Anthony Castonzo leads Boston College
Senior offensive tackle is a driving force for Eagles on football fieldEmail Print Comments1 By Justin A. Rice
Special to ESPNBoston.com
CHESTNUT HILL -- On the first drive of Boston College's 11th game last season, Anthony Castonzo charged into North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn during a play-action pass. But the junior offensive tackle uncharacteristically stopped churning his feet and lost his center of gravity, allowing Quinn to sack freshman quarterback Dave Shinskie.
Before and after that play, Castonzo -- now a senior captain for the Eagles -- didn't allow his man to sack his quarterback. Nevertheless, that sack during the 31-13 loss to North Carolina remains the only play from last season that Castonzo can replay in his head on demand.
"I can run it over and over," Castonzo said during Thursday's media day. "I know exactly what I did. I stopped moving my feet on contact and I needed to keep pushing through, and I didn't and he got around my edge and sacked the quarterback.
[+] EnlargeMichael Tureski/Icon SMI
Allowing sacks isn't an option for Anthony Castonzo.
"Basically, I gave myself a mental lashing -- 'It's over with' -- and after that, I focused on keeping my feet moving the rest of the game and tried to make sure the same thing didn't happen again."
If it seems like the Illinois native is being hard on himself for allowing just one sack in 650 snaps last season, consider that the projected first-round 2011 NFL draft pick and Rhodes Scholar candidate who hopes to conduct cancer research one day also missed only nine blocks in 13 games last season.
Shinskie even took blame for the one sack, saying he probably rolled out too far or didn't step up in the pocket enough.
"It's hard to get past that guy," the 26-year-old sophomore quarterback said. "He doesn't do many things wrong, and when he does, he knows how to fix it. That's why he's preseason All-American and All- ACC.
"He's hard on himself but he keeps his cool."
Mostly unrecruited out of Fork Union Military Academy, the 6-foot-7, 306-pound Castonzo became the first true freshman in a decade to start on the Eagles' offensive line. In 2007, playing right tackle, he earned All-Freshman and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors during Matt Ryan's final season at BC despite being undersized at 250 pounds.
After being moved to left tackle as a sophomore, Castonzo anchored an offensive line that surrendered only 21 sacks of inexperienced quarterbacks Chris Crane and Dominique Davis.
Last year, Castonzo helped pave the way for running back Montel Harris' breakout 1,457-yard season.
"Anthony is a beast," Harris said on media day. "Just in the past couple days, I've seen him manhandle people just with one hand. He takes pride making every block. He's a very hard worker. Anthony is a great leader. He's very calm and cool but he will get in your face if you mess up. You don't want to make him mad."
Castonzo was mostly mad at himself after giving up his only sack last season.
"I'd hang my hat on it more if it had been zero," Castonzo said. "I'm upset with myself if I don't give up zero sacks. My top goal is that nobody touches my quarterback from the left side."
• Junior defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey reported to camp yesterday. Ramsey was home in Pittsburgh for personal reasons when camp started Monday.
"We're excited to have Kaleb back," BC coach Frank Spaziani said. "He's a good football player and he ended the spring a really good football player. He had some personal issues that have been resolved and now he's back on the team. We're excited about it, he's excited about it and we're anxious to get him back on schedule practicing."
• After missing all of last season after being diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, linebacker Mark Herzlich is facing one more hang up before reaching his ultimate goal of returning to the gridiron. The 2008 ACC defensive player of the year is sidelined by a stress fracture in his right foot.
"It's frustrating," Herzlich said. "But it's just kind of another thing to hurdle."
Considered day-to-day, Herzlich still hopes to play in the Sept. 4 opener against Weber State.