CHESTNUT HILL - Frank Spaziani and the Boston College Eagles football team kicked off training camp at the beginning of the week in preparation for the 2011 season, which begins on September 3 against Northwestern.
The Eagles are coming off of a 7-6 season (4-4 ACC) in which they rallied to win their final five games after losing five games in a row, clinching a bowl berth. BC lost to Nevada, 20-13, in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on January 9.
Entering this season, BC has a new face on the sidelines alongside Spaziani - offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers, formerly the QB coach for the Minnesota Vikings - as well as a hefty class of returning starters and fresh faces.
Luke Kuechly, a junior linebacker, and Montel Harris, a senior running back, are the two national standouts on the team this fall, with Kuechly an early favorite for the Butkus Award and Harris being tabbed the ACC Preseason Player of the Year by the ACC media in Greensboro, N.C.
In addition, sophomore quarterback Chase Rettig is ready for his first full season under center after being thrown into the first halfway through last season and being forced to learn as he went as a true freshman.
Kuechly is also a team captain this year, as was decided by a team vote. Joining Kuechly as captains for the 2011 season are senior defensive back Donnie Fletcher, senior wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah and senior offensive guard Nathan Richman.
Here are the notes from the first few days of BC's training camp, in case you missed it.
DAY 1 - Monday, August 8, 2011
BC players reported to training camp on Sunday, but the first official training camp event didn't take place until Monday morning when the team executed a walk through. The first official practice ended at 5:45 p.m. EDT on Monday evening.
Spaziani also announced on Monday that junior Gerald Levano was awarded an athletic scholarship. Levano, a 6-foot-2, 120-pound punter, was born in Massapequa, New York and has played in five games for the Eagles during his sophomore season in the fall of 2009. Prior to that, Levano was redshirted in his freshman season in 2008.
DAY 2 - Tuesday, August 9, 2011
The second day of Eagles' training camp also began with a morning walk through and ended with an afternoon practice. Prior to the start of practice, Spaziani spoke on second-year linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis.
"I expect him to take some steps forward. He played as a true freshman and contributed ... He played off of instincts and athletic ability. Now he has a year under his belt. He's a mature kid and takes it serious. He wants to work hard and we're looking for him to make some strides." (via BC Media Relations)
Spaziani also shared his thoughts on the entire group of linebackers and the defense as a whole.
"We're striving for excellence. We want to be as good as we can possibly be. There are always areas that you can improve ... They know what they have to do on defense and they know the adjustments that they have to make from last year." (via BC Media Relations)
The school also announced on Tuesday that former Eagle Stephen Boyd, Class of 1994, had been named one of 12 ACC Legends in the Class of 2011. Boyd, a native of Valley Stream, New York, played a role in leading the Eagles to three straight bowl games.
Boyd was a two-time member of the All-Big East team in '93 and '94 and proceeded to play seven NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions, where he ranks third all-time in tackles (773). In addition, Boyd was a two-time Pro Bowler and is a member of the BC Varsity Club Hall of Fame.
Boyd will be honored on December 2 at the ACC Night of Legends at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. He and his fellow inductees will also be honored at the ACC Football Championship Game.
DAY 3 - Wednesday, August 10, 2011
BC had it's regular morning walk through and afternoon practice, but the players worse shoulder pads for the practice that took place inside Alumni Stadium. Spaziani talked prior to practice about second-year receiver Bobby Swigert, who was one of 75 players listed on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List, presented to the nation's top wideout.
"I expect him [Bobby Swigert] to pick up where he left off last year. He's bigger and he's faster. People underestimate how hard it is to play as a true freshman ... You have to read coverages. You have all kinds of different techniques that are thrown up against you. And, the other guys are more physical than you are. So, he's made a lot of progress in those areas. He's a smart kid." (via BC Media Relations)
Swigert led the Eagles in receptions (39), receiving yards (504), yards per game (38.8) and touchdowns (four) in 13 games last season. In addition, Swigert ranked second on the team in all-purpose yards with 692.
The school also announced the addition of an online football media center which has BC and opponent game notes, depth charts, final stats, recaps and highlights. It will be available this fall, and can be seen by clicking here.
DAY 4 - Thursday, August 12, 2011
Spaziani led the Eagles through practice drills wearing shoulder pads for the second day, with the first day of practice in full pads coming on Friday. The team will hold its first preseason scrimmage at 6 p.m. on Saturday.