2012 is going to be a challenging year for Boston College, there is no question about it. With the loss of Luke Kuechly & Montel Harris, coupled with a challenging schedule, BC needs players to step up in order to keep this season from falling apart. Many fans are questioning the coaching and leadership of this team, which is warranted, but let's not forget that there are dynamic players on this team, that could take that turn from serviceable to superstars this season. BC is going to need to have that happen if they want to go Bowling again. Earlier today, SBNation Miami Blog The Seventh Floor talked about the players the U needs to step up to win.
Here are six players that I believe need to step up in order for this season to be successful for the Boston College Eagles:
1. Chase Rettig- I considered making this a joke post and writing Chase Rettig down for #1-6, but that wouldn't be much of a post, and honestly not all that funny. We all know how important this season is going to be for the junior signal caller. The last two seasons showed a QB that was easily frazzled, and who made some questionable throws in big situations. On the other hand, looking at games like Northwestern and Miami last year, we have also seen a QB that can manage games and be effective. Rettig needs to take that turn this year. BC is not asking for Andrew Luck here, they just need a game manager, who can make the passes he is expected to throw, and not throw INT's. I think Rettig can be the QB given the right coaching, but then again if he falls apart early, Spaz may panic and we could see the last of #11 in the maroon and gold.
2. Kevin Pierre Louis- On the other side of the ball there is a huge hole where Luke Kuechly once stood. One of the linebackers is going to need to step up and take on that role of shut down linebacker, and KPL probably will be the guy. The key for KPL will be his health. He played most of 2011 dinged up, missing 4 games, and as a result his tackle total dropped from 93-74. He is going to need to provide that veteran leadership to the defense, and really start exploding to the ball and be disruptive like Kuechly did in 2011 and 2010 and Herzlich in 2008.
3. Colin Larmond Jr.- With Ifeanyi Momah gone, Larmond has become the default deep threat for Chase Rettig. Last season he led the receivers with a 16.78 yard per catch average, almost six yards more than the next WR, Bobby Swigert. On the other hand, Larmond only caught roughly 3 balls a game, averaging 47 yards in receptions a game. That is just not going to work for a wide receiver who is going to need to stretch the field. Larmond is going to need to fight off more CB's and become more of a factor in the game plan, which in turn should help open up underneath routes to Swigert/Alex Amidon/Chris Pantale.
4. Gerald Levano/Alex Howell- Okay I know picking a punter is going to get a few snickers, but just think how much uglier 2011 would have been if Ryan Quigley wasn't such a solid punter. Last year Quigley only averaged 37 yards a punt, but over and over again we watched him bail out a stagnant BC offense and pinned opponents deep. One of these punters is going to need to do that again. If BC's offense sputters, it's going to need to be the special teams and defense that pick them up, and it starts with the punter.
5. Emmett Cleary: After watching the 2011 season I wanted to put "The Entire Offensive Line" here, but to be fair I just picked Cleary. A senior, and possibly the most talented member of the offensive line, Cleary is going to need to anchor an line that allowed the most sacks in the ACC last year. Cleary will be protecting Rettig's blindside, and if the junior QB doesn't want to have another season eating astroturf, Cleary is going to need to step up. They showed flashes of cohesion near the end of the season, and with a new scheme with OC Doug Martin and line coach Jim Bollman the hopes is that improvement continues.
6. Al Louis-Jean- Donnie Fletcher is gone, and with that also goes the last experienced corner on the team. What is left is a young secondary, which is now anchored by a very talented, but very raw Al Louis Jean. In year's past much has been joked about Spaz's tendency to give receivers a seven yard cushion, which he rightly would reply, "well they didn't score did they?", but that retort is gone. BC had a miserable time last season against teams that could pass, and if they don't want that trend to continue they are going to need a CB to step up against the Sammy Watkins and Conner Vernon's of the worlds. Could that person be ALJ? We will have to see.
So that is my six. I am sure many of you think differently. What six players do you think could make this season successful? Leave your thoughts in the comments.