Wide receiver is not a glory position at Boston College. Never has been.
But could it be?
That’s up to the Eagles’ wideouts themselves. If they can prove they deserve to get the ball more, it seems new offensive coordinator Doug Martin is willing to give it to them.
“I said in the beginning of camp we had some real potential there,” coach Frank Spaziani said in his Sunday conference call. “Better than we’ve had here, really. We’re starting to see some of those guys grow.”
Alex Amidon (16 catches for 248 yards and a TD through the first two games), Johnathan Coleman (5 for 64 and a TD) and Spiffy Evans (6 for 64 and a TD) are stepping up after injuries sidelined expected top options Bobby Swigert and Chris Pantale.
In the first two weeks, quarterback Chase Rettig has almost half the total passing touchdowns he had last season (five through two games, 12 in all of ’11). He’s hit five different receivers for scores, including the three aforementioned plus running back Tahj Kimble and H-back Jake Sinkovec.
Rettig’s 660 yards passing ranks sixth in the country, his completions (48) are tied for 18th and his attempts (83) are tied for 12th.
Clearly, the Eagles are going to throw the ball. And while the lofty rankings Rettig is currently occupying may be a case of statistics misrepresenting the facts -- the Eagles were forced to throw 51 times in the opener against Miami because they trailed for much of the game; they threw a more normal amount against Maine, with 33 attempts, closer to their average of 27 attempts a game last season -- there’s no denying that BC will be more dangerous if the offense can spread the opposing defense out.
Before getting hurt in the opener, Colin Larmond Jr. talked excitedly about the potential he saw at his position. Coleman, he said, could play Division I basketball anywhere in the country. Amidon never gets tired and is as dedicated as anyone.
How about that guy Spiffy? (Evans, who told reporters after the game Saturday that he got his nickname in part because of his massive sneaker collection, goes by @spiffy_thatsme7 on Twitter.)
The 6-foot, 184-pound wideout from Hollywood, Fla., had his first two career catches against the Hurricanes, but gained just 11 yards on the grabs. He was the receiver who got stood up at the goal line late in the fourth against Miami, setting up Rettig’s unsuccessful QB keeper on the next play.
But against the Black Bears, Evans wouldn’t be kept out of the end zone. He scored his first career touchdown on a 7-yard pass from Rettig in the second quarter, and in the third quarter returned a punt 82 yards for another touchdown.
It was BC’s first punt return TD since Rich Gunnell (now a graduate assistant for the Eagles) had one against Northeastern in 2009, and it showed just how explosive Spiffy can be.
Of course, the FCS Black Bears are a long way from, say, the Clemson Tigers. But the BC wideouts’ performances so far this season show that there is at least potential there for big-play ability, which isn’t something the Eagles have always had.
Just how stiff a test Northwestern’s secondary will be remains to be seen. The Wildcats lost three starters to graduation after last season and allowed 470 yards through the air in their opener against Syracuse, but just 217 to Vanderbilt in their second game.
And while it remains to be seen if the Eagles’ wideouts can ace the next test and help the team to win No. 2, Spaziani is high on the collection of players he has at the position.
“I think the future is bright over there,” he said.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.