The Boston College Eagles football squad has their eyes on the calendar. The date circled, Aug. 30th when they are scheduled to kick off the 2008 season against Kent State. With the pre-season wrapping up, anticipation for the upcoming year is high and coaches, players and fans alike are all excited to get underway.
This past Sunday, the Eagles conducted their final summer camp scrimmage that featured a positive showing from an offensive standpoint, but more of a lack luster approach from the highly touted defense.
“I would have liked to have seen more intensity,” said coach Jeff Jagodzinski, who did add he was more interested in coming out of camp healthy than in anything he could see in a scrimmage. “This was our last live scrimmage, because I want to make sure my team is in a healthy state going into the Kent State game. That’s my first priority.”
The obvious key loss for the Eagles from last year’s squad was the loss of QB Matt Ryan. Ryan was drafted 3rd overall in the NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons and it will be hard to replace his on field leadership and athletic abilities right away. Chris Crane has the tough job of filling Ryan’s shoes as the starting QB this season and he seems up for the challenge by looking sharp in the last game of the summer.
“We ran the ball well and we’re making progress,” said Crane, who completed 10 of 20 passes for 66 yards. “Each day we’re getting better. We just have to get better every day.”
The Eagles received some votes of consideration to be ranked in the Top 25 AP Poll but fell a little shy of breaking the top 25. In the ACC Coaches Poll, BC was picked to finish 8th in the conference beneath the likes of power houses such as Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech and Florida State.
As far as expectations go for the 2008 season, the Eagles have to remember that they are not the same team that they were one year ago. They need to play within themselves and keep games close on the defensive end because their offensive is not going to be able to put up the same kinds of numbers they were able to generate last year behind Ryan and Co. If their defensive and special teams units are able to gel early on in the schedule, they will certainly have a great chance at qualifying for a bowl game, but at this point in time cannot be considered favorites in the ACC.
One player to watch is WR Rich Gunnell who last season in 14 games made 64 catches for a team high 931 yards and seven TD scores. It will be interesting to see how quickly Crane and Gunnell get on the same page and if the WR can continue to have the same success without Ryan running the show.
After the Kent State game on the 8/30 the Eagles open up their home schedule on 9/6 against Georgia Tech at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, MA.
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