March 18 MVP: MassVarsity Pre-and-Post


Since Saturday marked the first time we saw Boston College this spring, we wanted to expand on one aspect of the team that we did not comment much on in our notes from the weekend.


In his press conference a few weeks ago introducing spring practice, BC coach Steve Addazio remarked there would be no drop off along the offensive line.


That was somewhat of a bold statement, especially considering what the Eagles lost there, with the likes of a likely high NFL draft pick in guard Chris Lindstrom among those graduating.


However, after watching the unit Saturday at the Fish Field House, we are pretty confident in our estimation that Addazio is right.


Not only will the offensive line not take a dip, but in our estimation, this group should very well be one of the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference.


It all starts at left tackle, where Ben Petrula looks to have made the permanent move from the right side to replace Aaron Monteiro. Petrula, at 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, carries his weight very well, moves light on his feet, and transfers to power in order to move defenders with ruthless efficiency. This is a player who, going into his junior year, could make the leap into an All-ACC-caliber season. In 2018, he was an honorable mention performer. Expect big things from the Freehold, N.J., native.


The rest of the unit goes as follows: at left guard is senior Anthony Palazzolo; at center, sophomore Alec Lindstrom; at right guard, John Phillips; and, at right tackle, freshman Tyler Vrabel.


Addazio mentioned in that pre-spring practice presser how Palazzolo has ben waiting his turn and itching to get on the field, and you can see it in the way he blocks. The 6-5, 310-pounder simply gets after it. He's a powerful force on the interior, and like every one of the starters, he moves well.


Lindstrom and Phillips offer solid experience. Even though Lindstrom was only a freshman last year, he was one of the first substitutes when a starter went down. Phillips has also seen plenty of action in his time at The Heights. Both players are high-caliber performers.


Then there's Vrabel. After redshirting last season, the son of former Patriots linebacker and current Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel is ahead of schedule. At 6-5, 300 pounds, Tyler has a lean frame that you can see him adding good weight to in the coming years.


There were times in Saturday's scrimmage where the offensive line just dominated, not just in the run game, but protecting the passer.


Addazio likes what he sees so far.


"The line, the line has just really played well," he said. "There's a lot being thrown at them right now by the defense and they're kind of handling it. That's a really good sign, because we lost some guys up front, but we're playing at a pretty high level right now. So I think we're going to be just fine."


That's our opinion, too. The ACC has some of the best defensive lines in the country, and whenever you have a team like Clemson on your schedule every year, you know you will be facing the best of the best.


But the Eagles this year have the type of unit up front that is ready for the challenge. As far as positive signs coming out of these spring practices so far, that ranks up there with the best of them.


Lawrence loading up


This past week, two talented MIAA players revealed either directly or indirectly their intentions to transfer to Lawrence Academy.


Walter Morales Jr., one of the key pieces to St. Bernard's in its Division 8 state title run, announced his decision over Twitter. Also over Twitter, Finn Dirstine, a former Lawrence Academy offensive lineman and current BC trench man, congratulated his younger brother, Hollis, on making the switch. Hollis was a Dual County League All-Star for Acton-Boxboro as a sophomore, and his Twitter bio lists him as a Class of 2022 recruit.


These are both big pickups for Lawrence, as Morales is a terrific running back/slot receiver/defensive back, and Dirstine is one of the best young two-way linemen in the state. The Spartans had a rough 2018 with low numbers and three forfeits. But these transfers should help get the program in better shape going into 2019.


The flip side of these transfers, of course, is that you have two major losses for St. Bernard's and Acton-Boxboro. It is especially tough on the Bernardians, as a Div. 8 school obviously has lower numbers and will have a difficult job replacing a talent like Morales.


Also, for A-B, the Colonials are already looking at a season where they will have to deal with heavy graduation losses. In an unforgiving Div. 1 North where programs like Central Catholic, Everett, and St. John's Prep figure to again be the favorites, losing a lineman like Dirstine severely affects the Colonials' chances.


But, this is the time of the year where you will start hearing more about MIAA transfers to the ISL and other NEPSAC programs. There are certain to be plenty more high-impact players moving around.

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