By Kevin J. Stone
CHESTNUT HILL — Intensity was high and focus was heightened as the Eagles hit the practice field Tuesday afternoon in preparation for NC State this weekend.
There was an apparent sense of urgency from the opening minutes to the final horn as redshirt sophomore quarterback Dennis Grosel gets set to have his first start under center for the Eagles with Anthony Brown now out of the year with a lower leg injury suffered against Louisville.
There were three big takeaways from the Eagles’ media availability: the bye week came at a perfect time; there is a ton of confidence in Grosel; and the execution on both sides of the ball simply has to get better.
“Super important,” Adazzio said of the bye week. “We needed a bye week for a lot of reasons. One of which was the health of our team, we’ve been through a meet grinder. Two to look at some younger players, third was to get a jump start on NC State, and then fourth we’re breaking in a new quarterback. There was a lot of reasons we needed a bye week, so it came at a good time and hopefully it’ll parlay into a great game, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.”
As for how the team feels with Grosel set to take over under center, the confidence exuded from both Adazzio and some of Grosel’s teammates was extremely high after having to come in on the road against the Cardinals.
“He’s earned the respect of everyone on this football team. He’s tough, he’s a leader and he can really throw the football,” Adazzio said.
Graduate right guard John Phillips — one of the anchors of the Eagles line — knows that it’ll be on his unit to make Grosel as comfortable as possible.
“The quarterback-offensive line relationship is always sacred, but at the end of the day it’s the same whether Anthony is starting, whether Dennis is starting or whether Matt (Valecce) is starting,” Phillips said. “At the end of the day everyone’s just got to do their job. Dennis is playing right now and we know he’s going to do his job.”
With workhorse backs like AJ Dillon and David Bailey in the backfield it wouldn’t be a surprise to see BC count on them even more than usual, but Phillips doesn’t necessarily know if that’s the case.
“Not to my knowledge,” Phillips said when asked if he thought the run game would be even more of an emphasis this week. “Practice has been practice.”
Sitting at 3-3, Saturday afternoon is a pivotal point in BC’s season. With teams like Norte Dame and Clemson on the horizon, a loss on Saturday would seriously hurt the Eagles’ chances of getting to a bowl game, something that would also put Adazzio’s tenure in jeopardy, making the bye week this past week that much more important to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
“The bye week is hard coming off a loss, but it is some time to recharge our batteries, but also get back to work," said redshirt junior linebacker Max Richardson. “We have a couple days off, but then you do some physical work to kind of shake off the bumps and bruises, so it was a plus to have it this week.
“Think overall (the biggest take away during the bye week) we just need to play better," he added. "As brutally honest as that sounds, I think it’s just our execution is something we haven’t done a good enough job of doing. Obviously, coming off two losses we’re not satisfied with what we’re doing. We want to execute better and just get back in the win column.”