The Boston College football team held it’s first of three scrimmages this morning before the 2013 season begins on Aug. 31 against Villanova. Here are some notes from the day, including updates on Tahj Kimble, wide receiver depth, and the team’s progress so far.
The junior running back hadn’t been hit in live action since the third week of the season at Northwestern last year, but he finally took a few shots today while he works his way back from knee surgery.
“It was a short gain, but I’m glad that I could take a hit and, you know, get back up without any problems on my knees,” Kimble said of his first carry.
Kimble was all smiles after practice, excited that he was able to compete again.
“I was real happy,” Kimble said. “I hadn’t played in so long. I was just itching to get back out here so much and now that I’m finally back out here it’s like a dream come true. It was like Christmas. I couldn’t sleep the night before.”
The offensive line didn’t push to the second level quite enough to open up holes for Kimble to show off his explosiveness, but he still broke a couple solid gains. While starting running back Andre Williams is a big, strong ball-carrier, Kimble can provide a change of pace from that when he’s recovered fully with his flashy cutting and juking moves.
“I think I’m almost there,” Kimble said about getting his explosive ability back. “I’m still working hard to get it back. There’s no limits. I want to keep working forward.”
Kimble said he’s not thinking about the knee at all anymore while he’s running, which shows him he’s ready to go.
Running Back Depth
After Andre Williams took one, essentially ceremonious, snap with the first team, Kimble and sophomore David Dudeck handled the rest of the running back duties for the day.
“Andre? He doesn’t have any injury,” Addazio said, when asked if Williams didn’t see more time due to injury. “We’re just monitoring how may reps he’s taking right now. He got 10 reps, that’s all he needed to get. There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s as healthy as can be.”
Addazio wanted to see freshmen Tyler Rouse and Myles Willis get work against the live defense, but Willis tweaked his ankle and Rouse suffered a hamstring injury on their first snaps. He said the most disappointing thing of the day was not getting to see the young backs play more, noting their dynamic ability and their impressive play in camp.
Freese For Groza?
Kicker Nate Freese shanked a field goal wide left during the middle of practice inside of 40 yards. It was weird. The ball only barely clipped the net, but maybe the reliable senior was just getting it out of his system. He didn’t miss one the rest of the day, putting all of his attempts in between the uprights during a situational drill.
After Amidon, Who’s Next?
Alex Amidon had an unsurprisingly solid day catching passes from quarterback Chase Rettig, but two other receivers also stood out. Dan Crimmins leapt into the air for an acrobatic first-down, and sophomore receiver Harrison Jackson consistently got open with the second team.
Jackson is a skilled route-runner with good athletic ability. During the spring and today at practice he’s shown off solid hands and seems to have found a groove in the quick routes offensive coordinator Ryan Day has him running. He could challenge Crimmins and Spiffy Evans as a potential second target for Rettig with more days like today.
During the first 15 minutes of the portion of the scrimmage that was scored, and open to the media, Rettig ran the ball three times, two of which were on designed run plays. Addazio said Rettig needs to get better about learning when to slide, but, despite that, the quarterback picked up a few impressive gains on the ground. There were some read plays called using Kimble or Dudeck where Rettig kept the ball and he moved decently well with it.
Rettig also thrived when working outside of the pocket. Either on designed rollouts or scrambling out of pressure, he is a talented passer with good vision when he’s on the move. The offense ran a lot of read and screen plays and then used those to set up counters, but it’s difficult to say at this point what exactly the offense will look like against Villanova. Addazio said the team still needs to implement the red zone scheme and other aspects of the system.
Steven Daniels And Third Downs
Senior linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis was ecstatic about the play of sophomore Steven Daniels, who has joined Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto in the first team linebacker corps.
“He’s doing an amazing job,” Pierre-Louis said. “He’s showing up out there. You know where five-two is and that’s real important. Especially as a sophomore, he’s only going to get better and it’s amazing that Steele and I can have a companion like him along with the rest of the linebackers.”
Pierre-Louis also said that the third-and-long defense under new defensive coordinator Don Brown is “light-years” ahead of where it was last year, when the Eagles couldn’t get off the field. Daniels picked off Rettig on a third down while the quarterback was trying to find a receiver going across the middle.
The Eagles scrimmage again next Saturday, Aug. 17, and Wednesday, Aug. 21. Check back here for more updates from fall practices.