Sports

BC’s football captains a study in perseverance

Boston College head coach Steve Addazio believes his second year after taking over the program may be more difficult than the first season. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press/file
Boston College football coach Steve Addazio believes his second year after taking over the program may be more difficult than the first season.

No exit polls were taken after the Boston College football team voted on its captains. The results were announced at a team meeting Monday night. Four players were elected, three of them graduates pursuing master’s degrees, to lead the Eagles in their second year under Steve Addazio.

The four captains — center Andy Gallik, wide receiver Josh Bordner, safety Dominique Williams (all graduates), and senior linebacker Sean Duggan (a finance major) — all seemed to share a common thread in the tapestry of their unique narratives: perseverance.

Despite hailing from different compass points on the map, Gallik from Evergreen Park, Ill., Bordner from Sykesville, Md., Duggan from Cincinnati, and Williams from Brockton, all took the same painstaking path to leadership.

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“They’re good guys and each one of them has an interesting story,’’ Addazio said Tuesday after the team wrapped up its last padded practice in preparation for Saturday’s 3 p.m. opener against UMass at Gillette Stadium.

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“It’s nice to see Josh Bordner come in here, he really hadn’t played a ton — didn’t play much at all last year,’’ Addazio said. “All of a sudden in his fifth year, he’s got an integral role on the team, he’s a team captain. It just goes to show you how sticking to it pays off.’’

For the 6-foot-4-inch, 230-pound Bordner, the turn of events was just as amazing as his conversion from quarterback to wide receiver over the winter.

“I know the team is looking for someone to lead them and I’m here for them. I’m excited, honored and thrilled,’’ said Bordner, echoing a sentiment shared by his fellow captains. “It definitely validated all the hard work that I’ve put in. Five years I’ve been here, I’ve been through some ups and downs, but I’m just excited for this year and I’m looking forward to it.’’

Bordner’s position switch truly excited Addazio about the prospects of fielding a hybrid-type receiver whose size, athleticism, and speed were capable of posing a match-up problem for opposing defenders. “It’s never a perfect path,’’ Addazio said. “[Bordner] certainly didn’t take the path he would have predicted would happen for his college career, but the ending right now is right where he would want it to be.

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“Dom has overcome all kinds of stuff in his path to get here. And so has Andy. I’m really proud of them,’’ he continued. “Sean Duggan is a guy who two years ago played more than he did last year and now he’s a captain of the team.

“Nothing comes easy. You’ve got to persevere and hang in there and overcome a bunch of obstacles. And sometimes today I don’t think a lot of people like to do that.’’

But in his team captains, Addazio has four shining examples of perseverance.

“I enjoyed seeing them hang in there and reap some success and honor,’’ Addazio said. “I think it’s really a great lesson for everybody. In the team meeting when we announced it, I thought it was great for the younger players here to hear that.’’

Eager to build upon the lessons provided by last year’s senior class, led by captains Ian White and Kasim Edebali, the Eagles were intent on carrying on the legacy they established, following last season’s 7-6 campaign that culminated with the team’s first bowl appearance since 2010.

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“Last year’s seniors did a great job of turning the program around and we need to keep that up,’’ Bordner said. “This season, the senior class has a huge task ahead of them. We need to build off of last season and we’re all looking forward to it.’’

Saying it was a “real humbling experience to be voted captain by your peers and teammates,’’ Duggan said he would hope to bring the lessons he learned as a freshman from then-team captain Luke Kuechly, an All-American linebacker who won the Butkus, Lombardi, and Nagurski awards as a senior before being selected by the Carolina Panthers in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft.

“ I tried to model my work ethic and habits around what he did, so he was a big influence on and off the field,’’ said Duggan, whose intricate understanding and command of Don Brown’s defense helped him win the starting middle linebacker’s job in the preseason over Steven Daniels.

“I guess the biggest thing for me is just to set a good example for the younger guys,’’ said Duggan, a 6-4, 250-pounder. “You want to kind of do all the little things right; run to the ball every play and wrap up even in shoulder-pad practices like this.

“But we have a lot of older guys who do the exact same thing I do.’’

Williams, a 6-foot, 220-pound Brockton native said he will purposefully stride to midfield at Gillette Stadium, where he will proudly stand with his fellow BC captains for the opening coin toss.

“Historically, there have always been great guys, going back to my freshman year, when you had guys like Wes Davis and DeLeon Gause as captains,’’ Williams said. “And every year after that, there was always a strong tradition of great guys on and off the field, with great character, and a love of football. So it’s a blessing to continue that as a captain.’’

“They got to figure a lot of things out,’’ Addazio said of his captains. “They got to figure out how to lead this team and bring the best leadership out of the team and the senior class. It’s a class that hasn’t been in that situation. It’s an interesting dynamic, to me. That’s why the hardest year when you take over a program is Year 2, it always is.

“A lot of young guys come in here and it’s like, you know, ‘I should be starting right now,’ so it’s different,’’ Addazio added. “Every year it gets more different . . . But these guys? These [captains] paid their dues and I like that and I think our team can appreciate that.’’

It was certainly reflected in the outcome of the team’s vote.

Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.