Eckwood will team with Fullback Ike Forte, who gained 974 yards rushing last year in spite of a painful toe injury, and Rolland Fuchs, an improved fifth-year senior. Broyles calls the trio "the three best running backs in this part of the country," which presumably does not extend west into Oklahoma.
After an uncomfortable year with the wishbone, Broyles is returning to what he knows best—a run-pass offense, this time a veer T. He has strong running backs for the two-back offense and a multitalented, though relatively inexperienced, quarterback in senior Mike Kirkland. Kirkland's passing brings to mind Jon Brittenum and the good old days of 1965.
Broyles likes to tell his team, "We need depth in our dedication." He could also use some on defense. In fact, depth is a concern at every position. "My coaching staff tells me we're going to have a good defense," said Broyles last spring. "I hope they're right. Our down linemen are going to be the shortest and lightest of any team we see, for sure."
Half of the 1974 secondary is gone, but much is expected of Howard Sampson, a promising sophomore cornerback. Linebacker Winston, the other slipped-disk case, underwent the same treatment that cured Eckwood and, as the start of the season neared, seemed to be all right, too.
Defensive end is in the capable hands of two-time All-Conference Ivan Jordan and juniors Johnnie Meadors and William Watkins. "They are all great athletes," says Broyles, "the kind who are even more important than linebackers against option attacks."
A few great athletes with depth in their dedication—and their disks in the right places—and the fans can start calling the hogs again.
In the halcyon days at Boston College, those prewar years when Frank Leahy and Denny Myers coached and Mike Holovak carried the football, Boston went absolutely daft over the upstart Jesuit school in Chestnut Hill. From 1939 to 1942 tiny B.C. played in Cotton, Sugar and Orange Bowls, stirring a nationwide fervor that gave rise to a vast, rabid subway alumni. It was said that the Eagles ought to play the Chicago Bears, because only the Bears could beat them. But so long ago were those days that Boston College's subway alumni are now known as the Balding Eagles. And not since the war ended have they so anticipated the opening of an Eagles season.
"I'm excited myself," says Coach Joe Yukica, a hard-bitten Pennsylvanian from the anthracite fields of Midland. Yukica was hired in 1968, although he hadn't applied for a job. Athletic Director Bill Flynn discovered him coaching at New Hampshire and was impressed with his credentials: player under Rip Engle at Penn State, recruiter for Bob Blackman at Dartmouth, coach with experience and contacts in New England. At B.C., Yukica has been digging prospects out of the coal area of his birth and luring many of New England's top high school stars. He finds talent and signs it. The NFL drafted eight Eagles in 1974. Yukica's record is 47-25, the best at B.C. since Leahy left in 1940. Considering the current Eagle offense, it can only improve.
Just about everybody that matters is back from last season, when the Eagles (8-3) averaged 406 yards a game and scored 50 touchdowns. They closed with six victories in a row, outscoring opponents 270-27. At quarterback is Mike Kruczek, who completed 68.9% of his passes to break the old NCAA record. Back, too, are Fullback Keith Barnette (6'2", 195 pounds), the nation's highest scorer (134 points), and Dave Zumbach, who caught 43 passes for 557 yards. Zumbach needs five receptions to become B.C.'s alltime leader. Five others who started by season's end also return, most notably Linemen Don Macek and Steve Schindler and Halfback Earl Strong. All-America Tackle Al Krevis is gone, but replacement Tom Lynch, switching from defense, was impressive in spring practice. B.C.'s one worry is linebacking, all four 1974 starters having departed. Kevin Cunniff and Rick Scudellari have some game time, and Dave Almeida, formerly a cornerback, has moved in.