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Isaac Johnson leaves football team

09.10.10 at 6:29 am ET
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Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani confirmed Thursday that junior cornerback Isaac Johnson has departed the program due to “personal issues.” Johnson, a former Everett High School standout who did not play in Saturday’s season-opener vs. Weber State, had 27 tackles with an interception and a forced fumble last season.

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Things We Learned: Herzlich’s return helps Eagles take flight

09.05.10 at 6:00 am ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — It was what everyone was waiting for. For the first time in 612 days, linebacker Mark Herzlich ran out of the tunnel to the Eagles’€™ faithful in Alumni Stadium, where he was met with a roar of applause.

It was a moment that fans, teammates, family and coaches from across the nation had waited for since hearing about Herzlich’€™s battle with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. And, of course, Herzlich himself was no different.

‘€œIt was excitement. I thought I might be nervous but it was all about playing games,’€ said Herzlich, the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

Herzlich’€™s emotional return had been impeded this summer by a foot fracture. But while his recovery from that injury limited the amount of time he played on Saturday, he was still on the field enough to rack up five tackles against Weber State.

Herzlich was also joined by a special guest arranged by Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo. Sister Barbara Anne Hallman, a cancer survivor from Mishawaka, Indiana, forged a relationship with Herzlich when she heard of his diagnosis and flew to the game to see his return, even though it meant missing her Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

‘€œIt was awesome that she got to come out,’€ said Herzlich. ‘€œI hope she’€™ll be able to make it out on Oct. 2 to watch us beat her beloved Notre Dame.’€

Clearly the Eagles were able to build off of the energy the return of No. 94 brought. After an early interception, the Eagles scored on four straight possessions to bring the score to 24-3. Boston College never looked back and they kicked off the 2010 season with a 38-20 win over Weber St. (Recap.)

Here are some other lessons from BC’€™s season opener:

SPAZIANI READY FOR ROUND 2

Following a year of new experiences in his first season as head coach of the Eagles, BC head coach Frank Spaziani entered the 2010 season with high expectations placed on his shoulders. After an 8-5 season that tied Boston College for second in the ACC Atlantic Division, the Eagles are looking to contend for a spot in the ACC Championship and to extend their streak of bowl games another year.

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Spaziani on D&C: Herzlich wants to play

09.03.10 at 8:51 am ET
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Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the Eagles’ season, which begins Saturday afternoon against visiting Weber State. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Spaziani provided an update on senior linebacker Mark Herzlich, who missed last season while battling cancer and was slowed in the preseason with a broken bone in his foot. Herzlich returned to practice this week and may see limited action Saturday.

“I’ll sit with him today and get a feel for what he thinks he can do,” Spaziani said. “And I’ll give him my input on what I think he can do.  And then we’ll come to a meeting of the minds and see if he can do something.”

Added Spaziani: “Mark just wants to get right in there. But Mark’s a mature, intelligent young man and has certainly been through a lot. He understands where he’s at and he understands the importance of being smart about this.”

One linebacker Spaziani does not have to worry about is standout sophomore Luke Kuechly. Said Spaziani:  “Luke is a very instinctive linebacker, as all great ones are. ‘€¦ The great ones, you just get out of the way of. And he’s living proof. We’re just trying not to mess him up.”

As for the program’s overall outlook, Spaziani said he’s still working to fix the problems he inherited when he was promoted to head coach prior to last season.

“We’ve had inherent problems that it didn’t take overnight to get the problems, and it’s not going to take overnight to solve them,” Spaziani said. “Having said that, we’ve got enough players to win. There are no excuses. We’re moving forward. But we’re still on thin ice. Until we get a couple of years of where we want to be, we’re going to have to manage certain problems that we hopefully can resolve.”

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Spaziani: Herzlich likely to play sparingly in opener

09.01.10 at 12:59 pm ET
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Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich is back practicing as he tries to battle back from his broken foot, and it’s possible the senior standout could see some action in Saturday afternoon’s season-opener vs. Weber State at Alumni Stadium.

“He has decided he’s going to push on with it,” BC coach Frank Spaziani said Wednesday on the weekly ACC Football Coaches Teleconference. “He just started out there [practicing] Saturday for the first time, and Sunday a little bit. Of course, we were off Monday. Yesterday he was out there, did a little bit more. As you could imagine, not having played football in I don’t know how many days ‘€¦ and coming back from the cancer and the broken bone, he’s ‘€” rusty is not the right adjective ‘€” he’s behind a little bit. But he’s working hard.

“Never put anything past him. Hopefully, we can get him in the game this week.”

Spaziani said that he will try to get Herzlich in for at least a few plays, but that could all change based on the next couple of practices.

“This is day to day,” Spaziani said. “He came off the practice field exhausted yesterday and tired, as he should be. I haven’t seen him yet today. We’ll go out there today and see what he can do. We’re not going to push him, but we’re going to try to get him so that he can get in the game and do something. And then if he can’t, we’ll hold off and we’ll do it again next week.”

Looking at his overall team, Spaziani was cautiously optimistic about Saturday’s game. “I don’t know whether we’re ready for the opener, but it’s time to open up and find out what kind of football team we have,” he said. “We’re ready to go.”

Sophomore Dave Shinskie will start at quarterback, but classmate Mike Marscovetra is likely to get some snaps as well.

“It’s a lot different than last year, but it’s not much different,” Spaziani said of the quarterback competition. “By that I mean Dave’s the incumbent and has the job and has been named that. But Mike Marscovetra has done a good job and he’s been around. He’s pushing him for some competition.

“As I said, Dave needs to show the improvement in the game. He needs to pick up. He’s done the other stuff, as Mike has, but now we need to see it in the game. Some of the pitfalls he was subject to last year need to be eradicated, and we need to move forward in the games.”

Read More: dave shinskie, frank spaziani, Mark Herzlich,

Shinskie named starting QB for opener

08.27.10 at 11:26 am ET
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Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani made it official that Dave Shinskie wil be the starting quarterback for the Eagles when they open the season Sept. 4 against Weber State at Alumni Stadium. Shinskie, a 26-year-old sophomore who started 10 games last season, beat out sophomore Mike Marscovetra and freshmen Chase Rettig and Josh Bordner in camp.

‘€œDave had a very good camp,’€ Spaziani said in a statement. ‘€œHe is the incumbent, and we won games with him last year. He has improved and he is certainly deserving.’€

Shinskie, a Pennsylvania native who played minor league baseball before joining the Eagles, set BC freshman passing records last season with 2,049 yards and 15 touchdowns. He completed 51.7 percent of his passes.

Spaziani also announced that redshirt freshman defensive tackle Dillon Quinn has been suspended for the first three games due to an undisclosed violation of team rules.

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Larmond to miss season with knee injury

08.23.10 at 12:27 pm ET
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Boston College wide receiver Colin Larmond Jr. suffered a season-ending knee injury during practice Saturday, the school announced. Larmond, a junior from Whippany, N.J., was the Eagles’ top returning receiver, with 29 receptions for 596 yards and five touchdowns last season. He led the 2009 team in yards per catch (20.6) and finished second in receptions (29), yards (596), touchdowns (5) and average per game (45.8).

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Albright to Herzlich: ‘Don’t do too much’

08.13.10 at 6:59 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Much has been written and said about linebacker Mark Herzlich and his attempt this year to return from a rare form of bone cancer and play a red-shirt senior year for the Boston College Eagles.

What hasn’t gotten a lot of focus is the concern from his teammates who know how badly he wants back. Teammates like senior defensive end Alex Albright. The senior from St. Xavier high school in Cincinnati can see the desperation all over Herzlich’s face, especially since the news over the summer that he suffered a broken right foot, delaying his conditioning and his eventual return to the team.

“You can even see it when he was out there for the first practice, he wasn’t practicing but he was out there with his helmet,” Albright said. “He’s always antsy, he’s jumping around, he wants to be out there practicing. It’s difficult to watch. I’d rather him not jump back into it if he’s not 100 percent sure because there’s too much risk involved with something like that.”

It’s exactly for that reason that Albright knows Herzlich will push his limits to show he can return to his 2008 self, when he picked off six passes and dominated the ACC from his linebacker position on the Eagles defense, earning conference defensive player of the year honors.

“I just don’t want Mark to do too much,” Albright said with a tinge of fear. “I don’t want him to feel like he has to be like he was his junior year when he was Defensive Player of the Year. I don’t want him to feel like he has to do it all. I want him to just be a member of this defensive corps until he feels comfortable getting back into the swing of things.

“I just don’t want him to feel like he has this burden of expectation on himself where he feels like he has to come out and do everything. I just want him to take it slow. The last thing I want is for him to get injured again or something happen.”

But if Herzlich can return to his old self and join the likes of Albright and fellow St. Xavier high school product and ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, Luke Keuchly, then BC could be going places. And Albright knows it.

“I think we expect to win every game, just as every team does,” he said. “I don’t think [expectations] too dissimilar from last year, though. We’re out here to prove people wrong. Last year, people picked us to win two games. This year, people picked us to finish fifth in the ACC or something. We want to be first. We always want to be first.We want to go to the Orange Bowl, we want to win the ACC. That’s our expectation, to go as far as we possibly can.”

Read More: Alex Albright, BC Football, Boston College, Luke Keuchly

Herzlich can’t catch a break

08.13.10 at 1:59 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — An injured right foot is the latest physical hurdle Mark Herzlich has to clear to return to the game he loves.

The fifth-year senior All-American linebacker and Butkus Award finalist was in line to return from his successful bout with Ewing’s sarcoma – a rare bone cancer – when he was diagnosed with a broken right foot and held out of practice at Boston College.

Herzlich sustained the stress fracture while training six weeks ago. Until that injury heals, Herzlich has to stay on the sidelines and was unable to take part Friday’s first full practice with pads.

“It’€™s frustrating, but I obviously have dealt with much worse than a foot fracture,” Herzlich said. “Whatever it is, it’€™s sidelining me right now. I just need to try to get back. It’€™s another thing to hurdle.”

On Friday, for his press conference inside the Conte Forum media room, Herzlich wasn’t wearing a cast or even a protective boot on the right foot but rather a loosely-fitting, untied running shoe for comfort.

Herzlich, the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, is hopeful to be ready for the season opener with Weber State on Sept. 4 after announcing Friday that X-rays and MRIs showed “significant healing.”

“Right now it’€™s kind of wait and see, see how it progresses. There’€™s no jumping into it too soon, so we are going to be overly cautious with it and make sure it gets fully healed. The last thing we want to do is come back too soon and have it linger throughout the season,” Herzlich added, before predicting, “I’€™ll be back by the first game, but most likely much sooner.”

Sources with knowledge of the injury told WEEI.com Friday there is doubt as to whether Herzlich will be healed enough to play in the season opener – something head coach Frank Spaziani confirmed Friday afternoon.

“Mark’s situation is Mark’s situation,” Spaziani said. “When he’s back, that’s total speculation as far as I’m concerned. Until he gets out there and does it, we’re all rooting for him. You have to take him out of the equation, I think.”

While Herzlich is being held out, he is back to being a glorified assistant defensive coach for such stars as linebacker Luke Kuechly and pass rusher Alex Albright, just like he was in 2009 when he was recovering from Ewing’s sarcoma.

“I’m frustrated for Mark because I know what this means to him and what he’s trying to accomplish,” Spaziani added. “When you cannot assist like you think you want to assist, there’s a little bit of that frustration in there and I understand his frustration. We have to take it as it comes and I think we’ll be fine. It’ll be that much more sweeter when he gets to the goal.”

After four days of workouts and walk-throughs, the BC Eagles had their first day of practice in pads on Friday afternoon on campus.

Read More: ACC, BC Football, frank spaziani, Mark Herzlich

Football names captains

08.11.10 at 6:51 am ET
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As the Boston College football team goes through its first week of practice for the 2010 season, the Eagles announced their captains. Seniors Alex Albright, Anthony Castonzo, Wes Davis and James McCluskey received the honors.

Albright, a defensive end, recorded 32 tackles. His eight tackles for a loss ranked second on the team.

Castonzo, regarded as one of the top left tackles in the country, was an All-ACC and All-America preseason pick and is a Rhodes Scholarship nominee.

Davis started all 13 games at free safety last season and led the team with three interceptions.

McCluskey appeared in eight games at fullback last year after recovering from a torn Achilles tendon in the spring.

Read More: Alex Albright, Anthony Castonzo, James McCluskey, Wes Davis

Thurman part of ACC Football Legends class of 2010

08.03.10 at 2:05 pm ET
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Defensive back Tony Thurman, a key member of the standout Boston College teams of the early 1980s, was announced as part of the ACC Football Legends class of 2010. Thurman, a 1984 All-American, still holds BC records for interceptions in a game (3, twice), season (12 in 1984, when he led the nation) and career (25). The Lynn product was inducted into the BC Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.

Here is the complete release from the ACC:

Led by the Atlantic Coast Conference‘€™s all-time career rushing leader in NC State’€™s Ted Brown (Apple Valley, Minn.), Georgia Tech’€™s only three-time first-team All-America in Randy Rhino (Marietta, Ga.), and one of only five players in ACC history to have been named ACC Player of the Year twice in Clemson’€™s Steve Fuller (Enid, Okla.), the ACC Tuesday announced its Class of 2010 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game Legends.

The Legends will be honored at this year’€™s Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game weekend. They will be honored at the ACC Night of Legends event on Friday, Dec. 3, will also be recognized during ceremonies at Bank of America Stadium for the 6th Annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship, which has a 7:45 p.m. kickoff on Dec. 4 and will be nationally televised by ESPN.

The group of 12 former gridiron standouts from current ACC schools includes five former players who earned some kind of ACC Player of the Year honors, three members of the ACC’€™s prestigious 50th Anniversary Football Team, a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, eight former All-Americas including four consensus All-Americas, eight players who combined for 58 years of professional football experience and eight who were drafted into the National Football League, including five first-round picks.

In all, the collection of players and coaches combined to capture a national championship, one NFL World Championship, a Canadian Football League Grey Cup and seven ACC team titles.

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