October 22, 2008

BC Blog: Bad Break

Talk about a bad break. For a second consecutive season BC will be without Brian Toal for the remainder of the season. Toal's career at the heights looks like it is finished.

Coming of his redshirt last year, Toal appeared faster and stronger than ever. He was motivated and determined to live up to the hype, which he received when he committed to BC. His numbers this season backed up his stellar performance, second on the team in tackles, 2 sacks, and 8 rushes for 55 yards. This was turning out to be the type of year we all expected Toal to have. But, on a second quarter play Toal suffered a season ending broken right fibula. He hobbled off the field and into the locker room. It will likely be last time we see #16 in action for BC.

Toal's presence will be missed, on both sides of the ball. On defense, he and Mark Herzlich formed an impressive duo. His speed and athleticism made him difficult to block. He has those certain intangibles you just love to see from the linebacker position that "player-coach" mentality combined with sheer grit and determination. Robert Francois will likely fill in for Toal for the remainder of the season, and while Francois may be a suitable backup, he certainly lacks the talent and ability of Brian Toal.

I am still confident in our defense, and I believe that the rest of the linebackers will step up in his absence. Our front seven remains strong and we will continue to dominate up front. But without Toal our defense lacks speed, as Brian might have been the fastest player on our defense. The defense struggled to contain Tyrod Taylor once Toal went down. This will hurt us against the likes of Florida State and Notre Dame, whose players are faster and quicker than ours.

I think this could potentially hurt us on offense as well. We have become so reliant on him in short yardage situations, and I really liked how Logan began to use him as a decoy this year too. When he came in it on offense, it motivated the crowd and I think the team as well.

Brian Toal, although not officially a captain, provided a spark for this squad. His intensity and emotions on the field led the team and the home crowd. Toal had also taken on a new role this year, vocal leader. It was his half-time speech during the Central Florida game that resulted in a dramatic second half turnaround.

This is an unfortunate ending to Brian Toal's once promising career at the heights. While there is no doubt he will be healthy for the scouting combine, where he will likely excel, he will leave BC having never achieved his full potential. Toal's injury hurts this team, you cannot replace a player like Brian Toal. Ultimately though I think we have enough depth to manage without him. We made to the championship without him last year, and I am confident we can do so again.

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