101 Days of BC Football: Special Teams Unit Preview


We’re finally getting to the point where after about three months of player previews, we can put it all together and produce unit previews. The first of them is special teams (which makes sense, since we featured Sean Desai earlier).

Boston College Football Special Teams, 2012

Sean Desai

Al Washington

Nate Freese, junior [starter]
Alex Howell, redshirt freshman
Joey Launceford, redshirt freshman
Jake Wilhelm, freshman

Gerald Levano, senior [starter]
Alex Howell, redshirt freshman

Long snappers
Sean Flaherty, senior [starter]
Mike Naples, junior
Leonard Skubal, freshman
AJ Caruso, freshman

Boston College will head into the 2012 season mostly unchanged in special teams, though with a new coordinator and punter. Mike Dawson left coaching and Ryan Quigley graduated, both of whom were replaced by Sean Desai and Gerald Levano, respectively. Of those two, the one we know less about is Levano, and he’s been here for three seasons already. Quigley took care of all the punting and Levano did none, but he’s no longer here and Levano has some big shoes to fill. BC’s last two punters, Quigley and Johnny Ayers, turned into fine players, but Levano will only get one season to impress. He replaces a guy who averaged 36.9 net yards per punt, 5th-best in the ACC.

The Eagles’ kickoff coverage last year was ordinary, coming in 7th in the conference at 43.9 yards allowed per game. As for how they returned punts and kickoffs, it left a lot to be desired. BC was 8th in kickoff return yards and 11th in punt return yards, scoring no special teams touchdowns.

Nate Freese fell into a bit of a sophomore slump last year, going only 10-for-16 in field goal kicks, but making all but one of 27 PATs. He hit a career-long of 52 yards but also had a quick blocked in 2011.

This unit sets the table for everything the offense and defense have to do. Boston College’s offense has been bad enough on its own the last few years, but what has made it so difficult for them to score points is bad starting field position. With the return game being so ineffectual, the field has been titled against BC, forcing them to go longer distances and they couldn’t do it. The offense will be helped dramatically by any kind of return game this season.