Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jags 2.0 begins with a solid start

One side of the ball looked the same. The other (the offense) was unlike any BC team of the modern era. Good effort from the BC defense. Hats off to them for the shutout. Crane looked more like Tebow than Ryan. BC is now a spread option team. The line looked great. I was pleased with Haden and Jeff Smith. Crane was a bit uneven. He's certainly an athlete and ran well. The passing game looked...raw. But no real complaints about the start. One win down when most of the ACC is struggling.


Sunday, the newest baby girl ATL is getting baptised so the second viewing thoughts might not be up until late Sunday. Leave your thoughts on the game below.

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In-game comments post: Kent State

Another BC season has begun. Let's make it a good one.

I will not be online during the game but feel free to leave your comments and thoughts below.

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The season really comes down to these two guys



Of note: Logan has a pretty good record of making lemonade out of lemons. At ECU he had four losing seasons in 11. In two of those losing seasons his team averaged more than 25 points a game. Let's hope Crane is great and hope that even if Crane is not great Logan can pull off enough tricks to get us some wins.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Get Ready!

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Game Watches: Kent State

The game is on ESPN U, so most of you will have to head to a sports bar. Might as well join other BC fans around the country. Here are the list of game watches. Send me an email or post in the comments if there are others I should know about.

Atlanta Game Watch
[NOTE: NEW LOCATION FROM LAST SEASON]
Famous Pub
2947 N. Druid Hills Rd (Toco Hills Shopping Center)
Atlanta, GA 30329
404-633-3555


Boston Game Watch
Brighton Beer Garden
386 Market Street
Brighton, MA

Chicago Game Watch
Finley Dunnes Tavern
3458 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago


Los Angeles Game Watch
Sonny McLean's
2615 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403


New Jersey Game Watch
Liberty Bar & Grill
61 14th Street
Hoboken, NJ


New York City Game Watch
Thunder Jackson's
169 Bleecker Street

Phoenix Game Watch
Gallagher's Sports Grill
7575 N. 16th Street
Phoenix

San Diego Game Watch
Longboards Bar and Grill
Pacific Beach

San Francisco Game Watch
Shanghai Kelly's
2064 Polk St
Russian Hill District

San Juan, PR Game Watch
Shannan's
Guaynabo

Tampa Bay Game Watch
Champ's
Bay Street at International Plaza
Westshore Blvd. and Boy Scout Blvd.
Tampa


Washington, DC Game Watch
Porter's Dining Saloon
The corner of 19th and M, Sts. NW and is walking distance from the Dupont Circle, Farragut North, and Farragut West Metro stations

Westchester, NY (Unofficial/Informal) Game Watch
Applebee's
18 Saw Mill River Rd
Hawthorne, NY 10532

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Guest blogger: Reverend Mike explains how your game day decisions impact BC football

Reverend Mike is a BC Guy of the highest order. A lawyer by trade, he's also secretly discovered that the little things BC fans do actually impact winning and losing. He's been dispensing this advice on the BC message boards for a few seasons. I thought now was as good a time as any for him to reach out to more BC fans so that we all know the "Dos and Don'ts" of supporting our favorite team.

The Science of Winning, by Reverend Mike, BC Guy '97

Some people rely on horoscopes to foretell the future. Those people (in addition to being half-witted jagoffs) aren't even trying to influence the future. They are just standing next to you at a party that your wife dragged you to, sucking down Ritz crackers, annoying you with their new age prattle, and lazily waiting for the stars to do their thing.

We, as football fans, need to take an active role in the outcome of future events. YOU can influence the outcome of BC football games. And this isn't like some voodoo superstition crap. This is the scientific method, string theory, quantum mechanics, and sunspots being judiciously scooped into a casserole dish to create a delicious 7 layer dip of SCIENCE (although this is more of a 4 layer dip, but you get the point).

"But Mike," you say "I don't even play football. I won't even be at the game. How can I influence the outcome?" First of all, you shut your damn mouth and let me finish. You do the listening, I'll do the sciencing:

Beer
Beer selection is very important. If BC wins when you drink a certain beer, stick with it. And by all means, HAVE A BACKUP BRAND OF BEER IF THE FIRST ONE DOESN'T WORK. Example: BC always wins when you drink Anchor Steam (note: in this example you are a left-coast hippie fruit).

For whatever reason, the science isn't working and you we're down 14 points in the first half. Get up off your hemp-upholstered couch and grab a different brand of beer out of the fridge. And pick something a real man might drink like High Life or Red Dog (disclaimer: I don't think they make Red Dog anymore, but it sounds tough and you need some toughening, Molly).

Switching beer is like calling a timeout just before an opponent's field goal attempt. It really gets the science going. And if switching beer doesn't work, you aren't drinking enough. Bump up the dosage by 150% each hour until we start winning.

(Increasing dosage may have unintended side effects)

Clothes
What you wear matters, so wear winning gear. Don't believe me? Remember Penn State 2003? Yeah, that was me. It was the same maroon golf shirt that I wore during Notre Dame 1999. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Here's another (troubling) example: A friend of mine who is a die-hard LSU fan accidentally touched his wife's Florida Gators hat in the summer of 2005. The result: hurricane Katrina. Too soon? Well, I say it's never too soon for science, you freaking slack-jawed luddite.

And if you have some unlucky clothing, make sure you throw it out. Just because you aren't wearing it doesn't mean the bad science isn't still emanating from it. I left the evil gold shirt from the ACC championship game in a dumpster in Jacksonville.

For the record, the ACC championship wasn't my fault. We all knew the game was over when we took the field with the maroon/white uniforms. That was Jags just blatantly thumbing his nose at science. I'm told that he has since learned humility and embraced the science behind the all white uni's.


Position
Been on the couch for that lousy first half? Try the chair. Chair not working? Pace like a frigging lunatic and mutter unintelligibly under your breath ("stupidfriggingdamndamnDAMN!SNAPTHEBALL!" works for me). Whatever you do, don't sit on the floor. I can't tell you how many blown leads are attributable to careless floormanship. I don't care if you are watching the game in a dojo full of paralympians and toddlers. No floor.

Women
Wife in the house? That's no good. Bad science, always. Persuade her to help the team BY TAKING A HIKE AND GIVING ME TWO HOURS OF PEACE, WOMAN! Try this:

You: Hey, I'm going to be watching the game and you know how I get.
Her: Oh God, is this where you drink beer in your superman shirt and scream at the TV all day?
You: Uh, it's "superFAN" and technically it's an "alumni superfan" shirt so I don't see--
Her: You are an embarrassment.
You: ...
Her: ...
You: I love you.
Her: Shut up, I'm going shopping.
You: Just make sure you go to the ghetto mall and not the fancy one.
Her: Have another Anchor Steam, tinkerbell. This is going to cost you.

...a small price to pay for victory...

(Editor's Note: I am a man of faith and science. Therefore, I'll be wearing my BC whale pants and sitting on the couch.)

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Weekend schedule

While some of you have been reading this blog from the get go, others are new and don't know what I try to do on football weekends. This is a rough schedule that I like to follow. (As the father of two, things are subject to change.)
-- Saturday morningish: The occasional morning post depending on what the quality of the news links.
-- Right before kickoff: In game comments post. The purpose is to open up a post where people can comment during the game. I will not be online during TV games.
-- Saturday afternoon/night: Postgame post. Just a quick take. Comments are always welcome.
-- Sunday afternoon/night/Monday morning: Second viewing thoughts and grades. Newbies to the blog should know that I rewatch each game a second time with a notepad and TIVO. (I need new hobbies.) It is always very enlightening and time consuming. I write it up after and post ASAP.

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Crane ready and other links

Jags made it clear that this is Crane's job. Davis will not get on the field during the second quarter. Crane is ready.


He's got good blindside protection in Castonzo.


Jags is more at ease this year.


The broadcast team for our game will be Clay Matvick and David Diaz-Infante.


Here is an preview of the game from a Kent State perspective.


HD thinks the game will be close. She also noted that Georgia Tech threw the ball much more than anticipated.


At the end of this column, Pat Forde puts out an APB from Brian Brennan. Turns out Brennan is still in Cleveland and doing good things. I bet he'll be at the game Saturday night.


Joliet running back Tyler Hudetz is still hoping to get a BC offer.


Brian St. Pierre continues to play well in Arizona.


New Jersey standout Nyshier Oliver is considering BC.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

BC-Kent State preview

The question of Year 1 was could Jags win with TOB’s players. The question of Year 2 is can Jags win despite the gaps TOB left behind. We start getting answers Saturday night.

Kent State is an ideal team to start the season. While technically a road game, the game will be played in the Browns Stadium in Cleveland. The setting has two advantages:
1. Our players are more familiar with big stages.
2. If the game is close, the half-filled, sanitized environment won’t have the same intensity that Kent State would generate at their home field.

I hope the team uses this as a nice building block to start a memorable campaign.


Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game. “Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis is really short.” Jarvis is 5’5 and looks even smaller when surrounded by his fellow DIA football players. Although he was not highly recruited, Jarvis was far from a under the radar high school player. He tore up the Pittsburgh Catholic League. Big programs were reluctant to give him a shot because he was so small. However, the MAC Thumbelina’s size won’t matter after kickoff. Kent State will either move the ball or they won’t…regardless of his size. My fear is we’ll be hearing how small he is the whole game.

Three simple keys
1. Contain Jarvis. Kent State isn’t expected to air it out. If we stop Jarvis (say hold him to less than 70 yards), we should control the tempo and scoring.
2. Establish the run. Although we had a few games where the team broke 100 yards on the ground last year, it was never easy or methodical. I would like to see us use a combination of the zone-stretch run, a few Crane options and a draw or two to get some confidence in the running game. Our offensive line style is supposed to excel in running the ball. We need to start leveraging that scheme this weekend.
3. Protect the ball. The turnover stories from the scrimmages gave me indigestion. Let’s hope it is out of the system. Each time we turn it over it will be a confidence blow to us and a boon for the Flashes.

Gambling Notes
-- BC is 8-2 in their last ten season openers
-- BC is 3-4 in games played in Ohio
-- BC has only lost once to a MAC team (I don't count Temple or Buffalo's preMAC days)
The current line is BC-10

Factoid
There are now 120 schools playing DIA football. By checking Kent State off the list, BC will have played 64 of them.

Scoreboard Watching
The team we need to follow will be Georgia Tech. But there game is Thursday. So on Saturday pay attention to the Central Florida score. They are just around the corner and it will be interesting to see if their offense takes a step back.

I hope to see…
A conservative, well-played game with mistake free special teams. This doesn’t have to be a message game. Just get out of Cleveland with a clean win.

BC is in trouble if…
Crane turns the ball over early. Matt Ryan threw a pick 6 to start last season. We still won. If Crane does it here, I think the hole will be a little deeper.

Bottom Line
Last year’s opener told us a lot about Jags, Matt Ryan and the season we were about to have. I think this game might tell us as much about this year’s team. Let’s hope it is a solid start. There is no reason BC should lose. We have more talent, experience and have a coaching edge (the master-pupil dynamic with Logan and Martin). I think the defense contains things and while the offense won’t look like Matt Ryan, they play well enough for BC to control the game.
Final Score: BC 27, Kent State 13

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Season prediction Part III: what will happen

I've been going back and forth on this post in my head all summer. What is the difference between going 5-3 in the ACC and 4-4? A lot, actually. 5-3 and the predicted out of conference sweep would put BC in position to win 10 games again. A 5-3, 10 win season probably puts BC in the Top 25 at the end of the season. All big accomplishments for a new coach and a program that continues to be underrated. So will it happen or will BC struggle in a transition year and finish 4-4 in the ACC?

I like the way our schedule plays out (Clemson, ND, VT at home). I like our defense. The big question and what is making this prediction so hard is Chris Crane and the offense. Here is my actual "what will happen" prediction on this season.


At Kent State. Win. We stuff the run, score enough and go home with a nice confidence booster.


Georgia Tech. Win. Another huge schedule break. The Georgia Tech team we face in September will be much different than the one that the rest of the ACC faces in November. Once Paul Johnson has his offense in place they will be a tough out. Thank the schedule makers that we get them at home in week 2 of the Johnson era.


Central Florida. Win. Another schedule break. Facing UCF at home in 2008 is a world of difference from facing UCF's 2007 squad.


Rhode Island. Win. No UMass-type scare from URI. Easy win.


At NC State. Win. This will be a tough game because of the familiarity, but I still think they are missing major pieces.


Virginia Tech. Win. This is the game I've been waffling over. I like that we have them at home. I like that we've beaten them recently and that Spaz seems to have a good handle on their offense. The question is us. Can we score and not screw up on special teams? I say we win this game. A win here and BC starts getting serious national attention.


At North Carolina. Loss. This is the grind of the schedule. Sandwiched between Clemson and VT, I think we drop at game at Chapel Hill. But then again, I am really high on UNC this year.


Clemson. Win. Like VT, this is another game where I could totally be missing the boat. I just like the way we match up with them and I love that the game is at home.


Notre Dame. Win. I've predicted a win over ND in every scenario. I think it is another team we match up favorably against despite ND's probable improvements.


At Florida State. Loss. We've just witnessed three bad years of FSU football. During the same time BC has played some of its best football. Yet we went 1-2 against the 'Noles. I see this as another stumble in the series.


At Wake Forest. Loss. This proves to be a huge loss. Three conference losses keeps us out of the ACCCG and out of a major bowl.


Maryland. Win. I don't have a great read on Maryland nor know what we can expect by November. But I like this game at home and think our D will want to makes amends for last year's embarrassing defensive performance in College Park.


5-3 in the ACC keeps BC out of the January bowls. However, the winning conference record keeps us from falling too far in the ACC Bowl selection process. I think we end up in Nashville playing Tennessee. We beat the Vols to finish the season 10-3. A season like this would leave BC in the Top 25 and be regarded as a strong effort in the post Ryan era.

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Morning roundup

Everyone is talking Toal. First a good feature in the Globe. Toal and Raji's returns are the focus of this article. Jeff Smith is also among the comeback kids.


The leaner Claiborne is ready for his first significant playing time.


The Globe has an overview of the team. We are also young.


Kent State is looking for an upset.


In NFL news, the Lions cut Tyrone Pruitt.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Season Prediction Part II: best case scenario

My best case scenario was fairly close last year. Understanding Jags has me moving the upside even higher this year. Even though the talent may not be equal to last year, I know that aggressive play calling and a good defense may put us on another hot streak. The following could happen if our schedule is filled with paper tigers. Thursday, I'll release my actual predictions.


At Kent State. Win. A good opener. Despite Martin’s familiarity with Logan’s attack, BC’s talent is too much for them. Crane and Haden look good.

Georgia Tech. Win. The Yellow Jackets hold us in check but their offense still looks like the Keystone Cops. BC wins a low scoring ugly game.

Central Florida. Win. A running team plays right into our hand. Another good showing and BC breaks into the Top 25.

Rhode Island. Win. BC controls and Davis gets extended time at QB. Parents go home happy on Parents Weekend.

At NC State. Win. As long as TOB is at NC State and Jags is at BC, this game will mean a lot to both sides. BC wins easily.

Virginia Tech. Win. I think Virginia Tech has a chance to be one of the paper tigers I referenced in the lead. They are replacing a lot of talent and I don’t think much of Sean Glennon. Plus we get them at home. With the win, BC would now be in the top 10.

At North Carolina. Loss. If Virginia Tech is a paper tiger, I think UNC is going to be a real surprise for most folks. They were much better than their record last year and have only added talent since.

Clemson. Win. Another epic where BC comes out on top in the end. I am hoping the difference is Jeff Smith kick return.

Notre Dame. Win. The Irish try to play the spoiler again, but we control throughout. BC is now in the Top 5.

At Florida State. Win. Florida State seems rudderless as BC goes to 2-0 all time in Tallahassee .

At Wake Forest. Loss. Another battle between the two best programs in the Atlantic. BC comes up short. This complicates the division picture.

Maryland. Win. Maryland is sputtering amid another QB change. BC bounces back from the Wake loss and wraps up the division.

ACC Championship vs. North Carolina. Win. BC beats UNC in a rematch and changes the way the nation and casual BC fans view the program.

The Orange Bowl vs. Florida. Win. In what amounts to a road game versus the Gators, BC keeps the bowl streak alive and finishes the season 12-2 and in the Top 5. This epic run brings plenty of accolades to Chris Crane, the defense, Spaz, and Logan. The two impressive years at BC turns Jags into one of the hottest coaching prospects in football.

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What BC fans can do about ESPN U

BC's opener is on ESPN U. It is also likely that one or two more games will also be on ESPN's college channel. If you looked at the basketball schedule, you probably noted a few ESPN U games on there too. Given the ACC's relationship with ESPN, the ESPN U games are not going away. For those of you without ESPN U on your local cable system, that is a problem. Outside of game watches and pestering your cable operator, there are two alternatives.

Satellite: We switched to DirecTV six years ago after a horrible experience with Comcast. It was one of the best decisions we've ever made. I've had access to every sport package imaginable and had very good customer service. ESPN U is part of DirecTV's expanded sports pack. I believe it is also easily available on Dish Network. The sports pack costs an additional $12 a month but that is easily rationalized if you think of the costs of going to a bar. If your cable company is not adding ESPN U anytime soon, I highly recommend DirecTV.

Phone companies: In many areas of the country, your local phone company now offers full TV packages. For many fans in New England and New York, the best bet is Verizon FIOS. Verizon carries ESPN U. AT&T also has their own TV service in certain areas but their default tends to be DirecTV. Qwest seems to refer their users to DirecTV.

If readers have other suggestions or reviews of these different services, leave a comment.

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More Jeff Smith and other links

Anyone who saw Jeff Smith's breakout performance against Clemson in 2006 has been waiting for him to do it again. It looked like injuries would curtail his career. He's back and hoping to make an impact. I am not expecting much offensively. I just want him to provide a spark on special teams.


The Patriot Ledger followed up the Smith article with another on BC's D.


It looks like we are willing to try anything when it comes to the kicking game.


CM's Brennan Williams has narrowed his college choices to BC, Wake and UVA.


Reserve Wide Receiver Dominick Magazu has left the program.


I think Wes Davis will have a huge impact on our season.


This blogger thinks BC basketball can win 20 to 25 games.


Men's soccer begins the season in the top 10 of two polls.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Basketball schedule and other links

BC unveiled the men's basketball schedule. Outside of the preseason NIT, it is the usual slate of ACC games, New England games and the Big Ten challenge game. The NIT is a nice addition as we've recently begged off or have been passed over the more established holiday tournaments. Winning the NIT carries more cache then 10 Island Jams or Vegas Invitationals. The ACC Tournament is in Atlanta, so you're all welcome to crash at my place.


Here's an interview with Jeff Smith. [I had to pull the Jeff Smith video. It was screwing up the page. You can view it here.]


ACC Nation put up their preseason podcast.


A fair bit of intrigue regarding BC Guy and Tom Brady confidant Will McDonough (here and here). My college internship at WEEI overlapped with Will's time there (he was in high school). Even then he was pretty hard working and plugged in...so it's not a Brady thing.

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Defense wins championships keeps teams respectable

One of the reasons my worst case scenario still puts us in a winning season and the reason I remain somewhat optimistic about this year is our defense. Last year BC was 3rd in the ACC in total defense. A winning record is highly likely if they remain that strong. Over the last five seasons only one ACC team that has been among the top three in total defense had a losing record. Take a look.

2007
1. Virgina Tech (11-3)
2. Clemson (9-4)
3. Boston College (11-3)

2006
1. Virginia Tech (10-3)
2. Miami (7-6)
3. Clemson (8-5)

2005
1. Virginia Tech (11-2)
2. Miami (9-3)
3. NC State (7-5)

2004
1. NC State (5-6)
2. Virginia Tech (10-3)
3. Florida State (9-3)

2003
1. Maryland (10-3)
2. Florida State (10-3)
3. Clemson (9-4)

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Season Prediction Part I: worst case scenario

This annual series is my attempt to look at how the season could play out. I always rip off the band-aid and look at the worst case scenario first. I follow with the pie in the sky best case and then finish up with what I think will happen. Because the D is so strong I am not worried about the worst case, but there are enough things in the mix (tough ACC schedule, new QB, etc) that the following could happen.

At Kent State. Win. An ugly season starts with an ugly win. Martin’s guys are ready for Jags and Logan. Crane is shaky and the running game is ineffective. BC squeaks out of a low scoring game in Cleveland.

Georgia Tech. Loss. Misdirection/option style attacks have always given Spaz problems. This year is no different as Paul Johnson picks apart our D again, only this time there is no Dunbar fumble recovery to save the day. The BC offense continues to struggle.

Central Florida. Win. A more conventional attack is a welcome respite. BC wins a low-scoring affair. No one feels great about our QB situation.

Rhode Island. Win. An easy victory over a really bad team. Provides a little false hope for the second half of the season.

At NC State. Loss. Another ugly close game in Raleigh only this time TOB comes out on top. A devastating blow this early in the season and creates plenty of painful “BC should have never let TOB go” narratives for the media.

Virginia Tech. Loss. BC shows some fight but still cannot get a win. Another great defensive effort is wasted.

At North Carolina. Loss. BC’s first three-game losing streak since 1998. Growing call to let Davis start with the hope that he might spark the offense.

Clemson. Loss. BC plays well but loses again. Five losses put the team’s back against the wall. Crane is starting but his play is nothing to write home about.

Notre Dame. Win. The Irish bring out the best in BC. The Eagles rally at the right time and the defense gives Jimmy Clausen trouble. There’s rejoicing around the Heights that things might turn around.

At Florida State. Win. A pretty big upset considering the dreadful October. Attitude among fans is improving.

At Wake Forest. Loss. Another back and forth game with the Deacons. The defense does its job again but the offense and special teams can't take advantage.

Maryland. Win. A must to keep the bowl streak alive. BC wraps up a frustrating regular season and avenges last year’s loss to Maryland.

6-6 is a definite step back but still leaves BC eligible for a bowl. That bowl is likely to be Boise. BC takes on Nevada and wins moving the bowl streak to nine games and keeping the winning season streak to 10.

This would be a frustrating season but at 7-6, it shows that even the worst case is not end of the world.

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Mulrooney to sit and other links

Dan Mulrooney will redshirt this season in part due to a bad back. With the new depth at running back and the emerging talent in the defensive backfield, it makes sense for him to sit. He gets healthy and it offsets the future depth issues.


This Swampscott High School prospect is going to play baseball at BC.


Fontaine explains his decision to bail on BC and attend Georgia.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

QBs that could've been

We are fretting about Chris Crane but sometimes it pays to look back on recruiting and see how BC misses turned out to be blessings in disguise.

For example in 2006 season/2007 recruiting class, fans who follow recruiting felt it was imperative for TOB to bring in a top flight QB. The staff focused on two players: Matt Simms and Stephen Garcia. Neither committed to BC.

Garcia went to South Carolina and has been in trouble from Day 1. He also has been a general screw up on and off the field.


Matt Simms seemed like a slam dunk BC recruit. Bosco QB, father who loved the school and TOB, close to his Jersey home. However, something didn't click and he went to Louisville. Curiously even after TOB left, Simms took a trip down to NC State to talk to TOB and Bible there. I guess he liked them, he just didn't care for BC. In the end it seems like BC got the better of the deal. Simms was suspended for Louisville's first four games for team violations. There is plenty of speculation as to what he did wrong.


And it wasn't just the old regime that lucked out. Before Jags got Davis and Johnson to commit, they went hard after Robert Marve. Marve committed to Miami. He'll also be sitting out their first game of the season.

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Understanding Georgia Tech's offense and other links

Dr. Saturday sums up all the issues surrounding Georgia Tech's transition to Paul Johnson's offense.


Osi Umenyiora's injury opens a door for Kiwi.


Former Eagle Chris Lambert will make his major league debut Tuesday.

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Let's do that again: BC releases revised depth chart

For some reason the first depth chart was incorrect. BC has released another version.

Noticeable correction:
-- Brandon Robinson is back and listed as a starter.
-- Gause and Gunnell are listed as punt returners.
-- Boek and Wes Davis are now listed as Sophomores.
-- Razzie Smith, Jeff Smith, Robinson and true freshman Montel Harris are listed as kick returners.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thoughts on the latest Depth Chart

BC released a new depth chart. It is not labeled specifically for Kent State but is probably very close to what you'll see this week.


Here are my thoughts. Be sure to leave yours in the comments section.
-- Brandon Robinson's missing? Not sure what the story is there. He played in the last scrimmage. No reported injury or suspension. Hopefully this will be clarified this week.
-- The line is (L to R) Castonzo, Ramsey, Tennant, Claiborne, Lapham. Could anyone have predicted that lineup when TOB left? I know our leftside is solid. I think the right side will catch up early in the season.
-- True freshman on the two deep: Cleary, Haden, LeGrande, Johnson, Fletcher, and Quigley. That's six. I am guessing more true freshmen will play. The biggest surprise and good harbinger is Cleary at Right Tackle. Jags keeps comparing him to Castonzo, so maybe he'll be another great BC lineman. Fletcher enrolled early, so his success is not a surprise. Johnson was highly touted so it is nice to see him crack the line up. LeGrande is more of a surprise and another sign that the most recent recruiting class will pay dividends early.
-- Davis as starter. He had a great freshman year and then suffered a terrible injury last year. Now he's won his way back into the starting lineup. Good for him.
-- Akins still at Linebacker. For all the experimentation, Akins is still listed at LB. My guess is that he'll be used in multiple spots.
-- Davis and Boek are both listed as Juniors. Fans hoped both would gain a year of eligibility via their respective medical issues. This still might break their ways and they might still have three years of playing time left.
-- Morrissey breaks into the LB two deep. Williams and Thompson didn't. These guys are all still young but it shows how unpredictable recruiting ratings are.
-- No punt returner listed. I guess we'll find out Saturday.

Stay tuned for any adjustments as the game approaches.

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Mega weekend link roundup

Doug Flutie won't be on ESPN's Thursday night broadcasts. Too bad. I thought Doug did a great job and worked well with James. Fortunately he's still on the ABC show.


More love for our defense from College Football News.


Interesting story on Rich Lapham and his weight loss. I never understood putting fat on guys who were already over 300 pounds.


A state of the ACC article from Tobacco Road.


Guy wants to go to BC. Doesn't get offered a scholarship. Commits to NC State. The BC coaches who dissed him head to NC State. He is out of their QB derby. Transfers to Louisville.


A look at the ACC Atlantic.


I hope Jeff Smith lives up to his potential and stays healthy.


Training camp is officially over. Now the guys are prepping for an actual game.

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Ryan named starter for Falcons

The Falcons named Ryan the starter for their opening game. Shows you can't keep a good BC guy down. Reminder to all BC fans who want to see his first game live -- you can buy tickets at a discount via the BC Club of Atlanta.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Matty highlights and other links

Ryan played well in his first preseason start. Here are the highlights.


BC recruit Sterlin Phifer rushed for 115 yards in his season debut.


College Football News puts Jags in the middle of the pack for college coaches.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Game Watch reminder to all Alumni Clubs

The season opener is on ESPN U. It is also Labor Day weekend. Those two factors mean many Eagle fans will be scrambling to find a place to watch the game. Be sure to send me your local chapter's Game Watch info or post it in the comments section. Also, if you are traveling and going to be in a place where other Eagles might be around (The Cape, The Jersey Shore, etc.) and know of a good place to watch the game, post it in the comments.

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US News rankings and other links

US News & World Report released their latest college rankings. BC came in 34th. We seem to be stuck in that 30-40 range. With every school overly focused on this list, I think you'll see a bottle neck and little jockeying for the next few years.


The ACC Now has a decent outlook on our season.


SI.com thinks Haden is an impact freshman.


Nice article on Gause in the Herald.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

2008 Position Previews: Quarterbacks

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


QUATERBACKS
This is the most athletic group of quarterbacks BC has ever fielded. It is also one of the most inexperienced. There are enough pieces around the team that BC can have a successful season without great QB play. But QB performance will determine a lot. If Crane can surprise, BC could be one of the better stories in football. If he struggles, the program will have its biggest test in 10 years.


Overview
The most recent reports out of practice have me questioning everything. Instead of digging up some factoid about fifth year QBs that will hope to project how Chris Crane will play, I'll just rely on Steve Logan.

"...after the third game you are going to get what you get."
-- Steve Logan


There are many things I like about Chris Crane. There are also an equal amount of concerns. The fact is we don't know what we are going to get. What you hope is that he adjusts quickly and is good. You also hope that Steve Logan will craft a gameplan to what is working. Who knows? This, more than any position or issue since I've been blogging about BC, is a huge crapshoot.


The Players
QB -- Chris Crane, SR, 6'4, 239lbs
QB -- Dominique Davis, FR, 6'4, 198lbs
QB -- Chris Johnson, FR, 6'2, 215lbs
QB -- Justin Tuggle, FR, 6'3, 208lbs

Crane is the Last of the Mohicans sort of speak. TOB had a QB mold and did his best to find QBs for it. Crane is another tall, late-blooming, smart, east coast QB, nutured to be a pocket passer. He's faster and more mobile than his predecessors. He enters the year with one start under his belt (Buffalo 2006). Crane will not throw as often as Ryan and will use more of the spread run plays that are common place in college football. Davis is more raw but has a good arm and good build. Like Crane, he is more mobile than Ryan. Supposedly the coaching staff wants to get him on the field periodically this year. Johnson has some speed but is lacking in arm strength and pocket presence. Tuggle will likely redshirt this year.


Outlook
This summer, I felt good about the QBs. Now after the most recent report, less so. Regardless, all we need is a good game manager. If Crane can minimize the mistakes and move the ball, BC will have a good season. If Davis has to take over for any reason (injuries or poor play), we'll have some definite growing pains.

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Jags throws TOB under the bus and other links

From ESPN.com:
"We're going to have to use a lot of young backs. I was left with none after last year, and that's just the way it is. Same with the offensive line. I've got all freshmen behind them. I guess we will find out how good a coach I am this year."

Regardless of who left what, Jags does have to win this year. Only some excuses will fly. However, I hope those outside the program start to realize what TOB did and did not do.


Great story about walk-on Mark Maglio getting a scholarship. Someone get this kid on Youtube!


BC has one of the best defensive lines in college football.


BC will host the opener of the preseason NIT.

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QB worries, evaluating HD and other links

Hopefully practice makes perfect because practices are not going well. Even Jags -- who is usually an optimist -- is worried. There is something to be said for going against a good D, but the offense has work to do before Kent State. Maybe we will be a running team this year.


Good feature on Herzy. The D is ready, deep and talented.


Evaluating HD
As mentioned, ESPN blogger Heather Dinich was on campus Wednesday. BC fans are starved for content so I appreciate her output. Mixed bag for the actual posts. Very good feature on Crane and one on Wes Davis. The Toal and Flutie stories slipped a little to much into cliches we've read about both over and over. Although not every post is Pulitzer worthy, I am glad she's providing BC coverage at ESPN.com.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dinich and Jags and other links

Dinich posted her first BC piece of the day. In it Jags gets a little defensive about last year's running game.


The Toal story sounds more optimistic in the Herald than it did in the Globe.


BC field hockey player Kathleen Murphy serves as a great example of toughness and heart.

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Replacing a QB, Part 5: Life after Flutie

Whatever the general expectations are for this season, Chris Crane has nothing to complain about. If he thinks he has big shoes to fill, he needs to talk to Shawn Halloran. Halloran had to follow the productivity and the school-changing legend of Doug Flutie. Over the course of his career, Halloran acquitted himself well, but his first year as a starter was rough.

What happened in 1985?
Bicknell kept the Flutie offense in place. Despite missing out on a bowl BC still played in 12 games (they were part of the Kickoff Classic), so Halloran actually threw as many passes as Flutie did in the ’84 season: 423. It’s what happened to those passes that became the story. Halloran did not come close to Flutie’s 60% completion rate, only threw for 13 TDs and had 23 INTs. The passing yards declined from 3,634 to 2,935. More worrisome, the points per game fell from 37.4 to 18.5 points a game. BC followed its best season of the modern era with a disappointing 4-8 record.

What is different for 2008?
Although there was some talent left on defense (Ruth, Romo, etc) most of the skill position heroes from 1984 were gone. Crane inherits most of Ryan’s receivers. Also, the offense will adjust to Crane’s skill set. One of Halloran’s challenges in 1985 was that the schemes were often the same as 1984 yet he didn’t have Flutie’s mobility nor accuracy. Unless he proves to be more capable than he's playing now, it is highly unlikely Crane will be in the pocket chucking it 50 times a game like Ryan. Halloran was also younger and less experienced than Crane will be heading into this season. Although bigger than Doug, Halloran was not the same sort of athlete Flutie was. Crane is actually more athletic than Matt Ryan.

What is the same for 2008?
The defense will have to carry the team. Unlike the post Foley era, the Flutie transition and the Ryan transition will happen under the same head coach and same offensive coordinator.

Conclusion
Things won’t be as messy as they were in 1985. The schedule sets up better, the skill positions and offensive line sets up better and the defense should be very good. Although Crane lacks game experience, he won’t be as raw as Halloran was when he first started. If we go 4-8 this year, it won’t Chris Crane’s fault. Many other things will have gone wrong.

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Dinich in Chestnut Hill

My Everyone's favorite ESPN blogger is at BC Wednesday. Check out this blog and her blog for updates.

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Cool poster and other links

Here is the 2008 Football poster. (Thanks to the Wiz for the tip.)
(click picture to enlarge.)


Toal is getting second opinions on his injury. Not good...but I think Raji's return is much more important. We still have decent depth at LB.


BC is the marquee game on UMass's home basketball schedule.


Recruiting updates: Dillon Romain and Kyle Koehne.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Media training and other links

Over the years, the football players have come off very well in interviews. They're engaging, articulate and never really say anything controversial. This is in part due to the culture of the program and the type of guys BC recruits. It's also in part due to the support they get from Sports Information and Marketing. For example, BC brought in media trainers for the team Monday. I am sure the individual sessions were short, but it is just another little thing that BC does to help these guys succeed on and off the field. (I also wonder how close these sessions are to the scene in Bull Durham: "You're gonna have to learn your clichés...")


The New York Times has Clemson as the 11th best team in college football.


Matt Ryan will start the Falcons next preseason game and has the inside track at starting the opener.


This is another overview of the team.


One of my favorite bloggers, Matt Hinton, moved from SMQ to Yahoo. In his debut he assess the various QB issues around the ACC.


Two BC targets (Luke Kuechly and Pat Muldoon) are among the best prospects in Cincy.


New York baseball recruit Matt McGovern is committed to BC.

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What to make of the scrimmage schedule

While the team continues to practice, they have curtailed scrimmages. Jags hopes to use the extra time to prep for Week 2 opponent Georgia Tech's unique offense.

A few fans are fretting that this team and its new QB need more scrimmages. Crane himself has said he hasn't been in enough "live" situations. I am not that concerned. Team practices include enough full contact, 11-on-11 drills to get the team ready. Plus Jags 2008 scrimmage timeline is not that different from recent seasons.

2007
Final Scrimmage: August 19
First Game: September 1


2006
Final Scrimmage: August 21
First Game: August 31


2005
Final Scrimmage: August 24
First Game: September 3

2004
Final Scrimmage: August 24
First Game: September 2

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Checking in on local recruits and other links

This is not a banner year for Massachusetts high school football talent. However, BC is in talks with the remaining uncommitted players.


Brian St. Pierre looks like he'll make the Cardinals roster.


Cherilus played better in his second outing with the Lions.


Tim O'Shea has a long road ahead trying to build Bryant up.


BC's marketing partner Fenway Sports Group is expanding west.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Attention BC fans: Watch Matt Ryan's potential NFL debut with other SuperFans

If you're a BC fan in the southeast or up for a road trip from other parts of the country, the BC Club of Atlanta and the Atlanta Falcons have put together a great package for the Falcons' first game. Here are the details:
Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions
Season Opener - Sunday, September 7, 2008
1:00pm Georgia Dome
Tickets are $54 (28% off)
**Matt Ryan Starting Position Tentative**

The Boston College Alumni Association of Atlanta and the Falcons are teaming up to support Matt Ryan by offering discounted tickets for Ryan's first game in the NFL. Wear your maroon and gold and be there when the Falcons display the welcome sign at the Georgia Dome for the Boston College Alumni Association!

In addition to cheering on Matt, you can also cheer for fellow Boston College 2008 1st round NFL draft pick Gosder Cherilus who will start on the Lions offensive line this season.

Tickets are limited, so grab yours now and show your support for the BC phenomenon Matt Ryan.


Details on how to purchase tickets are here.


Gosder Cherilus is also likely to see the field that day.


Matt knows we care and sent this along:

To the Boston College Alumni Association of Atlanta:

I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for supporting me as I enter my first NFL season with the Atlanta Falcons. It means a lot to know that there will be a group of BC Alumni cheering me on during the first game of my career. I can only hope that my time here in Atlanta will be as personally and professionally successful as my time was at BC. Hopefully at some point in the future, I?ll have the opportunity to meet and thank each of you in person. In the meantime, enjoy the game and go Falcons!

Again, thank you for all your support.

Matt Ryan


Thanks to Kyla and Mike from the BC Club for putting this together.

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Mega weekend link roundup

Mike McLaughlin's captaincy is very telling. Not only do his teammates see him as a leader (even as a JR) but I also think they think he'll have a good year. Traditionally unexpected captains have been early indicators that the players knew a guy was going to step up in a big way.


Nice story on late bloomer Ron Brace. He's another example of why recruiting is such a crap shoot. Brace didn't even start playing football until high school.


The offense is still working out the kinks.


Max Holloway looks like another true freshman ready to play.


The walk-ons always provide a good story.


The New York Times looks at our opponent Virginia Tech.


Yet another Chris Crane emerging from the shadows story.


The Globe posted a Billy Flutie story...five days after the Herald's story.


BC recruit Sterlin Phifer is ready for a big senior season.


Kent State prepped for BC with their first scrimmage.


Former Eagle Drew Locke is hanging in there with the Dodgers organization.


This is a different sort of interview as Brian Toal joins USC linebacker Brian Cushing for an interview with the New York Post.


The Bay Area media loves the Ricky Brown story (here and here).


BC field hockey captian Chelsey Feole is a key member of the Under 21 National team.


Sad news as a soon to be BC senior died over the weekend in a boating accident.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

2008 Preseason Blogpoll

I am participating Blogpoll again. For those new to this blog, the Blogpoll was established a few years ago by a Michigan blogger. Unlike the more established polls it discusses bias and asks the voters to justify their ballots. I've been the lone BC voter since its inception. This year I have company.


My preseason ballot is about forecasting. Once the games start I switch to an accomplishment heavy ballot. I'll try to explain week to week why I did what I did. I keep participating in the Blogpoll because I enjoy the dialogue amongst the bloggers, however, the exercise of voting has actually made me a hard line believer in a playoff. I watch a ton of football during the year, yet rarely can justify half of the teams I've placed in the ballot.


Below is my first take on the season. I left a few comments along the way. Feel free to share your two cents in the comments section.

2008 Preseason Blogpoll Ballot
1. Georgia -- the right team and coach at the right time. Their schedule is brutal but I think they get through it with just one loss and end up winning it all in the championship game.
2. Southern Cal -- not as sure about the Trojans but don't think much of the Pac 10 this year. If they get by Ohio State, they'll cruise the rest of the season.
3. Florida
4. Clemson -- everyone is doubting Clemson. I am not. Clemson has weaknesses but they also have more talent than any other team in the ACC. If Bowden cannot win the ACC this year, they need to can him.
5. Oklahoma
6. Missouri
7. Ohio State
8. Kansas
9. Texas Tech
10. LSU
11. Oregon
12. Wake Forest -- great coach, good returning talent. If not for a top heavy Atlantic, I would project Wake to be a top 10 team.
13. Auburn
14. West Virginia
15. Tennessee
16. Boston college -- one of the best Ds in the country. I still don't know what to make of the offense.
17. BYU
18. Utah
19. Alabama
20. Virginia Tech -- I think they'll win their division but they are only the fourth best team in the conference.
21. Texas
22. California
23. South Carolina
24. Fresno State
25. Michigan State

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Oops at Fenway and other links

Fenway's debut as host of the ACC baseball tournament will have to wait one year. Seems there was a scheduling conflict. How was this not uncovered earlier?


Fox considers Jags one of the coaches on the rise. (Thanks to Kevin for the link.)


Realfootball365 has an early summary of our verbal commitments to date.


While I type away in my spare time, this BC guy is actually covering the news here in Atlanta.


You don't mess with Brian St. Pierre without Kurt Warner getting in your face.


Matt Ryan is winning over his teammates. But the Fantasy experts remain skeptics. (Thanks to Tom and BCMike for the links.)

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Captain Crane and other links

The team voted Chris Crane and Mike McLaughlin captains for this season. It may seem inconsequential, but I find it to be a good sign that the players have confidence and like their new QB.


The defense continues to tear apart the offense. You can read recaps here (Globe), here (Herald), and here (bceagles.com). Don't read too much into this...a very similar thing happened last season.


The team took pictures Thursday. As far as guys who won't be photographed...Patrick Neumann is not on campus. No link yet. I've heard various rumors but nothing troublesome to BC. Regardless with a recruiting class of 29, any program is going to have some washouts.


Neutral parties think BC and ND are rivals. (Thanks to Dan for the link.)


Former Eagle Brian Leetch is a soon to be Hall of Famer.


Here is an interview with Ryan from The Sporting News. (Thanks to Mike for the link.)


The ACC Football Report posted their BC preview.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Replacing a QB, Part 4: Life after Foley

Although he didn’t get the national acclaim of Doug Flutie, Glenn Foley’s time at the Heights was almost as important. He, along with Tom Coughlin, helped spark a BC football renaissance after the final Bicknell years. In his final year BC went 9-3 and upset No. 1 Notre Dame. The team averaged 34 points a game and Foley threw for 3,397 yards.

Who followed Foley?
Mark Hartsell. Hartsell was a local product with a big frame and an even bigger arm. His first year as a starter was on the frustrating side. He completed 159 of 257 passes and was responsible for 1,864 yards of total offense. The offense also regressed in 1994, averaging only 22.6 points a game. With an inconsistent attack, the team fell to 7-4-1.


What is different for 2008?
Hartsell was not a great QB, but a coaching change also played into his struggles. For all his supposed offensive acumen, the play calling and QB coaching under Dan Henning was curious. Henning’s gameplans became utterly predictable and Hartsell often looked lost out there.

What is the same for 2008?
Great returning Tight End. Check. Veteran D expected to carry the team. Check. Holes to fill at running back. Check. The situation that Crane is stepping into certainly has many of the same elements as the Foley-Hartsell transition.

Conclusion
Hartsell’s first year as starter was my first as a BC student. I remember the overwhelming frustration amongst all the fans. I don’t expect a similar outcome this year. While 1994 and 2008 have some spooky parallels, Crane is a fifth year Senior and working with his same offensive coordinator. We will probably see an offensive drop off, but nothing close to the 12 point-decline that happened 14 years ago.

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Akins adjusting and other links

No story from the Globe or Herald. Thankfully bceagles.com and ESPN filed practice reports. Akins seems to be adjusting to corner without issue.


BC decommit Arthur Fontaine commited to Georgia. Call it sour grapes, but I am not too concerned about Fontaine.


Here's an article on the development of Claiborne and Flutie.


This article on Will Blackmon really bugged me. He was afraid of punt returning during his time at BC!! Why didn't the coaches do something about that? Glad to see he is adjusting now. Will's a good guy.


The Islanders named BC Guy Scott Gordon head coach.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Boss's kid and other links

Arnold and Maria's kid couldn't get in to BC, but Springsteen's son did. Evan will be a freshman this fall. I eagerly await Bruce's pregame intros on ESPN.


Interesting article on Billy Flutie, including the mention that he tried to get another shot at QB. I've wondered what the emergency QB situation would be this season. If something happened to both Crane and Davis, would they move Boek back? Go with Johnson? Burn Tuggle's redshirt? Does Flutie move over? Let's hope we don't get to that situation.


The Globe is relaunching their college blog. This is either the third or fourth iteration of it. What I hope they understand is for it to be a success, they need steady, good content and prominence within Boston.com. Does anyone expect it to work this time?


Patrick Muldoon is still considering BC.


Former Eagle Jason Delaney is working his way through the Pirates' minor leagues.


BC Guy Tom Pelissero is on the Favre/Packer beat.


Want to read a longish explanation of which conference is the best? Although this reinforces the SEC's dominance, it does go against the general perception and recognize the strength of the ACC.


Matt Ryan's NFL highlights for those who missed it. (Thanks to Alex and Jonathan for the link.)

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Monday, August 11, 2008

BC Guy in Bristol and other links

Have you seen the ESPN ads for the new live SportsCenter? In this version, recent BC grad Mike Gualtieri makes an appearance. He's the guy in blue opposite the main speaker.

With all the BC folks at ESPN, you'd think we'd get more respect from the worldwide leader in sports.

Josh Beekman played well this weekend. The Bears are dealing with numerous injuries on the line, so Beekman should get some playing time this year.


Jerry York is getting commitments from kids who are still a few years away from college.


BC is still in the mix for Florida QB prospect Nico Flores.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Scrimmage and Media Day roundup

Crane seems pretty at ease about replacing Ryan. [EDITED: the embedded code was not working. Go to the NESN page to view.]


Here is the ACC's preview of BC. It includes links to video packages on the team.


With the Globe's coverage being so inconsistent this summer, we're fortunate bceagles.com has somewhat filled the gaps. This is their coverage of the scrimmage and their summary of the Media Day.


In addition to the usual outlets, some other local media also showed up for Media Day, including the Patriot-Ledger.


The consesus among the regular media members was that the defense looked better in the scrimmage. (Herald's notebook and the Globe's feature.)


Young guys are making an impression in camp. Nathan Richman is standing out amongst the redshirt freshmen linemen. Haden is playing like a vet. Although not featured in a particular article, Max Holloway is also getting good reviews.


As for future Eagles, it is looking like Arthur Fontaine is a lost cause (here and here).

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The other ATLeagle looked very good in his debut

I am still not used to seeing him in the red and black.


For those who missed, it Ryan made his NFL debut Saturday night. As expected he was a little off with his first two throws and then settled in for a solid few series. The most impressive aspect to me was his relative calm. Jax jumped offsides a few times and Matt was stripped in the motion of throwing. Each time there was a breakdown, he reacted properly and made the smart play.


He looked so good, even his biggest critics are coming around.


This season might be better than expected.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Crane, Castonzo and other links

After a fairly quiet week from the Globe they finally produced a Crane feature. I found Logan's timeline on Crane's progress to be the most interesting aspect of the piece.
"The first game is huge," said Logan. "In the second game we're expecting a huge improvement, and in the third game we're looking for an even more polished product, and after the third game you are going to get what you get."
Circle the Central Florida game as it will tell us what sort of season Crane will have.


Castonzo got the star treatment from the Herald.


Weather continues to plague the practices. Also of note, Jags is holding a press conference at noon ET on Friday.


Josh Haden is considered a freshman to watch.


Eric Reynolds explains why he took a detour to Temple. As rumored, academics were involved.


BC is recruiting Connecticut LB Khairi Fortt.


Tim Hasselbeck has joined ESPN and will be featured on their various outlets.


Cherilus struggled in the Lions first preseason game with mental mistakes. I don't think that really comes as a surprise to BC fans.


BC Guy Kenny Florian is working his way up the ranks in UFC.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Musical Chairs at Running Back and other links

The notes section in this Herald article updated the ever-changing running back situation. Razzie Smith's move to Running Back looks more permanent, Mulrooney is nursing a bad back and Codi Boek has been moved to Running Back. Smith is not a surprise. The Boek move has more implications. It means that Dominique Davis is likely successor to Crane next year at QB and that the true freshmen running backs might not be ready. Our once barren backfield is now crowded with Jeff Smith, Razzie Smith, Boek, Haden, Mulrooney, Harris and Kelly. Haden is playing for sure. Jeff Smith will play if he stays healthy. But with the new depth, there is less of a need to use Harris and Kelly. It should be interesting to see how this plays out.


Here is another practice update from BC that includes pictures.


Jamie Silva is fighting for a roster spot in Indy.


The Globe didn't have any football news Thursday, but they did have a nice feature on BC soccer player Steve Hepburn

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

More slights from the mainstream media and other links

SI ranks us at 48th. 48th!?! I don't get it...everyone loves our D and thinks Logan is a genius. How does that equal 48th?


Also in the no respect column: HD ranks Jags as 11th best in the ACC. She is becoming more ESPNish every day.


The National Championship BC Hockey team was part of this offbeat online tournament...and lost. See for yourself. (Thanks to Sal for the link.)


Do you ever fly AirTran? You might be sitting next to Matt Ryan on your next flight.

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Questions facing BC and other links

No BC coverage from the Globe or Herald this morning. Terrible. Thankfully a paper in Georgia can take the time to write a BC article.


Jags moved practice to the turf on Tuesday.


HD seems to be hedging in her assessment of BC. All the responses here are fairly positive, yet earlier in the week she pegged BC for 8th in the conference and harped on Ryan and TOB. If you want to talk ACC Football with her, ESPN is having a Dinich chat at noon ET on Wednesday.


The trial of the trooper involved in the Cherilus fight is becoming a he said, he said.

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Dudley back in Boston

Here is a clip of Jared Dudley at a basketball camp. He gets everyone up to date on his career and his appreciation for the people of Boston.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

College Football News see what the rest of the media doesn't and other links

I've shared my growing optimism as the season approaches. Joining me on the contrarian side is College Football News (which falls under Fox Sports' umbrella). They have BC in their Top 20. CFN's Pete Fiutak explains his strong opinion with the same logic many of us are using:
Virginia Tech at No. 15 is probably getting by on reputation, while Boston College, a team with far fewer question marks than the Hokies, is ranked 31st. If the preseason rankings are supposed to be based on how good the teams are, this is one of the biggest gaffes.

Why aren't more people picking up on the fact that our D should be excellent? (Thanks to Thomas and Paul for the links.)


Speaking of disrespect, HD follows up he jab from Monday with her first Power Rankings. BC is 8th.


Here is a bio on Tyrese Rice from the Sporting News' new daily email. (Thanks to Mike for the link.)

Craig Smith underwent knee surgery. Let's hope this doesn't sideline him too long.


BC target Arthur Fontaine is making a return trip to Georgia. Pray for rain.

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Guest Hockey Blogger: Mook Williams' summer update part II

This is part two of Mook's summer update. In this portion he gets us up to speed on the new faces.

ATL_eagle: What about the incoming players. Who will make an impact right away?

Mook Williams: What additions are coming in? Well, let's start with an unusual one - Brock Bradford. Now here's a guy who really fell on hard luck in 07-08. Brock suffered from not one, but TWO distinct and unrelated broken arm injuries. Together, these injuries took Brock from being a guy who was expected to be one of the team leaders in 07-08 and transformed him into a guy who was forced to contribute off the ice only. BC was able to obtain a medical redshirt for Bradford for 07-08, thereby saving a year of eligibility in case Brock wanted to play for BC in 2009-10 (just a hunch, but I would be surprised to see the Bruins property playing for BC beyond this season). More newsworthy than the red shirt, however, was the fact that the team elected Bradford as its Captain for 08-09. There's no question that Bradford is a highly skilled two-way player, but to be voted Captain after missing most of the previous season certainly is something special, and HAS to tell you something about this guy. It's tough to guarantee anything for a guy coming off serious injuries, and he'll have to re-adjust, but I look at Bradford as a major addition to the 08-09 squad, and quite frankly, I expect him to be in the top 10 of most / all Hockey East offensive stat categories, in addition to +/- .

Now what about the freshman class? If you didn't know anything about BC's incoming freshman class, and only read the above, you'd already think BC was in good shape for 08-09. Here's the great news - by all accounts (and I certainly am no "recruit-nik" so none of the accounts are mine) BC has a stellar incoming freshman class. Here are the guys coming in:
Tommy Cross - 6'3, 210# - D - Simsbury, CT
Ed Shea - 6'0, 180# - D - Shrewsbury, MA
Barry Almeida - 5'9, 185# - F - Springfield, MA
Jimmy Hayes - 6'5, 210# - F - Dorchester, MA
Paul Carey - 6'1, 190# - F - Weymouth, MA
Malcolm Lyles - 5'10, 177# - D - Miami Gardens, FLA (yes you read that right)
Cam Atkinson - 5'8, 165# - F - Greenwich, CT
Tommy Atkinson - 5'8, 165# - F - Greenwich, CT
Chris Venti - 6'0, 170# - G - Needham, MA

Three of these guys have already been drafted by NHL teams: Cross, Hayes, and C. Atkinson, while most of the rest are highly regarded. Comparing the incoming guys with the outgoing guys...the numbers don't match up, do they? There are far more guys coming in than leaving. This can only mean the following: an every-week competition for some guys to play themselves onto the ice on Friday and Saturday night and out of the stands in a suit-and-tie. If even half of the new guys coming in play solid hockey, you are going to have good hockey players on the sideline for each and every game this season. DEPTH is going to be one of BC's best attributes this season, save for the goaltending position. Injuries happen, and when they do, BC will be one of the best, if not the best, teams in the NCAA to deal with them. Heck, their own captain already has successfully fought through two serious ones in the same season himself.

ATL_eagle: Anything else we should know?

Mook Williams: Two other random notes: the NCAA championship banner will be raised prior to BC's first home game on October 10 against Wisconsin, and BC will be playing two exhibition games in Canada over winter break due to a too-long gameless stretch on the schedule, If Nathan Gerbe stayed on for his senior season, I would have said that there's no way that BC loses more than 5 games in 08-09. With Gerbe gone, this team will be more "normal," for sure, but still one of the top five teams in all the land. I look for this team to be there in the Frozen Four in Washington DC come April 2009, and be the favorite to win it all.

NOTE TO ALL CHICKEN LITTLES: Hopefully, after three successive seasons in a row where BC slumped somewhere in the middle but turned it on at the end to reach the national title game, the pattern of bashing the team in early February and no-showing games (ahem, "Super"fans) will go by the wayside. The talent and heart on this 08-09 BC team guarantees them to be a threat to win it all, even if they just sneak into the NCAA tournament as the last at-large bid. From both a talent and intangibles perspective, this team should never be counted out. I apologize for the "fluff piece" tone of this article, but apart from the usual issues of chemistry and balanced play that all championship-caliber teams experience, and the minor questions surrounding Bradford's comeback, I see very few weaknesses for this squad. This lack of cynicism is very non-attorney-like, but I have to call 'em as I see 'em. To those expecting more negativity, I apologize - maybe try me next time.

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First Day roundup and other links

Grapevine stuff I heard was that practice went well, although there is definitely a different vibe without some of last season's vocal leaders.


The Herald produced some solid work, including a piece on Crane and a notebook. The Globe disappointed with a mail in job from Blaudschun. Did he even need to go to campus to slap that thing together?


Fortunately BC supplemented the coverage with a quick recap and a nice photo gallery.


Here is the New York Times' look at Wake Forest.


Kent State is excited about their new punter.


Checking in with former BC DB Jonathan Ordway.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Good ESPN, Bad ESPN

I've been surprised by how little attention the Raji-Brace combo recieved in the national publications. ESPN's Bruce Feldman rectified that by calling them one of college football's best-kept secrets. If you haven't read Feldman's book on recruiting yet, go out and pick up a copy. Great read and insight into the recruiting world. (Also, keep an eye on Chip Kelly -- the first guy mentioned in the article. You never know who will end up where.)


On the flip side, I had to mention HD's passing swipe at BC in this post.

Chris Crane won't make you forget Matt Ryan, and Jeff Jagodzinski won't make Eagles fans forget Tom O'Brien.
Poor form and really her first misstep since launching the ACC blog. I hope she doesn't fall into a rut with the BC narrative. Close observers know how BC fans feel about TOB. And no one expects Crane to be Ryan.

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Guest Hockey Blogger: Mook Williams' summer update part I

Football is not the only season approaching. With a National Championship to defend, I thought we'd check in with BC Hockey Guy Mook Williams. Here is part one of his update.

ATL_eagle: What's happened since Denver? What departures were big deals? What other roster issues do we need to know about?

Mook Williams: Other than the post-championship news that superstar Junior forward Nathan Gerbe would be leaving for the Buffalo Sabres organization and the team's visit to the White House and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, there has been little news coming from the Boston College hockey program during the summer of 2008 (this is a good thing). Beyond Gerbe, the Eagles lost the following players to graduation:
-- Mike Brennan (D)
-- Matt Greene (F)
-- Pat Gannon (F)
-- Dan Bertram (F)

Backup goaltender Andrew Margolin is also rumored to be transfering away from the program (frankly, no one blames him considering if he stayed he'd be a career backup to John Muse). Finally, BC was able to obtain a medical redshirt for injured forward Brock Bradford.

Other than Margolin, who saw little action behind "Iron Horse" John Muse during 2007-2008, BC's losses to graduation / early departure are significant. Each one of the skaters that departed were standout leaders on the squad, starting first and foremost with now ex-Captain Mike Brennan, the anchor of the Eagle blue line corps. Setting Gerbe's NCAA best offensive skills aside for a moment, the Eagles are also losing a handfull of guys with grit, hustle, and finely-tuned defensive awareness. These special attibutes have always stood out during the Jerry York era, and when present, perfectly compliment the annual BC scoring barrage. Some BC teams have these qualities in spades, while others have to work hard to develop them. Losing a bunch of "glue guys" at once should present a challenge for the guys remaining on the team, even considering how promising the 08-09 squad looks.

I'm not particuliarly worried, however. Why? Well, let's start between the pipes - John Muse showed the heart of a champion against UNH in the Hockey East semifinals, and played outstanding hockey from that point until the final seconds against Notre Dame in the National Championship game. His performance against UNH and Miami of Ohio are certainly two of the greatest goaltending performances in BC history, and were borne from precise positioning in the crease, focus, and mental toughness. Muse had plenty of opportunities to let down in tough situations in March 2008, but he simply did not. Take all of this and add in the fact that he already showed he is capable of logging every minute in a season during his freshman campaign, and you have a solid foundation for a top-contending team. Make no mistake about it, Muse isn't the second coming of Rick DiPietro or Cory Schneider skills-wise, but the half-second or so he lacks in pure talent he makes up for in many other ways.

OK, the goaltending outlook is sunny, both on talent and intangibles, so what about the returning skaters? Well, there are a number of guys that stand out in terms of having talent and intangibles. Nick Petrecki - how did you like his postseason play, especially with how he stood up to Miami of Ohio at the beginning of that contest and told them "you are not pushing BC around tonight?" He's your 08-09 blueline monster. Ben Smith, Brian Gibbons, Joe Whitney - these three guys should pursue careers in standup comedy once their hockey-playing days are over, because their timing in making big plays is impecable, and they know how to finish strong. Maybe the star of Gerbe was glowing too bright for the nation to take much notice of these three Eagle forwards, but I sure was watching, and so were the Hockey East coaching staffs. I expect all three to have big years on both ends of the ice, improve their games, and continue their quiet dominance of the opponents (although, they won't be able to stay on the DL much longer, sorry to say). Although others do deserve mention, I can't end this paragraph without saying a word about Milton Ontario's Matt Price. Although his pure stats from last season don't tell this story, I witnessed Price as one of the key cogs in BC's puck possession scheme during the latter half of the season and during the postseason. Price carried the puck and gained possession of the puck in many key moments in BC's late season run, and wasn't afraid to pay the price(seriously, that pun was SO unintentional) when ganing the offensive zone for the Eagles. Each and every year BC's mantra is "push the puck, cycle, push the puck, cycle," and Price was one of the understated reasons as to why the BC system succeeded with this philosophy in March and April of 2008.

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Globe/Boston.com ignores first day of practice

Entering a season with plenty storylines, you'd think the Globe would put something up on the start of practice. Yet there's nothing. I know space can be an issue for the print edition, but there is no reason Boston.com doesn't have something.


Fortunately the Herald delivered. Conroy wrote a "Five Questions" piece that satiates the diehards and gets the casual BC fan up to speed.

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Big issues as practice begins

Practice officially begins Monday. The staff has a million things they want to accomplish before the Kent State game. Here are three big issues that are on my mind.

Determine which freshmen can play this year.
Depth is an issue this year. At least six true freshmen should play, 10 are probably needed and you could see as many as 14 used depending on how they adjust and what injuries the team encounters. New punter and potential kicker Quigley is a definite. Haden is lock to play too. You’ll probably see four defensive backs play. At least one other running back will be needed…but all three true freshmen running backs could play. Defensive Line will also have some opportunity for the young guys.

Getting the offense to click.
Although the team installed a new offense, lacked a running game and was learning a new style of blocking, the 2007 offense clicked from the opener. Now they know the offense, but are replacing many critical pieces. As a group they looked decent in the Spring Game, but that wasn’t the finished product. Crane needs to mirror Ryan’s ability to hit the short routes and mix in the deep threat. Someone needs to step up in the running game to relieve pressure on Crane. And finally, the right side of the line will be untested. If they don’t step in successfully, it will not matter what Crane and the running backs do.

Deciding who’s who on special teams.
Ok, so Quigley is the punter…we think. Flutie was listed on the depth chart. Bennett and Aponavicius are the kickers...unless Quigley can do that too. Jeff Smith is the kick returner if he stays healthy. Who else will be back there with him? Gunnell? Robinson? Mulrooney? Haden? Who is returning punts? Mulrooney practiced the role last year. I assume he’ll be in the mix. Robinson will probably get a shot. They could use one of the young guys looking to prove himself (Lindsey? Fox? Gause?). Or maybe Smith could return punts too. Jags and Yanowsky will be busy guys the next four weeks.

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