Saturday’s Jay McGillis Memorial Spring football game will mark the first time Jeff Hafley and his team will see actual fans in the stands of Alumni Stadium since he started (friends and family only, but still - actual people!). Not sure if those face cutouts will make a reappearance, but it should be an enjoyable time for the team either way.
As was previously mentioned, the game will be televised on the ACC Network similar to much of last season. Chris Cotter and Mark Herzlich will be on the call.
Per Coach Hafley, they’ll look to divide up the roster and staff depending on who’s available. He’s hoping for at least a half of a game-like simulation, and shift away from the scripted environment. Nothing too crazy with regards to format. He’s just looking for the players to have some fun because they deserve it. So what else should we look forward to?
Will Kobay Play?
The Eagles certainly have more luxury at wide receiver than any other position group. Players and staff have been gushing about the depth and skills all spring.
Now, it’s uncertain whether or not Kobay While will actually play, but he sure is excited.
Wide receivers coach Joe Dailey last week explained, “[Kobay] hasn’t fully returned, but he’s ahead of schedule in terms of rehab and recovery.”
That being said, the rest of the group will look to showcase. We all know what Zay Flowers can do, saw CJ Lewis breakout, and got a dose of how electric Jaelen Gill can be with the ball in his hands, but there’s a handful of other players that will be rising the level of competition.
Junior Ethon Williams’ season was marred by injury, but there was a lot of excitement about him heading into last season. Coach Hafley loves how he’s been playing particularly on the blocking front, showing the team a key block he had at a recent practice, and he comes down with some spectacular catches regularly.
Jehlani Galloway emerged last year as well in short stretches. Coach Dailey recalled how “he had a big question mark before this staff got here,” and how they really wanted to find how to utilize him. He’s lauded Galloway’s transformation since the beginning, commenting how he did more in limited snaps than almost anyone last year.
Taji Johnson’s name has popped up in camp, and it will be good to see the freshman high school teammates Lewis Bond and Dante Reynolds show what they’ll bring to the table soon enough.
Holes to Fill at Linebacker
An open competition that might not be settled this spring is who gets the reps at linebacker.
Isaiah Graham-Mobley comes to us from Temple bringing experience and physicality.
Sophomore Kam Arnold is making the change from safety last season, and will certainly look to make an impact in a position where BC needs new faces to step up.
New Faces in the Secondary
Some new faces to watch here. Freshman CJ Burton should be a joy to watch. He was noted as staying stride for stride with Zay Flowers at a recent practice and getting the pass breakup. Coaches have raved about his physical play and we should expect to see him with some quality minutes come season time.
Jaiden Lars-Woodbey should help solidify things back there as well. The FSU transfer has assumed a big leadership role and showed some exceptional hand eye coordination a few short weeks ago. He was an absolute delight to hear speak, and if you want to see more from his youth, check out QB1 on Netflix where he starred alongside John Bosco teammate DJ Uiagalelei a few years back. Excited to see who could take a Josh DeBerry-like jump as well under this coaching staff.
True freshman Xavier Coleman has made quite the name for himself in camp.
Travis Levy is the main man right now, and Rich Gunnell has high expectations for him.
Pat Garwo is really the only other running back who’s seem real game time for the Eagles. Unfortunately, “he’s coming back from injury . . . what I mostly want to see out of Pat is him taking the next step as far as being in that leadership role,” Coach Gunnell said this week.
West Virginia transfer Alec Sinkfield has yet to arrive on campus
Frank Cignetti remarked how he still has high hopes for the tight end group despite the Hunter Long-sized hole.
Spencer Witter was the primary second tight end to go with Hunter Long, and did make a few plays here and there. It’ll be interesting to see who else sees major time. Charles Gordinier has had his name heard a few times recently.
It will be tougher to gauge, but seeing folks like freshman Drew Kendall and Ozzy Trapilo work on the offensive line should be notable as well. With Matt Valecce entering the transfer portal, we should get a chance to see some of the young quarterbacks in Emmett Morehead and Daelen Menard get a crack.
On the defensive line, Coach Vince Oghobaase was impressed by the step Shitta Sillah has taken. The defensive line will need to make major strides for the defense to move forward.
Extra: Boom & the Special Teams
Coach Hafley made note of how healthy placekicker Aaron Boumerhi has looked. It’s fortunate that he knows what he has and can put even more trust in him this season.
We’ll also see the matchup between Aidan Livingston and transfer Gunner Daniel for the long-snapper spot. Hafley even went on a pretty good tangent about the holding unit to go with the rest of the team. “Those guys are a great group. They’re fun to be around.”
The Jay McGillis Spring Game takes place on Saturday at 11 AM on ACC Network.