Boston College’s offense sorely lacked an explosive weapon in 2015. Going into the season the presumptive guys to watch had to be sophomore running back Jon Hilliman, and wide receiver Sherman Alston. As freshmen both made big plays in key situations, and the expectation was that this would continue in 2015. But as we all saw, Hilliman was lost for the season in September, and Alston looked like a shell of himself, dropping passes and being keyed in on by defenses that knew what to expect from him essentially neutralizing his abilities.
2016 should be a different story for a number of reasons. First and foremost the offensive line should have improved over the winter/summer. Going into the season BC isn’t throwing out two true freshmen and a senior that struggled. From what it sounds like, the line should be bigger, stronger, more experienced and able to open up some plays. Add in a new offensive coordinator, and all signs point to BC being able to put up at least some points this season. They certainly have some of the players to do it.
Enter Jeff Smith. Last year, the freshman was thrown in at quarterback and took his lumps as he cycled in and out with Troy Flutie and John Fadule. Clearly Addazio saw what many in the stands saw, which is a kid with explosive talent, but probably not at the quarterback position. Think back to the run he had against Notre Dame at Fenway Park where he made defenders miss on his way to a rushing touchdown. What you saw there was a player with elite speed and the ability to pick up yards in a hurry.
Now head coach Steve Addazio has moved the sophomore Smith to wide receiver, and he looks to jump in as possibly one of BC’s most explosive weapons going into the fall. During the spring game he was a popular target for the quarterback, and while he didn’t look 100% comfortable at the position (still learning routes etc), he certainly looked like he was ready to jump in right away. He showed elusiveness, decent hands and picked up good yards after the catch.
Smith certainly fills a void that BC had on offense last year, that being a pass catcher that could take a short or intermediate route and extend it to to a first down or even more. On an offense that has/had questions at offensive line, a quick out, quick read pass is crucial. If things are breaking down in front of Patrick Towles/Darius Wade, they are going to need to dump it off quick, and preferably to a guy that can make a move or two with his feet.
Thadd Smith, showed that he will probably be the receiver that stretches the field, and Charlie Callinan is more of a physical tight end/hybrid. And freshmen Nolan Bergersen, Chris Garrison and Ben Glines are all names we could also see as well this year. Jeff, could be that slot receiver, that takes end arounds (a la Sherm Alston in 2014), but could also be a legitimate pass catching target as well.
Couldn't say enough about QB turned WR Jeff Smith, who went from 170 to 194 lbs and runs a sub-4.4. https://t.co/6bMmud10Ha— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) July 26, 2016
Head Coach Steve Addazio is glowing about the sophomore’s transition to wide receiver and what that means to the Eagles. Yesterday in an interview with ESPN’s Andrea Adelson (watch in the tweet above), Addazio said that Smith put on about 20 pounds over the break, and according to the coach is running a sub 4.4 40 yard dash. That is certainly exciting to hear.
Spring practice opens up soon, and it appears that Jeff Smith will be a name that Boston College fans will want to keep an eye on during the summer months leading up to the season.