Eagles Take Step Forward in Second and Final Fall Scrimmage

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A week removed from a scrimmage that saw Boston College football head coach Steve Addazio remark that his team was “a long way to go until we’re game ready,” the Eagles retook the field and showed that they had indeed taken steps forward. With two weeks to go until the season opener against Virginia Tech, BC displayed improved execution and, while hampered by occasional penalties, for the most part was a better team. 

“We worked on everything,” head coach Steve Addazio told BCEagles.com. “There are so many things that can come up in the first game, and we wanted to put in live scenarios. I’m really jacked that we got (everything) accomplished, and it’s really good to see.” 

There were plenty of takeaways from the scrimmage, with Addazio and his staff incorporating game-like situations and further preparing for the Hokies, per BCEagles.com.

Dillon is Back and Better Than Ever

In the few minutes of game action before last year’s SERVPRO First Responder Bowl was canceled, AJ Dillon—who had a month to prepare for the matchup with Boise State—looked himself again after dealing with injuries. He even had a 19-yard rushing touchdown under his belt before that thunder rolled in, and it boded well for the upcoming season.

He was (albeit briefly) on full display in the scrimmage, impressing with the opportunities he was presented. Dillon was able to grind in the trenches for yardage, then also flashed his signature speed by breaking through the right side of the offensive line and sprinting the distance of the field for a score. He didn’t lack confidence, either.

“That play was the offensive line and the tight ends blocking,” the sophomore running back said. “Isaiah Miranda made an amazing block, and we’ll watch it on film. It opened up down the sideline. It wound up with me, one-on-one, against the safety. I’m going to win that one.”

Depth Chart Jostling at Quarterback

One takeaway from the first scrimmage was that Dennis Grosel and Matt Valecce were battling for the backup role behind Anthony Brown, as the two aim to fill the void vacated by E.J. Perry and Matt McDonald. On Saturday, those two impressed in stints with the second-team unit as the positional battle waged on.

Grosel found Noah Jordan-Williams through the air and scampered for a 20-yard gain on a quarterback keeper on one drive, while Valecce found Zay Flowers—a dynamic freshman warranting his own section—for a good gain as well.  Not to be glossed over is the competition between Daelen Menard and Sam Johnson, with both making the most of third-team opportunities as they combined for almost 30 snaps.

Freshman Flowers Continues to Shine

At this point, it seems like Flowers can do a little bit of everything on the football field. Yes, he fumbled a punt and ended up running backward and nearly into a safety, but everything else was nothing short of impressive. Addazio seems fascinated by the different places he can slot the first-year product of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Flowers ran jet sweeps, beat double coverage to snag a pass from Brown, and returned a kickoff for a solid gain. For a team that lost Michael Walker—a dominant return man and a handy slot receiver—to graduation, Flowers is a perfect addition.

“He’s an explosive athlete,” Addazio said. “He has great ball skills. We had a couple of guys with speed, but he has more than elite speed. He is a tight turn guy. He can come in and out of cuts with no wasted motion. He is a guy that has a really good chance to make some plays for us.”

Nearing Game Week Vs. Virginia Tech

As the last scrimmage of the fall, this one had some added flavor in an effort to get closer to game readiness. Addazio and his staff incorporated more specific game-like situations, whether it was on offense or special teams. Punter Grant Carlson, for instance, landed a punt within the 10-yard line from midfield, kicked out of his own end zone, and executed a punt after a safety.

The Eagles also ran a drill that simulated the end of a half or a game. The first-team defense took the field against the second-team offense with four minutes on the clock, then the first-team offense took over against the second-team defense in a two-minute drill. BC turned the ball over as it was driving the ball back up the field, though, but that’s just another thing that the Eagles have to try and perfect as they prepare for the Hokies.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff

Bradley Smart
About Bradley Smart 381 Articles
Bradley is the sports editor for The Heights. He believes that America does truly run on Dunkin, baseball teams should always wear stirrups, you can't outrun a bear, and being down 3-1, in anything, is never cause for concern. You can follow him on Twitter @bradleysmart15.