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Duggan makes most of unexpected start

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / November 2, 2011

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He is the linebacker du jour for Boston College.

A year ago, Sean Duggan was still a high school senior at St. Xavier (Cincinnati), taking a recruiting trip to BC. His host on Halloween weekend was middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Tomorrow night, at Alumni Stadium, in a game against Florida State that ranks in the “must-win’’ category for the 2-6 Eagles, Duggan will be next to Kuechly, filling in at weak-side linebacker for Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot), who probably will miss his second straight game.

Last Saturday, the 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound freshman made his starting debut, and in a 28-17 win over Maryland, he was very much a factor with eight tackles, second on the team to Kuechly’s 11.

Duggan said he was ready for his opportunity.

“I was running with the twos [the second team] for a while and we get a lot of reps,’’ said Duggan. “The first couple of plays, I was nervous being a true freshman. But once you settle in, everything slows down. You trust your teammates next to you and just get the job done.’’

Duggan said he was prepared to sit out a year and learn.

“I kind of thought I would redshirt,’’ he said. “But you never know what can happen. Things change. People get hurt. So you just take it one week at a time and try and get better every day.

“But I definitely didn’t think I would be playing a lot this year.’’

Having Kuechly, whom he played with briefly in high school, has been beneficial.

“I can always look over and ask him,’’ said Duggan. “It helps a lot to have him out there. He’s a great role model. You try and learn from him. As much as I can, I try and watch film with him, just trying to learn as much as I can from him.’’

Duggan is the latest to come to BC in the St. Xavier pipeline, which includes former coach Tom O’Brien, and former defensive stars Nick Larkin and Alex Albright.

Steve Daniels, another St. Xavier product, is spending a season getting ready for the Eagles at Worcester Academy.

“St. X is a Jesuit school, and football-wise, our coaches really respect what BC does,’’ said Duggan, who is working on earning some respect himself.

Tough task ahead

Florida State has lots of numbers in its favor. The Seminoles have won three straight, are fourth in the country in rushing defense, and eighth in total defense. They have scored 30 or more points in their last five games, including a 34-0 win over North Carolina State last week . . . BC is one of only two ACC teams - Virginia Tech is the other - against which FSU does not have a winning record in conference play. They are tied at 3-3 in conference play, although FSU leads overall, 5-4 . . . A win makes FSU bowl-eligible for the 30th consecutive season, which leads the country. A loss will end BC’s bowl streak at 12 years . . . With the truncated work week, BC accelerated its practice schedule, putting in the game plan on Monday and Tuesday . . . Weather conditions should be tolerable, with no rain in the forecast and game time temperature expected to be in the 40s . . . For BC, guard Nate Richman (back) and running back Tahj Kimble (concussion) are out. Running back Andre Williams is questionable, which leaves the Eagles thin there. Pierre-Louis also is questionable.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at