August 11, 2009

Football notes: Shinskie looking the part

The first day of practice is in the books at Boston College and initial impressions of quarterback Dave Shinskie are good. While he has plenty to learn when it comes to the offense and hasn't been tested at all in game situations, Shinskie has the arm and physical attributes needed to be at least solid as a 25-year-old freshman.

Shinskie has above average arm strength, as you would expect from a former professional baseball pitcher, and his accuracy has improving since he started playing 7-on-7 ball with the team earlier this summer. Physically, Shinskie stands tall in the pocket and has good weight on him it appears. The one question that hasn't been answered, aside from the obvious, is how well does he move. We haven't seen him do much when it comes to roll outs or running upfield.

And make no mistake about it, Shinskie is the guy barring injury when it comes to being the No. 1 under center for BC for the opener against Northeastern. That doesn't mean that Shinskie is the next Chris Weinke, it simply means that confidence in Codi Boek and Justin Tuggle is very low (see Spring Game) and BC doesn't want to burn a redshirt on Michael Marscovetra. Marscovetra looked good the first day and is much thicker than he was in high school, but BC doesn't want to throw him to the wolves early. However, if he is clearly better than either Boek or Tuggle, he could be No. 3 or even No. 2 on the depth chart if needed. Either way, Marscovetra will get plenty of reps with the scout team this year, but don't expect him to jump to the head of the line at quarterback just yet.

At wide out, not being in the recent two-deep was a message to Colin Larmond for sure by the coaches. Larmond didn't have a great spring but he's being counted on to be the No. 3 or No. 4 receiver this year and needs to step up his game. Clyde Lee was listed on the two-deep, but that was apparently a mistake as Billy Flutie should have been there instead. Flutie has been the best receiver since the end of last season until now when it comes to route-running, hands and consistency. The talk of Flutie playing quarterback is foolish, he's far too valuable at wide receiver.

Linebacker Mike McLaughlin hopes to ready for the third game of the season against Clemson and would like to get some reps against Northeastern and Kent State to get back in shape. However, he won't be practicing until close to the end of the fall sessions so we'll see. McLaughlin has been doing some high tech rehab including a few things that astronauts do when preparing for space travel....no joke.

James McCluskey, who also tore his Achilles, is wearing a boot on his foot and doesn't look like he'll be ready anytime soon. Defensive lineman Brendan Deska has been moved from defense to fullback where he will play an h-back role apparently.

Tight end Chris Pantale looks like he's going to be a good one and the 1-2 combo of Lars Anderson and Pantale along woth Deska now makes the tight end position a strength on offense.

BC might be okay at defensive tackle despite the loss of B.J. Raji and Ron Brace. Damik Scafe is ready for a breakout season, Kaleb Ramsey is up to about 285 pounds and is very athletic and depth is the only concern with players like Nick Rossi, Bryan Murray and one of the two true freshmen, Dillon Quinn and Conor O'Neal needing to step up. One of the two true freshmen, if not both, will certainly play as a true freshman.

Looking for a surprise standout on defense? Keep an eye on Alexander DiSanzo at linebacker. The light has gone on for DiSanzo and he will see plenty of reps this year. Dominick LeGrande is set to fill in for Mark Herzlich at this point while Will Thompson is set at middle linebacker and Nick Clancy was listed at weakside, but there will be quite a bit of shifing when McLaughlin returns. DiSanzo can back up at either outside linebacker position and has been a standout during summer workouts.

Finally, Marty Bowman has really stepped into a leadership role for the BC defense. McLaughlin will be the defensive captain, but Bowman will provide equal leadership.

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