Everyone talks about the loss of Andre Williams and how it will affect the 2014 Eagles, but few bring up the Boston College offensive line that stood in front of him.
It is not easy to replace a 2,000-plus yard rusher, or one who happened to be a Heisman Trophy finalist. There is no question that Andre Williams had one of the most exciting, successful individual seasons for the Eagles since Matt Ryan or Doug Flutie, but the playmaker always absorbs the entirety of the credit. The guy who scores the touchdown always gets the glory, never the guy who threw the key block that made it happen.
Williams himself would be amongst the first to admit that the five men in the Boston College offensive line helped him achieve what he did.
Some in the outside media are beginning to figure out that this is a collaborative effort. Senior center Andy Gallik gave his own unit well-deserved kudos in Greensboro this weekend:
“I think that when you look at last year’s success that we had in the run game, it was a little bit of both Andre and the system of us blocking scheme up front,” Gallik said. “What I said to a lot of people earlier was having five fifth-year seniors on the same offensive line, that’s something I’ve never been around, I’ve never heard of, and I think that’s really special.”
Special enough for another 2,000-yard rusher, though?
“Last season we had a great offensive line, as well,” Gallik said. “I just think that the potential and the ceiling for this offensive line this year is much higher, and we’re putting the work in so that it can pay off this fall.”
Gallik is not wrong, at least in terms of what transpired last year. Let’s be completely candid: Andre was phenomenal in 2013, but without the return of “O-Line U” to the Heights, he does not accomplish anything near a 2,000-yard season and he ends up a footnote in Eagles history. Gallik, Matt Patchan, and others didn’t run the ball into the end zone or break off huge gains, but the Boston College offensive line made them possible.
Fast forward to 2014. With maybe one exception, this is going to be a Boston College offensive line of seniors. In the cases of players like Gallik and Bobby Vardaro, to name a few, there is a great deal of in-game experience. Further, this unit executed its run blocking very well under the new coaching staff, and there is no reason to believe that cannot continue.
This year, there is no Andre Williams, but there are players with promise. Myles Willis, Tyler Rouse, Jon Hilliman, and Marcus Outlow, amongst others, are all possible contributors who have exciting playmaking skills. Add a good offensive line and you have the potential for some more good years on the ground.
Boston College will not have a 2,000-yard rusher this season. Yet, despite what might be implied from some outside sources, they don’t necessarily need one to succeed offensively. The health of the unit is always a factor, but assuming all remain healthy, a fair amount of rushing production could be spread over several names on the stat sheet.
When and if this solid overall run game manifests itself again, perhaps then the Boston College offensive line will get some of the credit it justly deserves.