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BC football notebook

Harris will miss season opener

Running back has procedure on knee

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / August 18, 2011

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If it were September, there would be more concern. But it’s mid-August, and players missing scrimmages usually is no big deal.

But when you are your team’s leading rusher - as is the case with Boston College’s Montel Harris - any absence draws attention. Harris had only a cameo in Saturday’s first scrimmage, but last night he was nowhere to be seen for the second one.

Harris, whose 2010 season was ended prematurely by a left knee injury that required surgery, suffered a setback in his recovery and yesterday underwent an arthroscopic procedure at Brigham and Women’s/Mass. General Health Care Center in Foxborough.

The procedure will sideline him 3-4 weeks, according to coach Frank Spaziani, keeping him out of the season opener against Northwestern Sept. 3 and probably the second game against Central Florida Sept. 10.

“He was fine for a few days, and then he came out at practice yesterday and said that it doesn’t feel right,’’ said Spaziani. “So we shut him down and said, “Let’s go to the doctor,’ who looked at it again. They took an MRI and they said they were going to scope him.’’

Spaziani said he was concerned in January when Harris’s three- to four-week recovery prognosis was extended, and again in the spring when Harris still hadn’t recovered.

“Now I’m very concerned,’’ said the coach, who has confidence in sophomores Andre Williams and Rolandan Finch as his prime running backs for the immediate future. “I feel bad for the kid. He looked like his old self.’’

Harris is only 125 yards behind Derrick Knight’s career BC record of 3,725 rushing yards and 1,002 short of the ACC mark held by North Carolina State’s Ted Lewis.

Missing persons Wide receiver Colin Larmond Jr. also did not participate in the scrimmage, as he experienced a flareup of his surgically repaired knee. Spaziani expects him back at practice tomorrow . . . Also missing was starting guard Nathan Richman, who is dealing with a recurring back problem but practiced yesterday morning . . . Starting left tackle John Wetzel (shoulder), who missed practice earlier in the week, returned last night . . . Center Mark Spinney (leg) also sat out, forcing the Eagles to go with a patchwork offensive line that included redshirt freshman Andy Gallik at center and redshirt freshman Bobby Vardaro at left guard. Spinney should be back at practice tomorrow or Saturday . . . Cornerback Donnie Fletcher missed the scrimmage with back problems.

St. Pierre in the game The Eagles broadcast crew also is undergoing a training camp of sorts. New sideline reporter Brian St. Pierre, the former BC quarterback, will do some practice interviews following scrimmages next week. St. Pierre replaces veteran Jayme Parker, whose role expanded to include BC website work and a new title as official athletics reporter . . . The Eagles have their first day off today, and their third scrimmage will be Sunday afternoon . . . Kicker Nate Freese, who didn’t have any opportunities in Saturday’s first scrimmage, was 3 for 3 yesterday. Punter Ryan Quigley also booted a field goal in his only attempt.

On target As in the opening scrimmage, starting quarterback Chase Rettig was outstanding, completing 18 of 25 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown. Mike Marscovetra and Dave Shinskie, battling for the backup job, also had good showings. Marscovetra completed 11 of 15 passes for 155 yards, while Shinskie completed 6 of 9 for 52 yards . . . With Harris out, Williams (19 carries, 62 yards) and Finch (18 carries, 66 yards, 2 TDs) carried the rushing load . . . Tight end Chris Pantale led the receivers with 6 catches for 66 yards and 1 TD . . . Defensively, linebacker Luke Kuechly was back on track with 10 tackles. But Spaziani is concerned about the defense. “We’re soft,’’ he said. “Not making plays.’’

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at blaudschun@globe.com.