[Ed. note -- Front Page'd]
I think the majority of BC fans are aware that Montel Harris -- one of the greatest backs in Boston College history -- is very close to breaking Ted Brown's 33 year old ACC rushing record. Montel only needs 1,003 yards to be the conference's all time leader. Considering Harris rushed for over 1,200 yards last year, even while missing a couple games with a knee injury, most eagles fans are fairly confident that he will pass Brown. However, as much as I want to see Harris break the barrier, I'm going to give 5 reasons that he will fail to reach his goal this season.
1. The Knee Injury
Reason one is Montel's lingering knee injury. Last november, Montel tore his left meniscus and underwent surgery. Although BC maintains that he has fully healed, I am still concerned, especially when Harris is a tough, hard-nosed running back that will be getting hit every down. The fact that Montel was taken out of the spring game after only one carry adds to my worry. Now, the knee could be perfectly fine, but if it's not, Montel's chances of breaking this record go down significantly.
2. Andre Williams
Last year, Montel Harris was a workhorse. He would get the ball over and over, at times never seemingly to catch a breather. Montel's season high was 37 carries against Clemson, followed up by 36 against Wake Forest the next week. Part of this is due to the fact that other running backs were simply not used. Backup running back Andre Williams had 34 carries in games where Montel played. He was non-existent. However, once Montel was injured, Wiliams exploded for 185 yards against Syracuse, proving that he is also a talented back. Now that Williams isn't a total question mark, you would think that the staff will use him more frequently next year. This should diminish Montel's carries and thus his yards.
3. Opposing Defenses
This one is pretty simple. Montel has torched ACC defenses for the past three years, but he has somehow always been under the radar to non-BC fans. Until now. Media outlets and pundits alike are proclaiming that Montel will lead the league in rushing this season. He was named the leagues preseason offensive player of the year. With all the expectations, teams will be planning their game plans around Harris. I think they will move more defenders to stop the run, reducing his yards.
4. New Offense
With Gary Tranquill's old, conservative gameplan, Montel was guarenteed plenty of carries every game. Add in the fact that our passing attack was completely inept the past couple years, and it makes sense that Harris gained so many yards on the ground.This season, with new coach Kevin Rodgers opening up the playbook and Chase Rettig hopefully maturing, one could assume we will be less reliant on the rush meaning that Harris will once again gain fewer yards.
5. The Schedule
In case you weren't aware, the Eagles have a ridiculously hard schedule this year. In fact, Phil Steele ranks ours as sixth toughest in the nation. We could quite possibly implode in our last seven games, playing Clemson, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Florida State, N.C. State, Notre Dame and Miami. Needless to say I am very worried about the second half of the season. However, in relation to Montel, there aren't going to be many defenses that he can tear apart like in years past (Weber State., Kent State., Northeastern, etc.) Each game is going to be a grind, and in some contests he could be completely shut down making me nervous that he wont consistently put up good rushing numbers.
In conclusion, Montel Harris becoming the ACC's all time rushing king would be a historic achievement. While I am certainly rooting for him, the five factors above should convince BC fans to not take this accomplishment for granted.
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