Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No new conferences and other links

I think Big Ten will expand, but I cannot see any circumstance where BC would ever consider it. Ever. Not even the most remote chance. We’ve just been through a transition and are in a strong, lucrative conference with like-minded schools. We are not bailing to join a bunch of huge midwestern state schools.


Fairly recent BC grad is moving up the ladder with the Packers front office.


An early look at our basketball team.

Although he redshirted this year, Sam Shaughnessy did play summer ball in the NECBL until his team was eliminated from the playoffs.

A behind the scenes look at how the BC basketball point shaving scandal came together. (Thanks to Tim for sending.)

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Just win, baby

Although he has never been a head coach, Jags isn’t some newbie walking in off the street. With his 20+ years experience also comes with a nice track record of performance. The teams Jags has been a part of are 159-116-1 (per standards in each level of the sport, I did count college postseason but not NFL postseason into this record.) Here is a breakdown of Jags travels. Ironically, the only place where he coached for more than one season without a winning record was Boston College.

1986, Northern Illinois – 2-9
1987-88, LSU – 18-5
1989-1996, East Carolina – 53-38
1997-1998, Boston College – 8-14
1999-2003, Green Bay Packers – 51-29
2004-2005, Atlanta Falcons – 19-13
2006, Green Bay Packers – 8-8

Ultimately this doesn’t guarantee anything. After all, Dan Henning won two Super Bowls prior to coming to BC. But like many of the things I’ve tried to examine this summer, I think it is a good indicator. If anything the guy knows when to pick his spots…he turned the ECU job into a coordinator spot and the BC gig into an NFL job, he left the Packers before they collapsed and left the Falcons before their collapse. Let’s hope his winning ways and ability to find good jobs where he can succeed continues at the Heights.

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BC vs BU

This is a short Youtube clip on the dividing line between BC territory and BU territory. For those longing for a touch of BC, they have interviews inside of Mary Ann's (although the smell doesn't come through the video).

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Watch the football team...sort of

A reader reminded me about the BC.edu webcams. They are placed all over the campus but there are two of interest to diehard and bored fans during these dog days of summer. The first one is the skyline cam. It points towards the city and has a view of the softball field. Part of the practice area is included in the shot, so you may be able to see the occasional drill or something.


The other area for the truly voyeuristic is the Lower Campus Dining facility. When guys aren't at the training table meals, they will be eating here. In my days at BC the football team tended to eat in a long row on the opposite side of the room from the fireplace. I have no idea where they congregate now.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

2007 Position Previews: Quarterbacks

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

QUARTERBACKS

It is not too hard to write a QB position preview when your QB is the preseason ACC Offensive Player of the Year. Matt Ryan is the best QB BC since Glenn Foley. He’s got the numbers, the wins, the throws and enough memorable plays to have cemented his legacy. Can he take it to a new level this year?

Overview
I referenced Ryan being the best BC QB since Foley. If he stays healthy, Ryan has the chance to put his name alongside Flutie and Foley in the BC record book. Here are some the relevant stats and where Ryan stands coming into the season.

Passing Yards Career
1. Doug Flutie – 10,579
2. Glenn Foley – 10,039
5. Matt Ryan – 4,806

Brian St. Pierre is currently 3rd on the all-time yardage list with 5,837. With even a partial year, Ryan should be able to pass him. Getting to the 10,000 mark seems highly unlikely. (If Matt does get there he’ll destroy a lot of other BC records.) Ryan should also pass St. Pierre and move into 3rd on attempts and completions.

The one area where Flutie and Foley are not on the top of the list is completion percentage. These are three most accurate passers heading into the season.

1. Mike Kruzcek – 66.8%
2. Paul Peterson – 60.8%
3. Matt Ryan – 60.3%

This is one category where style of play might drop Ryan down the list. Bible’s offense put a premium on short accurate throws. Supposedly Logan will use the less accurate deep ball more. But seeing his name on this list shows how special Ryan is as no other BC QB has combined his productivity with his accuracy.


The Players
QB -- Matt Ryan, SR, 6’5, 218lbs
QB -- Chris Crane, JR, 6’4, 232lbs
QB/P/WR -- Billy Flutie, FR, 6’2, 177lbs
QB -- Dominique Davis, FR, 6’4, 185lbs
QB -- Chris Johnson, FR, 6’2, 200lbs

Ryan is the No. 1 guy and can really do it all. He is very accurate, throws a nice deep ball, can hit the intermediate routes and reads defenses well. His toughness is unquestioned. If you had to find an Achilles Heel it would be that he is not the most mobile guy (but he moves well enough) and it sometimes takes him a few throws early in the game to get his touch. Crane is backup and seems straight from the Bible prototype. He’s played well when given a chance. He’s more athletic than Ryan but doesn’t have Ryan’s arm. The third-string, emergency QB is still unknown at this point. Billy Flutie has been moved to WR. If something happens to both Ryan and Crane, I would expect Flutie to move back since Davis and Johnson are both very raw and likely redshirts. If we get to the point where Flutie, Davis or Johnson are playing the season will have taken an entirely different tone.

Outlook
I expect Ryan to have a huge year. Last season he carried us through a rough start and then performed heroically with a broken foot in the second half. If he can live up to the hype, we’re all in for a treat.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kicking around some ideas on kick returns

One of the overlooked rule changes of the offseason is the move of kickoffs from the 35 to the 30 yard line. Since we have one of the better kick off return man in the country, BC should stand to benefit. But how much?

I cannot find how many times teams successfully touched back on BC in 2006 (if anyone has the stat, please send it to me). However, of the 31 kickoffs BC returned last year, the team generated 813 yards and averaged 26.5 yards a return. Jeff Smith accounted for 23 of those returns last year, accumulating 645 yards and averaging 28 yards a return.

The number of returns a team gets per year is ultimately a product of how good your defense is and how good your opponent’s kicker is. This season our veteran, experienced defense will probably allow fewer points. However, the new rule will probably mean that BC will get at least 12 more returns on the season (I am conservatively estimating an increase of 1 per game). Let’s also assume that Smith gets a greater share of the total returns this year (Perhaps 85% instead of last season’s 74%). I don’t want to go overboard, so I’ll also assume that teams adjust to Smith and his average return declines a bit (say 10%). I’ll also assume that the returns Smith is not a part of will decline too (say another 10%). With all that factored in how many more total yards can we expect?



Expected returns by Jeff Smith [42 x 85%] = 36
Smith expected return average = 25.2
Expected number of returns by rest of team = 6
Average of return men not including Smith = 18.9
Total predicted return yardage in 2007 = 1,013 [(36x25.2)+(6x18.9)]

That is an improvement of 200 yards. Not enough to change a season, but certainly enough to improve a game or two.

Now the flipside is that BC will be defending more returns. I am not as concerned about this because things really couldn’t get much worse than they got last season. With our various kicker issues, we did not get many touchbacks last season. If our new freshman kicker can really boot the ball, then our kick coverage is bound to improve.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

BC and 'Bama?

Don't think there is much to this, but one blogger thinks a matchup between BC and Alabama would make sense for 2008. We already have ND locked in and a game against Rhode Island. That leaves two spots. My guess is one will be a MAC school. And now that TOB is gone, it wouldn't surprise me if we get Navy back on the schedule. I know there has been talk of Syracuse, but nothing is final.

Taking on ND, Alabama and a full ACC slate would be a brutal schedule. I am not against it...I just don't know how Gene and Jags feel. TOB never would have agreed to play the Tide. 2008 will probably be somewhat of a rebuilding year so Gene might want to build a schedule that continues winning football over blockbuster out of conference matchups.

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Random Youtube video: Kige Ramsey likes BC

Kige Ramsey is sort of an internet celeb. He posts random Youtube videos of himself talking sports. Somehow it has caught on. Well here is his quick take on the ACC. (Thanks to the Eagle Insider readers for finding this gem.)

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Interview with the Flynn Fund’s Steve Novak

I have never given to the Flynn Fund. I am not a season ticket holder and always felt it was more important to give to the BC Fund as opposed to an athletic-specific fund. The Fund’s recent success and a few controversial initiatives have me thinking a little differently. In order to get more information about the changes, I interviewed Steve Novak, Associate Director of the Flynn Fund. In our exchange below we talk about use of the Fund, donor-based seating and long-term goals.

[Full disclosure: my wife and I are on the Class of 1998 fundraising committee and for the first time I am going to allocate a nominal amount of our total donation to the Flynn Fund.]


ATL_eagle: First explain how the Flynn Fund is used: Are you building a sports endowment or is the money raised going directly to pay for annual athletic department expenses?

Steve Novak: The money that comes in for the Flynn Fund is designated to one of three purposes:
1. Flynn Fund (annual operating expenses such as scholarships);
2. Endowment;
3. Plant (i.e. Yawkey Athletics Center ).
Scholarships will cost us $13 million this year. We will offer 272 full scholarships at the cost of approximately $48,000 each. Salaries are the other significant expense for the department and there are regular cost of living increases.

ATL_eagle: I understand why a public school with a separate athletic associations would need an athletic fund, but I’ve never understood why BC, a private institution, would need an athletic fund. Why is allocating money to the Flynn Fund different than giving to the BC Fund?

SN: The great thing about giving to the Flynn Fund is that it is the same as giving to any other area of the University. By giving to the Flynn Fund you are a member of the University’s giving societies. We are not competing for dollars as many University’s around the country do. As far as needing a fund, the most important thing I can tell people is that we do not make a profit in the athletics department. In fact, we receive a subsidy of approximately $9 million annually to cover women’s and Olympic sports. With the way we are financially structured the more money we raise for athletics, the less money the University must subsidize – thus, freeing that money up for other University priorities. In addition, it is important to note that Athletics is a University priority. As part of the mission of Boston College we remain committed to sponsor a broad-based sports program. We currently sponsor 31 varsity sports – more than any other ACC school. In addition, all schools, public or private have athletics fundraising organizations. We compete with schools like Duke, Wake Forest and Miami within the ACC – all of whom do a very good job fundraising – not to mention the other public institutions.

ATL_eagle: The Athletic Department is obviously very proud of the record setting year for the Flynn Fund. What percentage of that money raised can be tied back to the donor-based seating programs?

SN: I would say there was approximately a $2 million increase directly attributable to donor-based seating. I would also say there was additional money that came in from individuals who stretched gifts in order to try to get better seats. I would consider this indirect revenue. We raised $19M last year compared to $15M the year before and just $3M about ten years ago. So, as you can see, fundraising has been on a steady incline independent of DBS.

ATL_eagle: Donor-based seating was a obviously the boldest move the Fund has made…can you share some stats (i.e. percentage of seat changes, people giving up their tickets)?

SN: I can tell you that season ticket sales are better at this time than they were at the same time 1 year ago. The fear of hurting sales has not appeared to happen. Of all the individuals who chose to seek seats where donations were not required nearly 100% of them accepted the alternative. This is a great tribute to the passion fans have for BC and the willingness to enjoy the game anywhere in the stadium. Also, our ticket office worked personally with anyone who wanted seat options to do the best we could for them. Obviously there were some people who gave up seats completely, but we have not found this percentage to be far different than any other year.

ATL_eagle: Why mandate a donation instead of raising ticket prices? How important was it to improve the University’s “percentage giving” rate in the US News Rankings?

SN: Although it is true that participation rate is a factor in the rankings, it was not a driving force behind this decision. The need to increase revenue and unrestricted support for BC Athletics was paramount.

ATL_eagle: Was there any consideration to a “loyalty” clause? Some fans felt that you penalized long-time holders who have supported the team through some rough patches only to strong-arm them now?

SN: All of us at BC will be the first to say that this is not a perfect system. However, given our circumstances, we felt we came up with the system that was most appropriate for us at the time. It was imperative to all of us that no one be kicked out of the stadium and that’s why only 16% of the seats were impacted. In addition, we have a relatively intimate stadium with only 44,500 seats. Consequently all seats are closer to the action than at many other venues. Finally, we held out on implementing such a system as long as possible. Many schools have been doing this for decades. This was a last resort and something that was considered very carefully.

ATL_eagle: Fans felt that the donations were heavy handed at best. In hindsight is there anything you would like to have done differently or communicated better?

SN: There are always things you would do differently when you look back. However, given the information at the time I believe we did the best we could. When something is perceived by some to be “bad” news there is no good way to communicate that. That said, I would not have changed anything specific.

ATL_eagle: What are the future plans? Will the donor-based seating be expanded into other areas? Have you considered creating an IPTAY model like Clemson in order to get all fans to give a nominal amount?

SN: As of now there are no plans to expand. As with everything, we will reevaluate as necessary, but there have been no discussions for expansion. I would love to see the day when all fans give voluntarily to BC so that it is not “forced.” As you mention if we did this and our participation rate was naturally higher these things could go a little differently. What IPTAY and other fundraising organizations tell us is that their fans feel passionately about their program. And, although they all cannot give millions of dollars – many hands make light work. Their volume is tremendous. Our challenge at BC, both athletically and as a University, is to translate the affinity so many people feel for the Heights into financial support. Obviously financial support means different things to different people. We ask that all people give what they feel is appropriate. The challenge we have had is that there are too many individuals not making a gift at all – even at a “nominal” level.

[If you want to give to the Flynn Fund or any BC Fund, you can do so online here.]

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More headscratching coverage from the Globe

Yesterday I whined about the Globe not filing any original stories from the ACC Media days. Today they did post something from new BC beat man and former National College writer Mark Blaudschun. What angle did he take? “The new coach at BC”; or maybe “TOB adjusting to Tobacco Road”; or how about “Overcoming the tragedy at Virginia Tech”; or he could use his years of experience and network of connections to post “an insider’s look at rule changes and rumors.” Readers got none of that. Instead he wrote a blustery feature on Bobby Bowden. Unbelievable. How is the Globe going to sell more papers or drive more readers to Boston.com with this sort of coverage?

Fortunately the Herald posted a Jags article and a TOB article. Neither piece was earth shaking but at least we got quotes from the two most relevant figures in BC football.


Contrary to the Globe, a lot of the ACC papers led with Jags stories. Here are a few of the better ones:
-- Coaches mark new look of the ACC
-- BC's Jagodzinski and Miami's Shannon have high hopes for their teams this year
-- Jags on the texting rules

Of course TOB got some play. This was one of the better articles.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Cheers for the Herald; Jeers for the Globe

For the second straight year, it appears that the Globe did not send anyone to the ACC Media days. Inexcusable. What is most upsetting is that there are a millions stringers (free lancers) who would die for the chance to file a story with the Globe. Yet the paper of record in Boston doesn’t even both with coverage. Fortunately the Herald was there. Steve Conroy posted a feature on the changing offense and one on Dunbar.

The Globe did have some BC coverage on Sunday…only it was nothing any fan would want to read. The paper published a long, sad feature on former BC star Mike Ruth. Ruth’s life has been unraveling. Depressing story but certainly worth the read. It seems like the only thing keeping him afloat are old BC friends and teammates.

Other takes on the ACC and BC…

I guess some people think Matt Ryan looks like TOB. Never saw the resemblance, but maybe because my hair and complexion are closer to TOB’s than Matt’s ever will be.

This story plays up the animosity between TOB and his former players. Hopefully they’ll channel it into a win against NC State.

Sundaymorningqb thinks we’ll be in the middle of our division.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Listen to WZBC Saturday and other links

Although it's summer, there are still plenty of guys talking BC sports. Saturday you can listen to some of them on WZBC (90.3 FM in the Boston area and streamed online at wzbc.org). The show starts at 1 PM ET. I am scheduled to join them around 2 PM. Other guest include Louis Hinnant and Steve Aponavicius. Give the guys a listen as they work real hard on these shows.


The AJC named Steve Logan as one of the top hires in the ACC. I find it so strange that the press loves Jags' assistants, but don't are lukewarm on him.


In a random note Brandon Rush whines about the NBA and takes a shot at Dudley and Williams' draft slots.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bicknell honored and other links

BC announced that Jack Bicknell will be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame. This is the second BC-related honor Bicknell received in the past two months. I imagine that having his son on the staff has helped the relationship between the former coach and the school.


Sundaymorningqb is focusing on the ACC this week. Here is his take on our division.


An update on Kiwi's move to a new position.


Sean Williams is struggling in the NBA summer league.


Here's an early look at next season's ACC basketball.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Remember when: Michael Vick at the Heights

I let others weigh in on Michael Vick's current firestorm. This is just a reminder that he put together the best game I've ever seen by a visiting QB at Alumni.

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Logan vs Bible

When Jags was hired, he spoke of opening up the offense. What does that really mean and what will be different on the field? In an attempt to get a better understanding, I took key offensive statistics of new offensive coordinator Steve Logan’s last four seasons calling plays at East Carolina. I then compared the to the last four years of BC’s offense under Dana Bible and TOB. Take a look. (Stats courtesy of Phil Steele’s preview)

Logan’s Offense at ECU
YearOffensive
Points
First Downs Rush AvgYards Per
Carry
Pass AVGPass %Yards Per
Pass
200227.9191243.421548.812.1
200135.1212135.421055.512.1
200030.8201694.122551.212.8
199927.820155423657.414.1
AVG30.420165.254.23221.553.2312.78


Bible’s offense at BC
YearOffensive
Points
First Downs Rush AvgYards Per
Carry
Pass AVGPass %Yards Per
Pass
200626201143.42416213.7
200525.8211453.924362.515
200427.4201403.724560.115.6
200328.5211824.222256.414.2
AVG26.520.5145.253.8237.7560.2514.63


As you can see the first downs and total yards are similar. Logan ran more at ECU than BC has over the past few seasons. The big and important difference is in scoring. In the past I found myself acting as somewhat of a Bible apologist, but there was no defending our red zone offense. Too many drives stalled out due to confounding and conservative play calling. TD drives became FG drives. Even a supposed twist like the “First and Toal” was conservative.

I think that will change this year. If the offense can score a little more and the defense remains consistent, we might get the season many fans have been longing for.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Want to work for BC football?

Regular reader Nick pointed out an interesting job posting on the BC site. (You have to click “view jobs” and then look at the fifth position down.) It seems like the football team is hiring an Assistant Football Recruiting Coordinator. I imagine they already have someone in mind and BC HR makes them post it publicly. The description does provide an interesting look into the low-level jobs around big time football. These guys deserve credit for taking little money and long hours just for a small shot at the big time.


ESPN posted their Blue Ribbon preview of the ACC. Ryan, Cherilus and BC all received accolades. (Thanks to Tim for the link).

More Brighton nonsense. What a surprise: the whole City Council opposes expansion.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Jags as OC: Season 2, Navy

BC lost this game in a gut wrenching fourth quarter meltdown. Even after letting the Middies back in the game, BC was able to drive into field goal range. Matich missed and BC lost 32-31. I don’t know when TOB decided to make a change defensively, but I am sure squandering this lead played into the decision. On the flipside, Jags’ offense played well.

Stat Line

First downs 32
Rushed-yards 40-241
Passing yards 369
Sacked-yards lost 0-0
Return yards 20
Passes 30-45-0
Punts 4-42.8
Fumbles-lost 0-0
Penalties-yards 7-59
Time of possession 33:15

What can we learn from the game? Offensive explosions guarantee nothing. Look at those stats. BC moved the ball at will. Mutryn had the best day of his career. Cloud ran for 186 yards. The line was perfect. BC didn’t turn the ball over. Yet, we lost. The only fault the offense could take was not killing more clock late. You could also gripe about the drives stalling out...but this loss was really on the defense.

I hope that Jags remembers this game because the lesson is important. You can never let up. The defense and the offense could have locked this game down. Because blown leads would become a hallmark of the TOB era, I’ll give Jags a pass on this loss.

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Liverpool update and other links

Marquise Liverpool decided to resume his football career...at Temple. On the surface it seems like a strange choice given his supposed options. Best of luck to him.


SI.com's Ian Thomsen recounts Flutie's Hail Mary.


Not much else since it is a slow news day. Look for another Jags as OC post late tonight.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Jags as OC: Season 2, Syracuse

UPDATE: Regular reader Michael S. made a good point about the Jags as OC series -- many of the posts are lacking context. I appreciate the feedback and will try to make a change going forward. I often start writing these things and forget that readers are not familiar with the games or haven’t recently researched said game. My bad. And if you’re a regular and want to send feedback, either post in the comments section or send me an email. I appreciate it and I’m always open to new ideas.

After a promising start the 1998 season continued its downturn with this loss 42-25 loss to Syracuse. Fortunately for current BC fans, Jags put the offense back on track after getting shut out in the previous game against Virginia Tech. Take a look at the stats.

Stat Line
First downs 20
Rushes-yards 42-144
Passing 226
Return Yards 115
Comp-Att-Int 13-23-2
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-13
Punts 3-48
Fumbles-Lost 1-0
Penalties-Yards 2-15
Time of Possession 31:36


What can we learn from the game? The offense regrouped. I referenced the Virginia Tech shutout in the opening, but there was more to the story. Syracuse was very good at the time and kept Mutryn and company off the field for most of the first half. Yet in the second half, some solid play calling and adjustments put BC back in the game. If not for some poor Eagle special teams, Jags might have pulled off a huge comeback.

Despite the loss and continued losing, I find comfort in Jags use of Cloud. He was the focal point for any team we faced in 1998. Yet even with everyone in the stadium and on the field knowing he was going to get the ball, the guy was able to amass 126 total yards. I hope this means that Jags and Logan will be able to use our best weapons regardless of what our opponents do.

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ACC Nation Podcast

I was on ACC Nation last night. We talked about the Cherilus stuff and the coaching change. You can listen to the podcast here. And if you are in Virginia, check out the ACC Nation site for the station listings as the show will be rerun throughout the weekend.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

2007 Position Previews: Defensive Backs

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

DEFENSIVE BACKS

The biggest complaint most BC fans have leveled against Defensive Coordinator Frank Spaziani is that he gives the opposing team too much cushion in pass coverage. With our talent at the cornerback position this year, some are hoping that Spaziani gets more aggressive. I am not expecting a change. On the contrary, I actually think we’ll see the same heavy zone-based pass coverage used under Spaz and TOB.

Overview

The biggest hole in the secondary will be the departure of Ryan Glasper. I am not too worried. The pass defense has been definition of consistent. Take a look at the past few years and defensive stats courtesy of Phil Steele’s preview.

YearAvg D PTSDefensive
Yards Per Catch
Defensive
Passing Yds
Pass %
200615.73.520360
200515.92.622161
200416.93.520458.3


The Players
S -- Paul Anderson, JR, 6’1, 210lbs
S -- Wes Davis, SO, 6’1, 205lbs
CB -- Chris Fox, FR, 5’11, 186lbs
CB -- Taji Morris, SR, 5’9, 181lbs
S -- Jamie Silva, SR, 5’11, 208lbs
CB -- Roderick Rollins, SO, 6’0, 170lbs
CB -- Razzie Smith, SO, 5’10, 178lbs
CB -- DeJaun Tribble, SR, 5’9, 190lbs

Tribble is the game changer. Undersized, he still does a good job with the top players in the conference. He’s become a much better tackler and run supporter over the years. When he picks off the ball, he’s liable to take it to the endzone. The only area where he still struggles is with bigger, physical players in endzone. But he’s still the best we've got and has a very good chance to be first team ACC. Paul Anderson is listed as the likely starter at Strong Safety, but I think he’ll split time with many of the younger players. Anderson has never shown great coverage skills and doesn’t provide the run support that Silva does. FS Jamie Silva is a very good player and one of the best discoveries of the TOB recruiting efforts. He’s got great understanding and is probably one of the hardest hitters in the conference. Silva’s one problem is freelancing and straying from his zone. Young Wes Davis showed great promise last year. He has good size and decent speed. I think he’ll be starting by November. The other corner spot opposite Tribble is a little less certain. Rollins developed well over the last season and posses good speed, but he is still very untested. The backups (who will see time) include Razzie Smith and Taji Morris. Neither are particularly fast nor good tacklers. Hopefully one of the will improve this season. Chris Fox is the most promising young player. The local kid redshirted last year. He’s small, but has good speed and comes from a football family.

Outlook
As I’ve said, I am excited about the whole defense. The secondary is young, but still very talented. Tribble and Silva both have a chance to be first-team ACC. And while some fans will still be frustrated by our coverage cushion, give Spaz and his players the benefit of the doubt. While the scheme lacks aggression, it’s been very productive for us the past five years.

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Rivals update and other links

Rivals posted their BC preview today. The Eagles come in at No. 16. Higher than any other released ranking. Hopefully it is a sign of good things to come.


More on ACC schools hitting up season ticket holders for donations. I'll have and interview with someone from the Flynn Fund in the next few weeks.


Former Eagle Marc Parenteau is still hanging on in Canada.


BC is looking to sell some of its land outside of Boston.


I'll have another position post later tonight and a Jags as OC post Friday.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tony Barnhart cool on BC and other links

I like Ton Barnhart a lot. Unfortunately he likes TOB more than he likes Jags. At least he recognizes our coordinators.


If you liked the posts I linked to yesterday, you can read SMQ's latest on Georgia Tech, another team we face this season.


Former BC commit Marquise Liverpool is done with baseball and looking to play college football.


Some BC students got a little too enterprising and now face suspension and criminal charges.

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Did Rivals forget or overrate BC?

Normally I don’t pay too much attention to preseason polls, but growing intrigue about the Rivals preseason Top 50 had me take a closer look.

Rivals is breaking down the Top 50 teams in college football. They release a new team every day. Wednesday’s team was No. 17 Tennessee. There are 16 spots to be revealed and the following teams have not been included yet (I’ve assigned them numbers not as a ranking but just to illustrate how many slots are left):

1. USC
2. LSU
3. Texas
4. Oklahoma
5. Florida
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. Ohio State
9. West Virginia
10. Louisville
11. Penn State
12. Michigan
13. Cal
14. Virginia Tech
15. Wisconsin

Those 15 teams are not in the current Rivals rankings but have been in nearly every preseason Top 25 lists. I expect them all to be included in Rivals. That leaves one spot unaccounted for in the Rivals list. Is it BC?

Surprised by a potential high ranking yet concerned about a slight, I looked at other preseason polls and tried to see who else might be missing. Going through Phil Steele’s, Athlon Sports and The Sporting News’ preseason magazines, only two other programs appear in anyone’s Top 50 that are not accounted for in Rivals list. Those schools, Southern Miss and Utah, do not appear anywhere near as high as Top 16. In these same publications, BC is ranked 28th in the Sporting News, 27th in Athlon, and 41st** in Phil Steele’s.

It looks like BC is going to be in Rivals Top 16. I’d be encouraged by the enthusiasm but it will certainly draw some criticism from other fan groups. For Rivals sake I hope BC is in their Top 16, because excluding them would be sloppy. Working on the blogpoll and now at the FanHouse, I understand how a (presumably) collaborative list like this could have a mistake or two, but omitting BC would be bad. Sure BC has a new head coach, however, this year’s team returns the majority of its starters and has two veteran, respected coordinators. We are arguably a Top 25 team and a definite Top 50 team.

I’ve had problems with certain Rivals subsites in the past, so nothing would shock me at this point. Since all of these rankings are just about perception and offseason water cooler talk, part of me hopes for exclusion. A slap like that would give Jags some really good bulletin board material for summer practices. Either way, Rivals unorthodox Top 50 has done the one thing their editors wanted – got people talking.

UPDATE: As reader Brian pointed out, Steele did not have BC in his Top 50, however, Steele covers his ass hedges by ranking BC 41 in his Power Ranking.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Know your opponents and other links

The great college football blog Sundaymorningqb.com has been posting very good team by team previews all summer. He hasn't gotten to most of the ACC yet, but until then you can read about our future opponents Army and Notre Dame.


This ACC overview from CSTV is a little light on BC info, but may have some information you could use on the rest of the conference.


The Nets signed Sean Williams.


Former Eagle Ray Henderson can't stay out of trouble.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Is Alumni OK? Sifting through stadium myths and perceptions


One of the common digs rivals make about BC is our “rinky dinky” or “high school” stadium. While I love Alumni, I recognize that it is small. But is size a factor in success? In general, I don’t think so. Extra seats do generate extra revenue but BC, and other schools like BC, have done a good job raising money from other sources to hire top staffs and build new football facilities.

Here are some schools smaller whose stadiums are smaller than Alumni’s 44,500 capacity who have gone to BCS bowls in the last ten years.

Louisville -- 42,000
Washington State -- 37,600
Wake Forest -- 31,500


Schools only slightly bigger than BC have not used seating capacity as a crutch either. The following all have gone to BCS bowls in the past 10 years.
Oregon St -- 46,000
Maryland -- 51,500
Oregon -- 54,000
Colorado -- 53,750
**Please note that all of these schools are public with much larger alumni bases than BC, yet no one ever gets on them for not having bigger stadiums.

BC is in a very unique position of being a private school in a pro sports town (have at least 1 one NFL team in their immediate market) with an on campus facility. In BCS conferences, only the following schools also fall into that category.

Stanford -- 50,000
Northwestern -- 47,130
Vanderbilt -- 39,773

The other critique from our rivals is that “BC can’t even fill its own stadium.” Our capacity has been very strong the last decade. In 2006 a monsoon during a game against MAC basement dweller Buffalo brought down the average attendance to 38,483 or 86% of capacity. Nothing to be proud of, but certainly not a sign of overall support for the program. Take a look at all BCS programs that play in pro sports towns and how they fare when it comes to percentage of seats sold (all averages courteously of Phil Steele’s preview).

TeamCapacity2006 AttendanceCapacity %
USC92,00091,48099%
Rutgers42,00041,11298%
Maryland51,50049,39396%
Georgia Tech55,00050,61792%
Cal72,51664,31889%
Vanderbilt39,77334,86188%
Boston College44,50038,48386%
Stanford50,00041,74283%
Minnesota64,17252,20681%
Washington72,50057,48379%
Arizona State71,70654,56276%
Baylor50,00037,08074%
UCLA91,50064,95571%
Pitt65,05043,30567%
Northwestern47,13027,99659%
Cincinnati35,00020,37358%
Miami72,31941,85758%
USF65,00030,22246%



As you can see, BC is within many of our peer programs.

We don’t have a huge stadium, but Alumni is modern with great football-only facilities, has field turf and is in a major city. There is no reason the stadium should serve as an excuse or hindrance for BC’s success and Alumni should never be used by rival fans and recruiters as a point of embarrassment. As the Under Armour ads used to say “we must protect this house!”

Friday, July 06, 2007

Non news on Cherilus bar fight

Cherilus got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and the Globe put it on their front page.


If you actually read the account of the incident, you'll see that Gosder and Tribble are just getting roped in because of who they are, not what they did. Both deny any wrong doing and the cop/bar owner involved is also claiming they're innocent. It was a crowded two-story bar on the 4th of July. The place was filled with potential witnesses. If either guy did anything wrong, it would be all over the Boston media. Instead one lawyer and one slow day at the Globe gives this more attention than it deserves.


UPDATE: I posted my more neutral take at the Fanhouse too.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Boys of Summer


While most of the football team is back on campus working out, one player isn't there. Punter Johnny Ayers, who is also a member of the BC baseball team, is on the Cape playing in the prestigous Cape Cod Baseball League. Ayers is playing for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. His BC teammate Terry Doyle is also on the Sox.


A few other Eagles are also involved in this season's Cape League. Adam Crabtree is pitching for the Brewster Whitecaps. The Harwich Mariners are run on the field by BC assistant coach Steve Englert '87 and in the front office by BC grad John Reid.


If you're on the Cape this summer and at a Harwich, Yarmouth-Dennis or Brewster game be sure to give these guys a "Go BC!"

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Best of the Band

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

2007 Position Previews: Linebackers

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

LINEBACKERS

This team’s defense has a chance to be the best Spaziani has ever put out on the field. We are quick, experienced and big up front. The key to the squad will be the Linebackers. I also think new leadership and this talented unit will give Spaziani more flexibility than he’s ever had. Expect him to continue on last season's use of delayed and zone blitzes and plenty of substitutions.

Overview
In every preview magazine, the editors provide one consistent disclaimer -- Brian Toal’s potential medical redshirt. Toal has been dinged with various neck and shoulder problems for two seasons. Playing both ways certainly didn’t help matters. I have no inside information regarding his health but predict he will sit this season out. I think it would be the best solution for both Brian and BC. For Brian it gives him some much needed time to recover. For BC it gives us a little more depth heading into the 2008 season (when we will be very young). Based on how poorly the Glasper situation played out and Brian’s father’s influential presence in the critical recruiting territory of New Jersey, I think it will be the Toal’s call on if he plays. I want Brian to sit and think the defense will be fine without him. He’s a playmaker when healthy, but this unit has enough talent and production to do fine without him. Take a look at Toal’s contribution to last season’s defense.

Games PlayedTackles Sacks INTsFumbles recovered
Toal’s PCT
of 2006 total
16%15%0%40%14%


As you can see Brian was an important part of the squad, but not the most dominant player. Yes, we could use him, but the void he leaves is replaceable this year.

The Players
Kevin Akins, JR, 6’2, 212lbs
Brian Toal, SR, 6’0, 232lbs
Darius Bagan, FR, 6’2, 240lbs
Jolonn Dunbar, SR, 6’0, 233lbs
Robert Francois, JR, 6’2, 240lbs
Mark Herzlich, SO, 6’4, 230lbs
Mike McLaughlin, SO, 6’0, 250lbs
Tyronne Pruitt, SR, 5’11, 220lbs

Dunbar is an outstanding player. I’ve been surprised and disappointed that he has not received more preseason honors. I think he can be first team All-ACC. If he stays healthy and the team reaches the ACC Championship, I think Dunbar has a shot at the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He’s got good speed, hits hard, has a high football IQ. Last season he greatly improved his pass coverage ability and put together the best season by a BC Linebacker since Stephen Boyd. Toal, if he plays (see above), is a very talented player who has a tendency to freelance. Francois contains all the tools but disappeared for times last year. I expect a more solid consistent season from him this year. Pruitt is smallish, but a solid tackler with good speed. Herzlich exceeded all expectations as a true freshman last season. In addition to his size, he’s got great instincts and is a very consistent tackler. As he gets more playing time he’ll be expected to drop into coverage more often. While mostly untested in coverage, I think Herzy will be up for it. Akins was a another pleasant surprise last season. Spaz used the converted corner as a blitz specialist and Akins proved very disruptive. However, he and our usage of him got somewhat exposed against Navy. The Middies ran right at him and eventually over him. He didn’t have the strength to shed the bigger blockers. I expect him to adjust this year and hope he’ll continue to dominate on passing downs. McLaughlin cracked the two-deep as a Freshman but saw less and less time as the season progressed. I think his playing time this season will depend on Toal’s health. Bagan was highly touted out of high school. I think he’ll see some solid minutes this season.

Outlook
With Toal this would be our best Linebacking group ever. Without him, we are still one of the top LB units in the conference. I expect big things out of Dunbar. The question mark will be the progression of Pruitt, Herzlich, Akins and Francois. If they all get better, BC will be the best defense in the ACC.

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Schneider going pro

BC's stud Goalie Cory Schneider announced he is leaving BC to sign with the Vancouver Canucks. Sorry to see him go and wish him nothing but the best. He's done everything he can at BC aside from winning it all, but he got us damn close. Fortunately Jerry York has elevated the program to the point where he can keep reloading and keep us at the top of college hockey.

Monday, July 02, 2007

NBA Draft follow up and another link

A glowing article on Dudley from the Charlotte paper.


Sean Williams met the press in New Jersey.


TOB sat down with Tobacco Road Insider David Glenn. He has a few comments on his time at BC.


BC honored former BC coach Jack Bicknell.

Marten update and another link

A very nice story on former Eagle James Marten and his transition to the NFL.


College Football News jumps the gun on Bowl predictions and has us facing Purdue in the Champs Bowl in Orlando.


Blog note: although it is a holiday week, I'll still be posting daily.

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