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BC's offense springs leaks

Defense dominates in Jay McGillis Game

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / April 26, 2009
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First the good news for the Boston College offense in yesterday's Jay McGillis spring game at Alumni Stadium.

It was warm and sunny, no one suffered any serious injuries, and the next practice is in August.

Other than that, you had to count on faith more than facts in a game that produced a 47-21 win for the Maroon (defense) over the White (offense).

"We need a lot of work," said first-year head coach Frank Spaziani, who must break down what he saw this spring and try to formulate a plan on offense that can put together some firepower.

Yesterday, it was a 37-yard field goal by Steve Aponavicius in the first quarter, and that was it. Points also were awarded - on offense and defense - for things such as sacks, punts, turnovers, and first downs, but there were no touchdown passes from quarterbacks Dominique Davis, Justin Tuggle, and Codi Boek, who are battling for the starting job.

Davis went in with a slight lead on the depth chart. He still has it, although it was more what Boek and Tuggle didn't do, as much as what Davis did do (20 of 40 for 145 yards, with 1 interception).

Boek was 2 of 10 for 14 yards and Tuggle was 2 of 7 for 8 yards. Spaziani even gave redshirt freshman Alexander Atiyeh a quick look (0 for 2).

"We're making progress in inches," said Spaziani. "Now we have to sit down and evaluate what we have and how we're going to do things."

Davis said it is a matter of time getting to know the schemes of new offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill.

"Once we get it, we'll take off," said Davis.

Clearly, the Eagles haven't gotten it on offense yet. The longest completion was 17 yards by Davis and the longest run was a 13-yard mini-burst by Jeff Smith, who received heavy work as a primary running back yesterday with 16 carries for 40 yards.

None of this provided any dazzling moments for the crowd of approximately 2,000 who enjoyed the fanfest activities at The Heights.

Defensively, the Eagles should be fine. Linebacker Mark Herzlich, who will be a contender for the Butkus Award, played after sitting out last week's scrimmage and had nine tackles. Spaziani hopes defensive end Alex Albright (neck surgery last fall) and linebacker Mike McLaughlin (torn Achilles' tendon) will be ready to go by September and that lineman Damik Scafe will help fill the void left by the departure of B.J. Raji and Ron Brace.

Offense is more problematic, although the Eagles were banged up for most of the spring on that side of the ball.

"We had to mix and match a lot," said Spaziani. "We made some progress. We need to make some more. A lot more. But we will get there."

Just when that will happen is the key question.

Free safety Wes Davis was awarded the Jay McGillis Scholarship, given in memory of the defensive back who died of leukemia on July 3, 1992. The scholarship is awarded each year to the defensive back who best exemplifies the personal qualities of McGillis . . . Aponavicius, who came back for a fifth season, pulled a hamstring last Tuesday and was worried about his ability to kick yesterday. "The warm weather helped," he said. "In a lot of ways, I felt like I had my best spring."

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