March 14, 2000
Returning Lettermen (2):
Lettermen Lost (5): Adam Grace, *Chris Hovan, Pat Kneib, *Adam Newman, *Mike Willetts
Notebook: The front seven is arguably the biggest area of concern for
Coach Tom O'Brien and his staff entering spring drills...O'Brien must
replace both his defensive ends and a tackle following the departure of
seniors Chris Hovan (a first-team All-America and All-BIG EAST
selection), Mike Willetts and Adam Newman. Those three accounted for
168 tackles last season.
But two juniors - end Sean Guthrie and tackle Antonio Garay - were
consistent starters along the line and are ready for prime time. Kevin
Crane is another junior who could get a starting nod, the rest of the
line is talented, but extremely young. O'Brien and his staff recruited
to address this area the past two years and could play one or more true
freshmen to shore up this area.
O'Brien says: "Our concern on defense is with the line. We have a
lot of work to do along the defensive line. Any time you lose guys
like Adam Newman, Chris Hovan and Mike Willetts, you have a lot of work
to do. But we look forward to watching Antonio Garay. It's his turn
to step up along the defensive line. He has tremendous physical
ability. If he has the same type of motor and desire to play as Hovan
had, he could be as good.
"It's also Kevin Crane's time to step up and play. He got some
playing time last year in a backup role for us, and made some plays for
us. He's going to have first shot at playing inside. We'll give Keith
Leavitt and Jim Connor first shot to back up on defense. This is
probably a position where some of our incoming freshmen will need to
step up and help us.
"Sean Guthrie is back and played a lot of defensive end last year.
He's similar to Garay in that he has a lot of the physical tools. He
just has to go out and prove that he can do it. This will be a key
spring for him to see if he can step up and be the type of defensive
end we need here. Derric Rossy backed up some last year, and he'll
have the first shot at the other end. He's a guy who came in as a
linebacker, and he's still learning the position. Backing those two
guys up will be Frank Misurelli, who played some as a freshman, and Tom
Martin, who we redshirted. Both of those guys are excellent prospects.
Whether they end up outside or inside, we need to decide, but we think
they're both excellent football players. We look forward to coaching
them this spring to see where they can fit into the mix on the
Returning Lettermen (4):
Lettermen Lost (3): *Frank Chamberlin, John Colontrelle, Joe Mickens
Notebook: The most glaring absence at this position - and perhaps on
the whole team - is that of middle linebacker Frank Chamberlin, the
1999 winner of BC's Scanlan Award (the highest honor on the football
team) and a second-team All-BIG EAST selection. To help fill the void,
O'Brien has moved senior Ryan Burch, who started every game last season
at fullback, to middle linebacker. Burch is big, strong and mature and
has played the position before. O'Brien is looking for a quick
transition there. Beyond Burch's physical skills, O'Brien could get
the type of emotional spark Chamberlin provided.
For the first time in O'Brien's tenure at BC, he could post a
two-deep at linebacker consisting entirely of scholarship players. At
the outside spots, junior Scott Bradley has gained two years of
experience and has been a consistent starter. Talented sophomores
Jerome Ledbetter and Marco Williams, both of whom have started, should
comprise one of the most solid two-deep positions on the team.
The linebacker corps will be adjusting to a new position coach,
Bill McGovern, who joined the Eagles from the University of Pittsburgh
O'Brien says: "We have a lot of guys coming back at linebacker who
have some experience. We should be much better at this position, if we
can find ourselves a middle linebacker to play (replacing graduated
"We have moved Ryan Burch to middle linebacker. It worked before,
when we moved Chamberlin. He was playing linebacker his first year,
and we moved him to fullback because of our needs there. With some of
the depth problems we have at middle linebacker, we want to take a look
at him and give him the opportunity to play there. He will be a
starter on this football team somewhere, be it middle linebacker or
fullback, when we finish spring practice and head into the fall.
"Scott Bradley returns at the field linebacker position. He's
another guy who has played for two years. In some cases, he's been
over his head, but now is his time to step up. He has plenty of
experience, he's been around enough, and now, his third year in the
program, it's time for him to step up and make some plays for us.
He'll be challenged by Steve Martin, who has played some, and Curtis
Bolden. Both have a lot of physical ability, and hopefully they will
push Bradley for that job.
"Andy Romanowsky will be back in the middle, to fight it out with
Burch. He played some last year in a backup role. Then J.D. Schmidt,
a redshirt freshman, will get some work at the middle linebacker spot.
"At the other linebacker spot, Jerome Ledbetter and Marco Williams
are both back, both with experience. They will be fighting it out, and
it should be a great competition there. Josh Ott, a redshirt freshman
who we think will be an excellent player, will work in there or at one
of the other spots. He's a guy we definitely want to get a good look
at in the spring, because he made a lot of good plays as a freshman on
the scout team."
Returning Lettermen (6):
Lettermen Lost: (3) *Pedro Cirino, Kevin Costello, *George White
Notebook: Losing two players like Pedro Cirino and George White would
be cause for concern to any coach. O'Brien and his staff, however,
feel they have the right mix of experienced speed and young talent to
mold a strong secondary unit.
To help fill the void, O'Brien has moved senior RaMon Johnson to
free safety, replacing Cirino, where he will be backed up by some young
talent. Two sophomores who saw significant playing time last season -
Doug Bessette and Ralph Parent - will vie for the strong safety spot.
At corner, O'Brien feels that super-quick junior Jonathan Ordway
has all-star potential. And he is pleased that senior D.J. Sutton, who
was still recovering last season from anterior cruciate ligament
surgery, should be back at full strength this year.
O'Brien says: "We have taken RaMon Johnson and moved him to safety,
since we lost both our safeties. We'll give him the opportunity to
play our free safety spot. We'll look at Jonathan Ordway and D.J.
Sutton as having the first opportunities to play at the corner spots.
Ordway, we think, can be one of the best corners in this conference.
We've told him that in the next two years he could play himself into a
top draft spot. He has excellent speed and good coverability. He came
in as a tailback and bounced around for two years, and is still
learning the position. But now, in his third year, he needs to step
up. Sutton has finally recovered from his knee surgery. Now that he's
totally healthy, hopefully he will get back to the form he showed his
freshman and sophomore years before he got hurt.
"Those guys will be backed up by Willie Poole and Trevor White.
Trevor played as a freshman and will back up the one corner, and Poole,
who we think has good ability, may back up the other. Emmerson
Phillips and K.J. Turkson are also two kids who could get a shot at
"We'll have two redshirt freshmen, Paul Cook and Brian Flores,
right behind Johnson at safety, pushing him for the job. RaMon started
off inside, because of some of the strength we had at corner, but when
D.J. was injured, we had to move him back to corner. But I think that,
with today's offenses the way they are, you need a safety who can be a
cover guy. So, in essence, we may be playing with three corners in the
game. Cook and Flores are both excellent prospects. Hopefully they
will challenge for a job and be part of the two-deep.
"We took both Ralph Parent and Doug Bessette and moved them to the
strong safety position to try to get some competition there. With some
great competition there in spring practice, we think we'll come out
with a starting strong safety after spring."
Returning Lettermen (2):
Lettermen Lost (1): Dave Robbins
Notebook: The big story is that senior quarterback Tim Hasselbeck,
who started 11 games for the Eagles last season and matured into a team
leader by the end of the season, will be sidelined for most (if not
all) of spring practice after undergoing groin/abdominal surgery. As
Hasselbeck watches from the sidelines this spring, sophomore Brian St.
Pierre and redshirt freshman Kevin Kiley will gain experience.
O'Brien says: "Tim Hasselbeck will probably be out most of the
spring, if not all of it. We will need to be very guarded with him,
because of his surgery. This will be a detriment to the offense, but
it will give Brian St. Pierre a great opportunity to play a lot. Kevin
Kiley, who is our redshirt freshman quarterback, will also get lots of
work. Brian will gain the benefits of Tim not being at spring
practice, and will have the opportunity to get a lot of coaching time
Returning Lettermen (2):
Lettermen Lost (1): Carlton Rowe
Notebook: Tom O'Brien always seems to have a talented tailback on the
roster, and this year is no exception. O'Brien, in fact, has much more
than one talented tailback on the roster.
Senior Cedric Washington returns after a brilliant junior season
in which he rushed for more than 1,000 yards and was a first-team
All-BIG EAST selection. Washington is the 10th-leading returning
rusher in the nation. He will, however, get some healthy competition
from sophomore extraordinaire William Green, who concentrated primarily
on kickoff returns and short yardage situations last year but is a
solid number two tailback now with the departure of senior Carlton
Rowe. A third young talent, redshirt freshman Derrick Knight, could
work his way into the mix.
Now that O'Brien has moved Ryan Burch to fullback, and with the
injury to Ryan Utzler, look for a pair talented and highly touted
redshirt freshmen - J.P. Comella and Greg Toal - to battle it out for
O'Brien says: "At running back, we look to have a great competition
between Cedric Washington and William Green. Obviously, Cedric had a
great year last season. The bowl helped William a lot. The practice
in the month of December was of great benefit to him. I look forward to
that competition in the spring and I look forward to Derrick Knight,
one of our redshirt freshmen, to work in at the third tailback spot.
"With the move of Burch to middle linebacker, it looks like we'll
have two redshirt freshmen, J.P. Comella and Greg Toal, who will battle
it out for the fullback spot. Ryan Utzler is going to have shoulder
surgery, and will not participate in spring drills, but he will be back
in the fall. That will give us a good look at those two redshirt
freshmen to see where they would fit in, if Utzler is not able to come
back, or if Burch stays on defense. "
Returning Lettermen (3):
Lettermen Lost (3): *Derrick Crittenden, Steve Dapra, Jason Smith
Notebook: As a group of young talent has gained some maturity,
O'Brien is optimistic about this position. Junior Dedrick Dewalt is
coming off a very strong sophomore year in which he led the team in
every receiving category and hauled in the longest touchdown catch in
BC history - 97 yards from Tim Hasselbeck. He will likely be teamed
with junior DuJuan Daniels, who was moved to wide receiver in last
year's Navy game and responded by snagging a 64-yard pass for a
touchdown on his first play ever at that position.
Sophomore Jamal Burke had an outstanding redshirt freshman year,
playing in all 12 games for the Eagles and displaying flashes of
brilliance (he caught two touchdown passes in BC's win at Notre Dame).
Keith Hemmings also showed great promise before being sidelined for the
last four games of the year with an injury. And the Eagles have an
added bonus - Ryan Read, an outstanding receiver who transferred a year
ago from the U.S. Naval Academy, will be eligible to suit up this
O'Brien says: "We will be much better at this position, in terms of
experience. Finally, we have created some depth. We are no longer
young at that position. Dedrick Dewalt and DuJuan Daniels come back
after having good years for us. That was a good move for us, moving
Daniels to wide receiver. Ryan Read should be a great addition to that
class. We look forward to him becoming part of the drills this spring.
Jamal Burke played extremely well for us as a redshirt freshman last
year. Keith Hemmings played as a true freshman but had a nagging
hamstring injury. Hopefully he'll be 100 percent. With Kenney Gaskins
thrown in, those six kids will fight it out.
"Chris Barnes is still recovering from ACL surgery, so I'm not
sure if we'll get him on the field this spring, but from what we saw
practice-wise last year, he looks like he could come in and help us,
Returning Lettermen (3):
Lettermen Lost (1): *Bryan Arndt, Robert Ellis
Notebook: Graduated senior Bryan Arndt had an outstanding year for
the Eagles and will leave big shoes to fill. O'Brien feels, however,
that seniors Mike Guazzo and Robert Ellis are up for the task, with
junior Josh Cervi also thrown into the mix.
O'Brien says: "We lose Bryan Arndt at this position, which is a big
hole to fill. With Robert Ellis and Mike Guazzo back, they will
certainly battle it out to see who will get the most playing time. We
generally play two tight ends anyway, so those guys will get a lot of
work. It's Cervi's time to step up and make some plays for us. He has
been long-snapping for us, and this will be his third year in the
program, so we look for some action out of him at tight end."
Returning Lettermen (8):
Lettermen Lost (2): *Darnell Alford, *Butch Palaza
Notebook: This is definitely a good news-bad news scenario. The bad
news is that first-team All-BIG EAST tackle Darnell Alford and reliable
snapper Butch Palaza are gone. The good news is that BC also faced a
good news-bad news scenario a year ago, with the departure of Doug
Brzezinski, Dan Collins and Damien Woody, and guys like Paul LaQuerre,
Mike Cook and Paul Zukauskas responded with outstanding years.
With those three seniors forming the nucleus, O'Brien is feeling
good about his offensive line. Junior Marc Colombo also has gained
valuable experience and could be a looming presence along the line.
Center will be the big hole to fill, and O'Brien will definitely
be on the lookout to fill that slot this spring. Junior John
Richardson and sophomores Dan Koppen and Todd McKniff are viable
O'Brien says: "With the return of Paul Zukauskas, Paul LaQuerre and
Michael Cook, we have a good core on the offensive line. We need to
find a center. John Richardson, Dan Koppen and Todd McKniff will have
a chance this spring to compete for the starting center spot.
Richardson and Mark Parenteau, who both played backup roles last year,
are back. Augie Hoffmann is injured right now, so I'm not sure if he
will make it for spring practice. Hopefully he'll be back by the last
week. Frank Wilpert might get some playing time at tackle.
Right now, Marc Colombo will have the first shot at Darnell
Alford's job. Dan Murphy, Leo Bell and Rudy DiPietro will be in the
mix at right tackle."
Returning Lettermen (1):
Lettermen Lost (2): *John Matich, Mike Sutphin
Notebook: BC looks for improvement in this department. Sophomore
punter Kevin McMyler improved throughout the course of his freshman
season. O'Brien feels he could be one of the best punters in the
conference by the end of his career.
Canadian kicker Sandro Sciortino has an extremely strong leg and
could provide a needed boost in the placekicking department, both on
kickoffs and field goals.
O'Brien says: "Kevin McMyler gained valuable experience last year.
He has an excellent leg. I think he will get better and better and
could be the premier punter in this conference in a couple of years.
"Look for Sandro Sciortino to take over the placekicking job. He
has a very strong leg and had good accuracy. He'll get in a lot of
field goal kicking this spring. That's one area where we need to
improve. Our percentage was not very good last year. I know Sandro
will help us in kickoffs, because he has such a strong leg and he'll
put it in the endzone for us."