In August of 2009, the quarterback situation at Boston College was very much, well, a situation.
And we’re not talking about Jersey Shore.
The incumbent starter, Dominique Davis, had been suspended due to grade issues and then transferred. The depth chart consisted of redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle, Dave Shinskie, a 25-year-old former baseball player, and true freshman Mike Marscovetra, who had been offered by BC and the powerhouse that is Bryant College.
The aforementioned situation most definitely remains a fluid one and Saturday’s Jay McGillis Memorial spring game gave us some insight as to where the Eagles are headed in the fall of 2010.
Marscovetra opened everyone’s eyes by leading the Eagles’ gold-jersey offense to consecutive scores, including the game’s lone touchdown against the maroon-clad defense.
His units—he saw time with the first and second team, as did other players making that distinction slightly murky—were clearly the sharpest and showed a greater sense of urgency with him in command of the offense.
Overcoming two false start penalties on the touchdown drive, he hit wide receiver Ryan Lindsey downfield in coverage for a 40-yard gain. The touchdown pass to TE Jordan McMichael out of the shotgun formation was the play of the day. Marscovetra had to reach near his feet on a bad snap and then abruptly stood up to fire a 15-yard bullet in traffic for the score.
Marscovetra (13-for-16 through the air for 146 yards and one touchdown) was rewarded by getting the ball right back. He delivered by leading the offense to another score, a 37-yard field goal by Michael Sodic.
The only real negative for him on the day was his overthrow to an open Chris Pantale in the end zone; Marscovetra immediately knew he had missed a golden opportunity and reacted in disgust. The coaches had seen enough and gave him the second half off, presumably to see more of freshmen Chase Rettig and Josh Bordner.
While Dave Shinskie wrested control of the starting job early last season, there were many moments of apprehension as well as frustration from coaches, players, and fans alike as he struggled to protect the football.
His performance on Saturday likely opened the door a bit for Marscovetra as Shinskie’s four drives resulted in four punts, three sacks, and two second half three-and-outs. He missed other targets and left the few thousand in attendance on a gorgeous spring afternoon generally uninspired, going 6-of-12 for 50 yards in the air.
No one would say that Shinskie’s spot was riding on a good performance here, but his inability to lock up the job is as big a concern as any on the entire team.
Chase Retting, the highly-touted California recruit who has been on campus since January, flashed a little of that arm that earned him the scholarship. He threw a brilliant 25-yd pass that was dropped by Donte Elliott, but came back two plays later to complete a similar pass.
Unfortunately, his youth showed as he stared down receivers and threw two INTs, both at the hands of AJ Currelley. He finished the day 4-of-12 for 48 yards.
Josh Bordner, who came in along with Rettig, also saw a lot of time in the second half and was able to lead his unit to a field-goal, despite being sacked five times on the afternoon.
Both freshmen will need plenty of reps in fall camp before determining who, if anyone, receives a redshirt—at this point the smart money would be on Bordner (7-12, 83 yds) to take the year to learn some more and adapt to the speed at this level.
Head coach Frank Spaziani and offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill will have a huge decision to make in August that could affect the entire outlook of the team and ultimately, the 2010 season.
A battle at QB can often divide a team, and no one—except Steve Spurrier—wants a revolving platoon at the most important position on the field. But, this has the potential to be a motivator that will get the best out of both players and improve the play at a position that has been weak since Matt Ryan left campus.
The spring game is not the only determining factor of a positional battle, but it IS a factor.
On Saturday, Mike Marscovetra threw down the gauntlet putting everyone on notice—that means you, Dave Shinskie—he did not come to Chestnut Hill last year to be a backup.