(An outsider's musings on goings on at The Heights, aka Boston College)
The battle still has 3 weeks remaining and Steve Addazio is still saying the competition at quarterback at Boston College is more open than closed.
The Boston College football coach talks about the tangibles of each of the leading candidate, redshirt freshman Anthony Brown and graduate junior Darius Wade. He talks about speed and quickness and arm strength.
For the first time since he arrived at The Heights five seasons ago, Addazio talks about depth, about having quarterbacks in the "pipeline'', which means not only on the roster, but committed to BC for next season. ""We have the numbers,'' says Addazio, "but we better be right on one.''[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
Ah, there is the main challenge for the Eagles this summer. Oh, you will hear chatter about the offensive line and some stars and potential stars on the defensive line, you will hear the praise put on the running backs, led by freshman A.J. Dillon, you will hear about speed at wide receiver. But NO story that develops in the next week is bigger than who emerges as the starting QB at Northern Illinois on Sept. 1.
Brown has been a star in waiting ever since he arrived at The Heights two seasons ago. He sat and watched last season as Addazio flirted with the idea of using the 6-foot-1 inch 210 pound QB in the middle of last season as the Eagles were getting pounded week after week.
""At first it was tough,'' said Brown of the waiting and uncertainty. ""I wanted to play, but the timing wasn't right. I realize that.''
Wade,who made his debut at BC three years ago was sitting and waiting as well--but for different reasons. He played in three games as a freshman, was named the starter after spring practice in 2015 before he suffered a season ending injury three games into the season. He played only sporadically last season as Addazio went to graduate transfer Patrick Towles at QB.
No one won the job during spring practice, so the competition in training camp this summer has been intense. Addazio is fuzzy when he talks about what he is looking for in his QB in terms of skill sets.
But he is emphatic in what he feels is the most important factor. ""Leadership,'' says the coach.""Drive the football team. Drive the team. I mean, the intangible stuff is so important at that position. How you carry yourself, how do your teammates feel you carry yourself? Are they attracted to you in terms of being a team leader? Can you push the team on the field? All those things are really, I think, very, very important.
"When you have the right guy, that's happening. I've never been around a guy that doesn't possess that and really be a great player.''
Brown readily admits he is more of a leader by example, than a guy that will fire up the huddle. And he really hasn't been at The Heights that long, at least in comparison to Wade, who already has his undergraduate degree and still has 2 years of eligibility remaining.
Wade emphasizes his leadership qualities. ""I know all these guys,'' he says. "Blood, sweat, tears, all of that with these guys, so I feel like I'm in a situation where I do have leadership, even though I don't necessarily have the game experience to back it up. Yeah, I feel like in a way I've definitely become more of a leader, and as quarterback, that's what you have to do.''
Which leaves it up to Addazio to make the final decision. Although Northern Illinois is in a down cycle from the team that earned a spot in the Power 5 conference playoffs a few years ago, opening on the road with a pair of QBs with limited experience is a challenge that Addazio would have liked to avoid.
BC must come out of the gates with a rush, since all four of their first five games--at Northern Illinois, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, at Clemson and Central Michigan.--look winnable Of those five games, only Clemson can be regarded as a major upset.
BC hasn't won four of its first five games since 2009. It started 3-1 in 2015, but then lost its final 8 games. Right now, there are nothing but smiles and confident chatter at BC about the upcoming season. If that feeling is going to carry over into the fall, Addazio must make the right choice at QB.[/membership]