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Amidon is always fueling up

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / August 31, 2012
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The way Boston College wide receiver Alex Amidon chugs V8 juice is inexplicable.

His teammates see it all the time, and they cringe.

“It’s gross,” fellow receiver Johnathan Coleman said, just thinking about pounding what’s essentially a soup masquerading as a soft drink. “Nasty.”

Senior wideout Colin Larmond can’t see how.

“His diet is crazy,” Larmond said. “He doesn’t put anything bad in his body.”

But somehow, Amidon can explain.

It started when he was a kid. His mom, like any mom, would tell him to eat his vegetables.

He just figured out a more efficient way to do it.

“I’m like, I can get it done in five minutes if I drink it real quick,” he said.

It’s a small vitamin-A-and-C-infused part of the machinery that keeps him in constant motion on the practice field, and as BC goes into its season opener Saturday against Miami, coach Frank Spaziani said that if there’s one player that’s flown below the radar during the preseason it’s been Amidon.

“It’s about time for Alex to mature and show what he can do,” Spaziani said. “We’re anxious to see how it all plays out. He has had a great preseason and I don’t think many people are talking about Alex.”

That it goes for the entire receiving corps. By and large it’s an unheralded group. The Eagles top returning receiver, Bobby Swigert, didn’t specialize in flash, but he was effective, leading the team in receiving yards two straight seasons.

When he went down in the Eagles’ last scrimmage with a knee injury that will sideline him Saturday, the unit obviously took a hit. Beyond his production, Swigert has a close relationship with quarterback Chase Rettig on and off the field that will be missed.

“It hurts,” Rettig said. “He just loves playing football. He has a great work ethic and he’s always there 24/7. It’s a target that we’re going to miss for a couple weeks but someone else will step up.”

But for the rest of the receivers, it’s become more of an opportunity than an impediment.

“It just gives other people a chance to step up,” Larmond said. “We will miss Swags out there, but these younger guys have stepped up and shown that they can make plays.”

Players such as Amidon, who caught 20 passes for 220 yards and a score last season.

“His work ethic is just up there like no one that I’ve ever seen,” Coleman said. “He’s just blessed to have a high motor. He never gets tired. He never asks to come out. In practice, he never taps. He just keeps going and going.”

Even if it’s fueled by 100 percent vegetable juice.

“That guy, he’s something different,” said Larmond. “He runs full speed every rep, every play whether it’s a run or a pass. He’s a workhorse. He’s in every day an hour before practice.”

Especially in training camp, when days drag out and legs and lungs start to fade, Amidon’s motor never stopped.

“There wasn’t a difference from Day 1 and the last day of scrimmage,” said Rettig.

As one of only two seniors in the group, Larmond sees himself as the one who has to mentor, the way Rich Gunnell, the Eagles’ all-time leader in receiving yards, mentored him.

One of the things Gunnell told him was that the receivers at BC shall remain nameless.

“We’re always underrated,” Larmond said. “That was the first thing Rich always said to us is that we never really get respected.”

It was one of the things first-year offensive coordinator Doug Smith wanted to change. The Eagles had the worst offense in the ACC last year, and their passing game ranked sixth.

There’s a reason for them to have a chip on their shoulders.

“It’s not even a chip on our shoulder to go out there and have 100-yard games or anything like that,” Amidon said. “It’s just a chip on our shoulder to have a good offense really. And all of us are the same. I could go out there and block for [the running backs] all game and if they have a 100 yards each, I would be perfectly fine with that. I think that’s our motivation.”

Rettig said he will be patient, but he’s also told each of his receivers that he intends to spray the ball around as much as possible.

“In this offense, we’re just going to keep spreading the ball around,” Rettig said. “We can’t have any guys that are ‘me, me, me’ guys. I don’t think we have any of those on our team so I think that’s a good thing. I try to tell our receivers to talk to each other out on the field. Inspire each other to keep going because you guys are the guys doing it out there. Celebrate as much when someone else makes a good play as when you make a big play.”

Amidon knows the offense has struggled and said the receivers decided that change starts with them, whether they’re recognized by name or not. Their only responsibility is to put the work in each day, and his V8 consumption is just a small but constant sign that they are.

“This offseason we came together and really said that it was on us,” he said. “Our little unit, we agreed that we need to take this into our own hands. So we’ve really been working as hard as we can.”

Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.

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