something different this season

college sports

One of the country’s top receivers, Zay Flowers, opted to return to BC for the final season. Daniel Vernado / AP Photo

As Zay Flowers contemplates his future this off-season, he finds himself at a crossroads.

He could take a gamble and declare for the NFL Draft; Transfer and earn thousands of dollars in name-image-likeness deals; Or play the long game and return to Greeley Tribune College for one final season of football.

Flowers, an electric all-ACC receiver who has 13 siblings, decided he wanted to be the first person in his family to graduate college.

He also felt that he, quarterback Phil Jarkovec, and the rest of the Eagles had to achieve more. So he was patient and persevered.

BC was selected in the Precision Poll to finish sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division, but don’t tell the flowers. On Friday, the first day of training camp, he did not hesitate when asked what it would take to make this session a success.

“Win the division,” he said. “Get off the right track.”

Coach Jeff Hafley’s first two seasons consisted of ups and downs—the all-too-familiar disappointment followed by candid discussion. The Eagles finished 6-5 in 2020, but received notice at the national level for how they handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Last season, they won four straight, lost four straight, won two straight, then lost two straight. For a dull 6-6 record.

BC, looking for their first eight-win season since 2009, are stuck in neutral. The Eagles are 56-56 since 2013 and are looking for their first win over a ranked team since 2014.

However, there is a collective sense of optimism this year, and it was immediately clear that Flower & Co. had “unfinished business” in mind.

“It’s just day 1, but you can definitely feel it,” said Jason Maitre, a graduate student and defensive back from Everett. “We have a distinct edge about us. We definitely needed that. I think we achieved less. We can do great things.”

The Eagles wasted no time on Friday at the Fish Field House. With temperatures hovering around 90 degrees, players, coaches and staff were flying around the field even before practice began at 8:30 a.m.

The Jurkovec-to-Flowers connection was alive and well in positional practice, and the overall team pace was on display.

Halfley credits strength and conditioning coach Phil Mateusz and his staff for preparing players during the spring and summer. Training camp is no longer about running hills and conditioning, Hafley said; Now the focus is on keeping the players in shape while allocating more time to football.

“As we go through camp, we need to rapidly figure out what we do really well,” Hafley said.

Many familiar faces are back on the offensive side of the ball.

A year earlier, the Eagles had finished in the ACC in yards per game, 12th in points, 12th in passing yards, and ninth in rushing yards, but Jurkovec missed more than half the season due to a hand injury, which he lost to UMass. Had to face against in week 2. , Even when he returned for the last four matches, he had trouble catching the ball and never got into the rhythm.

Flowers, Jalen Gill, and Jaden Williams are the catalysts in wide receivers, with Notre Dame transfers George Takacs, Joey Luchetti, and Spencer Witter forming a dependable tight end unit, and running backs Pat Garvo, Alec Sinkfield, and Xavier Coleman making up one of . Deep groups of ACC.

The offensive line is probably the biggest X-factor. Highly respected but relatively inexperienced, players such as Jack Connelly, Finn Durstein, Drew Kendall, and Ozzy Trappillo fill the void in the Eagles’ NFL after losing to Zion Johnson, Alec Lindstrom, Ben Petrula, and Tyler Wrabel, as well as star guard Christian will help. Mahogany for an ACL injury at the end of a season.

With new coordinator John McNulty in plays, expect to see a crime that in some ways resembles last year’s but has its own wrinkles.

“I think it’s a perfect match,” Gill said. “We’ve been giving the ball to guys fast in the open space. I feel like that’s what we’ve needed here for a while. We’ve got athletes to do that.”

The Eagles made major moves defensively last fall, finishing third in points (22.2) and dropping the fewest passing yards per game in the conference (173.5). Maitre, Josh DeBerry, Jaden Woodbay, CJ Burton and Elijah Jones all return, and they should make the position group one of the strongest in the country.

Vinnie DePalma, Chibuez Onwuka, Cam Horsley, Shitta Sillah, Bryce Steele, Marcus Valdez, Khris Banks and Kam Arnold are also back. Hafley said it was the Eagles’ most depth on the defensive line in his tenure.

The Eagles, who open the season on September 3 at home against Rutgers, are determined to avoid the mediocre gloom. Hafley admitted that he himself has “more edge” after last year, and it is clear that the players’ minds have gone haywire.

“Everyone is going to count regardless of us,” Woodbay said. “We have that edge, and we’re going to keep it that way.”

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