Three things we learned in the spring about the Boston College Eagles:
1. Tyler Murphy is the starting QB. Surprised? Well, you shouldn't be. The Florida transfer, who was recruited to Gainesville by Steve Addazio when the coach was an assistant there, always seemed like the front-runner to win the No. 1 job, and the second-year BC head coach raved about Murphy's poise and pocket presence throughout the spring. His SEC experience should prove beneficial for the Eagles.
2. More dynamic offense on the way. Replacing Andre Williams will definitely be tough for one man to do. But Addazio is confident that the rushing attack as a whole could be very productive, as having a quarterback such as Murphy will help stretch the field and give defenses more to look out for from the backfield. Running backs Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse had strong springs as well.
3. Secondary makes some strides. BC took several hits among its front seven, but Addazio is confident that the defensive backs are slowly but surely on their way to leading this defense. While the pass defense struggled last season, ranking last in the ACC, the secondary brings back all of its starters from 2013, led by Manuel Asprilla.
Three questions for the fall:
1. Who steps up at linebacker? Stalwarts Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto leave behind a massive hole. Mike Strizak and Sean Duggan bring some experience, and the staff liked what Josh Keyes brought to the table this spring. But will it all be enough to replace the combined 220 tackles that Pierre-Louis and Divitto made last year?
2. Where are the pass-catchers? BC's leading returning receiver is a running back, as David Dudeck caught 10 passes last season for 84 yards and a touchdown. The passing game was overly reliant on Alex Amidon last season, and the Eagles return just two receivers who made catches in 2013: Dan Crimmins and Harrison Jackson, who totaled 15 grabs for 107 yards and a touchdown last season.
3. Are there enough proven bodies on the roster? Addazio has said he loves the collective attitude, but BC said goodbye to a deep and talented senior class last year and will still be roughly six scholarship players short of the max. Summer enrollees might have to take on bigger roles than the staff would probably prefer.
One way-too-early prediction:
BC's progress will not be reflected in its record in 2014. That might be a tough reality for a program that absolutely shattered expectations in Addazio's first year, and he certainly has the Eagles ahead of schedule, but BC probably loses too much veteran production on both sides of the ball to win eight or more games in 2014.