July 27, 2005
Junior offensive guard Josh Beekman and each of last season's other four offensive line starters return for the Eagles' inaugural ACC campaign. The 6-2, 320-pound junior earned second-team All-America honors by collegefootballnews.com earlier this week.
Q: What's the level of anticipation and excitement for you and for your team coming off a fifth-consecutive bowl win and Boston College's inaugural season in the ACC?
A: The first thing I look forward to is going to BYU to see Paul Peterson's stomping grounds out there. I know he talks about it a lot, and he really loves it out there. I wish he could be with us, but I know he is going to be at the game, not in uniform but in spirit. I look forward, because it is a new conference. It's like having a new car. You want to run with it, and you want to roll with it. But you also know that you have to show that you are worthy of it. That's what the team is mostly concerned with illustrating. We are worthy of it and hopefully, down the road, we can go to another bowl.
Q: With all five returning starters on the offensive line having played in a collective 87 games, what expectations do you have for this year in the trench?
A: Last year we trained and studied a lot, each of us individually, to know what the other team could throw at us. I think that this season, it's not so much what the other team will throw at us, but how we will react to that. For example, if I take a certain step, hopefully [offensive lineman] Gosder Cherilus will know exactly what I'm going to do and know exactly what I'm thinking. If there is a breakdown, we don't have to really talk about it. We can look at each other and say two or three words to adjust to whatever it is we need to do.
Q: Looking at the running back situation, what strikes you the most about each of the Eagles' three sophomore backs, all of which registered a 100-yard rushing performance last season?
A: Every one of them was a freshman, and I think they were a little timid because they had never had that game-time experience. They were never really eased into the position. They were individually thrown into that starting role here and there. The running backs looked at us to open those holes, but our job is to make sure they get those first five yards, then they take it from there. Andre [Callender] knows how to cut. He sees things a little differently from L.V. [Whitworth] or A.J. [Brooks]. Maybe before, he wasn't sure if the holes were going to be there. But now they know where the hole will be or what the timing will be. It really is a rhythm thing. A.J. is more of a slasher running back. L.V. can power somebody over if he needs to. Andre is just a crafty running back who can dodge people at random. With that core of running backs, we kept defenses off-balance because you had that running back who was fresh in every series. If you want to rotate on every play, they can burst out of the gate at 100 percent. As linemen, that's phenomenal because the better that they do, the better we look. I just appreciate that. They now have a year under their belts, and I can just see phenomenal things for all three of them.
Q: With two full seasons under your belt, what would you like to improve most about your game (goals, hopes, etc.)?
A: I'd like to improve that anticipation to read defenses. Out there on the field, you can't think about things. It has to be reactionary. I think that I reacted very well last year, but I know that I have to elevate my game in all stances - pass, pro and run blocking. I have to make sure to finish guys off. I know that Coach Horton is going to work us out. I think that it's even off the field where I have to watch more tape. Being an upperclassman, I have to know what to look for and what to read from a defense. Overall, your game has to improve. Stretching, getting more flexible, getting in better positions and not falling when you've got a linebacker right there are all very important.
Q: Over the last five seasons, the Eagles have been quite impressive when leading at halftime (32-2) and when leading by 10 or more after the first half (23-0). Talk about the team's mentality to get a lead early and stay ahead.
A: I don't think it's a mentality - it's just a part of the game. Just because you did something well in the first half doesn't mean that things can't change drastically in the second half. Coach O'Brien brings that military background where you can't stop until the whistle is blown. He knows a lot of football, and he has seen a lot of football. What he instills in us is that it is two halves and not one. If we are up at halftime, that's just a surge that we want to keep it going and keep it moving. If we are down, we want to have that surge where we can rally and pick it up. When we are leading at the half, I don't think it's something that we look at like, `Well, the game is over.' To me, the game is just beginning.
Q: When you first saw the 2005 schedule, which teams or opposing players caught your attention as someone you can't wait to face?
A: For me, learning from this past season, I choose a very Patriots-like approach to the season. I want to look only at that first game. BYU is our first game. For me, that's the only game I'm worried about right now. Each week, I'm sure I'll get excited when that different team comes. I really don't want to look too far ahead into the future because you have to know what happened today in order to prepare for tomorrow.
Q: As the Eagles' offensive line continues to turn heads and get increased exposure, do you pay attention to the rankings, media and other critics?
A: For the o-line, we'll know what is being spoken of us and where guys are at. It doesn't go to anyone's head. With the BC o-line, you can't let anybody get a big head. We stay very humble because one day the media could love us, and the next day they could hate us. So, the way our o-line looks at it is just businesslike. At the end of the season, you can look back and judge if you had a good season. That's all that really matters.
Q: What does this team need to accomplish before it hits the road the first week of September to open the season at BYU?
A: I think as a unit we have to know that this is a different team from last season. We lost a lot of key guys in key spots. Some guys are coming back in key spots, other guys who redshirted are coming back, guys that never played will be stepping up and guys that played some time are now going to play regularly. It's just getting that continuity with each other where you can sense someone's level of play. You have to be able to react to a situation that is going to happen. By working hard with each other in practice, we are going to learn how to play as a unit. Coach O'Brien always says that we have to put money in the bank at all times. That slogan means that what you do now will reflect in the season. We just have to show that we can work through the heat and play in any condition and will be ready and eager to get up for camp. Everybody is going to come in healthy and slug it out for spots. We are all going to push each other to go at 100 percent.
Q: You've now had more than four months in the new Yawkey Athletics Center. What are your thoughts?
A: We are very blessed. We are very thankful for our fan base, especially for the Yawkey family and others that contributed to the new building. It's a sign of change for the upcoming season. It's in with the new and out with the old. With myself, I'm still a little hesitant with that change in locker room and change in location. My years began in Conte Forum and I was very thankful for having Conte Forum. As we all know, in time all things change. The team has a great locker room and state-of-the-art facilities now. We just hope that we can prove to be worthy of that new building.
Q: Talk about what you've been doing on campus this summer. Being an orientation leader for incoming freshmen, what has it been like to see where you were just three years ago?
A: Being an orientation leader has really given me a big chance to reflect. I remember coming in my first summer. I had a graduation party on a Friday, the actual graduation ceremony on a Saturday, followed by my first day of orientation the next Sunday at BC. Looking back, I remember reflecting on how I was excited and thought I knew BC. When I look back now and tell these kids about the new experiences and challenges that they are going to have, I realize how young and inexperienced I was. It has given me a new perspective of the school and how the administration works to try to build up the school.
Q: What preparations have you made this summer to stay in shape and train for the upcoming season?
A: This summer, because I am an orientation leader, I've watched what I've eaten. I knew I had to stretch more. Because of my schedule with the job for the school, I've had to readjust my lifting and learning schedule. I've had to pick up the days that I would usually have off. I had to swap days off from football with my days of working for the school [as an orientation leader]. I also had to wake up earlier than expected, which at first was difficult because I wasn't in that routine. But once I adjusted and saw those kids, I got in the flow and got in the routine of it. I just appreciate that I'm able to help incoming kids. It's made my truly appreciate how much football is a blessing. It's been great to get to know the incoming freshmen and help them pick their classes and just chat with them on a more private note when they had questions.
The Boston College football team kicks off the 2005 season on BYU on Saturday, Sept. 3 (ABC, 3:30 p.m.).
- interview conducted by senior Alex Timiraos