Boston College opened spring practice this week without star linebacker Connor Strachan, who is rehabbing a shoulder injury. He’s still a big part of the team this spring, however, coaching up a young group of linebackers on a defense that should again be among the ACC’s best. We talked with Strachan about his role.
BC finished off last season with three straight wins, including in the bowl game. How much different has that made this spring compared to last year, when you were coming off a very down year?
Connor Strachan: Yeah, last year, going into last spring, it was disappointing how our season had gone, and it was more of a put your head down and grind and make sure there’s nothing like that again. This year, it’s fun. We had a great end of the season, a great bowl game, and guys are just looking to improve. There’s a lot we ended up accomplishing, and we just want to build on it.
Was it something that just clicked down the stretch last year or was it just a matter of younger guys gaining some footing?
CS: It was a little of everything. A lot of guys hadn’t played before, and as a team really, we didn’t know how to win. We had to get thrown in the fire and battle it out. The coaches have always done a great job, but it was a matter of us putting it together and really learning how to win at those crucial moments. In  there were a lot of games where we were three points from winning. It wasn’t that we weren’t talented enough or good enough -- it was finding that slight edge to pull off the victory.
It’s been a few years of Boston College having a great defense but an offense that has really struggled. Was it tough to go through that and what’s it like seeing the offense take some steps forward?
CS: I wouldn’t say it would discourage us. We don’t want to let up any points. If we get three points, we should win a game. That’s the mentality we strive to have. I know that’s easier said than done. But this past year, when our offense would start throwing some numbers up, of course, it’s more of a team thing. The defense is fired up. We get a turnover, and they come flying out on the field. It’s a momentum boost for sure.
What’s your status for the spring?
CS: I’m pretty limited. I’m rehabbing a shoulder deal I had this past season and just training hard.
As a senior, can there be some upside to taking that bigger-picture view in the spring as opposed to being on the field and worrying about each individual snap?
CS: Yeah, it’s tough not to be really full-go with the guys. I did a lot of winter workout stuff, but now that practice has started, it’s going to be a little tough. But I’m not removed. It’s good to be able to coach up the younger guys. We have a lot of young linebackers that are great kids. Max [Richardson] and John Lamot, they’re going to be great linebackers, and it’s fun to be able to coach them up and be 100 percent healthy going into the fall.
I’ve been really fortunate in my time here with Josh Keyes to Steve Daniels and Matt to have some unbelievable linebackers to lead the way. So definitely trying to follow in their footsteps and also get the young guys right so when I take off after this season, it’s important to me to make sure there’s no drop in the play. It’s been set for me, so I need to pass it on to the young guys, too.