Landry is Boston College’s one-man wrecking crew

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Harold Landry has developed into a premier defensive end, leading the nation with seven forced fumbles while tying for the nation’s lead in sacks with 15

Search and destroy, that’s been the motto for Harold Landry since he stepped on the Chestnut Hill campus at Boston College to start his college career as the Eagles defensive end.

Landry, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound junior, was taught his lessons well by defensive coordinator Don Brown his first two seasons before Brown moved on to a similar position at Michigan prior to this season.

Landry has developed into a premier defensive end, leading the nation with seven forced fumbles while tying for the nation’s lead in sacks with 15 to earn second-team Associated Press All-American honors.

Landry gets to the quarterback and that’s what he will be trying to do when Boston College faces Maryland — a team that started 4-0 before losing six of its final eight games — in the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in an attempt to finish with a winning record.

While BC was dominated in a 45-7 loss to Florida State Nov. 11 in Tallahassee, Landry racked up four tackles for lost yardage, including two sacks while forcing a fumble. He then had 4 1/2 tackles for loss and three sacks in the regular season finale, a 17-14 win over Wake Forest two weeks later to make the Eagles bowl eligible at 6-6.

Quick Lane Bowl preview: Running time

So, what is Landry most proud of this season?

“I’m pretty excited about the numbers I’ve been able to put up this season,” Landry said. “The highlight, probably my best performance was against Florida State, then the Wake Forest game because we were able to get bowl eligible and celebrate with the team in the locker room.

“The big time games I love the most, going against the best players in the conference, those are the games you’ll cherish the most.”

And, what is his strength as a defensive end?

“I think my No. 1 strength is that I’m explosive,” Landry said. “If you’re explosive you can get a lot of things done and have a lot of success out there.”

Landry had high praise for Brown, his former defensive coordinator, and he enjoys playing for new coordinator Jim Reid, who was linebackers coach at Iowa last season when the Hawkeyes reached the Big Ten championship game.

“I learned a lot from him,” Landry said. “He was a great coach. He had a great defensive mind and really did a lot to put everybody in position to succeed on the field. He wanted you to go out there and play 100 mph and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, just be confident in your play and everything will be alright.

“Coach Reid is so focused on his guys. He loves his guys. You can really tell he cares about us. It’s great to go to the defensive unit room and have him go up there and talk to us every day. He doesn’t accept being average. He knows everyone in the room and how we can perform as a defensive unit.”

BC ranks No. 1 in the ACC and eighth nationally in total defense (310.6), seventh nationally in stopping the run (106.9).

“I think we’re a really good defense,” Landry said. “I think we can stop the run and then force the team to throw the ball and then defend the pass. I feel we’re a complete defense when we’re clicking on all cylinders. If everybody prepares the way we should I think we’ll show that in the game (against Maryland).”

Landry’s mission in the Quick Lane Bowl is to get to Maryland quarterback Perry Hills, to sack him or at least make him uncomfortable to disrupt the Terrapins' spread attack.

Hills, a 6-foot-2, 215-point senior, showed his potential against Michigan State, completing 21-of-27 for 200 yards in a 28-17 victory to as Maryland improved to 5-2 before going on a four-game losing streak.

“Well, from watching film he’s a big guy and you can tell from film that he’s a competitor,” Landry said. “I think overall he’s a good quarterback and you have to make sure that you wrap him up and bring him down. You have to make sure that you contain the pocket with him. We’re excited about the opportunity.

“A bowl win would mean a lot to us, it would be the first bowl win in nine years and a winning season. It would be a great day for our program, help us out tremendously in recruiting and send us out into the offseason on a great note. There’s a big difference between going out in the offseason and training with a losing record and no bowl win versus a bowl win and a winning record. It would just be a tremendous feeling and it would get us excited for things to come.”