Though Boston College football looks largely the same on the field as it did in 2020—the Eagles return 20 starters—the start of its season couldn’t look more different. After spending three months in the summer of 2020 practicing through COVID-19 protocols and safety measures, BC returned to a much more traditional version of its preseason camp this year, which began on Friday.
“I’m just excited to be around the guys,” head coach Jeff Hafley said after practice, addressing the media in person for the first time since March 2020. “I feel like we know them a lot better. We know the staff obviously a lot better. There’s a lot of excitement, there’s a lot of confidence, just excited to go to work.”
BC returns one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country, including five returning starters. Center Alec Lindstrom, going on his third year as a starter, and five-year starter Ben Petrula headline the group in the trenches.
“Playing offensive line, you need that chemistry,” Lindstrom said after practice. “It’s such a blessing for the team and for us and for me personally being selfish, because I get to hang out with my best friends. … The experience that we have and the knowledge … that you learn from playing, it just gives us such an advantage.”
With all that experience, not just on the offensive line but across the field, the Eagles maintain an attitude of perfecting the controllables and the “little things,” an attitude that was present during the 2020 season as well.
“My message to the team was ‘All I want every day is everything you’ve got,’” Hafley said. “‘From the time you wake up in the morning until we finish, and if we do that, we’re going to be okay.”
Hafley told his team that the focus of day one of training camp was more on effort than execution. With just over a month before BC kicks off against Colgate, marking its return to a home crowd for the first time in over a year, the Eagles have time to build on the foundation they created in last year’s 6–5 campaign.
Last season featured what Hafley described as a “vanilla” playbook, one which he and offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti plan to expand on and rework entering the fall. That simple playbook was the result of the loss of spring ball, an augmented training camp, and an entirely new scheme under a first-year head coach and first-year starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec.
“We have everything in, and everybody’s feeling really comfortable with it, so we can add or adjust,” Jurkovec said. “I’m sure we will put in a lot or make changes throughout the season.”
Although BC returns the majority of its starters from a season ago, this offseason featured a host of new additions to the Eagles’ depth chart, including Isaiah Graham-Mobley, a linebacker who comes to the Heights from Temple.
“I saw the energy they’re building off of last year, and I wanted to come to BC and continue that tradition,” Graham-Mobley said.
Ahead of the season, BC is projected to finish third in the ACC Atlantic Division behind just Clemson and NC State. With expectations high following a five-win conference slate last year, Hafley and his team have a lot to build on.
“[BC is] a team that’s going to give everything they have,” Hafley said. “We’re going to be an exciting team to watch.”
Featured Image Courtesy of BC Athletics