(An outsider’s musings about goings on at The Heights, AKA Boston College)_   The question is ALMOST rhetorical. Who is the starting quarterback for the Boston College football team?

In a world without injury or other setbacks, the answer at The Heights would be Anthony Brown, a 6-foot-1 inch, 210 pound sophomore who was handed the keys to the BC offense last summer.

But stuff happened at BC and every other place where college football is part of the landscape in the fall. BC–and Brown’s world–absorbed a jolt last November in an Atlantic Coast Conference game against North Carolina State, when Brown suffered a torn ACL in his right knee.

The best you can get at The Heights about Brown’s condition is that he is on schedule for a return for the 2018 season. But with knee injuries for QBs, WRs and RBs what exactly does that mean?  Ready by training camp in August, the season opener against UMass on Sept. 1 or later?

BC coach Steve Addazio went through spring drills with back ups EJ Perry and Matt McDonald running the Eagle offense. Addazio (what a surprise) had high praise for his players, citing the number of reps each QB received as invaluable. “”All of their snaps were with the first and second teams and you can’t get that kind of development (in practice),” said Addazio.

The most idealistic situation would be for Brown to be ready for training camp. That’s probably not going to happen.

The next goal would be the season opener on Labor Day weekend. Again that seems unlikely, since the feeling in the inner circles at The Heights–and most other places–is that BC should be able to beat UMass and Holy Cross (the Eagles’ opponent on Sept. 8) without Brown, so why rush the process.

Were the Eagles opening against an ACC opponent such as Georgia Tech, which they did two years ago or a prime time non-conference opponent such as Purdue (which they will face in Game 4 this season) there might be more of a sense of urgency surrounding Brown’s return.

There doesn’t seem to be that concern at BC because the Eagles have running back AJ Dillon, who gained 1,589 yards rushing as a freshman last season and is being mentioned this season as a possible contender for the Heisman Trophy.  Dillon is the real deal and is good enough to carry the Eagles past UMass and Holy Cross with a basic Offense 101 game plan of run, run and run, using the pass as only a threat.

Which means that the best guess on Brown’s return–barring any setbacks–will be the week of Sept. 13 as the Eagles’ prepare for their ACC opener at Wake Forest.

Fair enough and if it works out that way, BC should be well on its way to another bowl eligible season, which will get Addazio the contract extension he wants (he is signed through the 2020 season).

But what if Brown is not ready, what if the Eagles must go well into their year with Perry or McDonald at QB? Neither appears ready to run the offense on a full time basis and without a threat at QB, the tendency to over use Dillon will be greater and more likely, with all sorts of danger lurking in that strategy.

Addazio and his staff will no doubt spend the next four months trying to accelerate the progress of their back-up QBs, while keeping the recovering of Brown as their main goal.

How this plays out will be the first key mile marker for the 2018 Eagles.