If Toal's not ready, Jagodzinski plans to redshirt linebacker

Updated: July 13, 2007, 10:35 AM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Injuries have taken their toll on Boston College linebacker Brian Toal.

Toal, perhaps the Eagles' most physically gifted player, will more than likely redshirt this coming season, new Eagles coach Jeff Jagodzinski and Toal said Thursday. Toal underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in early March and hasn't fully healed.

The Eagles are scheduled to begin preseason practice Aug. 5.

"I'm still trying to get ready for the season, but right now I'm not ready to play," Toal said. "My shoulder isn't fully recovered. I'm going to take the rest of the summer and see if I can get ready to go. But right now, it's not looking very good."

Jagodzinski, who worked last year as the Green Bay Packers' offensive coordinator before replacing Tom O'Brien as Eagles coach, said redshirting Toal is probably the best decision.

"It's not 100 percent set in stone, but if he's not ready, I'm just going to redshirt him," Jagodzinski said. "That's not the worst thing because he's been injured and he's never been able to work in the weight room to get bigger and stronger."

Toal, a 6-foot, 232-pound senior from Wycoff, N.J., has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons. One of the most high-profile recruits signed by Boston College in recent history, Toal was named the ACC Rookie of the Year in 2004. He started the final nine games that season and was the team's second-leading tackler with 77 stops.

During Toal's sophomore season, he injured his left shoulder and neck late in the season and missed the Maryland game -- snapping a streak of 18 straight starts -- and played sparingly against Boise State in the MPC Computers Bowl. Toal missed spring practice before his junior season in 2006, then injured his shoulder against Clemson in the second game. He finished the season with 50 tackles.

"I can get healthy [by being a redshirt], that's the biggest thing," Toal said. "I think I can make a lot of gains in strength and speed just working with our strength coach in the weight room."

Jagodzinski already has decided that Toal won't run the football anymore. Under the previous coaching staff, Toal was used as a short-yardage specialist. He ran for six touchdowns in each of the last two seasons.

"He's not running anymore," Jagodzinski said. "I think that's where he got hurt a lot."

With Toal probably sidelined for the 2007 season, Jagodzinski said he has a lot of options at linebacker. Senior Jolonn Dunbar was the team's leading tackler in 2006 with 92 stops. Senior Tyronne Pruitt also started 12 games last season, finishing with 48 tackles. Junior Robert Francois, who started seven games in place of Toal last season, and sophomore Mark Herzlich also are options.

"We've got a lot of different players who can step in," Jagodzinski said.

Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

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