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Boston College 2000 Football Outlook

Senior Ryan Burch, who started every game at fullback last season, will start at middle linebacker this season to help fill the void of Frank Chamberlin.

Senior Ryan Burch, who started every game at fullback last season, will start at middle linebacker this season to help fill the void of Frank Chamberlin.

June 16, 2000

Defense

Defensive Line

Returning Lettermen (3):

No.PlayerCl.Ht.Wt.
85Antonio GarayJr.6-4286
99*Sean GuthrieJr.6-4248
58Derric RossySo.6-3246

In the Mix:

94Kevin CraneJr.6-4270
72Anthony CrossonFr.6-3270
95Justin HindsFr.6-4265
64Keith LeavittRsf.6-7290
90Tom MartinRsf.6-4260
87Frank MisurelliSo.6-4252

Lettermen Lost (5): Adam Grace, *Chris Hovan, Pat Kneib, *Adam Newman, *Mike Willetts

*1999 Starters

Notebook: The front seven was arguably the biggest area of concern for Coach Tom O'Brien and his staff entering spring drills, and remains so for the fall...O'Brien must replace both his defensive ends and a tackle following the departure of seniors Chris Hovan (a first-round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings), 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. Redshirt freshmen Keith Leavitt and Tom Martin made strides during spring drills - Leavitt registered six tackles in the spring game - and big Frank Misurelli showed promise during his true freshman campaign.

O'Brien says: "This area is still a concern, the area where we're going to need the most work - not only on the defensive line, but also with the linebackers, the front seven. Right now Antonio Garay and Sean Guthrie have to carry the load up front. They're the most experienced players we have right now. Antonio Garay needs a great offseason to lead into what has to be a great season for him up front if we're going to be the type of football team we want to be. Sean Guthrie has improved at the perimeter. He's a much better player than he was a year ago and he has to give us the outside rush capabilities that we need, in helping us get to the quarterback.

"The other two spots are up for grabs. I think Leavitt and Kevin Crane will fight it out for the nose tackle position. That should be a great competition for us in preseason. I think Misurelli and Rossy will fight it out for the other end slot. It looks like we'll take Tom Martin and move him inside, to give him a chance to get in the mix, either at nose or at backup with Garay. From there, the freshmen are going to have to play a role. We're probably going to have to take our best freshman and play him on the outside as a rush guy, to be one of our ends, but it's not out of the picture that one of our young defensive linemen may end up coming through to play for us in the defensive front. It's possible that we could have two true freshmen backing up this year."

Linebackers

Returning Lettermen (4):

No.PlayerCl.Ht.Wt.
54*Scott BradleyJr.6-1222
96*Ryan BurchSr.6-4239
51Jerome LedbetterSo.6-1219
41*Marco WilliamsSo.6-1212

In the Mix:

37Nick BlevinsSo.6-1219
26Curtis BoldenSo.6-1218
55Steve MartinSr.6-2230
45Josh OttRsf.6-2215
52Andy RomanowskyJr.6-2225

Lettermen Lost (3): *Frank Chamberlin, John Colontrelle, Joe Mickens

*1999 Starters

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), a second-team All-BIG EAST selection and a fifth-round draft pick (Tennessee Titans). 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. Redshirt freshman Josh Ott came on strong in spring drills, and, along with talented sophomores Jerome Ledbetter and Marco Williams, both of whom have started, should comprise one of the most solid 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 this spring.

O'Brien says: "We look for a great year out of Scott Bradley. He has two years of experience at strong-side linebacker for us, and he has to play exceptionally well for us. We moved Ryan Burch to middle linebacker, and after spring drills, we're satisfied that he and Andy Romanowsky can do a good job there. I feel that both of them will have to play for us, and play well, to make up for the loss of Frank Chamberlin from a year ago. At weakside linebacker, we were very happy with Josh Ott's play in the spring. He's a real motor guy. He goes all the time, practices extremely hard, and will just continue to get better. Also on the outside, Ledbetter and Williams both lettered a year ago, but both had injury problems in the spring, so they're going to have to come back and play extremely well in preseason in order to win back a spot. The same thing is true for Steve Martin, who spent much of the spring hurt. Those three guys are going to have to get out on the practice field and earn their way back onto the field. We're going to need those guys to play well for us."

Defensive Backfield

Returning Lettermen (6):

No.PlayerCl.Ht.Wt.
18Doug BessetteSo.5-11203
6*RaMon JohnsonSr.5-10186
28*Jonathan OrdwayJr.5-10180
24Ralph ParentSo.6-2205
25D.J. SuttonSr.5-8159
21Trevor WhiteSo.5-8178

In the Mix:

27Paul CookRsf.5-11197
36Brian FloresRsf.5-11195
13Willie PooleRsf.5-11180
89K.J. TurksonSo.6-0201
9Lenny WallsJr.6-4205

Lettermen Lost: (3) *Pedro Cirino, Kevin Costello, *George White

*1999 Starters

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. Redshirt freshman Willie Poole showed real promise in spring drills and came up big in the spring game with five tackles and an interception.

O'Brien says: "We're very happy with Jonathan Ordway. After two years of being at corner, we feel that he has made great strides, having never played defense before. This gave us the opportunity to move RaMon Johnson to safety, which may be a more natural position for him. Ordway and Johnson will have to be the strength of the secondary, one at safety and one at corner. The other corner spot will be open to Sutton, White and Poole. The two freshmen played extremely well in the spring, and I think from those three guys, we'll find another starter to join Ordway, with the other two backing up. As far as the other safety spot is concerned, Bessette and Parent had a great competition in the spring that will carry over into the preseason. Between those two and Lenny Walls, we'll end up with the starter and backups for the safety position. We also had a good look at Paul Cook in the spring - he's another guy who can figure into that safety mix."

Offense

Quarterbacks

Returning Lettermen (2):

No.PlayerCl.Ht.Wt.
7*Tim HasselbeckSr.6-1205
2Brian St. PierreSo.6-3206

In the Mix:

8Eric BoatwrightFr.6-4215
10Kevin KileyRsf.6-3208

Lettermen Lost (1): Dave Robbins

*1999 Starter

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, was sidelined for all of spring practice after undergoing groin/abdominal surgery. As Hasselbeck watched from the sidelines, sophomore Brian St. Pierre and redshirt freshman Kevin Kiley took all the snaps in the spring. St. Pierre threw for 225 yards in the spring game, including a 76-yard bomb to Mike Guazzo, and Kiley threw for 146, including a 52-yarder to Navy transfer Ryan Read. The job, however, seems to be Hasselbeck's to keep.

O'Brien says: "We're very happy with the way Brian St. Pierre performed this spring. The spring before, he did not get enough repetitions to make the progress he needed in order to be the type of player he thinks he should be and we think he should be. He had an excellent spring. Tim has recovered from his surgery and is working full-time now. Tim will need to have a good preseason, but he's our starter. Brian will go into preseason as the backup, and they both will compete - I know Brian will push Tim. The backup will come from either Eric Boatwright or Kevin Kiley. We liked what we saw of Boatwright last year when we had him in camp, and we think he has potential to be an excellent quarterback."

Running Backs

Returning Lettermen (3):

No.PlayerCl.Ht.Wt.
1William GreenSo.6-1216
48Ryan UtzlerJr.6-1236
35*Cedric WashingtonSr.5-10200

In the Mix:

43J.P. ComellaRsf.6-0225
20Derrick KnightRsf.5-9196
16Greg ToalRsf.5-11197
39Matt TowerSo.5-9215

Lettermen Lost (1): Carlton Rowe

*1999 Starter

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. By the end of last season, in fact, Green was showing flashes of the greatness that was expected of him with breakout performances at Notre Dame and against Colorado in the Insight.Com Bowl. Green led all rushers in the spring game (18 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown). 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, look for Ryan Utzler to stake a claim to the starting fullback spot he held two seasons ago, battling it out with talented redshirt freshman J.P. Comella.

O'Brien says: "We were excited about the competition we had at tailback in the spring. Cedric Washington will begin as the starter, but William Green did a good job at pushing Cedric, and they both became better in the process. We have two tailbacks with whom we're very happy and who we feel can win a football game for us. The third back there will come from either Derrick Knight or Greg Toal. Toal was hurt this spring, but Derrick showed some progress.

"At fullback, we'll have a competition in preseason between Utzler and Comella. Ryan sat the spring out with shoulder surgery, but he's back now and ready to go. I think we'll have a good battle there, to see who's going to be the blocking back for those other backs we have. Greg Toal may also see some work at fullback as well as tailback. We have some competition there, and that's always good."

Wide Receivers

Returning Lettermen (3):

No.PlayerCl.Ht.Wt.
84Jamal BurkeSo.6-1201
32 DuJuan DanielsJr.5-11181
11*Dedrick DewaltJr.5-9179

In the Mix:

29 Chris BarnesRsf.6-0203
15Kenney GaskinsJr.5-9172
12Keith HemmingsSo.6-2201
14Ryan ReadJr.5-11185

Lettermen Lost (3): *Derrick Crittenden, Steve Dapra, Jason Smith

*1999 Starters

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. Read snagged a 42-yard catch from Kevin Kiley in the spring game.

O'Brien says: "Wide receiver is another spot where we have created some healthy competition. We have a lot of talent coming back in DuJuan Daniels, Dedrick Dewalt and Jamal Burke. We're a lot more experienced now than we were a year ago. They understand our passing game. We're also very happy with Keith Hemmings, who was a true freshman last year and had an injury but came back and had a strong spring. Ryan Read is now eligible, and he's pushing everybody to get on the field. There are five guys who are competing for playing time. They know that the better they perform in practice, the more playing time they're going to get.

"We're looking at Kenney Gaskins to help us back up, along with Chris Barnes. He had knee surgery his freshman year, but he looked like a tremendous prospect to us early on."

Tight Ends

Returning Lettermen (2):

No.PlayerCl.Ht.Wt.
81Josh CerviJr.6-4232
80Mike GuazzoSr.6-4248

In the Mix:

86David KashettaFr.6-4255

Lettermen Lost (1): *Bryan Arndt, Robert Ellis

*1999 Starter

Notebook: Graduated senior Bryan Arndt had an outstanding year for the Eagles and will leave big shoes to fill. O'Brien feels, however, that senior Mike Guazzo is up for the task, with junior Josh Cervi also thrown into the mix. Senior Robert Ellis decided not to return to the team for the 2000 season.

O'Brien says: "We're happy with the progress Mike Guazzo has made. We're also happy with the progress Sean Ryan has made at tight end. Those two are thrown in with Josh Cervi. Guazzo is slated to start right now, with Ryan and Cervi ready to back up and fight for playing time. We look for the freshman, David Kashetta, to come in and possibly compete for the third tight end spot."

Offensive Line

Returning Lettermen (7):

No.PlayerCl.Ht.Wt.
75Marc ColomboJr.6-8296
65*Michael CookSr.6-5318
77Dan KoppenSo.6-3285
50*Paul LaQuerreSr.6-3290
53Todd McKniffSo.6-5271
62John RichardsonJr.6-4285
66*Paul ZukauskasSr.6-6310

In the Mix:

71Leo BellRsf.6-8281
74Jim ConnorRsf.6-5270
67Rudy DiPietroRsf.6-4324
78Augie HoffmannRsf.6-3303
70Dan MurphySo.6-6289
73Mark ParenteauSo.6-5271
69Frank WilpertRsf.6-5286

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 center 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. Sophomores Dan Murphy and Mark Parenteau provide quality depth. O'Brien has a bevy of talented redshirt freshmen - including Jim Connor, Rudy DiPietro, Augie Hoffmann, Leo Bell and Frank Wilpert - who stand ready to make a statement for the future.

Center will be the big hole to fill. Sophomores Dan Koppen and Todd McKniff came out of spring drills as the one-two punch at that spot, with junior John Richardson also a possibility.

O'Brien says: "We feel good about the offensive line. We're strong in the middle. I think Koppen had an excellent spring. We played him a lot last year as a redshirt freshman, so he has game experience. He's flanked on either side by LaQuerre and Zukauskas, who should be excellent guards for us, excellent players in this conference. Michael Cook is back, playing for us at the left tackle spot. We look for him to have a good year. Marc Colombo did an excellent job in the spring at the right tackle spot. "McKniff and Richardson look to be the main guys backing up Koppen, with one of our redshirt freshman coming in - Parenteau and Hoffmann are leading possibilities. At the tackle spots, Dan Murphy, Leo Bell and Frank Wilpert will be in the mix to provide backup help."

Kicking

Returning Lettermen (1):

No.PlayerCl.Ht.Wt.
47*Kevin McMylerSo.6-1197

In the Mix:

33Sandro SciortinoRsf.5-10200

Lettermen Lost (2): *John Matich, Mike Sutphin

*1999 Starters

Notebook: BC looks for improvement in this department. Sophomore punter Kevin McMyler improved throughout the course of his freshman season. O'Brien feels McMyler could become 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: "I'm really excited with the way Kevin McMyler has progressed. Obviously we were a little nervous starting last year, but his best games were at the end of the year, and he continued to progress through spring practice. I think he could become the top punter in our conference. Sandro Sciortino has a tremendous leg. He just needs to play in some games and gain some experience. We're going to have to do that on the run with him, but he has a great leg, great attitude, great work habits. He will be a great kicker, I'm sure, by the end of the year, and our future looks bright with those two handling the punting and kicking chores for us."

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