Boston College senior defensive tackle Tim Bulman is coming off of an impressive junior campaign that saw him record 33 tackles, 11 of which were for a loss.
While Bulman has played in every game for the Eagles over the past three seasons, he's never been the undisputed starter at his position. In 2004 he is a captain, a senior, and I don't think any Eagle is more excited to put on the BC uniform than #96.
"I can’t wait until I can crack someone new," said Bulman on Monday afternoon. "I’m itching to play on Thursday. I’ve been waiting for this since high school. I just can’t wait to show everyone my stuff, and I know it’s good stuff."
Bulman attended nearby Boston College High School, and he stressed the importance of being a "double-Eagle." BC had been targeting another BC High player during this year's recruiting season: Chris Marinelli. He recently committed to Stanford.
"I think he made a big mistake," said Bulman. "What it actually means to come from BC high and play at BC, they don’t understand it."
On the field Bulman is ecstatic about the Eagles defense in 2004, not just up front, but the entire 11-man unit... and some back-ups as well.
"Our front four, I’ll tell you right now- in the four years I’ve been here- I think this is the best front four we’ve had," said Bulman at the beginning of training camp.
"We’re all good friends, we stick together, do things together. On the field we’re just really good. Everyone knows what they’re doing, Al’s been in the mix, Phil, Kiwi, myself- all the play is very crisp, we know what we’re doing and what to expect out of ourselves."
Over the past four years, starting with Doug Goodwin, a true freshman defensive tackle has had to step up and play. It was Goodwin in 2000, Bulman in 2001, Al Washington in 2002, and Danny Zepp in 2003.
"One of the freshmen is going to have to step up, B.J. Raji or Ron Brace," said Bulman, indicating that the tradition would have to continue. "Ron’s getting the plays a little quicker so it’s helping him. He’s just a big guy, a big run stopper. He’s got power and he can move pretty decent. If he gets in perfect shape he can be a wrecking house."
Bulman indicated that Brace showed up a bit overweight, but quickly added with a laugh: "Camp tends to shed what you don’t really need."
Bulman had good things to say about New Hampshire's Jake Ottolini, whose BC career to this point has been plagued by injuries.
"One player who I was really itching to see was Jake Ottolini, because he’s been injured," said BC's defensive captain. "The kid, if he stays healthy, he’s going to be incredible. I think he’s going to have a great year."
Bulman indicated that Ottolini, while unrefined and raw, has great speed and could be a real freak at defensive end.
Other players on Bulman's list of people to watch: Ricky Brown ("I think he's going to have a break-out year"), Will Blackmon ("He does some moves on punt returns that I didn't know humans could do") and strong safety Jamie Silva ("He's like a torpedo").
So what is Bulman's feeling regarding his own game heading into 2004?
"Total confidence," said the senior defensive tackle. "I feel like it’s mine. It feels real good for me, I’m looking to have a really big year. It’s good to be the number one guy, not looking over your shoulder, you get plenty of chances to make plays and look good in front of a lot of people."
Bulman, anchoring one of the best defensive lines in Boston College history, will have a chance to show opponents, BC fans, and NFL scouts his stuff.