April 24, 2008

BC spring football notes

The Spring Game is just a couple of days away and practice is winding down. EA's Eric Hoffses brings you a few football news and notes including who is likely the top candidate to step in for Brady Smith along the defensive line.

Quarterback - As reported by EA last weekend, Chris Johnson didn't suit up for the second scrimmage. It turns out he went home to attend to some personal issues, so no reason to be alarmed by his absence.
Heading into the spring it was thought that the spring game might play a big part in determining who the starting quarterback will be this season. However, at this point Chris Crane has emerged as the clear front runner to take that job. It would take a major turn of events for him not to be the starter heading into the year after the spring he's had.

Meanwhile, Dominique Davis has a solid hold on the backup quarterback spot. Neither Codi Boek, nor Johnson has really challenged Davis for the spot, and both are a distant third and fourth string on the depth chart.

Running Back - Josh Haden continues to impress the coaches, but not just with his skills on the field. In addition, Haden's impressed with his level of maturity for a player his age. He's ahead of the curve in that department.

Next to Jack Bicknell's comments last week, the best compliment I've heard from coaches is Haden is as good as a true freshman could possibly be at this point.
Also, aside from Haden's pure speed, he's been raising some eyebrows with how strong he is for someone his size.

Wide Receiver - It's no secret now that Ifeanyi Momah has emerged as a real weapon at wideout this spring. Coaches are happy that his skills are showing their way into scrimmages and not just practice.
In addition, backups Billy Flutie and Justin Jarvis have stepped their games up to the next level from last year. The staff feels comfortable right now with the level of depth at the position.
Ryan Lindsey is improving, but is still a year away from getting significant playing time.

Offensive Line - There are several players battling injuries on the line right now. Thomas Claiborne and Rich Lapham are fighting through nagging injuries and now Bryan Murphy has joined them with a hand injury.

Looking ahead to Saturday, there could be as few as eight players on the line suiting up. It's almost certain that a few players will have to pull double duty and play for both teams this weekend.

Defensive Line - Obviously the line took a little bit of a hit with the dismissal of Brady Smith yesterday, so there should be a fierce competition for his starting spot. It's a little early to speculate what might happen, as there are several candidates for the job. Don't overlook Jim Ramella being a candidate for the job. He's shown some really good athletic ability this spring.

It appears that it's going to be hard to keep freshman Max Holloway off the field. Holloway has really stuck out in scrimmages, and it seems the biggest thing holding him back from playing more is his size. The freshman hasn't quite developed physically enough to be on the field all the time, but that's to be expected of someone his age.

Linebackers - Mark Herzlich has been battling with some back issues this spring that have limited him in some practices. At this point, those problems are behind him and he's back at full strength.

Secondary - Roderick Rollins and Razzie Smith are still battling for the starting cornerback spot opposite DeLeon Gause. Both players continue to split reps in practice, as the coaches hope for one of these players to emerge.

At safety, the staff has been happy with the improved play of Marty Bowman lately, as he continues to hold the edge on Wes Davis for the starting free safety spot.

Special Teams - The kicking spot is becoming increasingly frustrating. Everyone is waiting for Billy Bennett to step up and prove he's the man for the job, but he hasn't yet.

Steve Aponavicius has had a good week of practice, and now the staff hopes to see those results in the spring game.

There have been some rumblings that if both kickers continue to struggle, then the team will look elsewhere to try and bring in a third kicker to compete. No word yet where that kicker would come from.

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