NEWTON, Mass. -- If there was one thing that gave Boston College coach Steve Addazio agita in the run-up to the 2013 season, it was the lack of depth at key positions.
Though BC has some veteran players on its roster, including at the skill positions, there’s just not much experienced depth behind those veterans.
So when senior tailback Andre Williams had to leave the Eagles’ season-opening 24-14 win against Villanova in the third quarter with a hamstring injury, the alarm bells were ringing pretty loudly.
“I don’t have an all-the-way update, other than to say that I think Andre just got a little bit of a hamstring strain,” Addazio said in his postgame news conference. “Is it dehydration? Is it ... ? I don’t know that yet. We wanted to be real careful there. We didn’t want to make that situation worse.”
Before he left the game, Williams had carried 23 times for 114 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown to put Boston College ahead 21-14 in the third quarter. The Eagles wouldn’t trail again.
“We felt like, let’s see if we can hang in there,” Addazio said. “We played Tyler Rouse in there, the freshman. I think he’s gonna be a heck of a player. ... That’s just one more little bit of odds, you know? You’re trying to close a game out right now and now you’ve got a true freshman handling the ball, right? Nothing’s easy.
“But you know what, he came out of that thing and that situation, he’ll really grow from that now. He’s got real innate toughness and he’s got speed.”
Rouse carried the ball eight times for 14 yards, while Dudeck had four carries for 5 yards.
With Wake Forest coming to Chestnut Hill for a Week 2 ACC matchup on Friday night, the Eagles may have to rely on Dudeck, Rouse and fellow true freshman Myles Willis if Williams isn’t ready to go.
“That’s just the way it’s gonna be,” Addazio said. “Hopefully Andre will be fine and we’ll roll.”
Amidon making plays
After the year he had in 2012, BC fans shouldn’t be surprised by anything Alex Amidon does anymore.
And aside from an unusual fumble that stunted one BC drive, nothing the Greenfield, Mass., native did on Saturday qualifies as a shock.
The senior wideout picked up where he left off, catching a career-high 13 passes for 146 yards and a TD on Saturday. It’s the eighth career game with 100-plus yards receiving for Amidon, tying Brian Brennan and Rich Gunnell for most in BC history.
His 49-yard TD haul from QB Chase Rettig turned the momentum in the game, as the speedy Amidon got behind the Nova defense and ran free down the right hash marks to bring BC back even on the opening drive of the second half.
“You’ve gotta have your big-time players, they’ve gotta make plays,” Addazio said. “For us to be successful, Nate Freese has gotta be the kicker he was today, Alex Amidon has gotta be the pass-catcher -- unfortunately we put that one on the ground there -- and Chase has gotta make his plays. Those guys did a pretty good job with that.
“Our guys have to make their plays. We don’t have an abundance of playmakers, so the ones we have have gotta make their plays.”
With the Wildcats attempting to stop the run by stacking the box, perhaps the Eagles’ best playmaker often found himself in one-on-one coverage.
“I wasn’t surprised at all,” Amidon said. “We go into this big personnel, and they stack the box and it was just one-on-one with me and the guy outside. We kind of anticipated that happening, so I wasn’t surprised.”
His quarterback was, though.
“I was definitely surprised that they had single coverage,” Rettig said. “On film they played a lot of man coverage, sometimes press, sometimes off. So that was part of our game plan, that we would go in and when they would clog the box up with eight or nine guys, we’d be able to hopefully have that guy eight or nine yards off him, just quick throw to Alex and pick up six or seven yards.
“And it has a chance to be a big play if he breaks one tackle.”
For the first time in 47 years, the Eagles will have an actual eagle at their games this season, through a partnership with Zoo New England. The 9-year-old male eagle was on the field for the national anthem Saturday, tethered to his handler’s arm (which was in a protective sleeve). BC is holding a social media contest to choose a name for the bird.
The Eagles held a similar contest for the last live eagle to be at BC athletic events, with students selecting the name “Margo” -- a combination of the school’s colors, maroon and gold.
Bringing back the live eagle mascot is just one of a handful of changes to the game-day experience in Chestnut Hill this season, along with new tailgating options, a new hospitality tent outside Alumni Stadium and a new route for the team’s traditional “Eagle Walk,” which now starts at Gasson Hall in BC’s Middle Campus, comes down the stairs adjacent to Conte Forum and then winds its way along Campanella Way to Alumni’s Gate E.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.