CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The long wait of the football off-season came to an end Friday as the Boston College Eagles returned to the practice field for the first practice of preseason camp. BC will begin training camp going through the NCAA five-day acclimatization period.
During the first two days of the acclimatization period, helmets are the only piece of protective equipment student-athletes wear. During the third and fourth days of the acclimatization period, helmets and shoulder pads are worn. During the final day of the five-day acclimatization period and on days thereafter, student-athletes may practice in full pads.
“No matter how much you train, no matter how many skills you do – there’s still the element when it’s all happening (on the first day of preseason),” said BC head coach Steve Addazio. “Getting used to the speed of the game, the flow of the game. It takes a few days but they’ve got a great attitude, great work ethic. We’ve got some skill, some talent, some speed. We just have to get ourselves into pads, at least shoulder pads, so we can really start to see where we are. I don’t take much away from the first couple days, honestly.”
The first practice of the preseason was split between work inside the state-of-the-art Fish Field house and outside on the plush natural grass at the Chamberlin Practice Field.
Addazio is anxious about how fast BC can mature on both sides of the ball in 2019.
“Well, it’s hard to know that. Sometimes they come together, but it’s hard to know that, right? Sometimes it can come together pretty quickly, sometimes it doesn’t come together as quickly – that’s what training camp is for, to see how fast we can mature. Some of the younger players don’t have a lot of snaps under their belt. That has a lot to do with them, some guys are pretty mature and at a faster pace than others. That doesn’t mean a guy won’t be a good player, it just means some take a little bit longer. It’s hard to know that right now. We’ll have a good feel for that towards the end of camp, where we are relative to where we were.”
Addazio was quick to mention several players who have stepped up after a successful spring.
“On defense, Brandon Barlow and [Marcus] Valdez on the defensive line. Tanner Karafa, of course, is a solid player. Linebackers, Max [Richardson] and John Lamot, Joe Sparacio because [Isaiah] McDuffie was hurt in spring. Joe really took a step forward. Brandon Sebastian solidified at the corner. Tate Haynes took a big step in spring ball, big step. Offensively, John Phillips has developed into a really bona fide leader on the offensive line. Alec Lindstrom is incredible. Tyler Vrabel solidified himself at left tackle, he’s a hell of a player. Of course, Ben Petrula and Anthony Palazzolo did a nice job. The tight ends, these guys are very experienced guys now. With Korab Idrizi and [Chris] Garrison and [Jake] Burt and Hunter Long, we’ve got plenty of guys and they’re experienced guys. The tailbacks have really emerged. I think Ben Glines and Travis Levy are two guys that have just popped since the season ended last year. It’s hard not to recognize those guys. They’ve really popped. They’re receivers and running backs – they’re going to be real factors. Not that they weren’t a year ago, because they were. Travis Levy helped us beat Virginia Tech on the road. I think we’re really going to see those two guys pop.”
BC returns to the practice field on Saturday at 9:20 a.m.
Notes: Addazio spoke about several Eagles who have taken increased leadership roles on both offense and defense. Among the players, he spoke about included redshirt sophomore cornerback Tate Haynes, who had a tremendous spring practice and is poised to become a starter this preseason … the quarterback depth looks to be strong with redshirt sophomore Dennis Grosel and redshirt freshman Matt Valecce behind returning starter Anthony Brown. Grosel has shown excellent athleticism with his running ability along with showing off an accurate arm. Valecce has also looked more comfortable in settling into the offense entering his second year in the program … redshirt freshman linebacker Joe Sparacio is one young player to keep an eye on. With Isaiah McDuffie returning from a knee injury, Sparacio earned the reps with the first-team defense in the spring and started with the first-team unit this preseason. An athletic linebacker who can run, Sparacio has shown a tremendous nose for the ball and filled in nicely with returning veteran playmakers John Lamot and Max Richardson. Linebacker looks to be one of the strengths for the BC defense in 2019 … despite the loss of first-team All-ACC tight end Tommy Sweeney to the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, the tight end room might be even better for BC in 2019. Seniors Jake Burt, Chris Garrison, Korab Idrizi along with sophomore Hunter Long and Penn State graduate transfer Danny Dalton are just some of the talented options BC will look to be major weapons for the Eagles this fall.