Impact of Boston College Dismissing Montel Harris


Boston College dismissed its all-time program leader for rushing yards, Montel Harris. BC head Frank Spaziani said in a statement on

"“Montel Harris has been permanently dismissed from our football team due to a repeated violation of team rules,” Spaziani said. “We are grateful for his contributions the past four seasons and will support him in completing his degree requirements and in his future pursuits.”"

Immediate reaction to the Eagles losing a back etched in program history was decidedly negative. Soaring To Glory had an excellent breakdown of media commentary. BC played most of 2011 without Harris, so 2012 will not bring uncharted waters for the tandem of Rolandan Finch and Andre Williams. BC also has Tajh Kimble on the tailback depth chart, so the combined efforts of three are surely enough to compensate for the absence of one. Then again, last season without Harris the Eagles finished 4-8 and out of the bowl picture for the first time in nearly 15 years.

Harris suffered an injury less than a week after receiving clearance from the injury that sidelined him in the fall. The Eagles went through spring practices without him, building on the chemistry established sans Harris in the 2011 season.

The Harris dismissal is less indicative of tangible production, and as Paul Myerberg points out, more a perceived sense of gloom outsiders have about the program. Frankly, Harris’s loss is not even close to the most significant BC has sustained this off-season; that would be nation-leading tackler and linebacker extraordinaire Luke Kuechly.

The Eagles can attribute all of their victories to defense, holding opponents to a combined 61 points in those four outings. The defense nearly did enough to get BC bowl eligible, but the lack of an offensive punch supporting it ultimately doomed the Eagles’ bowl streak. Rebuilding the defense without Kuechly or sacks leader Max Holloway could prove a more arduous task than the one new offensive coordinator Doug Martin faces with his unit — although, that there is a new coordinator is a possible cause of concern.

No criticism of Martin himself is intended. His game plan injected some life into the Aggies, and resulted in New Mexico State averaging 24.5 points per game a season ago. That’s a noteworthy accomplishment in Las Cruces. But Martin is the third offensive coordinator quarterback Chase Rettig will have played for in as many seasons since arriving at Chestnut Hill. Quarterback Matt Christian had a relatively productive campaign in his one year under Martin’s guidance, but Christian was a dual-style player. Further, he did not face nationally renowned defenses like Virginia Tech and Florida State as Rettig will.

A revolving door of coaches can be particularly hard on a quarterback, and some of that was evident in Rettig’s performance during the Eagles’ spring game. His acclimation to Martin’s scheme and chemistry with returning receivers Colin Larmond and Bobby Swigert will likely have more impact on how an offense that averaged just 18.2 PPG last year fares this go-around, than Harris’s absence will.

As for Harris, he is a Jacksonville, Fla. native. Should he choose to transfer, I would keep a close eye on programs near that part of the country in need of a running back. Talk of Harris transferring to another FBS program surfaced months ago, after his season-ending injury. Chalk this one up to purely throwing ideas out there, but should Harris earned his undergraduate degree and thus be eligible for play in 2012, USF lost its leading rusher of a season ago, Darrell Scott, to early NFL entry.

Or, per CBS Sports’ outstanding reporter Bruce Feldman, elsewhere in the Big East:

Temple would be a nice fit for Harris, having just lost its featured Bernard Pierce to the NFL. There are similarities in Pierce and Harris that would translate well. The Owls return outstanding third down-style back Matt Brown, and dual threat quarterback Chris Coyer came on strong late last season.