Saturday, April 22, 2017

Trying to read into the Spring Game

Those of us who watched the BC Spring Game know the drill. We watch because we love BC Football and the Spring Game is the only outlet for our addiction between the Bowl Game and the first game of the new season. The Spring Game is not a good predictor of anything related to real football. Because, like Saturday's 2017 Spring Game, this always feels more like a unique practice. 

The new twist this year that keeps the game from being a true look at BC was the lack of tackling. The play was dead as soon as a player had slight control on another. I am fine with limited contact. These guys shouldn't be bashing each other up now. But that I don't know how you can really evaluate BC's Defense off of today. 

The offense was a bit more telling. BC continued their tempo change from the Bowl game. Darius Wade looked decent and made numerous good throws. Antony Brown also got plenty of reps. While his athleticism and arm strength are noticeable, his throws were not as accurate. Hilliman looked sharp and healthy. Wilson also had a nice run. There were more than a few drops, but the WRs were fine.

The only true take away from all of this is that the offense is still evolving. For all of the talk -- including from Addazio -- that Brown was "the guy," he does not look ready to lead the team. Fortunately the season does not start tomorrow and he can get better. Wade, who was forgotten last year, looks capable. Aside from the QBs, the offense also seems ready to embrace modern tempo. That could change a lot about BC's games. All of those unknowns will be answered eventually...just not in a Spring Game.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Christian gets another guard in the recruiting class

Georgia prospect Avery Wilson committed to BC Friday. Wilson's offer list is not particularly impressive, but like some other recent recruits, he has good athleticism and could be considered a late bloomer. Due to our lack of depth, he should get playing time right away. As much as I would love Christian to be bringing in elite recruits, I have no problem with taking a shot on a good athlete. Welcome Avery. I hope you help provide a spark and surprise next year.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Can Martin Jarmond fix Boston College Sports?

BC doesn't have a problem on its hands with Martin Jarmond. It is the opposite. The new Boston College Athletic Director has a huge problem on his hands. The problem is BC sports. At this point in time, BC Athletics has a fanbase problem, an execution problem with their most high-profile sports, a fundraising problem, a facilities problem, a local and national perception problem, and another dozen issues in some of the non-revenue sports. All of the problems are solvable. I had hoped for a more experienced operator who had been hardened in previous political battles. I will take someone who seems to have youthful energy, ambition and a vision. Jarmond is going to need all of it.

The good news is that Jarmond has a history and passion for fundraising. That was one of the known prerequisites for this search. Raising money at Ohio State and Michigan State is a completely different animal from BC, but if Jarmond's quick accent shows anything, it is that he can adapt and rise to the occasion. Development is hard and a lot like sales. There are many dinners, and coffees and rounds of golf, and at the end of each one, you have to ask the person across the table for more money than he or she ever planned on giving. Bates was never comfortable doing that. It looks like Jarmond can. That alone will be a breath of fresh air and should help BC's sports revenues grow. I am happy for the people in BC Development who have gone a long time without an AD they could leverage in their jobs.

Bringing in someone from a sports factory like Ohio State is an interesting decision for BC. We do so many things differently. BC won't change how we handle admissions or academic tutoring, but maybe we will become more like Ohio State in our sports operations. Instead of doing things on the cheap and how we've always done them, maybe Jarmond can instill some new methods and minimums to give our athletes and coaches an even playing field.

But years from now -- when we look at Jarmond's legacy -- it will be how he handles Football and Basketball. I am less concerned about Basketball. Jarmond is a former DIA basketball player. Jim Christian is a lame duck. Jarmond has nearly a year to get things in place and find a new coach next spring. He has never hired a basketball coach, but has been around the sport for a long time. I will trust him on that. Football is a different issue. The Urban Meyer clique did have influence on this process. They went to bat for Jarmond. Jarmond and Addazio already have a relationship (Addazio was keynote speaker at an Ohio State coaches clinic just a few weeks ago). Bates never stood up to Addazio. Will Jarmond tell Addazio to ignore the critics? Will Jarmond tell Addazio to watch his temper with lower level employees? And most importantly will Jarmond make a difficult decision on Addazio if we go 6-6 again next fall? We won't know until things play out.

The reaction among BC fans and in the Athletic community has been overwhelmingly positive. This is the honeymoon. I now hope that Jarmond can fix BC before the frustrating BC-ness of our sports operations break him.

BC names Martin Jarmond new AD

Congratulations to BC's new Athletic Director Martin Jarmond. He has a big job ahead of him, but seems up for the challenge.

I will have a more in-depth post later.

Heights says it is Jarmond

More as it unfolds.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Explaining my Martin Jarmond tweets

In the ever-changing BC AD search a new name emerged Wednesday: Ohio State assistant AD Martin Jarmond. The name first leaked out on the BC message boards, then the Heights and finally via SI's Pete Thamel. I immediately went to Twitter to share my skepticism on the reports. Because this post could be meaningless in less than 24 hours (see the Mike Dee talk), I will try to keep things short. I don't believe Jarmond is the choice and I would be less than thrilled if he is the hire.

My skepticism on Jarmond being the candidate is based on how quiet this process has been. For better or worse, this is a Father Leahy decision and he has shown no history of sharing his opinions or news with sports reporters. The only thing I hear from BC people is that this is all Leahy and he is not talking. So if Jarmond is truly a finalist, it is his side that is talking to the media or BC folks speculating. If Jarmond's representatives are leaking to the media prior to a deal being finalized, they are playing with fire. It is the surest way to lose a BC offer. I would also be surprised by Jarmond based on the prerequisites that BC wanted in a candidate. While he has fundraising experience, Jarmond has never run his own department and has never hired or fired a coach. Of course, BC can say they want something and totally flip on that requirement, but it would be somewhat out of character for Father Leahy given his decisions since firing Gene D.

As for my skepticism on Jarmond's ability for the role, I just think BC is not in a place where we want someone learning on the job. We have major building projects to execute, decisions to make on our three biggest coaches (I am including a plan for when York steps down), and a fan and donor base to build up. Jarmond might be an Athletic Director wunderkind, but I would prefer someone who had a longer track record and a proven history of success.

We will see how this plays out. As the constant naysayer in this process, I will be wrong eventually. I just don't think it will be with Jarmond.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Occupy Wall Street -- BC style

Tuesday night is BC's annual Wall Street Council Tribute Dinner. It is one of BC biggest fundraising events and the most concentrated collection of big donors outside of reunions and a big football game. Father Leahy will be there. Among this crowd are a lot of passionate BC fans. Many of them have given large amounts of money to the school. While that doesn't buy you a say in BC's decision making (see Gregory Barber), it does get you the the opportunity to talk to Father Leahy. What I hope those fans do tonight is let him know that we still care and we want great Athletics. We also want someone who understands BC and is given the tools and support to succeed. At this late hour, it probably won't change Father Leahy's decision, but it still needs to be said. BC's current and future leadership need to know that we support the school but we also expect the school to strive for excellence. BC cannot be a Stanford, Duke or Notre Dame if we don't make the commitment with all the school's resources.

It will be also interesting to hear how the crowd reacts. In general, these folks are loyal, but I also sense discontentment. Maybe Father Leahy will sense it too.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Silly season

In my offline life, I probably overuse the colloquialism "if you throw enough -hit at the wall, some of it will stick." Right now that phrase perfectly captures what's going on with the BC message boards and with Twitter. You can say a decision is near because frankly there aren't that many weeks of school left. No source needed. You can say there are finalists because there are seemingly endless rumors of finalists. One particular reporter continues to throw up names and rehash talk and rumors from BC message boards. [I know I am being very hypocritical about aspects of this, but please trust I am trying my best to be rational, consistent and accurate.]

The rumor and candidate de jour is former MLB and NFL executive Mike Dee. I can see where his name would be leaked because that is an old Red Sox move. I know the leak is not coming from Father Leahy. There is no way he is talking to old Boston College beat writers. If Dee is talking to people, it is because he is trying to drum up interest. But if he is talking, he is doesn't understand the current BC dynamics. Talking out of turn causes problems (see: Ammaker, Steve Donahue, etc.) I imagine if Dee truly made the face-to-face stage with Father Leahy, going to the media before a final decision won't help his candidacy. But even beyond that, I don't believe Dee is a finalist. BC has told donors they are looking for someone with Athletic Director leadership experience and a history of hiring coaches. Dee doesn't have that. If Father Leahy goes in that direction, it will be a big surprise to some of his most active donors.

I would be very upset if BC hired Dee. Fit and experience are my main gripes, but there are others too. I will save those issues for when I am proven wrong and he is hired.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Baseball wins their first ACC series of the season

After a rough start to ACC play, the Baseball team finally won a weekend series. They won two out of three against Duke. Unfortunately Sunday's loss meant that it wasn't a sweep. While the little momentum is nice, BC has just three ACC wins so far this year.

The team takes on Dartmouth next and then resumes ACC play next weekend against NC State.