CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The second practice of the preseason for Boston College featured plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures in the 80s as the Eagles spent the majority of the practice outside on the Chamberlin Practice Field.
“Day two was probably not quite what a normal, full speed practice is going to be,” BC head coach Jeff Hafley said post-practice. “I wanted to use the first two days to kind of acclimate us, even though I think we’re in really good shape. Coach Matusz and his staff did an awesome job. Playing football again is different. Last year, we went out too hard early. So these two practices were a little bit shorter, and we’ll start to ramp them up as we go.”
Early in preseason camp, one position group that looks ready to take the next step are the defensive ends. Hafley discussed the group post-practice and the impact he expects from the group in 2021.
Graduate students Brandon Barlow and Marcus Valdez along with junior Shitta Sillah all have made tremendous strides in the strength and conditioning program entering the season.
“Shitta looks bigger, he looks faster. Barlow, same thing,” Hafley said. “Obviously, Valdez there’s no one who’s going to work as hard as that guy. We got a couple of young guys who showed some flashes. But it’s really good to see Shitta, Barlow, Marcus, those guys coming out, we need them, we have to rush the quarterback better than we did last year. We have to get off the field on third down. They have to win their one-on-ones.”
One position group that’s wide open heading into the season is at linebacker, where Boston College must replace a pair of NFL linebackers (Max Richardson, Raiders; Isaiah McDuffie, Packers) that ranked among the national leaders last season in total tackles.
Despite the loss of two pros, the Eagles could have even better overall depth at the position this fall.
“There’s really good competition in there right now,” Hafley said. “The guys have done a good job in (Vinny) DePalma, (Isaiah Graham-Mobley) IGM the transfer from Temple and we got some young guys mixing in there. It’s a really good smart group of guys. Kam Arnold is a guy that has looked really good in spring who moved from strong safety to linebacker and he gives us a very athletic guy up to about 228. Between Kam, Vinny, IGM, Bryce (Steele), Hugh Davis, (Joe) Sparacio, I know I am listing a bunch of guys but whomever looks best at least in camp and is the most productive will play.”
News and Notes: NFL scouts from the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys were in attendance so far this preseason … after just two practices, the connection between quarterback Phil Jurkovec and tight end Trae Barry looks to be in mid-season form. Barry was on the receiving end of several completions from Jurkovec Saturday both in 7-on-7 and teamwork. Barry, a 6’6” tight end transfer from Jacksonville State, moves extremely well for a player his size … “He’s enormous, extremely long, and he is very hard to cover,” Hafley noted about Barry following practice … one day after Hafley spoke to the media about BC’s intentions to throw the ball to the tight ends, it was on full display Saturday. Barry, Spencer Witter and Joey Luchetti all hooked up on the receiving end from Jurkovec during practice … True freshman defensive end Neto Okpala and sophomore linebacker Kam Arnold teamed up for a TFL during team work … wide receiver CJ Lewis made a leaping grab over the middle for a long gain during 7-on-7s … one bright spot in a loaded wide receiver room has been the return of Kobay White from a season-ending knee injury last season … White, who changed his number to seven this season, came up with two terrific receptions in traffic from Jurkovec during team periods … redshirt freshman Matt Rueve found sophomore running back Pat Garwo for a long reception on Saturday … West Virginia transfer running back Alec Sinkfield showed off his top-end speed with a long gain during 11-on-11s … Florida State transfer defensive back Jaiden Lars-Woodbey has provided an immediate impact both in terms of leadership and on-field play in the BC secondary … Boston College returns to camp for a lighter day of work on Sunday before revving things back up Monday when shoulder pads come on for the first time … the Eagles are next scheduled to meet the media post-practice on Monday.