2007 Boston College Preview - Offense
Boston College Eagles Offense
Preview 2007 - Offense
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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.
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
Second tackle, offensive line depth
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
Weakness of the offense:
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.