but he'll be a reliable blocker.

If Sheridan doesn't move to right guard, 6-2, 291-pound senior Tom Anevski will take over for All-American Josh Beekman. He got two started last year and wasn't bad, but he's a massive drop-off from Beekman.

The other hole to fill is at right tackle, where 6-6, 284-pound sophomore Pat Sheil will fill in for James Marten. An unknown with little experience, he'll have to grow into the job and will be in a rotation.

Projected Top Reserves: If Sheridan moves from center to guard, then 6-4, 278-pound sophomore Matt Tennant will fill in. He proved this spring that he could handle himself as a possible starter. Able to play guard if needed, he's proven to be more suited at center.

Battling with Sheil at right tackle will be 6-6, 313-pound junior Clif Ramsey, a big option with no appreciable experience. If he's not the answer, 6-8, 336-pound redshirt freshman Rich Lapham will also be in the rotation. He'll start out behind Cherlius, and while he doesn't have the best feet, he's a massive option for the running game.

Watch Out For ... problems adjusting to the zone blocking scheme. The coaching staff will mess around with the system and it might not quite fit a front five that was used to being more physical.
Strength
:
The left side. The massive Cherilus is a top NFL prospect and a rock to work around, while Poles is a probably All-ACC performer if he plays up to his potential.
Weakness
:
There's absolutely no depth whatsoever. The coaching staff will have a hard enough time finding a right tackle and figuring out who to start at guard, much less look for players to battle for starting jobs.
Outlook: Brought aboard by Jagodzinski, line coach Jim Turner ended up resigning in spring ball meaning the Jack Bicknell Jr., the former Louisiana Tech head coach, will have to quickly patch together all the holes up front. Considering all the talent the line had last year, with two NFL draft picks and a certain third in Cherilus, it wasn't quite as amazing as it should've been. This year's group won't struggle as much as some will predict with three good starters to revolve around. There's no depth to rely on and no real competition to push for spots.
Rating: 7

  

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2007 Boston College Preview
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2007 Boston College Preview - Defense
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2007 Boston College Preview - Depth Chart
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