Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday news

While I am disappointed that Dudley got stuck on Charlotte, he is very happy.

The Nets see plenty of upside in Sean Williams.

The Herald gave BC credit for producing two first rounders.

ESPN promoted Doug Fluite to their Thursday night slot. EDSBS breaksdown the rest of the ESPN shuffling as only they can.

Justin Tougas is transferring to Albany.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gut reaction to NBA Draft

Here is my instant analysis. Winner: Sean Williams. Loser: Jared Dudley.

Going a little further, Williams lucked out into a top pick despite his past and very green skill set. I think Williams will do well in their system. He can come off the bench, change games defensively and get some easy baskets from Jason Kidd. My big fear for Sean is who will keep him in line and motivated? Kidd is a moody loner going through a high profile break up. Carter only thinks about Carter. Their coach Frank doesn't give off that task master and/or babysitter vibe that Williams will need. I am sure there are good people on the Nets who will look out for Sean, but right now it doesn't seem like any of the big influencers will.

I feel for Dudley. I think there is a very good chance he'll wash out in Charlotte and have to wait for a chance on a different team. Right now Charlotte has good depth at the wing positions. Wallace is a known contributor and Morrison, who struggled last season, will get more shots and minutes than Dudley will next year. I think Dudley is a much better player than Morrison, but the Bobcats have invested much more energy, money and pride in Morrison. Who do you think is going to get the most attention and chance to improve: the high profile guy or the late first rounder who many fans don't know?

Old and new Eagles

Here is an article on recent recruit Josh Haden.


Here is a nice update on former BC Guard Mark Nori. Nori is now a coach with the 49ers. Don't be suprised if he ends up back at BC one day.


I'll have NBA draft thoughts after Dudley and Williams get selected.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NBA Draft Scouting Report

If you could combine Jared Dudley’s toughness, smarts and confidence with Sean Williams’ body and athleticism, you’d have the best prospect in the history of the NBA. But these guys are not perfect and both enter the draft as potential first rounders with real questions. I hope both do well, but will be rooting especially hard for Dudley. If I were an NBA GM I would put my money on Dudley. I think he’ll carve out a nice NBA career and still be in the league 10 years from now. Sean Williams…I have no idea. Here are my breakdowns on each guy’s prospects.


Jared Dudley
Age: 21 (he’ll be 22 in July)
Height: 6’7
Weight: 225
Natural Position: Small Forward
Potential Positions: Power Forward and Shooting Guard
Strengths: Great understanding of basketball. Natural leader. Good passer for a big man. Understands spacing and where everyone should be. Great low post touch. Good outside shooter. Can handle the ball in traffic. Opportunistic defender. Good rebounder. Very productive college career.
Weaknesses: Inconsistent defense. Trouble with stronger players. Has to give smaller, faster players plenty of space on the perimeter. Streaky from the line.
Where he would fit best: San Antonio, Phoenix, Cleveland, Dallas, Utah, New Jersey, and Minnesota.
Bad fits: Detroit, LA Lakers, Atlanta, Miami, and Houston.
I think Jared needs to be on a team with a sound offensive philosophy and players who are looking to find the best shot, not hog the ball. I also don’t want to see him go to a team that is already heavy on offensive wing players.
Where I think he’ll end up: Philadelphia. Partly because of the Sixers’ numerous picks and partially because they’ve consistently expressed interest in him.
Five years from now: Jared will be a borderline All Star in the NBA. I fear that he might be like a Chauncey Billups or Matt Harpring and bounce around a few teams before he finds a system and team where he can excel. But I will never count Jared out and expect him to keep fighting until he gets his chance to play.


Sean Williams
Age: 20
Height: 6’11
Weight: 235
Natural Position: Power Forward
Potential Position: Center
Strengths: World class shot blocker. Good one on one defender. Good finisher. Solid from the FT line. Still raw with potential to round out his game.
Weaknesses: Immature and prone to pot suspensions. Seemingly lacks concentration and motivation. Limited offensive game. Limited rebounder.
Where he would fit best: Cleveland, Miami, New Jersey, Phoenix, LA Lakers and Philadelphia.
Bad fits: San Antonio, Dallas, Utah, and Chicago.
Sean needs to go to a team where he can come in and be a shot blocker. He won’t contribute much offensively at first so any team with too much structure would probably not use him well. I also think he’ll struggle on a young, deep team like the Bulls (since every guy on the team is already fighting for playing time).
Where I think he’ll end up: New York. Say what you will about Isiah Thomas, but the guy has a good eye for draft picks. He’ll take a chance on Sean because Williams has the potential to change games and has the upside Thomas covets.
Five years from now: I think Sean will be out of the league. I hope I am wrong, but I just don’t see the drive he’ll need to succeed. Every guy in the NBA is very good. To hang around you need to be either uniquely skilled and/or extremely driven. I just don’t see it in Sean Williams.

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Midweek links

A few links until I post more on Dudley and Williams in the NBA draft.


Here's an article on recent football commit Colin Larmond.


Incoming Freshman John Elliott is the anchor for his Long Island All Star team.


Coaching search runner up Mark Whipple is taking this season off.


Dudley is ready for the NBA draft.


ESPN's basketball stats guru John Hollinger is very high on Dudley and Sean Williams.


Remember my suggestion that BC creates some sort of discount for young alumni season tickets? Well there is a special rate for graduating senior. Nice first step by the ticket office.

2007 Position Previews: Wide Receivers

This is the third part of my position by position breakdown of the 2007 roster.

WIDE RECEIVERS

One consistently frustrating aspect of the old regime was the inability to recruit or develop a game-breaking wide receiver. We employed plenty of smallish, slowish, good citizens with above average hands, but none that could change a defensive scheme. Going into this season, the wide receivers represent some good returning production and have depth, but seemingly little upside. The challenge will be on new Offensive Coordinator Steve Logan to either scheme or find someone who can take Ryan’s passes to the end zone.

Overview

Based on Logan’s history, I predict we will have one primary receiver. Between 1996 and 2002, East Carolina produced at least one Top 10 receiver within Confernece USA. In one of those rare seasons without a primary receiver (1998) ECU’s two leading pass catchers (Troy Smith and Lamont Chappell) finished with nearly identical stats and had the 14th and 15th best pass catching seasons in the conference.

This season, I expect Logan to drive most of the aerial attack to either Kevin Challenger or Brandon Robinson. If neither explode, look for them to get grouped with the younger guys with Logan and Ryan going with different guys from game to game.


The Players
Kevin Challenger, SR, 5’8 178lbs
Brandon Robinson, JR, 5’10 195lbs
Billy Flutie, FR, 6’2 177lbs
Rich Gunnell, SO, 5’11 205 lbs
Justin Jarvis, SO, 6’5 195 lbs
Clarence Megwa, SO, 6’1 212 lbs
Warren Wilson, FR, 6’1 180 lbs

Challenger is the most experienced and productive of this group. He has good hands and runs good routes. He missed spring practices with medical issues. I expect him to come out strong this season. Robinson is one of the faster more athletic guys on the team. We used him as a deep threat and out of the slot last year. I expect Logan will use him to spread the field as well. Robinson’s hands have been inconsistent. Hopefully some coaching and a solid summer will improve his pass catching. Flutie was the surprise of spring. Moved to WR late in practices, he showed off his football IQ and looked good in his new spot. Gunnell is another speedster with adequate hands. He’ll need to do more than go deep to get regular reps. Jarvis red shirt was wasted last season with limited play. I like his size, but don’t have much else to go on. Megwa is another interchangeable guy who hasn’t shown what he is capable of…yet.

Outlook
This group will be much better coached this season. I think the biggest difference will be in the red zone, where our smallish receivers have been shut down recently. I am not expecting any of these guys to be All ACC, but hope that the young guys will continue to develop. If Robinson and Challenger can combine for 120 catches, I think we'll be one of the more productive offenses in the ACC.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Another ATL Eagle

Atlanta-area QB prospect Justin Tuggle committed to BC Monday. I am not a recruiting expert, but there are some very good signs about the commitment.
1. Northview is a new, well-respected school in the Atlanta suburbs. (I live about 10 minutes away.) Growing up and playing in Gwinnett County, you can be assured that Tuggle was well coached and played against very strong competition.
2. Tuggle is the son of former Atlanta Falcon All Pro Jessie Tuggle. While this doesn't guarantee anything, it probably means that his size, speed and athleticism are very real. It also speaks well to how the new staff is impressing football people. Jessie Tuggle has been around football his whole life. He is not going to send his kid to a school 1,000 miles from home unless he thinks the kid will blossom and win.
3. Tuggle had solid offers. While we didn't beat out Florida like we did for Haden, Tuggle had offers from BCS programs like Miss St. and Indiana. If he was willing to play other positions he would have had offers from every school in the SEC.

Good luck to Jessie and congrats to the new staff as they continue to bring in solid kids.

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NBA stuff and links

The Globe kicked off draft week with a great feature on Sean Williams. I'll have more on Williams as we get closer to the draft.


The Big Lead thinks Dudley is going to the Spurs. I think he would fit in well there, but don't see him as some sort of Bowen clone. In fact he is the anti-Bowen in that he is all offense and will need help defensively. Bowen gets by on strength and speed. Dudley gets by on smarts.


In coming freshman Corey Eason was named the defensive MVP of the Shriners' Football Classic.


According to SI.com, BC has the second hardest schedule in the ACC.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday links: the Flynn Fund

BC proudly announced a record fundraising effort for the Flynn Fund. This is affirmation for Gene D. and the Athletic Department's controversial movement to Donor Based Seating. I also think it speaks well for changing the culture of BC sports from casual to more engaged, passionate fans. I’ve never given to the Flynn Fund and always steered my donations to the school’s BC Fund. However, I may change that policy and will have more background on the Flynn Fund on this blog later this summer.

Here’s an update and interview with some of our recent football commits.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Logan and other links

Rivals published a nice interview with new Offensive Coordinator Steve Logan.


While we are trying to add games like USC, our conference rival Clemson is softening their schedule.


I get fired up about BC sports. These people get fired up about BC for a different reason.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Haden is a BC Guy



As many of you know by now, Jags made his first real recruiting splash in landing Maryland RB Josh Haden. Haden fills a big need but the commitment is a very good indicator for things ahead.

This is a kid with no prior connection to BC and no geographic affiliation, yet he listened to our pitch and liked what he heard. Even more telling, in addition to offers from Michigan and Tennessee, Haden also had an offer from the National Champion Florida Gators AND his older brother is a current Gator. Despite all these obstacles, he still picked BC.

Recruiting is a tough racket. You're not going to get everyone you want, but Haden is someone BC identified early, went after hard and closed. Great signs and a welcome change from our previous regime's efforts.

Let's hope Josh stays healthy and has a strong Senior Year. He is supposedly planning on starting at BC in January. I also don't expect Florida to take this lying down...Urban Meyer is notorious for continuing to recruit after kids commit to other programs. BC will need to keep Haden happy but I am very confident they will.

Congrats to Haden's primary recruiters Ryan Day and Ben Sirmans. And big congrats to Jags. Now let's go get another stud.

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Dan Shaughnessy Interview


Despite being a high-profile member of the Boston Sports Media, Dan Shaughnessy is rarely on the BC fan radar. It wasn't until I found out that he was writing a book about his son (current BC Baseball player Sam Shaughnessy) that I pursued him for this interview. (His publishers also graciously sent me a copy of the book. I enjoyed it and you can read my review here.) In this exchange we talk about Sam, BC sports and of course blogging.

[In the past my interviews have been via email. This was an old fashioned taped Q&A, so forgive any punctuation issues in the transcript.]

ATL_eagle: How did you first bring up the subject of a book with Sam? You reference him knowing about you writing it, but did you ask his permission? Did you worry about getting him involved?

DS: Yes. We talked about it. I asked if he had a problem with it. He said, “no.” He’s not really committal on a lot of things like that. He kinda shrugged, “Yeah. Whatever.” You know how guys are?

Then I told him that before I sent the manuscript to the publisher he would get to read it. We sorta had a deal that I didn’t want him to change anything or be mindful of it during the year. Just live his life normally. And basically that was true. It wasn’t like I was taking notes. Life just went on normally and I was keeping the thing on my own in real time. He had final right of refusal (as did everyone in the family). So the manuscript went to Sam in late June and he read it overnight and he had a couple of tweaks.

I was amazed at what he left in. The things he took out were very minor and really were kind of money issues. So nothing…nothing really major came out.

I would not have sent this thing out without him seeing it. That’s certainly his life. It was the same with my cousin. There’s that powerful introduction with my cousin and the wake…

ATL_eagle: His son with the drug abuse?

DS: Yeah. I went to lunch with my cousin and showed him the chapter and made sure he was okay with it, ‘cause it’s such a private moment. You don’t share those kinds of things unless it is okay with the family. And Nicky was okay with it. He thanked me for it and he and his wife were happy with it.

ATL_eagle:: And I thought the stuff about Sam, especially the “teen” stuff – things you mention about his potential depression or getting in trouble here and there. Typical teen stuff, but I thought it was pretty brave of him to share and for you to share.

DS: Yeah. The book really wouldn’t work if it weren’t honest. It’s gotta be warts and all. Everybody’s got issues. Everybody’s got stuff in their house, you know?

The book is not really about Sam. The book is about the generic experience of being a parent and the high school experience and what this is like for everybody. Sam’s the vehicle through which we tell the story but I think if you don’t have warts and all, the perception is that “oh, this guy is writing a book about his kid because he thinks he’s a really good player.” Nobody wants to read that. Everybody thinks their kid is really good at something.

ATL_eagle: Now you mention the book was about the high school experience. Moving onto the college experience...in the book you reference Sam wanting to potentially be a small fish in a big pond versus going to a smaller school. And you talk about your daughters struggling for playing time and at bats at the college level. How was the first year of Sam playing Division I baseball and not seeing much playing time been for you as kind of his biggest fan?

DS: Well I think it is frustrating for everybody. Sam knew what he was getting into…and that was a big-time, DI program in the ACC. Freshman don’t see a lot of playing time. And he was ultimately redshirted. And it was frustrating for him and for me.

I think for the parents of a lot of people that is the experience when you take that route. Unless you are a superstar, which Sam is not. You aren’t going to play as a freshman and then you gotta try and fight your way on, which is what he is trying to do now.


ATL_eagle: Over the years many BC fans have pegged you as “anti-BC” because of your Holy Cross ties and the occasional quips you’ve made. Then I was surprised to find out you’re the son of a BC grad. Now that Sam is at BC, how has your perspective on the school changed?

DS: Well my dad went to BC (as you referenced) and I was planning on going there. Events sort of forced me into selecting Holy Cross.

You know, hey, the people at UMass think I’m anti-UMass…

It’s like when you hear the World Series broadcast, the fans in both cities always think the announcers are against them. So, no, there’s no anti-BC bias. They bring big-time college football and basketball to our region and without them we certainly wouldn’t have big-time college football.

I like the way they go about their business over there. I think Gene [Defilippo] is top shelf. It’s really a great experience.

Every kid I’ve met there is a happy kid, so I am very impressed with everything they’re doing.


ATL_eagle: You mentioned big-time football and big-time basketball…BC is obviously trying to upgrade its baseball program and facilities. And that’s been a hot button with the Brighton residents. You’re a long-time Newton resident. From a BC grad and BC student perspective it seems like we have the worst town-gown relationships in Boston. Harvard, Northeastern and BU can kind of do what they want without objection. Why do you think BC gets so much antagonism from Brighton and Newton and the locals, especially something like the new baseball stadium which wouldn’t be that big of an impact in the neighborhood?


DS: I’d quarrel with the distinction that BC gets a hard time. I think the people at Harvard would certainly say they get a hard time. But I also think that BC is bordering communities where people have money and they have means and they have voice and they have clout. It’s a little different if you’re bordering Chestnut Hill, Brookline, Newton as opposed to bordering Allston, where perhaps the constituency is not as loud and powerful. And [Allston] is more transient. Those factors go into it.

It doesn’t surprise me what BC goes through. A lot of people have been living in these regions a long time. When the school expands, you’re going to get that.

ATL_eagle: The Greater Boston area is clearly baseball obsessed. You’ve obviously got the Red Sox, the Cape Cod League, really strong youth leagues. The real exception is the support of college baseball. Do you see any situation where college baseball will catch on beyond the students and parents who are supporting these teams?

DS: Not really. I think that’s fine. Hey, it’s college baseball in the northeast. The weather is not going to change.

It’s hard enough for basketball, football and hockey. They certainly have a niche but given what’s going on with our pro teams, they don’t get what you get at Clemson or Ohio State (college towns). It’s always going to be a struggle and the big time sports feel that. The quote-unquote small-time sports are just not going to generate the kind of interest.

It’ll be nice when the ACC tournament goes through Fenway Park. You hope that the Eagles make the cut that year. But I think those are like the Olympics…it’s a once every few years event but on a day-to-day basis, I don’t think you’ll see it take hold.

ATL_eagle: One last question and being a blogger, I have to ask about this. I asked Bob Ryan about blogs and the future of the industry a year ago. He jokingly waived the white flag. Now the guy went out and got his own blog. And you famously mocked Curt Schilling’s blog. What do you see as the future of this new medium and how it effects sports writing and sports coverage?

I think it is nice for everyone to have a voice. Pete Hamel has a quote (and I had him on the radio last week) and he said, “blogging is therapy but it’s not journalism.” And that’s from Pete Hamel.

Certainly there’s just no editing process. There’s no vetting of material. I draw a real line at anonymity versus people having their name on there like yourself…I assume you do since I am talking to you.

ATL_eagle: Funny enough, I started off with just a nickname. Then the Atlanta Journal-Constitution featured me in their College Football Preview and I unveiled myself and now I write for AOL too with a byline.

DS: To me, except for the editing process, that’s legit. And that’s where it’s going. I just don’t have a lot of affinity for anonymous tough guys who kill everyone and we don’t know who they are. It’s just too easy. It’s the new crank phone call at that level. But when a name’s on there and they stand behind what they write then I think it’s great.

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Book Review: Senior Year


Regular readers of the Boston Globe usually have a strong opinion about Dan Shaughnessy. Maybe because I am not a Red Sox fan I’ve never felt one way or the other. So when I found out that he was publishing a book about his son’s (current BC Baseball player Sam Shaughnessy) senior year of high school sports, I eagerly looked forward to reading the book and our subsequent interview.

Sam’s senior year provides a nice story arc, but Senior Year really isn’t a traditional, diary of a season-style book. In fact by the time you get to Newton North’s rain-soaked, abbreviated 2006 season you’ve already been through most of the young protagonist and his family's story. While the structure is chronological, Shaughnessy effortlessly weaves in his own high school sports stories and touching anecdotes about his brother, cousin, small home town, Sam’s friends, and Dan’s two softball playing daughters. I enjoyed getting to know these folks and their stories far more than I would have anticipated. Members of the BC community will also recognize many of the stomping grounds and a few faces (the Shaughnessy’s seem to know everyone in Newton).

What made Shaughnessy more relatable in this book than he is in his columns is the how humble he gets about his kids. As a new parent, I found myself nodding as he captured those moments when you think you are in control and confident and doing the right thing by your children only to have your world turned upside down. You realize that you don’t always know and you cannot control their worlds and most importantly that you cannot guarantee their safety.

So Senior Year is a sports book, but it’s also a parent’s book. It’s an easy summer read (you could probably polish it off by the beach or pool) and definitely worth your time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dispelling Steele

All the preview magazines have a similar outlook on this year’s BC team: Good experience, love Ryan, think Jags will continue TOB’s success, think our ACC schedule is tough but our non-conference schedule is favorable. Overall most mags have us as an ACC contender and a definite bowl team. The one exception is Phil Steele. The College Football gambling guru thinks we'll be last in our division and miss out on bowl season. Who cares about one outlier, right? Well Steele puts together the best preview and is always good at identifying the five or so BCS teams that will be much better than expected. As Orson pointed out, his trick to finding the “surprise teams” is to look at programs with veteran teams that were unlucky in his “close games” category the previous season. Logic and statistics state that these teams will get lucky and revert to the mean (the mean in this case being more wins). It is the same “close games” stat that causes Steele to slot BC so low this year. Last year according to Steele's stat we had five close wins with only three close losses. So in his rankings this year he predicts BC will be 2-6 in these same types of games. Wins against Army, Bowling Green, and UMass won’t be enough to get us into a bowl if the close games break as he predicts,

I respect Steele, but I am not worried about his predictions. Since the ACC expanded (and faced extreme parity) Steele’s had trouble predicting the teams in our division. Look at 2005.

SteeleActual
FSUFSU
NC StateBC
MarylandClemson
BCNC State
ClemsonMaryland
Wake ForestWake Forest


He was way off and the division proved one of the most balanced in BCS conferences. The winner had a 5-3 record and the 6th place team only bottomed out at 3-5.

Steele also missed the boat on the Atlantic Division in 2006.
SteeleActual
FSUWake Forest
ClemsonBC
MarylandMaryland
BCClemson
Wake ForestFSU
NC StateNC State


This year he sees the division like this:

1. FSU
2. Clemson
3. NC State
4. Maryland
5. Wake Forest
6. BC

In his explanation of BC’s surprising slotting he hedges claiming anyone (including BC) could win the Atlantic. I like our chances and think that Steele overlooked Jags’ impact on close games. TOB’s notorious conservative style caused some games to be much closer than they should have been. Our near collapses against Central Michigan last year or against Boise State in 2005 are classic TOB games that skew the real story behind the “close games.” If Jags really does put his imprint on the team Steele won’t have to worry about BC reverting. But don’t expect Steele to admit he was wrong about BC in next season’s magazine. The guy is great at telling you what he got right, but rarely admits to his missteps.

My advice regarding all these magazines stays the same: buy them to learn about other teams but don’t get too caught up in what they think or write about BC.

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Hockey rumor and Sean Williams stuff

I don't give much space to Hockey during the season, but here is an article on Cory Schneider and his future with Vancouver.


The Fanhouse's take on Sean Williams' draft prospects.


An ACC preview from Scout.com.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Former Eagles and (potential) future Eagles

Short blurb on James Marten joining Marc Colombo on the Cowboys line.


BC is going hard after Maryland prospect RB Josh Haden. In this Washington Post blog his current coach said Haden's recent trip to BC went very well.


Want an idea of what kind of text messages BC coaches send to kids? Take a look at this pic on Barstool Sports.

Friday, June 15, 2007

More Brighton campus nonsense

This blog will remain focused on BC sports, but all this nonsense over the school's plans for the Brighton campus needs a little attention. (Plus it is the summer.) Check out these two letters to the editors of the TAB.


On quieter nights, slammed car doors, skateboarding and shouting continue to awaken us. Another unpleasantness — student houses are uncared for and marked by trash.


First of all, most BC students don't have cars and even fewer have skateboards so it is probably not a student making that noise. Shouting? Perhaps. Uncared for houses? I'll give them that. But to get this supposed blight out of the neighborhood, shouldn't you welcome more on campus dorms? Not according to this different complainer.

How exactly is BC taking students OUT of the Allston-Brighton community by placing them precisely IN the heart of that community, i.e, in the former archdiocese’s grounds? The argument that students are better monitored in dorms than in off-campus apartments is irrelevant and misleading, unless BC is willing to provide security guards whose duty would be to guarantee the good behavior of every student who will roam in and out of the proposed residence, freely enjoy the grounds around it, and drive in and out of the proposed dorm.

We all know that BC will not do so, if nothing else because it would be unconstitutional. The right way to for BC to get students OUT of the neighborhood is to increase the density of dorms in the BC Chestnut Hill campus.



More dorms on Lower is the answer (since attempts to do anything on upper, college road or newton has already been shot down), eh? Have they seen how dense Lower is? There is no where else to go. The author of the second letter also disputes the whole "didn't you notice the school when you moved in" arguement with some claim that they've been their for generations. Nonsense. And I know from prior generations, BC kids haven't changed much either.

There is really no pleasing these people.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dudley disses blogger-types and other links

Two recent new media success stories are the guys at DraftExpress and NBADraft.net. They are covering their niche with tons of information and hard work. They are out and about, but still fighting the perception that they are working from their mother's basement. One guy not giving them much credit is Jared Dudley. Hopefully Jared appreciates that these guys are coming around on him based on his very strong workouts.


David Glenn groups us in the top of the ACC for the upcoming season.


Finally, here is a link to my Fanhouse post on the FSU staff changes.

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A look at the Atlantic, Florida State and BC

If you're a college football fan, you should make SundayMorningQB a regular stop. In a post on Florida State he starts digging into why the 'Noles are the favorites and wonders why BC is getting overlooked. I've been digging deep into the preview magazines trying to bone up on the season. The more I read the more I like our chances and agree with SMQ that we'd be getting much more respect if TOB had returned. As it stands, I think every ACC has a serious question mark. Almost all the ACC contender's question marks are player related. BC's is our coach. Given all the factors I think an unknown coach (who has an NFL pedigree and familiarity with BC) is less risky than an untested QB or a pourous offensive line, etc. that the other teams are dealing with.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dudley works out for Sixers and other links

The Sixers have four picks and seem very interested in Jared Dudley.


A nice feature on Jack Bicknell Jr. (found off the Eagle Insider boards).


Despite retirement and more than two decades since his game in Miami, Doug Flutie is still such a big name that buying a beach house makes news.

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BC Coaches in their first year

I’ve focused a lot (maybe too much) on Jags’ time as Offensive Coordinator at BC. Maybe it is time to look at how other coaches performed in their first season on the Heights and what sort of indicator each season turned out to be. To keep this somewhat brief and relevant, I focused on the modern era (divisional football) and started with Yukica.

YearCoachRecord Win Pct
Year 1
Win Pct Change from
Predecessor's prior season
Win Pct
for BC Career
1968Joe Yukica6-3.667+.267.648
1978Ed Chlebek0-11.000-.545.364
1981Jack Bicknell5-6.455-.182.517
1991Tom Coughlin4-7.364.000.614
1994Dan Henning7-4-1.636-.114.458
1997Tom O’Brien4-7.364-.053.625


As you can see, first years were rough. Only Yukica improved on his predecessor’s previous year. The first year also proved pretty telling for future success. The guys who struggled more tended to have a less successful career at BC.

As for Jags, despite our tough ACC schedule and the high bar of 10 wins, I think he has the chance to join Yukica as the only guy to improve the team in his first year.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

2007 Position Previews: Running Back and Fullbacks

This is the second part of my position by position breakdown of the 2007 roster.

RUNNING BACKS AND FULLBACKS

We’ve put plenty of offensive lineman in the NFL and Ryan will join the Hasselbecks, St. Pierre and Quinton Porter on NFL rosters shortly, so it is easy to forget that during most of the TOB years we produced stud RB after stud RB. In their three seasons as our featured backs, both L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender have been serviceable but never explosive and never consistent. I think all Eagles fans are hoping that one of them finally breaks out this year. Or better yet, that the new staff finds something in reserve A.J. Brooks or return specialist Jeff Smith. Let’s not get our hopes up.

Overview

Instead of hoping that someone breaks out, I decided to look back at Jags at BC and Steve Logan at East Carolina. Their track records are probably the best indicator of how our running backs and more importantly our rushing offense will perform. First here are the main contributors of Jag’s first go around at BC.

YearRBRushes Yards Avg
1997Mike Cloud1378866.5
1997Omari Walker1366524.8
1998Mike Cloud3081,7265.6


Here is how we ranked in the Big East in Total Rushing during Jags' first go around
1997 – 4th
1998 – 4th

Logan only produced one All-Conference USA RB in his time at East Carolina (Leonard Henry 2001 and 2000), but in his last six seasons his teams did well within the conference’s total rushing stats.

1997 - 8th
1998 - 5th
1999 - 3rd
2000 - 2nd
2001 - 1st
2002 - 5th

Looking at that history, I expect we’ll be middle of the pack rushing team within the ACC regardless of who gets the carries.

The Players

LV Whitworth, SR, 5’11, 216lbs
Andre Callender, SR, 5’11, 204lbs
AJ Brooks, JR, 6’0, 207lbs
Jeff Smith, SO, 5’9, 190lbs
James McCluskey, FR, 6’2, 240lbs
Patrick Quinn, SR, 6’2, 225lbs

Capturing each guy’s style is pretty easy at this point. Whitworth is more of a North-South runner with less speed and a little more power. Callender is more elusive but can break a tackle. Both have battled bouts of fumblitis (at the worst time). Brooks looks the part – good size, good speed, good instincts. He just couldn’t get out of TOB’s doghouse. Jeff Smith is another guy who is explosive but didn’t have a feel for what to do in the offense last season. Based on spring practices, Smith and Brooks will get their chances but are still fighting an up hill battle for playing time.

As for the Fullbacks, James McCluskey looks to fill the huge void at Fullback. He’s a good athlete and has good size. His ability and willingness to switch positions was one of the high points of spring. I think he’ll get some balls thrown to him this season but probably will not get many carries.


Outlook
I don’t know what to expect. I would like to see AJ Brooks have a season like Mike Cloud’s 1998 or Jeff Smith becoming a lethal 3rd down back. Realistically I think you’ll see another season of a Whitworth/Callender combo. They’ll be effective and frustrating but won’t make or break the season.

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All class

BC won the 2006-2007 ACC Sportsmanship School of the Year Award. (I didn't even know this award existed before this morning.) This really speaks to the culture that surrounds BC sports. Thanks to Gene D. and all the student athletes who earned this award.

And while I hate the tit-for-tat nature of message board posters, the next time some WVU, UConn or Notre Dame fan calls us classless or traitorous or whatever insult they conjure up, just remind them of what our opponents and partners think.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Jags as OC: Season 2, Virginia Tech

If this blog had been around in 1998, I might have raked Jags over the coals for the Virginia Tech game. His two years were a great run, but this was the obvious stinker. First the stats and then the story.

Stat Line
First downs 15
Rushed-yards 47-179
Passing yards 116
Sacked-yards lost 3-26
Return yards 15
Passes 10-20-3
Punts 7-30.1
Fumbles-lost 4-1
Penalties-yards 7-78
Time of possession 33:53



What can we learn from the game? A good play caller can have a bad day. Like some recent October games at the Heights, the weather was not kind. Slick balls created turnover problems for both teams. My criticism of the play calling at the time was that we were able to run the ball on them at will and didn't stay with it. Cloud alone racked up 186 yards. But pass plays in the red zone led to INTs, including a run back for a TD. This was the heart of VT’s ascent and their defense was playing really well. But if we had just played more conservative in the weather, we might have stolen the game. In other games, I’ve praised Jags for adjusting, so in this case, I have to be fair and say it was a mistake to continue passing.

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Incoming recruits and other links

Here is an article on the NY-NJ All Star game. Rutgers is the focus, but don't overlook the work that BC signee Chris Johnson did at QB for the New Jersey squad.


A few Eagles were drafted in last week's MLB draft.


Over at the Fanhouse, I have a quick recap of NC State's fight with Nevada over their logo. I wish someone would take the angry chicken logo from us.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Attention Atlanta area alums: BC party at my house!

My wife and I will be hosting the BC Club of Atlanta’s wine tasting at our house, Saturday June 30. If you haven’t attended BC Club events in the past or missed our last wine tasting please give it a try. These events are a great place to meet and reconnect with fellow Eagles. For more details on the event email the club president Mike Romaniello '90 (Ferris417@aol.com) or drop me a line.

A few Friday links

The Globe published a long feature today on former BC Basketball player Burnett Adams. Adams did not graduate and makes statements that someone falsified classes on his transcript some 25 years ago. The angle of the piece is anti-BC and anti-college athletics. I don’t want to besmirch Adams or his intentions. He’s matured and is trying to get his degree. I will defend BC in this. First this is from long ago and many of the principles and proof are unavailable. Second, this doesn’t reflect the BC environment now. There are plenty of athletes and regular students who are not engaged academically and not concerned with graduating today, but the school doesn’t allow them to just slip through the cracks. Academic advisors will reach out to struggling students. Student athletes definitely get extra support when they get off track. I know summer is a slow news time but I wish the Globe had taken a different angle with this article. 25 years is a long time and BC is clearly going above and beyond to help Adams now.


While our non-conference schedule is lacking our overall schedule is considered very difficult.

The first video on this page is an ACC preview. Dodd likes this year’s team.

Derrick Rossy is looking to rebound from his first professional loss.

At the very end of this piece is a little note on Spaz attending Patriots practice.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Meet the neighbors; Ticket issues…at Tech

The Globe profiled some of BC’s local and vocal critics. Included in the article is the Brighton blogger I linked to last month. The article rehashed many of the same old laments from both sides. I strongly side with the school in this sort of stuff. All of these neighbors benefit greatly from BC, BC predates all of them, and BC makes an effort to be a good partner and member of the community. What happens in return? Lawsuit after lawsuit. Keeping BC from building dorms yet complaining about off campus students is the ultimate proof that there is no pleasing these people. While I like the green space that the new Brighton extension represents it would serve these neighbors right for us to put a few mega dorms and the student center over there.

Donor Based Seating Somewhere Else
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…city school with a midsize stadium implements a donor based seating program to stay competitive in today’s college sports. Numerous longtime fans object and give up there tickets. In this case, it is not BC, but fellow ACC school Georgia Tech. This move was the talk of Atlanta sports radio this morning. A point that came across, that I think often gets missed when BC fans discuss this, is that this move raises the bar and expectations for the program. Watching the Athletic Department pat itself on the back about seven or eight wins and a December Bowl is not acceptable when you are asking people to shell out big bucks. I don’t think the donor based seating concept is perfect but if it gets our fan base more engaged and puts greater expectations on the program, I am all for it.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

2007 Position Previews: Tight Ends

This is the first part of my position by position breakdown of the 2007 roster.


TIGHT ENDS

BC is loaded with talent at some positions. Others are thin. Somewhere in between are the Tight Ends. While never the focal point of the Bible offense, Tight Ends did play an important role. They were responsible for taking up the intermediate space over the middle on pass routes and asked to block on running plays. When I started watching the games back in 2005, I realized that the blocking miscues of our Tight Ends were creating a fair amount of trouble for our running game.

Overview

When Jags was the OC in 1997 and 1998, he worked multiple Tight Ends into our offense. That was partially a product of the leftover depth from the Henning era. I don’t know how he and Logan will use the Tight End this season. The season by season cumulative stats from Logan’s time at East Carolina are unavailable, as are the cums from Jags’ last go around with BC [college football is desperately in need of better historic data and statistical sources]. A small glimpse into what Jags did last year with Green Bay shows that Packers TEs caught just 16% of Farve’s passes and only 11% of the TD receptions. Going back through what was available on ECU, Logan’s most prolific TE came early in his time with the Pirates. That tells me that as he got more talent and his own players he deemphasized the position.

The Players
Ryan Purvis, JR, 6’4, 260lbs
Ryan Thompson, SR, 6’4 259lbs
Trey Koziol, JR, 6’4, 255lbs
Jordon McMichael, FR, 6’5, 244 lbs
Jon Loyte, SR, 6’5, 271 lbs

While Thompson started most games, Purvis led the interchangeable “Ryans” with 29 catches. Neither is a great blocker (although I would give Purvis the edge there too). Loyte and McMichael were the big disappointments for entirely different reasons. McMichael was a premiere recruit whose August injury kept him out for the whole season. Loyte was a the transfer expected to make a big impact. He played all season and played well enough but still only caught six passes. Koziol’s been sort of the forgotten man. Injuries have kept him out of action for most of his BC career.

Outlook
I think all five guys will play this year. Expect each to get a dozen or so catches. McMichael still has plenty of upside but unless he is head and shoulders above everyone else, I think he’ll split playing time. It is a solid cast but I don’t think they will change any games (nor be asked to).

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More on Coaching rankings and schedules

Gunslingers went much deeper into Tom Dienhart's ridiculous coaching rankings than I did. Check out all their posts, but most importantly LD confirms that Dienhart overrates TOB.


Ian and I continue to tag team ACC topics over at the Fanhouse. I am glad he took the weak scheduling post because I didn't have it in my heart to rip BC's schedule. Let's be honest...our nonconference schedule is soft this year. Fortunately if a dream season plays out, we will get plenty of credit for our tough conference schedule. And as the USC game shows, Jags is going to upgrade our out of conference games.

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Fanhouse stuff

Here is my take on the ACC's opening weekend. (Note the new pics.)


More Rutgers bashing and it is from a Big East guy.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jags as OC: Season 2, Louisville

The offense came into the Louisville game humming. They continued to move the ball against the Cardinal. However, two things happened. First: BC special teams and defense played got run over. Second: despite their heroics, the offense coughed up the ball repeatedly. Take a look at the stats:

Stat Line
First downs 24
Rushes-yards 31-174
Passing 291
Comp-Att-Int 22-34-1
Return Yards 62
Punts-Avg. 5-39
Fumbles-Lost 3-3
Penalties-Yards 3-30
Time of Possession 26:23

What can we learn from the game? Mutryn was coming into his own. Sure he killed drives with turnovers in this game, but he was also finally showing his ability. Out of high school, experts tagged him as a sure fire blue chipper. Signed and ready to be the next Foley, he then saw the coach that recruited him (Coughlin) leave. He played as a true Freshman, redshirted and then eventually lost a QB battle to Matt Hasselbeck. This is not a sob story for Mutryn or a claim that Jags is some sort of expert at reclamation projects. I think Mutryn’s eventual development into a solid starter during Jags’ first run at BC is just another good sign. Whenever you take over a program, you are inheriting other coaches' players (good and bad) and those players’ histories (good and bad). A resourceful coaching staff will work with what they have until the roster is filled with their own recruits. In 2007 Jags is fortunate enough to inherit a great QB in Matt Ryan. But next year he and Logan will need to do some of the same things they did with Mutryn. Find someone who has potential but might not have been their type of player and get him ready to play. That guy could be Chris Crane or the raw recruits Davis and Johnson. It is comforting to know that Jags has done it before.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

TVs and tickets

Jags as OC, Season 2 continues this week as well as the start of my position previews. For today, just links and thoughts on two heavily discussed topics.

TV Schedule
First, the ACC released its television schedule. Good news: five games are already designated for national television. Here is what we know.

Sept. 1, Wake Forest on ABC at 3:30 pm
Sept. 8, NC State on ESPN2 at 2:30 pm
Sept. 15, at Georgia Tech on ESPN2 at 8 pm
Oct. 13, at Notre Dame on NBC at 3:30 pm
Oct. 25, at Virginia Tech on ESPN at 7:30 pm

I believe our games against Miami, Florida State, Maryland and Clemson will all be telivised, with at least two making ESPN in prime time. It will really depend on how each team is playing.

The nonconforence is less predictable. My guess is that Army will be a day game on ESPN U and probably be a day game. The Knights have a deal with ESPN too making it that much more appealing to the folks in Bristol. The bad news: I think our other two games (Bowling Green and UMass) will probably be moved to ESPN 360. Watching on my laptop is better than nothing at all, but I think the ESPN 360 experience lacks compared to even the most amateur tv broadcast. In the old days NESN might have picked up one or both. But given our deal with ESPN, the network is going to continue to hold onto our games and force them to their 360 product.

Tickets
BC also announced ticket packages for 2007. Like last year there are a few different plans designed to get the less desirable home dates filled. Before people start pointing to the donor based seating as the explanation for the lower demand, realize that this trend predates the donor seating and predates TOB. Since the 1994 expansion of Alumni, season ticket sales during seasons that didn’t included a Notre Dame home game always lagged. Our first ACC season didn’t include an ND game, but the general excitement and the Florida State novelty helped drive sellouts. While I have excuses (I’ll get to them in a minute) there really is no excuse. We should sell out every game. Hopefully Gene doubters now realize the importance of getting some new life into the product. I think, despite our success, TOB’s style of play and unwillingness to sell the program hurt the box office. If Jags wins with any sort of style, things will pick up.

Now look at the schedule and the games included in the package. You’ll see why some are selling and some are not.

Wake Forest. This is a shame. The Wake series has been great and they are the defending ACC Champions. And it is Jags first game. I think all tickets will be sold, but it is embarrassing at this point. The major excuse: it is Labor Day weekend and students won’t be on campus yet. I really wish we wouldn’t schedule games before students get back on campus.

NC State. Terrible. TOB’s return should have everyone fired up. Like Wake I think this will eventually sell out. Just shows that TOB will never excite this market.

Army. This will be a tough one. If we weren’t playing a DIAA team on Parents Weekend, Army would have been the perfect candidate for that guaranteed sellout. This game will probably not sell out. No excuse.

Bowling Green. If we start strong this game will sell out.

My solution
While many schools in our situation (smaller alumni base, city schools) have been using ticket packages for years, I think BC should try something new. Create a “young alumni” package that gets people who’ve graduated in a certain window (graduated in the last five years or last ten years), where they get a full season ticket package at a discounted rate. Require some nominal donation to the Flynn Fund. This helps fundraising, gets young alums in the habit of giving and buying season packages, fills the stadium and gives the crowd a little more energy.

Performance will always be the main driver in ticket sales, but changing the culture is needed too. I think nuturing the young alumni is a better investment than trying to rope someone into a ticket package that includes Army and Bowling Green.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

A few hoops links

Here are two quick links on Dudley's performance at various predraft events.


SI.com's: Dudley runs at peak efficiency.


A Dudley article from the Herald.


This is the marketing site for the Hall of Fame Classic.

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