Spring, Football, Sports

Offense Falters, Defense Shines in O’Brien’s First Spring Game

Two days prior to Boston College football’s annual Jay McGillis Spring Game, head coach Bill O’Brien promised the showcase would offer a hint of things to come. 

“We’re gonna show these people a preview of what’s gonna come in the fall,” O’Brien said after the conclusion of the team’s final spring practice. 

If Saturday’s game was any indication, however, then BC’s offense has some work to do before Labor Day

“Today, it was overall—I’ll give it to the defense,” quarterback Thomas Castellanos said. 

In a scrimmage simulating various game situations and governed by a convoluted point system, the offense still ended the day with a 96–62 edge. 

“I’m really proud of these guys, how hard they’ve worked, and how committed they are to our program,” O’Brien said. 

The game provided an opportunity for players up and down BC’s roster to receive crucial game-like reps in front of an Alumni Stadium crowd. 

“I think we got everybody reps, which was important—to get everybody in there—because that’s what we have been doing all spring,” O’Brien said. 

Castellanos and the Eagles’ offense opened the game with a number of three-and-outs. Misfires and drops characterized BC’s offense for much of the afternoon. Castellanos finished the game 13-of-29 with 127 passing yards, though O’Brien still praised his development through spring practices.

 “I think he’s definitely improved,” O’Brien said. “Today was a day that we weren’t going to show everything that we do. I thought he hung in there and kept battling. He’s had a good spring. … I think he’s a much improved quarterback from the beginning of spring.”

The defense, meanwhile, took center stage, shining in the secondary. Defensive backs Max Tucker and Ryan Turner shadowed BC’s receivers, with the defense piling up nine total pass breakups and three interceptions. 

“I think the defense played really well today,” O’Brien said. “I was happy to see that, because the defense [in] the last four or five practices has come on.”

With their slow start, Castellanos and the starters left the task of igniting the offense to the backups. Florida International transfer quarterback Grayson James claimed the Eagles’ first touchdown with a deep ball to Reed Harris—a frequent target for James. 

“He’s been really good,” Castellanos said of James. “He’s been on my butt, so it’s been good. He’s a good competitor.”

Late in the game, Castellanos delivered one of the game’s highlights, uncorking a perfect throw over Jaedn Skeete’s shoulders and into his hands for a touchdown. Skeete led the team with a pair of receiving touchdowns. 

“Skeete’s had a really good spring,” O’Brien said. “Skeete’s a dynamic player, smart player, instinctive guy, a guy that can run the route tree.”

The spring game closed the book on O’Brien’s first spring season in Chestnut Hill—a period that produced significant development, according to O’Brien. 

“I think they’re in better condition,” O’Brien said. “I think it’s got a ways to go, but we’re in better condition than we were in the beginning. I think learning how we practice, how we play our style of football—I think they’ve improved in that.”

Senior edge rusher Donovan Ezeiruaku echoed O’Brien’s praise.

“As spring went on, we could see the obvious progression going upward,” Ezeiruaku said. 

For Castellanos, the development process has fared far differently than the previous season. 

“It’s way different than last year,” Castellanos said. “I can’t even explain how different—it’s just the little things.”

April 13, 2024