July 10, 2012
Junior wide receiver Bobby Swigert has led the football team in receptions in each of the past two seasons. As a sophomore in 2011, he caught 44 passes for 470 yards and three touchdowns. As a true freshman, Swigert registered 36 receptions for 494 yards and four touchdowns. Additionally, he became the first freshman to record 100 (or more) receiving yards in a game when he caught seven passes for a career-high 137 yards against Notre Dame. An economics major who earned All-ACC Academic team honors last season, Swigert hails from Louisville, Ohio. BC Athletics sat down with Swigert as he prepares to enter his third preseason training camp with the Eagles.
How are the team's summer workouts (i.e. seven-on-seven drills) going?
Summer workouts are good; definitely very intense in the weight room and outside we're starting to get more and more conditioned every day. Seven-on-seven has been taken to a new level this year, especially on the offensive side of the ball. We've been working on our tempo a lot more and just a lot of little details that we've been working on outside that I think are going to help us when September 1st comes along. So, hopefully we can keep up that intensity outside. We compete every day with the defense- everything's a competition. We even started giving out points in a point system for certain things. The new freshmen just got here for seven-on-seven; a couple of those guys look pretty good. They're getting worked in, thrown in the fire right now, so we'll see how they can react. I think it has definitely been a good experience so far.
You're preparing for your third preseason training camp at Boston College that is coming up in August. What are you working on improving/fine-tuning in preparation for this season?
The main thing, for me right now, since I didn't play spring ball because I was injured, is just learning the offense. That's a huge part of my game - knowing the offense as well as the quarterbacks do and knowing what everybody does on every single play because I think that helps me out a lot. Especially being in the slot, when I know what type of coverage it is. There are a lot of option routes that I have to do, so if I understand the entire offense I think I become a better receiver. Also this offseason I've been working a lot on my speed, getting out of my breaks faster. Stuff like that is what I want to fine tune so I can keep getting better every year.
Tell us a little about the receiving corps ... what can we expect from this group of receivers as a whole?
I think you can expect big things. We have everybody back except for Ifeanyi [Momah], so we have a lot of experience; we're no longer a bunch of freshmen.. We're juniors and seniors and I think that really shows with our leadership. Colin Larmond has really stepped up as being a real vocal leader for our receiving corps and for our entire offense. Alex Amidon looks great. He works his tail off every single day. Spiffy Evans has a lot of potential as well. I think he can be a real key to our offense this year. Jonathan Coleman and Donte Elliot are both very talented. They're definitely going to get some reps this year, as well. I think we look good. We're still trying to mesh more and more with the new offense and with Chase [Rettig] being at quarterback, but I think that seven-on-sevens have been a lot better than in previous years.
Your position coach at wide receiver is Aaron Smith. Tell us a little about him and his coaching style.
He's just a great, all-around guy. You can sense that as soon as you meet him for the first time. He really cares about us. He goes out of his way to not just talk about football, but to talk about life and what we're doing outside of football - school, our family, everything. I'm actually going to his house Friday for a barbeque, so that's kind of cool. He's a great coach. You can tell he knows what he's talking about. He can explain everything in a way that everybody understands. He's not going to change his mind about certain things - he knows what he wants and he's going to keep pushing you until you can do that. He understands the offense. The biggest thing that he's brought during spring ball was improving us on blocking. He harps on blocking all the time and I think our receivers did 10 times better at blocking during the spring than in previous years.
Tell us a little bit about Chase Rettig...what do you observe of him in the huddle?
He's definitely becoming more comfortable being a leader in our offense. He was kind of thrown in there as a young player and didn't know if he should speak up in certain situations or be stern with people who are older than him. Now that he's a junior he's our leader on offense and kind of has to be. He understands that and you can sense it more in the huddle this year in the way he presents the plays - he knows exactly what he's doing. In seven-on-seven he doesn't even have to look at the script anymore because he knows the plays off the top of his head. I think this offense plays to his abilities very well because it's not as complicated as our previous offenses when we were running NFL style stuff. This is a lot more of simple concepts with a bunch of different formations, so we can get up to the ball and play fast and Chase knows what he's looking for in terms of the coverage.
You're a favorite target of Chase Rettig's, having led the team in receptions in each of your first two years at BC. How would you describe your relationship with Chase both on and off the field?
It's awesome. He's one of my better friends. On the field, he's always looking for me and he knows I'll get open if I tell him I'll be open. He trusts me on the field. We hang out off the field a lot. We actually just went golfing together the other day. He's a great guy and we definitely have developed a strong chemistry through these two years. You can see that, when he's scrambling or when he's in a tough situation, I'm usually the guy who gets open - I don't really know how to explain that, but it usually works out like that. Hopefully we can continue to improve our chemistry and get better so we can win some ball games this year.
What can we expect from the offense under new coordinator Doug Martin this season?
You can expect a lot more explosive plays down field. He's definitely brought that and you can see it in spring ball. You can expect a higher tempo offense - getting up to the line, running plays, not waiting for the defense to set up so we can get a look at what their coverage is. It's more getting up to the line and then `Hey, stop this if you can. If you're not ready then you're not going to stop it.' That's going to help us out a lot. And in previous years everybody would walk up to the line and we would use up the entire play clock, but this year it's more us dictating what the defense is going to do, so you can expect a lot more explosive plays and a lot more balance. I think we're going to throw the ball more in tough situations - we're going to trust the pass more.
Have there been any pleasant surprises this offseason? Is there a player that turns heads in workouts or a player that's changed positions that jumps out at you?
I would say Nick Clancy. We have a lot of linebackers right now and he came back for his fifth year. He's a very, very talented kid and it just hasn't really worked out for him in the past, in terms of starting with Luke [Kuechly] and everybody else being here. I think he's come on this year, in his fifth year, and he realizes he's going to play. He definitely has the mindset right now to start and play a lot for us. In the weight room he's extremely intense - I've never seen him take any reps off. He's always going 100 percent. He's also definitely been a leader, vocally. When we're breaking it down after a workout you can tell he has a completely different mindset this year and I think people feed off that.
Year in and year out, what is the most difficult part of the offseason?
I would say that it is definitely camp. Summer workouts are tough - you wake up, workout and then you have class at night - but as soon as camp starts it's football from six in the morning until nine at night every day. It's a day-in and day-out grind that I think can get to you, but it's necessary so you learn everything within a month. It's very intense and it's definitely difficult on you mentally just because it's so draining. You know exactly what you're doing the next day. You feel like you don't sleep at night, you know, you go to bed and then do the exact same thing the next day. But we become closer as a team because you make it through that and I think the tougher it is, the better because once you do make it through you come out better on the other side. I think this camp is definitely going to be different with all the new coaches, but everybody definitely has the right mindset of us doing whatever it takes to get that W on September 1.
What part of this year's team do you think fans will be most surprised with?
I think our defensive line, actually. People think we have a young defensive line right now and that we're not going to get as much penetration as we have in the past - obviously we've stopped the run on everybody in the past. So, it's a cause for concern right now, but people will definitely be pleasantly surprised with Kaleb Ramsey. He's been productive in the past, but he's always been prone to injury. He's an absolute animal on and off the field; when he's in the weight room it's unbelievable to watch him work out. I don't think there's anybody in the country who can block the kid if he's one-on-one with them. Along with Kaleb, a lot of the young guys on the outside have improved at getting up the field and knowing their jobs. It's not a complicated defense that we run, but you have to do certain jobs that can be tough in certain situations. I think the more repetitions that these kids get, the better they're going to get. And the more they understand what our defensive philosophy is, I think the more we'll keep getting better. We're going to be BC, though - we're going to stop the run this year as well as we have in the past and we're going to cover the other team up on the back end as well.
As you aim to build on last season, particularly some of success the team had down the stretch, what sticks with you the most? What are some team goals in 2012?
Team goals are the same as always - we want the ACC Championship title and we want to go to the Orange Bowl. This hasn't been typical BC football. Going 4-8 is not typical BC football and everybody on the team realizes that. We were in pretty much every game last year and we had a lot of little mistakes that we shot ourselves in the foot with early in games. Late in games we just couldn't put it together. I don't know what that was, if it was certain things we were or weren't doing off the field or on the field. I'm not sure. I think we have it figured out, so far, this year. Everybody definitely has a different mindset in the locker room. Everybody is thinking, `Ok, there is no way 4-8 is happening again.' It just cannot happen. We won't let it happen. I definitely think that we're going to turn it around this year and everybody has their sights set on September 1. We've been working our tails off all summer long and I think things will continue to get better and turn around that 4-8 this year.
- Interview conducted by Brad Fadem, Media Relations Assistant