Tape It Up: Boston College: Falling Eagles

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Boston College: Falling Eagles

As Saturday's game against the second-best team in the FCS inches closer, No. 12 Boston College is not pleased with the number of players that will be unavailable this weekend. UMass does not exactly rhyme with Appalachian State, but the comparison remains valid as the Minutemen attempt to upend the Eagles in Chestnut Hill on Saturday. Among those likely unable to help keep the FCS program from the upset will be running backs Jeff Smith and L.V. Whitworth, fullback James McCluskey, defensive end Nick Larkin, defensive tackle Brady Smith, linebacker Mike Morissey, safety Wes Davis, cornerback Roderick Rollins and kicker Billy Bennett.

Sophomore running back Jeff Smith has been out since August with a concussion, but made his way back to the field this week. He still has yet to be cleared for full participation in practice, but stepping foot on the field is certainly a positive for him. Head coach Jeff Jagodzinski is holding out hope that the 5-foot-9, 191-pound running back will be available by Saturday, but even if he does receive medical clearance, he has not practiced for three weeks. And if UMass comes to play like the big dogs of the FCS have in recent weeks, putting a rusty player in the game may not be a viable option for the Eagles.

Fellow running back L.V. Whitworth also missed practice time this week with an undisclosed injury. Through three games, the senior has 164 yards on 38 carries and three touchdowns.

McCluskey, a redshirt freshman linebacker-turned-fullback, injured his right knee in last week's win over Army. He has attended practices this week in a walking cast and is definitely out for Saturday. Depending on how quickly the knee heals, the 6-foot-2, 231-pound freshman may miss the following week's game against Bowling Green, as well.

Larkin, a senior, also spent this week's practices on the sidelines, as an arthroscopic knee surgery has kept him out of pads. The 6-foot-4, 241-pound defensive end is likely to miss two more games before attempting to come back to play in the season's back nine.

Smith is out with an ankle injury, and Morissey, Davis, Rollins and Bennett's injuries are all undisclosed.

Hokie Wants A Hardship
Elsewhere in the ACC, Virginia Tech tight end Chris Drager is applying for a medical hardship waiver that will enable him to redshirt his freshman season while retaining four years of eligibility. The true freshman had played in all four games this season before partially tearing the ACL in his right knee during last week's win over William and Mary.

A rule change by the NCAA should help Drager's case. Before this season, no athlete who had played in more than three games could receive a medical hardship waiver, but the NCAA changed the magic number of games played to four at the beginning of the season. As long as the freshman does not play in another game this year, he should be in the clear, and additional playing time is out of the questions as the ACL tear has definitively ended Drager's season.

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