Isaiah Miranda all but packed away his pass-catching skills the moment he walked on at Boston College in 2016.
He made a name for himself at BC High as an All-Catholic Conference middle linebacker, but he also had experience as a tight end.
He got a glimpse of the BC offense when he arrived at the Heights, but inevitably defense became his sole focus.
That was until last summer, when Eagles coach Steve Addazio approached the redshirt junior about switching to the opposite side of the football.
Changing positions wasn’t an issue for Miranda.
“I always say I’m a football player first before a strict position,” he said. “I love the game. Wherever I can get in and do a job, I’ll do it.”
But when he walked in the tight ends room and cracked open the playbook, it was dramatically different from the one he remembered three years ago.
In BC’s process of overhauling the offense before the 2016 Quick Lane Bowl, the tight end position became the engine.
“When I switched over, I noticed the tight end was almost like the quarterback,” Miranda said. “You’ve got to know the pass, you’ve got to know the line, and really know your stuff.”
To get himself up to speed, Miranda buried himself in the playbook. His first test came last week in BC’s 58-27 win at Syracuse. The Eagles were reeling at tight end with Chris Garrison (knee) out for the season and Korab Idrizi (out) sidelined for a third straight game. In a pinch, Miranda was able to step in and keep the offense from missing a beat, catching a 4-yard touchdown pass in the rout.
“I just wanted to get my stuff down, prepare like I started and when my name was called I just had to execute my job,” he said.
That job becomes even more important as the Eagles look ahead to a crucial matchup Saturday against Florida State.
Between Miranda and converted defensive end Joey Luchetti, the Eagles have had to be creative to maintain depth and talent at arguably the most demanding positions on the roster.
“I’ve said it before that [tight ends are] one of the most important parts of our offense,” said quarterback Dennis Grosel.
“There are two or three of them in at a time and they are responsible for catching passes, running routes and also being there as an offensive lineman. They have the most information to process at a time.
“It’s not easy. I’ve sat in their meetings before and even for me, I know everything about the offense, but the hand placement on blocking or the blocking patterns, just little stuff like that that I don’t realize they do — it’s just me looking downfield and seeing that they’re open — the details of everything is pretty impressive.”
Luchetti started out in the Eagles tight end room as a freshman in 2018 but quickly moved to defensive end.
“We didn’t like him, we loved him,” said Addazio. “We moved him over to defense because we felt like we wanted to get more of a pool of guys on the defensive end.”
But when injuries struck, Addazio decided to move Luchetti back to his natural position, which meant Luchetti had to go through the same crash course as Miranda with less time to cram.
“I was a little bit familiar with it and I’m comfortable with all the guys in the room right now,” Luchetti said. “So they’ve been spending extra time with me, helping me learn the offense and I’m starting to pick it up pretty good right now.”
Adjusting on the fly wasn’t difficult.
“I’ve been kind of used to flipping back and forth,” Luchetti said. “It really wasn’t a big deal to me because I’ll just do whatever I need to do to get on the field and help my team win.”
But the learning curve was steep, between grasping the responsibilities in the run game and also getting a feel for assignments in the passing game.
“I’m still learning both at about the same speed,” Luchetti said. “But right now I’m really focusing on the run and then the pass concepts will come.”
Addazio was optimistic about the chances of Idrizi returning this week, as well as tight end Hunter Long, who suffered a lower-body injury against Syracuse.
With things still up in the air, Miranda and Luchetti will have to stay prepared.
“If I’m always ready, there’s [no need to] flip a switch,” Miranda said. “I just try to go about my weeks the same, prepare like a starter and whatever happens, happens.
“If I’m on the field, I’ve just got to do my job and handle my responsibilities.”
. . .
Florida State defensive tackle Marvin Wilson will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery earlier this week because of a hand injury, according to interim head coach Odell Haggins.
Wilson had 44 tackles and five sacks as a junior. Haggins said Wilson ‘‘will remain involved as a captain and respected leader for our team.’’