It still feels like summer in Chestnut Hill, but even without cool air or changing leaves, fall is on the horizon. The telltale sign of fall in Boston? Football is back at Boston College.
BC football has been going at it all summer, and the Eagles have finally begun to see their hard work in action. Though there are still two weeks until opening day against Duke, Saturday marked the longest preseason competition for BC in the form of an extended intrasquad scrimmage.
Eagles’ head coach Jeff Hafley has yet to solidify his team’s depth chart for week one—even the starting quarterback job is still up for grabs—but he said Saturday’s practice gave him a good look at some potential offensive pairings.
Hafley noted that the scrimmage was longer than the previous two that the Eagles have played so far this summer—the first string got 60 snaps, while the second got 54—which allowed him to see a good mix of personnel.
The biggest competition comes in the QB room, as returning starter Dennis Grosel and recent Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec are still battling it out for the number one spot. Both are versatile quarterbacks who have each demonstrated their abilities to air it out for long balls or scramble out of a collapsed pocket, and Hafley has made no definitive indication of which signal caller he’s leaning toward.
But whoever gets the nod for Week One, Grosel noted that it’s the Eagles’ depth at many of the offensive skill positions that will set them apart this year.
“We have a lot of weapons, especially on the offensive side,” Grosel said during Saturday’s press conference. “I couldn’t imagine having to game plan us on a short week or on one week because we’re so versatile and have so many playmakers.”
The BC faithful are used to a run-heavy offense behind former star running back AJ Dillon, but Saturday’s scrimmage showed an unfamiliar side of the Eagles’ offense with explosive plays on the outside, including a 55-yard bomb from Grosel to sophomore wide receiver Ethon Williams.
For the majority of last season, Dillon found himself running up the middle into a stacked box—more so than any other player in the FBS—but Hafley said his team has already shown some out-of-the-box explosive playmaking.
Though BC’s pass game is taking on a new look, Eagles fans can expect to see a familiar ground game with plenty of returning offensive weapons. Junior running back David Bailey will be taking on a bigger role this year after playing backup to Dillon for the last few years.
“I don’t want to compare him to AJ [Dillon], but he’s big, strong, and he can move for a big guy,” Hafley said about Bailey’s potential. “He moves laterally really well. He’s got good feet, good vision, and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s the type of guy who’s going to wear you down—he’s hard to tackle.”
At 6 feet tall and 237 pounds, Bailey shares Dillon’s ability to drive straight through tackles, which forces defenses to adjust their schemes accordingly. Up to this point, Hafley said that his team hasn’t been doing full takedowns during practice, so the team hasn’t yet seen Bailey’s full potential. But even playing just thud contact, Grosel and Jurkovec both said they can tell he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
With plenty of intrasquad competition under their belts and a date set for the first dance of the year with Duke, the Eagles finally have something concrete to work toward in their near future.
For the next two weeks, it’s all eyes on the Blue Devils.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Senior Staff