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Eagles Notebook: Eagles, Hokies Clash After Very Different Paths

Boston College and Virginia Tech have certainly taken different roads to get to their week four matchup at Alumni Stadium on Saturday. For the Eagles (2-0), two victories over FCS Weber State (38-20) and Kent State (26-13) were followed by a bye last week and a chance to rest.

CHESTNUT HILL - Boston College and Virginia Tech have certainly taken different roads to get to their week four matchup at Alumni Stadium on Saturday (12:10 p.m. ET, RAYCOM).

For the Eagles (2-0), two victories over FCS Weber State (38-20) and Kent State (26-13) were followed by a bye last week and a chance to rest.

"We saw what we wanted to see out of the young guys," said Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani about the bye week. "We got them some work and we got some guys who needed rest, rest. We got out of it what I wanted to get out of it and we’ll find out how much farther advanced we are. But we were able to give people a lot of reps and treat it like spring ball and get some of these young guys who are going to need to play for us a little more football."

As for head coach Frank Beamer's Hokies (1-2), a heartbreaking 33-30 loss to No. 3 Boise State and a shocking 21-16 loss to FCS James Madison opened up the new campaign.

Virginia Tech was able to get back on track with a 49-27 romping of East Carolina last Saturday, giving Beamer confidence heading into week four.

"As far as last week goes, it was a good win (and) I'm really proud," said Beamer. "There's been a sense in every game where we've hung in there and battled and competed against a good football team and I thought it was a really good win."

Beamer wasn't the only one who took something out of the Hokies' win over East Carolina.

"You see what you see on tape and obviously you process it and make some judgments of what they’ll use against you and what you can do against them and that’s how you go with it," said Spaziani.

On the whole, Spaziani is rather impressed.

"They're always tough to figure out because they're well-coached and they have great players," he said. "They've had a great program down there for a long time. As far as figuring them out this year, what happened? They played a fantastic tea, in the opener and it went down to the last minute, and then they came back in a very tough situation playing a very tough team. S0 the ball bounced the wrong way, I don't see anything hard to figure out."

Heading into this weekend's ACC opener, the Eagles will rely heavily on junior running back Montel Harris, and with good reason.

Harris has 195 yards and one touchdown on 48 carries this season. In the season opener against Weber State, Harris rushed for 115 yards and a score.

Two weeks ago against Kent State, Harris racked up 80 yards on 229 carries after struggling in the first half.

"Montel is a glide," Spaziani said. "He just glances off blows and so far he's got great balance and has been able to absorb stuff rather than taking them."

Harris' carries are up considerably from last season, as he had run the ball 34 times in the first two games. At the same point this season, Harris is up to 48.

"We didn't want to do that, and last year we did that out of necessity," Spaziani said about the use of his star running back. "We're trying to build some depth here and we have some young guys who we've played a little bit.. Unfortunately we have a couple young problems. But we're going to use Montel as we need to use Montel to win."

After a rocky start in week one against Weber State in which he completed 10-of-20 passes for 185 yards, tow touchdowns and two interceptions, quarterback Dave Shinskie looked a lot better against Kent State in week two.

Shinskie connected on 18-of-27 passes for 214 yards and two scores in the Eagles' win over the Golden Flashes.

"He's got a better understanding of what it takes to be a quarterback at this level: the work ethic, the strain that needs to go into it, the time. He's put in all those extracurricular hours on his own. He's practiced better. But he's got to go do it now. We've had two games but it's a different pace now."

Last year, Virginia Tech had its way against Boston College, trouncing the Eagles 48-14 in Blacksburg.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw two early touchdowns and running back Ryan Williams ran for 159 yards in a touchdown in the Hokies victory.

"For everybody, that was a big challenge and we certainly didn’t handle it very well," Spaziani said. "We have made progress, but we haven’t had that challenge yet again. We’re going to find out how much progress we’ve made."

On the other side of the ball, Beamer knows that his team will have a tough time against the Eagles both offensively and defensively.

"You look at this week and you go to Boston College that's typically very big and strong up front, brings pressure from different places on defense, extremely well coached there, it's certainly a challenge to go up to Boston and play those guys," Beamer said.

As for Williams, who is one of Virginia Tech's offensive catalysts, Beamer doesn't know for sure if he will be good to go on Saturday.

"We'll list him on Thursday on the injury report and we won't know until then what his situation's going to be," he said.

On offense, Beamer made it know that this team needs to step up against the Eagles' talented offensive line.

"It's critical, I think from a defensive standpoint, they're big, experienced, and tough," Beamer said. "And that's just typical of BC and they uphold that tradition, so you better have some toughness yourself."

The Hokies lead the all-time series against Boston College 12-6 and have defeated the Eagles five out of eight times at Alumni Stadium.

Recent history is on the Eagles' side as they are 5-1 coming off of a bye week ever since joining the ACC in 2005. Ironically, the Eagles only loss coming off a bye week was against Virginia Tech, 30-10, in Blacksburg in 2005.

Yet that is in the past, and both schools are looking to get off on the right foot in the ACC opener.

"Yeah, I think it's a critical game for both of us," said Beamer. "It's our first ACC game and there's not question it's a critical game, early in the season for both of us."