Boston College coach Steve Addazio wants to make one thing clear: The Eagles won’t see any sort of regression on the offensive line this year despite losing both starting tackles. And the main reason for that, Addazio said, resides in the middle with center Andy Gallik.
Gallik enters his third year as the Eagles’ starting center, where he operates as the quarterback of the offensive line. He commanded the line in 2013, paving the way for Heisman finalist Andre Williams and his 2,000-plus rushing yards. Gallik was rewarded for his play with third-team All-ACC honors, but Addazio thinks now it’s time for his center to get even more respect.
“People talk about all these centers out there — Andy Gallik is one of the best centers in college football right now,” Addazio said at the ACC Kickoff earlier in July. “He’s going to be a high draft choice. He’s outstanding, an excellent player. I’ve watched a lot of good linemen; I’ve coached two of them that are All-Pro. I’ve watched a lot of centers, and this guy here is outstanding.”
After garnering preseason All-ACC recognition from the media, it appears that Gallik is starting to gather more attention.
But it’s not just Gallik that leaves Addazio so optimistic heading into this season. The Eagles also return seniors Bobby Vardaro and Harris Williams at the two guard spots. The two are proven players in Addazio’s power-running offense, and the continuity they provide in the middle — along with Gallik — should give the line another advantage heading into the second year under Addazio.
“This is the closest brotherhood of an offensive line that I’ve ever been a part of,” Gallik said, adding that the whole unit lives in the same apartment building. “We know exactly how to work with each other in combination blocks and pass protections. Our identifications up front and all of our calls are spot on. We know how to communicate and what to expect from each other.”
The front line was bolstered this spring by Ian Silberman, the Florida transfer who is eligible to play right away due to the graduate transfer loophole. Addazio recruited and coached Silberman at Florida, so Silberman was able to pick up the offense seamlessly. Addazio said Silberman is an “NFL-caliber player,” and Gallik said he fit in with the rest of the line from day one.
On the left side, senior Seth Betancourt is taking over as the fifth starter. Betancourt has never been a full-time starter, but he’s played in 22 different games throughout his Boston College career.
With those aforementioned players, Boston College will start five seniors on the offensive line — the position group Addazio has repeatedly said is the most important to success in his system. The group is also deep, with senior Aaron Kramer serving as a utility lineman who can fill in anywhere along the front. Addazio believes his line can go eight-to-nine players deep without missing a beat.
Led by a stalwart center in Gallik, a new-addition bookend in Silberman and a bevy of experience across the board, the Eagles could stake their claim as one of the top offensive lines in the conference this year. That’s Addazio’s expectation, at least.
“We’re gonna be good up front, now,” Addazio said. “We’re not going to take a step back on the offensive line — that’s not going to happen.”