Boston College fall camp opened last week, with the Eagles practicing inside the new Fish Field House when the weather would not cooperate. A few key players on offense missed significant time last season but were full participants from day one of camp.
Boston College Fall Camp
Quarterback Anthony Brown Returning from Injury
Brown was a full participant in the first day of fall camp, a good sign for the sophomore passer who left last November’s North Carolina State game with a right knee injury. He missed all of spring football as he recovered, although teammates and coaches are very complimentary of his continued involvement and leadership. His progress, both health and otherwise, will be watched closely as the season approaches.
Head Coach Steve Addazio on Brown:
“He looks great. He had a nice first day today. He’s a competitive guy … We’re kind of easing him back as well. I thought he did great. He’s on top of everything.”
Center Jon Baker
Baker, now a graduate student, was also a full participant after recovering from a knee injury. Baker has started the last 26 games for which he has been healthy and was voted team captain in 2017. He went down one game into the year and never returned. His availability strengthens a line that should be one of the strongest in the ACC. For day one at least, the starters from left to right were Aaron Monteiro, Sam Schmal, Baker, Chris Lindstrom and Ben Petrula.
Addazio on the veteran leadership of the offensive line:
“[Chris Lindstrom] and Jon Baker have the most starts under them here. We’ve got seven guys that have got 10 starts. I just think the leadership up front, what you’ll see happen sometimes if you’re not veteran up front everything else just kind of falls apart, but that isn’t going to happen with these guys up front. They know what they’re doing. Then you have the leadership and the mentality of guys like Chris and Jon. They really drive that unit. That’s why it’s so critical. It all starts up front. If you want to have a good football team, it starts up front and of course, your quarterback is an integral piece of that. He’s got to be a great leader and a guy that’s time-tested. We have these pieces in our football team right now.”
Addazio later commented further on the development of Lindstrom, saying “he’s developing into being an elite offensive lineman. Honestly, he’s as good as there is in the conference right now. I think that will show to be true at the end [of the year]. He’s very competitive, very tough guy. What a tremendous representation of Boston College. He just comes in here, kind of guy that stands for all the right things. Chris will have a great opportunity to go on and play at the next level, have great things ahead of him. I wish I had 20 of him.”
AJ Dillon in the Passing Game
Dillon worked as an every down running back in open practice, showing improved hands as a receiver.
Sophomore running back AJ Dillon looked the part of an every down running back, showing great hands as a receiver … senior wide receiver Elijah Robinson made two tight-rope, sideline receptions during 7-on-7 work. pic.twitter.com/aQaJhhUCjJ
— Jason Baum (@JasonBaumPR) August 3, 2018
As a freshman, Dillon was unable to stay on the field on passing downs due to his subpar hands and inexperience blocking (although he certainly has the size). His work in the passing game looks vastly improved, which could open up an entirely new dimension in the offense. As fall camp continues, look for the Eagles staff to test him in pass blocking situations. Everywhere Dillon goes, he will draw the eyes of defenders. Dillon seeing the field in all situations diversifies the offense and supports Brown and the receivers in the passing game.
Running backs often take their biggest leap as every-down players before their sophomore season. Dillon may need to, given the Eagles’ lack of depth and experience at the position.
Dillon himself emphasized this new facet of his game at Boston College Media Day. His “biggest goal is to be an all-purpose back that my coaches and my teammates can count on in any situation.” Dillon talked about not getting to display his “catching in the backfield” last year, and spent the offseason working on speed and agility. Finally, he emphasized the work he was able to do with Brown, despite the quarterback’s knee injury limiting his physical ability. Dillon ended his availability by repeating his excitement to display everything he has worked on.
Coach Steve Addazio’s Comments
Addazio’s day one press conference provided a few interesting comments on the hype for the 2018 Eagles and a long-overdue NCAA rule change.
On the buzz surrounding the team
“We talked about it in the spring with our team … we have to look at how we can improve to take the next step. First of all, we have to own our identity. That’s number one. Number two, we have to attack the areas that we needed to fix from a year ago and we have to systematically go about attacking them. One of the things that we started in the spring, which we’re going to pick back up here, is sudden change. What is a sudden change? All the situations that arise, you’ve got to win those.”
“We have a series of things that we feel like we have to improve. We’re trying to take all the things that we have identified as things that we need to improve and we are systematically attacking those. The whole team can say, ‘okay, this is what we worked on, this is how we got better at it and this is how we’re going to take another step’. There’s a lot of pieces to that.”
On the new NCAA redshirt rule
Under the new NCAA rules (in place for 2018 and not retroactive) players can play up to four games in a season and still receive a redshirt. In the past, the only way to play and not lose a year of eligibility was through a medical redshirt, a long and opaque process.
“[The redshirt rule is] the most significant rule change. Last year, I played EJ Perry for a few plays. That never has to happen again. It’s all about player welfare. Because now you can play a younger guy and it’s not going to cost him a year [for] a quarter, a half, a game or whatever. That to me is a huge rule change that I think is a real positive.”