With the season opener against Villanova less than two weeks away, the Boston College football team held its second scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday morning at Alumni Stadium. It was evident by the number of starters who were held out of the scrimmage that coach Steve Addazio had but one objective.
“I wanted to develop the depth today,’’ he said. “How many more chances will we have to develop the depth? We’ll start game-planning for Villanova shortly and then I can’t develop the depth anymore. That was kind of the focus today.’’
That much was evident as the offense operated without running back Andre Williams, wide receiver Alex Amidon, and left tackle Matt Patchan, while the defense was without linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis and end Kaleb Ramsey. All were healthy scratches.
“We held a pretty large number of guys back today, kind of by design to get some other guys some reps,’’ Addazio said. “Even without some of the starters in there, we were pretty productive early.’’
Senior quarterback Chase Rettig continued to look sharp. He threw a 48-yard touchdown strike to sophomore wideout Harrison Jackson and converted a pair of situational drives in the red zone, hitting Spiffy Evans on a 20-yard skinny post pattern for a TD, and then converting third and goal with a 4-yard toss to David Dudeck, who handled the bulk of the reps at running back.
“Those were all kind of situational deals that ended up working out for us pretty well,’’ said Rettig. “One of them was a play-action deal and we got them on that. The big thing is we’re trying to work hard on the play at the line of scrimmage and trying to make everything look the same. You just want every play to be good.’’
Rettig had BC’s defense on its heels, particularly in the red zone.
“Chase has done a pretty good job,’’ said senior linebacker Steele Divitto. “We’ve thrown a lot at him every day. We’ve put in a couple of new blitzes here and there and he’s done a pretty good job of setting the front and recognizing the blitz package and stuff. It’s good experience for him and it’s good experience for us, too, because he deals with it pretty well.’’
Junior Josh Bordner, who is battling senior Mike Marscovetra for the backup quarterback job, missed the scrimmage after tweaking his knee last week.
“He’s nicked up,’’ Addazio said. “Don’t know when he’ll be back.’’
Bordner’s absence meant Marscovetra and freshman James Walsh split reps. During the red-zone drills, Marscovetra twice led the offense to scores. He connected with Marcus Grant on a flanker screen that went for a 20-yard TD, then directed a flawed four-play drive that stalled at the 19 after a high shotgun snap from backup center Frank Taylor resulted in a 12-yard loss, forcing the offense to settle for a 36-yard field goal by Nate Freese.
Marscovetra and Walsh struggled during third-down drills. Marscovetra threw a pick-six to sophomore defensive back Justin Simmons, who deflected a pass intended for Grant, corralled it, and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Walsh, meanwhile, took a sack when he was dropped by Sean Duggan on third and 4.
“I liked it all the way until we got to the third-down period,’’ Addazio said of the scrimmage. “Once we hit that situational third-down period, the wind just seemed to come out of the balloon.’’
Doing it all
With freshman Tyler Rouse nursing an injured hamstring and Williams a scratch, it was left up to a nicked up Tahj Kimble, freshman Myles Willis, and an overworked Dudeck to split reps at running back.
Despite the workload, Dudeck, the 5-foot-11-inch, 190-pound sophomore, still managed to make plays, ripping off runs of 26 and 49 yards.
“David Dudeck just takes all the reps,’’ Addazio marveled. “He just gets blown out, but he’s one of those guys who keeps going, going, and going. That guy is ragged from camp and he doesn’t have much juice left in him, but he’s still making plays. So, that guy is a warrior. But far too many reps are falling on his shoulders right now.’’
Addazio was hoping to get through this final full-padded scrimmage relatively unscathed, but that was not the case as junior linebacker Josh Keyes injured his left knee, leaving the coach “a little edgy’’ about his status. With Pierre-Louis on the sideline, it meant Divitto had to switch from middle to strong-side linebacker.
“I don’t mind,’’ said Divitto, a 6-2, 237-pounder from Ridgefield, Conn. “I did it in high school, so that’s all right.’’
Asked about his transition this season to the middle, Divitto said, “It’s a lot of fun. It’s pure chaos every play. Coach [Don] Brown [the defensive coordinator] has done a pretty phenomenal job coaching me up on that.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.