Head Coach: Tom O'Brien (48-36)
Last Season's Record: 8-5 (5th place in Big East)
Last Bowl Appearance: 2003 Diamond Walnuts San Francisco Bowl (35-21 win over Colorado State)
Key matchup(s): Sept 11 vs. Penn State (8pm, ABC), Oct. 16 @Pitt, Oct 23 @Notre Dame (2:30pm, NBC), Nov. 13 @West Virginia.
Star Power: DE Mathias Kiwanuka 6-8 249 junior, CB William Blackmon 6-1 198 junior, WR Grant Adams 6-1 200 senior, DT Tim Bulman 6-4 285 senior.
Notable Additions: LB Brian Toal 6-2 238 Don Bosco Prep (NJ), WR/DB Brandon Robinson 6-0 187 Breck School (MN), FB Mark Palmer 6-3 245 transfer.
Notable Subtractions: OG Chris Snee drafted by Giants, DB Nathaniel Hasselbeck transferred to UMass, P Jeff Gomulinski kicked-off team.
Notable Returnees: WR Larry Lester 5-7 185, OT Jeremy Trueblood 6-8 315, FS T.J. Stancil 6-1 212.
Offensive Overview: The Boston College Eagles have only 33 rushing yards between the three players expected to fill the departed Derrick Knight's shoes, and all 33 of those yards belong to sophomore Jeff Ross. Knight, the school's all-time leading rusher, will be succeeded by Ross and redshirt freshmen Andre Callender and Lennox Whitworth in a running back-by-committee system. Mammoth LT Jeremy Trueblood and C Pat Ross return to anchor the offensive line, but the Eagles will have to break in a few new players as Tom O'Brien's squad has lost three of five starters, including their entire right side. That means BC will look to gain yards through the air, and with a pair of talented senior QBs fighting for the job in Paul Peterson and Quinton Porter, and a pair of capable senior wide receivers in Joel Hazard and Grant Adams, BC will be a dangerous passing team. Add speedy touchdown-maker Larry Lester and sure-handed TE Dave Kashetta to the mix, and it is safe to say that the traditionally smash-mouth Eagles will be more of an air-oriented team in 2004 than they have been in quite some time.
|2004 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE|
Defensive Overview: The Eagles lost five starters on defense to graduation, including three-year starter DT Doug Goodwin and team captain LB Josh Ott. Fortunately for BC their two best players on defense are back: juniors DE Mathias Kiwanuka and CB Will Blackmon. Kiwanuka led the Big East in sacks last year with 13 and is the odds-on favorite to do it again. Senior DE Phil Mettling is an overlooked player who could thrive if opposing teams pay too much attention to the preseason All-American "Kiwi." The Eagles are relatively thin at the linebacker position, but a number of underclassmen will have an opportunity to play early. Redshirt freshmen JoLonn Dunbar- a converted running back- and Tyronne Pruitt will see a good deal of playing time behind starters Ray Henderson, Ricky Brown and Jon Misciewicz. Then there is the x-factor: All-American freshman linebacker Brian Toal. If he lives up to a percentage of his hype, he could single-handedly make the BC linebacker corps the strongest it has been in years. In the secondary Blackmon will be called upon to man-cover the opposing team's best receiver on a regular basis, giving Peter Shean, the strong-side cornerback, safety help from FS T.J. Stancil and presumably sophomore SS Ryan Glasper. Look for a more aggressive BC defense in 2004 with multiple coverage schemes and blitz packages.
Special Teams Overview: The good news for the BC special teams is this: it can't possibly get any worse. The Eagles were atrocious on punts in 2003, and true freshman Johnny Ayers will step into the role in 2004 with the departure of Jeff Gomulinski. Another true freshman, James Ohliger, will likely succeed Sandro Sciortino as place kicker. Senior Mike Fassel, son of Baltimore Ravens’ Assistant Coach Jim Fassel, returns on scholarship to perform holding duties. He is also a capable field goal kicker.
The Eagles will win the BIG EAST if... one of the three running backs steps up and gains 1,000 yards, and whoever starts at quarterback can make big plays to the receivers and limit turnovers. If these two things happen, and the defense– Kiwanuka, Blackmon and Toal in particular- plays up to their potential, the Eagles could win the conference.