Boston College ended spring practice still trying to answer the same question that was there at the start: Who will be the quarterback when the Eagles open the 2010 season against Weber State on Sept. 4?
Mike Marscovetra, who was No. 2 on the final depth chart last season and entered the spring the same way, left spring practice still No. 2 behind David Shinskie, but also left coming off a strong spring and spring game.
"And we still have more than 40 practices to evaluate and see who is doing what," coach Frank Spaziani said, looking ahead toward the late summer.
The two "veterans," who both played as true freshmen (Shinskie a 25-year-old freshman), were being pushed in spring camp by the early arrivals of freshmen Chase Rettig and Josh Bordner, but it was Marscovetra who had the big spring game, going 13-for-16 for 149 yards and a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan McMichael.
"It did feel good," Marscovetra said. "In my freshman season, learning the offense was my biggest challenge. Just knowing what everyone is doing has helped me a lot. But it has been a pretty big adjustment. My feeling is the more you play, the better you are going to do."
Asked if he thinks he has a good shot at starting, Marscovetra said, "I hope so. I'm going to keep working at it and hopefully I can win it."
The 2010 Eagles, coming off an 8-5 season that ended with a loss to USC in the Emerald Bowl, will again rely heavily on running back Montel Harris and the defense, which is highlighted by a linebacking corps that loses Mike McLaughlin (to an NFL free-agent signing) but is set to get back Mark Herzlich, who missed last season battling cancer. But the offense needs a steady hand at quarterback and it will be interesting to see how the battle shakes out in time for the opener of Spaziani's second season as a head coach.NOTES, QUOTES
--Linebacker Mark Herzlich, who missed last season battling Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, is on target to return to full preseason practice and then for the 2010 season. He had a steel rod inserted into his left leg and everything went according to plan in spring ball. "Never doubt Mark," said fellow linebacker Mike Morrissey. "He's a special person and a special player. He's NFL bound, and I think it's going to be a great career for him." Herzlich was named to the watch list for the Lott Trophy, which goes to the nation's top defensive player based on his on- and off-field achievements. If this kid, the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, makes it back and has his usual Herzlich-type year, can you imagine anyone else winning this award?
--While much of the focus in the spring was on the BC quarterback situation, depth at running back continued to be a concern, especially with the Eagles again losing sophomore-to-be Rolandon Finch. After losing the latter stages of his freshman season to mononucleosis, he blew out a knee in spring camp and is expected to miss 6-9 months, wiping out the 2010 season. Redshirt freshman Sterlin Phifer is likely to back up Montel Harris, but he missed the spring game with an injury that left the position so depleted that defensive back Chris Fox had to come over to the other side.
--The Eagles don't play a road game until Oct. 9 and play their first four and five of their first six games at home.
--BC was outscored, 148-63, in its five losses last season.
QB Mike Marscovetra -- Did he jump ahead in what had become a four-man battle for the starting spot? Not officially, but everyone you talk to tells you he stood out in spring camp, which he capped by completing 13 of 16 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown in the spring game. "I still have to learn to be more consistent," he said. "But I think things are going pretty well."
DE Ifeanyi Momah -- The string bean receiver was shifted over the defense and, while the feeling was he might have to go back, he had a big spring game, with two sacks and a pass knockdown. "I can't choose one over the other," he said. "Whatever the coaches prefer, I will do." He was up to 240 pounds, with the goal set at 255.
LB Luke Kuechly -- The 2009 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year makes tackles. He had 17 in one spring scrimmage.
WR Ryan Lindsey -- The Eagles took a hit at this position (Rich Gunnell signed a free-agent NFL contract) and Lindsey, a senior-to-be whose college career has never gotten off the ground, had three catches for 81 yards, including a long of 44, in the spring game.
TE Chris Pantale -- He was becoming a gem at shedding his block and getting open for the short pass pop, essential when a team doesn't have a start quarterback.
LB Mark Herzlich -- He didn't take a hit in spring ball, but continued his remarkable comeback from the cancer that struck his left leg last year.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm getting better physically. I had some treatment last week to break up some scar tissue. But the doctors are pretty confident that I will be ready to go by the summer." -- BC linebacker Mark Herzlich, battling his way back from cancer, which led to a rod being inserted into his left leg.STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
2010 OUTLOOK: BC ended the 2009 season with a bowl loss to USC as Frank Spaziani finished his first season as a head coach with an 8-5 record and the program's 11th straight bowl game. It was a strange year, with another coaching change and an incredible muddled quarterback situation that saw 25-year-old for professional pitcher David Shinskie get the job.
Now, the QB picture isn't much clearer as the Eagles get set for 2010. But this team has a star runner in Montel Harris and star players on the defense, which will be even stronger if All-American Mark Herzlich completes his comeback from cancer.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Forget Abbott and Costello and who's on first, the question at Chestnut Hill remains: Who's the quarterback? David Shinskie, who turns 26 in May as he enters his second season, is still listed as the starter on the depth chart, but fellow 2009 rookie Mike Marscovetra emerged in the spring, with a pair of incoming freshmen also on the scene early. Regardless of who wins the QB battle, running back Montel Harris, coming off a huge sophomore season, will again be the star of this group. The offensive line lost center Matt Tennant to the NFL, but remains a staple. Colin Larmond, who caught 29 passes despite playing with a bum hip last year, is the key receiver.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The BC defense lost middle linebacker Mike McLaughlin (NFL free-agent contract) but should be getting All-American Herzlich back for another shot at his senior season after his battle with cancer. If he's back and 100 percent, it's hard to imagine a better linebacker group in the country than Herzlich, Luke Kuechly and Mike Morrissey. There are questions up front over whether defensive end Alex Albright will finally be able to shake the injury bug. And keep an eye on safety Okechukwu Okoroha.
SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: The Eagles entered spring ball looking for a kicker after the graduation of leading all-time BC scorer Steve Aponavicius, with punter Ryan Quigley a candidate to do both jobs. But Michael Sordic kicked a pair of 34-yard field goals in the spring game to get into the mix. Quigley is a strong punter. Cornerback DeLeon Gause is part of both return games, with Harris, the key to the offense, also a kick returner.
--OT Anthony Costanzo (foot) and DT Damik Scafe (shoulder) were among those who missed spring ball with injuries.
--LB Dominick LeGrande shifted to strong safety.
--FB James McCluskey is back after missing last season with a torn Achilles tendon.
--DE Brad Newman was moved tackle.
--DE Max Holloway had four sacks in the spring game.
--QB Mike Marscovetra was 13-for-16 for 149 yards and a TD in the spring game. David Shinskie was 6-for-12 for 50 yards. Chase Rettig was 4-for-12 for 48 yards and an interception and was sacked three times. Josh Bordner went 7-for-12 for 83 yards and was sacked four times. Rettig and Bordner are freshmen who enrolled early.
--TB Mike Javorski ran for 34 yards on 10 carries and had two catches for 34 yards in the spring game.
--P Gerald Levano, not on the depth chart, punted four times for a 41-yard average, with a long of 57, in the spring game.
Previous Report: 04/11/2010