Larmond glad to have win, Harris

He had just finished an exemplary performance in his team’s first win of the season. It was the first win he was a part of in more than a year, as he’d missed the entire previous season with a knee injury.

Yet Boston College redshirt junior Colin Larmond Jr. didn’t want to talk about himself.

When the media asked Larmond what it meant to him to play so well in the Eagles' 45-17 win over UMass on Saturday, with six catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns -- one an acrobatic, twisting grab through tight coverage that ended with him falling backward into the end zone -- he spoke first of the team and then of one teammate in particular.

“I’m just happy to win. That was something we were struggling doing. We made it a point of emphasis this week, we were going to work harder and we were going to try to change the outcome to the game,” Larmond said after the game Saturday. “Getting this first win, with a year off, means a lot. I don’t care about the stats [I put up], I’m more excited that we got a win.

“But also my friend Montel was able to come back, so it was good to share a win with him coming back as well.”

The man who wears No. 1 put the man who wears No. 2 first.

Montel Harris, the preseason ACC Player of the Year, didn’t have quite the impact on the Eagles' win that Larmond did. He rushed just nine times for 27 yards, and made one catch for 16 more.

But just having Harris back on the field -- in practice during the week and on Saturday -- gave BC a boost.

“Montel certainly was not in game shape. Rust, I guess is the word. But Montel’s presence just adds a lot,” coach Frank Spaziani said Saturday. “The fact that he was able to be out there in practice and generate what Montel does … You guys don’t get to see him but he’s an enthusiastic, energetic young man and he rubs off on other people.”

Having suffered a torn ACL in training camp in 2009, Larmond knew all about what Harris went through after he suffered his own knee injury late last season. The two are roommates and good friends, and Larmond seconded Spaziani’s motion.

“It was good to see him back,” the wideout said. “It’s always good to have one of your players back, especially a player like Montel. When he’s out for so long and then you see him come back -- his spirits, he’s always hyper. So having him run around, being excited, it means a lot to us.

“Especially to me because he’s my roommate, so it’s good now to have my roommate back out doing what he loves to do, just play football.”

As important as Harris has been for the Eagles in the past three years, Larmond may play just as big a role on this year’s team.

“Colin’s a big league football player,” Spaziani said Saturday. “I don’t know if he’s back to the old Colin yet, but he certainly works hard in practice and he’s productive and we need him to play well, especially with [Ifeanyi Momah] out.

“It was good to see him go up and catch the deep one because that’s what we believe he can do.”

Larmond scored on catches of 36 and 37 yards against UMass.

After the win Saturday, Larmond described how he helped quarterback Chase Rettig recognize the changing schemes UMass was throwing at the Eagles. Larmond said he reminded the sophomore what the defense was likely to do and how to combat it.

It’s that veteran leadership, perhaps even more than the impressive on-field production, that the Eagles may need most if they’re to build off their first win of the season after three losses.

Rettig finished the game 14-for-22 for 196 yards and three touchdowns, and afterward said he didn’t know how well he played and that he needs to be his “own best critic” if he wants to be great.

It will no doubt help Rettig if Larmond and Harris come through the rest of the season injury-free and produce as Spaziani knows they can.

Harris said it felt “great” to be back on the field, and admitted he was worried that this point might not come for him this season.

“It means a lot, seeing my team fall to 0-3 and how it responded so well,” Harris said. “It just meant a lot to me being out there with my teammates again.”

The senior, who needs 98 yards to become BC’s all-time leading rusher, praised his replacements in the season’s first three games. “The running backs as a whole did a great job, [they were] able to make some plays and they’re going to continue to make plays,” he said, singling out Andre Williams and Tahj Kimble. “I can’t do it by myself.”

As good as Harris is when he’s right, he can’t carry the load alone this season. Which isn’t to say there’s no temptation to ask him to.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I wouldn’t have played him more,” Spaziani said. “Actually we might’ve played him a little bit too much in the first half. Montel’s such a durable, great kid, you take him for granted a little bit. So I had to pull him out.”

Harris didn’t play much in the second half, once the Eagles had taken control of the game. But, Spaziani admitted, “We probably would have put him back in there had things gotten a bit testy.”

Wake Forest comes calling in Chestnut Hill next, and the Demon Deacons won’t be handled as easily as the Minutemen were.

But if veterans like Larmond and Harris can continue to produce, both on-field numbers and good vibes on the practice field, this 1-3 team might yet have a shot to turn its season around.