QBs Darius Wade, Anthony Brown look sharp in BC’s first practice
Boston College coach Steve Addazio witnessed how a healthy quarterback competition inspires an offense during Wednesday’s first day of spring practice under the bubble at Alumni Stadium.
Redshirt sophomore Darius Wade and redshirt freshman Anthony Brown performed confidently, making efficient use of the Eagles’ stable of veteran pass catchers.
Brown made accurate short and medium deliveries from inside the pocket and on rollouts, two areas of execution that are essential for a read-option, dual-threat quarterback. Wade, meanwhile, showed the strength and accuracy of his left arm on a perfectly timed 50-yard spiral to wide receiver Jeff Smith on a go route down the left sideline. Smith made an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone that elicited howls of approval from the first offense.
“You are looking for a lot of things like tempo, effort, fundamentals and all that,” said Addazio. “I think today, and we just said it to the team, that is the most balls we’ve completed on the first day of practice ever, and that’s a good thing.
“There was a lot of good work that’s gone in here to prepare us for that. I was pleased to see us throw and catch the way we did on Day 1. Day 1 is usually awkward, but it wasn’t, and that is a good positive step towards something we want to improve on.”
Both quarterbacks are essentially blank pages when it comes to actual FBS game experience. Wade, 6-foot, 211 pounds, made two starts as a sophomore against Maine and Howard before suffering a season ending ankle injury against Florida State on Sept. 18, 2015.
In the seasons before and after his injury, Wade played backup to a pair of graduate transfers, Tyler Murphy of Florida in 2014 and Kentucky’s Patrick Towles last year.
The sum total of Wade’s college career consists of 50 passes with 24 completions for 255 yards and two touchdowns. That’s enough to put Wade at the top of the depth chart going into the spring drill.
“It is a great position to be in, but I know it is definitely a completion all around,” said Wade. “I’m very excited to get back into football and really take this thing by the horns and take over this team and lead this team.”
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Brown was immersed in a system at St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel, N.J., that utilized his athletic gifts and mentally prepared him for what offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler has installed at BC. Brown passed for 4,496 yards and 58 touchdowns as a two-year starter on a team that went 22-2.
“Last year was a really great learning experience and I got to sit behind two great quarterbacks, Darius and Patrick Towles, and they taught me a lot and I’ve come a long way, and I’m here to compete,” said Brown.
“In high school, we were mainly spread option, so there was a lot of shotgun. Coach Loeffler has helped me a tremendous amount with play-action mentality and game speed and he has upgraded my game play by a thousand.”
Having two quarterbacks up to speed on the first day of spring practice is a huge step toward implementing the kind of high-caliber passing game BC has lacked for five years.
BC returns an intact veteran offensive line, a competent power running game and its four leading receivers as part of the spring installment. With those pieces in place, it’s up to Wade and Brown to force Addazio to make the hardest personnel decision he’s faced in five seasons at the Heights.