By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Coming off their first bowl victory since 2007 last season, Boston College football put together several statement victories in 2017 over Florida State, Virginia, and Louisville before finishing the season 7-6. Obviously, with wins like that under their belts, as well as having one of the nation’s most explosive and powerful running backs in sophomore sensation A.J. Dillon, expectations are high for BC entering the 2018 season.
What makes BC’s five wins in seven games to conclude last season all the more impressive was the way they were able to overcome injuries at several key positions. Wellesley native, St. Sebastian’s product, and star linebacker Connor Strachan was lost for the season just three games in due to a knee injury. However, BC and Strachan caught a break: the senior was granted a red shirt year due to the injury, and therefore allowed an extra season of eligibility for 2018.
Along with Strachan, rising star freshman quarterback Anthony Brown also went down with a season-ending knee injury against NC State, and now-Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry fought through ankle issues all season that heavily limited his mobility.
Despite Landry being gone, Boston College football is getting more buzz than they have in quite some time, given all of the talent they have returning. Along with Strachan coming back from his injury, BC’s front seven is absolutely stacked. It returns senior defensive end and Preseason All-American Zach Allen, senior nose-tackle Ray Smith, Medfield native and senior linebacker Kevin Bletzer, and red-shirt sophomore linebacker and star-in-the-making, John Lamot. Along with an experienced and talented front-seven, BC also brings back Preseason All-American free safety Lukas Denis, who finished last season tied for second in the nation in interceptions with seven, as well as strong safety Will Harris and junior corner Hamp Cheevers.
When asked about his general thoughts and expectations of the upcoming season, a humbled and confident Strachan said he’s just blessed to be back out on the gridiron and hopes to compete for an ACC championship.
“Personally, its exciting because I didn't get to play last year,” said Strachan. “So, I'm just fired up to be able to practice and be part of the team again. Team-wise, we have an expectation of competing for an ACC championship, and this is our year to do it, so everyone's got that goal in mind as we start camp.”
In terms of preparation for the season, BC began camp on Friday and also recently opened up several new facilities for the football team, including a state-of-the-art weight room and indoor practice area. Along with the normal excitement for the season, Strachan says that the new facilities should further fire up the Eagles as they prepare to head into battle this fall.
“It's awesome,” said Strachan. “We just got in the indoor today [Friday] and it is amazing. Best facility I've ever been in, and it has everything we need. It’s wild.”
As for his positional group, Strachan says he and his fellow anchors on the front-seven are ready to do what they do best: compete.
“Most of us have been together for quite a while now, so the good thing is we know how to move about practice and the young guys are following suit,” said Strachan. “Before us, we obviously had great defensive leaders, guys who are in the NFL [like Harold Landry], and we're just following that same process. [We] just have to keep working together. But I think as a whole, our defense is fired up and we're ready to play, [we’re] excited to play for our coaches.”
Strachan and the Eagles kick off their season on September 1 against inner-state foe UMass at 1 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.