It will be--for better or worse--running back by committee for the next several weeks, including at least the first two games of the season. Yet, as Boston College went through its drills this afternoon, gearing up for the third scrimmage of summer training camp (tomorrow afternoon) there was no sense of panic. No sense of doom.
Yes, Montel Harris, the Eagles leading rusher and on the precipice of becoming the all-time leading rusher in BC and perhaps Atlantic Coast Conference history, will be sidelined for the immediate future as he recovers from arthroscopic surgery performed on his left knee.
But the Eagles have depth at RB this season. And if the first few scrimmages can serve as any kind of indicator, quality depth. Sophomore running back Andre Williams, who filled in for Harris last season, will get the first call. But BC coach Frank Spaziani and offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers can and probably will go at least three deep at running back with the use of redshirt freshman running back Tajh Kimble and sophomore Rolandan Finch.
Finch, a 5-foot-10 inch 209 pound power back from New Albany, Indiana, has more experience, appearing in six games as a freshman in 2009. But a series of injuries and illnesses sidelined him last season.
"I'm just happy to be healthy again,'' said Finch, who had a bout with mononucleosis and then had multiple injuries on both knees including a tear of his ACL in the spring of 2010."I just try and live for the moment.''
Finch, who came into an interview session following practice on Friday with ice packs on both knees, feels he is making progress. "I think I've played well in both scrimmages,'' he said. "I fumbled once in both scrimmages so I'm focused on holding onto the ball.''
Finch said he picked BC over Stanford, Illinois and Kentucky for a variety of reasons. "I just felt comfortable here,'' he said.
Kimble is a 5-foot-11 210 pound RB from the same Jacksonville, Fla area which produced Harris. He came to BC in 2010, after passing on offers from Michigan State and Purdue.
He redshirted last season and say he learned a lot about himself and about the game of college football as well. "I didn't expect to get redshirted when I came here,'' he said. "But I wasn't disappointed. In my mind I wasn't ready for college football. I learned a lot about the game last year. I learned that college football is a lot faster than high school where you just get the ball and run. I got to learn the assignments. I learned that I had to be tuned in at all times.''
Kimble served as a running back on the scout team last season, where he played the role of opposing backs BC would face each week. Now his role has changed and he, like Williams and Finch, says he is ready for the next step.
""I don't care if I get two yards or 200 yards, if we win, im the same man,'' said Finch. "I just know we have to win.''
Redshirt freshman defensive end C. J. Parsons has switched from defensive end to offensive end and switched numbers from 53 to 88. Wide receiver Hampton Hughes has switched from wide receiver to defensive back and will continue to wear No. 37.Former BC captains Wes Davis (Safety) w and Rich Gunnel (WR) were at this afternoon's practice. Gunnel is working as the defensive line coach at Tufts, while Davis, who also turned 23 today, is working as a GA in the Eagles sports administration...Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis did not participate in practice today. Spaziani said that the starting weakside linebacker suffered a concussion in Wednesday night's scrimmage, which would probably rule him out of tomorrow's scrimmage...Montel Harris was at practice, without crutches, as he recovers from the scope surgery he had on Wednesday...Also missing practice today were defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey (shoulder) and defensive end Max Holloway, although Holloway is expected to participate in tomorrow's scrimmage. Starting left guard Nate Richman (back) also did not practice....Tomorrow's scrimmage will be a "situational'' format with first team offense going against first team defense in game situations the coaches set up for them..Spaziani said the Eagles will begin focusing on their opener against Northwestern following next Wednesday's final scrimmage.
"We have some quality guys back there, who now have to step up,'' said Spaziani, who watched Williams run for 62 yards, Finch for 66 yards (and 2TDs) and Kimble for 95 yards (and 1 TD) in Wednesday's second scrimmage.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell