CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Andre Williams was the heart and soul of Boston College’s offense last season, rushing for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2013, just ahead of Johnny Manziel and Tre Mason.
Now Williams is a New York Giant, meaning second-year Eagles coach Steve Addazio must replace all that production.
Sophomore running back Myles Willis will carry some of that duty. Willis, listed at 5-foot-9 and 203 pounds, gained significant weight during the offseason to prepare his body to carry the load in the rugged Atlantic Coast Conference.
Willis, a native of Conyers, Ga., served as a backup to Williams last season. Willis said Thursday at BC’s media day that he keeps in touch with Williams via text message every other day and is still learning from the former star.
“Andre was really good preparing for each week. He knew other teams’ defensive tendencies,” Willis said. “He did a good job being a professional on and off the field, and I watched him very closely.”
Another running back who saw time with the first team during Thursday’s practice is sophomore Tyler Rouse. He is a smaller back at 5-foot-8, 194 pounds, but he’s also seasoned and ready to make an impact.
“They’re doing a great job. It’s fun watching them,” fifth-year transfer quarterback Tyler Murphy said of the running backs. “Andre had a great season. It’s hard to replace someone like that. But with Myles and Tyler having some experience behind him last year, I think we’ll be pretty good.”
Murphy isn’t the only one who believes Willis, Rouse and Co. are readying for a successful season, though. Players on Boston College’s defensive side notice the talent in practice, too.
“I don’t see any difference. It’s like Andre never left, honestly,” senior defensive back Manuel Asprilla said, smiling as he talked. “They’re all big, they’re all tough, no one’s scared to take the ball, none of that.”
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