Thursday, August 22, 2019

Big questions: Can BC find magic in the transfers again?

A series of questions as we approach another year of Addazio.

Last year's senior class was arguably Addazio's most talented. Their departures left multiple holes. While there is youth in the pipeline, he wisely picked up a few transfers to help bridge any talent gaps. Grad transfers have been critical to a few of Addazio's seasons. The question heading into this year, will any of this year's transfers be difference makers for this season.

Danny Dalton might be the most prominent transfer given his New England roots and history with BC (he decommitted to go to Penn State). Now that he is finally an Eagle, he offers the potential to fill in some of the productivity at Tight End. However, Tight End was probably one of our deeper positions. In this case, Dalton is a nothing to lose fill in. If he plays well -- great. If he doesn't -- BC has others who will gladly take those snaps.

If we don't need Dalton to be great, we sort of do need Richard Yeargin to be great. DLine is our biggest question mark. We need someone to step up and provide pressure. Can it be Yeargin? He will get the chance. He's had all the tools, but dealth with injuries and setbacks while at Clemson. He was also among the best dline prospects in the country, so you could see how he might have been overlooked down south. At BC, he will finally get his chance.

Hayden Mahoney is another ACC transfer. Can BC get more out of him than Miami? He is supposedly set to start...and Addazio handles the Oline well, so that's a good sign. Some of Addazio's best transfers have been P5 Olinemen. Let's hope Mahoney continues that tradition.

If any transfer might make or break the season it could be Aaron Boumerhi. The former Temple kicker will be asked to do something seemingly simple, just kick FGs and convert extra points. Kickers have been one of Addazio's Achilles Heels. Maybe one grad transfer can break that cycle of frustration.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Big questions: What's Addazio's backup qb plan this year?

A series of questions as we approach another year of Addazio.

Last year Addazio pushed the narrative of BC being in the game against Clemson until Brown went down. It probably oversimplifies things and gives Addazio an excuse for last season's collapse, but the bigger issue is how to avoid such a drop off if Brown goes down again.

Until the summer, Addazio kept talking up his QB depth and talent. That's been a downgraded talking point since three of those backups have transferred elsewhere in search of playing time. I don't view any of the guys who left (Perry, McDonald or Langan) as program changing losses. And that is part of the problem. Addazio has brought in plenty of QBs and the best of the bunch so far has been Brown. The RS Jr Brown represents the most stability Addazio has had at the team's most critical position. Yet, he has missed games both years and has been inconsistent over the course of two seasons.

Based on what has been posted and discussed, it appears Matt Valecce is the primary backup. Sam Johnson is the most highly touted but as a freshman, unless he is blowing people away, it would be a real surprise for him to see the field. Dennis Grosel and Daelen Menard are projects on the depth chart. If either of them see the field we are witnessing a miracle or a disaster.

Valecce was well regarded as a recruit and has played well in spring exposure. Like Brown, he has to adjust to a new OC. But he's basically a blank slate.

If any team is forced to play their backup QB, something is wrong. My ongoing frustration under Addazio is that we've never had a backup who could step in and really press the starter. The best backup was Wade and even he was someone who you really had to work around and manage.

I hope AB has a breakout season and proves to be an elite player. I hope he stays healthy. But given everything that has happened, I am really hoping Addazio has his backup ready and it is someone who won't require Addazio to go conservative in a critical game.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Media Day reactions

Addazio and his coordinators spoke with the media Tuesday. It was pretty standard preseason stuff without much true news. At this point we know Addazio, he knows the fans, he knows his team, his AD and the media. The college football world is not waiting on his media address in August, but I think he does use this to set expectations for the season. Now I am about to get into all sorts of speculative nonsense, but I think Addazio is a little worried about the season. He specifically avoided a win total discussion and only vaguely included competing for a division. That is understandable considering Clemson is in the division, but in prior years he was a bit bolder. He put a lot of emphasis on building a culture and not wanting to disrupt that culture and the recruiting hit you take when you do. That seems directed at his critics -- like me -- and potentially his AD. I think the timing of this is all off for him. Last year was supposed to be the year. This year seems harder, so just when he needs a breakthrough, he will have to scrape that much harder to maintain.

I do trust him on his evaluation and enthusiasm for the OLine. If this team does exceed expectations it will be because the OLine made things easier for Dillon.

Sheridan was low key. He seems to like his squad and is not worried about the transition from Jim Reid. He was much more frank about the youth and how they aren't ready. I guess he has a lot to do before VT.

Bajakian didn't offer much news either. He does seem to buy into what BC is and what Addazio is selling. I found his criticism of Brown's accuracy important. I think it is one of the issues to get AB to the next level, but I also think Brown needs to work on finding the best option and also his general awareness. Some of that will come with maturity, but most of that will have to be nurtured by Bajakian. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

RIP Cathy Inglese

Longtime BC women’s basketball coach Cathy Inglese died Wednesday. She had suffered a brain injury last week after falling.

Inglese built and maintained one of BC Women's Basketball longest periods of success during the '90s and early '00s. Like her colleagues of that time who weren't hired by Defillippo, she was out the minute the program ebbed. And like some of the other misguided changes, the program has not been the same since she left.

Inglese was only 60 and had recently been an assistant at Hofstra. Condolences to her family. Many former players still hold her in high regard and are clearly saddened by her passing.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Moore serves as a reminder

Many times I have used this blog to promote BC athletes as special. In the vast majority of cases, I don't know the player. I am just attributing virtue and uniqueness based purely on what we see in public and based on my love for the school they represent. And while many of these athletes have been special, it is foolish not to remember that they are all human and some of them do terrible things.

I don't know Kam Moore and understand that he deserves his day in court, but this arrest is bad. I don't know if there is a good resolution for this sort of thing other than everyone heal and get better, and for it to never happen again. Football really isn't important when things get to this stage.

BC players are flawed. Deep down I know that. What I do hope is that BC continues to try to create a special culture. I also hope that the BC football community (coaches and players) reach out to Kam and try to get him and his alleged victim some help.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

UConn is dumb and so are the BC analogies

UConn is leaving the AAC to return to its roots in the Big East. This has been met with applause and head scratching in the college sports world. I am firmly in the head scratching camp. In my opinion, this move is risky and borderline nonsensical. I predict that UConn, in trying to reclaim past glory, will only sink all their future endeavours. I also think that anyone saying BC should do the same should also realize how silly that would be.

The Big East is dead
Whatever UConn thinks it is going to find in the Big East doesn't exist anymore. Yes there is still a tournament in Madison Square Garden and yes many of the teams they play are familiar, but the Big East is not the Big East of the '80s or even the Big East of the 2000s. TV audiences are smaller. There are fewer elite teams. The geography is spread out to the Midwest. Are the UConn fans who were disinterested in Memphis or Tulane going to turn out for Butler or Creighton?

It is coaching
While Villanova's success shows that you can win National Championships out of the Big East, UConn already won a title out of the AAC. Villanova's success was driven by Jay Wright. UConn's struggles post-Calhoun were just as easily attributed to coaching as conference. The AAC has legit basketball programs in Memphis, Cincinnati and Central Florida. UConn couldn't have beaten any of them lately. That's not because their players and fans long for the Big East. It is because their teams were bad. Maybe coaching will fix this, but changing conferences won't.

Giving up on Football will drag all sports
While their fans seems to think this move will give their programs new life, I think it will kill all their sports. Every coach who is recruiting against UConn can say, "they killed their football program. What will they kill next?" While I don't have a clear look into their books, I can't imagine this will improve athletic department revenues. We know the Big East TV deal is small. We know that football will be lucky not to lose a ton of money as an independent. Plus they have a $10 million AAC exit fee. Will ticket revenue from basketball and donations be enough to offset those decision?

Don't talk about BC and UConn
Predictably UConn's decision sparked talk from the pundits that BC should consider the same move. This is stupid beyond so many levels, namely the money, but also because the ACC is an entirely different group of schools. BC wants to be associated with Duke, Syracuse, Notre Dame, etc. Even those who don't care about sports realize that benefit to BC. Plus unlike UConn -- which declared itself a basketball school to the world -- BC is a football school. Our most public moments have been football related. Our fans and alums care more about football than any of our other sports. And football has given us an identity.

As has been proven out time and again in college sports, any team can compete from any conference. The key is always finding the right coach and giving that coach the right time and support to turn things around. Whatever failings BC or UConn have had in the last decade have not been one of conference affiliations. They've been bad hires or bad decisions. Both schools have challenges. I hope that BC is on the right path to fix ours. I am pretty sure UConn just made their problems worse.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Bowman made the right decision

Congratulations to Ky Bowman. Although the BC guard wasn't drafted, he did sign a deal with the Golden State Warriors. Given the Warriors' depleted roster and their need for cheap talent in the hopes of retaining Thompson and Durant, Bowman should get a legitimate shot at making the team. The difference between being a first round pick and a second is bigger than being a second round pick and an undrafted free agent. Second round picks are discarded by NBA teams all the time. The other blessing for Bowman is the renewed commitment to the G-League. Teams actually use it for true development now. It is not lucrative nor glamorous, but if the Warriors send him down, he will have a chance to comeback.

I don't know if Bowman will bother completing his BC degree. I would hope he does. Even in professional basketball, he would probably need it in most post-playing jobs (coaching, front office, etc). I know BC does help these guys the best they can with completing course work in the offseason or through distance opportunities. 

Despite a happy ending, I wish BC would be at the forefront of a rule change to allow players to return if they are not drafted in the NBA or NFL (call it the Hamp Cheevers rule). If BC is going to take a stand on paying players, why not make this stand too? Give players the chance to earn in the real world, but return if they change their mind or are given bad advice. If this is truly about developing them or giving them an education, changing that rule would seem like the something BC should believe in and support. 

I hope Bowman has a great career. He was fun the watch the past few years and I thank him for what he did for BC.