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, Chase Rettig and the quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers, and yesterday the much maligned offensive line. Today we switch over to the other side of the ball, and take a look at Boston College's defensive ends and tackles.
Last year Boston College struggled mightily rushing the passer. Much of this had to do with the play of the defensive line. Kaleb Ramsey was lost early to injury, and a group of young linemen failed to put much pressure on opposing quarterbacks. BC finished dead last in the country in total sacks. In an odd move, Max Holloway decided to declare for the NFL draft, and was subsequently not drafted, and BC did not add any depth recruiting over the winter and spring. Luckily this year, Ramsey is back, and players like Dominic Appiah and Connor Wujciak have stepped up.
In terms of defensive ends, Boston College has decent depth going into the 2012 season. Kasim Edebali will return for his junior season, after starting all 12 games in 2011 for the Eagles. He is a serviceable end, but nothing too special, racking up 13 solo tackles last season. What you see is what you get with Edebali, and I wouldn't expect him to be much of a pass rusher this season. Brian Mihalik on the other hand got his feet wet in his freshman year at the Heights. He has great size (6'8 285), and with some improved field awareness and coaching, he could be a good all around pass rusher. He showed that capability with one sack last year, against Clemson
BC has two good solid back ups to rotate in case of injury/ineffectiveness. Mehdi Abdesmad comes from Canada, and played a few snaps last year, but according to scouting reports the style difference between his high school up north and college football in the states varied greatly. He certainly has the tools to be effective, but it will take some solid coaching to get him where he needs to be. Connor Wujciak did not play last season, but might be a little undersized. Malachi Moore had a very strong summer, putting pressure on the offensive line, but was not located on the two deep going into week one.
In terms of tackles obviously captain Kaleb Ramsey will be the key to a resurgence on the defensive line. In 2010 a health Ramsey had 2.5 sacks on a defensive line that finished with 20 (they finished with 8 in 2011). Health is going to be key for Ramsey, as he has yet to put together a full season on the Heights. Dominic Appiah probably has the highest upside of anyone on the defensive line. Appiah recorded 36 tackles and one sack in his first season at BC. Between Ramsey and Appiah, BC's defensive line should drastically improve over last year and put less pressure on the linebackers to be the playmakers game in and game out.
In terms of BC's backups, Dillon Quinn is a run stopper in the truest sense. Quinn has been a starter for the past two years, but it appears that McGovern is going to change things up this year. I would expect Spaz to use him on rushing downs, and in the red zone. He is the largest defensive tackle by almost 20 pounds. Jaryd Rudolph made some poor decisions in the spring, but he has a solid upside. He played in seven games in 2011, only recording 4 tackles. Bryan Murray is also available but sits deep on the depth chart.
One of the best way to move on from Luke Kuechly this year will need to be improved play by the defensive line. Recording less than one sack a game is no way to beat teams with solid quarterbacks like Clemson, Florida State or even Wake Forest. BC may not have the depth, but they certainly have a good core of players to make this happen.