Boston College completed its first game-week practice Monday in preparation for Saturday afternoon’s season opener against UMass at Gillette Stadium.
While the Eagles emerged relatively unscathed from training camp, there was one notable exception: the season-ending knee injury suffered by junior linebacker Tim Joy of Chelmsford during last Wednesday’s third and final scrimmage of camp.
“It’s a hit,’’ coach Steve Addazio said of Joy, who had played in 15 games over the past two seasons and was projected to provide depth at the middle and weakside linebacker spots. “More importantly, your heart goes out to Tim because he worked really hard to prepare for the season.
“It’s just really disappointing for a young man to put all that he put into the season and go on the shelf for the year before you even get out of the blocks. So it’s sad, but it’s a part of the game.’’
Given the number of season-ending injuries that have plagued teams across the college landscape, Addazio said though one injury was one too many, the Eagles were fortunate they didn’t suffer more after wrapping up what the second-year BC coach called “as physical a preseason as I’ve ever been around.’’
“We’ve tackled a lot,’’ said Addazio, who ramped up the physical contact in camp to prepare some of his younger players for the rigors of a college season. “We’ve been very physical with a lot of 1-vs.-1, a lot of hard live contact, so I’m not looking back over my shoulder, saying, ‘Boy, I wished we could’ve hit more,’ because we really couldn’t do any more than we did.’’
With the opener looming, Addazio began tapering off Monday, and will have his team don helmets and shoulder pads in Tuesday and Wednesday’s practices.
“We’re almost going the other way now,’’ he said. “We need to back off and get their legs back. We had a very physical preseason, as physical a preseason as I’ve been around, but we’ve done a good job of managing our players.
“We cut down our practice times, we were really prudent in where we strategically gave them a little bit of time off. I really think we managed it as well as we could have managed it. Again, right now, the proof is in the pudding. For the amount of hitting and tackling we did, we’re relatively healthy.’’
In stark contrast to a year ago, when he seemed to do the bulk of the work in preseason camp by taking every live repetition at running back in place of Andre Williams, junior David Dudeck will head into the opener a question mark.
“Hamstring,’’ Addazio said. “He’s fine. You know those hamstrings. You try to come back and then you tweak ’em again and the best thing to do is just to shut it down.’’
Dudeck, as a result, was forced to curtail his participation in camp and was idle for much of it.
“You can’t keep tweaking those things,’’ Addazio said. “It’s nothing serious.’’
Addazio said senior wideout Bobby Swigert, who sat out last season recovering from multiple knee surgeries, was not expected to be available for Game 1 and that junior wideout Harrison Jackson, who underwent offseason knee surgery, continued to show progress with his rehab.
“He’s still doing great in rehab,’’ Addazio said of Jackson. “He’s not [ready] yet. He may play this season, but that’s still to be determined. He’s ahead of schedule, though.’’
Brown, Phillips good to go
UConn transfers Ty-Meer Brown, a 6-foot, 201-pound safety from McKeesport, Pa., and Shakim Phillips, a 6-3, 206-pound receiver from Paterson, N.J., who is on his second tour at BC, are expected to be available against UMass, despite being limited in camp by nagging leg injuries.
Both players were present Monday when players and coaches assembled at Alumni Stadium to pose for the 2014 team photo.
“Shakim will be ready to roll,’’ Addazio said. And Brown as well? “Yup,’’ the coach said.
The team captains were elected by the players: center Andy Gallik, receiver Josh Bordner, linebacker Sean Duggan, and safety Dominique Williams of Brockton.
“They got it right,” Addazio said of the voting.
An early look
With eight freshmen listed on the offensive depth chart (four are expected to play) and eight more on defense (up to six could play), Addazio wanted to make certain there were no wide eyes when the Eagles showed up at 68,000-seat Gillette Stadium for the opener. The BC coach took his team to Foxborough on Friday to attend the Patriots’ 30-7 exhibition victory over the Panthers.
“It was twofold,’’ Addazio said of the field trip. “One was to get in the bus trip and see the stadium, and the other part was to get them out a bit and get the entertainment of being together as a team and watching football.”
For some freshmen, though, it was an eye-popping experience.
“We brought ’em down there and it was like you’d expect,’’ Addazio said, mimicking the awestruck look of a bewildered freshman. “The buses pulled up and it was exactly like that. They saw it, you know. So the next time we go down there, there won’t be a lot of that.’’
The team stayed only until halftime. “We had a big practice the next morning,’’ Addazio said. “It all worked, it was good. But we had to get back because it was an early start the next morning.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.