BC running backs downplay injuries

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Boston College running back Montel Harris knew it was either now or later.

The ACC’s leading returning rusher could have arthroscopic surgery on his knee this month and be sidelined for the beginning of the season, or he could push through, knowing his knee would never last through November.

“I’m glad I did it because they found out there was more to it than what the MRIs were showing,” said Harris, the ACC’s active leading rusher in yards (3,600) and carries (756).

Harris will miss the season opener against Northwestern, but he said he hopes to be back by Week 2, “especially with how it’s feeling right now.” He said he is optimistic about a speedy return, but he’s not the only running back who’s nursing an injury. Backup Andre Williams sprained his right ankle recently, and has been receiving extra treatment on it. Despite the recent lack of production from the Eagles’ top two rushers, those within the program have dismissed the notion of any serious concerns about the position.

“I’m really not too concerned,” said Williams. “I’ve had a sprained ankle before, it really doesn’t take that long for it to heal.”

Williams said he will play against Northwestern, and the Eagles definitely need him to, especially with Harris sidelined. Williams has already proven himself as a more than capable backup when at Syracuse last season he set a school record for carries with 42 rushes for 185 yards and a touchdown in his first career start. He’s a different back than Harris, but doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as a power back.

“Everyone wants to label me as a power back,” he said. “I want to do a little bit more than that. I want to be able to make a cut. I want to be able to spin and look a little bit shiftier than the rest of the power backs out there.”

Regardless of how he looks doing it, Williams said he wants to rack up 100-yard rushing games on a consistent basis. That could be a tall task once Harris returns to the lineup, but Williams is willing to share the carries.

“Even though it’s a one-back offense, there’s definitely enough room for two backs,” he said. “I think it’s going to make us each more potent because we’re both capable of carrying the ball as many times as necessary, but being able to get out full blow and knowing there’s somebody else going in who can do something good with the ball, too, it gives you confidence.”

Harris said he’s spent a lot of time on the stationary bike, and will start jogging next week.

“With how it’s feeling right now, I can’t see myself missing too many games,” he said. “We’re going to take it a day at a time, day by day, and try to see where we’re at after the Northwestern game.”

His positive energy has rubbed off on his teammates.

“He’s always bouncing around, smiling, even now, when he’s out, he’s coming back in a couple of weeks and he’s adamant about it,” Williams said. “He’s not sad about it at all. You can see his energy level is still up there.”

It’s only a matter of time before BC fans see it back on the field.