|BC’s Max Holloway (right) said he has his hands full in practice, so he’s ready for his start Saturday against Clemson. (Boston College Photo)|
Family ties are on the line this week
DE Holloway gets first start for BC
His Boston lineage is unquestioned. His father, Brian Holloway, played for the Patriots for six years. His maternal grandfather, John “Pie’’ McKenzie, is part of Bruins lore, a Stanley Cup winner in 1970 and 1972.
And now, 2 1/2 years into his career at Boston College, Max Holloway is ready for his own showtime moment. When BC faces Clemson Saturday at Alumni Stadium, the 6-foot-2-inch, 295-pound redshirt sophomore will make his first collegiate start at defensive end, pressed into service when Alex Albright broke his leg in last week’s 24-21 loss to Maryland.
Holloway says he is ready. It is something he has prepared for since he came out of high school in Florida three years ago, choosing BC over Stanford, where his father went to school, and South Florida.
“I didn’t want to go to the West Coast,’’ said Holloway. “USF was way too close to home, and my mom lives in Boston. My mom’s side of the family lives here. I love being here. I wanted to come to a school where I knew we had a chance to win every week.’’
Holloway redshirted his first year, then appeared in 11 games last year. He has bided his time and learned his job, rotating in and out behind Albright this season.
But when Albright, a defensive cocaptain, went down in the first half last week with what was later diagnosed as a fractured fibula, Holloway knew his chance had arrived.
“At halftime of the Maryland game, he said to me, ‘The job is yours, go do your thing,’ ’’ said Holloway. “I feel terrible for Alex, especially since he is our team captain. He was a guy I looked up to the last three years.
“People are starting to look up to me the way I was looking up to Albright. I have to step it up.’’
BC coach Frank Spaziani agrees with that assessment.
“Max works hard,’’ said Spaziani. “He made some plays and he’s going to have to step it up.’’
Holloway’s family history suggests he is ready. In addition to his father and his grandfather, older brother David is a linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals after playing at Maryland.
“I have an older sister who is 26 and my youngest brother is 9,’’ said Holloway. “He’s going to be a monster. They say he’s going to be bigger than my dad.’’ (Brian Holloway was 6-7, 288, when he played for the Patriots.)
Coming out of Jefferson High School in Lutz, Fla., Holloway wanted to be like David.
“He was playing at Maryland,’’ he said. “I thought it was so awesome. It was like the best thing that ever happened.’’
Now Holloway is about to begin his journey as a starter in the ACC.
“It’s exciting for me,’’ said Holloway. “I’m ready for that. We were rotating a lot of linemen in and I was getting more comfortable every time I stepped on the field. I found I wasn’t as nervous. I was actually playing my game.’’
Nor did the level of competition intimidate him.
“We practice against the best offensive line in the ACC every day,’’ said Holloway. “When I got in the game, I said, “This is it?’ I’m not getting killed by [Anthony] Castonzo every day.’’
Holloway says he is satisfied with his progress individually.
“I was happy with what was going on,’’ said Holloway, who had one key play against Maryland, a second-quarter tackle of quarterback Danny O’Brien for a loss . I’m not happy with the result of us losing. Hopefully we can turn it around.’’
Senior safety Wes Davis, who suffered a neck injury against Maryland, is out for Saturday’s game. “Wes is going to have a meeting with the doctors and we should get an update by the end of the week,’’ said Spaziani . . . Cornerback DeLeon Gause, who injured his knee against Maryland, did not practice yesterday. Official word on his status for Saturday should come today . . . Albright will not require surgery but is expected to be sidelined for six weeks. That leaves the possibility of him playing one final game at BC — if the Eagles qualify for a bowl.
BC might not be having the best season on the field, but academically, the athletic program is national championship-worthy. In the latest Graduation Success Rate scores released by the NCAA, 21 BC teams had perfect marks of 100 percent — more than any other Division 1 program for the second consecutive year. Among major football schools, BC finished sixth with a score of 90, trailing Notre Dame (96), Duke (95), Northwestern (95), Rice (93), and Navy (92). The graduation rates, which account for transfer students and midyear enrollees, are based on the entering freshman classes from 2000-01 through 2003-04. The BC men’s basketball team posted a GSR of 88.
Mark Blaudschun can be reached at email@example.com.