The progression seems right. Come to Boston College as an offensive lineman to continue the tradition of OLine U, which BC has become over the past several years, sit out a redshirt season as a freshman, absorbing the knowledge of the upper classmen around you as well as building up bulk, which will make up for inexperience the following season and then fit into a designated slot, either as a starter or as a mix and match piece in a complex, yet simple puzzle.
Oh, there might be a few exceptions such as last year’s All Atlantic Coast Conference offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, who last spring was a first round choice of the Indianapolis Colts, who will move into the rotation from the get-go. But for the most part, patience is almost a requirement.
So it was for Nate Richman, who came to The Heights four years ago as a 6-foot-6 inch 265 pound All State offensive linemen out of North Easton, Ma and Thayer Academy. He redshirted his freshman season and then moved into the conga line, finally emerging this spring as the Eagles’ starting left guard and, most recently (this week) as one of the offensive co-captains.
Castonzo is gone and so are Rich Lapham and Thomas Claiborne, which is a pretty good chunk of offensive linemen and experience. But with Richman, who is now a 6-foot-6 inch, 300 pound senior, left tackle John Wetzel (6-8, 302 pound, jr.) center Mark Spinney (6-4, 282 pound, sr.) and right guard Ian White (6-5, 298 pound, soph) the Eagles have a decent nucleus to continue the O Line U tradition.
“”We’ve got the numbers where we want them,’’ said BC coach Frank Spaziani, who has recruited depth as well as talent on the BC O line in his three years as the Eagles chief talent seeker. “We have retooled the offensive line. We think we have some talent. Like I said we’ve got the right numbers, whether we’ve got the right guys is the question.’’
Richman is finally back at left guard, where his comfort level is at its highest, after bouncing around from center to guard last season and looking for a place to land. His move to center two springs ago was an experiment which lasted for four games.
“”I had never played center until they told me about in the spring (of his junior season),’’ said Richman before practice this afternoon. “ But when I was out with an illness and Mark (Spinney) came in and showed that he could handle, they put me back in my natural position and everything has worked out. Everyone felt more comfortable.’’
Comfortable could also be used to describe the way the o-line feels about sophomore quarterback Chase Rettig, who moved into the starting QB slot three games into his freshman season last year.
“At this point last year, Chase was a third string QB taking a few reps,’’ said Richman. “Now he is talking all of the reps. He’s making his plays and more importantly he’s making his reads. He’s completely comfortable. He’s coming up to the offensive line and telling the linemen to make adjustments. He’s making the calls for us which we would have to do completely on our own last year. The fact that he is at this point this early is going to be great for us.’’
As Richman goes into his final season at BC, he carries a sense of pride with him as much as anything. “It’s an incredible tradition we have here,’’ said Richman, talking about the offensive line as well as the overall program. “WE take guys and we go about our business. We’re not thinking about OLine U specifically, but there is a pride in what we have done and what has been done by other guys before us.’’
Eagles wrapped up first phase of training camp this afternoon. They will work out for the first time in full pads tomorrow and conduct their first scrimmage on Saturday evening at 6 p.m Scrimmage will be open to season ticket holders...BC media day will be held tomorrow afternoon, with new uniform designs being chosen…Injury list is relatively light, although Spaziani said he was concerned about back-up QB Josh Bordner’s continuing back problems which have kept his practice time limited….Redshirt freshman center Andy Gallik is also sidelined….Eagles will get their first day off following the second scrimmage of camp next Thursday, a day after their second scrimmage…Spaziani said that there are really no significant battles for starting positions right now, although that could change. The most closely contested is probably at outside linebacker where Steele DeVitto and Nick Clancy are in combination for the starting spot at strong side linebacker.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell