Last New Year’s Eve, I found myself on a long and desolate road where no one should be on such a joyous night. The five-hour drive between Shreveport and New Orleans takes one through the darkest corners of Louisiana and, after a convincing beating for BC at the hands of Arizona in the Advocare V100 Bowl, the darkness seemed particularly relevant.
After a reinvigorating 7-5 season for first year head coach Steve Addazio, the Eagles came out flat in their first bowl game in three years, echoing much of the disappointment of the previous regime. However, after a brutal basketball season and a long summer, I have realized that there is plenty to be excited about for the upcoming season.
I wanted to give incoming freshmen and more seasoned upperclassmen alike some tangible reasons to be excited about a football program that is only recently finding its form. So below I have narrowed it down to five reasons to be excited for BC football in 2014:
1. The Schedule
It is a bit of a hike to Foxboro and Gillette Stadium but it is bound to be a fun way to start the season against in-state rival UMass in the home of the Patriots. Then, TWO NIGHT GAMES IN A ROW. This is unheard of in Alumni Stadium. Nationally televised night games bring out the best in the stadium; the one game we usually get is always one of the most fun, win or lose, and this year we get Pitt and USC, two very formidable opponents. After two more home games in arguably the best weather of the season, we get into the meat of the ACC schedule. It is crucial for us to take advantage of this early home stretch if we want to survive a very competitive conference.
For the first time in my BC career, Chase Rettig will not be under center. (In sad news, he was recently cut by the Packers.) Coach Addazio put an end to the competition for the job by naming Florida transfer Tyler Murphy his starter. Perhaps for the better, Freshman Darius Wade will have a year to grow under the more experienced tutelage of Murphy. Rettig was a true pocket passer that relied on his strong O-line and stable running game for support, but Murphy, along with Wade, brings a big a change of pace for the position. As a dual-threat quarterback, Murphy offers more versatility than his predecessor and hopefully a more explosive offense.
3. Running Backs
Andre is gone. We have to accept it. We may no longer have a Heisman hopeful, but his absence also opens the door for a great deal of talent to step up. Last year, the speed of Myles Willis offered a change of pace from the power of Andre, but this year he will be the man. Willis will have a chance to showcase his range of skills that should complement the dual-threat of the QB’s very well. Behind Willis are Sophomore Tyler Rouse and Freshmen Marcus Outlow and Jon Hilliman, who are likely to see a fair amount of playing time.
4. More Dudes
A total of 42 new players are on the roster this season and Addazio has brought in one of the best recruiting classes for BC in the last five years. Depth at many positions will require these freshmen to step up and have an impact early on. But as long as these new players buy in to the mantra of “dude,” understanding the accountability and hard work Addazio requires of his players, the Eagles should not miss a beat. Experience will be key for success on both sides of the ball, as new leaders will need to emerge to guide this young team.
The last few years of BC football have been permeated by a fair amount of cynicism in the upperclassmen—we haven’t expected to win and we haven’t believed in the system. We have seen too many blown leads and losses to the bottom feeders of college football. We have played up to our toughest opponents, but just as far down to our worst opponents. However, something amazing happened last season: Addazio. In just one season, he has changed expectations. Another first in my BC career, I expect us to win this year. In the last home game of the 2013 season, the entire student body rushed the field, not because we beat Maryland or we were headed to some prestigious bowl, but simply because we believed. Though the cold bleakness of Shreveport tried its best to undo the progress of last season, I believe that belief is still there and we will win this year and this will be a great season.
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