Monday, January 30, 2012

The lesson of the Miracle Workers




With one losing lesson on his resume and porous recruiting class set to sign, many are wondering what sort of hole Spaz will leave for his successor. I've made the argument on message boards, twitter and in numerous conversations, that it doesn't matter what Spaz does. If BC hires the right coach, we will rebound. You only need to look at the rebuilding jobs Greg Schiano performed at Rutgers and Al Golden performed at Temple to know it can happen. Both were black holes where coaching careers went to die. But both guys saw potential and believed in themselves and turned around moribund programs.

Before I get into my blueprint for Golden and Schiano, let me state that I don't know how they will do at their current jobs. Rebuilding is different in the NFL or taking an underachieving program like Miami back to elite status. I don't know if either are the greatest Xs and Os guys. But those issues aren't relevant to BC's potential issues after Spaz.


1. Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. Schiano and Golden both have a bit of used car salesman in them. Those sort of personas have always been a turnoff for me and other BC fans. But the reality of college football is you need the face of your program to connect to recruits, their families and their coaches. While Schiano and Golden had plenty of misses among their recruiting rosters every year and never delivered elite classes, they recruited harder and better than anyone ever did at Temple and Rutgers. As head coaches they were on the front lines and in the recruits's faces. That sets a tone. BC's next coach has to be the same way. Every coach we've hired since Henning showed a strong push on recruiting when first hired and then drifted from that focus. BC's next coach has to love to recruit and love to sell.


2. Facilities. You don't need the best facilities to win. You just need slow, continuous improvements to your facilities. You need to be able to sell recruits that "we've just done this and the really big project is coming." Spaz won't make a big deal out of it, but guys like Golden and Schiano would make our renovated weight room or the new turf seem like they were the biggest projects in Boston since the Big Dig. The momentum of those improvements shows progress and combats the coaches who say "BC's facilities are ancient." Eventually BC will have to build a permanent practice facility, but for now they just need to have an incremental upgrade each season.


3. Control. Rutgers gave Schiano total control when he was hired. They just lost a chance to hire Mario Cristobal because they wouldn't give him the same control. They feel they don't have to now. As BC fans know all to well, hiring a coach based on who he would keep on his staff is a short-sighted move bound for failure. Our next coach needs total control. That doesn't mean he can recruit anyone or doesn't have to graduate players. At BC, those things are a given. But it does mean he can hire his whole staff, set the schedule and play any style he prefers. BC's current coaches don't have those powers now.


These keys are the blueprint for a comeback but I think it is a bit of fantasy on my part. As long as Gene is making the call, no coach will be given the same latitude that Schiano and Golden were given when they changed two terrible programs.

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33 Comments:

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Pearl Washington said...

Bill

Wait a second. Explain the used car salesman deal. I live in Miami and I can tell you Golden is a humble guy.

Schiano is a used car salesman? Why because of the recruiting and marketing strategy the RU athletic department chose to employ?

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger eagle1331 said...

Pearl -

I'm sure Bill is just using a figure of speech. Schiano and Golden are both known to be very good recruiters because they can truly sell their program, their school, their style, etc.

When both entered their respective past jobs (Temple, RU), they weren't dream jobs of any coach, much like BC will be when Spaz leaves. They weren't a "shiny, new car" a la an annual BCS contender or big budget state school with history (yes RU is a state school but tiny budget)... they were a used car that you had to sell the perspective buy (recruit) on. The school/car didn't do the selling for them, they had to push it the right way, and they were both great at it...

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger blist said...

It seems like Spaz is from the late-tenure Al Skinner school of recruiting - if a kid has to be sold on BC, they aren't for BC. And if I have to make an effort to recruit the kid, he's not worth the trouble. Not the most effective way - everyone wants to be wanted.

 
At 11:51 AM, Blogger Big Jack Krack said...

I believe that Golden has a very good class coming in tomorrow. #6 in one service and #10 in another service = a good recruiting class for sure. Especially compared to ours.

BTW - so does Clemson and FSU - and VT and GT. I haven't checked, but NC State will most likely be better than ours. How about Wake and Maryland?

It's going to be tough to reach the ACCCG again.

Speaking of recruiting, I see we just got a good TE from St. Peters in Jersey City, NJ - Michael Giacone - 6'5", 246. I think this is great, as Michael is probably better than Sam Grant. Michael switched because of Schiano's departure.

Welcome to the Heights, MG - let's turn this thing around.

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger Tim said...

Part of the reason that Schiano was able to get out and recruit in person is because they gave him a friggin' helicopter to buzz all over New Jersey visiting the top talent. Nothing like that will ever happen at BC.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I don't agree that coaches should be able to set their own schedule. It's for conferences and ADs to set the schedule. The next coach should have complete freedom to select his staff and playing style though...

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger ATL_eagle said...

I don't mean Golden is not humble. But he will talk a recruit's ear off and he will tell them what they want to hear and over-promise.

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger Tim said...

Do we really want our coaches to "over-promise"? Do we really want recruits who are so simple-minded that they'll base their college decision on a sales pitch from a "used car salesman" who "tell[s] them what they want to hear"?

When you think about some of the best BC players in recent years -- Luke Kuechly, Matt Ryan, Mark Herzlich, Anthony Castanzo, etc. -- don't they strike you as relatively bright and articulate guys (and/or Rhodes Scholar candidates) who might not have fallen for some cheesy sales pitch?

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger eagle1331 said...

BJK -

Giacone is the #33 Rivals Tight End, Grant is #35...

But stars and rankings don't matter as our coaches would tell you.

Jeff -

Our HC would probably love for his AD to start making the schedule, but the AD is too busy trying to run the football program

 
At 8:10 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

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At 8:16 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

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At 8:16 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

Boston College is not freaking Rutgers or Temple.

A sell job to the extent being inferred by the post is not necesaary to get players to sign with Boston College.

A coach who respects his players, earns his players respect, who can recruit a region very well, and who has NFL connections is what Boston College needs. Spaz provides none of this and he is a terrible game manager.

Coughlin and O/B did all of the above. Specifically in terms of recruiting, Coughlin did a great job recuiting New York and New England. O'Brien did very well in Ohio and New Jersey.

Schiano and Golden are not the type of coaches that BC will hire nor would they be successful at Boston College. Here is why. First, Boston College as a University CANNOT afford to have another major scandal be it recruiting, academics, or GAMBLING(or even foring a coach publicly like Jags. Although he was a fraud). Schiano or Golden or a "salesman" will entice marginal personalities who have a greater chance of breaking the rules. Second these types of coaches are short term in nature. Boston College requires a long-term discipline oriented coach who can develop talent. Third, these guys have no direct ties to management in the NFL. Coughlin had the Parcells coaching staff experience and O'B had Belichick(who introduced O'B to his wife). The final point is VERY important for Boston College as a point of differentiation since we can say to talented players "you can come here, play 3 years on national tv, and guys x, y, and z are now playing for the Falcons, Patriots, Packers and Giants.

I feel very uneasy with 1) Being equated at all to Rutgers and Temple and 2) that anyone would insuate that a salesman type would be successful(see Jags college level, Rex Ryan national level) at Boston College.

Two names for future Boston College coaches: Tim Murphy at Harvard and Ken Nuimatalolo at Navy. Both seem clean, stable, and have been successful at schools with academic restrictions and against big time rivals in Yale and Army. They can coach in big games which will be important if we ever get back to a Championship game.

 
At 8:47 PM, Blogger eagleboston said...

Knucklehead,

Totally agree. I also think the 2 names you mentioned would be excellent for BC although I would hope the Navy guy could adjust to a pro-style offense.

I also think BC needs to cultivate a new generation of coaches. With an inordinate number of successful players in the NFL, wouldn't you think a coach or 2 will arise from the NFL talent? Or how about former players that did not make it to the NFL such as Paul Peterson? I would love for a true BC Guy that really loves the university to come and coach BC for 5, 10 or even 20 years. I want the next coach to return BC to greatness and I want a coach who is not looking at BC as a stepping-stone, but who wants to be at BC for a long and successful tenure.

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger JBQ said...

RFK once stated "some people say why. Others say why not." There has to be a reason why BC is different. It can't be for what is on the field. It has to be for what it stands. That is where WPL comes in. Texas is worth 804M while BC is worth 58M and ranked 55. Does ESPN run what is just in society? It does not. I believe that the red headed Jesuit needs to step forth in the Athletic Department and make his presence known as the representative of a higher power. Football is only one path to heaven but it carries the most enthusiasm. Mark Herzlich and Mathias Kiwanuka are what BC is all about. That is why there is a reason to fight for a good program.

 
At 9:33 PM, Blogger Lenny Sienko said...

"Schiano and Golden are not the type of coaches that BC will hire nor would they be successful at Boston College. "

Just a reminder, Al Golden was LB coach at BC from 1997-1999 under TOB. IIRC when he moved on to UVA, there was considerable "...weeping and gnashing of teeth..." at BC losing one if its best recruiters.

 
At 2:50 PM, Blogger ScarletEagle said...

Saying that BC would never hire Schiano is just ignorant. The comparison to a used car salesman implies some sort of ethical shortcomings, which frankly is just not true. What made him successful at Rutgers was the family mentality he established and was able to get his players to truly buy into. He recruited not just football players, but young men and their entire families. He has handled the Eric Legrand situation with more class and grace than about anyone out there could. Not to mention Rutgers football has had a top 5 APR score in the last several seasons. The solid foundation Schiano has established at RU is made prominent by the increasing exposure and reputation of the school, which has allowed Rutgers to reel in better and better recruiting classes each year.

Bringing in a coach like Greg Schiano would have been in the best interest of BC. Those of you who claim he would have brought in "marginal personalities" and poor academic performers need to get your facts straight.

I wish we had Schiano!

 
At 11:46 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

I know Al Golden was at BC.

I know Schiano is good coach.

They do not fit what the current regime at BC nor the estute BC fan is looking for. Nor do they fit what has historically been successful at Boston College.

A showman, salesman, or whatever is not good for a program that has had major issues with gambling and the NCAA etc. Jags is a perfect example of that.

Schiano and Golden would have jumped to the next job in a New York minute. That type of coach does not deserve to lead Boston College.

Quit whining about how holy Schiano is and how great Golden has been. Neither has REALLY done anything remarkable. They both got mediocre programs to win 7-8 games in their respective lowsy conference. Not impressive.

If you are going to talk about handling health issues with players. Tom Coughlin handled the Jay Magillis illness and Spaz handled the Herzlich illness as well as can be expected, also. That has nothing to do with the topic of the type of coach who would be successful at Boston College.

You missed the point.

Also, You guys are probably the same people who said BC should have hired Bruce Pearl.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger ScarletEagle said...

Schiano turned down Michigan and Miami head coaching offer, among others, in his 11 year tenure at RU, so claiming he would have jumped to the next job in a New York minute is basically just wrong.

"A showman, salesman, or whatever is not good for a program that has had major issues with gambling and the NCAA etc. Jags is a perfect example of that."

... can you elaborate on that, because you just made a vague statement without explaining it or backing it up. Apparently I'm missing the point ... maybe because you don't seem to have one. Furthermore, Schiano has run a perfectly clean program at RU for 11 years. Why would we not want him at BC?

 
At 9:02 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

I will say it a little slower.

Schiano would have left Boston College(if he had accepted/been offered the job).

There is no way he could have handled the academic requirements and the lack of full control over the program. Very simple.

Working with the Rutgers alumni base, athletic director, and Board of Directors is nothing close to working the same bodies at Boston College. It is not even close. Do the research. You have to be able to work with bodies at Boston College when you are the highest paid employee at the University. At Rutgers he ran the show and that is why he didn't leave until the NFL offered him.

Boston College has historically been successful with no non-sense coaches who recruit and Develop players that are mentally stronger than they are physically talented. Schiano and Golden are focused more on recruiting 4+ star athletes(they may or may not get them but that is their focus). All of us who have experienced the Boston College history department know that history is the best predictor of the future. Another discipline oriented coach is bound to stay long term and successfully build a program(Coughlin, O'B).

To the point of history, I will leave some nuggets here for you.

In the 1980's Boston College basketball was involved in a gambling scandal. It did not help the university in terms of public perception.

In the 1990's the Boston College football team was invloved in a gamb;ling scandal in which the players were betting on their own games.

You were lacking the historical perspective to gleen the point. Now you have it.

 
At 10:22 PM, Blogger ScarletEagle said...

I'm very aware of the BC gambling controversies. I'm just still waiting for you to explain how Schiano would be a bad fit considering those.

Pretty sure the HC of Michigan and Miami runs the show too.. He didn't leave when offered those jobs. RU also has one of the worst budget dilemmas in the NCAA, so I guarantee it was no cakewalk dealing with the Board of Governors.

And as for saying he didn't develop mentally tough players, you're just making bold generalizations without really knowing what you're talking about. Only in the last two years has he brought in blue chip recruits. Look at Ray Rice or Kenny Britt, or any of the RU guys currently in the NFL. None of them were prized recruits. Schiano's mantra of "Keep Choppin'" reflects the exact ideals of mental toughness and resilience that you - correctly - say BC emphasizes. Attracting better recruits is only a bonus.

I know both programs very well and follow them very closely as a Rutgers season ticket holder and a BC alum. Anyone else on this board may not notice the liberties you take in portraying the RU program and Schiano, but they don't fool me.

Once again, I'm very aware of the gambling/point shaving controversies, but I'm still waiting for you to explain why that aspect of our program's history would be one that Schiano couldn't deal with as opposed to another coach.

Finally, regarding the academic requirements, take a look at the APR scores of football programs in the last ten years. You're ignoring facts.

 
At 6:40 AM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

No liberties being "taken."

You obviously have a personal relationship with Schiano or think that you do and anyone who has a rational explanation for why they disagree is wrong in your eyes.

The Michigan coach does not run the show at Michigan the Trustees and the boosters do. Donna Shalala spelling? and the boosters at Miami obviuosly run the show at Miami.

Schiano had full control at Rutgers that is why he stayed there. He would not have full control at Boston College. A big personality/salesman(Schaino) needs full control. A disciplinarian doesn't because he understands that everybody has to answer to someone. The players answer to him and he answers to his boss.

Schaino didn't answer to anyone at Rutgers and you know it.

Call it Checks and Balances or Sarbanes Oxley or whatever. A coach who runs the show and then transitions to a situation Boston College will never work out.

 
At 6:40 AM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

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At 6:51 AM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

I don't want a big mouth showman running my program. You can say that I am mischaracterizing Schaino but that is my opinion, deal with it.

Anyone who pals around with Bill Belicheck is highly questionable. If you follow Rutgers like you claim to do then you know what I am talking about. I will spell it out for you, watch the Rutgers Homecoming game that was on ESPN this year.

I can do this back and forth routine all day by the way.

 
At 7:11 AM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

I don't care about the APR. I am talking about admissions requirements. Anyone can graduate from college these days. Getting accepted to a good school is the issue.

Boston College doesn't accept everyone into the program/school. There are thousands of regular students and student athletes not offered a spot that would gladly accept an offer to attend.

If the BC football program sold-out it could get whoever it wanted. Rutgers doeesn't have the same the admissions standards and it would take within reason any high level athlete it could get its hands on. BC doesn't take anyone. Schaino can offer to anyone and they will be accepted. That isn't going to work at Boston College.

See the players who Spaz let go. See the players Jim O'Brien got fired over.

Schaino is not a good fit. Having a recruiting history at Miami and then being at Rutgers does not work for a program that needs to be clean.

I AM taking a liberty with this comment but it wouldn't surprise me if Schaino was leaving Rutgers because the NCAA is looking at him about his work at Miami. A Pete Carroll type move.

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger ScarletEagle said...

Everything you've said is an opinion borne of ignorance and hypocrisy. First you call him a "loud mouth" then try to impeach his character by comparing him to belichik. Polar opposites there. But yes he does have good relationships with nfl coaches... Nice extra to throw in when recruiting.

The Miami/Pete carrol thing is just ludacris. Kinda lost any credibility you had with that one.

I know schiano's flaws. He's not great with in game adjustments. He can be indecisive. But e is a great dc and face of the program. Also quite a disciplinarian contrary to what you believe. I would love to have him at BC.

Also, I'm still waiting for an answer to why he couldn't handle coaching at a school with a history of gambling scandals. You are an artful dodger knucklehead!

 
At 8:24 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

I didn't compare or equate him with Belichek in terms of his personality. Read what I wrote. I alluded to him sharing time with Belichek in a friendly manner. Sharing time with a cheater like Belicheck makes me question Schianos character, logically.

I am questioning Schianos character not only because of his relationshp with a cheater but also because he worked for the University of Miami which is now being investigatrd by the NCAA for recruting violations, some of which occured during the time Schiano was employed there.(As an aside he was the D coordinator and most of Miami's most highly recruited players played Defense).

I don't want someone associated with the University of Miami in charge of my schools program which has had major issues of its own.

There is no dodging from me. I have said the same thing three time in different ways so that it would resonate with you.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

I will repeat again.

He cannot recruit whoever he wants to BC. The AD and the Board of Trustees are more demanding at BC. He would not last long term because of the above. In addition, I don't want anybody with connected, even indirectly with NCAA recruiting violations in charge of my program.

The point really cannot be made in a more straight forward manner.

 
At 9:07 PM, Blogger ScarletEagle said...

A bit of a stretch, but whatever. Having a working relationship with Belichick to enhance his players' preparation for and chances to make it in the NFL doesn't mean that Schiano is taping his opponents illegally or partaking in any other illegal activities. If you consider Schiano as related - even indirectly - to scandal, then probably most coaches out there are.

Obviously, we have differing opinions, and I think your argument is fallacious. Agree to disagree.

Enjoy your Saturday night Knucklehead!

 
At 12:20 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

Everything is a strech or needs to be illuminted 2-3 times for you.

 
At 12:33 PM, Blogger ScarletEagle said...

relax bro, neither of us will convince the other. no big. move on now.

 
At 12:44 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

Typical New Jersey attitude, 'bro.

 
At 12:48 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

I haven't been trying to convince you of anything.

I have been trying make you understand a simple point because you keep asking me to explain it to you.

 
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