With the NFL Combine starting today, no time like the present to sit down and talk with one of the two BC players participating in the event. We were privileged to have the opportunity to speak with Boston College linebacker Mike McLaughlin and get his take on his BC career and his future NFL career.
This is part one of a two-part interview. Be sure to check back tomorrow for part 2.
BC Interruption: Over your Boston College career, you’ve had the unique opportunity to play for three different head coaches. What did you learn from each of them?
Mike McLaughlin: They certainly brought different things to the table, that’s for sure. Coach O’Brien and Coach Spaziani both bring a real straight-forward and blue-collar mentality. You learn how to work under those conditions as far as the all-day regiment. You know exactly what’s going on all the time. Be on time, stuff like that. Just simple things you learn that really will help you later on in life. Help out in the classroom and all over campus with those two guys especially. They really taught you that.
With Coach Jagodzinski, I think just energy. He was great. I liked playing for all three of them but with Coach Jagodzinski, it was his energy and just how he got you ready for a football game week in and week out. You could say he had a little more fun. He brought a little different aspect to the table, a little more fun and a little more energy. But all three were great to play for.
BCI: You’ve had to overcome quite a bit of adversity in your career, including coming back from tearing your Achilles in spring ball and missing the first three games of the season. How did you remain focused on returning to the playing field?
MM: I think it’s just simple stuff like running out into Alumni Stadium against Wake Forest. You have that in the back of your head when you are rehabbing. I was carrying sandbags up and down the top sections of Alumni Stadium for rehab while the team is out practicing doing what you’re supposed to be doing in August. Having that motivation of being able to run out with teammates again and play a top ACC opponent and go out and compete. You have to keep that in the back of your head when you’re going through any type of rehab or any type of serious injury like that.
BCI: What about the decision to come back this past season and not apply for a medical redshirt? What went into that decision and who helped you reach that conclusion? Was that outcome ever in doubt?
MM: In my situation, a medical redshirt wasn’t even an option. I couldn’t even apply for it. Of course, as soon as I did it [tore my Achilles], a few weeks after the injury you start thinking about that stuff. My dad and I, and even some coaches, helped me out to look into it. You actually have to have two serious injuries in two separate seasons. So once I heard that, I just had tunnel vision as far as getting back. I knew that I had to come back this year and I was going to make it happen one way or another.
BCI: Can you talk a bit about the honor of serving as captain of the Eagles football team over the last two seasons? What did that mean to you personally?
MM: I’ve said this a few times ... one of the questions that different NFL teams ask you is "What do you think is your biggest accomplishment as a football player?" I don’t even hesitate putting down two-time captain at Boston College. Especially my junior season. To be in the locker room with guys like B.J. Raji, Brian Toal and Ryan Purvis … Ron Brace, all those guys. For them to elect me captain of their team with a senior class like that, it is quite an honor as a football player.
To go out there to the 50-yard line with some of the players that I’ve been lucky enough to play against and play with, for that matter, is quite an honor.
BCI: Reflecting back on your Boston College career, what will you miss most about your time on the Heights?
MM: Aw man. I really think it’s going to be those Saturday afternoons at Alumni. Warming up with team, warming up with the guys, those September afternoons. It really doesn't get much better than that. 60-65 degrees in a packed Alumni for all those great ACC games that we’ve played over the years. You just think about those games against Clemson that went to overtime at night and Virginia Tech, beating them a couple of years at home. It’s really special being a part of that. I don’t think you really realize it until you’re actually done and you’re not going to be doing that anymore. Stuff like that I think is definitely the biggest stuff I’m going to remember.
BCI: What is your favorite BC football moment?
MM: I’d have to say the 2008 season when we beat Maryland at home to clinch the ACC Championship game. I don’t think it gets any better than that. Winning your last game of the season to get a championship and winning at home in front of a great crowd.
BCI: Favorite BC eatery?
MM: That’s a good question. I’ll go with Roggies, my buddy Roggie. I’ll give him a shout. Keep it simple.
BCI: Who was the hardest hitting player you went up against in college?
MM: That’s a good question too. I’m going to have to go with the offensive guard from Virginia Tech, Sergio Render. I played with him in the East-West Shrine Game too. I had some pretty good collisions with him over the years. Counting the ACC Championship games, I must have faced him 4 or 5 times.
BCI: How about most intimidating atmosphere in college?
MM: Most intimidating? I’d probably have to go with Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium. Playing them at night the year we beat them in 2007. That was pretty cool.
BCI: Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium over Death Valley?
MM: Yeah. Those are definitely the two I was thinking in my head. Both are unbelievable stadiums to play at as far as the atmosphere, but just as far as the fans and the difference of the "hate factor" ... I think the Virginia Tech guys, that crowd, has the edge.