Boston College’s defense absorbed a huge hit Wednesday when Eagles coach Steve Addazio announced junior defensive end Mehdi Abdesmad had suffered a season-ending torn patellar tendon in his left knee.
Abdesmad, a 6-foot-7-inch, 278-pounder from Montreal regarded by Addazio as one of BC’s best defensive linemen, suffered the injury early in the second half of last Saturday’s 48-34 loss to Florida State. He ranked seventh on the team in tackles with 17, including a pair of sacks.
“It’s a tough loss, but you’ve got to move forward, that’s the way it is,’’ said Addazio, who indicated Abdesmad had yet to undergo surgery. “He’s a heck of a kid and a heck of a player and he’s going to do fine.’’
To fill the void, Jaryd Rudolph, a 6-3, 275-pound senior from Plympton, will start in Abdesmad’s place in Saturday’s scheduled game against Army. He will be backed up by Truman Gutapfel, a 6-3, 261-pound true freshman from Harrison, Ohio.
“We’re just filling in line and we’re expected to do our jobs,’’ Rudolph said. “It’s a tough loss, but we’re ready. We’re all ready to fill in on the run and the pass. We know Mehdi was one of our best D-linemen, but hopefully we can replace that.’’
When he was helped off the field, Abdesmad tried to exhort his teammates when he turned and yelled to them, “Let’s go! Do this!’’ The words resonated for senior defensive end Kasim Edebali, a cocaptain who intended to use them as motivation.
“If a man is hurt and he says something [inspirational] in pain, that’s the most powerful thing to me,’’ Edebali said. “So when Mehdi said that, I was like, ‘I’ve got to go all out,’ because you never know when your next play is going to be your last. So I’ll try to play with as much passion and as much heart as I can always having Mehdi in the back of my mind.’’
Practice needs work
Despite having to practice with the specter of the postponement of Saturday’s Army game, the Eagles went back to work after taking Monday off to gather themselves from a physical battle against the Seminoles.
The team responded favorably in Tuesday’s practice. “We had a pretty good day,’’ Addazio said.
The coach, however, was not as certain about Wednesday’s practice. “I felt today wasn’t quite the same,’’ Addazio said. “We had a lot of guys out today, though. We had one offensive lineman who left today. Nothing serious. Just a lot of guys banged up.’’
BC’s defense showed extra focus with the prospect of facing Army’s vaunted rushing attack, which rolled up 414 yards last Saturday in a romp over Louisiana Tech and is ranked second in the nation (325.8 yards per game).
“I thought the defense had a heck of a day today,’’ Addazio said.
The entire offense, meanwhile, gathered in a circle for up-downs following practice.
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.