CHESTNUT HILL — On a Saturday morning where Boston College hosted dozens of recruits to watch a scrimmage at the Fish Field House, AJ Dillon decided to have a little fun with his coach.
After Steve Addazio participated in a post-scrimmage and practice interview, Dillon went up and pretended to introduce himself to his coach, mimicking a conversation of a prospective player.
It drew a few laughs, but the way Dillon introduced himself to the onlookers earlier in the day made a bigger impression.
On the first play of the scrimmage, the running back took a handoff to the left side, cut up the sideline, then doubled back for a touchdown run of about 75 yards.
Later, he took a swing pass out of the backfield from quarterback Anthony Brown to the left side again, and rumbled to the end zone from about 35-40 yards out.
In other words, he looked like his normal self, and that seemed to fit in just fine with an offense that ran the ball well all day.
"Saturday's a scrimmage-type deal for us, and we had the refs out there and everything, so it was kind of nice to get back in that game-like atmosphere," Dillon said. "So, the whole team, everybody was really excited. If you can start out a game or a scrimmage out the gate and score, it feels great for you, but also hypes up the team. So I was excited to kind of give us that juice to start off the day."
The scoring reception though may have carried even a little more excitement, though, as new offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian seems to want to incorporate a lot of passes to the running backs.
"We were trying to do that a lot last year, too, but I ended up getting hurt, obviously," said Dillon, who is going into his junior season. "We were trying to work the running backs in the passing game last year, but obviously some complications happened with that. Coach Bajakian has taken ahead of it, and he's awesome. He has screens, all types of things, trying to put in plays for the running backs to be more of a part of it, and really play some complementary football. I'm really excited. I see how the offense is opening up, so I'm really excited to see what we have to display when we play Virginia Tech (in the season opener)."
Ready to lead
Although it should probably be this way regardless given his experience at The Heights, Brown looks the part of someone who has complete control of the offense.
He was decisive in his throws, distributing the ball mainly to his tight ends and running backs, but also taking the occasional shot downfield to his receivers.
According to Addazio, Brown's progression comes as a natural step forward.
"He's right on it," Addazio said of Brown. "He's going into that stage of his career. He's got two seasons left. He's been here for three seasons and he's got two left. He should be hitting his stride right now. That's what he's doing right now in practice. You can see that."
Brown noted the differences.
"Being more mature. Making more decisive decisions," Brown said, then laughed at the last comment, and amended it. "That, wow. But making better decisions. Just driving, being a leader, I think trying to improve on that every day is something new I can work on every day, every single day. It's been a journey, and we're going to keep pushing for it."
Walking the talk
One of the better defensive performances of the day came from cornerback Brandon Sebastian, who worked on the left side and broke up several passes. Although he did get flagged for pass interference on a throw to Jehlani Galloway, Sebastian looked solid throughout.
But part of the fun for Sebastian, according to the West Haven, Conn., native, was the verbal back-and-forth with those he lined up against.
"Yeah, it was pretty fun. I like to trash talk the receivers, get in their head," Sebastian said. "It makes them fall off their game a little bit. But it was pretty fun competing with everybody."
With Kobay White and CJ Lewis both out, some younger receivers found themselves going up against Sebastian and the rest of the secondary. One of them has caught Sebastian's eye so far.
"Right now, I'd say Noah Jordan-Williams," Sebastian said. "He's pretty competitive. He has good hip shift at the line of scrimmage and makes it hard for me staying on top of him and stuff. He came out at me pretty well."
In the crowd
As previously mentioned, it was a nice turnout of recruits to take in the action. Although we don't have an exact number, it was anywhere between 30-40 by an unofficial guess.
One player who we were sure was there was BB&N linebacker Tyler Martin, who will be heading into his sophomore season. He will no doubt be one of the most heavily-recruited players from Massachusetts in his class, so it was good for BC to get him on campus.