Sports, Football

Hafley Puts “Next Man Up” Mentality Into Practice

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and Phil Jurkovec’s Instagram post of his hand in a cast at Newton-Wellesley Hospital may very well have written the rest of the story for Boston College football this season. Jurkovec was expected to turn the tide for the Eagles and make a .500 team into an ACC powerhouse along with the likes of Clemson. Instead, surgery on his hand meant that Jurkovec will likely remain on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

BC head coach Jeff Hafley said during his Tuesday media availability that Jurkovec is expected to make a full recovery and will return in time for the start of the 2022 season.

“I asked the doctor if he could maybe throw the ball even further, and get some superhuman grip strength,” Hafley said. “But he’s doing okay. He’s a tough kid.”

With an update on Jurkovec’s injury, attention shifted to Dennis Grosel and his new, yet familiar, role under center.

“He doesn’t sulk, he doesn’t complain, he knows his role, and he’s ready to play,” Hafley said of Grosel. “When your time comes, you better be ready, and Dennis is. And that’s why we’re not going to flinch.”

During the 2019 season, Grosel took over as the Eagles’ starting quarterback in the final seven games of the season after then-starter Anthony Brown went down with an ACL injury. He also stepped in for Jurkovec in the final game of the 2020 season against Virginia and tied Doug Flutie’s record for single-game passing yards with 520.

When Jurkovec went down just one series into Saturday’s game at UMass, Grosel was undeterred and led the Eagles to a 45–28 victory, passing for 199 yards and running for a touchdown. 

“It’s something to say about … how they’re able to trust me as not being a backup, just [being] another quarterback,” Grosel said on Tuesday. “It’s really cool to see them rally around me and see them walking out here like nothing changed.”

BC Athletics also recently announced that placekicker Aaron Boumerhi is out for the season with a lingering hip issue. 

Despite facing a depleted starting lineup, Hafley said that Tuesday’s practice was one of the more energetic practices that he had seen.

“What I said to the team today in the team room was injuries are going to happen, and some of them are going to hit you really hard … and you can sit there and feel sorry for yourself, but we’re not going to do that,” Hafley said.

With a road game against Temple slated for this weekend, former Owls Khris Banks and Isaiah Graham-Mobley will be making their return to Lincoln Financial Field for the first time in a new uniform. Banks, a defensive lineman, and Graham-Mobley, a linebacker, also filled vital holes in the Eagles’ lineup after a host of defensive departures last year. 

“We’re just making sure that we’re not getting too emotional,” Graham-Mobley said, referencing Banks. “Staying with the game plan, knowing which colors we’re playing for, and understanding that this is still a business trip.”

Featured Image by Erin Edgerton Courtesy of The Daily Progress via ACC Media

September 14, 2021