Preseason Practice Report No. 8
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Boston College football team held its first scrimmage of training camp Saturday morning inside the Fish Field House. All three phases showed some positives as the Eagles finished with nearly 70 reps for the first-team offense during the scrimmage. BC worked on several different scenarios throughout the scrimmage, including red zone, goal line and starting inside their own 5-yard line.
The first drive of the day was interrupted by a Max Richardson interception, off a Lukas Denis tip, on the second play from scrimmage. The next series went into the defense’s territory as Matt McDonald hit Hunter Long in stride for a long gain. Colton Lichtenberg put points on the board with a 44-yard field goal.
The defense came up with a pair of third-down stops in the ensuing drives, including a tackle in the backfield by Bryce Moraison third-and-one. Two series later, the offense kept a drive alive on a third-and-eight conversion on Long’s second reception of the game. The offense drove down to the four, but the defense forced a turnover-on-downs on fourth-and-three with a ball batted down at the line.
After the break, the first team offense got rolling with a third down conversion by McDonald with his legs. He then delivered a ball into the bread basket of Jeff Smith down the sideline for the biggest gain of the day.
In goal line situations, the offense was productive punching the ball into the end zone or working out of the shadow of its own goal posts. Travis Levy was able to plunge into the end zone behind John Phillips on the offensive line and Ben Glines was successful on the other end; providing some room to work with behind the line of scrimmage.
In red zone scenarios, the offense got on the board quickly as AJ Dillon ran through the defense for a 15-yard touchdown. Michael Walker added the second touchdown of the third period on a pass from EJ Perry. Long’s third reception of the day came at the five-yard line and finished in the end zone.
McDonald orchestrated another TD drive with big completions to Glines and Tommy Sweeney. On fourth-and-goal from the one, McDonald snuck in for the score.
Notes: Boston College alum and ESPN Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore was in attendance at Saturday’s scrimmage. His son John was perfect on the day working with the second-team field goal unit … the scrimmage was originally scheduled to be held in Alumni Stadium, but with the weather was moved inside to the state-of-the-art Fish Field House … Nolan Borgersen had an interception and Vinny DePalma was active with the second-team defense, including a nice pass breakup in coverage … the Eagles will get a well-deserved off day tomorrow before returning to the practice field for the ninth practice of training camp Monday morning.
Head Coach Steve Addazio
On his assessment of the scrimmage:
“We had too many penalties out there today with the ones. The ones took 69 snaps today, which is about 10 shy of a game and we had 10 penalties out there. Last year we were number-two in the country with four [penalties per game]. This is the first Saturday we’ve had the officials out here. We’ve got to come back in here and make more of an emphasis to clean up the silly penalties. Throughout the day, the offense came out in first-movement periods and couldn’t function because it was first-and-15 continually. Once they rectified that then they were able to move the ball well. There were a lot of great things that took place today, a lot of great individual efforts, but it was a great Saturday to learn that penalties will even things out in a hurry. This was great today that this showed up so you can address it and fix it.”
On success in goal line sets:
“I thought we did a good job up front on the offense in the goal line period and in the red zone period and in the third down period.”
On special teams execution:
“I thought Grant [Carlson] punted the ball well. He has been punting the ball well, which is important to us this year and he continued that today. He had some great punts and I’m really pleased with the way he has come on. I was concerned about that coming in. He has shown me that he’s really taken a big step forward. I think he and Colton [Lichtenberg] have each upped their game. Jimmy Martin is snapping the ball really well too, which is helping them. Jimmy’s snaps have been pinpoint, which is a big improvement from a year ago.”
On each quarterbacks’ throwing ability:
“Matt [McDonald] is highly accurate. Everybody has got unique skills. Matt’s unique skill is he can anticipate throws. He doesn’t have to see them open, he anticipates them and then he’s very accurate. EJ [Perry] has got a tremendous arm and he’s got great athleticism. He too is starting to see the field. That’s encouraging, but there is a learning curve to both of them and they’re still in that learning curve. And Anthony [Brown] is doing great. Anthony looks phenomenal in seven-ons and all the scout drills. We’re going to start to merge him back in here little-by-little next week so he’ll start to get more and more of this to get ready for the opener.”
On Glines being used in the run game:
“Ben has really good vision. If you watch him run, he’s very efficient. With Ben it’s very efficient; usually, it’s a subtle cut, pads down, vertical and he runs through that contact a little bit. Of course, AJ [Dillon] is that too.”
Connor Strachan, Graduate Linebacker
On returning to play after a 2017 injury:
“It’s exciting to be back. I’ve just been smiling because of the chance to really play football again. It’s physical and sore, but I’m happy to be playing again.”
On the defense’s mentality and confidence:
“I think it creates a good, competitive atmosphere where a lot of guys are making plays or are in position to make plays so it kind of elevates everyone else. If Lukas [Denis] gets a pick, I’m going for one or you see Wyatt [Ray] or Zach [Allen] come off the edge and get a sack, you’re trying to get one too. With all these guys making plays, it just brings everyone else up. The standard for what’s acceptable on defense now is higher.”
Will Harris, Senior Defensive Back
On playing in the first scrimmage of camp:
“It’s always good to get in a game-like situation, a game-like environment with the game clock and when we suit up it’s time to go. It’s good to take all the things we learned in practice and apply them to a game-like atmosphere and that’s what we needed.”
On reacting to the offense utilizing an up-tempo style:
“It makes us better. When we make the tackle, when the clock ends, we’ve got to get ourselves to the sideline, make our next call, get lined up, make our adjustments, see if there are motions or splits and be able to do it on the fly. That makes the offense better and it makes us better.”
On identifying run or pass pre-snap:
“I just pride myself on playing with a lot of anticipation. It starts in the film room. Just seeing certain splits, certain formations starts in the film room and seeing the tendencies and just knowing the play before the play and kind of narrowing it down from 25 plays to two plays. Playing with anticipation and capitalizing on that is what I try to do.”
EJ Perry, Sophomore Quarterback
On getting snaps with the first team offense:
“It’s now my second go-around in camp, I’ve had two springs and coach [Scot] Loeffler is really good at getting us ready. It felt really good today. There are a few little things we need to clean up with penalties and what not, but it felt good today.”
On executing plays in up-tempo scenarios:
“The second I hand the ball off or throw the ball, find the hash, find the play, get up to the ball and make sure everyone is set and run the play as fast as we can. Yesterday, we had a bunch of great plays where the d-line wasn’t set. It’s really good to get that tempo going. We’ve got to do a better job than we did of that today.”