Thursday, May 31, 2007

Athlon Preview Cliff Notes

Every year I say I am not going to buy the Athlon College Football Preview. I always succum because they are one of the first to press and I need my college football fix. Every year I come away disappointed in Athlon’s thin coverage and promise myself that next year I’ll only buy Phil Steele’s mag. Today I broke my promise. I’m about to get on a flight…I walk past a newsstand and there it is. Calling me. I bought it. After the flight, I’ve read most of the relevant stuff. Once again the magazine disappoints. In order to help those who are considering buying it, here are the Cliff Notes of the Athlon Preview:

-- BC is ranked 27th.
-- They expect us to finish 2nd in the ACC Atlantic
-- They predict wins against NC State, Army, UMass, Bowling Green, Maryland, and Clemson. Losses against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Wake, ND, Florida State and Miami are all considered “swing games”, meaning the editors think they could go either way.
-- Ryan was ranked the 5th best QB nationally and the best in the ACC. No other player or unit received national ranking. Raji made 1st team ACC. Dunbar, Cherilus, Challenger, Tribble, Silva and Ayers all made 2nd team ACC.
-- They had a positive write up on Jags in the new coaches section and within the team preview.
-- The preview didn’t contain much a regular fan wouldn’t already know. They did highlight Spaz and McGovern staying on. They also penciled in Tennant as the starting Center ahead of Sheridan.
-- They pick the Atlantic to finish in this order: 1. FSU, 2. BC, 3. Wake, 4. Maryland, 5. Clemson, 6. NC State.
-- They pick the Coastal to finish in this order: 1. VT, 2. Georgia Tech, 3. Miami, 4. Virginia, 5. UNC, 6. Duke.
-- Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Miami are the only ACC teams in their Top 25.

Reading each ACC team capsule also reinforced my belief that the conference is wide open again. Every team has at least one major issue. I predict the championship game will have one 5-3 team and one 6-2 team again. There is just too much parity in the conference.

I think this covers it all. If you have a specific question and want to avoid buying the magazine, send me an email or post your question in the comments. Now, I’ll eagerly await Phil Steele’s issue, which never disappoints.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

BC better than Rutgers in every way

There isn’t much that gets me fired up in the offseason, but this Rutgers revisionist history is getting out of hand. Here is a question from Stewart Mandel’s mailbag regarding the Scarlet Knights and Mandel’s response
Let's say the ACC raid of the Big East happened today. Would Boston College still be chosen or would the nod go to Rutgers? It has the New York media market, legit top-25 football and stadium expansion to 55,000 on its way. BC continues to be successful in both football and basketball, but it is still odd seeing a Clemson-BC matchup. And the Boston area traditionally yawns at their success.
--Daniel Krantz, Charlotte, N.C.


Wow -- that's a phenomenal question. Of course, it's also a tricky hypothetical, because if Miami, Virginia Tech and BC had remained in the Big East all this time, it's quite possible Rutgers would have won a few less games the past two seasons. But let's stick with Rutgers in its current state. From a purely business standpoint, it would be stupid for the ACC not to take the Scarlet Knights over the Eagles because of the factors you just mentioned. However, you have to remember how the ACC's expansion went down originally. The only school the ACC truly cared about adding was Miami, and it basically let the Miami brass pick the other two schools. Remember, those choices were originally Syracuse and BC -- whom the 'Canes had longer-standing "rivalries" with -- not BC and Virginia Tech. The Hokies only entered the picture due to political pressure in Virginia. So the real question is, would Miami have preferred Rutgers to BC? My guess is no.


Now put aside BC's far superior basketball program, our expansive non-revenue sports programs (BC 29: varsity sports, Rutgers: 27 varsity sports), our superior academic reputation, and our better financial condition. Put aside the media market nonsense (since Rutgers will be old news in the New York market shortly) or our relationship with the Red Sox. Put aside that the original plan called for Syracuse (which would have had a foothold in NYC). Let’s just focus on football. BC puts Rutgers to shame in every way! Rutgers lone unique quality is that they participated in the first college football game. Fittingly they lost. [CORRECTION] They won that game but have spent the rest their 137 years losing.

The concept that Rutgers is some sort of burgeoning power is way premature. They’ve had two good seasons and owe most of that success to a depleted Big East. Until they maintain this success for a decade or so and prove they can beat the top teams, the media and Rutgers fans need to shut up. Rutgers cannot hold a candle to BC football. Here are just a list of basic facts:

Winning Percentage
BC: .583
Rutgers: .502

Wins
BC: 589
Rutgers: 583
And it should be noted that Rutgers has played 163 more games and had a 29 year headstart on BC football

Heisman Trophy Winners
BC: 1
Rutgers: 0

Bowl History
BC: 12-6
Rutgers: 1-2

Best Bowl
BC: Tie Orange, Cotton, Sugar
Rutgers: Insight Bowl

Current NFL Players
BC: 24
Rutgers: 11

Ranked in Final Season Ending Polls
BC: 13 times
Rutgers: 4 times

Highest Ranking in Season Ending Polls
BC: 5th twice
Rutgers: 12th



This is just a short little rundown. I could go on for days. Rutgers is at their apex now and they still haven’t reached the heights of BC’s most successful days. Schiano has built a paper tiger off of a soft Big East. I think things will correct themselves and/or he’ll take a bigger job. Until they win anything (a Big East title, a real bowl) Rutgers fans should simmer down and keep things in perspective. Enjoy your own success and stop claiming superiority until you’ve actually accomplished something.

BC was and remains the better fit for the ACC.

King named new women's hockey coach

BC picked current assistant Katie King to take over the women's hockey program. Best of luck to her and her players. Hopefully the ugliness of the Mutch situation will not hamper King's efforts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Jags as OC: Season 2, Rutgers

Another week, another 41 point explosion. Jags dialed up the right plays again as BC got off to a very hot start and crushed Rutgers in week 2.

Stat Line
First downs 27
Rushed-yards 51-268
Passing yards 218
Sacked-yards lost 0-0
Return yards 51
Passes 17-30-2
Punts 3-45.7
Fumbles-lost 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-35
Time of possession 33:30


What can we learn from the game? Not much. Remember this was during Rutgers dark ages. Scoring 41 on them was no big deal. The offensive mix was very similar to many of the previous Jags games. Mutryn played well but it was not in line with the type of numbers we’ll expect from Ryan this year. Cloud remained the key player. He continued to dominate every time he touched the ball. I know we don’t have a Cloud-like guy in the backfield but we do have one or two explosive players. I hope the lesson of his first go around is that Jags will get the ball to our difference makers.

Things would continue rolling, yet the W-L record would begin to sour.

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Big East problems and other links

BC took (and still takes) an enormous amount of flack for the Big East departure. While money and prestige were driving factors, the school and its leaders clearly said the unmanageable size of the conference and the football basketball split were reason enough alone to leave. Well after the Big East meetings, it is clear that Gene and Father Leahy were right. The Big East remains inefficient and lacks direction or leadership. The dual sport schools are not happy and a break up looms. Thankfully it is not BC’s problem.


Halfway down this police log is a little blurb about former BC linebacker Ray Henderson. He was busted with a large amount of various drugs. I don’t think they were all for his consumption so he might be looking at some jail time. Disappointing and stupid (to say the least).


Profile on John Harbaugh, who claims he interviewed for the BC job. I never heard his name mentioned so think it probably did not get beyond the phone call stage.

Here is scouting profile on Jared Dudley. I hope he lands on the right team.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Road warrior

This article, which references Jags visiting a Virginia Beach high school, sparked an entry that is long overdue -- Jags' travels. From these various articles and stuff shared here and there, this guy is hitting the road hard. He's been all over the southeast in Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia and had a handful of trips to the midwest. Of course he and the whole staff are hitting New England, New Jersey and eastern PA. While many of the top coaches travel constantly, it is another change for us. TOB had become a homebody the past few seasons. It showed in our recruiting. How we perform on the field will be the ultimate selling point with recruits, but getting the face time at their high schools never hurt.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fanhouse link and Brighton Blogger

Here is a link to my Fanhouse post on a kid transferring from Va Tech. I think the kid should have to sit out but if you have good argument otherwise, let me know.


An Eagle Insider poster found this blog about Brighton with a series of posts related to BC issues. Interesting stuff. I never understood the locals' distrust and insistance on fighting BC over ever single campus expansion or renovation issue. Didn't they see the school when they moved into the neighborhood?

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Six degrees

When recounting Jags’ second season as offensive coordinator, I was reminded that TOB replaced both coordinators after the 1998 season. Jags went onto the NFL and defensive coordinator Tim Rose left (or was forced out). Rose went on to ECU and coached under current BC offensive coordinator Steve Logan. Small world, eh? Rose also had a pit stop at Louisiana Tech under Jack Bicknell Jr. This six degrees of separation among coaches is not that unusual. Look at a few other quirky connections on the BC staff.

Before Jags hooked up with Steve Logan at ECU, he coached at LSU under Mike Archer. Archer is TOB’s new defensive coordinator at NC State.

Recruiting Coordinator Mike Siravo played under TOB, and has now coached under three former TOB assistants (Bob Shoop, Al Golden and now Jags).

When the Jim Turner thing went down, I was concerned that Jags might have a tough time convincing a new coach to come onboard. Things turning sour so quickly would surely give someone pause. Yet Jack Bicknell Jr. probably didn’t need to hear much about what went wrong with Turner since Turner had an unexpectedly short stint on Bicknell’s La Tech staff too.

It can even get into second generation stuff. For example, Gene’s son John was recently named Quarterback’s coach of the Raiders. In Oakland he’ll work under Greg Knapp (who Jags worked under in Atlanta). Prior to Oakland, John worked for the Giants and their numerous BC connections.

I know every industry can feel like this. I just find it interesting that certain people and spots continue to play a role in BC’s football program.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kansas at Conte

When we signed the deal with Kansas, it was for a home and home series. We played at Allen Fieldhouse last season and expected a return date this year or next. Well it is confirmed that Kansas will be coming to Conte this season. Very cool. We'll be in rebuilding mode, but it is still the type of game that will get attention.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Basketball recruiting and other links

Here is a breakdown of all the ACC's incoming basketball classes. I'm not surprised to see us this low and will not be surprised when a few of these guys outperform squads that are higher on the list.


Here's a feature on Larry Anam's first few days with the Pats.


A healthy Will Blackmon is hoping to make an impact with the Packers.


Buried in this article is a mention of our interest in football prospect Cordian Hagans.


Ayla Brown gives her take on the American Idol Finale.


Finally (this is not sports related) here is another article on the mounting debt facing college and BC grads. I am all for supply and demand...I just hope BC and similar schools see what they are doing. Leveraging current demand may come back to haunt us when the student population peaks and you don't have thousands of kids willing to take on debt for college.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Winning on the margin, UNC $$$

Two quick links...


EDSBS give us the "why not" treatment. The theory is that if things broke a little differently we would have been ACC Champs. I appreciate the confidence and do think Jags will make a difference, but also realize that narrow defeats also masked a few narrow wins we had early in the season. Those things tend to even out.


This breaks down the coaches' compensation at UNC. One huge benefit BC has as a private instituation is that we don't have to disclose who pays what in coaches' salaries.

Jags as OC: Season 2, Georgia Tech

With the first season thoroughly rehashed, it is time to move onto Jags second season as offensive coordinator under TOB. The first game of the 1998 campaign was a shocking upset of Georgia Tech in Atlanta. This would prove to be one of TOB’s better wins as Tech was in the middle of a pretty good run. As you’ll see, the offense really made the difference.

Stat Line
First downs 25
Rushed-yards 52-271
Passing yards 220
Sacked-yards lost 0-0
Return yards 21
Passes 16-26-0
Punts 4-47.5
Fumbles-lost 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-30
Time of possession 32:42



What can we learn from the game? Despite the loss of Matt Hasselbeck and Omari Walker, the offense did not change dramatically. Jags got the ball to Mike Cloud and let him explode for more than 200 yards. Scott Mutryn put together a controlled but unspectacular day. It was good to see the new line continue to bloom and the offense replace key pieces without issue.

As we’ll see, the 1998 offense was relatively prolific for the TOB era, yet the record did not improve (and the defensive coordinator would eventually take the fall).

Friday, May 18, 2007

Congrats Class of 2007

This weekend another lucky group of students leaves BC and are now official alumni. I hope they enjoyed their time and go forward representing the best attributes of the school. Bringing this back to sports, I also want to remind the members of the Class of 2007 how unique their Heights experience was. They are the only BC class to witness four straight bowl wins and four straight NCAA tournament appearances. While this hasn't been the best four straight years of BC Hockey, this class also got to see multiple Hockey East titles and multiple Frozen Fours. That's not all. They also got to take part in the first Gameday on campus. And then got to host the new College Gameday for basketball. They got two years in the Big East and two years in the ACC.

I hope that one of these days a BC class will graduate after witnessing a ACC title in football or basketball, but you 2007ers had it pretty good.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jax wrap up, UVA seats

This recaps the comings and goings of the ACC meetings held just outside of Jacksonville. Big news: the ACC Championship Game is down to three sites (Jax, Charlotte and Tampa) and the basketball schedule will not expand.


Finally for all the fans who objectd to the donor based seating, take a look at what is going on at UVA. Like it or not, this is just part of a growing trend.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Heismanpundit on Matt Ryan

Last week I linked to an ESPN article calling Matt Ryan a Heisman candidate. Despite my love for Matt, I think he is the longest of longshot. In order to get a more informed and unbiased opinion I asked Heismanpundit his thoughts. He agrees:
The real problem is that Ryan, a senior, has not had the set-up season needed to mount a serious run at the Heisman, especially since he plays for a non-traditional-power school like BC. Last year, he threw for 2,942 yards and 15 touchdowns and had 10 picks. His efficiency rating was 126.7, just behind fellow ACC signal caller Sam Hollenbach.


Heismanpundit has broken down all sorts of routes to the trophy and this year's most likely winners.

Ryan is respected around the ACC, but BC will have to win nearly every game for him to get national attention.

ACC divisions and other links

The ACC is likely to expand its basketball schedule to 18 games in the near future. Over at the Fanhouse Sportz Assassin looks at how a Divisional split might work.


I give my thoughts on Miami's potential move.


The Globe published a good interview with Jags. Notice the setting too. I think the ACC's relationship with Amelia Island is another reason Jacksonville stands a good chance of keeping the ACC Championship Game. (BTW, for any northerners looking for a nice getaway, I highly recommend the Ritz on Amelia. We've gone for a few days the past three years).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

EDSBS radio and ACC money

I joined Orson and Peter on their radio show Tuesday night. You can listen to the archived broadcast here.


Here is a recap of the change in revenue due to the ACC expansion. BC is doing pretty well.

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Offensive starters: 1997 vs. 2007

Going back over Jags’ first season as an offensive coordinator the past few months was reminder of where we are and where we were. Take a look:

Quarterback
2007: Matt Ryan
1997: Matt Hasselbeck
Better situation: 2007. Despite Hasselbeck’s success in the NFL, Matt Ryan is clearly the better college QB heading into 2007 than MHass was heading into 1997. Ryan has more wins, better numbers, is more athletic and has a better arm. Hopefully he’ll develop into a ProBowl Quarterback like Hasselbeck did after leaving BC. While Ryan and 2007 get the edge at QB, it should be noted that the backup situation was much better in 1997. TOB and Jags had one-time and future starter Scott Mutryn on the roster as well as future starter and NFL backup Tim Hasselbeck on the roster. Even if Flutie and Applegate were still on the QB depth chart, there may not be another starter on the roster. Crane will get his chance in 2008 but he is not a sure thing.

Running Backs
2007: LV Whitworth, Andre Callender, et al
1997: Mike Cloud, Omari Walker
Better situation: 1997. This one is not even close. Cloud was arguably the best back of the TOB era and would have an All America year in 1998. Walker was a solid contributor and a very productive back. Whitworth and Callender (or even Brooks or Smith) may explode this season, but I am not counting on it. We were in better shape a decade ago.

Fullbacks
2007: James McCluskey
1997: Mike Hemmert, Frank Chamberlin
Better situation: 1997. This position is not a make or break now and wasn’t then, but we had better depth and experience in 1997. Hemmert proved to be a good pass catcher and Chamberlin played well before being moved to LB later in his career. This season we are looking at converted and untested James McCluskey

Tight Ends
2007: Ryan Thompson, Jon Loyte, Ryan Purvis, Jordan McMichael
1997: Todd Pollack, Scott Dragos, Rob Tardio, Mike Guazzo
Better situation: 1997. This is expected since Henning made Tight Ends such a point of emphasis. While McMichael still represents unknown upside, most of the current crop would be called “serviceable” and “solid.” No game breakers in the bunch. In 1997 Pollack was very good and had very good hands. The rest of the 1997 crew all spent time (briefly) on NFL rosters.

Wide Recievers
2007: Brandon Robinson, Kevin Challenger et al
1997: Anthony Dicosmo, Dennis Harding et al
Better situation: 2007. Dicosmo was good, but Challenger has been much more productive and Robinson has better upside. While the remainder of our 2007 WR crop has many untested underclassmen, the depth and potential is much better now.

Offensive Line
2007: Gosder Cherilus, Ryan Poles, Kevin Sheridan, Matt Tennant, Pat Sheil, Tom Anevski, Ty Hall
1997: Damien Woody, Andy Mitcham, Doug Brzezinski, Dan Collins, Noah LaRose, Jon Miles
Better situation: 1997. This is a toss up but the parallels are striking. One established all conference type player (Woody and Cherilus) and then rotation/depth based on a bunch of untested/unproven/undersized players. It was somewhat hard confirming the 1997 line. A bunch of people told me LaRose started, but according to the archives he did not letter in 1997. Darnell Alford, who would be a solid starter in 1998 and 1999 sat out 1997. The reason I give 1997 the edge is that Woody had a great season, and Collins and Brzezinski would go on to have really strong seasons. The same could happen for this year's team, but now we are still facing a lot of question marks.


Overall Edge: 1997. I would give a slight advantage to our 1997 talent. I obviously have the bias of knowing how the 1997 team performed versus the unknowns of this season. Our offensive line could still come together and our Running Backs and Tight Ends may surprise people this year.

Going back over Jags’ first season as offensive coordinator sparked this little exercise and it also laid to rest many of the TOB related misconceptions I keep reading and hearing about. “TOB inherited a disaster of a program” – off the field there were certainly some behavior issues, but there was still talent. “TOB left a loaded team” — our overall and defensive roster is better than 1997 but his recruiting missteps have left us very thin at Offensive Line and Quarterback. “BC fans are impatient” — this should serve as a reminder that TOB probably underachieved early in his time at BC. But BC game him a wide berth because the Henning years were so bad.

I think we can be a very good team this year. I also think an experienced Steve Logan will be a better coordinator than a young Jeff Jagodzinski was in 1997. And best of all, we have a player in Matt Ryan who has proven he can raise the level of play of those around him. This exercise shows that talent ebbs and flows and that Jags is going to have to bring in some good players soon.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

More videos, more Glasper

Here is a link to the 2006 hockey highlights put together by BC grad Vince H.


Glasper didn't make the Browns and is now trying to catch on with the Giants. He gave another interview with the Hartford Courant and continues his harsh portrayal of TOB. As for the News & Record's account of the story...we're still waiting. I wonder why they couldn't slip in one question during this hard hitting interview with TOB. At least they asked about his musical tastes.

Trapani headed to the Heights

In a nice bit of offseason basketball news, Joe Trapani has ended his tour and decided to attend BC. His impact will be hard to predict since he'll sit out a year and join a very young roster in 2008-2009. The upside is that we have added a player that we know can compete at this level. The incoming Freshman class, while highly heralded, is still unproven. Trapani gives us a solid role player and will see minutes at both forward spots. Nice pick up, by Al and crew.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday videos

Here are some of the better BC football clips from Google Video and YouTube




Finally this is a cool highlight video of last season. If anyone knows how I can embed it, fire me an email.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

More Flutie, more bowls stuff, more USC

Around the same time as Doug Flutie's College Football Hall of Fame announcement, came word that he was the first non-Canadian elected into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Interesting to note that at the end of the Flutie article Blaudschun adds a notes section and references the still unsigned USC game. Gene's explination combined with word that USC is going to play Syracuse in 2011 makes me question if the USC-BC games will even happen.


Here is a good breakdown of all the host cities in the mix for the ACC Championship Game.


Washington, D.C. is considering a bowl game. While I prefer a second Atlanta Bowl, DC would be a perfect fit for our 8th spot.


Here is ESPN's recap of our spring. There are a few mistakes, but overall a fair and good preview.


This ESPN piece mentions Matt Ryan as a Heisman Candidate. I love Matt but don't see it happening. I'll have more on his Heisman prospects in an upcoming post.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Silva and more coach rankings

Here is a great article on Jamie Silva's efforts working with special needs kids.


I also follow up on The Sporting News ridiculous rankings over at the AOL Fanhouse. I didn't rank Jags or Randy Shannon since neither has coached a game yet. It should be noted that by weighing a school's past success with the coach's performance, TOB would have been 6th out of the 10 current ACC coaches with head coaching experience.

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ACC Championship news and other links

I've been saying for a while that Jacksonville will do what it takes to keep the fledgling ACC Championship game. Despite the poor ticket sales the city wants to keep the game. It is the ACC who is looking elsewhere. Tampa is primed to make a bid and will probably make for a better host.

Orson likes our hire of Steve Logan as offensive coordinator and captures the essence of the move as only EDSBS can.

Doug Flutie will take his rightful place in the College Football Hall of Fame. (hat tip to Tom C for the link.)

Here is a nice profile on Kiwi’s return to Uganda.

Recruiting gurus are calling Masengo Kabongo the most important target of BC’s recruiting class (BC talk is about halfway down the article.)

This ACC recap by Tony Barnhart got a lot of BC fans in a tizzy. I am giving Tony a pass on this. His focus and audience is not BC fans. While calling Applegate the expected backup is a huge stretch, he got most of it right and usually gives BC a fair shake.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Going back to Cali

According to the Globe we are close to scheduling a series with USC. I posted the USC angle at the Fanhouse. Here are a few more BC-centric thoughts on the matchup…

This would be a huge game. First it would offset any lingering negativity about losing Notre Dame on the schedule. If we can’t play the Irish, why not play their biggest rival. Also we’ve rarely play out west despite our considerable alumni presence in California. I also think a matchup against the Trojans has that intangible aspect that would get diehards like me to make the trip to the Coliseum.

Outside of the fansbase enthusiasm, playing a game there also enables us to dip our toes in the deep Southern California recruiting base filled with numerous catholic school powerhouses.

While nothing is signed yet, it certainly is an indicator that things may be changing at the Heights. The lightening of our non-conference schedule has been a hot point for critics that past few seasons. Playing New England DIAA teams and a few MAC afterthoughts came off as padding of our schedule. I was talking to current BC sophomore a few months ago and he was blown away that my sophomore year we played Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame out of conference. Now there is a middle ground between those extremes. For every Maine, we should play a USC. That sort of balance combined with the annual game with Syracuse will give us credibility with the fans and media. I am glad Gene and Jags are stepping up.

One other bit of speculation...but I think Jags and Gene have good relationships with Carroll: Jags through their common Offensive Line Consultant Alex Gibbs; Gene’s son works on Lane Kiffin’s staff (Lane was Carroll’s longtime protégé). While all coaches have a network, it is nice to see us attempt to build on these relationships instead of just looking for another game against the next Buffalo.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Jags as OC: Game 11, Army 1997

Offensively this game didn’t mean much. However, a small stirring in the stands would have long term implications.

Stat Line
First downs 23
Rushed-yards 28-96
Passing yards 393
Sacked-yards lost 3-18
Return yards 23
Passes 31-46-1
Punts 3-25.0
Fumbles-lost 2-0
Penalties-yards 9-57
Time of possession 29:24


What can we learn from the game? Jags will chuck it when he has to. All the talk this spring has been about “throwing it around.” But in his time calling plays 10 years ago we were pretty run oreinted. I think a closer look shows that Jags was more concerned with what was working and what the opposition presented. In a case like Army, where we out skilled them and could give Hasselbeck protection, we threw it 46 times. It is also important to note that just because we threw it, didn’t mean we ignored our playmakers. Mike Cloud caught three balls for 52 yards.

I referenced the long term implications at the top because this was the day where the BC student section began to turn and the Super Fans first gained notice. In the past when a team like Army took a lead, many BC students would head for an exit. This game was different. Fans hung in there. Late in the 4th quarter guys even took off their shirts as it began to snow. The team rewarded this behavior with a win and a post game salute. That student enery has grown since and I am hoping Jags gives us a product on the field that will spread the Super Fan passion to all sections of the stadium.

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Thoughts on weekend news

Here are few links you may or may not have read over the past few days:


BC officials held a town hall-like meeting with Brighton residents regarding our plans for the "Brighton Campus" fka the St John's seminary land. Ideally it will be a mutli-use athletic area with baseball as the focal point. I am glad we are reaching out, but given all the challenges we've had over the years with expansion and renovations, I say BC needs to be very forceful in this process and not let every little petition or threat of legal action slow things down.


Here's a report of Beekman's first rookie camp with the Bears.


A litte update on Sele's prospects with the Redskins.


Potential basketball transfer Joe Trapani will be on campus Tuesday to check out the Heights.


Here is a quick update on some football prospects we are talking to.


This article on San Antonio's attempt to host the Big XII championship references the ACC's challenges in Jacksonville. I think people continue to miss the point about the issues and alleged struggles of Jacksonville hosting the ACC Championship game. While attendance was down, the game is still a very big deal for the city. Outside of the Florida-UGA game and the Gator Bowl, the city doesn't have many other events to draw in non-resident sports fans. Hosting the ACC game is nice little bump for the area during their usual dead time. While the organizers technically lost money, as long as the greater Jacksonville area makes money look for them to continue to host the game.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Thoughts on rule changes and an ACC Now update

The NCAA is moving back the Men's 3-point line. While this might seem like good news for a team like BC that doesn't take many 3s, I think it will actually hurt us. Defensively we've always been poor on the perimeter and invited 3s. This created the occasional nightmare game where we get buried, but more often than not Al's strategy of beating people with 2s while they chuck 3s has been sound. Now teams are less likely to take 3s, meaning they will revert to offenses closer to our style. With our offense less unique and other teams operating as efficiently, we'll be forced to play better defense. Not our strong suit. But I'll wait for the actual play to support the top of mind hypothesis I just threw together.


In other NCAA news, prep school rules have been tightened to limit high school athletes to four years to get their core work done. This hurts BC as well. Over the past 20 years we've been accepting prep athletes in basketball, football and hockey. For the most part these guys have contributed and graduated through our programs. Now many of these football and basketball players will head to Junior Colleges. We are much less likely to bring in a kid from Junior College (for a variety of reasons) than from a New England or Virginia prep boarding school. I don't know the hockey scene well enough to know where their prep candidates will head instead of a fifth year of high school.


Finally in response to my questions raised about ACC Now pulling their Glasper quotes, Joe Giglio of ACC Now had this to say:


"In the interest of fairness and journalistic integrity, comments made by former Boston College football player Ryan Glasper were removed from ACC Now in order to compile a more complete collection of the facts. We hope to have a new report as soon as possible."


I look forward to their report.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

More media questions regarding the Glasper story

Section Six and plenty of NC State fans accused me of reaching and intentionally trying to give this story more life than it deserved by hypothesizing that TOB and/or those connected with him were doing their part to bury this story.


I even said I would let it be after I posted the piece on Glasper’s impact. Now as conspiracy theories bloom, I am changing my mind. Yesterday on the ACC Now blog published by the News & Observer, Chip Alexander posted quotes from Glasper that seemed to retract and reframe some of his supposed animosity towards TOB. In the full blog post Alexander also teased a full article on the subject upcoming in Thursday’s edition of the News & Observer. Well Thursday’s paper and web stories came out and there is no TOB article. Even more curious, the original post from Alexander has been removed from the N&O blog. You can still see a partially cached version in the picture below. Unfortunately you cannot see the mention of Thursday's article, so I grabbed the Google results to show where he promised more detail.





I can understand the article not making the paper. Things get bumped or delayed all the time. But there is no explanation for pulling the blog post, especially since Alexander had the most unique Glasper quotes. Why would they remove it? Let me speculate, but perhaps TOB and NC State want to put it all to rest and got heavy handed with the most malleable media available. It wouldn’t be the first time TOB (or any other coach) had done that. On a UNC message board there is unsupported speculation that John Swofford himself pressured the N&O to kill the story. That would make sense as it is in his interest that all ACC schools get along.

In order to find out for myself I called and emailed Chip Alexander. No response as of this post.

I am guilty of giving this more attention than it probably deserves, but it is the offseason and TOB has yet to say anything. If he just came out with his spin, this would probably die down…until September 8th.

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Did Glasper make an impact defensively?

Regardless of whose story you believe, I would say the majority of fans think forcing Ryan Glasper back was the right football move for the 2006 defense. The team was coming off a bad loss and had narrowly won its other three games. In Glasper’s absence the team gave up an average of 433.75 yards a game and allowed an average of 24.5 points per game. After his return those averages dropped to 283 and 11.89 respectively. Case closed for TOB, right? Not exactly.

If you look a little deeper you'll see that the numbers were skewed by the quality of the opponents we faced with and without Glasper. Take a look:

OpponentOff Rank
National
Off Rank
Conference
Total Offense
against BC
Points Scored
against BC
Central Michigan24th1st35424
Clemson*9th1st49933
BYU*6th1st57323
NC State101st10th30917

*Overtime game

No wonder the defense struggled. They had just faced the No. 1 offense in the ACC, the No. 1 offense in the Mountain West and the No. 1 offense in the MAC. Even with 11 Ryan Glaspers these games still would have been struggles for a defense. Now look at who we faced after Glasper returned:

OpponentOff Rank
National
Off Rank
Conference
Total Offense
against BC
Points Scored
against BC
Maine**80th*^11th1990
Virginia Tech47th3rd2433
Florida State54th4th37519
Buffalo99th10th1160
Wake Forest75th6th29621
Duke113th12th3377
Maryland79th7th33116
Miami89th8th24717
Navy33rdNA40324

** DIAA opponent
*^ DIAA ranking


So did our defense get better in the second half? Yes. Did we also face less explosive offenses? Yes. Leadership and toughness are hard to measure. Glasper certainly brought those attributes back to our team, but you’ll have a hard time convincing me he was the reason our defensive numbers improved. I think Dunbar, Tribble, Herzy and Albright stepping up were probably bigger factors.

In my opinion the Navy game may be the most telling. According to Glasper, he finally felt 100% by the bowl. How did our D look against the Middies? Terrible. But Navy is a good offense. So once again the minute BC played a top 40 offense we went back to giving up over 400 yards and barely escaping with a win.

The ultimate stat in all of this is that we were 3-1 without Glasper and 7-2 with him. Yet we still ended up in a deadend bowl. Was it worth it? I don’t think so. We could have just as easily used him against this year's tougher schedule.

I also want to echo what many are saying about this whole incident and how it reflected on TOB. If our former coach had constantly played to win and preached a now is the time attitude something like rushing Glasper back would have been easier to swallow. Instead he seemingly exploited a loyal kid for nothing. We still had the same stubborn, frustrating and emotionless gameplans. We still lost to lameduck programs when everything was on the line. We still ended up in a 3rd tier bowl. If Glasper coming back felt like part of a bigger plan or a push to break through no one would begrudge TOB. Instead it comes off as a shortsighted, exploitative move by a coach who had mentally checked out.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Toal link

Here's a quick write up on Toal and his injuries over at the Fanhouse.

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The Glasper story continues and why I care

ACC blogger Davesez writes a fair take on the incident.

Barstool Sports thinks TOB was a jerk but also doesn’t feel like Glasper was horribly wronged.

Glasper even tempered his comments a bit in a Carolina paper. (I think he was wisely advised to cool it and just turn his focus to the NFL.) [UPDATE: for some reason this story has been taken down.]

Section Six, whom I like and who has guest blogged here before, thinks I’m guilty of trying to give the story momentum over at AOL. I can give this story as much momentum as I want here at atleagle.com, but the scope of this blog is pretty parochial. AOL gives me a platform to discuss other aspects of any story and the ACC. While they give us plenty of leeway in our style and which stories we jump on, there is an expectation to keep it interesting and somewhat attention getting. The easiest way to get people talking? Bring the worldwide leader in sports into the conversation. Plus this is the offseason, so we are looking for anything to discuss.

Although it might be too late, I don’t want to beat the story into the ground. I plan on doing one more thing: a piece on whether or not it was worth bringing Glasper back statistically. I also reserve the right to post any follow ups if TOB finally comes out of his shell on this topic.

Ultimately why I do care and why this is a big deal to many BC fans is that one of our own was mistreated. Glasper was a class act and a very good college football player. Our former coach, who claimed to stand for everything Glasper represents, abused his authority in a jerky manner. As Alex said, if TOB had gone to Glasper and said, “we need you” Glasper probably would have come back. But forcing him back against your promise and medical advice was a classless move. (And other fans wonder why the BC community never embraced TOB.)

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

More on Glasper

Over at the Fanhouse, I ask how much TOB's relationship with ESPN is influencing the coverage of the Glasper story.

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In defense of Glasper

As expected Glasper's character is now being questioned by TOB apologists from NC State and BC. Well here are a few reminders of what kind of student athlete he was:
-- Played in all 13 games as a true freshman
-- Played in all 12 games as a sophomore
-- Played in 11 of 12 games as a junior
So the first time he missed any long stretch was after hip surgery.

-- Earned 2004 Big East Conference all-academic team
-- Paul Cavanagh Award recipient given to the player whose collective on- and off-the-field accomplishments speak volumes about his commitment
-- Recipient of the 2006 Jay McGillis Scholarship, awarded to the defensive back who exemplifies the qualities of the late McGillis

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Glasper vs. TOB goes national

Ryan Glasper has been railing about TOB to anyone who’ll listen for the past few weeks. Well now ESPN has taken notice. In the most damning and detailed version of the story yet, ESPN’s Alan Grant sheds light on how TOB broke his word about Glasper’s redshirt and pressured him back on the field before Glasper was fully healed. Former BC defensive backs coach Kevin Lempa even breaks the coaching fraternity silence by explaining it was a "head coach's decision."

I feel for Glasper and hope he can get on an NFL roster. Regardless of the sour note that ended his career at BC, he’ll always have his experience and education and the welcoming BC alumni network.

As for TOB…where to start? College coaching is a tough business. You can’t be everyone’s friend (just ask Jim Turner and Ross Applegate) and winning trumps nearly everything. However, there is something to be said for doing it the right way. At BC we pride ourselves on it. Treating these kids with respect and discipline is one thing. Breaking your word and risking harm to a player’s body and career is another. Glasper was a likely Captain (as evidence by his selection as our representative at the ACC media days). He busted his ass for three years and held up his end of the deal off the field. Forcing him back did what for last season? Got us into another Charlotte Bowl. It pisses me off that TOB exploited a guy like Glasper for a shot at something big, yet still couldn’t come up with a gameplan to beat the likes of a lame duck Miami team. It also disappoints me that he continues to portray himself as the tried and true Marine and molder of men.

In the end, both Glasper and TOB are gone. Yet this can serve as a reminder that we needed new direction, things were not always what they appeared to be on the surface, and that Glasper was a “BC guy.”

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