Boston College football coach Steve Addazio said Wednesday that sophomore Darius Wade emerged from spring drills as the starting quarterback, but indicated the decision was not set in stone.
“You’re always going to let competition continue,’’ said Addazio.
The competition is among Wade, a 6-foot, 201-pounder from Middletown, Del., and Troy Flutie, a 6-foot, 182-pound sophomore from Natick. Elijah Robinson, an incoming freshman from Montclair (N.J.) High, enrolled mid-semester and participated in spring drills with Wade and Flutie.
“Darius right now is taking the starting role with this football team at the quarterback position,’’ Addazio said during the ACC’s spring football teleconference. “He was the starter coming out of spring practice, and then of course we still have the whole summer ahead of us with Troy working hard and Elijah and [incoming freshman] Jeff Smith coming here in July.
“So I never close the door on anything, on any position,’’ Addazio added. “But certainly coming out of the spring, Darius was the starter coming out of the spring.’’
Wade seemed to gain a leg up when he enrolled in mid-semester a year ago and got to split time with Tyler Murphy at quarterback last spring. Murphy has graduated.
“So he’s got a full year in here,’’ Addazio said of Wade. “He’s starting to get a good handle on the offense. He throws the ball extremely well. He’s very deceptive. He has outstanding quickness and athletic ability. As spring wore on, he really started to make great plays and manage the offense properly.
“So we’re excited about Darius.’’
Although his defense will have a huge void to fill with the departure of All-America linebacker Vic Beasley, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was confident there would be no noticeable dropoff.
“You’re not going to notice a big difference from the way we finished the year,’’ Swinney said of his defense, which returns six starters from last year’s unit that ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense and No. 3 in scoring defense.
“There’s not a huge difference between Shaq Lawson and Vic Beasley,’’ Swinney said. “Shaq is going to bring certain things to the table that Vic didn’t, so there’s a lot of positives. The first group [defense] is very, very solid. But the biggest difference for us is that we just don’t have the experienced depth.’’
Pitt coach settling in
When Pittsburgh hired Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi as its football coach, it set into motion a whirlwind set of events for Narduzzi, a Youngstown, Ohio, native.
“I’ve been on the job for almost four months now, since being hired in December, the day after Christmas,’’ Narduzzi said. “And it’s been a whirlwind, but I’ve been able to put together a top-notch staff here that’s currently on the road and, day by day, we’ve built to put this program back where we expect it to be here in Pittsburgh and the ACC.’’
Narduzzi, who worked the last 11 seasons for Mark Dantonio, including the last eight at Michigan State, said he learned several important lessons from his mentor.
“The first thing is you win championships with defense,’’ he said. “Being a defensive coordinator for so many years, you just realize how important that is as you go through the years. We’ve been pretty dominant up there [at Michigan State] through the years and, again, even down to Cincinnati, I think we’re pretty good.
“The other thing, I’d say, is really the way we practiced up at Michigan State,’’ Narduzzi said. “And we’ll do the same thing here at the University of Pittsburgh, setting up situational defense, situational offense, and really working those situations, practicing those situations. It’s good to have a multiple offense like we had at Michigan State, so you’re seeing a little bit of the spread, a little bit of pro offense, which is what you’re going to have to see throughout the ACC.’’
UNC bolstering defense
In an attempt to bolster a defense that ranked 117th in the nation in total defense last fall, North Carolina coach Larry Fedora turned to former Auburn coach Gene Chizik, a defensive guru, to install a 4-3 defense as the Tar Heels’ new defensive coordinator.
“Well, obviously, Gene is going to have a tremendous impact on our defense,’’ said Fedora, who returns seven starters from last year’s defensive unit. “He’s running it. We have a completely new scheme and I would say that with the additions of [linebackers coach] John Papuchis and [defensive backs coach] Charlton Warren and the the things that they’ve brought also from Nebraska, it’s a great mixture between the two.
“But Gene is in charge of it. I mean, he’s instilling his style of coaching, his style of play, and the way he wants those guys to play. Yeah, I’m just excited about seeing the end result once the season gets here.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.