Boston College’s Connor Strachan shifts from middle to outside linebacker
Connor Strachan made a lateral move that will benefit the Boston College defense and enhance his NFL potential.
The 6-foot, 230-pound senior from Wellesley will start as the strong-side linebacker when BC opens the season Friday night (9:30) at Northern Illinois.
Strachan was one of the most accomplished middle linebackers in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season despite missing some time because of a lingering shoulder injury. Strachan started 12 games and led the Eagles with 80 tackles along with 11 tackles for losses, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Strachan measured up to BC’s outstanding middle linebackers this decade that included two-time All-American and Dick Butkus Award winner Luke Kuechly in 2011, ACC leading tackler Nick Clancy in 2012 and Steven Daniels, a first-team All-ACC performer in 2015.
“I am playing all over the linebacker room, and anyway I can help out the team and fill a role, that is what I’m doing,” Strachan said. “I think it is something that would help the team the most right now, but that’s up to the coaches.
“I will play wherever whey they want to put me.”
Strachan assumes the position vacated by Matt Milano, a high-energy hitter who was essential to the Eagles defense. Milano started 13 games and recorded 58 tackles, 11 for losses, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
The 6-foot, 226-pound Milano is physically similar to Strachan, and his relentless style was recognized and rewarded by NFL scouts. Milano was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round last April, and the door is open for Strahan to follow the same career track.
“I’m comfortable playing wherever, and from a personal aspect, it is something that will benefit me in the long run,” he said.
The skills that made Strachan a menace in the middle helped with his transition. Strachan can digest a game plan and recognizes the offenses aligned against the BC defense. He also has tremendous foot speed, an essential component in coverage and rushing the passer.
“(On the strong side) you will be setting the edge .?.?. so it is a really important role,” Strachan said. “You have more man coverage responsibilities, which is good, and you get some more pass-rush opportunities.
“There are some similar linebacker responsibilities but from a different area.”
BC coach Steve Addazio has enough confidence in middle linebackers Max Richardson and John Lamont to relocate Strachan.
“It is for our benefit,” Addazio said. “Connor can run, and he has a great deal of experience.
“He can handle the man matchups that go with that position. .?.?. I think it is good for our team, and it creates another dynamic.”