I'll have second viewing thoughts after January 1 and Year in Review stuff over the next two weeks. Happy New Year. 2009 should be interesting.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
OFFICIAL NASHVILLE PREGAME
The Tennessee Chapter of Boston College Alumni would like to invite you to the official BC tailgate before the Music City Bowl on Dec 31st. It will be held at http://www.oneeleven.com/. OneEleven is on top of Big River Grill on 2nd and Broadway. This is a terrific place to hang out with fellow BC fans before the game. It will be a kid friendly environment that will feature the BC band and cheerleaders at 12pm. All of the food, soda, and beer you can consume will be available for a low price of $30. Please sign on to the BC website ahead of time or you can pay at the door that day. This place is a short walk across the pedestrian bridge to the stadium. We look forward to seeing you there!!!
Atlanta Game Watch
2947 N. Druid Hills Rd (Toco Hills Shopping Center)
Atlanta, GA 30329
Chicago Game Watch
Finley Dunnes Tavern
3458 N. Lincoln Avenue
New York City Game Watch
3rd Ave & 17th Street
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
Basketball kept focused and handled San Francisco Monday. One more tune up before UNC on Sunday.
Five years from now: I think Sean will be out of the league. I hope I am wrong, but I just don’t see the drive he’ll need to succeed. Every guy in the NBA is very good. To hang around you need to be either uniquely skilled and/or extremely driven. I just don’t see it in Sean Williams.
This year's edition of the Music City Bowl won't be as lucrative as past years.
The BC Band also took part in the festivities.
Jags is relaxed about the game.
Monday, December 29, 2008
1. Scoring points have been an issue and QB play has been inconsistent. What should BC fans expect when Vanderbilt is on offense?
VSL: Unfortunately, not very much. Offensive Coordinator Ted Cain’s play-calling has long been public enemy #1 for Vanderbilt fans. You can strike me dead if there isn’t at least one end-around reverse (our 1 trick play), and a lot of QB keepers in 3rd and long situations. If BC’s defense is ever surprised by play, it’ll be one of the first times all season. Vanderbilt likes to run the ball, and that has certainly been the bread and butter of the offense. A big part of that will be whether Jared Hawkins is able to play after injuring his foot in the Tennessee game. While Jeff Jennings and Gaston Miller have played well, Hawkins is absolutely the best running back on the team. The QB question remains a mystery. The smart money is on Senior Chris Nickson getting the start, what happens after that is anyone’s guess. Mackenzi Adams and Nickson have gone back and forth all year spelling each other, playing well for a short time, and then subsequently being replaced by the other in short order. VSL would love to see the Larry Smith era start in earnest during the Music City Bowl, especially if Nickson struggles. While it was only a half, a lot of us really liked what we saw against Wake Forest.
2. You were only 3-3 at home this year. How much do you think playing in Nashville is an advantage? Is the "first bowl game in generation" stuff a distraction or a huge motivating factor?
VSL: There’s really no way to know. Vanderbilt has a way of coming out flat in “big” games, and then coming out surprisingly sharp when you least expect it. I personally think playing “at home” is much less of an advantage than playing in their first bowl game in 26 years. With that said, getting to win 6 took a long time, and the Commodores played uninspired football once the monkey was off their back against Tennessee at home and then at Wake Forest. I would hope that playing in their first bowl and having a shot at their first winning season since 1982 would be a huge motivating factor for this team. But there really is no telling. The defense always comes to play. It’s the offense and the special teams that have been the biggest question marks after Vanderbilt’s 5-0 start.
3. During the ACC expansion many critics said BC would be the "Vanderbilt of the ACC" meaning we wouldn't compete. Now clearly things have improved of late, but as Vanderbilt fans do you believe that your program can compete in the SEC on a regular basis? Are the supposed limitations legitimate or do you think this season is a sign of things to come?
VSL: There is no doubt that Vanderbilt can “compete” in the SEC. Now, does that mean Vanderbilt is likely to win an SEC title any time soon? Probably not, but there is no reason this can’t be a perennial 7-5 or 8-4 team. It’s certainly a “coulda, woulda, shoulda” argument, but if Vanderbilt comes to play against Mississippi State, Duke, Tennessee, and Wake Forest this team could easily have been 9-3 or even 10-2. They weren’t, and that’s football, but there is no doubt that Bobby Johnson and his staff have closed the talent-gap with other SEC teams. Are we ever going to be as deep? No. But this coaching staff has done a tremendous job at evaluating and finding talent otherwise overlooked (look at first round picks Jay Culter and Chris Williams). Vanderbilt is no longer the SEC doormat in the sense that teams can look past the Commodores. That is certainly progress. Making a bowl was huge for Vanderbilt, win or lose, because it dispels (somewhat) the “same old Vanderbilt” moniker that this team had acquired with so many close calls over the years. While they certainly “backed into” the Music City Bowl, Commodore fans have to be happy with how this team is progressing. With a new offensive coordinator, there’s no telling what this team could do.
4. What is your prediction for the game?
VSL: It’s a homer pick, but Vanderbilt 20 – BC 13
FOR MORE ON VANDY CHECK OUT VANDERBILT SPORTS LINE.
Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game.
"This is Vanderbilt's first bowl game since 1982." I wouldn't trade placed with Vanderbilt, but I think the media tends to overstate their ineptitude. This drought wasn't nearly as pitiful as similar stretches from say Northwestern or Kansas State. Since 1982 the Commodores have had numerous five win seasons that nearly had them eligible for bowls games. This is a big game, but it is not the first time Vanderbilt has been competitive since 1982.
Three Simple Keys
1. Pass efficiently. BC cannot be one dimensional. I don't want Davis to throw 40+ times but we still need to move the ball through the air.
2. Put pressure on whoever is the Vanderbilt QB. Vanderbilt might play three quarterbacks in Nashville. BC has faced its share of elusive QBs this season. In my opinion, the key is not just containing whoever they trot out, but actually sacking him. BC needs to disrupt their whole offense.
3. Error-free football. In Vanderbilt's biggest wins (Ole Miss, Auburn, South Carolina) they forced critical turnovers against teams with good Ds and shaky offenses (sound familiar?). BC cannot cough it up and waste scoring opportunities.
-- BC hasn't lost a non-conference game since 2004
-- Bobby Johnson is 2-4 against ACC teams as Vanderbilt's head coach
-- BC is 3-3 against SEC teams in bowl games
The current line is BC-3.5
Vanderbilt has the most expensive tuition among the SEC schools. They are still more affordable than BC and Duke.
Scoreboard watching doesn't really apply right now. I guess we can continue to root for ACC teams to win. I really only care about the scoreboard in LP Field.
I hope to see...
Davis run the ball well. The zone option-runs that Crane exploited have been there. Davis' hesitation to call his own number and then run well when he does, have neutralized the play. If he runs it well, BC should be able to move the ball.
BC is in trouble if...
We get behind by 14. I don't know if the offense, as it is currently configured, can comeback on the road against a team who enters the game highly motivated.
Even if Davis plays poorly, I still think our defense is going to cause plenty of problems for Vanderbilt. Despite my worries about coming out flat and unmotivated, I think the seniors will keep guys focused enough to take control. I don't think it will be pretty, but I still think BC wins comfortably.
Final Score: BC 17, Vanderbilt 7
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Yet, even with this sort of on the job training Davis is assured of nothing next year. Close observers and the media expect Justin Tuggle to fight for the job this spring. BC also continues to woo QB prospects with the promise of early playing time.
This bowl game could be the launching point for Dominique Davis or the end of his time at the center of the BC offense. Just remember what Steve Logan said earlier in the season
"...after the third game you are going to get what you get."If Davis struggles in Nashville there might not be much upside. But if he looks good, it could also mean that he has a nice long BC career ahead of him.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Here is an article on the Snee-Coughlin relationship.
Is BC the surprise team of the ACC basketball season? This ESPN writer thinks so. (Thanks to Charles for the link.)
Stewart Mandel thinks we will win.
Ron Brace will be in the East-West Shrine game.
Dominique Davis remains the central storyline as BC enters the bowl.
I know many wonder why BC cannot or doesn't compete with certain schools for top recruits. Read this excellent article from the New York Times. Our pitch and approach is very different from the football factories. By taking that different approach you are going to eliminate many of the top prospects.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Former Eagle Jonathan Ordway is one of the many guys figuring out what to do now that the Arena League has shut its doors.
Marc Colombo and the Cowboys agreed to a new deal.
Linked without comment: TOB is the bowl master! (Thanks to Jim and Dave for the link.)
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The football team held their last practice at Alumni before the bowl. They are still talking about the ACC Championship Game. They need to let that go quickly. This bowl is important.
Vandy is breaking up their schedule for the holiday.
Vanderbilt was an important stop in Gene's career path.
The Edmonton Eskimo signed Kevin Challenger to a new deal.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Bowl: 2002 Motor City Bowl
Location: Ford Field
Distance from Toledo’s Campus: 61 Miles
Bowl: 2004 Continental Tire Bowl
Opponent: North Carolina
Location: Bank of America Stadium (fka Ericsson Stadium)
Distance from North Carolina’s Campus: 112 Miles
Bowl: 2005 MPC Bowl
Opponent: Boise State
Location: Bronco Stadium
Distance from Boise State’s Campus: NA (it is their home field)
Bowl: 2008 Music City Bowl
Location: LP Field
Distance from Vanderbilt’s Campus: 3 Miles
BC managed to win the previous "virtual" road games. Let's hope the streak within the "Bowl Streak" also continues in Nashville.
The Philadelphia media loves the Johnathan Coleman story. Here is another article on the latest BC guy. (Thanks to Lou for the link.)
Vanderbilt is preparing for BC's run game. Did you realize BC ran the ball more than any SEC team did this year?
BC target Joel Kight might not have an option at Georgia Tech.
Monday, December 22, 2008
A reminder for Oklahoma papers: BC has the highest winning percentage in bowl games.
Jake Sinkovec received Defensive Player of the Year honors in his area.
Brian St. Pierre is still hoping that he can get a chance to shine like other back ups.
Vandy thinks they are practicing in the cold. Have they seen the weather in Boston?
Pat Muldoon, who once seemed destined for BC, is going to Wisconsin.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Vanderbilt is in full pads for some of their bowl practices.
The BC women lost to St. John's in St. John's holiday tournament.
Here's an interview with Jeremy Trueblood.
Preston Murphy has been looking out for Rakim Sanders for a few years.
-- Handling the press for the first 36 minutes. Even our most talented teams struggled against this style of play (think UW-Milwaukee and Drake). Yet on Saturday it was a non-issue for most of the game. Rice took his time and wisely used Trapani as his outlet. Trapani made nice decisions too. When he fouled out, our ability to handle the press fell apart too.
-- Defense. So far this team is much better defensively than I expected. They are switching well, staying in front of their men and providing good help. Providence couldn't really do much until they went small with four guards.
-- Finding good shots. We passed the ball really well, especially on the perimeter. If not for Raji and Sanders missing a few easy bunnies our assist number would have been even higher.
-- Someone other than Rice making important free throws. It wasn't pretty but it was nice to see Southern and Paris make some important shots from the line.
-- Taking too many threes. Rice should have the green light. So should Trapani. Everyone else? Eh. We are just not that type of team and wasted some good opportunities.
-- Handling the press in the final few minutes. I don't know how things can go so well for most of the game and then fall apart later. Trapani fouling out was a factor, but that doesn't explain some of the other decisions.
-- BC fans letting the PC fans make more noise. I know Providence always travels well to Conte but that was sad. Come on locals. Support this team.
Despite the rough patches so far, I like what I've seen of this team. The pieces are there. If Rice can shake his doldrums this group can be a bubble team. Now they just cannot afford any trip ups against the rest of the Christmas break schedule.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Tom O’Brien: Head Coach
Jeff Jagodzinski: Offensive Line and Offensive Coordinator
Don Treadwell: Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Passing Game Coordinator
Don Horton: Tight Ends
Frank Spaziani: Running Backs
Tim Rose: Defensive Coordinator
Mike London: Defensive Line
Al Golden: Linebackers, Recruiting Coordinator
Jerry Rosburg: Defensive Backs
Jerry Petercuskie: Special Teams Coordinator
Tom O’Brien: Head Coach, NC State
Jeff Jagodzinski: Head Coach, Boston College
Don Treadwell: Offensive Coordinator, Michigan State (and rumored Head Coach at Miami of Ohio)
Don Horton: Offensive Line, NC State
Frank Spaziani: Defensive Coordinator, Boston College
Tim Rose: Defensive Coordinator, Toledo (interesting note on Rose: he was a defensive coordinator for TOB, Steve Logan and Jack Bicknell Jr.)
Mike London: Head Coach, Richmond
Al Golden: Head Coach, Temple
Jerry Rosburg: Special Teams Coordinator, Baltimore Ravens
Jerry Petercuskie: Special Teams and Recruiting Coordinator, NC State
There are many factors into why BC has offered stepping stone opportunities instead of final destination type jobs. I actually think the energy and aggressiveness of guys looking to make a name for themselves is a good thing. In turn, I think many of the young coaches who pass through look back on their time at BC fondly. The next time we are in the market for a head coach, I hope we give preferences to guys who have worked here before. It worked well with Coughlin and we’ve had good returns with Jags.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Here are the gifts our guys will receive as part of the trip to Nashville.
Davis thinks of the Virginia Tech game as a learning experience.
Paul Anderson's fans in Staten Island will be watching the game.
Nick Klemm is a Georgia kid who appeared late on the recruiting radar. He committed to BC this week. Local word is that he's a late bloomer who could be a factor once he grows into his frame.
Vanderbilt's QB situation for the bowl game remains in flux.
I wasn't going to draw attention to this but since other blogs have mentioned it...yes, it was a painful reminder.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Gridiron Club honored Jags and Herzy.
For those who missed it, here were the winners at the team dinner.
Here are some suggestions for those headed to Nashville.
This preview expects us to beat Vandy.
Nathan Gerbe will miss at least two weeks of action due to a vaguely described "upper body" injury.
The ACC put more guys in the Pro Bowl than any other conference.
1. I am not focusing on safety vs cornerback. Some recent guys have played both (Anam most recently) and some of the current probably could also play both (Gause, Fox)
2. We will probably bring in at least two more DBs (bringing the potential total to 17 on the roster).
Not going anywhere
The following guys are unlikely to move since they’ve established themselves as good contributors and don’t have another position that would make as much sense.
-- Donnie Fletcher
-- DeLeon Gause
-- Roderick Rollins
The Akins experiment moved him to corner for his senior year. Over his career he showed the advantage of having a fast, coverage LB in Spaz’s scheme. Could these guys also moonlight with McGovern's guys?
-- Dan Mulrooney
-- Wes Davis
-- Stephen Atkinson
-- Marcellus Bowman
-- Okechukwu Okoroha
-- Dominick LeGrande
-- Chris Hayden-Martin
How are his hands?
Although we are deep in the secondary, we are probably going to need some pass catchers shortly. These guys could be good in open space.
-- Donte Elliott
-- Ugo Okpara
-- Chris Fox
-- Isaac Johnson
Running Back might be a tough position sell since many would see Harris and Haden on the depth chart and wonder if they’d ever see the field. Mulrooney and Smith have already had a go around in the backfield and may be used their again.
-- Dan Mulrooney
-- Razzie Smith (assuming he returns for a fifth year)
-- Isaac Johnson
This is all just spitballin' so feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments section.
[EDITED: Removed so readers don't have to hear the promo ever time they come to the page.]
Go to bceagles.com to see it again.
Rice talks about his start and the season ahead in this Q&A.
HD takes time to praise BC's graduation success.
As expected, BC target Kevin Newsome is headed to Penn State.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Most of the early betting action on the bowl has favored BC.
Dr. Saturday featured Vandy in his latest "Am I a Bowl Team?" post.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Two of the highest ranked uncommitted QBs in this year’s class are Kevin Newsome and Tajh Boyd. They both hail from the talent-rich area of southeast Virginia. Both list BC among their finalists but those who follow this process closely doubt that either will end up on the Heights. (In fact, it looks like Newsome will commit to Penn State on Tuesday.) Newsome has already verballed and reneged on Michigan. Boyd verballed to West Virginia and then took his commitment back. He followed that by verballing to Tennessee only to see their new staff give him the kiss off. Kids change their minds all the time and BC has benefited from those changes (for example, Herzy originally committed to UVA), but the process for these two guys has been a little disheartening. Do we really want guys who are just shopping themselves around like this? I think to succeed anywhere, you need to be there for the right reasons.
The national perception of this class will ride on if we land one of these two guys. It shouldn’t. The only true measurement of a class is after five years...
BC’s ranking history
But even five years later doesn’t tell the whole story. Take a look at BC’s class of 2004. BC was ranked 24th. If we beat Vanderbilt, we will probably finish inline with our rankings. System works, right? Nope. Only seven of the guys from the class of 2004 played in the ACC Championship Game. And many of the best players from that class were under ranked. Some who never contributed (or even showed up at BC) drove the ranking into the 20s. And if you look at the other highly ranked classes of 2004, you’ll see plenty of mediocre programs.
After the season the recruiting sites will pat themselves on the back for foreseeing how good USC or Florida would be now. They probably won’t mention the misses that their system produced (like Michigan, Kansas State, Auburn, Washington). But we shouldn’t really be surprised at this point. Look how the NFL struggles in IDing talent...
Malcolm Gladwell likes to dip his toes into the sports world on occasion. Recently he’s turned his focus to football. In this New Yorker article he parallels the challenges of school teachers and NFL quarterbacks. It’s a good read, but the point I want to underline and apply to recruiting is that the NFL -- given the hundreds of hours of data and expertise it has on players -- still cannot predict with certainty how a player will adapt at the next level. Yet we expect college coaches to be accurate when forecasting younger, less developed players and using less data? I believe in an eye for talent and good coaching, but there is no way any of these guys are certain or right all the time. The key, like most of sports, is being right more than you are wrong.
In this Q&A, Gladwell also mentions the importance of nurture in the “nurture vs nature” argument. He believes that the nurture aspect is more important to the development of the player. Nurture is one area where BC continues to thrive. Heavily redshirting, making sure kids make it through four or five years, making them go to class are the foundation for BC’s football success. Although you cannot measure this, I believe there are guys who have come through BC and contributed who would have washed out if they had been part of a football factory. That development is more important than just raw talent and the reason why we continue to outperform our recruiting rankings.
Even when you are nuturing players, there is also a bit of luck in how one guy matures vs another...
Do you know the name Jamie Harper? He was a four star recruit out of Jacksonville last year. Rivals rated him as the No.1 running back in the whole 2008 class. Scout gave him five stars and said he was the fifth best running back in the country. Harper committed to Clemson last year with much fanfare.
Did you see the guy sitting next to him at the press conference? That’s Montel Harris, his high school teammate.
Harper's 2008 stats
Harris's 2008 stats
Now Harper may become a fine player. But no one, including their own high school coach, thought Harris was better. This is just another anecdotal example of the difficulty of predicting how players transition from one level to the next.
The 2009 Recruiting Class
In a few weeks we will know more about the next batch of BC guys. Unless there is a very strong finish the class will be ranked in the bottom portion of the ACC and probably not pick up many accolades. I am not concerned. Instead I’ll focus on what happens on the field. By the time we know how good this class actually is there will be more than 40 games played and approximately another 60 BC guys signed. How all of that comes together will have a little more meaning than what happens before Signing Day 2009.
Tyler Roche made the most of his opportunity to get back on the court (Herald, Globe). No one (including me) gave much thought to Rice’s abbreviated day. I am concerned about his odd and disappointing play of late. Whether it is frustration, boredom, or some unknown outside distraction, I am hoping he shakes it off soon.
HD took a look back at our season.
Southern Pigskin put Herzy on their All America list.
In this clip Ditka gushes about Ryan and even throws a little credit to Flutie.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
3-point shooting. A good day from the new distance. If Tyler Roche can hit these in important games he won't be glued to the bench.
Raji on the boards. People say that the flex works best when you have good passers. The best Skinner offenses have had a scrappy offensive rebounder (Sidney, Dudley). Raji can be that type of player.
-- Playing time. Tyler Roche got 17 minutes. I am okay with that. Dunn got 13 minutes. I am okay with that. Yet Dallas Elmore only played 9 minutes. Ravenel didn't play at all. They've looked good in limited spots this year. Why not give them more minutes in this sort of game? It's all more curious when two guys who don't seem to be part of the future (Roche and Dunn) saw long minutes on the court.
-- The foul shooting. 10-19 stinks. Southern missed most of those. Hopefully he'll be better in games that mean something.
-- Losing focus. We only outrebounded by two. We had more turnovers than they did. That's not the way you want to go into exam week.
Now let's hope the guys stay focused and don't come out rusty against the Friars.
Friday, December 12, 2008
HD has moved Jags up in her coaches ranking.
BC Guy Chris Mannix got to experience life in the D-League.
In terms of dollars to a franchise, Ryan is the most valuable guy in the NFL right now. (Thanks to Willis for the link.)
BC guy Chris Snee is doing very well in the Pro Bowl fan voting.
If only you could win national championships in the classroom?
This kicking recruit's story is a little different. I don't care about his age, his grades or his nationality. Can he make a 35-yard field goal?
Recent football commit Oday Aboushi had a change of heart.
The Sailing team got attention from the mainstream press today! It is overdue as they continue to win every year.
Jared Dudley talks about his recent trade in this article. (Thanks to Brendan for the link.)
One new Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale's priorities is to get Craig Smith more minutes.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Prior to the game
2001 was an important year for TOB. It was the first time while at BC that he fielded a team of just "his players." After taking a slight step back in 2000, 2001 showed that the program was headed in the right direction. Brian St. Pierre served as the template for which TOB would groom his QBs and William Green, TOB's first star recruit, was living up to expectations. Entering the bowl game, BC was only 7-4. But that included two losses to very good Miami and Virginia Tech teams. And in the Miami game, TOB nearly upset one of the greatest college teams of all time. No other team even came close to giving the 'Canes a game that year.
Yet there were still doubts. BC lost a winnable game at Stanford and TOB had yet to beat a ranked team.
If BC came into the game viewed as a respectable team, Georgia entered as a team on the rise and a media darling. New coach Mark Richt had overachieved with a freshman QB (David Greene) and a freshmen DE (David Pollack). The Dawgs entered the game 8-3, but lost all three games in close fashion. (The nucleus of this team would go 13-1 and win the SEC the following season).
Georgia was favored and few thought BC could keep up with the SEC speed or beat the Dawgs in a virtual road game in Nashville.
Georgia stunned BC early with an big return into BC territory. They were up 7-0 less than a minute in. They continued to move the ball on their next drive only to see BC force a fumble. Slowly but surely on the legs of William Green, BC clawed back into the game. The Eagles took a 13-10 lead into halftime. The second half was a more defensive battle. The Dawgs slowed Green and we kept their young offense off balance with different looks. The Bulldogs committed four turnovers that night. The game ultimately turned on clock management. Richt elected to punt on fourth down with 1:40 left. BC ate most of the time and left the UGA with only a few seconds to get a final score. But the D stood up and gave TOB his first win over a ranked opponent.
After the Game
Green left BC early to enter the NFL Draft. He and Marc Colombo were both taken in the first round. Although he still had a rough go against ranked teams, TOB would follow up this upset of Georgia by taking down an undefeated ND team the following season.
The most important aspect of the win was the respect it earned. BC finished 2001 ranked for the first time 1994.
BC's other QB target, the mercurial Tajh Boyd, will also play in the Army All America Bowl. Boyd mentions visits to Ohio State and Oregon and not BC...read into it what you will.
Kentucky's Mr. Football Deuce Finch has BC in his final three.
Charlotte is trying to learn from the mistakes and challenges Tampa and Jacksonville faced when hosting the ACC Championship Game.
Is New Hampshire the cradle of coaches? First Chip Kelly got the coach in waiting job at Oregon. Now Dan Mullen is headed to Miss State. This article mentions Mullen's rise and speculates that BC assistant Ryan Day will join the list of New Hampshire head coaches in a few years.
Former BC assistant Don Treadwell is a candidate for the Miami of Ohio opening. If he were to get the job, that would be the fourth coach from TOB's original staff to now be a head coach, joining Jags, Al Golden, and Mike London.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Al and guys took care of Bryant Wednesday night. Bryant is a fledgling program under BC grad and former Skinner assistant Tim O'Shea. Not much can be taken away from the win. All the regulars played well and they controlled the tempo throughout. If you are going to glean anything from the game, it would be the limited future of Dunn and Roche. They only saw the floor for a few minutes even though the game was never in doubt. Roche only has one year of eligibility left, but Dunn has got to be thinking about transferring.
Dudley now a Sun
Jared Dudley has a new team. I wish Dudley had been traded to the old Suns. They played smart, offensive focused basketball. He would have thrived picking up points. This year's Suns team is a different animal. That is problem 1. Problem 2 is that with Richardson heading to Phoenix too, the Suns are loaded at the wing spots. I doubt Dudley will see his minutes increase. Let's hope Jared catches on somewhere. His skill set translates to this level. He just needs a staff that believes in him.
Here is a behind the scenes look at the Gator Bowl's selection process. BC isn't even bandied about in the weeks running up to the game.
HD recapped the 2008 season and named BC the surprise of the year.
Scott Clemmensen is filling the void left by Martin Brodeur. (Thanks to Tim for the link.)
The BC women trounced UNH.
BC has interest in 2010 RB Tony Jones.
The never ending recruiting process of BC target Tajh Boyd, now includes Ohio State.
Another BC soccer player has signed with a European team.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
As you've noticed in the comments section of previous posts, the full band will not be in Nashville. Instead BC will travel with just 39 members. The full band needs to be there. Here's why:
-- The band kids put in hours of their time for our entertainment. Their payoff is a trip like this. They've earned it, just like the players.
-- The school can't ask all of us to turnout and then not bring along an important element of the college football experience like the band.
-- Revenue is shared among the ACC, so the cost or prestige of the bowl shouldn't impact the decision.
-- It's the Music City Bowl. If any group of people appreciate the destination, it will be the band members. I am sure they will use the little down time they have to check out some of the country music tourist stops.
I don't know where the 39 number came from. It may have something to do with the size of the charter or available hotel rooms. If a 40th member necessitates another plane, have some of the folks fly commercial. Or send the band down in a bus. These kids earned a trip too. Unless there is reason against sending a larger band, then BC should step up and get these BC guys and gals to Nashville.
I am a little late on this link, but Kevin Armstrong had a good piece on Spaz over the weekend. (Thanks to Tom for the link.)
The NY Times actually had some BC-BU coverage.
It looks like Charlie Davies is going move up to another level in European soccer.
The people in Boise are looking forward to their new bowl affiliations.
The Music City Bowl officials are worried about Vanderbilt fans not spending enough money. There should be plenty of good hotel rooms from which to choose.
BC has offered 2010 running back Jamaal Jackson.
BC was among those schools visiting Joel Knight.
The dates are set for our next two home games with Kent State.
Monday, December 08, 2008
1. A win will elevate BC back into the Top 25 rankings. BC slipped out of the Top 25 after losing the ACC Championship. A win in the bowl game should be enough to get BC into the final Top 25 poll. Rankings are a tangible accomplishment in college football, they provide pride to the program and they legitimize our sales pitch to recruits.
2. A win gets BC to the 10 win mark. This would be the third straight year of 10 wins or more...something our former coach didn't believe was possible at BC.
3. A win extends the bowl win streak. Emphasis on the bowl streak has bothered some BC fans (including this one). But each year as the streak gets longer and as it starts to include more BCS opponents, it becomes a little more legitimate. A win in Nashville extends the streak to 9 wins. Florida State holds the record of 11 straight bowl wins. The record is in reach. But to get there we have to take care of business against Vandy.
I would rather be playing in the Orange Bowl, but we need to make the most of this opportunity. And outside of the historic implications, it is a chance to end the season on a high note and gives the seniors a chance to go out as winners.
Games I watched
Boston College-Virginia Tech 100% (twice)
Buffalo-Ball State 50%
Nashville is excited to have Vanderbilt involved in the game. It should help sell more tickets locally.
HD put BC at No. 3 in her Power Rankings.
BC still leads for Georgia Linebacker Joel Knight.
Fitchburg kid Keith Bourne is very excited about his future at BC.
Jacksonville feels vindicated by Tampa's attendance issues.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
I'll also touch on the UMass game and the BC-BU hockey series.
Davis’ first half was very promising. He made good decisions and good throws and moved the ball. I didn’t log one bad throw on my charting from the first two quarters. In the second half, as our game plan shifted (I’ll get to that later), he struggled. In my charting I gave him 10 bad throws (the WRs dropped five passes). He was best throwing on rollouts and with a moving pocket. What frustrated was that he could make some really nice, sharp throws (like the big gainer that Gunnell fumbled and the TD). Yet he’d float or force other passes. The other area that hamstrung the offense was his hesitation and ineffectiveness on running plays. Because he struggled, the zone option read was neutralized. He also didn’t exploit big plays out of the more traditional option. Later in the game when VT went prevent, Davis looked better moving around and had a big gain. At the end of the day, Davis played like a freshmen on a big stage. He wasn’t very good but I don’t think you can read much into his future based on this one day. Let’s hope he builds on this day like Ryan did after the 2004 Syracuse game.
I only need to focus on Harris in the running backs reviews because he was the only running back who played. It was a heroic effort on his part. 160 total yards and on nearly everyone he took a hard hit and kept driving. The kid’s second efforts are very impressive. Harris also did a much better job of blitz pick up. He was our offensive MVP yesterday.
Coming out of the stadium, I felt the WRs let Davis down and were a big part of the problem. Watching back, I realized they had problems but weren’t as bad as I perceived. In total they dropped five balls. Gunnell also had the costly fumble. Despite the fumbled Gunnell played well. Robinson won some one on one battles and made some good runs after catches. However, Robinson failed to pull in a slant near the endzone that VT picked to finally ice the game. Jarvis made some tough catches. Larmond got involved for the first time in a while. He was effective in finding open spots. Anderson’s one handed grab was nice. Purvis spent most of the day blocking and didn’t even get thrown to.
The offensive line carried the team down the stretch. Their struggles yesterday were the root of many of BC’s problems. They weren’t able to control the line of scrimmage on run plays, forcing Davis to chuck it. Also they had some breakdowns in pass blocking as the game progressed. The guy with the most problems was Lapham. Their speed caused problems for him on the edge. Castonzo also got beat twice on moves from the VT DEs. The interior guys were a little more effective. Ramsey was very good without noticeable mistakes. Tennant got beat on one of the Davis sacks, but he was awesome on the screens. Tennant is so good moving downfield on screens that it should be one of our featured plays next year. Claiborne was good. Sheil and Richman got in for Lapham late. Sheil got beat and called for holding. Richman looked fine (but it was garbage time).
I felt Logan called a decent game. I think our staff planned for a ball-control game and then had to adjust as the Hokies unexpectedly started scoring with ease. I feel the mistake Logan made was putting too much faith in the Davis’ strong passing in the second quarter. We got the first possession of the second half down 14-7. We kept throwing with only a smattering of run to keep them honest. I think if he had stuck with the run a little longer we could have kept the Hokies off balance and put Davis in better positions. Once we got down three scores, he had to throw. My criticism then was that we kept huddling and eating time. I know a comeback at that point is a long shot and you have a raw QB, but you’ve got to go hurry up/no huddle. Overall there was a lot of smoke in mirrors (raw QB, 1 RB) and we were going up against a good D and a good Defensive Coordinator. While at BC, Logan has already turned a lot of lemons into lemonade. Saturday there were no miracles or magic.
Outside of Raji, the defensive line struggled and looked sluggish. Ramella, Newman, and Giles all missed tackles or got pushed off the line repeatedly. Brace was limited and didn’t play much of the first half. Scafe got most of the snaps in his place and wasn’t as impactful as Brace usually is. As I said, Raji was the best of the bunch but not as dominant as he’s been. The whole group got pushed repeatedly on VT’s stretch plays. They also didn’t generate much pressure on Taylor. How many times did Giles, Newman and even Raji get a hand on Taylor only to watch him escape? Willette and Ramsey weren’t involved as much. (Credit also to VT for using the end around as a decoy. It kept our ends from crashing down on the real runners.)
The linebackers as a group had their roughest day since UNC. Francois missed tackles and was out of place throughout. McLaughlin, who we needed to stop the run up the middle, was a step off and also missed tackles. Herzy played well but struggled at times. He got eaten up on blocks a few times as WRs and backs chopped him at the knees. He also let Taylor slip by him a few times.
The DBs were actually better than the front seven. The longest pass allowed was for only 14 yards. They did a decent job in stopping the run as the front seven was getting gashed. Bowman played very well. Davis was good. Anderson had the pick. Rollins looked good. Fletcher recovered from his rough week against Maryland. Gause had some hard hits.
I don’t think Spaz called a bad game necessarily. I actually think most of our problems were in execution. We didn’t win the battles at the line like we have all year. The linebackers weren’t as steady as they have been. The secondary had a pick but couldn’t change the complexion of the game because what was happening up front. I also give Spaz credit for making adjustments that worked. Although we didn’t shut them down, we did slow them a bit in the second half. My one gripe is that we didn’t blitz (or even run blitz) much as the game wore on. Why not take a risk or two once VT has shown they can move the ball on us?
Special Teams: C-
VT’s early advantage was due in part to good field position. And we gave them good field position through special teams.
The kickoffs had decent distance and hang time. The coverage wasn’t very good with the exception of a kick they bobbled.
Quigley’s punts were shallow for most of the day. Flutie placed his punts fairly well…we just couldn’t keep it out of the endzone.
Virginia Tech had good punts that either kept it out of bounds and away from Gunnell or led to an obvious fair catch situation.
Beating a team twice in one year is tough for a reason. You’ve been exposed (good or bad) and are left to adjust and anticipate what your familiar opponent is going to try. I think the VT coaches deserve credit for adjusting their rushing game and gashing our defense like few other have this season. Beamer’s guys also slowed our rushing game and put it all on Davis’ shoulders. As we adjusted and tried to take advantage of some of the throwing lanes, they then adjusted in the second half and came after Davis. The other bit of criticism our coaches deserve is the emotional aspect of the game. I concede that this is more subjective but our guys just seemed out of it early on. And once things got going, we couldn’t capitalize in the second half. It wasn’t our day and with it all on the line, that leaves a bad taste.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
No regrets though. I think those of us there had fun.
I'll have second viewing thoughts and grades up late Sunday.
I will not be online during the game (I didn't want to lug the laptop to Tampa). Leave your comments below.
Friday, December 05, 2008
ESPN thinks Matty is "Next."
I was a big college football fan well before I moved to Atlanta, but living here has only stoked the passion. This WSJ article helps explain the history and the current boom. Regardless of why it happened, it is nice to have complete strangers know a decent amount about BC football.
Yet another preview of the game.
Albany Game Watch
Legends Sports Lounge
286 Lark St
Atlanta Game Watch
2947 N. Druid Hills Rd (Toco Hills Shopping Center)
Atlanta, GA 30329
Boston Game Watch
Brighton Beer Garden
386 Market Street
Chicago Game Watch
Finley Dunnes Tavern
3458 N. Lincoln Avenue
Cleveland Game Watch
Winking Lizard Tavern
14018 Detroit Avenue
Dallas Game Watch
Christies Sports Bar
2811 McKinney Avenue, Suite 22
Denver Game Watch
Wyman's No. 5
2037 E. 13th Avenue
Los Angeles Game Watch
2615 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA
Miami Game Watch
Bokamper's Sports Bar and Grill
1280 S Pine Island Road
Milwaukee Game Watch
Zim's Sports Bar
770 N. Milwaukee Street
Minnesota Game Watch
Majors Sports Cafe–Golden Valley
6440 Wayzata Boulevard (off of 394)
Golden Valley, MN
New Jersey Game Watch
Liberty Bar & Grill
61 14th Street
New York City Game Watch
3rd Ave & 17th Street
Orange County, CA Game Watch
Sharkeez - Newport Beach
114 McFadden Place
Newport Beach, CA
Orlando Game Watch [Seriously? Orlando BC fans, hop in the car and go to the game!!!]
2904 Curry Ford Rd
Phoenix Game Watch
7575 N. 16th Street
Portland Game Watch
On Deck Sports
910 NW 14th Street
Philadelphia Game Watch
330 Goddard Boulevard
King of Prussia, PA
Rhode Island Game Watch
McFadden's Restaurant & Saloon
52 Pine Street
San Diego Game Watch
RT's Longboard Grill
1466 Garnet Avenue
Pacific Beach, CA
San Francisco Game Watch
2064 Polk St. (cross Broadway)
San Francisco, CA
Seattle Game Watch
2219 4th Avenue
Southwest Florida (Naples) Game Watch
24851 S. Tamiami Trail
Bonita Springs, FL
Triangle (North Carolina) Game Watch
Rudino's Pizza & Grinders
1937 High House Rd
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
Shaughnessy wrote a good article on the importance of BC potentially playing in the Orange Bowl.
Tony Barnhart thinks we will beat Virginia Tech.
VT is focused on Herzy and Raji.
Tampa is still trying to make the most of its chance at the ACC Championship.
The BC women lost to Minnesota in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge.
For those who are not making the trip to Tampa, you can at least head down Comm Ave and watch the BC-BU hockey game.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Throughout the season I’ve heard numerous games called “the most important game in BC history.” All the talk seemed to lack perspective and diminished BC’s long and storied past. Now as we prepare for Saturday, we might actually be witnessing the most important game in BC history. Never before has the team had a chance to win a championship on the field. Also, winning the ACC would be the culmination of four decades worth of effort begun under Father Monan and Bill Flynn to take BC athletics to the next level. This is THE game.
All of that holds true, but there is a new aspect to this game: Jags’ legacy. Unlike last season, where much of the credit went to Ryan and the seniors, this has been about the staff taking the pieces they have and maximizing their talents. A win Saturday would not only be the culmination of the rise of BC football, it would also be a testament to an outstanding two-year run for a young coach.
Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game. “Both teams force big plays from their defense and special teams…blah blah blah…BC plays ‘Beamerball’ too.” Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that our defense creates huge momentum swings. Give me a non-offensive touchdown any day. I just think that because the non-offensive plays were such an important part of the last game, that this time around both teams will be very conservative and not much will happen in the ‘Beamerball’ department. The talking heads will have talked about something that didn’t happen again.
Three Simple Keys
1. Force Taylor to throw the ball. This was one of my keys last time around and still holds true. Keep him in the pocket and force him to pass. Taylor ran for 137 yards against UVA. The Hokies won. Miami contained him for 43 yards. The Hokies lost.
2. Establish Davis as a run threat. If he can get yards with his legs, it will set up the option-read for Harris/Haden and also put less pressure on Davis to win the game with his arm.
3. No Special teams mistakes. There were many factors in our loss last year, but I think our inability to kick a field goal or extra point were huge momentum swings. We cannot make those same sort of mistakes again.
-- The favorite is 1-2 in the ACC Championship Game
-- BC is 1-1 in Tampa
-- Virginia Tech is 1-1 in ACC Championship Games
The current line is BC-1
This is the fourth ACC Championship Game. Of the eight participants, only one, Wake Forest, was a charter member of the ACC.
The Big XII Championship Game is the only other contest that impacts the Orange Bowl. If Mizzou pulls off the upset, it might force enough things to happen so that Cincinnati doesn’t go to the Orange Bowl to face the winner of our game.
I hope to see…
Sean Glennon stay on the bench. If Taylor struggles, VT could very well put Glennon in the game. I don’t think much of Glennon, but his style and ability could cause us problems. He moved the ball against us last year and Chris Turner showed last week that an accurate QB can pick up yards against our D.
BC is in trouble if…
Davis turns the ball over more than twice. BC survived the last VT game with two Crane “Pick 6s”. We also survived two fumble returns against Wake. Our luck is bound to run out. If Davis coughs the ball up more than twice, I don’t think we will win.
Last year ACCCG preview I ran with hunches and momentum and “magical seasons” as reasons for victory. This year I am going with stuff that is a little more concrete. We match up well with Virginia Tech. We are playing better football than Virginia Tech. We’ve been on this stage enough. We’ve won three must wins. We are winning this game.
Final Score: BC 24, Virginia Tech 9
First let me say that I respect your years of training and the work you do every weekend. As a pilot you take on great responsibility every time you get behind the controls. So don’t take this as me telling you how to do your job. Consider it more of a suggestion (or even a plea). Whatever you do this weekend, do not take overhead shots of Raymond James Stadium. Tampa is a lovely city. The weather is supposed to be nice Saturday. Use your aerial view to capture shots of the beaches or the Bay. How about a nice overhead of Busch Gardens or Downtown? Anything but a crowd shot. You see, last year this picture was taken at the ACC Championship Game.
Since then it has been used to mock the conference and BC all over the internet. You can’t blame BC. These games were supposed to be battles between Florida powers. How was a private Catholic School from Boston expected to travel on relatively short notice? This year doesn’t look much better. Ticket sales are slow and the locals have resorted to giving the seats away. Most BC fans are resigned to our poor traveling reputation. At this point we only care about winning the game. A victory will do more to change perception than a few thousand more tickets sold ever would. That said, kind Sir, we could still use your help this weekend. Use your powerful zeppelin for good. Show off Tampa. Don’t try to embarrass the ACC.
A BC fan with a whole section to himself