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In our never ending quest to provide you the fans with the most update analysis on the Boston College Eagles, BC Interruption continues their positional previews for the upcoming season. Yesterday we kicked off our coverage with a look at Chase Rettig and the other quarterbacks. Today we look in at what was once a position of strength for the Eagles, the running backs.
Last year BC spread the ball around to a multitude of backs for a multitude of reasons. At one point it was Andre Williams who started the season with the ball, due to a hot end of the 2010 season and because of the knee injury to Montel Harris. Williams exploded on the scene with the 2011 Eagles, ripping off a 50+ yard run against Northwestern on the very first play of the season. But after a series of injuries, Williams inability to shed tacklers pushed him further down the depth chart.
After Williams began to struggle, and a one week guest appearance by Montel Harris, Rolandan "Deuce" Finch became the primary running back for Dave Brock. Finch is a bruising running back, listed as 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds with legs that look like the size of tree trunks. Finch was effective for most of the season, highlighted by a 243 yard rushing performance against Maryland. However, Finch did fumble the ball a number of times, something that will need to be corrected going into the 2012 season.
Looking at BC's depth, that is where the experience ends, which honestly is kind of scary. Tahj Kimble did get some touches in 2011, but for the most part he was ineffective. After Kimble there are no prototypical running backs with any game experience left on the roster. Frank Spaziani and his recruiters struck out big time when they lost Akeel Lynch to Penn State, and did their best late in the game landing Massachusetts native George Craan to fill that hole on the depth chart. Health is going to be a key moving into this season, because of this lack of depth.
Jumping into the 2012 season, the consensus starting running back again will be Finch. During the spring Finch was electric -- rushing for for over 150 yards in the spring game and impressing coaches during practices. The biggest concern going forward with Finch is his health. Eagle Nation held its collective breath this summer when he went down with a foot injury which luckily was just a strain. From reports it sounds like he got dinged up in the final scrimmage as well. Finch is the most reliable RB on the roster, and if he can stay healthy, will be the most effective. I expect a big year out of Finch, but I temper expectations because I expect Doug Martin to lean more on the passing game than in years past.
Andre Williams is a giant question mark going into this season. Other than a few big gains last year, he was mostly ineffective, failing to shed tackles and spending most of the season battling injuries. Frank Spaziani is high on Williams this year, claiming that Andre is returning to 2010 form, which is exciting. But what concerns me the most is that AW has been out for most of the summer, with Spaz choosing to rest him for the opener. Is Williams that fragile, or is Spaz just effectively planning Williams workload this year? That remains to be seen.
Tahj Kimble is possibly the biggest X factor on this team. He has the explosiveness to be a huge weapon in both the running and passing game. Early reports suggest that Spaz has considered using Kimble as a slot receiver, depending on the play. With the lack of depth at HB, this may not be a wise move. Kimble's health has also been a major issue. He has missed most of summer practice with a thigh bruise. If he can stay healthy Kimble would be a fantastic change of pace back to the more physical styles of Finch and Williams.
After Kimble, there isn't much. George Craan is a true freshman and he played limited snaps during spring scrimmage. Mike Javorski and Ted Davenport are walk-ons, who just received scholarships from Frank Spaziani at the end of summer practice. Davenport is a converted defensive back, and Javorski seems to be too small to play in the ACC, but who knows. Hopefully these three halfbacks won't need to contribute, but think of it this way. The running back is a brutally physical position ... injuries happen. Could they play by necessity? We shall see.