Dan Henning (page 48) feels a special sense of mission as the Eagles' new coach. In 1960 he hoped to receive a football scholarship to Boston College. He didn't, and he accepted one to William & Mary instead. So when Henning pulled into Chestnut Hill this spring, he felt he had finally arrived—albeit 34 years late.
Henning faces one major challenge in '94: finding a quarterback. The three players fighting to succeed four-year starter Glenn Foley—sophomore Mark Hartsell, junior Jeff Ryan and redshirt freshman Matt Hasselbeck—have taken a total of two dozen snaps in their college careers. Hartsell, primarily on the basis of his height (6'5"), arm strength and a solid spring, has won the starting job...for now. However, freshman Scott Mutryn, a high school All-America from Cleveland, may end up as Foley's heir.
The main reason Boston College needs an effective quarterback is that its best player is a receiver. Now a senior, All-America tight end Pete (Top Gun) Mitchell could have skipped to the pros, but he shares Henning's sense of mission. In Mitchell's case, he wants to prove that it was not just made-for-TV hyperbole when during the national telecast of BC's upset of No. 1-ranked Notre Dame last November, NBC color man and former Cincinnati Bengal receiver Cris Collinsworth called Mitchell "the best receiver I have ever seen in college football." Mitchell tied a Boston College single-game record that day with 13 catches, 10 for first downs.
"When it's third down," Mitchell says, "I hope the coach is thinking about me."
August 28, 1994
Henning will not have to do much thinking about his defense, which lost only three starters. The anchor is junior end Mike Mamula, who kept turning up like a bad penny during the Notre Dame game. He was in on 14 tackles against the Irish, who had one of the best offensive lines in the country.
In addition to facing Notre Dame again this fall, the Eagles must begin their season with a trip to Michigan and conclude it with a trip to Miami.
"The question," Henning says of his team's formidable schedule, "is if this team can beat the likes of Miami. They've eluded BC in the past, and if we're going to compete in the Big East, we have to beat those guys."
This fall, an arm and a prayer would help. Especially an arm.