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BC notebook

Williams, Fletcher insist they’ll play

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / September 1, 2011

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Andre Williams is listed as Boston College’s starting running back for Saturday’s season opener against Northwestern. Donnie Fletcher is listed as the starting field cornerback.

Both have dealt with injuries in training camp - Williams with an ankle sprain, Fletcher with his back. But both made it clear yesterday that they would be ready, willing, and able to play against Northwestern.

“It’s getting better every day,’’ said Fletcher, a 6-foot-1-inch, 195-pound senior and one of the Eagles’ captains. “I had a couple of fractures, some bruises, some swelling, but I should be ready to go on Saturday. I’m getting treatment every day.’’

Fletcher, who was back at practice yesterday, knows that the secondary is in a state of flux. The players considered the starting safeties coming out of spring workouts are gone. Okechukwu Okoroha was dismissed from the team and Dominick LeGrande opted to transfer.

“It was tough losing those guys,’’ said Fletcher. “Both of them were friends of mine. We lost a lot of experience. But now it’s time to step up.’’

Also stepping up is Williams, a 6-foot, 216-pound sophomore who moved into the starting role when Montel Harris reinjured his knee two weeks ago. But then Williams sprained his ankle and missed the last scrimmage. Asked yesterday if he was ready to deal with Northwestern, Williams nodded.

“I’m ready for Saturday to come,’’ he said.

Coach Frank Spaziani obviously would like to have both ready, but he must have contingency plays. In the case of Fletcher, freshman Al Louis-Jean has filled that spot with positive results.

With Williams out in the last scrimmage, the Eagles went three and four deep at running back, with Tahj Kimble and Rolandan Finch ready to step in.

“This is a reality check,’’ said Spaziani. “It’s a quality opponent. We need to be on top of our game.’’

With all of their players, which is why Williams and Fletcher are ready to go.

Seldom seen This is the first meeting with Northwestern since 1993 and only the fourth overall (Northwestern leads, 2-1). The Eagles travel to Northwestern next year for the rematch . . . Northwestern has a five-game winning streak in opening games . . . Although neither BC nor Northwestern is in the Top 25, both programs have had recent success. Since 2008, they have won 24 games apiece, which is 29th among FBS programs . . . BC has won seven straight openers . . . Northwestern has had three straight winning seasons for the first time in 50 years.

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