2010 Boston College Preview
Boston College LB Luke Kuechly
Boston College LB Luke Kuechly
Posted May 11, 2010

While Boston College might not be flashy and full of bells and whistles, it has been the model of consistency over the years and could be called college football's most underappreciated program. Led by star LB Luke Kuechly, this should be another fantastic year. Check out the CFN 2010 BC Preview.

Boston College Eagles

Preview 2010

- 2010 Boston College Preview | 2010 Boston College Offense
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By Richard Cirminiello

Head coach: Frank Spaziani
Second year: 9-5
Returning Lettermen
Off. 17, Def. 20, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 21
Ten Best Boston College Players
1. LB Luke Kuechly, Soph.
2. RB Montel Harris, Jr.
3. LT Anthony Castonzo, Sr.
4. LB Mark Herzlich, Sr. (Inj.)
5. RG Thomas Claiborne, Sr.
6. FS Wes Davis, Sr.
7. DT Damik Scafe, Sr.
8. WR Colin Larmond, Jr.
9. RT Rich Lapham, Sr.
10. TE Chris Pantale, Soph.
2010 Schedule

Sept. 4 Weber State
Sept. 11 Kent State
Sept. 18 OPEN DATE
Sept. 25 Virginia Tech
Oct. 2 Notre Dame
Oct. 9 at NC State
Oct. 16 at Florida St
Oct. 23 Maryland
Oct. 30 Clemson
Nov. 6 at Wake Forest
Nov. 13 at Duke
Nov. 20 Virginia
Nov. 27 at Syracuse

Boston College. The FBS program you can set your watch to.

Though it might seem otherwise, calling the Eagles ultra-consistent is not a backhanded compliment or a knock in any way. On the contrary, this is one of the steadiest football programs in America, winning at least seven games in 11 consecutive seasons. Whether it's been Tom O'Brien, Jeff Jagodzinski, or current head coach Frank Spaziani, Boston College has succeeded by mining the Northeast and Midwest for its type of players. They're all tough, smart, and coachable, with untapped potential when they arrive in Chestnut Hill. It's a time-tested formula that continues to work in these parts. Last year, for instance, was vintage BC.

For most schools, losing your head coach in January, your star linebacker to a fight with cancer, and your projected starting quarterback to a transfer would be a sure-fire ticket to the rebuilding zone. For the Eagles, it was a mere speed bump en route to a respectable eight-win season and second place finish in the ACC Atlantic. That Spaziani had never been the head guy or that the remaining quarterbacks had never thrown a pass at this level was not going to get this maroon and gold train off the tracks. Last season was all you needed to know about the resolve and focus of Boston College football. And now that the prickly part has been navigated, the school has its sights set on raising the bar and winning an ACC crown.

Spaz is a lot more comfortable in his second season as the boss. The quarterback situation? Far from perfect, but far more stable than it was at this time last year. Oh, and that kid with the rare illness, Mark Herzlich, has beaten the disease and is eyeing an emotional return to the field in September. This is shaping up as a special year on the Heights. And for a change, anything but ordinary.

What to look for offense: The development of the quarterbacks. Last summer, Dave Shinskie was a 25-year old former baseball player looking to revive his football career and Mike Marscovetra was a wide-eyed rookie. Today, both are much further along in their maturity, having spent a full season as the starter and backup, respectively. It's Shinskie's job to lose entering, but Marscovetra has not backed down, a great sign for the position as a whole. While the Eagles don't need either to be Matt Ryan, but better consistency and a few more downfield connections are musts if the offense is to become more potent.

What to look for on defense: The status of LB Mark Herzlich. The one-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year has been declared cancer-free, which is the only victory that truly matters for the senior and the BC family. With that massive hurdle down, he's turned his attention to getting back on the field in time for the opener. While he practiced in the spring, there was no contact, so no one really knows how close he is to his 2008 form. Herzlich will have a pivotal role in Eagle wins this season. However, how much of an influence he has with a helmet on remains to be seen.

The team will be much better if ... the offense gets markedly more efficient on third downs. The Eagles were just awful in this area a year ago, ranking just between New Mexico and New Mexico State at 116th nationally. When it fails to convert, drives stall. And when too many drives stall, it puts undue pressure on the defense to keep coming through. Even taking that conversion rate from 30% to 40%, which is still average, could be the difference between winning or losing a tight game.

The Schedule: The Eagles start out without a game on the road until an October 9 trip to NC State, but the piper is paid in the end with three road games in the final four, all in November. On the plus side, through, the road trips are against Wake Forest, Duke, and Syracuse; none of the three went to a bowl last year, and the home date is against Virginia. Missing Georgia Tech and Miami is a positive, but getting Virginia Tech in the ACC home opener is hardly a breather as the start of a rough patch of Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, at NC State, and at Florida State in four straight weeks.

Best Offensive Player: Junior RB Montel Harris. In 2009, Harris made the trek from good back to one of the ACC's best backs, cranking out 1,457 yards and 14 touchdowns on 308 carries. The type of workhorse that this offense requires, he carried the team even when the passing game was unable to provide much balance. He's tough between the tackles and durable, which is especially important since the Eagle backfield has been thinned by an injury to backup Rolandan Finch.

Best Defensive Player: Sophomore LB Luke Kuechly. The ultimate next-man-in performer, Kuechly used an unexpected opportunity to start in his rookie year to showcase his ability to the nation. A precocious and mature linebacker, he led the team with 158 tackles, more than double the next closest Eagle. Physically and intellectually, he already has the ingredients of a complete player at the position, diagnosing flawlessly and making sure tackles in the open field. He could be an all-timer at the program by the time he's through.

Key players to a successful season: The defensive ends. If there's a glaring hole on this team, it's a pass rush that produced just 18 sacks and ranked 103rd in the country in the category. The defense still survived, but how good would it have been had the ends produced more heat? Boston College hopes to find out this season. The program is pinning its hopes on Alex Albright, Brad Newman, and Max Holloway, who'll be the difference between this being a good defense and a fantastic one.

The season will be a success if ... Boston College wins the Atlantic Division for the third time in the last four years. Hey, winning eight games and participating in some mediocre postseason game is where the bar is set for the Eagles. The way this veteran team is currently comprised, it has enough talent and the right scheduling breaks to take the division and play the equivalent of a one-game playoff in December for a shot at a school-first BCS bowl appearance.

Key game: Oct. 16 at Florida State. There are other rugged games on the schedule, but this is by far the toughest road test the Eagles will face all year. Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, and Clemson must all travel to Alumni Stadium, meaning a win in Tallahassee could afford Boston College a chance to control its own divisional destination throughout the second half of the season.

2009 Fun Stats:
- Rushing yards per game: Boston College 136.9 – Opponents 103.2
- Red zone touchdown %: Boston College 61% – Opponents 40%
- Third quarter scoring: Boston College 64 - Opponents 23

- 2010 Boston College Preview | 2010 Boston College Offense
- 2010 Boston College Defense | 2010 Boston College Depth Chart
- Boston College Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006