Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's never easy for a BC fan

"A week ago you said you didn't care about this game!"
-- Mrs. ATL_eagle to me after I started pacing the room on the final drive


What a fitting end to the to TOB era. Typical of the season -- many good plays, yet just enough bad plays to lose the game. Here are my takeaways on AOL.


I am happy...happy the season is over...happy we won...happy Jags is coming...happy TOB is gone...happy the streak is alive...happy the "transition is over"...happy for Dunbar...happy for Ryan...and most of all, happy for Aponavicius. The kid deserves to go out a hero.

I'll post my second viewing thoughts and grades this weekend. In the coming weeks, I'll have more season in review type stuff and of course, analysis and opinion on Jags and the staff. For now, thanks to all the readers for your support, let's take a deep breath and get ready for the basketball team to start toying with our emotions.

Friday, December 29, 2006

AOL post and more Eagle Action bashing

Here is a quick little preview on the AOL Fanhouse.


Earlier this month I took my shots at Eagle Action. Since then they have continued to post real garbage, especially under their pet names like Stanton. He is throwing enough crap up regarding Jags staff that some of it will be right, but please note how much of it will be wrong.

Friday links

Here are some articles of interest from papers outside of Boston.


Here is an update on Jags during the transition.


This is another look at Jags. It is interesting that he wants to interview everyone face to face. That would probably mean we won't get the official staff announcement until after the Packers' season.


This notebook confirms that Jags is ours as soon as the season ends.


The Syracuse paper published this feature on Dunbar.


The Charlotte Observer is publishing some pregame features. First on BC coming back to the bowl and then some advice to those going to the game.


Finally a reminder that this game features the two schools that boast the best grad rates.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Now we've got a problem

Wow. I know we were without Dudley, but you cannot lose this game. This is a huge hole and the team will have to have an outstanding year in ACC play to make the tournement. Good wins against Michigan State and UMass will help, but this loss to Duquesne and earlier trip up against Vermont will be real killers.

Congrats to Sean Williams for his triple double. His improved play is the lone bright spot of the season so far.

BC-Navy Preview

I don’t know how Navy fans feel, but for most BC fans this game is the ultimate afterthought. The focus remains on the new coaching staff. Who’s coming? Who’s going? But this game is important. BC needs to win. This is the players’ first chance to impress Jags. This is McGovern and potentially Spaz’ opportunity to show their new boss Jags what they are capable of. And most importantly this is BC’s chance to extend the nation’s longest current bowl win streak. The streak took a funny place amongst BC fans. Many are legitimately proud of it. Others, including this blogger, saw it as an over-hyped crutch used to justify TOB’s accomplishments. Now that TOB is gone, the streak is ours, not TOB’s. BC should win this game, extending the streak to seven games and within reach of Florida State’s 11-game streak. That, along with the chance for the team to win 10 games for the first time since Flutie, makes this game important.


Theme that won’t be discussed on television
There will be plenty of talk about coaches. Johnson is still in the mix for the Alabama job. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear Jags call in. They will talk about TOB’s departure. And there will be talk about Spaz and the admirable job he is doing. What won’t be discussed is that Navy infamously snubbed TOB during their mid-‘90s coaching search. John Feinstein captured the moment in his book Civil War. TOB came off in his interview as cold and uninterested, so the USNA hired Charlie Weatherbie instead. So when the media subtly scoffs at BC for letting TOB go, they overlook that the three schools that knew TOB best (USNA, UVA, and BC) all let the old Marine walk away from opportunities because they tired of his personality.

Three simple keys
1. Stop Navy on 1st and 2nd down. Navy has an impressive bowl streak of its own. Each year they overwhelm a favored team with long, methodical drives that break the spirit of the other team. The key to those drives is getting four and five yards on the 1st and 2nd down. Navy is not a big play team. But they are a solid, confident team. BC needs to slow them down with solid tackling and crowding the line. The key to winning is stalling Navy drives early.
2. Throw early and often. Navy does not have the pass rush or the corners to stay with us. BC should come out and throw like Notre Dame did against the Middies. But with the whole offensive coaching staff leaving, I have no idea what to expect. Will they be stubborn? Creative? Who knows? But if Ryan doesn’t throw for 250 yards, the blame will be on Dana Bible.
3. Create turnovers. The last time these two teams played, BC forced six turnovers. By design, Navy’s offense limits possessions. BC needs every turnover possible to get another chance to score.

Gambling Notes
-- TOB teams are 1-4 in the state of North Carolina
-- BC is 17-11 all time vs. the USNA
-- BC is 5-2 against the spread in TOB bowls
The current line is BC -6

What would be a pleasant surprise? An easy BC victory where the underclassmen get to play and where the guys honor Spaz with a Gatorade dump.

What would be a letdown? Losing. Navy is very good and certainly comes in with more focus. Even with all the distractions, BC should win. I hope the coaches and the players come out with enough pride to finish on a high note.

What would be a shocker? A Navy romp. Although Navy has the better coaching staff, we have more talent. They may steal the game, but there is no reason they should run away with it.

Bottom Line
I want to win this game. The TOB era is over and everyone involved deserves to end on a high note. Plus this is a chance to win 10 games. That accomplishment is somewhat watered down by the extended seasons and bowl games, but it is an accomplishment none the less. If the team comes to play and is given a gameplan to win, they should eventually pull away from the game Middies.
Final Score: BC 31, Navy 21.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

AOL on the Packer problem and other links

I always want the best for BC, so I hope Jags and the Packers win this weekend. However, as I explained at the AOL Fanhouse, I want the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys to take care of their business and put this Packer playoff stuff to bed.


Here is an article on Jags and his boyhood friendship with Olympian Dan Jansen.


The basketball team is becoming the walking wounded. The Dudley loss really hurts but I think he'll be okay by the time he comes back. With Jared out, this is really Spears, Roche and Blair's time to earn minutes in March.


Duquesne's coach will miss Thursday night's game. He was hospitalized with an undetermined ailment.


BC helped sell out the Charlotte Bowl two years ago. We are not coming close this season, but 60,000 tickets is respectable.


Here is a feature on Spaz. I bet he stays on to coach with Jags.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas to all. I'll be back blogging the night of the 26th. Until then enjoy the old stuff or actually go and spend time with your family and friends.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

KOd at KU

Pooring showing in the first half. The second half was slightly better, but nothing to get excited about. The turnovers concern me as well as the trouble we had with their size. But most alarming was how we struggled against the 2-3 zone. Dudley and Smith so perfected their two man game against a 2-3 that we rarely ever saw it. We need Spears to watch some of those tapes so he can learn how to react and benifit from Dudley's hard work on the baseline. The team needs to put this game behind them and come out strong during ACC play.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Kansas thoughts and WZBC appearence

Saturday, BC plays one of its biggest nonconference game since joining the ACC and the biggest since playing at Duke in 2001. While we've played other good teams and other highly ranked teams, this game is at Allen Fieldhouse, one of the meccas of college basketball. These teams are very similar in that they are both very talented but have lacked urgency in two games and allowed inferior teams to beat them. In Kansas' case it was Oral Roberts and DePaul. Beating them at home will be extremely difficult. They are balanced scoring wise and will create problems for us defensively. Williams will need to clean up a lot of mistakes. On the other side of the court, they have no one as good as Dudley. If Jared has a big game, I think we win. McClain comes back. I only expect him to get 10 to 15 minutes, but his legs and interior play should help.


Before the game, I'll be back at my old stomping grounds of WZBC. I am scheduled to be on around 1:30. You can listen online at WZBC.org

Advice to Jags: Hire this man


After the Whipple stuff, the second bit of controversy regarding the Jags hire was his staff. Some speculated that Gene wanted a say in staffing. DeFilippo firmly denied this idea during the press conference and said Jags would pick his own staff. Building a staff is tricky. You want a mix of youth and experience. Emotional guys and strategy guys. They must be good teachers and recruiters and hopefully have roots in a particular recruiting region. I am sure Jags won’t have any trouble finding good candidates or the right mix, but that is not going to stop me from making this suggestion: hire Paul Peterson.

I am clearly biased here but I think he is a viable candidate. Here are some of Paul’s highpoints:
-- Currently a Graduate Assistant at BYU, one of the most dynamic offenses in the country
-- Relationships with current players which will be valuable in the transition from TOB to Jags
-- Understands our old offense which will help when teaching our new schemes and terminology
-- Has roots in the West and in the Junior College world, which would be valuable for recruiting
-- Was able to sell himself to BC once...could surely sell BC on the recruiting trail
-- Is an all around good guy and shares Jags' passion for BC

I feel confident that Paul could be a coach for any of the offensive skill positions. I don’t know if Paul would want to leave BYU after only one year. It is his home. But any young coach is looking for a shot and what better place than his alma mater. So give Paul a chance, Jags.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Jags stuff on AOL

Here is a quick little thing I wrote up on the BC Fanhouse. Also, be sure to check out the Navy Q&As (here and here) that may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

What to watch for in tonight’s Packers’ game

One of the reason’s Jags had to hold his press conference at night, and flew out so quickly, is that he still has obligations to his current employer, the Green Bay Packers. Tonight the Packers play their penultimate game of the season on the NFL Network. While the focus will surely be on Brett Favre, there are two things to look out for.

The first is the obvious BC plug. Amidst all the Favre talk, I bet someone along the way will mention that his offensive coordinator is the new Head Coach at Boston College. No one gets the NFL Network, so I don’t expect this to create a wave of publicity for Jags or the program, but it will be nice to hear.

The second thing to watch is the Packers offense. Jags doesn’t call the plays, but his imprint can be seen by watching the offensive line play. Since leaving BC Jags came under the tutelage of Offensive Line Guru Alex Gibbs and has been implementing Gibbs zone blocking scheme ever since. BC currently uses many zone principles and has since Jags first run at the Heights. But the Packers Gibbs/New Jags’ scheme is much more rigid. In his new program the linemen, for the most part, fire out in the same direction. The idea is to push the defense in one direction. The Center’s primary duty is to get to the MLB first. From there, the RB has two or three running lanes he can choose and is likely to cut back from the flow of the line. But just because this is their primary scheme, the Packers do have some flexibility. They will still pull lineman against the flow and will also mix protection during pass plays.


There is a fear that BC’s mammoth guys won’t be able to adapt. I doubt it. Jags was able to use huge guys during his first tour, I am sure he will again. Plus, as he mentioned in the press conference, Dan Koppen was a tiny 245lb kid “sitting in the library” when Jags first got a hold of him. Obviously Jags made sure he got bigger and obviously helped make him better.

Anyone else as excited as I am?

Image courtesy of Big Pete

The honeymoon won't last forever but I am beyond excited right now. In his first 15 minutes this guy said so many things we've all wanted to hear. Hopefully Jags won over the Whipple faithful. The press conference just confirmed my belief that this is a good match. Now let's turn this passion into winning football.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Why I like Jags Part II

Continuity has become a dirty word among the Jags critics. One of the biggest reasons I like the hire is that it tries to have the best of both worlds. We have a coach who understands BC, has prior relationships with some of the TOB staff, has a prior relationship with Gene and is familiar with the formula of success. Yet Jags has been gone for eight years and clearly has his own identity. He is not a TOB clone. He is a breath of fresh air. He is much more personable than the stoic Marine. There is chance he will be dynamic enough to energize our fanbase so that we travel better or get in our seats for kickoffs. Hopefully his passion will also mean BC won’t come out flat in big or important games (like Syracuse or UNC).

We didn’t need wholesale changes in offense. But we do need a reinvigoration of our Line. I believe Jags will provide that. We don’t need to start running gimmicky offense, but we do need new play calling. I know Jags will provide that.

I also like that he will try to take things TOB did and improve them. Our recruiting pipelines are solid and make sense. We should recruit New England, New Jersey, the Midwest Catholic Schools and mix it up for a few kids in Florida, Texas and California. But now we have a fresh face on the trail who will hopefully close on a few big names. We haven’t closed on anyone since Toal.

Whipple would have been a much bigger shock to the system. Some think it is what BC needed. I don’t. I like that Jags goal is to build on what we have, not start from scratch. Some will say he is Gene’s puppet. I doubt it. He’s been around football enough to know when things aren’t working and where a head coach has to draw the line.

A month ago I felt trapped. There were many things I liked about TOB’s tenure, but had grown frustrated with him and his short comings. Now I am excited.

This might not work. But I am a believer now. Continuity in Jags’ case is a good thing. We will continue to win yet now have hope for something more.

Quick Jags links

Here is an article by Mike McCarthy talking about his relationship with Jags.


Here is a litte overview of how the Packers will continue Jags' blocking schemes.


Here is an older article on Jags bouncing back from getting fired by Mike Sherman.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Past performance is no indicator

I will continue with my Jags praise, but want to take a minute to dispel the growing belief that Mark Whipple’s prior Head Coaching success would have translated perfectly to BC. It may have. I found it encouraging, but it guaranteed nothing. For every Jim Tressel (who loaded up his OSU staff with NFL guys and Cooper holdovers) or Paul Johnson, there are just as many cautionary tales. Let’s take a look:


How about Mark Duffner? This guy won big at the DIAA level. In six years at Holy Cross (not the easiest place to win), he compiled a 60-5-1 record for an astonishing .917 winning percentage. That included two perfect seasons. So what happened to this rising star when he took his scheme and program to DIA and specifically the ACC? He bombed. In five seasons at Maryland he went 20-35 with a .364 winning percentage.


Let’s look at another New England DIAA product whose success included a stop in the Ivy League. Buddy Teevens only spent two seasons in Maine but he improved the team each year finishing with a 13-9 record and a .591 winning percentage. He then moved onto Dartmouth where he only had one losing season and finished with a 26-22 record and a .541 winning percentage. (He has since returned to Dartmouth.) So what happened when he got his shot at DIA? He stunk up the joint at Tulane going 11-35. Even his second chance at Stanford was a disastrous 10-23.

So again, Mark Whipple may have succeeded at BC. But he was far from a sure thing.

Why I like Jags Part I

I am writing this late at night and plan on producing much more thorough content on Jags, but let me start with the least rational reason I am excited. I am excited about Jags because he is excited about being the Head Coach at Boston College. His passion, aggresiveness and vision got him this job. That means a lot to me. If Mark Whipple came off as indifferent or unconcerned about the BC community as a whole, then I say good riddance. Our last coach has been itching to get out of Boston for five years. Little did he realize how lucky he was. Boston College is a unique school, community and football program. Jeff Jagodzinski embraced that uniqueness during this process. Like it our not, the Head Football Coach is the most visible member of the Boston College community. I don't know about you, but having a cold fish who mooned for other programs rubbed me the wrong way. Every time someone shared a little nugget about Jags and his understanding of BC, I got more and more excited. You wouldn't believe the relationships he still has with former BC players. I had no influence in this process but these guys took the time to write short and long testimonials on a guy who only coached them two years but has remained in their lives another eight. That says something to me.

For Boston College to reach that next level, we are going to need special players. For those special players to come to BC, we need a leader who understands how to sell our school and what type of kids will excel here. Jags, more than any other candidate, communicated that plan. For that I am excited.

TOB has been invisible among non-Boston alums. Jags is reportedly ready to hit the rubber chicken circuit and invest time with Boston College fans and alums around the country. Isn't that refreshing? Instead of having a Head Coach blaming us for his bowl problems, we have a guy who wants to hear from us.

I am not naive enough to think that Jags will be here forever or that he will not explore other opportunities. But like Coughlin, I think Jags will always hold a special place in his heart for the Heights. And if he has the same sort of success as Coughlin, I'll be sad to see him go, but wish him the best.

Football is an emotional sport. I am glad we finally have someone willing to show that emotion. As someone on one of the message boards said, "we are lucky to have Jags, he is a very good coach and even a better person."

AOL Links

Although everyone is focused on the coaching change, we still have a game we have to play. Navy Blogger Pitch Right and I exchanged Questions and Answers over at the AOL Fanhouse. Here is my take on his questions and his take on my questions.

Also, over at AOL, I posted a quick recap of the Jags hire.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Coaching Search Winners and Losers

The smoke is just clearing but it is not too early to say who came out ahead in this process:


Winners

Jeff Jagodzinski. Two weeks ago he was a relatively unknown NFL offensive coordinator and was a long shot to get the job. He reportedly wasn’t even on the infamous “short list.” But his passion for the opportunity and vision for the program helped him land his first Head Coaching job. If Jags can turn even half of that passion into results on the field, BC fans will be the big winners in this process.
BC’s Offensive Line Recruits. O-Line U didn’t live up to its name this year. BC had trouble running the ball, had numerous mental errors and never found a consistent line up. It probably gave our O Line recruits pause. Now they can look and see a depleted depth chart and a world class offensive line coach coming to campus. Huge upside for them.
A.J. Brooks. This guy was deep within TOB’s dog house and a rumored transfer. Now with Jags, he gets a second chance and an offense with a renewed focus on the running game.
BC Admissions Office. As much as football fans don’t want this to be a factor in the process, it is. By hiring Jags, the admissions office gets someone who understands the type of recruiting BC must do and will probably maintain the current good relationships TOB’s staff built with admissions.
TOB’s staffers that want to stay in Boston. I think Jags will bring in many new faces, but by hiring someone from the TOB tree, some of these guys now have a choice. I expect to see at least two guys stay on and possibly as many as four.
Tom O’Brien. He got out at just the right time. The growing resentment between TOB and Gene, TOB and the fans, and TOB and the players would have boiled over eventually. With the NC State move, he got his raise and got to leave somewhat gracefully.
Mike Vega. With all the speculation flooded on the internet the past three weeks, Vega remained solid and never fell into the trap of reporting gossip or nonsense. Plus the very first day he scored the exclusive interview with Greg Barber.
Boston College. Even if this turns out to be a bad hire (and I don’t think it is) this process confirmed that BC is a great school, a great program and has not reached its potential. The interest shown in this job surprised everyone involved. TOB can make all his little digs about the fans or the limitations, but guys were lining up to prove that Boston College can win championships. The number of recruits who said they want to stay regardless of the coaching change was another endorsement of how much BC has to offer on and off the field. Finally, the number of assistants who expressed interest in staying speaks to all that BC offers.

Losers

Mark Whipple. This guy was the favorite. He was one of the message board heroes. He has the best resume and was the first one interviewed. Yet somewhere along the way the coronation didn’t take place. There is and will be much speculation. What I know is that he did not make many fans in the interview process and his vision of his staff and of the program raised some questions.
Mike Farrell and Eagle Action. I’ve covered this already, but the guy threw so much BS out there I finally had to say something. I don’t know if anyone will listen, but I hope the new staff is very careful about their interactions with this guy.
Steve Kragthorpe. This guy could have been in the mix, but his hesitation (to see if something better came along) proved costly.
Employers of BC fans. Productivity of any BC fan has taken a major hit over the past few weeks. If the recession starts in January, I am blaming BC fans for starting it.


Jury is still out

Gene Defilippo. In ten years on the job Gene accomplished many things, but never had to fill one of our marquee positions. Jags will be his legacy. Instead of going the safe route with Whipple, he rolled the dice. With a new seating license and growing monotony, Gene needs Jags to win over fans and alumni. Let’s hope he does.

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Boston.com: It's Jags

Looks like all the rumors are over and a credible news source is reporting that Jeff Jagodzinski is the new Head Football Coach at Boston College. Congrats to Jags. I like this hire and will pick all the different aspects apart over the next few days.

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Don’t give Eagle Action another penny

Stop your payments to Eagle Action. That is my advice.

I’ve been wrong in this process and plenty of times in my blog, but there are a few things you can count on:
1. I am free,
2. I am not hiding who I am (here and here) or what my ties are to BC,
3. that I am first and foremost a fan who wants to see BC reach its potential.

Giving any money to the fools at Eagle Action is just throwing it away. Give that $200 to charity or the BC fund, because you’ll get a lot more value out of it. During this process Mike Farrell has been exposed as someone with no insight into BC and dwindling credibility. In the past week he has floated or reported that it was Whipple, then Jags, then Clawson (yet he keeps spelling it ClOwson), then Whipple, then Jay Norvell, then Spaz and now he is floating Jags again. Worst of all Eagle Action continues to duplicitously create nom de plumes for their writers when they don’t want to put their credibility on the line. If you want news mixed with rumors, just read the free message boards. That is where the TOB stuff first broke and will likely be where the first new coach confirmation gets posted.

Stanton Farrell may still be the leader in pestering high school boys about their recruiting trips, but the guy is out of the loop regarding real BC information. His sources were all TOB guys. He may rebuild connections with the new staff, but don’t reward him for slinging s-it during this process.

Eagle Chevy runs a constantly improving site at Eagle Insider, I suggest you spend your time there.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Spaz and a little AOL update

The latest rumor is that Spaz is getting a Leahy interview. This may be true but I don't expect him to get the job. I think this is courtesy to a long time employee and a chance for Leahy to talk about the current state of the team. However, if Spaz is the choice, Gene will a hell of a time selling it to the fans. But I just can't see this...especially when there are two really good finalists.


Here is a short little take on the situation on the AOL Fanhouse.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

So much for the Saturday announcement

Sorry for getting anyone's hopes up. I am just as frustrated as everyone else. The "Saturday announcement" thing came from two different places. But it looks like they were off. The following is all my opinion so take it for what it is worth:
-- Whipple came into the process as the favorite. He was the first interviewed. The longer this process takes the better it would seem for the other guys.
-- Jags interviewed well and has BC ties. While he might not be as popular with the fanbase, that fact that he is still involved speaks well for his chances.
-- I really would be shocked if anyone outside of Jags or Whipple gets the job. Norvell seems like such a long shot: no BC ties and not nearly as qualified as Jags or Whipple. Clawson would also be hard to justify.
-- The only way someone other than Jgas or Whipple gets it is if a new name who has not been interviewed yet threw his name in VERY LATE. But for BC to put the brakes on because of someone new, he would have to be clearly better than the two guys they have waiting.
-- With the NCAA recruiting Dead Period starting December 18, I think the urgency is starting to lessen. Gene has correctly decided to make the right hire, rather than rush so that the new coach can have a day or two to work the phones with recruits.

So I still don't know anything and I don't think there are many guys out there that do. So here are my latest rankings. I really do think it is Jags or Whipple.

Current Ranking
1. Mark Whipple -- neutral
2. Jeff Jagodzinski -- right behind
3. NA
4. NA
5. NA

Friday, December 15, 2006

Announcement coming Saturday

Pretty solid on this. So our new coach probably knows he got the job or will know shortly. I still can't confirm who the guy is yet, but will post as soon as I can.

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Link round up

The Globe brought out their heavy artillery this morning in favor of Whipple. He was the focus of this Bob Ryan story. Blaudschun called Whip the "front-runner in confidence and accomplishment." Vega took a more news focused approach and updated the situation with Spaz and Gilbride, but did mention a potential schedule for Whipple to visit campus. Obviously Whipple would be popular with the local media. The Herald ignored BC and focused on UMass’ current DIAA playoff run.


Here is a little more background on Jags that the message board posters found. First a recent article on his zone blocking schemes. Here an older item on leaving BC for Green Bay. This link from the AP has Jags “no commenting” about the process.

If Clawson doesn’t get the job, at least he generated a lot of positive press. In this article his former boss calls Clawson a rising star.

Unrelated to the coaching search...an article on former BC player Derric Rossy’s progression as a boxer.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

No one knows anything

-- "Whipple's a done deal"
-- "Jags blew Gene away in the interview"
-- "All the assistants want to stay"
-- "They [the assistants] are all leaving"
-- "TOB had a falling out with Spaz"
-- "TOB had a falling out with Bridge"
-- "TOB is taking everyone but Bible"


And on and on and on. This is just some of the stuff getting floated around on the message boards, in emails and phone calls among the observers and insiders. I am as guilty as anyone. You know what it all means? Nothing!

Vega, who is held to a higher standard than the rumor mongers here and on Eagle Action, put together a pretty good article this morning. I believe that Whipple is a finalist. I also believe that Jags is the other guy. I think Leahy and Gene would be happy with either. If Jags and Whipple both get a Leahy interview, look for Jags to get the job in upset.

With all that said, you can expect a Monday morning press conference with our new coach: Bob Davie.

Links and the latest ranking

Here is some background on the ACC Championship Game. After a good first year, the Georgia Tech-Wake Forest Matchup hurt attendance and TV ratings.

Gene was busy in Jersey. Everyone knows about Gilbride, but now word is out that he also met with Clawson.

Former BC and current Steeler QB Brian St. Pierre thinks Whipple would be perfect for BC.

This is a little old, but Josh Beekman made the first team All America team. Congrats. (I actually thought Josh played better last season.)


Finally, my latest hunch. The list below is purely my speculation based on stuff people sent and our AD's actions.

Current Ranking
1. Mark Whipple -- neutral
2. Jeff Jagodzinski -- he would be 1a if I had it
3. Dave Clawson -- rising
4. Al Golden -- rising
5. Kevin Gilbride -- falling

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Debunking the “it is hard to win at BC” myth

A common fear out of this process is that we cannot do better than TOB and that he dramatically overachieved at the Heights. I don’t buy it. Historically BC is a winning program.

Since its inception, BC football has a winning percentage of .580. Not championship level, but look at some of the schools with supposedly better histories than ours [NOTE: All Winning Pcts are through 2005, as this season is not complete]:

NC State -- .509
Virginia -- .533
Maryland -- .532
Georgia Tech -- .593
North Carolina -- .572


Now look at some of the programs that we get lumped with when critics say “BC will be the Baylor (or Northwestern or Vandy) of the ACC”

Baylor -- .506
Northwestern -- .433
Vanderbilt -- .505

BC has historically outperformed all of these folks. Our history is strong and the foundation is there to support a winner. And that foundation has only improved as the program built new facilities, switched conferences and seen the school’s profile become much more national.

But more than 100 years of football does not tell the whole story critics say: “Guys like Leahy or Coughlin or TOB skew that average and BC really sucks!” History disagrees. Even if take out the high points of those three guys and look at key figures of the modern era, the numbers are encouraging.

Mike Holovak was our primary coach in the 1950s. His winning percentage -- .623.
Jim Miller was our primary coach in the 1960s. His winning percentage -- .586
Joe Yukica was our primary coach in the 1970s. His winning percentage -- .648.

Does that spark fear that things are suddenly going to drop off or that TOB was some sort of miracle worker?

But people say, “that was then, this is now.” Let’s look at another era -- BC performance since the DIA split. Our historical winning percentage drops to .545. But that is still winning and still better than many of our peer programs. And this era includes disastrous tenures from Clebek and Henning. Yet what happened once we fixed the mistake of these two coaches? More winning football. “But TOB went to more bowls, won more games, did great things, etc.” Timing is everything. He coached in a era where expanded seasons make it easier to win more games and go to more bowls. TOB and Coughlin won at a similar rate (TC -- .618, TOB -- .625) and outperformed our historical success rate by a similar margin (TC – 4% better, TOB – 5% better). However TC's short tenure prevented him from exploiting the bowl gluttony. Notice also that while TOB passed Yukica in wins, he did not win at the same rate as Yukica (.648).

So regardless of who the new coach is, he will inherit a program that is in good shape and a proven winner.

Purely Speculative Ranking

Let me repeat that I am not a reporter on this. The list below is purely my speculation based on stuff people sent and our AD's actions.

Current Ranking
1. Mark Whipple -- neutral
2. Jeff Jagodzinski -- continues to rise
3. Dave Clawson -- neutral
4. Kevin Gilbride -- rising
5. Steve Kragthorpe -- neutral

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Further thoughts on Gilbride, Troy Bell update

Earlier I said I am against the Gilbride hire (based on the Globe mention). My gut reaction was really based on two things: the Buddy Ryan Punch and his failed stint with the Chargers. Digging a little deeper, I think IF he gets hired, I would have to give him a chance. I think the Ryan thing, his age, and being out of the college game are major 'Cons' in his column. But there are a few 'Pros': NFL experience, very creative and flexible offenses (everything from Run and Shoot to power games), the Coughlin endorsement (which still means a lot) and the fact that he would talk to us after getting burned 10 years ago (he thought he was going to get the job only to see TOB waltz in). But the biggest shift in my thinking was looking at his record as a College Head Coach. For five season in the early '80s Gilbride coached his alma mater Southern Conneticut State to winning and consistent football.
Gilbride at SCS
1980 -- 5-4-1
1981 -- 6-3-1
1982 -- 9-1
1983 -- 8-3
1984 -- 7-3

Now given it was DII, it was his first head gig and how young he was, I think that is a pretty impressive run. Plus he parlayed it into something better.

All that said, I want Whipple, Jags, Kragthorpe and even Clawson before Gilbride. But if he is hired, I don't think Gilbride would be a Henning-like mistake.

On a basketball note, SI.com ran a nice feature on Troy Bell and his struggles to make the NBA. I loved watching Troy play and hope he gets back in the league.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another day, another batch of names

Further confirmation of the Whipple meeting.

The Times-Dispatch reports that Dave Clawson is a candidate. This mentions him as a possible assistant, but wouldn't that decision be made by the new head coach? I am not opposed to Clawson, but Gene would have to really get out there and sell him to the fans and alums. This also lists Kevin Gilbride as a candidate. Full disclosure: I went to high school with Kevin's daughter. I have not talked to her since, but I don't think Kevin would be a good hire.

In this article on the Stanford job (which I guess interests Fassel more than the BC job) there is a small summary at the end of the article with our supposed five finalists. Good news: Davie is not listed. Random news: Jay Norvell is. Norvell is the current Nebraska OC and has not connection to BC. Given the other guys in the mix, I would be shocked if Norvell is ever offered the job.

New feature alert! For the next week or so, I am going to have my daily, purely speculative ranking of the candidates and whether they are rising, falling or neutral.

Current Ranking
1. Mark Whipple -- neutral
2. Jeff Jagodzinski -- rising
3. Dave Clawson -- rising
4. Bob Davie -- falling
5. Steve Kragthorpe -- neutral

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Finishing the season

Here is a link on Whipple and how IF he gets the job, he will finish the season in Pittsburgh. As I wrote on the AOL Fanhouse, this will be an issue with nearly any NFL assistant. But if you hire the right guy it is worth the wait.

There continues to be rumblings of a mystery candidate. Speculation/guesses/rumors include Rob Ianello, Al Golden, Dave Clawson, and Jack Bicknell, Jr. The whole idea of a mystery candidate seems stupid to me. Why should the administration and their leaks in the media force intrigue into this process? Every possible name has been thrown out there on the blogs (including this one) or message boards. If someone is interviewed, why hide it? We all know about Whipple and Davie. Would coming out and listing the mystery candidate do that much damage to our process or his current job? I doubt it.

Basketball's big win and more coaching stuff

While the majority of BC fans await the announcement of our new football coach, the basketball teams continues to play well. With the win over Maryland last night, the early losses to Vermont and Providence seem like a distant memory. The foul shooting needs improvement and the half court sets are not nearly as crisp as they were last season, but two things are much, much better -- our transition game and our defense. Sean Williams is obviously the biggest factor in the defensive improvement, but there are some other things going on too. There is a lot less switching…now I don’t know if this is by design or just coincidence early on, but fewer switching leads to fewer open shots and better rebounding. I expect teams to start to exploit this with more movement. The other thing is defensive rebounding. Dudley, Marshall, Williams and Spears all hit the boards hard, helping limit second chance points. I cannot wait for the Kansas gave.


Here is an interview with Dudley. I would love to see us come out with an alternate uniform for an ACC game this year.


New coach stuff

Gene interviewed Whipple yesterday. This is a good sign and confirms that he is right in the mix. On a more upsetting note, I continue to receive info regarding Bob Davie. With the TOB move, Gene clearly showed that he has his pulse on the fanbase. He must know that the Davie hire would not be well received. Keep your fingers crossed that this is just one friend doing another a favor.

As I said last week, Flutie doesn’t have the time to be our new coach.

Richmond Coach Dave Clawson is certainly under the radar but has a good track record.

This article is not going to help our Bowl reputation. I am still surprised Swofford didn’t do more to ensure that the ACC’s backyard bowl didn’t end up with a more ticket friendly matchup.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

No news yet...more lists

Despite reports Friday, Gene and others continue to deny that anything is final with Whipple.


The Herald's Steve Conroy updated a list in Sunday's paper that included many of the names from my first expanded list (Jags, Sullivan, Ianello, etc.) Jags claims that he has not been contacted yet, but we know how little that means.

Kragthorpe was a hot name, but now that he is moving up Alabama's target list, coming to BC might be a tougher sell.

One name that is not in the Herald, but I've heard floated is Richmond Coach Dave Clawson. Young Clawson was the OC at Villanova in Gene's final year there.

Let's hope that Gene and team make the right choice, but this process confirmed that BC is a very desirable job.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Head Coaches: Interim and Rumored

Boston Fox affiliates are reporting that BC is close to hiring former UMass coach and current Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Coach Mark Whipple. I have heard that Whipple is a finalist, but that nothing is done. Eagle Insider Poster BCWest, who has a solid track record in this process, is saying that Whipple and one other guy are in the mix and the decision is days, not weeks away.

I would be very happy with the Whipple hire. We’ll see how it plays out. In the meantime here are some old links on Whip.

-- Globe profile
-- Steelers bio
-- UMass bio


Spaz will coach the Car Care Bowl. His title is interim. This makes sense and I think Spaz and the current staff can get us ready to play. Spaz deserves thanks for doing this since it is highly unlikely that he will get a shot at the real job.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Unspinning the spin: Friday edition

Some really good stuff in both the Globe and Herald Friday.

Vega might not always be a news breaker but he is connected and writes a good feature and really delivered with a unique angle getting extensive quotes from Greg Barber. Barber funded the chair that pays the Head Football Coach's salary. And Barber confirmed via the interview that BC can more than pay above market for a coach. So once again, ignore all the money rumors. Our trustee who writes the checks just confirmed we can pay. What is more revealing and comforting is that Gene purposely chose not to increase TOB’s pay. Regardless of if he makes a good hire, this shows that Gene knew BC Football needed change.


While the Herald didn’t get quotes from Barber, they did give the controversy more coverage. Conroy had player quotes and listed the names being mentioned. Megliola took a TOB needed to go angle. While Karen Guregian correctly points out that this is all on Gene now. He wanted TOB gone, now he has his chance to put his guy in place.

One thing is clear -- BC is reaching the local media and getting our side of the story out there. Multiple articles are mentioning TOB’s shortfalls in games against UNC and Syracuse. But for the first time the Boston media is blaming TOB for waning fan interest and specifically focusing on the Porter fiasco. I am glad that Gene and BC are getting their message out there. Look for the pro TOB media guys to start bad mouthing BC soon.

Name names

The papers also threw out many names as candidates. I am not a reporter…more of an aggregator with an opinion. I’ve been asked about or sent 50 or so different rumors in the past few days. The one rumor that seems most credible is that Steve Kragthorpe is the primary candidate. Whipple is also high on the list. The Davie stuff scares me to death, but honestly I’ve seen it most often as media speculation, not gossip from anyone in the know. Fassel and Flutie are fan favorites, but I’ve been told that both are very flattered and love BC but don’t think the time or job is right for them. I think both Kragthorpe and Whipple would be very good hires. I think Whipple is more realistic. Kragthorpe is a very hot young coach who will continue to be mentioned on every school’s short list (UNC, Miami and Iowa State had interest). He did spend one year at BC as an assistant to Henning. If we can get him to come here, it would be quite a coup for Gene.

If none of these guys work out, our Plan B list has many NFL names who would be very good fits.

Transfers

I’ve been getting tons of questions about transfers. The players were told there would be “no penalty.” I don’t know what the heck that means. The guys seemed to interpret it as they can walk right away. But the NCAA rule still forces them to sit out a year if they go to another Division 1A school. If a player goes DIAA, he can play right away. The NCAA does allow fifth year seniors with completed degrees to play right away at another school. The only guy who fits that category who scares me is Matt Ryan. But I think all of the players will wait and see who is hired. TOB was not beloved by all, so there are many players that are happy to see him go and are more than willing to give the new guy a chance.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Latest, fundraising and some AOL Stuff

Rumors are flying and most are good. This is what I know and can confirm:
-- There is more interest in the job than anticipated. Many guys are throwing their names out there especially from the NFL assistant and mid level college list.
-- We have money to spend. Gene is not going to overspend, but money will not be an issue for the guys we are targeting.
-- Gene is moving fast. This scares me a little. We need to make the right hire. But I trust Gene and company will do this well.
-- Johnson is staying at Navy.

As for naming names. I only know what people share but most of the leading guys were on the lists I published last night.

I'll keep the BC stuff and speculation here, but over at the AOL Fanhouse I've put up some TOB-NC State focused stuff (here and here). Basically I think TOB might be an awkward fit at NC State.

Also some great alums have come up with an idea to support the school and Gene. They are buying Car Care Bowl tickets and donating them to charity. This will help our travel rep and send word to Gene that our fans will spend money with the right coach. I also encourage you all to give to the General Fund or the Flynn Fund. If you give, your voice will be heard.

Don't buy everything the media says

This is more follow up based on emails and stuff flying out there. Don't concern yourself with most media. There are very few informed sources around here. Also don't worry about us making a splash or getting a "name." It really doesn't matter. If we hire an unknown (like TOB was), it won't matter what ESPN thinks. What will matter is how he coaches and recruits. This is about us...BC. Don't worry about what anyone outside of BC thinks of this hire.

Now regarding rumors and trusted sources...

Who can you trust?
-- Michael Vega. Vega frustrates with not breaking news, but he is solid and has BC sources outside of TOB. If he lists names you can bet they came from Gene D.
-- Steve Conroy is more unknown. He is aggresive and broke the Ohliger thing, so he might break something here. Because he pissed off TOB with the Ohliger situation, I don't know who he is talking to. Regardless, I respect his work and think there will be validity to what he prints.
-- Bob Ryan. Ryan comes and goes on the BC coverage, but he is still an insider. Still tight with Gene. Still loves BC. And was starting to see the limitations of TOB.
-- Pat Forde. He is tight with multiple people in the athletic department.
-- David Glenn. Although he is on Tobacco Road, he is a very connected and solid reporter.
-- Tony Barnhart. Friendly with Gene.

Who can you not trust?
-- Anyone from ESPN outside of Pat Forde. TOB's daughter works at ESPN, so everything they say will probably take the TOB spin.
-- All the other major media outlets. No offense to these guys. BC is just not their focus. So whatever they say will be the standard "BC cannot pay. Fish out of water in the ACC." etc.
-- Mark Blaudschun. He is already getting it wrong. He said that the TOB thing just happend Tuesday. Not true. The two sides were exploring/talking as early as Nov. 30.
-- Mike Farrell. Farrell's sources are TOB and his staff. So anything he said is going to be from a TOB slant. TOB is gone. We need to focus on the BC slant.

Rumors: BC doesn't or won't pay.

Not a concern. Even if we go cheap we can still find a good coach who wants to be at BC.

The Morning After

Thanks for all the emails. I want to take a moment to try and calm some fears. This is a good thing. We needed a change. Risk is inherent with change, but I am not worried. We won before TOB arrived. We will win again. Ever to Excel.

Now to some specific concerns...

1. We will take a huge hit on the field next year. Maybe. It is a very talented team coming back. The schedule is much tougher, but there is no reason to think that next year is a lost cause. But even if we really fall, the change should not be viewed as a one season issue. It is a five to ten year issue. We might have to take a step back in order to move forward. Would you take 6-6 next year for a shot at the Peach Bowl in 2009?


2. Recruiting is toast and current players will leave. Again…maybe. But any coach worth his salt will do his best to keep this class intact and keep the current kids on board. But there will be gaps in any transition. This needs to be viewed with a slightly longer perspective.


3. We can’t/won’t pay enough for a quality coach. I think we will pay more than TOB was making for the right coach. But even with a budget (say under 750K) you can find a really good assistant looking to move up or a MAC-type coach looking for a bigger opportunity.


So everyone take a deep breath. I think this will work out. And if it doesn’t and we end up with Henning Part II, we have proven that we can overcome and bounce back from that too.

My short list

There are plenty of good coaches who can and will come to BC. Now it is on Gene and Father Leahy to do this right. I just rattled off 18 guys. There are many more out there who could win at the Heights. For those looking for my summaries they are linked below. All that said, these are the five guys I would talk to first:

1. Jim Fassel
2. Rob Spence
3. Mike Sullivan
4. Mark Whipple
5. Al Golden

Expanded Lists:

-- TOB Coaching Tree
-- Fan Favorites
-- Current College Head Coaches
-- NFL assistants
-- College assistants

For Gene's consideration, Part VI: A Warning

DO NOT HIRE BOB DAVIE!!!

Gene has ties to the former ND coach and but it would be a bad move on so many levels. I don't think the fanbase would embrace Davie. I don't think we would have on field success. And I think TOB would beat him every year. If Davie couldn't win at Notre Dame, he will never win at BC.

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For Gene's consideration, Part V: Current College Coaches

Gene Defilippo’s legacy will be our move to the ACC. However, Football is our flagship sport and we are at a crossroads. The decisions Gene makes over the next few weeks are critical. No one from BC has asked for my advice, but think these are the paths we could and should follow. Regardless of which pool or path you want, I think the new head coach needs two traits.
1. Has to believe BC can win an ACC championship. Not every year but occasionally.
2. Has to respect and support BC’s belief in the student athlete. The focus on graduation predates TOB. I think we have used it as a crutch for bad losses, but I don’t want to see the philosophy trashed. Wake Forest proved you can graduate players and compete.


Some fans are worried that we will never find another coach like TOB. BS. Numerous guys can get us into the Tire Bowl every year. There are only 119 head jobs out there and thousands of assistants looking for their shot. We can find a good Head Coach. I have broken down the pools of candidate into a series of posts.

Part V: Current College Coaches

Hiring a guy who is currently a Head Coach in college can be a really safe bet. But you never know if your new hire is going to perform at the higher level and as TOB has shown trying to court a guy with a job can be a tricky and expensive proposition.

Paul Johnson. Head Coach, Navy.
Pros: Proven winner. Has recruited at a place with numerous restrictions.
Cons: No ties to BC. Gimmicky offense. Would use the job as a stepping stone.
Bottom Line: I would like this hire. Grobe just proved that you can win in the ACC with a gimmicky offense.

Steve Kragthorpe. Head Coach, Tulsa.
Pros: Great track record. Well respected by other coaches. Son of a college coach. Young aggressive recruiter.
Cons: No BC ties [CORRECTED: He coached under Henning]. No Northeast ties. Would certainly use this as a stepping stone.
Bottom Line: Kraglethorpe is the flavor of the month. I would like the hire, but don’t see it happening.

Brian VanGorder. Head Coach, Georgia Southern.
Pros: SEC experience. NFL experience. Georgia Southern has a good track record of guys taking the next step. Great recruiter. Experience recruiting the Midwest.
Cons: No ties to BC. No ties to the Northeast. No experience recruiting for a school like BC.
Bottom Line: Being a Georgia guy, I would like this hire, but don't think he will be on the short list.

Chris Peterson. Head Coach, Boise State.
Pros: Perfect record. Offensive innovator.
Cons: No ties to BC. No ties the East Coast. Is he a product of the system? Couldn't beat TOB.
Bottom Line: His name is getting floated all over the place, meaning he will listen. He is really a blank slate, so I hope Gene would take a long look before moving forward.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

For Gene's consideration, Part IV: NFL Assistants

Gene Defilippo’s legacy will be our move to the ACC. However, Football is our flagship sport and we are at a crossroads. The decisions Gene makes over the next few weeks are critical. No one from BC has asked for my advice, but think these are the paths we could and should follow. Regardless of which pool or path you want, I think the new head coach needs two traits.
1. Has to believe BC can win an ACC championship. Not every year but occasionally.
2. Has to respect and support BC’s belief in the student athlete. The focus on graduation predates TOB. I think we have used it as a crutch for bad losses, but I don’t want to see the philosophy trashed. Wake Forest proved you can graduate players and compete.


Some fans are worried that we will never find another coach like TOB. BS. Numerous guys can get us into the Tire Bowl every year. There are only 119 head jobs out there and thousands of assistants looking for their shot. We can find a good Head Coach. I have broken down the pools of candidate into a series of posts.

Part IV: NFL Assistants

Hiring NFL guys is tricky. They often loathe recruiting and are often only using the college job to improve their chances at a top spot in the NFL. I have no problem with this, but if BC hires an NFL guy they need to be prepared to go through the coaching search process every four or five years.


Dante Scarnecchia. Offensive Line Coach, New England Patriots.
Pros: Deep roots in New England. Respected teacher and offensive mind.
Cons: Hasn’t coached college since the 1970s. Is getting a little old.
Bottom Line: I don’t even know how interested he would be.

Mike Sullivan. Wide Receivers Coach, New York Giants.
Pros: A Couglin disciple. Has recruited at schools with academic restrictions. Also has defensive experience. Works closely with Gene’s son.
Cons: No head coaching experience. No ties to BC.
Bottom Line: I think this would be a very good hire. But most BC fans would say: “who?”

Todd Grantham. Defensive Coordinator, Cleveland Browns.
Pros: Fairly recent college experience at Virginia Tech and Michigan State. Looking for a head job at the college level.
Cons: The Browns are not playing so well lately. No ties to BC. Never recruited at a school like BC.
Bottom Line: He was supposedly set to take the Michigan State job, but something fell apart. Would he want to go down the path with BC?

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For Gene's consideration, Part III: College Assistants

Gene Defilippo’s legacy will be our move to the ACC. However, Football is our flagship sport and we are at a crossroads. The decisions Gene makes over the next few weeks are critical. No one from BC has asked for my advice, but think these are the paths we could and should follow. Regardless of which pool or path you want, I think the new head coach needs two traits.
1. Has to believe BC can win an ACC championship. Not every year but occasionally.
2. Has to respect and support BC’s belief in the student athlete. The focus on graduation predates TOB. I think we have used it as a crutch for bad losses, but I don’t want to see the philosophy trashed. Wake Forest proved you can graduate players and compete.


Some fans are worried that we will never find another coach like TOB. BS. Numerous guys can get us into the Tire Bowl every year. There are only 119 head jobs out there and thousands of assistants looking for their shot. We can find a good Head Coach. I have broken down the pools of candidate into a series of posts.

Part III: College Assistants

Some of the best guys in college got their current job without any prior Head Coaching experience. Hell, it worked with TOB. Assistants also come a little cheaper and with a lot of enthusiasm. The flipside is often a lack of track record. There are too many assistants to list, so here are a few that I think might be in the mix.


Rob Spence. Offensive Coordinator, Clemson.
Pros: Born, raised and played in the Northeast. Coached at Holy Cross. Recruited the Midwest and South. Great offensive mind. Very good recruiter.
Cons: Aside from lack of Head Coaching experience, hasn’t recruited at school with BC’s academic restrictions in a long time. Never beat TOB. No ties to BC.
Bottom Line: I think I am Spence's biggest BC-related supporter. I don't think he'll be on Gene's short list.

Randy Shannon. Defensive Coordinator, Miami.
Pros: Coaches aggressive defenses. Could open up recruiting for BC in South Florida. Has been groomed to be a head coach.
Cons: No ties to BC. Only knows the "U" and BC would be culture shock in how we recruit and deal with student athletes. Despite his praise, still couldn’t prevent Miami from falling apart.
Bottom Line: I wouldn't be too excited about this. I always thought his success was based more on a talent advantage.

David Cutcliffe. Offensive Coordinator, Tennessee.
Pros: Ties with Gene D. Prior Head Coaching experience. Renowned QB coach.
Cons: No ties to BC. No experience in the Northeast. Has health issues.
Bottom Line: I think he wants and will be a good Head Coach again, but would he willing to be a fish out of water in Boston?

Jon Tenuta. Defensive Coordinator, Georgia Tech.
Pros: Puts together aggressive, quick defenses. Has recruited at a school with academic restrictions. Has recruited Ohio and the Mid Atlantic.
Cons: Supposedly “gruff/jerky” personality. No ties to BC. No experience in the Northeast.
Bottom Line: Coughlin had a rep for being a jerk. I think BC fans would embrace a hard ass if he won.

Jimbo Fisher. Offensive Coordinator, LSU.
Pros: Solid offensive track record. Great recruiter. Aggressive young coach looking for his shot.
Cons: Would certainly view BC as a stepping stone. Experience primarily in the South. Has never worked at a school with BC’s restrictions. No ties to BC. No experience in the Northeast.
Bottom Line: The guy clearly wants a head coaching job. Could he adapt to BC?

Rob Ianello. Wide Receivers Coach, Notre Dame.
Pros: Great recruiter. Ties to the Northeast. Has recruited at schools with similar academic requirements to BC.
Cons: No Head Coaching experience. Not even a current coordinator. No ties to BC.
Bottom Line: Plenty of ND names will be kicked around. Look for Ianello as a stealth candidate.

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For Gene's consideration, Part II: The Message Board Heroes

Gene Defilippo’s legacy will be our move to the ACC. However, Football is our flagship sport and we are at a crossroads. The decisions Gene makes over the next few weeks are critical. No one from BC has asked for my advice, but think these are the paths we could and should follow. Regardless of which pool or path you want, I think the new head coach needs two traits.
1. Has to believe BC can win an ACC championship. Not every year but occasionally.
2. Has to respect and support BC’s belief in the student athlete. The focus on graduation predates TOB. I think we have used it as a crutch for bad losses, but I don’t want to see the philosophy trashed. Wake Forest proved you can graduate players and compete.


Some fans are worried that we will never find another coach like TOB. BS. Numerous guys can get us into the Tire Bowl every year. There are only 119 head jobs out there and thousands of assistants looking for their shot. We can find a good Head Coach. I have broken down the pools of candidate into a series of posts.

Part II: The Message Board Heroes

Fans count in this endeavor. Whoever is hired is going to be under the microscope and the primary salesman of this program. So you might as well give the people what they want, right? Not exactly. But some of these fan favorites should be considered. Will they? That is another question.


Mark Whipple. Quarterbacks Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers
Pros: Head Coaching and NFL experience. Has recruited New England. Won a championship at UMass. Recruited with academic challenges at Brown.
Cons: No connection to BC. Has not been part of a Division IA staff.
Bottom Line: I think Whipple would be a popular and solid hire. But I’ve never heard his name come out of anyone from BC’s mouth. His candidacy seems to be entirely fan generated.

Jim Fassel. Unemployed. Former Head Coach, New York Giants.
Pros: Available. Ties to BC. Great name in the Northeast recruiting territories. NFL experience.
Cons: Losing and overall mediocre record as a college Head Coach at Utah. The last time we hired a former NFL head coach who was fired midseason as an offensive coordinator we ended up with Dan Henning.
Bottom Line: I think he will be a candidate. I think he could do really well here.

Norm Chow. Offensive Coordinator, Tennessee Titans
Pros: Offensive innovator and groomer of Quarterbacks. Hugely popular with the fanbase of every school that has an opening. Would certainly create buzz.
Cons: No connection to BC. No connection to the Northeast. Reportedly a “difficult personality.”
Bottom Line: I don’t think he will be a candidate. Especially when Stanford and ASU are options for him.

Tom Coughlin. Head Coach, New York Giants.
Pros: Successful track record at BC. Sent his kids to BC. Beloved by our fans. Great recruiter.
Cons: You can’t go home again. May not be available if he can rally the Giants.
Bottom Line: Even if he is fired by the Giants, I don’t think he would come back to Boston.

Doug Flutie. Commentator, ABC Sports.
Pros: BC legend. Loves BC. Dynamic personality. Great offensive mind.
Cons: No coaching experience. Has a large personal commitment with his son Dougie Jr., which might prevent him from being able to work coach’s hours.
Bottom Line: If Doug wanted this job he should have gone into coaching instead of broadcasting. I know he loves the school, but would he risk tarnishing his legacy with a comeback?

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For Gene's consideration, Part I: The TOB Tree

Gene Defilippo’s legacy will be our move to the ACC. However, Football is our flagship sport and we are at a crossroads. The decisions Gene makes over the next few weeks are critical. No one from BC has asked for my advice, but think these are the paths we could and should follow. Regardless of which pool or path you want, I think the new head coach needs two traits.
1. Has to believe BC can win an ACC championship. Not every year but occasionally.
2. Has to respect and support BC’s belief in the student athlete. The focus on graduation predates TOB. I think we have used it as a crutch for bad losses, but I don’t want to see the philosophy trashed. Wake Forest proved you can graduate players and compete.


Some fans are worried that we will never find another coach like TOB. BS. Numerous guys can get us into the Tire Bowl every year. There are only 119 head jobs out there and thousands of assistants looking for their shot. We can find a good Head Coach. I have broken down the pools of candidate into a series of posts.

Part I: The TOB Tree

There are many aspects about the TOB reign that the administration is pleased with (kids staying out of trouble, good academics, consistency). I can see them wanting to continue that tradition by picking someone who is familiar with the school and worked with TOB. All these guys were on TOB's BC staff at one point or another.

Al Golden. Head Coach, Temple.
Pros: Renowned Recruiter. Aggressive. Experience in the ACC and at BC.
Cons: Sometimes a better self promoter than actual talent evaluator. Would view BC as a stepping stone. Didn’t look all that great at Temple this season.
Bottom Line: If Golden had not taken the Temple job last season, he would be the leading candidate right now.

Dave Magazu. Tight Ends Coach, Carolina Panthers.
Pros: Key member of TOB’s early days. Well respected Offensive Line coach and evaluator. Son Dom is a current BC Commit.
Cons: No Head Coaching experience. Supposedly very gruff (to an extreme).
Bottom Line: I don’t think he will be seriously considered but we could do a lot worse.

Jeff Jagodzinski. Offensive Coordinator, Green Bay Packers.
Pros: Great NFL experience. Good line coach and would bring back a focus on the running game. Aggressive recruiter.
Cons: Remember the four straight runs in the closing minutes of the 1998 Notre Dame game? Although it might have been TOB’s call, Jags was on the head set for that.
Bottom Line: Might not want the job as he has been an NFL guy since he left BC.

Franks Spaziani. Defensive Coordinator, Boston College.
Pros: Would be the most seamless hire. Could probably keep a good portion of the staff and recruits. Would be a popular choice with a good portion of the fan base
Cons: Would be an equally unpopular choice with another group of fans. Spaz deserves his fair share of blame for some of TOB’s debacles (like Syracuse and the NC State collapse).
Bottom Line: He will get an interview. If he is the pick, Gene and Leahy would have taken this huge opportunity and gone extremely safe, conservative and dull.

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Thank you Tom O'Brien

I think this split is a good thing for both parties. But I don't want to spend too much space on this blog trashing TOB or his legacy. Tom O'Brien deserves our respect and thanks for dedicating 10 years of his life to BC. He is the father of three BC graduates and our winningest coach. TOB's success in the classroom and on the field were an important aspect to our move to the ACC. Good luck. Now let's embrace our change and start anew. Ever to Excel.

It's official: TOB to NC State

David Glenn confirmed it earlier this evening. Change is coming.

More on TOB to NC State

Tobacco Road insider David Glenn is reporting that TOB is NC State's No. 1 choice. I think this might be it. Stay tuned.

Williams going for 15



Earlier this week Sean Williams joked that he was going to set the NCAA record for blocks in one game against Fairfield. Sean is so laid back, it seemed more like he was having fun with his former BC assistant and current Fairfield coach Ed Cooley. Regardless of his intention, I was intrigued by the thought of Sean blocking 15 shots in one game (the NCAA record is 14 and shared by David Robinson, Loren Woods, Roy Rogers and Shawn Bradley). I think he can do it, but not against Fairfield.

To block 15 shots, a game has to be fairly uptempo. In Sean's best day (12 against Providence) the Fiars put up 65 shots. Fairfield plays at a slower pace and has averaged 47 shots per game. To break the record tonight, he would have to block nearly a third of Fairfield's shots. And considering Williams is averaging just over 30 minutes a game, he would probably only be on the court for 35 of those shots, meaning to break the record tonight he would have to block nearly 43% of the shots taken when he was present. Sean is great, but is he capable of that?

However, there is still a chance it could happen. Looking at Fairfield's box scores, one game stood out -- their matchup against Central Arkansas. In that game, Central Arkansas blocked 12 of Fairfield's shots in a low tempo game (FU only put up 44 shots).

Let's hope BC comes out strong and controls en route to a win. But if Sean gets the record, it will a huge statistical and defensive accomplishment.

Statefans Nation and TOB

I love StateFans Nation. They supported me early and have guest blogged here in the past. They are now reporting that TOB is the No. 1 candidate for the NC State job. I have not provided any info or rumors to them. And they seem pretty excited about TOB and his potential there. No one over there asked me, but here is my opinion on TOB going to NC State.

-- He would be slightly better than he was at BC, but not BCS caliber. Plenty of Peach and Gator Bowls.
-- If TOB leaves, I see him struggling against VTech and UNC. I promise you that he will kill BC every year. He has a knack for winning one game he really wants to win each season (Notre Dame) and if he left us, BC would become that game.
-- I still think his style and approach would see NC State losing a WTF game (Duke, Akron, etc).
-- He would recruit well.
-- He would improve your graduation rates.
-- He will not win the ACC…ever.

If he leaves it will all be about money and a fresh start because he has hinted in the past that if he would never want to coach at:
1. A basketball school (with all things being equal basketball is still king at NC State)
2. A state school that was not the flagship (with all things being equal, UNC is still no. 1 in North Carolina).

Now people change and opinions change, but if he objects to those factors, is already coaching in the ACC, than it has got to be about the money and the slight chance that things will be different in Raleigh.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Blogpoll ballot

Another hodge podge collection of teams. As for No. 2, I think Florida is better than Michigan. It is that simple.

Games I saw
ACC Championship Game listened to the game on the radio
SEC Championship 50%
Rutgers-WVU 50%
USC-UCLA 50%

RankTeamDelta
1 Ohio State --
2 Florida 1
3 Michigan 1
4 Wisconsin 1
5 Oklahoma 1
6 Virginia Tech 1
7 Louisville 1
8 LSU 2
9 Auburn 3
10 Wake Forest 5
11 Brigham Young 2
12 Notre Dame 2
13 Tennessee 3
14 Texas 3
15 California 3
16 Arkansas 5
17 Southern Cal 15
18 Rutgers 9
19 Boston College 4
20 Boise State --
21 West Virginia 5
22 Hawaii 1
23 Texas A&M 3
24 TCU 1
25 Oregon State 1

Dropped Out: Nebraska (#19), Georgia Tech (#22), Georgia (#24).

TOB denial and other news links

This article on Arizona State includes a quote from TOB saying that he is not a candidate for any job.


This is a little more background on the ACC's spat with Jacksonville. Basically the ACC knows it can bully Jacksonville. The Florida city wants to be seen as a big-time city that can host big events and conventions. Having the ACC Game annually is a real feather in the city's cap. Jax needs the game much more than Orlando, Tampa, Miami or Charlotte. So I think the Gator Bowl will stop their gripping as long as the ACC is willing to extend the current contract.


Beekman wins an ACC lineman award.


The Eagle-Tribune gets into the bowl bashing.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

What I know about the Bowls and a few links

I never claim to be an insider. But sometimes people tell me stuff and sometimes I just happen to know people who know. This is what I've heard about the ACC Bowl selections...

Georgia Tech losing really screwed things up for many bowls. Because of their position in the conference with the "within one loss rule" they were forced on the Gator Bowl by the ACC (this was in the news and talked about while I was in Jax). This pushed Clemson down the slots. The Peach had no interest in us once we lost to Miami, but even if we had won, VT probably would have been their choice as they were the safer bet.

Music City liked the South Carolina-BC matchup, but once Clemson became available, they took the Tigers. We weren't the only ones screwed as South Carolina got bumped to avoid the Clemson-SC rematch.

The Champs Bowl in Orlando came down to travel rep.

For other news...

Here is my AOL Fanhouse take on the multiple O'Brien rumors. I think he wants out.


This was posted on Eagle Action already, but it does provide an update on a Running Back we are recruiting.

One other note about the Car Care Bowl -- it is a matchup of the schools with the best graduation rates. Do you think that is how ESPN is going to push it?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Charlotte...again

BC is headed to Charlotte for the Meineke Car Care Bowl. This is not good, but probably not for the reasons you'd think. First let me get the following out of the way.

1. BC did not get screwed or shafted with this invite. We tied Maryland and Clemson. Head to head doesn't matter. All the bowls care about are ticket sales and we have not shown the same level of interest in these types of bowls as these other schools.
2. BC should never turn down a bowl invite. I hate the system and think we should lead the push towards a true playoff, but as long as this is the system, we need to play the game. I think the additional practices is an over used "bonus" to the bowls. But it does allow for one more game. It does allow the kids to legally get some cool stuff. And for us fans, it is still one more game to watch.
3. This is not Gene's fault. This is not John Swofford's fault. It is all on the coaches. A more compelling style of play, a better record the past few seasons and our fan base might be a little more excited (about everything).
4. The only way to deal with these games is to go and win. They should not be celebrated as a major triumph.
5. There is no difference between Champs, Music City and Meineke. You can say Charlotte is the least desirable city, but they are all held at odd times, out of driving distance and against uniteresting teams (Purdue? Kentucky?). BC would have had a low turnout for any of these games.
6. Wake proved this weekend that reaching the ultimate goal is possible for a school like BC. It won't happen every year, but it can happen. We need to raise the bar.

Why was this the worst case scenario?
-- Unlike Music City and Champs, this game has had relatively strong attendance. We will not travel well for this and will be blamed for the low figure.
-- We were at this game two years ago. This will put a drag on our already slow ticket sales
-- Navy is a well coached, non-BCS Conference team. Yes they are a solid program but it is a classic no win opponent. You are supposed to win, so if you win, there is an empty feeling. Losing looks really bad to the casual fans and recruits. Navy will be ready and will give us a game.
-- BC will be favored and likely extend our streak. The streak brings attention to our weak bowl schedule and we end up looking like the team that can beat a mid-major with a month to prepare, but cannot win a big regular season game.

I won't be going to Charlotte. I have a vacation scheduled and won't change my plans. I will watch the game. I encourage any of you that are interested to go. I've been to some of these lower-tier bowls and while they are not the Rose Bowl, they are fun. If you buy tickets, be sure to get them from BC. Every bit counts.

I hope the players have fun. We need to win. Losing would create even more problems. I'll have more on the match up in the coming weeks. Now, let's hope we get another shot of TOB in the racing suit.

Thoughts on the UMass win

Got my second look at the hoops team Saturday on CSTV (for those of you who have CSTV, how weird was it to hear WWE's Coach on play-by-play?). I was really happy with what I saw:
-- Dudley got people involved without scoring
-- Marshall did what he should -- cut to the basket. Yes, he made a few long shots, but he is most useful when he is being physical and cutting to the hoop.
-- Williams offensive game is steadily improving. While he didn't finish like he did against MSU, his post moves were solid.
-- Rice is getting better running the offense. Most importantly he is clutch from the line.
-- Using last season's flex sets.

What concerned me:
-- Pressure still gives this team problems. Dudley and Rice are the only guys with any handle, so whoever is out there needs to get back and help them pass out of the pressure.
-- Oates still has trouble moving his feet on defense. He also needs to be a more physical rebounder.

Thanksgiving week was a disaster. This week, the team looked like a Top 20 squad. As they find out what works and what doesn't I think they will be the team we hoped they would.

Ice, ice, baby

This was unfortunate. What is interesting is that ESPN kept talking about how hot it was Wednesday during the Michigan State game. Is something wrong with the heating and air in Conte? The team stayed focused and came back to beat BU the following night.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Guest Blogger: Minutemen Athletics

BC Basketball is looking up but needs another strong showing this weekend against UMass. To get a better idea of what to expect, I've asked Minutemen Athletics to guest blog before Saturday's game.


1. The only tough team you played [Pitt] beat UMass pretty soundly. Does the soft schedule have this team prepared for BC?

MA: Well Pittsburgh is a really good team and while in the end it didn't look too pretty at the beginning of the game, probably the first 15 minutes or so the Minutemen stayed right with Pitt. I think having a lack of bench help really hurt UMass against Pitt and it made the final score look a lot more lopsided than the game actually was. However, I do think that the weak early season schedule, including the preseason tour of the Bahamas doesn't give a very good gauge of where this team is right now.

The one thing I will say is that this team in the past few seasons has lost to those weaker teams and this year they're blowing them out - so while I don't think the 6 wins this season have per se prepared UMass for the type of talent BC has, these games have given the team enough confidence where they should at least believe they can play with BC. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.

2. It seems like Freeman will get the Dudley assignment. What is his defensive game like?

MA: I'd actually be shocked if Rashaun got the Dudley assignment - if he did Jared would probably kill Ray on the offensive end because Dudley is just to quick and can shoot from outside. I'm thinking that it'll be Gary Forbes the transfer student from UVA who was onced called the "best defender in the ACC" after having completely shut down John Gilchrist in a game against Maryland. I have no idea what to expect out of Forbes because he hasn't really played anyone with Dudley'soffensive game but the hype for Gary coming into the season was that he was great man on man defender and if that is true he might make Saturday night miserable for Jared.

On the other hand I'd more expect to see Ray in the post against Oates which should be a pretty interesting battle. Ray dominates smaller and weaker guys - Charlie Villenueva can attest to that. However Oates is bigger than Ray and won't be intimidated by him - I will say that Rashaun had a tough time with Craig Smith, but if you saw Smith play than you've seen Freeman play because they have a very similar style. Also just like with the Eagles you can't have a talk about the interior defense without Stephane Lasme who has been an absolute monster in the middle this season.


3. What is your take on Saturday and how do you see the season playing out for the Minute Men?

I was pretty confident about Saturday had we had this conversation on Tuesday - but after seeing Dudley go off for 30 points I'm a little more apprehensive. I really think that UMass matches up well with BC and if this game was at Boston College I'd say BC no problem. I'm just not sure how this BC team plays on the road. The Mullins Center will be sold out - the last time that happened the UConn Huskies who were undefeated lost to UMass, and this Minutemen team is much better than the team that beat UConn.

It will come down to guard play - if UMass can limit turnovers, and if James Life can continue shooting 60% from three point land I think UMass will have enough to win this game. I'm worried that this game is getting so much hype though since this team hasn't played a huge home game like this before - but I'm going with the homer pick and saying UMass in a close one.

I think the program is definately headed in the right direction right now - they've got a very charismatic head coach who has been able to bring in transfer recruits from some major programs. He's building something very good at UMass and this season should really be something special. They were picked 2nd in the A-10 preseason and that's where I see them finishing it out - possibly winning the A-10 tournament and going to the NCAA. But then again with UMass you never know - they might win 10 games.

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Greetings from Jacksonville

Saw one Wake Forest fan today and wanted to cry. I know I should feel happy for them because Wake is proving what is possible, but I am still bitter about our missed opportunities.

Tonight TOB announced on his radio show that BC will never go to the Gator Bowl because we don't travel. I plead with all fans, regardless of what you think of him, to stop buying into that BS!! Wake Forest and Georgia Tech have poor travel reps yet both will be going to the Gator Bowl or an even better game because of WHAT THEY DID ON THE FIELD. Bowls are boondoggles to begin with and there are a variety of factors that go into which team plays where. But we play in a conference that has added merit to its consideration. Plus, the ACC Championship Game teams are exclusively based on what happens on the field. Pointing the finger at us is just more spinning and excuses from TOB. Don't allow it.

If TOB and Gene really do feel that fans are the problem then maybe they should pick up the mantle and spearhead a move to a playoff. There are no remaining reasons for the Bowls. Tradition is gone. Interest is marginal for the non-Jan 1 Bowls. The NCAA is leaving billions of dollars in revenue on table all because the coaches don't want a playoff. Why? Because it would increase the pressure on a guy like TOB. Right now he knows he can waltz into a bowl every season. Under a merit based 16 team format he would really have to accomplish something to get in.

Playoffs will never happen without the BCS conferences leading the way. And it will never be the schools like Ohio State or Texas leading the way. They have too much to lose. The current system works for them. So that leaves schools on the inside of the power conferences, but on the outside of the real bowl games as the voices of reason. I know it won't happen, but I would feel much better about my coach and AD if they used their voices to lead towards positive change instead of using their voices to whine about the fans.