Monday, August 24, 2009

Preseason breakdown: Wide Receivers

Part III of the previews. This time I turn my attention to the wide receivers.

Consensus heading into the season

“If a tree falls in the woods…” Because there are serious concerns if BC will even throw the ball this year, no one is really talking about our WRs. It’s unfortunate that much like last year, BC will have a deep and talented WR group that won’t really have a chance to show their stuff.

Roster Reminders
Returning Starters
Rich Gunnell
Backups and Hopefuls
Johnathan Coleman
Billy Flutie
Chris Fox
Justin Jarvis
Colin Larmond, Jr.
Clyde Lee
Ryan Lindsey
Clarence Megwa
Ifeanyi Momah

Since many of the names on the roster above committed during the pass-happy Steve Logan-Matt Ryan era, there were some rumblings of discontent and transfers. Fortunately all the guys with upside and talent remained.

The Real Question
We are hearing that Tranq’s schemes are a hybrid of his philosophies, a bit of Logan leftovers and a few adjustments for the talent on the field. That is all well and good when it comes to play design and play calling. The question on my mind is what are the WRs going to be instructed to do once the play breaksdown. Starting with the Paul Peterson days, BC QBs and WRs started becoming much more aggressive and consistent about heading downfield on broken plays. Logan and Ryan went deep with even more regularity. This only made sense since we had smart QBs and decent lines that could provide extra protection. This aggressiveness led to numerous big plays. We didn’t see it as much last year as Crane-Davis were more inclined to run and also lacked the downfield accuracy. I hope to see a few bombs away moments this year because I think our guys have the capability to turn them into TDs.

My bold prediction

This has less to do with the regular season and more to do with next spring but I think Rich Gunnell will be drafted next year. While that might not seem like a big deal, do you realize Kelvin Martin was the last BC wide receiver taken with an NFL draft pick? That was 1987! Now consider all the offensive talent we’ve had since then and the thousands of passes completed yet none of those guys were considered elite talents. Gunnell will hopefully change that as he’s got a good combination of size, speed and hands.

What keeps me up at night
That we ignore this group. Think back to last year against NC State. Crane put up big numbers but much of the credit was due to the WRs who made big plays and pulled in tons of balls. We almost stole the Music City Bowl when Larmond burned the Vandy DBs late in the game. There is talent here. But if we hunker down and only throw 15 times in a game, we’ll let a great pool of guys waste away. Even if the QBs are shaky we need to air it out. In part to keep the opponents’ D honest and in part because we have some playmakers.

Perhaps I am being gushing too much about a group of returning players that only caught 94 balls collectively last year. I guess rewatching the ACC Championship Game was a reminder that their productivity was less about talent and more about play calling and QB play. I think they should be able to fill any hole left by Brandon Robinson. I also think the continued maturity and development of Larmond and Momah could pay huge dividends this year.


Big Jack Krack said...

Well, I guess the success of the wr's is dependent on several things besides their own ability to get open and catch the ball.

Hopefully our new OC will coach to the players rather than coaching to some rigid formula. If we're close to 50% run and 50% pass, we could be super.

My opinion of this crop of players is very high. Gunnell - of course, but Larmond, Jarvis and Momah could all be great at times. We're all rooting for Megwa and Clyde Lee looks like a legitimate deep threat. Where does that leave other very good and capable players like Flutie and Lindsey? I'd love to see Chris Fox get a shot at something and Coleman can redshirt.

You can see that I feel we are very deep. The coaches can shuttle in many different combinations without losing much ability - and keep the wr's fresh.

If Tuggle or Boek or Shinskie can get the ball to these guys (we have other great options at TE and RB) we're going to be something. I know that the inexperience at QB can lead to poor timing on pass routes, etc. But if we have a little escapability like Russell Wilson, we have enough talent to drive our opponents crazy. And we have Smith and Flutie who can throw the ball. Tranquill needs to play to our strengths - and I hope he just doesn't dust off an old chart and call plays like he did while he was at UNC.

Let's go BC - Let's go Coaching Staff - give these players a chance to show their stuff!!!!! You've got nothing to lose - so throw the house at them and have some fun!!

Joe Bags said...

This blog needs a message board. A place where all opinions are respected. Just sayin'...

bosa90 said...

And that message board should have one or more adult-themed forums.

Big Jack Krack said...

Off topic, but did anyone catch Raycom's Football Saturdays in the South this past Saturday?

The final segment was a visit to Haden Sports and Performance in District Heights, Maryland where college athletes are made. Joe Haden, Jr., a former bodybuilder, started the business to train his sons; Joe Haden III, junior cornerback for the Florida Gators, Josh Haden, sophomore running back at Boston College, and Jordan Haden, a high school senior and Florida signee next fall. Spend time with the Hadens at home and in the gym for the workout of your life.

Sorry I missed it.

ATL_eagle said...

Does anyone know of a good free message board site?

Raj said...

personally i think we lost a great physical receiver in B-Rob. He was questionable at times, but remember the catches he has made these last 2 years in traffic and while taking big hits. That sends a message to the defense.

I just hope that our WR corps isnt soft. Gunnell is gritty and can be an elite receiver, the same can be said for Jarvis. I just want to make sure once we do catch the ball, we hang on to it. This team cant afford to have ridiculous turnovers.

With that said, if we can complete our passes, i like our chances to get to .500.

Margaret Murtagh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SaturdaysOnShea said...

I agree with ATL in that I think Gunnell could have a big year and go drafted. He has always seemed to me to be flying under the radar but he is a smart, talented and very consistent player. If you go back and look Gunnell was the one who caught the first game winning touchdown in the Miracle at Blacksburg that was called back on a penalty. He also caught the game winner at Clemson that year and made an amazing catch at Wake Forest this year to set up the game winning score. Yet with all this, no one ever seems to mention him. I think that with someone who can at least throw the ball somewhere near Gunnell (which may be asking too much) he could have a great year.

Big Jack Krack said...

I agree with you, John - Rich Gunnell is our top receiver and go to guy.

I must say that in light of Shinskie's injury, I am more in favor of Boek and Tuggle getting the ball to Gunnell and our other receivers than our true freshman. I can't imagine Marscovetra going to Death Valley - Clemson on September 19th and having a good game - never having experienced a crowd like that before.

Of course it doesn't matter what I think :-)

Wesley said...

Agree with some of what Raj says..
We lost a great VERY physical WR in B-ROB, he was very underrated..
Is he over 6 ft tall? no. but he wrestled for every yard he did get, and broke a good amount of tackles.

conlonc said...

Gunnell was on the All-ACC team that put together. And just the other day HD said Gunnell could have been in her top 30 in the ACC. So he does get some recognition.

Matt Ryan played pretty well in Death Valley in the first action on the road in his career (unless you count some garbage time at Temple). Just sayin'.

Big Jack Krack said...

I agree 100% about Matt Ryan on his first trip to Death Valley - and I was at that game.

I should have been clearer - what I was trying to say was Marscovetra is brand new to the team - brand new to college football. Matt was a sophomore at the beginning of his third season at BC, having redshirted his freshman year. It was Matt's first trip, but he had exposure to big atmosphere prior to starting that game. It was a tremendous performance for sure, but it might be asking way too much for young Mr. Mascovetra, who has no foundation for such a deafening and hostile experience. Matt had two years on him in this regard.

I'll support whoever is our QB - and I'll be there on September 19th cheering him and the team on in person.