Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hockey still alive and other links

BC beat Providence 4-1 Friday night. The win assures BC a spot in the Hockey East tournament. Their resume is probably too spotty to get an at large bid but they could win their way into the NCAA Tournament by running the table at the HE Tourney.


Here is a Q&A with Luke Kuechly -- one of the stars of Spaz's first recruiting class.


I am a big fan of the Smart Football blog. This is an interesting piece on risk taking in college football. One of the reasons I think Jags succeeded the past two years was his often high risk strategy when it came to offense and special teams. I wonder how those two years of taking chances will influence Spaz's conservative nature.


The baseball team is off to a great start in Florida.


Even the Philly media is starting to rethink Mamula's legacy.


The ACC released its Spring Football Prospectus. The Orlando Sentinel also provided a preview of our team as we head into Spring.


Both the men and women's sailing teams begin their season in the Top 5 of their respective polls.


I'm probably too focused on the big revenue sports on this blog so I occasionally fail to mention important moments like the BC Fencing Team winning the New England Championship this week. For more on fencing, check out this feature in BC magazine.


The women's basketball team continues to have trouble with the elite ACC teams. With the loss to Maryland, they are now below .500 in ACC play.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Quick NC State preview [EDITED]

Fixed because I jumped the gun on the preview and posted it as if we were playing Saturday night. Sorry for the mistake.


The Florida State win took most of the pressure off this game. That is not a good thing. I am worried about another half-hearted effort on the road Wednesday night. While we don't need a win, a focused, solid effort would show this team is ready to make noise in March. Saturday will serve as a barometer of how focused this team is and if they are ready for a run or a "one and done" type group.


What's changed since we last met? BC beat the Pack back in January in a uneventful, controlled win. Although their record is not great, NC State is playing much better basketball. They've won four conference games and played well in losses to UNC and Virginia Tech. Their improvement has been due to better rebounding and getting a little deeper and healthier.


Keys to Wednesday night. I am usually against chucking it up, but I actually think BC should look for outside shots in this game. NC State won't apply much perimeter pressure and we stand a decent shot at picking up second chance points off of rebounds. Conversely, I think we should apply a little more ball pressure than usual as the NCSU guards are prone to turnovers.

BC can and should win this game. As I said, it won't impact much but will be very telling to the team's attitude and maturity.

Kenpom's scouting report of NC State.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sox, Sidney and other links

The baseball team played their annual game against the Red Sox yesterday. Similar results as in past years, but the guys still really enjoy the experience.


I probably don't link to Heights stories enough. This one on Ryan Sidney caught my eye and I felt it was worth highlighting. It is interesting to hear Sidney's perspective on how events played out. I wish things had ended differently too, but I think Ryan still tries to dodge blame a bit and I think the writer glossed over some of the finer details of what happened. Overall good effort on the piece.


Towards the end of this NFL Network video they super impose Rich Eisen's 40-yard-dash with Raji's. It does give you a sense of how much ground these guys can cover.



Raji wasn't expected to be fast. Akins was. His slow 40 time will probably hurt his draft status a bit.


Albright is on the road to recovery. I think his return will provide a boost to the D like Toal and Raji did this past season.


Sanders' dunk against FSU is getting notice on Youtube. (Thanks to Jim for the link.)



The economy and spacious Georgia Dome have hurt ACC Tournament tickets sales.


BC has interest in Maryland WR Adrian Coxson. Staying in Maryland, it doesn't look like Jordan Haden will follow his brother to Boston. Alex Welch is another BC target.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

FSU roundup and other links

Considering regular season coverage has been uneven, it was nice to see the local media cover the Florida State game. Julian Benbow -- who has been a breath of fresh air at the Globe -- noted that Leonard Hamilton felt Paris was the difference maker. The Daily News rehashed Rice's inconsistent play. The Herald had more of a straight recap.


The Field Hockey team earned the National Academic Team Award for their sport.


Are you an alum who still longs for access to some of those student made t-shirts? Check out these guys' facebook page for their Rice t.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One step closer

It looked like we were sleep walking again. But then the guys woke up in a big way. Then, predictably, Florida State hung around. Regardless of the uneven flows, BC came out ahead in the end. The team has now reached the important 8 ACC win mark with two regular season games remaining. Who would have predicted that in October? Here are my thoughts. Leave yours below.

Likes
-- Sanders’ rebounding and defensive aggressiveness. He had me cringing on offense but his hustle was crucial tonight. He played smart defensively and picked up 9 boards, 3 steals and 2 blocks. If he shows that sort of effort down the stretch, we can knock off more big names.
-- Defensive switches. I thought the guys rotated and switched off better than they have all season. I also appreciate Raji and Sanders fronting their men in the low post.
-- Paris running the point. He looked good...especially driving to the hoop. I think he’ll acquit himself well as the main PG next year.
-- Different looks for Douglas. Like we’ve done with other marquee players this year, we kept Douglas offbalance by using a variety of defenders on him. He scored 19 but wasn’t particularly effective or efficient.

Dislikes
-- Offensive possessions in the final two minutes. Up 1 with two minutes left the team made a few bad, bad decisions. If not for clutch rebounds from Paris and Sanders, the game could have gone another way. I don’t like when they spread out and let Rice work the clock. I much prefer the successful play of Paris finding Rice coming off a screen.
-- Sanders’ shot selection. He took some awkward and bad shots including a forced 3 in the final minute. He got lucky on his up and under. He shouldn’t be shooting eight 3s. His best shots are in transition or down low.

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Quick Florida State preview

People keep calling me a pessimist for all the bubble talk on the blog. I am not trying to damper hopes. I think we are a tournament team but that doesn't mean we've done enough yet. Florida State is not a must win, but it would certainly help our resume. Fortunately for us we play them at home. I think the carryover from Duke will help energize the crowd and the team.

As for this year's Florida State team, the key is Toney Douglas. He's a scorer who is generating ACC Player of the Year talk. FSU is also strong inside. They are pretty balanced and a very good defensive team. It seems like I am always focused on rebounds, in this case it's the offensive end where we can exploit things. If we create and convert second chances, I think we can win. On the defensive end, we cannot let them have easy shots. The plan should be to close down inside and force them to chuck it from outside.

I think BC recovers from the Miami game and gets this win.


Kenpom's overview of Florida State.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Spaz finally fills out his staff

Spaz completed his coaching staff by hiring Mike Dawson from Akron. He will serve as special teams assistant coach. I think it is a solid addition and provides another younger coach familiar with the New England scene. If you’re reading the tea leaves, he’s also another coach with UNH ties meaning Day’s network continues to be influential. Like the other recent hires, here is my breakdown:

Special Teams: Mike Dawson
What he brings to the table: Much needed recruiting ties to Ohio and the Midwest. A varied background that should help in areas beyond special teams. Good New England roots.
Connection to Spaz: None that I know of, but he has been part of the New England scene for a few years. Plus he coached at New Hampshire with new coach Sean Devine and holdover Ryan Day.
Connection to BC: No prior connection.
Question Mark: What kind of special teams coach will he be (since he’s never had sole responsibility for it)? What areas will he recruit? Will he adjust to recruiting at BC?
Overall assessment: Compared to the other new hires, Dawson doesn’t seem as sure a thing. There is no obvious Special Teams experience on his resume. There are also questions about who and how he will recruit. But the one thing that is promising is his connection to UNH. I don’t know what the Wildcats’ head coach Sean McDonnell does to empower and identify his staff but his guys have had a good track record once they moved to the next level (as we’ve seen with Day). I think Dawson will be fine and our special teams have been so uneven for so long there really is no where to go but up.

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Nashville's talking points and other links

As the folks from Nashville start talking about receipts and revenue from the Music City Bowl, they have a clear talking point for BC. They have tagged us as a "team that doesn't travel." That's not news for us, but it is unfortunate that we were considered part of their "perfect storm."


This Globe article lists Gene, Skinner and TOB's BC salaries. I think these are in the ballpark, but I also question if it considers some of their fringe benefits too (cars, tuition, etc.).


The Sporting News projects BC as a 9 seed. SI has us on the bubble.


It is time to rehash the Mamula legacy again.


Raji's 40 time doesn't concern anyone.


HD's take on our newest staff member. My take is coming shortly.

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Basketball team has work to do

The loss to Miami was a setback. However, it is what other teams did over the weekend that has me worried. Many major conference bubble teams helped themselves and Maryland's upset of UNC took off a bit of the luster from our earlier win at Chapel Hill.

He hasn't updated his online version yet, but last night Lunardi said BC was one of his last four in. Our RPI slipped to 54. The Bracketology 101 crew remains confident that BC will get in and has our Eagles as a 9 seed.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hockey in trouble and other links

Despite the ups and downs of the long hockey season, I think we've all taken it as a given that BC will make the NCAAs and then make a run at just the right time. That might not be the case this year. After a rough weekend against UNH the team will probably need a perfect finish and a deep run in the Hockey East tournament or win the HE tourney outright just to get in the NCAA Tournament.


The baseball team's season is off to a promising start in Florida.


We weren't the only losers at the Music City Bowl. Nashville saw a decline in revenue and surprisingly ratings for the game. We usually bring good TV numbers. I guess the malaise from Tampa carried over into people's interest in even watching the game.


Raji doesn't care how he looks in shorts and t-shirts. He thinks his game play and practices tell the real story about his NFL potential. Raji would even be willing to go to the Lions.


Here are some basketball features from Saturday that you probably would have enjoyed more if we hadn't loss to Miami (one on Trapani and the other on Skinner).

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

M.I.A. in Miami

This was sadly predictable. In fact commenter BlockParty warned us of the noon start yesterday. Throw in the week off and the over confidence from the Duke game and you had a recipe for disaster. BC was out of it from the start and every time they inched back Miami answered. I would like to blame the shot clock malfunctions but it didn't seem to bother the Hurricanes. BC needs to put this behind them quickly because Florida State will also be a very tough game. Not much good to take away from this but here are my thoughts. As always, feel free to share yours in the comments.


Likes
-- Reggie Jackson penetrating against the zone. For much of the game our reaction to the zone was pathetic. The only guy who seemed to have an idea of how to get the ball moving was Jackson. He found a few soft spots for good shots and did a great job of driving and dishing.
-- Raji's rebounding. Raji hit the boards hard and also helped break down the zone from the low block but...

Dislikes

-- Raji's shooting.
Plain and simple -- he's got to get better at finishing around the basket. He's a natural rebounder and there are plenty of garbage points to be had. I don't know why he struggles converting so close.
-- Rice running point. In a way Duke encouraged the wrong thing. Early in the game he was forcing "flashy" passes in traffic like he did against the Duke only with less success. Then when he felt he had to take over, he could not get the offense going. It was four guys standing around watching Rice.
-- Trapani's minutes. He started strong yet sat for long stretches in the second half. Why did he only get 26 minutes? Weird rotation and line up changes from Al today.

The other dislike was the overall effort. Hopefully it is the last lackadaisical game of the season.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Quick Miami preview

Saturday's game against Miami is no longer a must win, but picking up the W would be very helpful to BC's NCAA standings. Despite their recent slide, the Canes remains a strong RPI team (49 and still higher than BC). Of course the win would also get BC to the important 8 ACC win mark and potentially move the team into the Top 25 polls.

Conversely this is a must win for Miami. Losers of six of the last seven they need this to keep their tourney hopes alive. Although they've stumbled of late, three of those losses were in OT and they played some of the better teams in the ACC.


The biggest difference between this Miami team and the one we faced earlier this year is that Dwayne Collins is not 100%. McClinton remains their most dangerous player and the guy we should focus on. BC did a decent job of containing him last time.

I think the key to this game is defensive rebounding and good shot selection. BC shot 27 3s last time. This time, I think they need to slow the pace a bit and work for more high percentage shots close to the basket from Trapani, Sanders and Raji.


I think if BC can control early and breakdown the Canes interior D, Miami will fade in the second half and BC will win by a nice margin.


Kenpom's Scouting Report.

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Trapani feature and other links

We know that Trapani has made a big difference in this team's improvement. Now the rest of the country is picking up on his impact.


In this Q&A Bob Costas mentions his daughter is a freshman at BC. The NBC-BC connection lives on...


The BC women stuggled against North Carolina Thursday night.


He's no Jared Dudley when it comes to acting, but Herzy seems to have a good sense of humor based on his appearance in this campus video. He's joined by Scafe and Claiborne in non-speaking roles. (Thanks to Greg P. for the link.)

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

HD's vs BCI's Mt. Rushmore

HD put out her Mt. Rushmore of BC football. Like a lot of her recent efforts, it misses the mark. I am not a fan of the Mt. Rushmore gimmick and ESPN's overkill has made it much worse. I wish we had four equally iconic BC football contributors but I really think it's Flutie and then everyone else. Holovak is probably the second guy I would put up there but the rest of the usual suspects are a toss up.



If you want to read a good take on the Mt. Rushmore of BC read what the BCI guys have been doing for the past few weeks.

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Rice talks about Duke and other links

Tyrese Rice spoke a bit more about the Duke win on this ESPN U podcast. (Thanks to Chuck for the link.)


NFL scouts keep talking about Raji and Brace.


Mike Belfiore is on the watch list for baseball's top reliever award.


Dr. Saturday tries to point out the differences between BC firing Jags and Texas Tech's stand off with Mike Leach.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Looking at long layoffs

BC followed the big win over North Carolina with a loss to Harvard. BC followed the big win over Duke with...a week off. This dead period has muted the momentum from Sunday night. But is it a bad thing? Let's look back at some recent long schedule breaks.

Last year BC had six days off in February after losing to Virginia. In their first game back they lost to Florida State.


In 2007, BC had eight days off after beating Clemson. They then followed that game with a loss to Georgia Tech.


In 2006 the longest downtime during conference play was five days between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. BC won both games.


In 2005, during the final Big East season, BC had an eight day opening between wins over Providence and West Virginia.


So here is how it breaks down over the last four seasons.

-- BC is 2-2 after layoffs of five days or more in conference play over the last four years.
-- BC was 0-2 following losses and 2-0 following wins.

What have we learned? Not much. The results are pretty inconclusive. But for this team I think the week off is just what the doctor ordered. Instead of waltzing in on the Duke high, they will enter buzz free. They'll also be facing a fading Miami team. Instead of coming in flat or overconfident, I think these guys will come in with just the right motivation and handle the Canes.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jags talks about BC and other links

For the first time since BC fired him, Jags spoke to the media. It was mostly Tampa folks and mostly related to what he was going to do in the NFL. You can read the whole interview here. This is what he had to say about BC:
"I had an opportunity to talk to one of the 32 teams at the pinnacle of your profession," Jagodzinski said. "I didn't see anything wrong with that. But there was a difference of opinion."

Jagodzinski hired Jan. 29 by Tampa Bay as its new offensive coordinator, spent time with the local media Tuesday discussing his plans in that role under new head coach Raheem Morris. But he also was asked several times about his departure from BC.

"The two years that I spent at BC, it was a great, great experience," Jagodzinski said. "I had a chance to be with a bunch of great kids. I had a chance to coach in the ACC as a head coach. We won a lot of football games. It was a positive experience. That chapter of my life is closed and I'm moving on. I really believe that there's a plan for myself and for my family and that's the plan that I'm living out right now."


This Tampa writer is already calling Jags a climber and salesman.


Based on the initial reactions on the message boards I don't think anything Jags says is going to change opinions. There are those, like me, who don't begrudge Jags and think Gene mishandled this and those who think Jags is a liar and disloyal. Hopefully this is the end of it all.


Speaking of unfortunate situations between BC and a former member of the community...the Sean Williams case just gets weirder. First Skinner said that he did not know about the restraining order and said "yes" when Williams asked to attend the game. A Brighton judge threw out the warrant for Williams' court date.


In better news, highly regarded QB Joe Boisture enjoyed his visit to BC.


David Glenn took a look at recent ACC bubble teams. An 8-8 assures nothing.


Raji remains high on NFL Draft boards.

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Bracketology updates

The bracket forecasters appreciated the Duke win. BC is off the bubble but still not a great seed. Here are the rundowns.

-- ESPN has BC as a 11 seed.


-- Bracketology 101 thinks BC is an 8 seed.

-- Hoops Report has BC as a 9.

I don't know how high BC can move up. If they hit a roll and win the ACC Tourney, it would probably earn a 4. Split the final few games and win 1 ACC tourney game and it probably means an 8 or 9. Lose out and the bubble comes back.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Postgame video and other links

Lots of video from the big win. Here are some of the better ones.


Jared Dudley on the court after the game.


Skinner talking about the win.


Aponavicius, Castonzo, Montel Harris and Herzlich all made the 2009 All-ACC Academic Football Team.


Women's basketball beat Miami to improve to 6-4 in ACC play.


Jared Dudley wasn't the only former Eagle on campus Sunday night. Sean Williams made his return and for old time sake got arrested by BCPD.


Here is a one student's perspective on the win. (Thanks to Jackie for the link.)


HD took a look at our schedule next year.

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The day after and other links

The Globe gave the Duke win an extra bit of coverage (even Ryan writing from Florida). Here is the breakdown, Benbow's good game piece, Blaudschun on Duquette's Duke prep, Shaughnessy on Al downplaying the win, and Ryan capturing the unpredictable nature of this team. The Herald's coverage was a bit thin.


In other news...


Josh Beekman is reaching out to youth groups and talking about Black History Month.


The hockey team's weekend wasn't as good as the basketball's. Although they salvaged a tie after Friday night's disaster.


Brace is ready for the combine and climbing up draft boards.


Could Raji end up being yet another Eagle in Atlanta?

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Down goes Duke

Coming into this stretch I said BC couldn't go 0-3 against the top teams. After watching Wake and Clemson pull away, I feared the same thing would happen against Duke. Shows that I am wrong (again) since the exact opposite happened. Instead this time BC came out with the adjustments in the second half. BC's D got better in the second half. It was Duke that saw their players foul out. And then in the final minutes BC made all the plays. This is a second "resume win" for a team that is still on the bubble. If BC can get at least one more ACC win they should be in good position for the tournament. Here are some of my additional thoughts. As always please leave yours in the comments.

Likes
-- Roche-Jackson-Sanders-Rice-Trapani lineup. I couldn't find another game where Trapani and Roche shared so much floor time. You wouldn't think it would work but both played good D and hit some huge shots. Having Jackson and Sanders out there makes this a strong rebounding group and a versatile defensive unit. A dominant big man could expose this five together, but against a team like Duke it worked wonders.
-- Sanders early. Everyone seemed a step slow to start but Sanders made some big plays and held things together early. He has certainly put the Wake game behind him.
-- Trapani's D. Smart shot blocking and some big rebounds. Who knew he had it in him.
-- Adjusting to the Duke pressure. It was the best the team has looked against an aggressive defense all season.

Dislikes
-- Dunn and Southern. I thought big men would be important. I just didn't expect it to be Trapani and Roche. These two weren't effective and also made some dumb plays.
-- Turnovers. This game was still a bit too sloppy.


Finally, here are a few more photos from Chris S.



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Huge

Just what the team needed. More coherent thoughts later tonight.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Quick Scouting report on Duke

Recent losses to Wake Forest and Clemson have made BC's game against Duke a must win. The team needs another resume/RPI win and needs to stop their losing streak. It will be a tough task because, and I hate to admit this, Duke is good. As always they have strong defense and will probably put a lot of pressure on Rice and in his absence, Paris. But hope is not lost. The teams that have beat Duke have been more physical and pushed the tempo. BC can do both. Outside of slowing Henderson and BC's defensive rebounding, I think the key to the game will be Southern and Trapani. Duke's big men are not that talented. If we can put pressure on them and get some easy baskets inside, they will have to adjust in a variety of ways. Let's just hope Al and Rice make an effort to go inside early. If BC cannot pull out the upset this season will start feeling NITish.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

First (delayed ) reaction to 2009 schedule

Once again, here is the BC press release for the schedule. It plays out as follows:

-- Sept. 5, Northeastern
-- Sept. 12, Kent State
-- Sept. 19, at Clemson
-- Sept. 26, Wake Forest
-- Oct. 3, Florida State
-- Oct. 10, at Virginia Tech
-- Oct. 17, NC State
-- Oct. 24, at Notre Dame
-- Oct. 31, Central Michigan
-- Nov. 14, at Virginia
-- Nov. 21, North Carolina
-- Nov. 28, at Maryland

Everything BC could have wanted

Considering we already knew the opponents this is a dream slate for Spaz's first year. I think we get nearly every team when and where we want them. We don't deal with any awkward trips or Thursday night games. Seven games are at home. The toughest road game is at Virginia Tech, but we know we can win there (neutral fields with the Hokies are a different story).


Baby Steps

The best part of the schedule was BC's jostling to move Northeastern to the opener. It is not exciting but it is just what we will need with a raw QB and a first time head coach. There is no way BC should lose that game. Following Northeastern with Kent State is another confidence booster. We beat them in Cleveland with great D and bad QB play last year. This year shouldn't be any different.


Right teams at the right time

We get Clemson in the third week of September. Bad news is that it will be really hot. The good news is that Clemson's QB and coaching situation is as uncertain as ours. I love playing them early since they won't yet know what they can and cannot do with their QBs. Following that game we have a tough stretch. But four of those games are at home. We play Notre Dame the week after they play USC! Can it get any better? The Irish will either be coming off a huge upset or, more likely, trying to pick themselves up after another crushing defeat. Either way they won't be ready for us.


Big Finish

After the challenging October we get a bye, then close with a road trip to Virginia, North Carolina at home and on the road at Maryland. Writing this now in February, I have a feeling that all three of those teams will be struggling by the end of the season. We should be coming into our own as whoever our QB is will have a season under his belt. I think all three are winnable and should propel us into a bowl.

We have many question marks heading into the year, but this schedule will allow the team to grow and adjust. I'll spend a lot more time this offseason breaking down opponents and predicting the Ws and Ls. For now, I think BC and Spaz should be feeling a little better about what's ahead.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Technical difficulties and other links

Sorry for the unintentional clipped post on the coach of the future. The Sirmans part has now been filled out. I was on the road and had some technical issues. The travel also explains the late, late post Thursday. Here are some links. Programming will return to normal Friday. I'll also be guest blogging for the BCI guys Friday afternoon.


The big news while I was in transit was BC's release of the football schedule. The only major change from past years is moving our DIAA game off of Parents Weekend. Instead we will begin the year with Northeastern. I'll have a more flushed out post on the schedule this weekend.


Here are HD's thoughts on each ACC schedule.


The 33 Touchdown Club honored Barry Gallup this week.


One of the "experts" at Rivals didn't like our recruiting class.


The Devine hire came together pretty quickly.


Former Tight Ends and Special Teams coach Don Yanowsky landed on his feet at LSU. I think he'll do well there, but it will be a different approach to recruiting.


I don't know if I should touch on this topic since it is not sports related, but I don't see the big deal about adding crucifixes back to the classrooms. I don't think this is going to change anyone's experience or education.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Coach of the Future

With every team in a rush to name a coach in waiting, some have wondered if BC should. I don’t think it is appropriate now, but that doesn’t mean a future BC head coach isn’t already on the staff. And I don’t think I am being presumptuous by saying that. Just look at TOB’s first staff. He had two (and counting) future BC coaches among his nine employees.

All of the current staffers outside of Tranquill could be viewed as potential BC head coaches, but I thought I’d narrow it a bit to the guys with the best shots.

Ryan Day
Current job: Wide Receivers Coach
What’s the general opinion on him? Day is considered the shooting star of the staff. He is bright and personable who has already had exposure to all the hottest names in his young career (Meyer, Kelly, Golden). In addition to his New England roots, Day’s two go arounds at BC (one as a grad assistant and his current job) means he has ties to the area, school and truly understands what the opportunity and the challenges a BC head coach faces. Day is also considered a good recruiter and knows how to sell the school.
What does the future hold? Day hasn’t even turned 30 yet. He could probably do the job now, but a little seasoning won’t hurt. It will be interesting to see what steps he takes over the next few years. If he wants to be the head coach at BC it might be best for him to leave for a few seasons. Getting more exposure and hitching his star to a rising program might make him that much more desirable when the job opens again. Staying at BC is high risk-high reward. He can grow his profile and potentially take over the offense in the next few years and become the logical successor. But if Spaz flames out, I don’t think we will be promoting from within.

Mike Siravo
Current job: Defensive Backs Coach, Recruiting coordinator
What’s the general opinion on him? Siravo is a “BC guy.” He’s a former walk on, married to a BC grad. His brother also graduated from BC. In addition to his football duties, Mike has been part of fund raising efforts and different BC social events. He has a close relationship with Defillipo, but his football resume is not as varied or as impressive as Day’s.
What does the future hold? Siravo’s work with the DBs has been excellent. The unit has performed beyond expectations for two seasons. His recruiting has been a little more uneven. Jags seems to be the fall guy for this lackluster class, but it is now on Siravo to pull out a much better class next year. If the same problems occur in the 2010 class, critics will start to come after the recruiting coordinator. Unlike Day, Siravo shouldn’t go anywhere. If he is going to get the BC job, it is not going to be as an under 40 young hot shot. Given his history, resume and persona, I think Siravo’s approach should be slow and steady. If he becomes a BC lifer (and he’s already half way there) and continues to be involved in other aspects of the school, he will rise in prominence. He’ll also need to become a defensive coordinator one day.

Ben Sirmans
Current job: Running Backs Coach
What’s the general opinion on him? In a setting and profession that creates cliques, Sirmans is one of those guys who is well liked by all and can move between the different social groups. His work with Andre Callender was very good in 2007 and I think the freshmen in his charge played very well in 2008. I never would have considered him as a fit for BC’s head spot until the Jags firing. While everyone on the staff seemed to jockey for a better position, scrambled for a new job outside the program or played politics, Sirmans kept recruiting. Who knows, maybe he had assurances that things would work out for him at BC. Or maybe he just wanted to focus on work. Regardless, he deserves credit for acting like a true professional (something that few associated with the tumult did). That sort of dedication to the kids and program should not be overlooked. It’s what you look for in a Head Coach.
What does the future hold? I don’t know Sirmans short-term or long-term goals. With his reputation he can probably move onto a bigger program as a staffer. If he hangs around BC I don’t know if he’ll ever move ahead of Day or Siravo in the “future head coach” pecking order. If his ultimate objective is to be a Head Coach at BC one day, he is probably best moving on and building his network and reputation. Then when the time comes and if his name arises, there will be a freshness to go along with all the good will he’s earned in his two plus years at the Heights.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Familiar loss

Like the Wake game BC took a lead into halftime only to see the game get away from them in the second half. Many of the same problems plagued the team (decision making from our leader, defense, etc).


Not going to do likes and dislikes in this game since there wasn't a ton to love. I am glad Sanders put the Wake disaster behind him but he was MIA down the stretch.

Now the Duke game becomes that much more important. BC needs the win to stop the downward spiral. If we don't beat the Dukies, you can forget bubble talk.

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Looking back at Spaz Part 1

Spaz is a first-time head coach, but he is a very familiar name to BC fans. Having called the defenses for 10 years, I thought the offseason would be a good time to look back at some of his best and worst moments. Hopefully he’s learned from these events and will use that knowledge this season now that he is in charge of both sides of the ball.

Miami 18--BC 7
November 10, 2001


What happened?
Miami came in with the No. 1 ranking and the nation’s longest winning streak. BC was without their best player (suspended William Green). The Canes were heavily favored. Spaziani put together a perfect gameplan. BC used a variety of zones to confuse Ken Dorsey and contain the explosive Miami offense. At times eight guys dropped into coverage. It was the epitome of “bend but don’t break”

BC’s defensive accomplishments that day included:

-- Holding Miami to their lowest point total of that season
-- Holding Miami without an offensive touchdown for the first time in 52 games
-- Forcing Ken Dorsey into a career high four INTs
-- Forcing five turnovers in total
-- Holding Miami to their second lowest total yardage output of the season

This was one of the best teams in college football history and BC gave them their toughest win of the season. If the BC offense had done just a little more and had not allowed Ed Reed to run back a fluky INT by a defensive linemen, BC would have pulled off a huge upset. I don’t believe in moral victories, but Spaz coached a hell of a game that day.

What I hope he’s learned?

Even when you are outmatched, you still need to take chances. Looking back, BC had the right gameplan on one side of the field. However, our offensive scheme didn’t really help our defense. Sure it was ground control that ate clock and kept the mighty Hurricanes off the field, but it didn’t force or create any big plays. BC had the No.1 team in the country on the ropes but only had 7 points to show for it. Even the drive where Walters picked off St. Pierre was going conservative. I know that Spaz won’t be calling the offensive plays this year but hopefully a little of the Logan-Jags gambler mentality rubbed off. BC won’t get to that next level just by playing great defense.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Breaking down Spaz's new hires

BC and Spaziani finally announced two of his hires. They are Sean Devine and Dave Brock. Neither are household names, but I think both look to be very good hires. Here is my breakdown of the additions:

Offensive Line: Sean Devine
What he brings to the table: A great combination of youth, New England roots and an understanding of zone blocking. There was much speculation if BC would undue the system Jags and Bick implemented at the Heights. Not only is Devine of the Chip Kelly school of using zone -- he also teaches it at coaching clinics.
Connection to Spaz: I don't know if he has an immediate connection to Spaz, but the New England college football scene is a pretty small. I imagine Devine has been around BC for camps or Pro Days. I assume the conduit to the relationship was Ryan Day -- who played and coached at UNH.
Connection to BC: No prior connection.
Question marks: How will he work with Tranquill? Will Tranquill let him teach O Line how he wants? Where will he recruit? Does he have any recruiting connections outside of New England?
Overall Assessment: I really like this hire. It helps that he has a prior relationship with Day. I think those sorts of connections and recommendations are good indicators of Devine's ability and potential to fit in. It seems like he is a good teacher. If he can hit the road and recruit, this could be a very promising addition.

Tight Ends: Dave Brock
What he brings to the table: Another recruiter who has worked the northeast and recruited to ACC schools.
Connection to Spaz: None that I know of, but he did work with Tranquill at North Carolina.
Connection to BC: No prior connection.
Question marks: What is his experience with Tight Ends? How will he handle the transition from OC back to being just a position coach? Can he recruit at a school like BC?
Overall Assessment: Not to diminish any position on the staff, but Tight Ends Coach is low risk. You can piggy back off the rest of the offense and get to work with some of the more versatile/coachable guys on the team. In that sense Brock is overqualified. The real question is recruiting. He has experience, but I don't know what territory he will cover or how he will adjust to recruiting at a place like BC. Overall, I think he will be a good addition.

The Tranquill hire caught people off guard. These two were much more in line with what Spaz should be doing. They are outsiders who will bring in new ideas, yet they have connections to current staffers which should make the transition that much easier. I feel like both of these guys will be welcome and productive at BC.

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No respect from the media and other links

HD posted her first power ranking of the new year and BC comes in at 11. New coach, same problem. The national media is going to keep thinking that "this is the year it all falls apart for BC" until they are right. I love how they ignore that we have most of the offense returning and should have a very good D.


BC beat Harvard in the Beanpot to avoid a last place finish.


The ACC is expected to announce its complete football schedule Tuesday. BC already knows its opponents, just not their order. I'll have more on the schedule late Tuesday night.


The women's ACC skid continued in a loss to Maryland Monday night.

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Beanpot consolation and other links

Prior to BU and Northeastern's battle for the Beanpot Trophy, BC takes on Harvard in the consolation game. It's just about pride and momentum at this point. BC has not finished last in the Beanpot since 1993.


Do you remember former basketball walk on Dwayne Pina? He's now part of Tim O'Shea's staff at Bryant.


Chris Snee was excited about his first Pro Bowl. For those who missed the game, Snee's NFC squad won.


Among the many teams that I don't give enough attention to is BC Tennis. They won two matches over the weekend. Considering they play without scholarships, they've put together a nice program.


WEEI's focus remains the pro teams, but their expanded blog roster occasionally dips its toes in college sports coverage. Here is what they had to say about BC recruiting. (Thanks to Fred for the link.)

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Wake walks away with win

So much for avenging the earlier blowout. Wake wiped the floor with BC in the second half. Things looked promising, but when you get nothing from a banged up Sanders, Rice doesn't do much and the D stinks, you are unlikely to beat a good team like Wake in their building. Here are my thoughts. Leave yours in the comments.

Likes
-- 40 minutes from Raji.
He didn't do anything spectacular, but was very efficient. Hopefully he is recovered from his groin issues.
-- Our big men in the first half. Up against one of the biggest and best frontlines in college basketball, Southern and Trapani looked very good in the first half. They scored off of easy and hard shots and also picked up some rebounds.
-- Paris running the point. Too bad it was only four 15 minutes. He looked good out there and should be earning more time.

Dislikes
-- Al's use of Sanders. Sanders was terrible but he never should have played 22 minutes. Al kept him out there long after it was established that Rakim was 1. hurting 2. couldn't handle Teague 3. having an off shooting night.
-- Rice's decision making. More stupid fouls. More wasted possessions dribbling around the perimeter. More bad decisions on when to penetrate. There is still plenty of time to write a great ending to his BC career, but I feel like we will be scratching our heads in April wondering "why wasn't Rice better this year?"
-- The transition D. Guys got back somewhat but then ruined any effort with dumb foul after dumb foul. If you are going to foul a guy during a 3 on 1 or 3 on 2, make sure the shooter doesn't convert his shot.


Now the Clemson and Duke game became that much more important. BC needs to bounce back quickly and get ready for Clemson's physical and relentless press.

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Will we see another bounce back against Wake?

Skinner critics blame Al every time BC is blown out. What is overlooked is how the team responds when they get their shot at a rematch. Just look at some of the blowouts since BC joined the ACC and how the team responded when they got their second chance.

2005-2006 Season
Game 1 (at home) NC State 78, BC 60
Rematch (in Raleigh) BC 74, NC State 72

2006-2007
Game 1 (at Clemson) Clemson 74, BC 54
Rematch (at home) BC 59, Clemson 54

2007-2008

Last season didn’t see BC avenge any of the blowouts. But did see improvement in two of the three rematches.

Game 1 (in Chapel Hill) UNC 91, BC 69
Game 2 (in Boston) UNC 90, BC 80 (this was the game when Rice went off)

Game 1 (in Charlottesville) UVA 84, BC 66
Game 2 (in Boston) UVA 79, BC 74

Game 1 (in Clemson) Clemson 78, BC 56
Game 2 (ACC Tournament) Clemson 82, BC 48

This all brings us to Wake Forest this year. BC got killed in the first game. The team is playing much better basketball and seems more focused on the road. Will this be their chance to bounce back like previous Skinner teams?

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Ageism and other links

When BC promoted Spaz I said fairly or not his age would be used against him on the recruiting trail. We just got confirmation that it is already happening. Check out this quote from Ralph Friedgen: [Eds. note: I added the bold]
"I said, 'Who said that?' And he said, 'One of your competitors,' " Friedgen said. "Well, Penn State was recruiting him, and so was Boston College. I said, 'Well, [BC coach Frank] Spaziani is 64 and [Joe] Paterno's pushing 90. You're worried about me retiring?' I said, 'No, I don't think so.' "


For the record Friedgen and Spaz both turn 62 in April. Call it dirty tricks, but BC better prepare for this on the recruiting trail. Having an even older offensive coordinator doesn't help things. I hope the open staff spots are filled with a few really young guys. BC will need the appearance of energy and enthusiasm on the staff.



The hockey team bounced back from the Beanpot thrashing with a win over UMass Friday night.


Texas Tech learned from the Gene-Jags showdown and is putting in provisions limiting Mike Leach's ability to interview for other jobs.


Here is Kenpom's thumbnail of Wake Forest. As if you didn't already know -- they are very good.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Coaching in waiting dilemma and other links

Maryland just named James Franklin their "coach in waiting." This is a popular tag these days in college football. Its purpose is twofold. First it puts in a succession plan that hopefully provides continuity. The second, less obvious benefit, is that there are fewer recruiting restriction on staffers. A Head Coach is limited in his allowable interaction with potential recruits. A coach in waiting is not. But to a recruit, he is the next in line so therefore carries an heir of importance that a normal staffer does not. With coaches younger than Spaz doing the coach in waiting thing, BC would seem like a logical candidate to also name a successor. But that is not going to happen. It's too expensive. It's too premature given that Spaz hasn't even coached a game. It's also too early to even consider if we want continuity from this era. When BC looks for a new head coach it will probably be time to look beyond the TOB tree. All that said once the full staff is announced, I will do a piece on the head coaching potential of some of the current names under Spaz.


The Ferrieros will be the latest siblings to play for Jerry York.


Ironically Gene's son landed a job with the Jets.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Logan joins Jags and other links

Tampa hired Steve Logan in a still to be determined staff position. It seems like Logan will be the RB or TE coach. Good for him, but Tampa should really get him involved in the passing game as a QB or WR coach.


The women's basketball team lost to Florida State Thursday night.


More on the Johnathan Coleman story. This story is going to be huge if he delivers on the field.


BC guy Bill Guerin is not only still playing...he is the Captain of the Islanders.

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More signing day stuff and other links

For those who have firewall issues with BC's media player, you can watch the Spaz press conference embedded below.




Here is more on one of the last additions to the class, John Wetzel.


More folks ranking our recruits at the bottom of the ACC.


Check out the final portion of this notebook -- after sulking his way through the D League, Sean Williams is back with the Nets. (Thanks to Mike for the link.)

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My thoughts on the class

First a quick news roundup. Jimmy Noel officially committed to BC. It seems like he had some Signing Day jitters but dealt with them and eventually came around. Welcome aboard. People in Hartford are rooting for Andre Lawrence. Chris Johnson has enrolled at Delaware State. You knew that when Flutie passed him on the depth chart at QB, his days were probably numbered. Not sure where the staff factored in his open scholarship (this year or next).


The recruiting experts have us at the bottom of the ACC and among the bottom of the BCS. As I have stated ad nauseum, I am unconcerned with recruiting rankings. These are the things I like and my concerns.


Holding serve
Regardless of how you feel about the Spaz hire or Jags' recruiting, it is a good thing he held onto most of the commits. Transitions are always tough and this is the first sign that Spaz is capable of continuing our decade of success.


Keeping a foothold in Cincinnati
We only signed one player from the Queen City, but all reports say he is a good one. But more than anything it is a statement. Luke Kuechly attends St. Xavier (TOB and Bible's alma mater). Whispers were that St. X and the other area Catholic Schools were no longer friendly to BC. Kuechly's commitment -- especially after the Jags departure -- provides hope that we can still be a player in southwest Ohio. It also confirms that BC's pitch still connects with the right type of kid.


Depth at positions of strength
You could argue that our best positions next season will be LB, RB and OLine. This class is filled with players for all those positions. The crowded depth chart means that not many will play as true freshmen, but it does mean these young guys will learn from some of our best. It also means we should continue to be strong in these positions for years to come.


And my concerns...

Quantity
This is a small class and leaves BC with some unused scholarships. Those open spots will probably be used for fifth year guys and walk ons. Most who follow recruiting think this is a good thing and allows Spaz to get a huge class next spring. I am not in favor of small classes or "banking" scholarships. My logic is that there is a natural attrition to this process. A small class means every mistake or departure has a greater impact. A small class also limits your upside or finding another diamond in the rough. You never know who the next Jamie Silva might be. The fear is that 18th or 19th guy might not be very good and use up a scholarship for four years. That certainly will happen. But a head coach should trust his staff to find a good guy. Also is a non-performing freshman worse than a fifth year who is unlikely to contribute significantly? At least the freshmen has a chance to become something. With a fifth year or walkon, you've probably seen what you are going to get.

Geography
CT, one of the commentors, wonders why we are not picking up more players from ACC country. I wonder why we cannot close on Midwest kids. Others think we blew it in Massachusetts. Regardless of which area of the country you prefer, it seems like BC's scatter shot approach didn't work. I hope the new staff focuses on a few regions and hits them hard. And as much as our ACC move should help recruiting, I think BC will always be a tough sell in the sunbelt. We should have a presence in those regions, but our time and resources are better spent in the Midwest and Northeast.


Well the Recruiting Class from Hell is signed. Regardless of where you stand on this stuff, one thing everyone agrees on is that Spaz needs to work very hard on the next recruiting class. That group, more than this one, will determine if Spaz can be the one to take us to the next level.

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Are we watching a team of road warriors?

The first half was easily the best 20 minutes this team has played this year. The second half wasn't as pretty but the team held on, made their foul shots and picked up another ACC road win. With the killer stretch approaching, the team needed this.


Likes
-- Rice and Paris on the court together. Instead of spelling Rice, Paris joined him for long stretches. This helped with the pressure and opened up some easy shots for Rice. We probably need to do this more in the coming weeks.
-- Rebounding at both ends. BC controlled the boards throughout. Very good night for Sanders. When he picks up rebounds, good things happen.
-- More solid minutes from Roche. He finally knocked down some open 3s. He's playing with house money now.

Dislikes
-- Dealing with the zone. As soon as it looks like we have a solution for the press, a different elemental scheme gives us fits. The shot selection and ball movement against the zone was terrible.
-- Sloppy passing. 20 turnovers! Unbelievable. Fortunately we dominated all other aspects of the game so this wasn't a big factor.


Glad this trap game is behind us. Now the team can focus on Wake and erase the embarrassment from earlier in the season.

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Thoughts on Spaz's press conference

Spaz's announced his first signing class earlier today. I thought it went well. Spaz is Spaz. He's pretty straight forward in his speech and delivery. The class only consists of 16 players now. Verbal commit Jimmy Noel has yet to send in his letter of intent.


He didn't say much about the individual players. His point of emphasis was that they all come from good families and have good support systems. He also made a point to praise Mike Siravo's efforts and the importance of holding the class together. Spaz admitted he hadn't been on the road much lately and said the pace the past few weeks has been frantic. Let's hope he doesn't tire of the road work since he is now the face of the program.


Note to BC, these press conferences are great but would be better if the press had microphones. When watching the stream you can barely hear their questions and are only left to infer what was asked based on Spaz's answer.


I'll have more on the class as a whole once the Noel situation is resolved.

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Reminder: Spaz press conference at 4 PM

You can watch the press conference live on bceagles.com.

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Quick preview of Virginia

BC takes on UVA tonight at 7 PM on ESPN U. It's a game the team should win and control but you can never take ACC road games for granted.


Here is Kenpom's overview of Virginia. They don't do anything particularly well or anything particularly poorly.


The 'Hoos actually remind me a bit of Maryland. And like Maryland we face them after they received a drubbing from Duke. The key to stopping them is containing big freshman guard Sylven Landesberg. I liked how we dealt with Vasquez and hope Landesberg sees a mix of Jackson (for speed) and Trapani (for length). As always, if BC rebounds well, we should control the game.

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Crawley press and other links

New women's basketball coach got some positive press in the Globe. It seems her interests stretch beyond the hardwood.


The second part of this article shares a little of Kasim Edebali story. Like a few of the other prospects in this class, Edebali is considered raw but with huge upside.


Kevin Armstrong keeps giving BC good press -- this time with an article on Jerry York.


Mass Hysteria has a different scoop on our recruiting class.

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Spaz's first Signing Day

Today is the day high school football players sign their letters of intent. I'll have coverage throughout the day and give my thoughts on Spaz's 4 PM press conference. Here are the first few stories related to BC's class and recruiting in general.


All things considered it looks like Spaz and Siravo did a good job holding together the class. The only defections were Nick Klemm and Korey Reynolds (who decommitted in January). Considering that both were recruited by Don Yanowsky and we set to play positions without a current position coach on staff, that is to be expected. Siravo had some good quotes on how BC positioned itself during the transition. At the end of the day you have to sell the school first and not the coaching staff.


Johnathan Coleman remains the most interesting project in the class. As I said when he first appeared on the radar, his story really echoes Michael Oher's. Hopefully BC brings out the best in him.


Here's a story of a New England kid that got away. Towards the end of the article it mentions the perception that BC takes Mass football for granted. On the message boards (and even in the offices of the Yawkey Center) there is an ongoing debate about the quality of Massachusetts football. Regardless of where you stand, BC and the new head coach should do a better job working with the high school coaches and borderline prospects. Even if it only unearths the occasional dividend it is the right thing to do and will only help local football.


One of my turnoffs to following recruiting is the sleazy nature of the process. For every Coleman you get a story like this one in Kansas. Fortunately the shear numbers involved in football will make it harder for a hustler like this to make a real impact.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Combine and what it says about Akins, Purvis and others

Only three Eagles were invited to the NFL Combine. The number isn’t surprising. The invite list was…somewhat. Raji and Brace are no brainers. Akins was a surprise. Used in multiple positions during the course of his career my fear come draft time was the NFL wouldn’t know where to use him (CB, Safety, Linebacker). I guess his size in the defensive backfield will be valuable enough regardless of questions about having NFL secondary speed. I hope he performs well in Indianapolis.

As for the other potential draftees, there is a reasonable explanation for each of their exclusions.

Toal – At this point his injury history negates any upside he might have to an NFL team, therefore no combine. He still might get drafted but not until the late rounds. His Pro Day will be the only way to move up teams’ draft boards.

Ramsey – He is a late bloomer at an undervalued position (G) so the combine was always a reach. In the plus column though are his size, great final season and the school’s reputation for producing quality lines. If he doesn’t get drafted, I think he will probably catch on. It doesn’t hurt that Bicknell Jr and Jags are both in the NFL and, I imagine, would gladly pick him up as a free agent.

Crane – Like Toal, the timing of his injury cost him. This is a shallow QB class too. With a better, injury-free season, he’d be at the combine. The plus side is that Crane has the body, arm strength and athleticism to be an NFL QB. Matt Cassel’s success shows you don’t need the college reps to mature into a good NFL QB. Matt Ryan’s success shows that BC was doing something right with QBs. I think Crane will probably have good free agent choices if he is not drafted late. His Pro Day will be very important.

Robinson – Great guy but there is no way a team uses a draft pick on him. He’s smart and tough, but comes up short in the size and speed category. If you don’t have those qualities, you need velcro hands…which BRob doesn’t. In addition to a good Pro Day, he’s going to need to turn heads at any minicamp opportunity.

Purvis – He’s the most interesting case of the non-invitees. If he had come out last year, he would have been drafted. This year was supposed to be his spring board into a first day pick. After the Kent State game it was obvious to everyone in the building that BC’s passing game was going to take a major step back. For most of the season people assumed the NFL would account for that change in offenese and still acknowledge Purvis’ previous work. Apparently they didn’t. In trying to point out this slight to Purvis, the data actually supports an argument that he regressed this year.

Compare Purvis’ Senior Year to his Junior Year.
2008 – receptions 24, yards 176, touchdowns 0
2007 – receptions 50, yards 521, touchdowns 4

Now here are BC’s total passing numbers for those same two seasons
2008 – receptions 233, yards 2471, touchdowns 17
2007 – receptions 335, yards 3981, touchdowns 28
The team’s decline in those categories respectively was 30%, 38% and 39%.
Purvis’ decline respectively – 52%, 66%, and 100%.

When Purvis goes around working out or interviewing, he'll also battle the John Carlson standard. Last year during the draft process Carlson was trying to explain his struggles as a Senior. Like Purvis, Carlson was a Tight End who had to adjust from a first-round QB (Brady Quinn) to a raw rotation (Clausen et al). But his productivity in those same categories only declined by only 15%, 41%, and 25%.

I don’t blame Purvis nor do I think he played poorly. I think his blocking was good and I think he will be a good NFL Tight End. He was just had an off year at the wrong time.

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Women lose to Duke and other links

Duke ended the women's basketball team's recent run. This was probably a fair measuring stick of where the women stand -- they belong in the top half of the ACC but are not yet ready to knock off the heavyweights.


One of BC's last recruiting projects spurned our offer and is going to play closer to home at James Madison.


The national press is expecting Justin Tuggle to challenge Dominique Davis for the starting spot.


This recruiting class isn't even signed and it is already being called a disappointment.


If half the all conference team was rated highly coming out of high school and the other half entered college as unheralded, what does that mean for recruiting rankings? I don't know. Neither does this writer.


Here is another cool panoramic shot courtesy of Chris S.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Ugly night in the Garden

BC came into Beanpot hoping to turn things around and get hot for the stretch run. That fell apart in the second period. The boys allowed some ugly goals and then let the frustration boil over in a scuffle to close the 20 minutes. Ugh. Not a good night on what is becoming a season to forget. Hats off to Northeastern. Not only did they dominate the 2nd, but they also kept BC from mounting any sort of comeback in the 3rd. As always share your thoughts in the comments.

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Bubble Watch

The win streak was just what the hoops team needed.


-- The RPI creeped up a bit to 51.


-- Lunardi has BC in the tournament as a 9 seed.


-- The Sporting News also has BC as a 9 seed.


-- Bracketology 101 is not as optimistic. They slotted BC for an 11 seed.

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Beanpot Game Watch(es) UPDATED

BCMike and crew from the Atlanta BC Club have put together a Game Watch for the Beanpot. It is a new location from where they had the football watches.

Atlanta
Fox Sports Grill Atlanta
http://www.foxsportsgrill.com/atlanta/
261 19th Street, Atlanta, GA (Atlantic Station)
(404) 207-1369,

There will be another if/when BC advances to the Beanpot Final.

If your club is hosting an event, please put it in the comments or send me an email.

Chicago
Finley Dunnes

New Jersey
McSwiggan's Pub
10 1st St.
Hoboken, NJ
201-798-6700

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Beanpot Guest Blogger

Although I am able to see more BC hockey than I used to, I still don't get enough to be considered well informed (some would argue that doesn't stop me on other BC items...). My old radio colleague Mook Williams has a much better feel for what's going on with the defending National Champs, so I've asked him once again to guest blog on the Beanpot and BC hockey. My questions and his answers follow.

1. The team has not looked like the defending National Champions. Ferriero and Smith obviously miss having Gerbe on their line, but that is not the whole story. What is going on? Why does the team seem to take two steps forward and two steps back?


Mook Williams: I like to laugh and say that BC is presently "sticking with the game plan" right now - they seem to always look terrible in the month of January, at least for the past 3-4 years, and this year is no exception. Of course, the expectations are even higher this season with the national title last year and a crop of good freshmen coming onto the squad. The problem right now, more than any of the past seasons, however, is that BC is taking way too many penalties. Part of the problem is that Hockey East officials are . . . well . . . terrible on most nights. Apart from bad officiating, which both teams on the ice are subject to, there appears to be a lack of concentration and focus out there for all 60 minutes. Defenseman Nick Petrecki gets the bad rap of taking too many penalties, but many of them are reputation-based (I mean, how much of a joke was that major late in the game against Lowell?). However, Petrecki's problems this year are representative of many on the roster - lapses in focus, failure to keep the legs moving, and a delay in decision-making. The good news is that this problem can be remedied in a matter of one night. As for Petrecki, I think you are going to see a dominant end to the season for him.

A bigger problem is that there is a lack of scoring leadership, especially recently. Brock Bradford got off to a hot start, but has since tailed off, with no one else filling the gap or supporting him. There certainly are plenty of candidates on this team to explode offensively: Gibbons, Smith, Ferreiro, Hayes, Atkinson, and / or Whitney. For whatever reason, no one has caught fire. At this point in the season, only Bradford is in double-digits in goals scored. Yikes. One of the few true bright spots this season, senior power forward Kyle Kucharski, is second with 8 goals, and only 4 penalty minutes. I think this guy has a good shot to have a lengthy pro career . . . but in the midst of other forwards with bigger names and in strong Hockey East, Kyle being second in goal scoring isn't what you wanted to see when you broke this team down in October.

Pop quiz (and don't use Google) - who has more goals, Andrew Orpik or Ben Smith? The answer . . . neither, both have 3. More assists? Both have 9. Smith has played one more game. Orpik is another bright spot, as he's really brought the checking hammer out this season, even more so than last, but Ben Smith is a guy that the Eagles need to provide scoring leadership, and it hasn't happened. Is he injured? Or is he just going to have a hot finish? He's shown that he steps it up as springtime nears. Ben always does things subtly on the ice, so focus in on him the next time you see BC play to see how he's skating out there.

In goal, John Muse has been off and on, but we saw the same performance last season before he ratcheted it up several notches to help carry the team to a national title. I believe we'll see focus and lateral movement improvements in him during the coming weeks. Will we see him actually get a regular season game off? Don't count on it.

Some credit goes out to Matt Price, who never stops motoring, and recently Malcolm Lyles, who deserves to dress for all remaining games this season. As does Matt Lombardi, who displays his commitment to grinding every time he's out there. BC needs more of the same from these guys, along with more passion from other, in order to compensate for a loss that is greater than not having Nathan Gerbe on the team: not having the "glue guys" named Brennan, Bertam, and Greene.

I'm maybe the last remaining BC observer to believe this, but I still expect this team to pull it all together in LATE February, and grab yet another Frozen Four birth. I also predict that they will "see" several teams coming down as they are on the way up - i.e. BU and Notre Dame. Coach Jerry York has already shown every one several times that he owns a copyrighted "formula" to getting deep in the NCAAs every year. Until he puts a team out there that fails to stick to the plan, and who knows this could be the one, I won't doubt him or his teams.


2. The team lost to Northeastern earlier in the Fall. How much can you look to that game as an indicator of what will happen in the Beanpot Opener?


MW: I don't necessarily see the October 18, 2008 game as being too much of an accurate preview for the first round BC/NU Beanpot matchup. That game occurred what seems to be eons ago - BC was ranked No. 1 in the country and came into a red-hot intense environment at Matthews Arena. The game was a competitive 4-3 NU victory, earmarked by two shorthanded NU goals. It was BC's first loss of the season.

Right now we have BC at the bottom of it's season, struggling to get off the mat, while Northeastern is flying high as a new national power. NU is getting great scoring support from its two younger classes, and has already received an impressive 8 power play goals from senior leader Ryan Ginand. Thiessen in net has been solid, as usual (well, other than in his last game against UMASS). As I type this, BC would be left on the outside looking in for the NCAAs if the season ended today, while NU would be a strong No. 2 seed. However, we've seen this all before from both teams: NU has gotten off to good starts and dropped, and BC has certainly lagged in the middle of the season . . . repeatedly . . . only to emerge as a dominant force later. Let's take a look at who NU has beaten this season: BC, Alaska (also tied), PC (three times), Maine (three times), Bentley, Vermont (twice plus a loss), UNH (plus a tie and a loss), Lowell, Western Michigan, and Merrimack (twice). Not exactly an SEC football caliber hitlist.

Although I'm not too confident in BC just yet (way too early in the season for that), I think that NU is about to drop like a rock. BC takes this game in a close matchup, and starts to wake up. I don't see BC getting by BU in the championship game - I mean, come on, it's the Beanpot!


3. Many of York's teams have lost focus midseaon only to rally down the stretch. Do you expect another Frozen Four run and how important is the Beanpot in sparking a potential run?


MW: I think that I got ahead of myself in half-answering this question up in #1. As to the second half of the question, I don't usually put too much importance on the two non-conference regular season games known as The Beanpot, but for this struggling BC team, it is potentially huge. BC has a great opportunity to use this tournament as its own personal purgatory - face a top-performing NU team, and maybe also a dominant BU team, address the many team ills through adversity and pressure, and come out a much stronger team. If they fail in the Beanpot, or at least don't obtain a moral victory in a close loss, it won't be the end of BC's season, but it will definitely be a cause for greater concern. Coach York always acknowledges the Beanpot as a great litmus test to see if his teams are close to being ready for postseason tournament play. Well, let's see it . . . will the "sleeping giant" defending national champs be awakened?

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tranquill's old boss weighs in

Here is a Q&A with John Bunting that has been kicking around for a few days. In it Bunting heaps praise on our new offensive coordinator. He also speculates on how BC will deal with Tranquill's age when recruiting players.

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"You had to be there"



The crowd looked great and sounded great and by all reports was great last night. Hopefully this win and this environment gets people on the bandwagon for the stretch run. We have some huge home games coming up and we need Conte crowded and loud.

Thanks to Chris for the pic.

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