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Studying has gotten Rositano ahead

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / September 23, 2011

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He is the defensive back du jour in a season that has seen a rotation of players in and out the lineup and the locker room at Boston College. For Spenser Rositano, tomorrow’s game against the University of Massachusetts may indeed be showtime.

The 6-foot-1-inch, 200-pound freshman will be in the mix at strong safety along with Dominique Williams, a redshirt freshman.

“They’re going to play,’’ said coach Frank Spaziani. “In what combination, I’m not sure.’’

No one is, which is part of the problem for the Eagles, who are off to an 0-3 start, something that hasn’t been seen at Chestnut Hill since 1999.

When training camp started in August, Rositano thought he would spend most of his freshman season watching and learning.

But the defensive backfield was jolted by the departure of free safety Okechukwu Okoroha (dismissal) and strong safety Dominick LeGrande (transfer). And cornerbacks Donnie Fletcher (back) and C.J. Jones (knee) had injury issues.

Suddenly, Rositano was getting playing time, sporadically on special teams at first, and by last week against Duke, he was in the rotation in the defensive backfield.

“I was willing to do whatever was needed to help the team,’’ said Rositano, who also was sidelined for a short stretch of camp after suffering a concussion in the third scrimmage.

Asked about the sudden changes that have cast him into a more significant role, Rositano said, “It was a shock at first. I had to step up and got thrown into the fire. I tried to memorize the plays, to get better each day and learn the system.’’

He knows them well enough that during practice this week, he even corrected Luke Kuechly when the All-America middle linebacker called the wrong formation.

“He’s a good player,’’ said Kuechly. “He’s a football player.’’

Spaziani feels the same way.

“That describes him,’’ said Spaziani.

“In high school, things were a lot slower,’’ said Rositano. “The game against Central Florida was a big wake-up call for me. In the Duke game, I relaxed my mind and my body and just enjoyed playing and having fun. I was back to my old self.’’

Harris feeling good Spaziani had some encouraging news on the injury front. Running back Montel Harris was listed as probable, so barring any setbacks in the next 24 hours, he could make his season debut against the Minutemen. Harris, the leading rusher in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season, reinjured his knee during training camp and required arthroscopic surgery. His comeback has been slow, leading to speculation that he might even be redshirted this season. But as of yesterday, Harris was back at practice. “He’s looking like his old self,’’ said Spaziani. “Let’s see what happens.’’ . . . Starting guard Nathan Richman, who has dealt with back issues throughout the summer, originally was listed as doubtful and has been upgraded to questionable . . . Defensive back Sean Sylvia (leg) was probably not going to play anyway, but Spaziani said the redshirt freshman has been suspended a week for disciplinary reasons . . . Defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey (foot) was listed as questionable.

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