The future of Boston College football was on display at Alumni Stadium during Saturday’s Jay McGillis Memorial Spring Game.
And that future seems to be based upon speed.
With incumbent starter Anthony Brown (knee) unavailable, sophomore E.J. Perry and redshirt freshman Matt McDonald shared reps at quarterback and executed well within an Eagles offense predicated on lateral movement.
Perry completed 11 of 18 passes for 118 yards, a touchdown, and an interception while primarily playing with the first-team offense on “Team White.”
McDonald was 16-of-23 passing for 156 yards and three touchdowns with the second-team offense on “Team Maroon,” although both quarterbacks switched units at times in the second half.
Team Maroon edged Team White, 26-21, on a last-second touchdown pass from fourth-string quarterback Dennis Grosel to senior running back John Fadule.
“[McDonald and Perry] made some really good plays today and that’s the way it’s been all spring,” said coach Steve Addazio.
“They’re young guys and they ride the roller coaster a bit, but it’s been great for them to get all those reps. They really grew and developed and it’s encouraging to see the potential of those guys.”
Brown is expected to be ready in time for the Eagles’ season opener Sept. 1 against UMass, but in the meantime McDonald and Perry are getting plenty of experience under center.
“It’s helped us tenfold to come out here and get so many reps every day,” said Perry. “Everything is a competition, but Matt is a good friend of mine and it was fun for us to both come out and play well today.”
BC ranked 15th in the nation in plays per game last season after ranking 110th in the 2016 season.
Playing with increased pace allowed ACC Rookie of the Year A.J. Dillon (who sat out the scrimmage along with 12 other starters for precautionary reasons) to compile 1,589 rushing yards behind a versatile offensive line.
With all five starters returning on the offensive line in addition to three linemen with at least 10 starts under their belts, that unit should remain a strength for the Eagles.
“[The versatility of the offensive line] will help us moving forward,” said Addazio. “We’ll get [sophomore] Elijah [Johnson] and [senior] Jon Baker back from injury and that will really increase our depth, which you need in the [ACC]. We have experience and depth and I feel confident.”
On the perimeter, senior wide receiver Elijah Robinson provided the two biggest highlights of the day, snatching a deep pass from McDonald down the sideline for a 44-yard touchdown reception in the first half and hooking up with Perry for a 32-yard completion down the opposite sideline in the second half.
Sophomore wide receiver Kobay White caught three balls for 19 yards and two touchdowns and sophomore Ben Glines showed his versatility as a runner and receiver on short patterns.
“Overall I thought it was one of the best springs we’ve had,” said Addazio.
“We’re ahead of where we’ve been in the past. We were missing a couple of guys today so we were actually a bit slower than we normally would be, but we were able to throw it around a bit and keep things on the move.”Nathaniel Weitzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.