CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Boston College football team held its first football practice of the 2020 season Thursday morning in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles rotated between Fish Field House and the outdoor grass practice field for the morning workout.
It marked the first preseason camp practice for head coach Jeff Hafley.
BC returns nine starters on defense, five starters on offense, including four of five All-ACC selections on the offensive line from a season ago. In addition, the Eagles return their starting kicker, punter, and long snapper on special teams from 2019.
“So this team right now, I’m so appreciative and so thankful for that and what they’ve done and what they’ve sacrificed (in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic),” Hafley said. “It says so much about them. And without the support from the doctors and the great protocol that we have, we wouldn’t be in this position right now. And I know it could change, I get it, but for the players to do everything that they’ve done from the start when we got here and we asked them to really give up everything, they did. And those guys need to get a lot of credit for. I’m grateful for the buy-in, it’s been awesome.”
One of the most hectic weeks in recent memory for Boston College included the release of the 2020 schedule earlier today and the NCAA’s decision to grant quarterback Phil Jurkovec immediate eligibility after transferring in January from Notre Dame.
Hafley shared his thoughts on the waiver. “The first thing I wanted to do was call him (Jurkovec) because I knew it has been a weight on his shoulders. He’s been here since January, and he’s been patiently waiting to see if they’ll be able to play football. So that’s one of the moments as a coach, you really look forward to delivering the message. There were times when I’m sure he was frustrated. And you know, we were anxiously waiting to see what was going to happen but it was one of those fun moments, those fun phone calls and he was very, very excited. You can kind of see he’s got a little bit of extra pep in his step and it’s fun to see him this happy and get ready to compete.”
With the team back on the practice field for the first time, Hafley is relying on his experience in the NFL to tailor this preseason camp.
“This first week of hard, hard training camp … practice after practice after practice, I still don’t believe their bodies are totally ready for that,” Hafley said. “Right now we’re taking more of an NFL OTA approach where today was a really good practice, a good long practice. Tomorrow, we’re going to slow it down. And then the next day, we’re going to ramp it up, and we’re going slow it down. And the next day, we’re going to ramp it up, and then it’s our day off. And then we’ll see where we’re at. And if we’re ready to go further from there, we feel good about where they’re at physically, we’ll do more. I want to be fresh, I want to be fast and I want to be fair to these players. They didn’t have a whole offseason. So there’s we’re fighting this on a lot of different fronts. So I can’t just bang my head against the wall and say, we’re going to do this like we’ve always done it. We got to think through this thing and make sure we’re taking care of our players. And I think we’ve got a great schedule for that. And that’s where we’re at right now.”
Practice Notes: Boston College returns four starters on the offensive line in left tackle Tyler Vrabel, left guard Zion Johnson, center Alec Lindstrom, and right tackle Ben Petrula. The competition for the starting assignment at right guard will be exciting to follow throughout preseason camp. Redshirt junior Nate Emer and redshirt sophomore Finn Dirstine look to be two of the leading candidates to battle for the starting job … redshirt freshman safety Connor Grieco came down with an interception during a team period off a deflected pass … redshirt junior quarterback Dennis Grosel connected on a deep route to sophomore wide receiver Zay Flowers during Thursday’s workout … redshirt junior defensive back Tate Haynes came up with several pass breakups on the day … redshirt sophomore quarterback Phil Jurkovec showed his athleticism scrambling out of the pocket in addition to connecting with sophomore wide receiver Ethon Williams on a deep out route … redshirt freshman quarterback Daelen Menard found Williams on a deep ball down the sideline … true freshman cornerback Denzel Blackwell showed a good nose for the ball with a pass breakup on the sideline covering Flowers … redshirt freshman cornerback Bryce Sebastian finished practice with a PBU … Boston College returns to the practice field Friday morning for the second practice of preseason camp.
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