|With Ryan in NFL, Crane picks up QB reins at BC|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 08 August 2008 11:03|
``This isn't Matt Ryan,'' Jagodzinski said Friday, smiling and pointing to his new quarterback. ``This is Chris Crane.''
Crane is being introduced to the pressure cooker of replacing the third pick in the NFL draft and the new face of the Atlanta Falcons. After waiting four seasons for his chance to start, he's finally getting it.
On Sunday, Ryan called him on the day before BC began preseason practice.
``He wished me good luck. I wished him the same,'' Crane said. ``He said to appreciate the cool weather up here because it was hot and humid down in Georgia.''
It's been comfortably cool and rainy in Boston, but Crane has taken that in stride - the way he seems to be handling his role as successor to the quarterback who led the Eagles to as high as the No. 2 national ranking and into the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game last year.
BC isn't a top contender to get back there, but the school rarely has been rated highly - if at all - in preseason polls.
``I wouldn't say there's a whole lot of pressure'' following Ryan, said the 6-foot-4, 239-pound Crane from Mechanicsburg, Pa. ``Matt was, of course, a great quarterback, but that's not something that I think about at all. I just want to go out and lead the team to as many victories as we can get and, hopefully, get to another championship game.''
BC lost the ACC title game to Virginia Tech 30-16, missing a shot at the Orange Bowl. It did beat Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl 24-21 and finished with an 11-3 record and the No. 10 national ranking.
Ryan set school records last season with 31 touchdown passes and 4,507 yards passing. He also holds BC career marks for passing attempts and completions and is third in yards passing behind Doug Flutie and Glenn Foley.
Crane was redshirted in 2004. In the past three seasons, he completed just 27 of 40 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown. But he's more mobile than Ryan.
``I just know that when I have the ball in my hands and the play breaks down that I have the opportunity to run and probably get maybe a couple of extra yards than Matt would have,'' Crane said, ``to make something out of nothing instead of taking a sack.''
Through the first five days of practice, he's gotten positive reviews.
``Chris looks good,'' senior tight end Ryan Purvis said. ``He's confident back there. He's a smart kid. He's reading the field well right now and making the right decisions and he knows everyone's behind him right now. He's in a tough position. It's his first year and his last year so he's making the most of his opportunity.''
Crane is in his final year of eligibility. But he feels he's closer to his teammates off the field than Ryan was.
And that should help him lead the offense.
``They really are starting to build confidence in me, or at least I hope so,'' he said. ``Something that was different than Matt is I know a lot of these guys more personally. I was the backup and they're a little bit closer in grade to me. ... They'll take heed to what I say and it's not going to be a stranger asking them to do something or telling them to do something.''
He'll find out whether that translates into another season of exceeded expectations starting with the Eagles first game on Aug. 30 at Kent State.
They far exceeded them last year when they were unranked going into the season.
``I feel like since we've been here we've been underrated from the beginning of the season,'' said linebacker Brian Toal, a fifth-year senior who missed all last season with a shoulder injury. ``Last year we didn't start at No. 2. We worked our way up to No. 2. So we've got to do the same thing this year.''
And try to do it with Crane at the helm for the first time.
``Matt Ryan was a great player and there's a lot of great players before him, too,'' Jagodzinski said. ``No matter who's playing, they're still a BC guy and they're still wearing gold helmets and they're expected to perform. So now it's their turn to play.''