Thursday, July 31, 2008

Return of Andy Katz summer leak and other links

The first time you heard that BC had something special in Craig Smith, Jared Dudley, Sean Williams and Tyrese Rice came via Andy Katz notes columns prior to the season. Last year there was nothing leaked on our newbies. The silence proved to be somewhat of an omen as none of the freshmen showed that immediate game-changing ability of the previous stars. Well good sign today as Katz had this note buried in his latest blog post.
Boston College coach Al Skinner isn't pumping up incoming freshman Reggie Jackson. But his assistants aren't shy about saying that Jackson, who is from Colorado, should complement senior guard Tyrese Rice as a scoring guard in the backcourt.
Should we start doing the "Reg-gie! Reg-gie!" chants now?


Luke Russert will work for NBC this summer. You know this is going to end up with him working the sidelines for NBC's Notre Dame games. Don't do it, Luke! ESPN U need you!


Here is a light-hearted interview with Jags.


Tarheel Mania provided EDSBS with this preview of North Carolina.


The cost of recruiting is skyrocketing.

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2008 Position Previews: Wide Receivers

This is the eighth part of my position by position breakdown of the 2008 roster.


WIDE RECEIVERS

This might be the least appreciated unit of the team. None could be called game breakers, but there is enough depth, diversity and incoming talent to feel good about their prospects post-Ryan.


Overview

These were the top five teams in receptions per game in 2007.

Hawaii
Texas Tech
New Mexico State
Missouri
BC

This is what the pundits are saying about each team’s receivers entering this season.

Texas Tech

Led by Crabtree, the show will once again be impressive.


Hawaii

There's speed, size, and upside...

New Mexico State

Can you say starting from scratch? If you're on the roster as a receiver, you'll get a chance to see meaningful playing time.


Missouri

If Maclin does what he did last year and Coffman is 100% healthy again, this will be an unstoppable group with too many weapons for most defenses to deal with.


And here is what is being said out BC’s WRs

Sometimes, the best way to evaluate a receiving corps is by determining whether it helps or hinders the play of the quarterback. This group won’t be spectacular, but it’ll help Crane in his first season as the starter.


Not a total dismissal, but certainly faint praise for the Eagles. The only group getting less respect is New Mexico State and they are coming off a miserable season.

Even during the run up to the NFL draft you heard the talking heads malign our receivers. This season is their chance to show that last year was not a fluke. I don’t think you’ll see the same number of catches (for a variety of reasons) but I think these guys will be very effective.

The Players
WR – Billy Flutie, SO, 6’2, 186lbs
WR – Rich Gunnell, JR, 5’11, 196lbs
WR – Justin Jarvis, JR, 6’5, 196lbs
WR – Colin Larmond, FR, 6’3, 196lbs
WR – Clyde Lee, FR, 6’0, 178lbs
WR – Ryan Lindsey, SO, 5’8, 165lbs
WR – Dominick Magazu, FR, 6’1, 190lbs
WR – Clarence Megwa, JR, 6’1, 216lbs
WR – Ifeanyi Momah, SO, 6’6, 225lbs
WR – Brandon Robinson, SR, 5’10, 196lbs

Gunnell really emerged last season. Not only is he a reliable deep threat, but he also proved he could be physical not get bumped off his routes. Robinson fought through some nicks and dings. He’s sure-handed and does well adding yards after the catch. Jarvis has great size and upside, but needs to improve his hands and consistency. Megwa was solid last year. Not spectacular but should remain a productive member of the rotation. Flutie gets raves for his work habits and practice catches. I think you’ll see a steady progression from his this year. Lindsey spent most of 2007 in street clothes recovering from injury. If healthy and if he hasn’t lost a step, there is no reason he shouldn’t contribute this year. Purvis gushed about Momah at the ACC Media event. If the kid can grow into his frame and keep working on his fundamentals, he could have a big year. Magazu redshirted last year. I expect him to be part of special teams this year. Lee and Larmond are the true freshmen. Expectations are high for Larmond. He should play this year. Lee, who knows? My guess is that he will redshirt.

Outlook
Like so much of this team, the known factors (Gunnell, Robinson, Megwa) provide confidence heading into the season, while unknown upside (Larmond, Momah’s progression) could be the difference in getting back to the ACCCG. I think these guys will surprise the conference and keep BC as one of the leading offenses in the ACC.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly of the latest Gene chat

Call me jaded, but I don't expect much out of these Gene chats anymore. In most cases he can't say much beyond what we already know. Other times the questions come off as whiny and the same topics are brought up over and over. I do appreciate Gene making himself available...I just wish the format were slightly different and he could be a little more candid.

Here is what I found interesting and bothersome from Tuesday's session.

The Good
Chris (Boston): Gene, It appears that once the new Master Plan is approved and construction begins, many of the Lower Campus non-garage tailgating spots (Shea, More Hall, Edmonds, etc) are going to be at least temporarily eliminated. Can you comment on this and also if there is a plan to replace these 'green' spots.
Gene DeFilippo: There's no question, we will lose some parking on the lower campus, but at this time, we are unsure as to when and how many spaces we might lose. There are plans to add to the parking deck in order to offset those lost spaces.


Good job, Chris. In all the hubbub over campus expansion very few have noticed or mentioned that green space will be greatly reduced. That will dramatically change tailgating and the price of good spots. This will be a huge issue down the road. Gene had to dodge the question slightly. I am sure he knows what's coming and is either working towards a better solution (tailgating on the Brighton campus?) or figuring out how to price the limited spaces correctly.

Joey (Brookline): Gene, Congrats on another great athletic and academic year. My question is regarding the donor-based seating plan in place at BC. I completely appreciate the need for donor based seating and know that is has been successful at BC. However, have you ever thought of instituting a points based system for seating that awards points for attending the school, years of season tickets, membership in BC clubs, etc. and combines these with donations which would be assigned points as well? I feel a system such as this would reward the loyal fans, but still allow donors with big pocket books to get the seats they want. Thanks very much, Joey
Gene DeFilippo: Many schools have implemented a point system, and there are positives and negatives associated with such a system. Our records do not go back far enough to allow us to implement a point system here at Boston College.

Another good question. A point system would seem to be a little more fair to the long-time fans or those who cannot afford DBS. I am a little suspect of Gene's response. The school clearly has records on donors and alumni status. Maybe he means they don't have accurate records on season ticket seniority. I doesn't sound like he is a believer in the points system, but if the fans want it there could be a chance down the road.



The Bad

Juan (Saugus): What are the chances of scheduling an out of conference game next season or the season after against a good BCS team? Besides USC, which is in 6 years.
Gene DeFilippo: We have Notre Dame on our schedule for the next two years. With eight tough ACC games and Notre Dame, we don't need any more teams from the BCS leagues. Look at the schedules of others in the ACC, the Big East, or the SEC, and you will see similar names to some of the schools we play out of conference.
Fair question from Juan. Bad response from Gene. The Interruption guys already covered this but BC could play a non-conferecnce BCS team every year. The reason I moved this to the "bad" area is Gene getting unnecessarily defensive about our schedules. We've got USC and Syracuse coming up. We will probably add another BCS conference team after the Trojans. Why not just give Juan a pat answer that "we're looking to play some of the best teams in the country"?


JD BOSTON: Is their anything being done to market the basketball team bettere than in the past and to also improve the atmosphere at the games. MAybe follwoing the Celtics concept of marketing to a younger group might be useful.
Gene DeFilippo: We at Boston College certainly know how to create a wonderful atmosphere at our home basketball games. Our recent home games vs. North Carolina and Duke are proof that we can do it. It's up to ALL of us - alumni, students, fans and friends of the university - to get together and create that atmosphere at each and every game.
Another fair question. I didn't care for Gene's response. UNC and Duke are not the issue. It is the half full games against Miami or VT that are the problem. I do agree that it is up to all of us, but Gene's department needs to lead that effort or try something new.


The Ugly

Patrick Kelley - Los Angeles: How can BC sustain being so far from all our Conference competitors for much longer? Fuel cost are high and It's a major burden for the fans. It's obvious we play all our non-conference games with weak Div. II New England teams. We need to start playing are ex-rivals in the Big East!
Gene DeFilippo: Had we remained in the Big East, we would have had to travel to Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Bend and Tampa. Those are certainly not bus trips. Yes, we have to travel in the ACC, but it has certainly worked out well for us, and the venues where we get to compete are second to none.
LET GO OF THE BIG EAST, PEOPLE!! Fuel costs? Major burden to the fans? How many BC fans were making the trip to West Virginia or Syracuse? Not many. Who is being put out by this? And travel costs. BC is so far ahead of where we were financially in the Big East that travel will not be an issue. And Gene properly points out, travel costs in the Big East would have been high too. And the cheap shot about the New England teams...come on. If you want to ask Gene why we don't play the Big East teams, ask it. Loading up the question with nonsense about Div II teams when anyone can point to our true schedule just undermines the entire angle.


Tom Mahoney (Malden): Mr. D This is my 2nd try (could not get all my frustration in 750 characters) To the point, I am a BC grad’74. Loyal, supportive and frustrated. BC is making a lot of enemies of former fans (they come looking for me). I will be giving up my season tix next year. (cannot justify expense …I so look forward to the URI game) Most of fellow season ticket holders in my area have been replaced by online one game fans. Is this the plan? I know the party line, no need to repeat it. Good luck. I still love BC but you people make it so hard. BC shows no loyalty to longtime supporters and expects it in return. BC should try to be the best BC it can be and not try to be something it is not.
Gene DeFilippo: Alumni Stadium seats 44,500 fans, and there is truly not a bad seat in the stadium. When it was refurbished in 1994, the BC administration did a wonderful job in making sure the fans were very close to the field. We have a small number of donor-based seating in the seats closer to mid-field, but there are thousands of other good seats that do not require a donation in addition to the price of the ticket.
Let me climb into my ivory tower for a moment. I am not a season ticket holder and I do give to the school and I admit I was not impacted by DBS. That said, what are you complaining about, Tom? Our home schedule this year includes Clemson, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. You paid for DBS last year but are giving it up this year because of URI? "BC should try to be the best BC it can be and not try to be something it is not." What does that mean? Do you want to be Holy Cross or drop football altogether. There are realities to college football today and there is also the free market. Those seats you sit in have value and BC has the right to get that value. If you don't like the price, as Gene mentioned, there are other seats available. I don't understand this all or nothing mentality from some BC fans. You like going to the games, yet don't want to pay fair market for your seats or move into cheaper seats? Ugh.

There full transcript is available at bceagles.com.

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Kent State confident and other links

After suffering some bad breaks last year, Kent State is confident about this season.


Ricky Brown continues to work his way up the depth chart in Oakland.


Damien Woody is happy to be in Jets camp.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time to talk time

One offseason subject I have yet to delve into is the NCAA's new play clock. College football is moving to an NFL style 40-second clock. As a reminder, here is the rule:
--Following a play that goes out of bounds, the game clock will start on the referee’s signal and not on the snap, with the exception of the last two minutes of each half.
--The play clock will be set to 40 seconds and will start when the ball becomes dead on the previous play. A 25-second clock that will begin on the referee’s signal will be used after a penalty administration, measurement, change of possession and timeouts.


Good news for BC: Our offense is fairly uptempo and should not have a problem adjusting. I'd be slightly worried if we were learning a new offense, but Crane has worked in Logan's scheme and should be able to adjust. The unknown is how much Crane will audible or make calls directly at the line. He won't have the same time Ryan did to survey the field pre-snap. Regardless of his flexibility, the offense will not impacted in a negative way.

Bad news for BC: Our defense will have to adjust. Spaz likes rotations and substitutions. The new rules shorten the time players have to get on and off the field. Look for teams to go no huddle when they feel BC has the wrong people on the field.

But considering Jags and Logan have used NFL clocks previously in their careers, this should not be an issue.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

2008 Position Previews: Defensive Backs

This is the seventh part of my position by position breakdown of the 2008 roster.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Everyone feels great about our front seven and has a million worries about our secondary. Losing a playmaker and leader like Silva is tough, but there is some recent history and incoming talent that should be reassuring to all BC fans.

Overview
A recurring criticism of Spaz’s defense is the heavy use of zone coverage. The bend but don’t break philosophy may frustrate but its relative simplicity enables talented, good tackling DBs to play right away. Just look at what some recent contributors did as freshmen.

2007 – Gause: 13 games played, 39 tackles, 1 INT
2006 – Davis: 11 games played, 30 tackles
2004 – Silva: 12 games played, 43 tackles, 1 INT, 3 fumble recoveries
2003 – Glasper: 13 games played, 52 tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery

The talented group of incoming DBs and the lack of depth in the backfield should create an environment where this sort of contribution happens again.

The Players
S – Paul Anderson, SR, 6’1, 211lbs
S – Stephen Atkinson, FR, 6’1, 175lbs
S – Marty Bowman, JR, 6’2, 217lbs
S – Wes Davis, SO, 6’1, 215lbs
S – Donte Elliott, FR, 6’0, 178lbs
CB – Donnie Fletcher, FR, 6’1, 186lbs
S – Chris Fox, SO, 5’11, 201lbs
CB – DeLeon Gause, SO, 5’11, 174lbs
CB – Chris Hayden-Martin, FR, 6’1, 190lbs
CB – Isaac Johnson, FR, 6’0, 179lbs
S – Dominick LeGrande, FR, 6’2, 200lbs
CB - Okechukwu Okoroha, FR, 6’1, 192lbs
CB - Ugo Okpara, FR, 6’1, 163lbs
CB – Roderick Rollins, JR, 6’0, 188lbs
CB – Razzie Smith, JR, 5’10, 177lbs

Anderson’s experience works both ways for BC fans. He’s the most familiar name at the safety position, but we’ve all seen him struggle in the passing game. He’s an okay tackler and is in position often, but doesn’t have great speed and can be burned deep. Bowman has more skill, but less consistency. Wes Davis is a hard hitter and played very well as a freshmen. His season ended prematurely last year due to a head/neck injury. If he can build on the glimpses he showed as a freshmen, he could be in the mix on some all conference teams. Rollins didn't progress as much as I had hoped last year. He should see significant snaps this year. Hopefully he can be consistent. Razzie Smith will probably be a reserve again. Fox also worked his way back into the lineup after injury. Hopefully he can stay healthy this year. As for the new guys...where to start? I think at a minimum four true freshmen DBs will play. More could depending on their talent. I just don't know which ones will play and start. For what it is worth, Okoroha was the highest rated recruit. Fletcher enrolled early and played in the spring game. He is highly likely to play too. Isaac Johnson was also well regarded. Jags doesn't have the predilection for redshirts like the previous regime, so all could play. I hope to sideline one or two for depth reasons down the road. For us to get back to the ACC Championship Game, we need more than one to make an immediate impact.

Outlook
Gause, Anderson, Rollins, Davis and Bowman would be a serviceable group by themselves. Add in a very promising group of freshmen and BC could have a defensive back that surprises the pundits and keeps our pass defense tough.

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Non-jock alums and other links

BC Guy Matt Devlin is the new voice of the Raptors.


Another BC Guy who occasionally pops into my BC RSS feeds is comedian Gary Gulman.


Despite bowl projections like this, I doubt the San Fran guys would pass on taking BC.


The Atlanta media is coming around to Matt Ryan. (Thanks to BCMike for the link.)

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Phil Steele’s Cliffs Notes: NC State

Although I only caught a few of NC State's games last year, I feel I know them better than Steele. Don't all BC fans feel that way? The longer TOB is in Raliegh, the more I expect NC State to look like TOB's BC teams. That doesn't mean much for this year though. Their program is still in a transition and still pose a risk to BC. Regardless, here are some relevant stats about the Wolfpack.

Nuggets and notes of interest
-- The Wolfpack have six offensive starters returning and four defensive starters returning. 28 lettermen return.
-- In the BC-NC State ACC series, the home team has won each game.
-- They are 11th in experience within the ACC.
-- Last season the Wolfpack were -16 in turnovers.
-- NC State was 5-6 against the spread last year.
-- NC State was outgained by their opponents by an average of 79.6 yards per game.
-- Steele predicts that the Wolfpack will be the 2nd most improved in rushing.
-- He expects their pass defense to be pourous (118th in the country!).
-- NC State has the 10th toughest schedule in the country.
-- The Wolfpack are 73rd in Steele's power poll.
-- NC State had the 24th best special teams ranking in 2007.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Brace weighs in on athlete pay and other links

When Brace and I talked about video games, it was a pretty light topic. When the AJC talked to him the conversation delved into paying players...the most difficult subject in college sports. Although Brace and I didn't talk about it, the ACC Kickoff was a reminder to me how unfair the current system is. These kids are not normal students and have schedules and pressures that compare to professional sports. However, Title 9 law will prevent them from ever getting paid and I don't see the NFL starting a costly minor league any time soon. So I just put the exploitation out of my mind and hope that every BC kid takes advantage of his free education. Since that is the only compensation, you better make the most of it.


Missing the Super Bowl with a broken leg was tough on Kiwi.

Dunbar is turning heads in New Orleans and he has a good shot at making the team.


More Purvis stuff from the ACC Kickoff.

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Mutual Admiration Society

It has come full circle rather quickly around here with Heather Dinich giving me a shout-out on her blog. I've been linked from all sorts of different places but this is the first one from ESPN.com. Thanks to Pete from Boston (who I don't know) for the leading question to HD.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Poles enjoying Bears camp and other links

Ryan Poles is hanging on with the Bears and being used at a few different positions.


Another article out of the ACC Kickoff on Ron Brace.


Here is one writer's attempt to measure the toughest schedule in the ACC. The one upside is that we get Clemson and VT at home and play Georgia Tech early.

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Ryan Purvis quotes

I sat with Brace first so by the time I got to Purvis he was rehashing stuff. Regardless he still had some good things to say. Here are a few of the subjects that haven't appeared elsewhere.

Purvis on Lars Anderson

“Lars is a real athletic kid. He’s quick. He’s agile. I think he’s going to do alright."

Purvis on Ifeanyi Momah

“Momah...the past couple days in 7-on-7, you see flashes of Plaxico Burress across the middle. Just plucking the ball out of the sky. His biggest thing is consistency. You’ve got to show that on a regular basis. I think he'll do that this year."

Purvis on Crane handling the spotlight

“I think he is doing great. I don’t think he compares himself to Matt in anyway. It’s his fifth year, his last year and his first year. First and last. He’s just looking to make his own imprint in the BC culture and the BC football program. And I think that’s just what he’s worried about. Getting out there and performing. I don’t think the Matt Ryan thing is going to bother him in the slightest.

Purvis on his big jump in productivity from '06 to '07

“I think it was a combination of everything. Every year of playing football, I’ve grown more mentally with the game. Physically, obviously, I am getting bigger and stronger. But then you’ve got to look at the system. How many times did we throw the ball last year? A percentage of those naturally are going to come to a Tight End. So I was just that guy last year."

Purvis on Jags publicly saying we won’t throw the ball as much.

"I feel like they say that but they’re going to do whatever’s working and whatever gets it done to win. If we have to throw the ball 50 times a game, I don’t think Coach Logan will say 'we gotta balance the offense.' But if we get off to a good start and are running the ball well, I don’t care if I have 0 catches next year…as long as we’re winning."

Purvis on his goals for the season

"I want to develop more as a blocker. A nastier blocker. I have good technique, I just have to get more mean at the point of attack. As far as winning and team goals, getting to Tampa and winning it this year is my biggest goal."

Purvis on how the Tight End blocks differently in the zone blocking scheme

"In the older offense I was more of a heavy, blocking D Ends kind of Tight End. I was stationary. In this offense I move around a lot. I am rarely ever in a three-point stance. I am more of a linebacker-level blocker now. I feel it has made me more finesse…getting to those linebackers, playing with your feet and your hands as opposed to raw power."


Purvis on Dominique Davis

"He’s a young guy, real athletic, kind of raw. Still picking up the system. He’s coming into his own though. He’s delivering some balls that I never would have thought he’d throw when I first saw him throw the ball."

Purvis on the Jags' philosophy on redshirting

"I remember when I started, you come in and you redshirted because you needed to. Offensively you needed to. (I don’t know about the defense.) You needed to come in and redshirt just so you could understand the offense. It was almost impossible to come in and pick it up right away. Although I feel like our offense now is just as complex, it’s easier to pick up. Maybe it’s because I am older and I’ve been through another offense. But we had such a smooth transition as far as freshmen playing…Haden, Momah, Castonzo at Right Tackle. I feel like maybe the system is easier to grasp. Maybe conceptually Coach Bible’s offense was harder to pick up. I don’t know. Maybe they recruit different kids. Who knows?"

Purvis on playing in the NFL one day

"If you start thinking about it – and there’s a lot to think about – you’ll just drive yourself crazy. When football comes it’s going to be all football for me. I kind of block out all the distractions and leave that to handle itself.

"I have a great family. A great support system. They help me with anything that needs to go through as far as NFL distractions."

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gos gets paid and other links

The Lions signed Gosder Cherilus to five-year deal with nearly $9 guaranteed. Good news for him.


The Sabre fans are learning more about Nathan Gerbe.


Foster Street is going to look a little different soon. I expect local outrage to begin shortly.


Because my Dinich coverage is generating a little back and forth in the comments and generated some funny, inquisitive emails, I thought I would post this so HD fans can get a better handle on her appearance.

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Ron Brace quotes

As you saw from the pictures, the media sessions are a bit of a free for all. I asked plenty of questions but many of the quotes have already surfaced in other articles. So, for this post, I thought I would provide the bits you might not have read and in more of an open format.

Brace on playing a year without BJ Raji

“I think it benefited me a lot and it’s also going to benefit him too when he comes back. Teams aren’t just going to be able to focus on one. They are going to worry about both of us.”

Brace on improving BC's pass defense

“That was something we noticed we needed to work on during the season as time went on. We had good games against the pass and some bad ones. We also want to put more emphasis on the pass and put more pressure on the quarterback."

Brace on how Raji’s return will impact the defensive alignments

“I think it will be mostly four-man fronts, but we’ll go back and forth [with three man fronts]. Because usually they want to have me and BJ on the field, or me or BJ and one of our four linebackers out there. It’s just the skys the limit with what we might do. We’re just going to throw a bunch of curve balls."

Brace on the summer training

“Every year our workouts get more intense…especially this year. It’s going to help us out even more. As a defensive line unit, we’re trying to work on our explosion, getting off the line. We’re doing a lot of work on our pass defense.”

Brace on interviews and dealing with the media

"I like to talk. People say I am a quite guy but I don’t mind talking at all. "

Brace on replacing vocal leaders

"I feel as though being a leader is not just a person who’s rah rah. You can also lead by example. That’s what I feel our class is more of...we’re more leaders by example. The last class was full of a lot of talkers and the locker room was just crazy. You had Matt and JoLonn, Pruitt, Gos…any given guy out there was a vocal leader. Where I feel our class lead by example. We don’t want to get on you but we still want you to do your job."

Brace on the young defensive ends

“Newman: he’s going to be a little beast at D end. He shows urgency. Urgency to get to the ball. Holloway, coming fresh out of high school. He decided to leave a half a year of high school early to come and train with us. That just shows you how dedicated he is at trying to get better.

"They’re going to bring that pop, that rush that we need."


Brace on video games

“I can remember the first time I was in the game as a starter I called my family about because it cracked me up. They had me in the game at 335, I think it was, but the body type -- you couldn’t tell. They made me look like a defensive end, tall, six pack. I said, I am going to have to buy this game just so I could look at it."

Brace on Brian Toal coming back

"I think it is going to be a big difference. He’s a competitor. He works hard. You can tell by the look on his face that he’s been working hard. He’s a real smart player too. I remember back while watching film, he used to tell us about reads. He brings a lot of experience that will help us, especially the freshmen.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jags interview and other links



Purvis, Brace and Toal made the preseason All ACC team.


The Lions are trying to sign Gos and get him into camp.


This notebook column mentions Troy Bell signing with Vanoli Soresina.


Our winter exams may cause an issue if we are selected for the Congressional Bowl.

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Recruiting news and other links

BC is still in the mix for elite QB recruit Eugene Smith. He's the last real big QB name that remains uncommitted but these things can often turn into musical chairs.

New Jersey linebacker prospect Anthony Stroffolino connected with Bill McGovern on his recent trip to BC.

SI and Athlon posted their BC preview.

Here's another one of those BC-Clemson articles I predicted would come out of the ACC Media days.

Is anyone else tired of reading about the ACC underachieving?

Although I don't think ticket prices were the major factor in Jacksonville's struggles, I do think Tampa will do a better job hosting the ACC Championship Game.


John Swofford gave a state of the conference speech on the final day of the ACC Kickoff.


Two ACC items from SMQ. The first takes a look at the shifting national perception of Florida State. The other looks at North Carolina. (Just our luck that UNC comes back in our rotation during their ascension.)


The New York Times posted their ND preview.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jags speaks and other links

Here is the audio of Jags' interview sessions from Monday. He sounds as confident as the players did. He joked with the Herald that he had no problem flying under the radar again.


The Globe's article included some notes about Jeff Smith and using Brian Toal on offense again. One note on the Globe...(and I know I whine about this sort of stuff too much) but check out the first line from Tuesday's article:

It is different now for Jeff Jagodzinski.
and then the first line from Monday's article:
It is different this year for Jeff Jagodzinski.
Way to mix it up!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Heather Dinich's power blogging turns its focus to Chris Crane

Yet another solid article from ESPN's new blogger Heather Dinich. I don't know how she is keeping this up. And it's not like these are all "let me tell you what I think" posts or link dumps. She has quotes from Logan (who, to my knowledge, is not even at the ACC meetings) and mixed in some of the Purvis stuff from Sunday. If she keeps up this pace during the season, we're in for a treat. Why can't the Globe provide this much BC and ACC coverage?

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More ACC media stuff and other links

TheACC.com has put up their coverage of the Kickoff. There's audio of Purvis and Brace's interviews and a photo gallery of the event (which includes a very handsome blogger talking to Brace).


Gregg Doyel thinks he knows why the ACC is down.


Most of the media is picking Clemson to win the conference.


In a feature designed to get people talking, ESPN is ranking all college basketball programs in terms of prestige. They put BC in a tie for 70th. The whole thing is so silly, it is not worth the time for a proper rebuttal.


Luke Russert blogged for SI.com. (Thanks to Brian for the link.)

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ACC Kickoff news roundup

The Boston media's coverage of events like the ACC Kickoff has been spotty in the past. Thankfully, this year they delivered. The Globe and the Herald both posted multiple articles today.
-- The Globe on Purvis/Crane.
-- Globe notebook column.
-- The Herald's notebook, which mentions Crane and Purvis' high school relationship (I have a feeling we'll be hearing this mentioned every game).
--The Herald's feature on Brace.
-- BC even put together a quotes page from the two seniors.


As for hard BC news, there wasn't much. Jeff Smith's return generated a fair bit of interest, but I am hedging on his contributions. With head injuries one play can make a difference. Whatever we get from him this year will be gravy.


Heather Dinich posted a link dump this morning.


Tony Barnhart asked Purvis how often he is asked about Matt Ryan. So did Ken Tysiac.


All the leading ACC passers hope to have a season like Matt Ryan.


Another article on the ACC's growing pains.


Purvis is quoted in this article about the balance of power in the ACC vis a vis the two divisions.


Our defensive line will have to watch their knees when we play Georgia Tech.


Other news


Doug Flutie entered the College Football Hall of Fame over the weekend.


Jags really connected with highly-touted recruit Anthony LaLota.


Virginia WR Tim Smith is still interested in visiting BC.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Going behind the scenes during the player interviews at the ACC Kickoff

With the ACC holding its annual Football Kickoff just outside of Atlanta, I took the opportunity to meet with Ron Brace and Ryan Purvis and take in the sights and sounds.

First off, the ACC does a great job with the event. It’s held at the Ritz-Carlton at Reynolds Plantation, a golf resort a little over an hour from Atlanta. Planned to the tee, the Kickoff includes a variety of golf and media events. There’s also a series of social activities for bowl committees and league personnel.

Each school has two player in attendance – one offense and one defense (with the exception of Wake, who had two defensive players?). In addition to Purvis and Brace, some of the names you might recognize included Sean Glennon, Drew Weatherford, Cullen Harper, and Jeremy Navarre.

They spilt the players along divisions, with the Atlantic guys doing radio and TV first, while the print and dotcom guys had our chance to interview the Coastal players. Since I was there to see the BC guys (and didn’t have any pressing needs with the other guys) I was able to observe the goings on. Some thoughts:
-- Seemingly every paper south of Richmond and north of Atlanta sent someone. We all read about big daily papers slashing travel budgets and scaling back coverage, yet these second-level papers send reporters. Good for them. It shows that there is an audience for this material.
-- The ESPNers in attendance were Mark Schlabach, Joe Schad, and the most prolific writer in the ACC, Heather Dinich. (Dinich is already posting from the event). Schad was easy to spot. In a sea of polo/golf shirts and khakis, Schad stood out in his dark pants (mighta been jeans), a dark shirt untucked and a dark pinstriped suit jacket. A lot of people like to bash ESPN, but they had (at least) three people there and they all worked every table long and hard. I know we all have the impression that ESPN folks don’t do their homework, but these three did.
-- The players get the short straw at this event. Everyone else has a multi-day stay and get to golf and mingle. The players arrived Saturday afternoon and were on flights back home by Sunday night.

Other names you might recognize included The Sporting News’ Matt Hayes, Mr. College Football Tony Barnhart, and ACC Now’s J.P. Giglio. I may have overlooked a few other hard working guys. These were just the faces I knew or got to meet.

As for the Boston media: the Globe’s Mark Blaudschun, the Herald’s Steve Conroy and the voice of BC football Jon Meterparel all made it down south.

Between sessions, I filled out my preseason ACC football ballot. I am not 100% on what I filled out, but you gotta put something down. I predicted the following order of finish:
Atlantic
1. Clemson
2. Boston College
3. Wake Forest
4. Florida State
5. Maryland
6. North Carolina State
Coastal
1. Virginia Tech
2. North Carolina
3. Miami
4. Georgia Tech
5. Virginia
6. Duke
Champion: Clemson
Preseason Player of the Year: Cullen Harper

"BC Guys"
I’ll have quotes from my interviews with Brace and Purvis in the coming days. But some initial thoughts: both are quality kids. Both are very personable…and patient. Purvis was asked over and over again about life after Matt Ryan and Brace was asked about B.J. Raji ten different ways. Purvis completed his degree in May and Brace just completed his degree this summer. As I sat at the table another funny thing happened -- the guys from the smaller southern papers kept peppering them with the backhanded compliment questions like “were you guys surprised to win the Atlantic last year?” or “are you surprised that you’ve beaten Clemson three years in a row?” or “do you like playing the spoiler?”. Instead of the taking them as signs of disrespect, the guys answered them honestly.

Let me say this too...I’ve felt uneasy about BC’s chances until today. Ryan and Ron both have so much genuine confidence in Chris Crane and the offense, that I am starting to feel things could come together again.


That's Mark Blaudschun to Purvis' right and Steve Conroy to his left.

Brace fields questions.


My warning to Meterparel: "smile, Meter, this is going to be on the internet tomorrow!"
The hotel had plenty of these standing flags promoting the ACC.
ESPN's ACC blogger Heather Dinich interviews Ron Brace.
Sean Glennon had some of the biggest crowds. Standing behind him are ESPN's Mark Schlabach (in red) and the Sporting News Matt Hayes (in blue).
That's Tony Barnhart on the right.
Joe Schad was one of many ESPNers there.
The Coastal flags hung on one end of the room...
The Atlantic on the other.
Every table had two players. The media moves freely and just jumps in with questions, leading to a lot of repitition for the players.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gonzo cut by Falcons and other links

Tony Gonzalez won't be catching any of Matt Ryan's passes in the NFL.


DeJuan Tribble signed with the Chargers.


Heather Dinich's early work on ESPN.com has been very strong. Here is her article on BC's D.


Southern Pigskin realizes that we are underrated every year. (Thanks to Brendan for the link.)

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Friday, July 18, 2008

ACC Media stuff and other links

In preparation for the ACC Media Days, ACC Nation had Phil Steele on their podcast. He touches on BC and Chris Crane.


Tony Barnhart is asking these questions heading into the ACC meetings.


The ACC is lowering ticket prices for the Championship Game. I don't think ticket price is the issue driving attendance.


Craig Smith resigned with Minnesota.


Yet another Eagle in Atlanta: Marty Reasoner signed with the Thrashers.


Here is a look at North Carolina. This has trap game written all over it.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

BC undies and other links

Victoria's Secret is coming out with a line of women's underwear that has college logos, including BC! I know what the Mrs. is getting for Christmas!


Our game basketball game against Iowa will be on the ACC Channel, er, ESPN U. For those diehards, it is looking like ESPN U will be necessary to catch many BC sports. I strongly suggest pestering your cable operator or call Directv or Verizon.


This is a fairly optimistic look at the basketball team. I wouldn't give it much weight though. They didn't even mention Trapani.


Sam Shaughnessy is playing summer ball in the New York Collegiate Baseball League.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

2008 Position Previews: Kickers and Punters

This is the sixth part of my position by position breakdown of the 2008 roster.

KICKERS AND PUNTERS
BC skated by all year without a consistent DIA kicker. Unfortunately the one game where an inconsistent kicker became a factor was the ACC Championship Game. The difficulties with place kicking was offset by Ayers' great season punting. This year is about hope, like, I hope Aponavicius added some length, I hope Bennett stays healthy, and I hope Quigley is ready right away.

Overview
Saying our kicking game was lacking is not an understatement. We had the second worst net kickoff average in the ACC. We only had six touchbacks (tied for 7th in the ACC). We also had the second lowest kickoff distance in the ACC. Aponavicius was adequate on PATs, but his limited range led us to only attempt 18 field goals! Of those 18 he only made 12. By comparison there were six kickers in the ACC who converted more than 80% of there field goal attempts. I don't expect Aponavicius to suddenly become Adam Vinatieri, but I hope he can improve this year.

The Players
K – Steve Aponavicius, SR, 5’10, 183lbs
K – Billy Bennett, SO, 6’1, 198lbs
P/K - Ryan Quigley, FR, 6'3, 175lbs

By now everyone knows Aponavicius' plucked from the stands story. Now he is on his second scholarship season. As mentioned he's not terrible on FGs. Kickoffs are another story. Because of his limited strength, we squibed repeatedly. Frustratingly he'd occasionally kick it normally with some effectiveness. I hope they return to that strategy. I would rather take the chance of a big return than put opponents on the 35 over and over again. We don't know much about Bennett. He was highly regarded but faced nagging injuries last year. If he stays healthy, he is likely to take over the kickoff duties. Quigley is a true incoming freshmen. He kicked and punted in high school. Due to the depth chart, he should be our primary punter from Day 1. If the other two struggle, Quigley might get a shot at kicking too.

Outlook
Quigley has big shoes to fill. Because we are unlikely to score as prolifically, punting will be even more of an issue. If Quigley struggles, it will put pressure on our D. As for kicking, Bennett and Aponovicius stay healthy and reach their potential, then we should be fine. If they play like they did in 2007, I am going to spend many of our special team's plays with my hand covering my eyes.

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Media Guide debuts and other links

BC posted the 2008 Media Guide online. What I found interesting is how much the tone has changed from previous editions. In the past the message has been consistent but much more subdued. This year they loaded up on images, filled it with player quotes, used terms like "BC Guy," hammered home the Boston stuff, tried to introduce the coaches a bit better and really played up the academic success. It's all the stuff we know, just in better packaging. Media guides are for two groups: media that buzz in and out without following the program regularly and recruits. Our branding is clear to both parties: BC takes academics seriously and plays big time sports in a big city.


The Orlando Sentinel is posting a series of ACC position rankings.


It is only July, but these Clemson writers are predicting another BC victory over the Tigers.


Hard to believe, but the locals don't like BC's latest intentions for the Brighton campus.


Here is Matt Ryan promoting EA's latest college game. He is a good sport about all this stuff. I hope the NFL doesn't make him jaded. (Thanks to Bill P. for the link.)


Southern Pigskin thinks we have the second best group of receivers in the ACC. (Thanks to Erik for the link.)


BC is 100 to 1 to win the National Championship. That's worth a $10 what the hell bet, right? Also, our over/under for wins is 7.


Look how much SEC fans are shelling out in donations for tickets.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Midsummer Bowl speculation

Earlier in the summer Gene hit the road for Q&As with various BC alumni chapters. The talks were well received and generally positive. One theme that came up a few times was BC’s bowl selection issue. Gene’s assessment of BC situation (AND I AM PARAPHRASING WITH AN OVERLY FLIPPANT TONE): “it’s the BCS or bust.” Gene’s point wasn’t new. I think every BC fan expects to be passed over for the second tier bowls and left playing out our season in the third tier in late December.

At this point I don’t fault the Athletic Department for our bowl challenges. Gene’s politicking led to the ACC instituting the “BC Rule” that limits bowls bypassing teams. Athletics also coordinated the busing program for the Champs Bowl that proved effective. If we want to improve our bowl standing BC fans need to travel better (but that debate is for another post). The intent of this post was to give you the outlook in mid-July.

I am a little more optimistic than Gene. Here is my assessment of our bowl chances:

Orange/BCS game
Outlook: not hopeless
As we learned last year, anything is possible. The elite games are in our control. If the defense is great and if Clemson collapses we could win our way back into the ACC Championship Game. From there, it becomes win and you're in.

Gator
Outlook:
when Hell freezes over
The Gator was already leery of BC before the 2007 ACC Championship Game. Our poor ticket sales for the event didn’t change perception. The Gator’s strong desire to select Notre Dame with its Big East slot also complicates matters. There is no way the Bowl would want a rematch of a regular season game.

Peach/Chick-fil-A.
Outlook:
a longshot
Some of you are probably scoffing at this but there is a chance. Follow this scenario:
• Clemson and Virginia Tech are selected for the BCS and Gator
• A group of ACC schools are all lumped together with a similar conference record
• The SEC representative is a known travel commodity and a sure sellout (think Alabama, Tennessee or South Carolina)
If those things happen the Peach may forego a team with a better travel reputation and take BC for TV reasons and to appease the ACC and ESPN.

Champs/Orlando
Outlook:
better than you think
Who would have thought that any bowl would want to invite BC two years in a row. A couple things worked well for us with the Champs folks. We delivered the highest rating in their history. We sold more tickets than they anticipated. And we also sent the team early and brought the band. BC embraced the bowl like we never have before. That can go a long way. Assuming the marquee teams and/or the Florida-based schools are not on the table when it comes time for the Champs to select, we stand a decent chance of being asked back.

Meineke Bowl/Charlotte
Outlook:
not happening
No way will they take us for the third time in five seasons…especially when they are highly likely to have a few schools within driving distance from which to choose.

Music City
Outlook:
decent
The ACC is sort of a tough fit for this Nashville Bowl. No ACC team has traveled all that well to it. The organizers expect the SEC fans to buy the tickets. Our last showing in Nashville wasn’t impressive in the stands, but seven years later have passed. The bowl organizers may be willing to give BC a chance.

San Fran/Nut Bowl
Outlook:
book your hotel now
If we fall down the pecking order, San Francisco will gladly take us. Our last trip out there was surprisingly successful at the box office and provided a strong TV number. We can also boast of our alumni network on the West Coast. My gut is telling me this is where BC will end up this year. It could be worse, like say…

Boise
Outlook:
[I am closing my eyes, covering my ears and making loud noises so that I don’t have to acknowledge that this might happen again.]
I’ve calmed down. Yes, this could happen again. The only saving grace is that our last appearance (with BC whining and the Boise people insulting Kiwi) left such a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, that Boise might do what it can to take any other team.

Capital Bowl/DC
Outlook:
could happen
If BC is barely eligible this is where we could find ourselves. Not a bad spot all things considered. We’d get a decent turnout and be on the East Coast. The bowl would probably want Maryland or Virginia over us and there would also be some reluctance about another BC-Navy bowl matchup.

None of this will be settled until the final week of the season. But if this is important to you, do your best to travel and pray we avoid Boise.

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Elmore hits the books and other links

Incoming basketball freshmen Dallas Elmore is on campus and in class. In this article he talks about becoming eligible and adjusting to college.


Soccer player Reuben Ayarna left BC to play professionally in Sweden.


Two BC dropouts have started a new magazine focused on college students.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Flutie Ice Cream, ESPN bloggers and other links

Flutie has always been willing to pair his name with a good cause. So have Ben & Jerry's. Therefore Doug Flutie Hail Mary Berry Fat Free Smoothie seems like a perfect summer treat that also helps fight autism.


Did anyone elso notice Heather Dinich started an ACC blog last week on ESPN.com? How did I miss this? Certainly something worth following. If only the Globe or Herald would get in the BC blogging game. Dinich's post about the toughest places to play inspired a few others to weigh in here and here. My simple take: there's Clemson and there's everything else.


The ACC Now's J.P. Giglio doesn't think much of our chances this year.


Here's a preview of Virginia Tech.


Yet another preview of the ACC.


Former Eagle Derrick Rossy is picking up random boxing titles as his career progresses.

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New York Times finally previews BC

The New York Times' excellent college football countdown finally got to BC. They have us at No. 46. Unlike many preseason takes on the team, this preview is on the mark. The writer Paul Myerberg hit all the high points of the upcoming season without glaring errors or misconceptions about the team. To be honest, his "season breakdown, prediction, nightmares and dreams" are pretty close to what I'll post in August.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Two takes on ACC expansion and a Haden link

It has been five years since the ACC expanded, and two different papers featured articles on the move.

The Washington Post takes a more anti-ACC angle and repeatedly compares the ACC with the supposedly revitalized Big East. Making the comparison is natural. It's part of the narrative that everyone wants: "the big bully ACC has egg on its face and the Big East is better than ever." Unfortunately for writers across the country, that take is not true. The ACC's move hasn't been a home run in terms of revenue or on field success, but it hasn't been a failure either. Revenue has increased and many teams have been successful. Perception is just misplaced because the teams that have succeeded include Wake, BC and VT, and not Miami or FSU. And as people want to focus on the positive, the Big East is still fledgling. Revenue is down and the conference faces real challenges with a 16-team basketball conference.


This article is more even-handed. It just mentions the revenue and also labels BC as one of the big winners. I'll have my own look back on BC's move to the ACC in the coming weeks.


The Haden brothers showed greatness at an early age.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A A-T-L-A-N-T-A



I like a good show tune probably more than your average blogger, but this appearance and clip is beyond me. It has to be one of the most awkward moments I've seen in an effort to promote football season tickets. I think the Falcons are headed in the right directions, but, ah, the Fox Theatre crowd is very different from the Georgia Dome crowd.


(Thanks to Andrew and KSK for unearthing this clip.)

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

South Bend blogger takes shot at BC and other links

In Ivan Maisel's new book, he calls BC underrated. This South Bend blogger disagrees. I am surprised Kelly even took the time to write about BC since most ND fans don't care about us and surely don't consider us a rival. (Thanks to Brian for the link.)


Here is a look at Georgia Tech. Same narrative as before: "It will take time for Tech to adjust to Johnson's scheme."


A Texas QB BC targeted is headed to Nebraska.


Here is ESPN's preview of the football team.


The Red Zone Report also produced a BC preview. (Thanks to Nick for the link.)


The Hancock hat mystery is solved and it is not our Eagle:


Mr. Smith’s hat is a dingy gray with maroon stripes, bearing an embroidered eagle in attack mode. Some have questioned whether the aggressive bird was a nod to those logos of American Eagle Outfitters, American Living at J. C. Penney, Boston College or Anheuser-Busch, but it was actually the creation of Louise Mingenbach, a veteran costume designer.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

2008 Position Previews: Defensive Line

This is the fifth part of my position by position breakdown of the 2008 roster.

DEFENSIVE LINE
With so many contributors returning, you know what to expect from the defensive line. When it comes to run defense, that is a good thing. When it comes to BC pressuring the QB, that raises questions.


Overview
The defensive front only lost two significant contributors from last year (Nick Larkin and Brady Smith). Filling the void shouldn’t be a problem. The team gets a returning B.J. Raji, a maturing group of upperclassmen and some talented freshmen. With the roster solidified, the question needs to be asked: can this group create a pass rush? Outside of Alex Albright, very few of the guys upfront got to the QB. Look at some of these totals: Brace, 2.5 sacks; Ramella, 1 sack; Giles, 1 sack; A. Smith, 1.5 sacks; Scafe, 1 sack; Deska 1 sack. Collectively those guys played a ton of downs and barely even breathed on the opposing QBs. By comparison, Albright in an injury shortened year got to the QB 8.5 times by himself.

In fairness some of this was scheme related. These guys are asked to clog lanes and stop the run. But some of it is also related to skill and style. There’s not a lot of speed amongst that group and you rarely saw them blowing their blockers off the ball.

I’ve predicted greatness for this defense. For the line it starts by stopping the run and getting to the QB. No more career nights for guys like Chris Turner.

The Players
DT – BJ Raji, SR, 6’1, 325lbs
DT – Ron Brace, SR, 6’3, 325lbs
DE – Allan Smith, JR, 6’2, 237lbs
DE – Jim Ramella, JR, 6’4, 247lbs
DE – Austin Giles, JR, 6’3, 291lbs
DE – Alex Albright, JR, 6’5, 235lbs
DT – Jerry Willette, SR, 6’5, 282lbs
DT – Brendan Deska, JR, 6’5, 250lbs
DT – Damik Scafe, SO, 6’3, 305lbs
DE – Brad Newman, SO, 6’2, 250lbs
DE – Max Holloway, FR, 6’3, 230lbs
DT – Nick Halloran, FR, 6’6, 275lbs
DE – Christian Klein, FR, 6’4, 250lbs
DT – Bryan Murray, FR, 6’3, 285lbs
DT – Kaleb Ramsey, FR, 6’4, 274lbs

Raji can be dominant when the moment is right. He’s got good speed for his size and moves very well in the interior. At times, he’s taken plays off or been ineffective for stretches. The way his eligibility played out was unfortunate. I expect him to use the time away as extra motivation and have a huge year. His DT counterpart Ron Brace also enters the season with great expectations. He is a good run stopper and has improved his speed each year. Together they can be the best combo of DTs in college football. Albright started slow last year, but played very well in the middle of the season. His injury proved costly as we weren’t able to get to Sean Glennon in the ACC Championship Game. He’s the ideal of speed and strength from the End position and also has a good feel for the game. I expect another big year from him. Ramella had his moments last year, but still seemed a step slower than his freshmen year. Was he still recovering from his shoulder issues? Who knows? At this point I am expecting a more of the same from him: good fundementals, decent productivity, no game changing plays. Giles got a bit lost in the shuffle last year. He doesn’t have closing speed which can be frustrating when he just barely misses a RB or QB. Like Ramella, I hope that continued physical maturity will lead to more productivity. Allan Smith has potential but is also coming back from a serious injury. With Brady Smith gone, Willette may have an expanded role. His playing time really depends on his productivity and how ready the true freshmen are. Deska is a solid citizen who may see increased minutes this year. Scafe showed real potential as a freshmen and could be an all conference type player as an upperclassmen. Newman comes over from the offense. Hopefully he can contribute right away. Holloway is smallish, but played very well this spring. Halloran, Klein, Murray and Ramsey are all unknown. I expect two to play and two to redshirt. With the lack of depth at DT, some of these guys could see significant snaps.

Outlook
The defensive line is one of the best in the country. Despite their deficiencies in the pass rush, they do a very good job controlling the run. Even the smallest of improvements in pass defense could have a huge impact on BC’s season.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Opponent previews and deja vu links

Here is a look at North Carolina. Cirminiello thinks they are a bowl team. I think they will be a sleeper within the ACC and one of our tougher games.


Cirminiello also took his microscope to Wake Forest and predicts good things for them too.


Arthur Fontaine is down to four schools: BC, UVA, UGA and Maryland. He seems really high on the Dawgs. Reading the tea leaves, it seems like it is down to BC and Georgia.


As for deja vu: another story on Reynolds and another story on that mentions recruit Koehne.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Phil Steele’s Cliffs Notes: Georgia Tech

You have to discard many of Phil Steele’s formulas and figures when talking about Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are changing so many things about their program that deriving anything from the Chan Gailey era is a bit of a stretch. Still, here are the relevant points from the Steele Preview magazine.

Nuggets and notes of interest
-- Georgia Tech has five starters on offense returning and four defensive starters returning.
-- Steele considers their offensive line the fourth best in the conference
-- Steele considers their defensive line the fifth best in the conference
-- They have 50 letterman returning this season
-- Georgia Tech has the 10th best incoming class in the ACC
-- The jackets have the 37th most difficult schedule in 2008
-- They are 77th in his power poll
-- Their experience rating is 55 (the lowest in the ACC)

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Is Hancock a BC fan?



The past few weeks the above photo has generated a few questions regarding BC's connection to the Will Smith movie. I just dismissed the look and assumed it was the result of some customer designer randomly picking a hat for Smith. Although it is maroon and gold, the eagle logo isn't even a BC one. Now that some fans have seen the movie, I hope we can get confirmation on this pressing subject. Was there a BC connection to the movie?

Besides, if Hancock is a fan he should have worn a gold hat.

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A few recruiting notes and other links

BC seems like the favorite for Indiana Offensive Lineman Kyle Koehne. He's a product of the same high school as Trueblood and Kiwi.


Clemson has interest in Florida linebacker Daniel Mack. Mack stills list BC as one of his favorites.


Another positive article on Matt Ryan.


More confirmation of the Eric Reynolds to Temple story. It seems like BC is making this as easy as possible for Reynolds.


If the coaches have their way, we could be moving to an early signing period in football.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Maryland preview and other links

Here is the NYT.com preview of Maryland.


Charlie Weis is optimistic about Notre Dame's season. I wonder if BC is among his predicted wins?


Hindsight is 20/20 when it comes to conference reshuffling. The ACC is better off for what happened.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ayla Brown interview

BC basketball player Ayla Brown is quite the multitasker. I originally set up this interview to promote her debut in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Since then she has also been named SI's intern of the week. In addition to her second season in ACC play, Ayla continues to sing and even covered American Idol for the Herald. With all that going on, she now has to deal with a new coaching staff and transitioning from an underclassmen to a team leader. Here are my questions about her summer and her answers.


ATL_eagle: How surprised were you about the coaching change? How did you find out?

Ayla Brown: I have to admit, I was quite surprised to hear that Coach Inglese was leaving the program. One of the reasons I came to Boston College was because she had a great record over her years of coaching in the Big East. I remember the precise moment she told us that she was leaving the program. She called us into our locker room and gave us the news. Coach Inglese is an incredibly tough, mentally strong woman and when she broke the news to the players it was the most vulnerable I had ever seen her. She expressed how much the team and the program meant to her and that leaving was an incredibly difficult decision to make.

Days after Coach Inglese resigned from the program I had my first strange moment. This occurred when I walked upstairs into the coach’s office and no one was in there. The offices were empty, the closets were cleared out, and the pictures were off the walls. From that moment I knew that things had truly changed. The program was taking a new direction and I was going to be a part of it. A couple weeks later a new swarm of coaches made their appearance in the office and introduced themselves to the rest of the team.

ATL_eagle: What were your initial impressions of Coach Crawley? Has she given you any feedback yet about your game, your role on the team next year, things to improve on?

Ayla Brown: My initial impression of Coach Crawley was, "wow, she is so tall!" Before her arrival I had heard a lot about Coach Crawley from teammates and discovered that she was a great player at UNC. Hearing this made me very excited to play for her coaching staff and her. The entire coaching staff came into our locker room when they first arrived to Massachusetts and made a speech about what they expected from our team for the upcoming season. One thing Coach Crawley made clear was that she wanted us to be a running team. Along with that meant that we must be in tip-top shape. However, in general she stressed that she wanted us to have fun, love the game of basketball, win games, and make it to the NCAA tournament. This is a reasonable goal because as a team we strived for the same things.


ATL_eagle: You were in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this summer. Where does basketball fit into your schedule with performances? How does the experience of being on stage compare to being on the court?

Ayla Brown: This past June, I had the privilege of working with Reagle Players Theatre in Waltham, MA by playing the Narrator in the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” When approached by the producer of the show, Robert Eagle, about starring in the role, I was unaware of whether I wanted to participate in the production because I had never done a musical before. Being a perfectionist, I was scared that I wouldn’t do well, and that I also wouldn’t be able to do my basketball workouts and please the new coaching staff as well. After two weeks of considering Mr. Eagle’s offer, I decided to do the musical because I didn’t want to look back and regret not doing it. The next problem to tackle was the new coaching staff and my basketball workouts. When I approached Coach Crawley about doing the musical she was very open and accepting to participating in extra-curricular activities outside the basketball court. When she coached at Ohio University Miss Teen USA was on her team so she was very aware of her players being well rounded and interested in other activities.

I was very pleased to hear Coach Crawley’s excitement in her voice. On the other hand she made it very clear to me that I had to get my workouts done if I wanted opportunities to perform. I ensured her that doing both wasn’t a problem and made my way downstairs to the weight room to look at my workout plan. I had it figured out. I would workout in the morning at 10:30 for two hours and then drive back to Waltham for rehearsals, which ended at 10:00 pm. I decided that this was a perfect plan and that’s exactly what I did. For the next month I was running, lifting, and playing basketball in the morning and trading in my basketball shoes for high-heels in the afternoon. In the end, the entire coaching staff came to the theatre and saw me perform on stage. It was a very memorable moment for me and it’s one that I will never forget. Now hopefully I can impress them on the court! I can say this though- there is no better feeling than expressing yourself on stage knowing that months later you can be sweating on the court beating Duke for the first time.

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A different sort of Notre Dame preview and other links

EDSBS is posting season previews from various bloggers using a different sort of template. Here is their look at Notre Dame.


Virginia Tech lost one of its leading receivers.


Steve Logan is considered one of the better offensive minds in college football.


More on Josh Beekman's patience as he works his way up with the Bears.


People are still debating the winners and losers of the ACC expansion.


BC is already looking at a top QB for the 2010 recruiting class.


Am I the last guy to know that one of the WWE's rising superstars is a BC grad? I believe the McMahon kids went to BU. Glad to see they are not letting those ties hold back our Kofi.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Guest Blogger: BC Interruption


Since I am a little busy this week, the guys from BC Interruption have generously offered to help out over here. For those who haven't been paying attention, Brian and Jeff have borrowed Pardon the Interruption's format and tweaked it to fit BC sports and blogging. In this post, they use one of PTI's recurring gimmicks (good cop/bad cop) to debate some of the BC issues of the summer. I provided the "suspects" and cannot thank them enough for their help this week. Without further ado, here's BC Interruption.

Suspect #1: Preseason Magazines picking BC in the bottom of the Atlantic

Brian as good cop: I will reluctantly play the good cop on this one. In the 3 years since the ACC expanded to two divisions, no team has gone from first in their division one year to last the next year (you can thank Duke and NC State largely for keeping teams from achieving this). So why do I agree with these experts and think that BC will pull off this ignominious feat? Lack of offense. BC can no longer ride Matt Ryan's coattails en route to an 11 win season. There are too many questions on offense and special teams that I can't see this team scoring many points. And although BC hosts some of their tougher opponents at home next season - Clemson, Virginia Tech - they have to go on the road to play 3 of their 5 Atlantic opponents, including Wake Forest and Florida State in November. It's possible that BC loses all three of their ACC Atlantic Division road matchups.

Jeff as bad cop: Are you kidding me? These preseason magazines just don't get it. There is no way BC finishes last in our division even though we do play in the more competitive side of the ACC. BC goes on the road to play UNC, Wake, NC State and FSU. Don't even think about arguing that they won't win at least two of those. Then even if they do only win 1 home ACC game they still get to 3-5 and that is good enough to stay out of the cellar. But more realistically they beat Maryland and Georgia Tech at home to get to 4-4. Jeff's Preseason Atlantic division standings - 1) Clemson 2) Wake Forest 3) BC 4) FSU 5) Maryland 6) NC State.

Suspect #2: Tyrese Rice's ability to round out his game

Jeff as bad cop: I found it laughable that Tyrese Rice deciding to stay in school at the end of last season was newsworthy. I mean you don't leave school early to go play in Europe last I checked. Where is Rice going to play in the NBA? Point? I think if he were a little better point guard BC would've won a few more games last year. Shooting guard? Most NBA teams want shooting guards that can either shoot the 3 or have good size for the position. Rice shot the 3 well in one game last year - the UNC game and we all know his size is nothing special. I love to watch Rice play but I don't expect a future NBA star out of him nor do I expect him to last on any postseason award watch lists for long next year.

Brian as good cop: Tyrese Rice will round out his game during his senior year. He'll have more weapons to distribute the ball to which will help his assist total. Rakim Sanders should be more polished after an up-and-down freshman campaign. Add 6'8" Vermont transfer Joe Trapani to the backcourt with Josh Southern, as well as incoming freshmen Reggie Jackson, Evan Ravenel, and Dallas Elmore, Rice should have plenty of young, talented players to work with and distribute the ball. The one question going into next season will be can Rice step up and be the vocal leader of this team. With some help from Skinner and the young players, I expect Rice and the Eagles to win a few more games than last season and for Rice to be in the conversation as a late second round NBA draft pick.

Suspect #3: BC returning to the Frozen Four

Brian as good cop: This suspect is an easy one to play the good cop. BC is going back to the Frozen Four next season. BC only has to replace 6 players (5 seniors and Nate Gerbe) from last season's National championship roster, and they'll easily fill those holes with the return of a healthy Brock Bradford and the nation's #1 ranked recruiting class. Plus don't forget that Boston College's netminder John Muse is only going into his sophomore season. Winning the National championship as a freshman is a huge confidence boost and I expect BC to come out of the gate much stronger than they did last season.

Jeff as bad cop: HELLO! They have to replace Gerbe. They're done. What happened the year after Gionta? No frozen four. Also, the team this year got hot late in order to make it to the frozen four. Wasn't there an OT game against Miami in there? And if BC hadn't beaten UNH in OT in the Hockey East tournament I doubt that they would have ever gone on that postseason run to the national championship. BC was a couple of bad bounces away from no HE Championship, no National Championship and no Frozen Four and next year will be missing their passionate star and therefore will not repeat.

Brian as good cop: Jeff, you need look no further than recent history to predict the Frozen Four field for next season. Over the past 10 years, in 9 of those years Hockey East sent at least 1 team to the Frozen Four (the lone exception? 2005). And in those ten years, Hockey East sent approx 1.6 teams to the Frozen Four. And no team outside of Maine, UNH and BC has represented Hockey East in the Frozen Four in those past 10 years. There will definitely be a Hockey East representative in the Frozen Four, and UNH loses senior goalie Kevin Regan and Maine is still in rebuilding mode. No one reloads year after year as well as Jerry York does, so expect the Eagles to be back in Washington DC come April.

Suspect #4: BC football fans who get married during football season

Jeff as bad cop: If you attended BC and still have friends from BC, why would you possibly get married during football season? Wedding dates are typically set at least a year out and at that point the schedule is not even available. Even if you plan more last minute you still don't know game times until the week prior to the game. Weddings in the fall are just out of the question. How would you like to be the bride at a wedding reception where all the guys in attendance have retreated to their hotel rooms to watch a BC football game? Or at best just hang out in front of the bar by the TV? It would ruin your special day and there is no way to be certain whether or not the game will be on during your reception in advance and what its importance will be. My girlfriend and I had this conversation long before marriage became something even on our radar screen. It was a no brainer that we would get married sometime other than football season or March Madness. We want our day to be special and why ruin it with something as avoidable as the 15 weeks of college football.

Brian as good cop: Yes, I am getting married next fall. Here's the thing: girls dream about when, where and how their wedding will go down for as far back as they can remember. Guys don't dream about such things, they dream about their sports teams winning World Series and Super Bowls. My bride-to-be wants to get married in the fall so there's a little thing about marriage and relationships we like to call compromise. We do have some things going for us: the wedding will be in California so most likely the game will be an early start out West and we can incorporate the game into the day's festivities (she is also a big fan of BC football - we actually met randomly at the 2004 BC v. Penn State home opener - so she is supportive of incorporating the game into the weekend's activities). Very few of our college friends even live in Boston anymore, so it's not like there will be this massive conflict of interest. Read: no one is going to attend a BC football game over going to my wedding. Let's be honest though, it's one day in your entire life where Boston College football can take a backseat to more important things in life. I've attended my fair share of BC football games, especially last year, and can take a BYE week off every now and then.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ryan headed to the Jersey Shore and other links

Ryan is resting up after a wild two months.


Tyrese Rice is ranked as one of the Top 100 NBA prospects. That would mean something if the NBA drafted more than 100 guys. For now all that matters is being a first round draft pick. Rice has a chance to be one, but needs a strong season.


Here's a nice story on future BC baseball player Anthony Melchionda.

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BC's cheering section just got bigger



Baby girl ATL_eagle No. 2 entered the world Monday morning. Mrs. ATL and the new girl are both doing well. Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers.

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