CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: Colin Larmond Jr. #1 of the Boston College Eagles reacts when there is no pass interference call against the Northwestern Wildcats on September 3, 2011 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.The Northwestern Wildcats defeated the Boston College Eagles 24-17. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
|Player||Catches||Yards||Yards Per Catch||TDs|
|Colin Larmond Jr.||68||1220||17.9||9|
As we approach gameday, BC Interruption has been cranking out positional previews to help you get ready for the upcoming Boston College season. Earlier we covered the running backs, and the quarterbacks. Today we will check out the ever important wide receiver and tight end position. Both play a huge role in Doug Martin's offense, and both could hold a key piece to turning around the fortunes of the Eagles.
Last year Boston College's passing attack was largely ineffective. Early in the season they lost Ifeanyi Momah to a season ending injury, an ever changing offensive line, and questionable play calling made throwing the ball that much more difficult. This season Doug Martin takes over as offensive coordinator, and with it he promises a more explosive passing attack, at a fast tempo, trying to create spread offense light at the Heights. As a fan this is exciting, but on the other hand this puts more pressure on the receiving corp to be effective, because they are all going to need to produce in order for Martin's scheme to work. So let's look at the weapons at Chase Rettig's disposal.
To start the 2012 season the Eagles were hit with two losses. Momah was declined an extra year of eligibility, and then late during summer scrimmages, Bobby Swigert was hit with a knee injury that will sideline him for several weeks. Swigert is a big loss for the Eagles, because as you can see by last year's numbers, he was Rettig's go to guy. Swigert has solid hands, good speed, and is an excellent route runner. When defenses came after Rettig, the young QB didn't check down to his tight ends or running backs, he usually would throw a short out to Swigert. As you can see by his Yards per catch average, Swigert isn't much of a deep threat, he works as a slot receiver in the ilk of a Wes Welker or Victor Cruz. He also was one of the few guys that didn't disappear against the better teams in the leagues, scoring touchdowns against Florida State, Clemson and Notre Dame.
Alex Amidon, who will be returning as a junior is built basically the same way. Undersized but with decent speed Amidon had a solid year with the Eagles, averaging a couple of catches a game, but again like Swigert he isn't the big threat receiver that Rettig could go deep to. However, both of these receivers would work well in a quick paced offensive. I would expect both of them to be ideal receivers in Martin's attack this season.
Colin Larmond Jr. had a mixed season last year. He had a couple of big drops for the Eagles, but also he became Rettig's go to guy deep, leading the Eagles in yards per reception. Of all the veteran receivers, he is probably the most talented, and given the right system he could really shine. With Swigert gone for the foreseeable future, it's going to be up to Larmond to step up and be the reliable target Chase Rettig is going to need. Just get him the ball, he has good hands, and can be elusive after the catch. Rettig needs to locate Larmond in red zone opportunities, because Larmond is a "go and get it" type receiver. If BC is going to score in the end zone this year, expect Larmond to be the leader in that charge.
Johnathan Coleman has been a complete enigma in his first two years at Boston College. He has the size and ability to be a deep threat, but in two seasons on the Heights, he has been largely invisible. Last year he struggled with running routes, and dropping passes, yet Frank Spaziani continually put him on the two deep. This year could be a make or break year for Coleman, who played during the summer, and appears to grasp the new offense. But will early struggles mean less starts for Coleman?
After Coleman there is a whole bunch of young receivers on the depth chart. Spiffy Evans, who played last year as a return man, should see some snaps as a wide receiver this year. Good speed, questionable hands, and decent size could make him an interesting target this season. Brian Miller is a tight end/wide receiver hybrid, kind of like an Aaron Hernandez light, he has been battling a nagging leg injury from high school, but if he can stay healthy keep an eye on him. He is a matchup nightmare, too big for a cornerback to cover, and too fast for a linebacker. Donte Elliott could see a few snaps late in games, and I wouldn't expect him to play in meaningful game time.
Harrison Jackson received a lot of positive press over the summer. He played in most of the scrimmages and made some head turning catches, including a 6 catch 66 yard performance in the first scrimmage of the summer. Good size, and seems to have caught on to the offense quickly, now will Spaz let him play? Joel Zoungrana enrolled early at the Heights and played in the spring game, making some nice catches from backup quarterback Dave Shinskie and Josh Bordner. Haven't heard his name much this summer.
The injury to Chris Pantale has made the tight end position a large question mark going into this season. Pantale became a very effective weapon for Rettig last year, highlighted by two touchdown catches against Miami in the season finale. He has excellent hands, and is a great route runner, but as we saw last year, he becomes mostly invisible when he has to help out the offensive line. Hopefully with an improved line, Pantale will be free to roam, and when healthy he will be a reliable target for the offense.
Until Pantale returns there is a variety of options to play the tight end position. Mike Naples is the only tight end with college game experience, catching one pass last year. He has been buried on the depth chart the previous two seasons, but at 6'4 he has good size for a tight end. Freshman Mike Giacono is another attractive option, but he missed a good chunk of the summer battling a concussion, which might take him a little while to catch on. Jarrett Darmstatter is projected to be the starting tight end to start the season. He has a solid summer, leading the tight ends in catches. C.J. Parsons is the biggest tight end in terms of size, but again he hasn't played much, though during the summer he did get some looks with the first team.
All in all, BC's wide receivers and tight ends aren't going to dazzle anyone, but they are serviceable. While should be some concerns playing some of the better shut down cornerbacks, these receivers may surprise all of us in Doug Martin's new system. I would expect them to improve their play from 2011, with many new targets for Rettig, more catches from receivers like Amidon and Larmond, and more catches in the end zone.