Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Team pulls through in the end to beat Georgia Tech

I said the team needed two wins in their final three games. Beating Georgia Tech 54-50 was the first step. The win -- and how it happened -- should be an important step as he team matures. They built a big lead and watched it slip away. Yet in the final minute they did enough to win. These are my thoughts. Be sure to leave yours below.


Likes
-- Lots of minutes for the best players. Because it was Senior Night, we didn't roll out our usual lineup. As expected Donahue put the regulars in quickly. Anderson, Humphrey, Jackson, and Daniels all played 35+ minutes.
-- Hitting their 3s. Some of this is luck, but the success of the three-point attempts really won the game. There were some clutch shots from Cahill and Daniels too.
-- Humphrey's first halounf. He still has his reckless stretches, but Humphrey does provide a spark. His play in the first half helped establish the cushion BC milked the remainder of the game.


Dislikes
-- Cahill driving to the basket in the final minute. I don't mind him being out there. But how did we come out of a timeout with that as an option? With the game on the line we put it in the hand of our least skilled guy at driving to the hoop. Donahue's a good game manager, but that was a mistake.
-- Rebounding issues. Sometimes we can't even pull down a rebound when the ball bounces right towards us. We desperately need an impact rebounder.
-- Perimeter defense. Georgia Tech missed plenty of 3s but not because of what we did. We doubled the post and game them too many open looks.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Statistical Snapshot of the Basketball team: Take 2

Earlier in the year I looked at the basketball team's basic Kenpom stats. My belief was that the team was better than its start and that we would be competitive late in the season. With only a few games left, it is time to ask if BC has improved and if we are better than our record.


In December our offense was 254th. Things have actually gotten worse. Our adjusted offense is now 288th. As we played better teams and better defenses, we had more trouble scoring. Part of this was rebounding and part was BC's inconsistency from 3. Given Donahue's track record for offense and his success with offense last year, I am disappointed that we have not improved offensively. The final three games gives BC a chance to improve the numbers, but not dramatically.


The defense tells a much better story. In December we were ranked 296th in adjusted defense. We are now 198th in adjusted defense. There are multiple factors in the improved defense. We've been better in transition and generated a good amount of turnovers. BC has also helped limit possessions with decent defensive rebounding. The improvement wasn't enough to help us win games, but the improvement should be noted.


Donahue has positioned this season as a learning experience. If you watch him during the games, it is obvious that he is trying to win, but he is also trying to teach these guys how to play together and play his way. These final three games need to be a different type of learning experience. Donahue needs to win two out of three. Not to win over BC fans, but to build confidence in his players as they head into their second season together.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Kuechly huge day at the Combine and how it benefits his teammates

Since you couldn't question his productivity, NFL doubters have wondered about Luke Kuechly's athleticism. Monday at the NFL Combine he put the doubters to rest. Like he did during his entire BC career, Kuechly dominated. He set some of the best marks among LBs and most importantly ran a 4.5 40 yard dash.


With the head turning show, the question now is how far up the draft boards Kuechly might go. Most predicted him to fall to the Eagles at 15. The Combine performance put him in play for a top ten spot or might entice a team to move up to take him before Philadelphia gets the chance.


Luke's BC teammates are the other big beneficiaries of rising stock. BC's Pro Day will now have a better turnout as teams try to get a better feel for Kuechly. That means that borderline guys like Momah or Holloway will get a chance to show their stuff. I don't think they are suddenly draft picks, but the extra face time could lead to free agent opportunities.

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Football Schedule is finally here

With all the confernece shakeups, the ACC delayed its football schedule for weeks. Finally it was released. We knew who BC was playing in 2012. Now we know in what order.

2012 Schedule
Sept. 1 -- Miami
Sept. 8 -- Maine
Sept. 15 -- @ Northwestern
Sept. 29 -- Clemson
Oct. 6 -- @ Army
Oct. 13 -- @ Florida State
Oct. 20 -- @ Georgia Tech
Oct. 27 -- Maryland
Nov. 3 -- @ Wake Forest
Nov. 10 -- Notre Dame
Nov. 17 -- Virginia Tech
Nov. 24 -- @ NC State

My initial thoughts...

This is the most evenly distributed BC schedule in some time. For years it felt like we had soft spots followed by death marches against the toughest teams. Looking at that schedule, there is no section that jumps out. Maybe three straight on the road with Army, Florida State and Georgia Tech, but Army should be a W and Georgia Tech is a winnable game.


I am glad we are ending the season on the road. Thanksgiving weekend games are always low energy at the Heights. With the students gone and many of the regulars elsewhere, it should be a weekend we avoid. I am disappointed that we are hosting Labor Day weekend again. Many of the same attendance and ticket issues are in play there too. Plus we were in the mix for a national game on Sunday or Monday. Playing Miami on a busy Saturday afternoon won't get much national attention on the college football landscape.


Seeing the schedule on paper is a reminder that we have a tough road to a bowl appearance. A decent coach would get us to one, but I don't trust Spaz at this point. I would say the only true wins are Maine and Army. I would put Florida State and Clemson are sure losses (with Spaz's play to lose mentality). That leaves BC to find four more wins from the rest of the schedule. Maybe the offense will finally click with Martin calling the shots. But right now I think this team is headed towards a 5-7 season.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

What to read into our newest signee

The biggest football news of the weekend was Spaz adding Concord-Carlisle running back George Craan to his recruiting class. Craaan's story has all the elements you want in a prospect: he was local, has a good family structure behind him, and wanted to play at BC. But the question needs to be asked: if Craan someone BC wanted, why did we wait until three weeks after Signing Day? I don't want to demean Craan. He's a great story and I hope a great success. I fear though that his signing speaks more to issues with how Spaz is managing recruiting.


The fact that BC even has more scholarships at this point goes back to my criticism of banking. Just in the past week we've seen Momah lose his eligibility and a few other players get taken off the official roster. That had us below 85. That's problem No. 1.


The second issue is that we didn't recruit a running back last year nor in this year's class. For a team that wants to run, that is a short-sighted strategy. When Montel hurt himself again, it was a reminder of how thin our RB depth is. Finding a new running back makes sense. But you are not going to find an elite guy after Signing Day. You are going to have to find a player well, well below the radar.


Craan kicked butt this past season. I hope he adds some depth and proves to be another flyer who becomes a star at BC. But the approach to his signing is all wrong. We need to start thinking beyond Spaz and question what sort of talent he is leaving for the next BC coach.

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Weekend roundup

The Hockey team beat up on Providence again, this time 7-0. It was the senior class's 100th victory.


Baseball lost another close game to UCF.


Softball lost to tournament hosts Charlotte. It was their first loss in their last eight games.


The women's basketball team got crushed in Miami.

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Hoops hits their wall against Wake

Every team has lapses. When you are predominantly freshmen those lapses can come at inopportune times. Yesterday's bad, bad loss to Wake Forest was the basketball team's bad loss. I think the guys have hit a wall. They seemed to being going through the motions at times and the laissez-faire defense was another sign that they didn't come to play. I hope they can regroup in the final week and a half of the season. These are my other thoughts.


Likes
-- Ryan Anderson driving to the basket. If he can make that part of his regular game, he'll be an elite ACC scorer.
-- Caudill's post moves. He looked decent on offense. The hooks and fade aways against taller guys show potential for growth in his offensive game.
-- Moton's minutes. Pretty solid overall. He provided good defense without holding the team back offensively.


Dislikes
-- Ryan Anderson's foul shooting. Let's hope it was a one game aberration.
-- The defense. It was pretty terrible all around. Not that we should be guarding big men tight on the perimeter, but we weren't even in the same zip code. The rotation and help was terrible. Wake guys had too many open looks or clear paths to the basket.
-- Jordan Daniels not being an offensive threat. If he is not going to drive nor shoot then it makes the offense less effective. He needs to take the ball to the basket more and either take the shot himself or find an open man.
-- Too much passing without purpose. You pass and you pass and you pass like that hoping for a defensive breakdown. But if the guys don't cut or shoot on decent looks, then the offense becomes stagnant. Anderson, Humphrey and Jackson were the only guys who will consistently force/create. The other guys need to start doing that too.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Baseball's 1st loss, Hockey wins and other links

After some back and forth, UCF took the lead in the bottom of the 7th and handed BC baseball its first loss of the season. The two teams play again Saturday afternoon and wrap up the series Sunday.


The hockey team shutout Providence 3-0. It was BC's first shutout since last year.


The softball team kept their hot start and no hit Morgan State.


Here is a round-up of the BC women's soccer team's recruiting class.


This is not sports related, but a BC student is missing. Obviously if you know anything, contact the authorities.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Draft Stuff: Kuechly, Kuechly, Kuechly, a little Fletcher and Mamula too

The NFL Combine begins this week and it will be Luke Kuechly's chance to shine. His college productivity is off the charts, but teams wonder if he has the size and speed to be as effective in the NFL. Luke's been training in Florida and ready to show off his new speed.


Todd McShay ranked Luke Kuechly as the 9th best prospect overall in the Draft.


Everyone thinks Philadelphia will draft Kuechly.


If he doesn't go to Philadelphia, look for Kansas City to give Luke a look.


BCI and Mocking the Draft spent time analyzing Kuechly's NFL future.


This blurb from CBS calls Fletcher a sleeper.


It's Mamula time and this article is actually a fair.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The NCAA Answers to no one: Momah's appeal denied

The NCAA denied Ifeanyi Momah's appeal for a sixth year of eligibility. BC and Momah were not given an explanation for the denial. A written explanation will be mailed in two to three weeks. There is no one for the media to question as the decision was not made by a standard committee out of NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. The applications for sixth years are made by a panel of peers from other NCAA schools. This is final. There is no further appealing. Ifeanyi can make a stink out of it publicly but he won't see the field. BC could cry of selective enforcement, but that won't get Momah on the field.


Because there is no current explanation everyone involved is left to assume that the panel considered Momah's 2009 redshirt as selective. He did practice that fall and did experiment with a new position. Should BC have been more careful and called it an injury redshirt? Perhaps. We will know for sure...in two to three weeks.


As the NCAA hands out sixth years to guys who took booster money, yet denies a clean kid who has his degree, the whole purpose of the governing body comes into question. They are not punishing BC for shoddy paperwork. They are punishing one of the good apples. BC even asked that Momah be given a sixth year to play anywhere to help the case. It didn't matter.


Momah has enough raw talent and size that he will get a look from NFL teams. It is just too bad that a good college football player was jerked around by the organization that should be holding him up as a shining example.

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HD says Spaz on Hot Seat and other links

On the heels of her Q&A with Spaz, HD said that he was on the Hot Seat during her ESPN.com chat. In thinking more about how poorly the Q&A was handled, it seems like Spaz is waiting for something to come out. He knows that assistants talk to the media (he did as an assistant). He knows that his former assistants can now speak more freely. HD didn't have the "gotcha" question, but someone eventually will.


After their hot start, BC baseball made an appearance in the ESPN powerpoll (thanks to Tim for the link).


The former BC staffers now at Rutgers are already recruiting Hayden Rettig.


In their Spring primer, CBS also talks about Spaz's hot seat.


Volleyball players Kellie Barnum and Tsvetelina Dureva earned All-ACC Academic Team honors.


HockeyFuture held a Q&A with Kevin Hayes.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Harris done for Spring

In disappointing but not unexpected news, Montel Harris experienced soreness in his knee and will miss the remainder of Spring practice. Given all that has happened, I don't think BC can expect much from Montel this Fall. He will own most of the BC rushing records and have his degree, so I hope he comes back on his terms. With chronic knee issues, a professional career is looking doubtful. Montel was a fun player to watch. Let's hope he gets one more shot to shine at BC.

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Spaz ill prepared for Rogers questions

Kevin Rogers did not leave BC last year due to health reasons. I said he was fired. Other rumored and unofficial explanations claimed he quit, had a breakdown and/or had a physical fight with Spaz. Regardless of where you think the truth lies, BC made a big mistake claiming he left due to unexplained medical issues. Covering up the truth only makes for awkward, tone deaf exchanges like this:



Boston College coach Frank Spaziani has been nothing but defensive when asked about Rogers, repeatedly insisting that Rogers' situation was nothing more than a personal health issue, and he was offended at the suggestion that there was more to it than that:


"What do you know about that situation?" Spaziani said in a recent interview. "Let me help you work through this, Heather. Why do you think we have a new offensive coordinator? What happened to the old one?"


HD: Did he get fired?

FS: Is that what you have?

HD: I have no idea.

FS: Well what were you told?

HD: That he took a leave of absence for health reasons in September, but I haven't heard anything since then.


FS: You were told he left because of health, right? Ok. So, does that explain a new offensive coordinator? I don't want to play games with you, but to me, it sounds very self-explanatory, that one.



Gene and Spaz set up the lie regarding Rogers because the truth would have raised more questions at the time. Who hired Rogers in the first place? Was he told that he would have autonomy on offense? Did he and Spaz share the same philosophy? Did Spaz do something to piss Rogers off? What did Rogers think of Spaz as a coach? What was the mood of the rest of the staff? BC wasn't comfortable answering those questions because they all lead to the obvious questions of who is really in charge and is Spaz fit to be a head coach. So instead they lied and perpetuating the lie continues to raise questions more questions than it answers.


Midseason firings happen all the time. Louisville fired their offensive coordinator midseason last year. BC fired Jim Turner during Spring Ball in 2007. The smart, secure thing to do is say there was a difference of opinions, both parties are going their separate ways and pay the assistant to keep his mouth shut. Instead Gene and Spaz took the more complicated route. If any of these guys had studied history they would know that the cover-up is often worse than the crime.


Kudos to Dinich for finally pressing Spaz on the matter. It was overdue, but with Rogers' new employment and BC's recent turnover, it is only fair to ask Spaz about the mood of his staff and Rogers recovery. The Heights asked Spaz about it the other day. He should have known more was coming and should have been less defensive in his approach. But one thing Spaz has made clear in his tenure is that he's not great in interviews when he has to go off script.


There are many reasons the BC football situation is a mess. Spaz isn't all to blame but he just happens to be in the middle of it. Although the coaching turnover wasn't his plan, I think it actually gives him and BC a fresh start. Let's hope that it is all a success and the staff has great chemistry, because that will mean no more questions about what happened to Spaz and Rogers during the UCF game.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

We've been doing it all wrong [UPDATED]

[WARNING: Wonky football analysis post] [UPDATED: I had the percentages transposed for BC. Thanks to Mod34b for the heads up.]


Mgoblog has a contributor who does a lot of interesting work on football analysis. His latest post explains how the traditional down and distance philosophy is outdated. Wisconsin -- with their very successful QB and RB combo -- is the test case, but there is a lot that BC could apply. A quick summary is that a passing play from a QB has a better upside than one from an elite RB and that a premier running back is overrated.


Now even without great players like Russell Wilson and Montee Ball, balance on offense is outdated. BC needs to be more aggressive and make our passing game more explosive.


I know Spaz doesn't call the plays, but his selections of Coordinators and his endorsement of their approaches, shows he's more comfortable with a "balanced" attack. I would hope that Doug Martin would open things up, but his one year at New Mexico State was also very run heavy. Below are some reference points. And what does it say about BC, when Wisconsin -- the Big Ten team used as an example an of old school approach on offense -- looks pass happy compared to BC and New Mexico State.


Run/Pass mix
BC 2011 -- 57.42% run, 42.58% pass
BC 2010 -- 56.93% run, 43.07% pass
BC 2009 -- 57.35% run, 42.65% pass
New Mexico State 2011 -- 49.72% run, 50.28% pass
Wisconsin 2011 -- 35.01% run, 64.99% pass


Martin has said the right things about next season. He runs a West Coast, single back offense but is less about scheme and more about taking advantage of the team's best players. I don't know enough about New Mexico State to judge if a heavy dose of run made sense. Let's hope he does want to take advantage of our best players because that would mean plenty of passing from Rettig to Larmond and Pantale.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Still a long way to go

Every school in the ACC has the same pitch: "Play for us and you get to take on Duke and Carolina. You'll get to show your best against the best." It is an effective angle. Over the years you've seen players step up in these big games and others fade. BC didn't have enough today in the loss to Duke and didn't play smart or well, but I think you saw that Ryan Adnerson is going to step up on the big stage. He'll bring out his best for the best. Now we just need a few other guys to step up too.


Likes
-- Ryan Anderson's all around game. His offense got attention, but he had tough defensive assignments throughout the game and looked good.
-- Matt Humphrey creating his own shot. In the beginning of the year I thought he was selfish. Now I admit we need him near the ball because he's one of the few that can create his own shot on the perimeter.

Dislikes
-- Rebounding. Rebounding. Rebounding. I know part of the problem is due to size. I know strategy plays into it too. But the staff needs to change something. There is no way BC can win consistently without better rebounding.
-- Handling Duke's tight man-to-man. Duke did what they always do and we really couldn't get in a rhythm. This is partially because we don't have many guys who can dribble under pressure. Another point guard will help, but the guys also need to move and pass with a purpose.
-- Shot selection. These guys are passing up too many good looks. Visockas was the worst offender.
-- Dennis Clifford forcing things. His post game is pretty good for a freshman but tonight it was off. I don't feel like he was ready for Plumlee's quickness.


The guys have a long break and then get some easier games. If Duke is the measuring stick, we are a long way off from being great. But the final three games can prove that these guys are getting better.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hockey wins, Football starts and other links

After hitting a milestone win Friday, Jerry York and his team were back on the ice to get win No. 901. Paul Carey's goal put BC up for good as they swept the weekend series with Merrimack.


Since BC didn't have extra bowl practices, Spaz decided to start Spring Ball earlier. Notes from the first day include a few position changes, Jones and Swigert missing time recovering from surgery, and an update on Okoroha.


The baseball team is off to a surprising start. After beating Coastal Carolina 8-3 on Saturday, the team improved to 3-0. The team is off until their series with UCF next weekend.


Here is a preview of BC-Duke.


The softball team is in Florida and beat St. Louis 5-4.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Themes for Spring Practice

With the start of Spring Practice, I thought it was important to address the issues Spaz and the team will face over the next few weeks.


1. QB competition.
Based on all his interviews, Doug Martin wants QB competition this Spring. It is assumed that Rettig will win the job, but it must be encouraging to the other guys that they have a shot. The biggest beneficiary of the competition will be Josh Bordner. Last season he saw action, but in a limited function. Now he gets a chance to prove he can do more than run. Spring is also a chance for Shinskie or Marscovetra to move back up the depth chart. Finally, Suntrup can prove he is the QB of the future.


2. Installing a new offense.
The good news is that these players are used to starting over on offense. Martin also installed a new offense at New Mexico State last season, so he knows what works and what doesn't. Aside from the QB play, the key is the offensive line. The players need to understand what to do on each play and BC needs to build a solid foundation up front.


3. Replacing Luke Kuechly
You don't really replace a player like Kuechly. What we should all hope that someone shows the potential to be the starting Middle LB. Different players will get turns at the spot. The key will be who shows the ability to cover space and direct the defense. I don't think anything will be decided this spring, but it is a chance to make an impression.


4. Which reserve steps up.
This subplot often sparks a summer of hype on the BC message boards. Inevitably someone will look good, rumors will get out and we'll all watch with bated breath during the Spring Game. Sometimes the spring hero becomes an impact player when the games count. Other times it doesn't carry over. Regardless, fans never get tired of the speculation.

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Women's hoops win streak and other links

I hammered the BC women earlier in the season, so it is only fair for me to lead with their current win streak. Thursday night they came back to beat Clemson. It was their second straight ACC win.


On the BC women's basketball news front, former Eagle Clare Droesch's battle against cancer is getting national attention. Let's hope her struggle has the same happy ending as other recent Eagles who fought the disease.


Soaring to Glory posted their BC baseball preview.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Maryland was hot, BC was not

Even without winning every game, the team has been playing well. That wasn't the case in tonight's loss to Maryland. It was one of those games where everything went in for Maryland and BC couldn't buy a shot. These are my thoughts. Leave yours below:

Likes
-- Better ball handling. The team was pretty careful with the ball in the second half and went through a long stretch in the second half without a turnover.
-- 3/4 court pressure. We used it when we were down a lot with Odio forcing long passes. I would like to see more of it as it took Maryland out of rhythm.
-- Ryan Anderson's post moves. For a freshman, he's got good touch and can go in both directions with both hands.


Dislikes
-- Perimeter defense in the first half. This changed the game. Maryland buried us with 3s and most were because we didn't switch or were playing off the man.
-- Clifford close to the basket. He had a rough night. Not only was he missing bunnies, but he started to hesitate as the game went on and it only made things worse.
-- Shot selection. I like guys driving to the basket, but Humphrey and Jackson put up too many awkward shots.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rugby player wins Bronze Star and other links

This article doesn't mention BC, but I wanted to link the story about former Eagle David van Dam. (thanks Robert for the link). Too often I focus on what former BC athletes do as professionals in their respective sport. But many others go on to do incredible things beyond the playing field.


KC Caudill started out playing baseball, but as he kept growing, hoops made the most sense.


Mike Mayock keeps predicting that the Philadelphia Eagles will draft Luke Kuechly.


Montel Harris will participate in Spring Ball, but the staff will take it easy on him while he recovers.


Cleary, Swigert and Hughes all made the All ACC academic list.


Providence awarded Will Blackmon with a key to the city.


Ryan Purvis signed with the Giants.


Because I don't get tired of watching the Beanpot highlights.

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The most random clip of Linsanity you'll ever see

I went looking for video of Jeremy Lin's coming out party against BC from 2009 and found the clip below. I don't speak Portuguese but I am guessing these are two Brazilians tourists visiting Boston and deciding to see a BC-Harvard game. At 1:35 in the clip Lin drives by Reggie Jackson and the girls seem to give a brief clap. At 2:27 Lin leads a nice pick and roll that results in his teammate (the guy cutting to the basket) for an easy lay up. The BC crowd is tense. After all losing to Jeremy Lin wouldn't become acceptable for another three years. The Brazilians don't seem to care much. Little did they know they were documenting the first stages of Linsanity.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Time to add Holy Cross to the football schedule (seriously)

Earlier this week the Patriot League announced that they would start providing football scholarships in 2013. This is good news for BC as now we can renew our football rivalry with Holy Cross. It may not excite most younger BC fans, but adding the Crusaders back to the schedule makes a lot of sense.


All FBS teams will play a FCS game annually. As much as we hate it, the game are not going away. In fact, I think the nine game conference slates will have some teams searching for wins by scheduling two FCS games annually. In the past BC scheduled their FCS opponents and justified it as a game good for New England. But with Northeastern dropping football, URI downgrading and UMass upgrading, BC is left with only Maine and UNH as potential New England opponents. (Games against non-scholarship Harvard and Holy Cross could not count towards BC's bowl eligible wins.) Now that Holy Cross has scholarships, those games can count.


Although it would still be a cupcake game on the schedule we can frame it as tradition. The two schools have played 82 times and for years it was a huge game in Massachusetts. Playing again would still excite some of our older alums. I also think it would energize Holy Cross to the point where they would probably be willing to play us every year. I also don't think Holy Cross would demand an exorbitant pay day. It's a bus trip and they could sell their ticket allotments. When BC brings in the Weber States of the college football world, we pay a premium. Holy Cross wants to be associated with BC. Playing us annually helps their branding. Plus it is win-win. If we crush them, there is no embarrassment. If they give us a game or win, they have huge bragging rights.


The ACC expansion allows for only three non-conference opponents. BC fans want us to play Alabama, Michigan and USC every year. The reality though is BC needs to play schedules comparable to our peers. Yet at the same time generate interest. Getting Holy Cross back on the schedule is the just one step towards that.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Buzzer beater at Beanpot

Photo from the Heights's Twitter.


When things are going well you only need a few seconds to score. BC waited until the final six seconds of OT to beat BU and wrap up their third straight Beanpot.


BC has used the Beanpot as a springboard in the past. Let's hope they do again this year.

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Commissiong still on campus (and staying) and three new coaches hired

First an update on Jeff Commissiong. Despite Rivals report, he was still on campus today and telling people he is staying. That makes sense as BC has backfilled three positions without mentioning him leaving or staying.


We already knew about Sean Desai. The other two newcomers are Aaron Smith and former Eagle Al Washington. All three fit the prototype BC needs: young and hungry for a shot at the big time.


Smith comes from Columbia where he has held a variety of roles. He played college ball at UConn and Maryland. With an Ivy League background you assume he understands the type of player BC can and will recruit.


Al Washington is a name I floated from the beginning. He seems like the perfect fit in that he is young, understands BC and can help provide a little emotion to a team that seemed lifeless at times. Washington was an undersized DT for BC but always served as a team leader and someone who could achieve beyond his physical talents. Since his playing days he's stayed in the BC circle, first as a GA with TOB at NC State and then as a DLine coach with Swepson at Elon.


The coaches leaving were not a good sign, but I think Spaz really did the right thing with how he filled the openings.

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Sean Desai reportedly new Special Teams coach

According to coachingsearch.com, Sean Desai is BC's new Special Teams coach. Only 29, Desai is actually a BU grad and holds a PhD from Temple. He's got to be one of the most interesting candidates Spaz could find. While green, I endorse the move. We need to take chances and we need enthusiasm.


Desai overlapped with Mike Siravo at Temple, so I would guess that is his connection to Spaz and Gene. If he worked for Golden and Golden brought him to Miami, you know he is willing to work hard and recruit hard.


If the remainder of the staff has this sort of profile, I will be happy.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Heartbreaker in Blacksburg

When ESPNU splashed BC's record in games decided by four points or less, I knew we were in trouble. There's a lot of luck involved in winning close games and after going 4-1 in close games so far this season, you had to think things would turn a bit. And it did as VT beat BC with a putback in the final seconds. To add to the frustration, BC played really well offensively. The ball movement and the shooting were the best its been. Defense is where things fell apart. Here are my thoughts. Leave yours in the comments.


Likes
-- Anderson's low-post move. As they mentioned repeatedly in the broadcast, Anderson did it with his left and his right. He hit short jumpers and hook shots. He was very good.
-- Clifford finishing close to the basket. In a perfect world, that is how the offense should run. Plenty of space so that the penetrator can find the big man close to the basket.
-- Humphrey's defense. He's got a good sense of timing and made them pay for their sloppy passes. He also is a good help defender.
-- The ball movement. This time the passing had purpose. They also did a great job of finding the open man in transition or Lonnie Jackson waiting on the 3-point line.


Dislikes
-- Defensive rebounding. I know Donahue doesn't put an emphasis on offensive rebounds, preferring good transition defense in return.But sometimes that might be a detriment on defense. We allowed too many second-chance points, including the last possession. We probably could have used some more minutes from Caudill.
-- The missed opportunities late. A turnover and missed foul shot really changed the game. As did fouling them. It sucks, but I am chalking it up to the team being young.


This was a tough loss because the team played well. Now if they improved defensively like they have offensively, the final few weeks will be fun.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spaz needs to hire an African American assistant ASAP

Quotas are messy and controversial. As I said during the Lively controversy, I don't think BC or any of its leaders are racists and leveling that charge is a cheapshot. But now that Jeff Comissiong also left for Rutgers, BC football is without any African American staffers. Spaz needs to hire an African American replacement soon. It is not about quotas. It's about combating negative recruiting. Every school uses negative recruiting and the race card is often played against BC. Other programs say Boston is a racist city and that the school is full of rich, white kids. Now those other coaches will throw in "they don't even have a black coach." Most recruits and their families see through the negative BS, but it will hurt. And the timing stinks. As Spaz just told Ivan Maisel, recruiting during the "Junior Days" period is critical. BC is talking to future targets right now. They need staffers quickly and they need diversity to combat any negative perceptions.


As much as I thought the departures of Sirmans, Day and Brock were losses, from a coaching standpoint Jeff Comissiong's departure is addition by subtraction. Comissiong had been on the hot seat at various times during his tenure at BC. He was never considered a great recruiter nor a solid position coach. Ironically he interviewed at Rutgers a few years ago and Schiano passed. This should be an opportunity for Spaz to upgrade.


Fortunately there are multiple, young African American BC grads in coaching. Doug Goodwin and Al Washington are two that come to mind. Spaz will fill these openings. As I said in my earlier posts about the staff changes, I hope he uses this as an opportunity to bring a new energy to the program. That way BC can change the perception to outsiders and the reality to the players.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Don't believe the nonsense that staffers were forced out

There are some BC fans who are apologists in every situation. God bless them for their undying loyalty, but don't listen to their current nonsense that Spaz forced Brock, Sirmans and Day out. After Bollman was hired on January 12, 2012, I asked a BC spokesperson for confirmation of this staff (listed below) and the status of Ben Johnson (who received a staff promotion midseason).

Doug Martin -- OC and QBs
Sean Devine -- TEs
Jim Bollman -- OL
Ryan Day -- WR
Ben Sirmans -- RB
Jeff Comissiong -- DL
Bill McGovern -- LB and DC
Mike Siravo -- DB and RC
Dave Brock -- special teams

This was BC's official response:


Yes, these will be the staff assignments. Under NCAA rules, Ben’s not eligible to move back to a GA spot next fall, he’s already been here two years (he could actually be here through the spring, though).


Anyone who thinks Spaz wanted to make a change now after most of the good guys have found jobs is not thinking logically. If anyone thinks Spaz wanted to lose three of his key recruiters isn't dealing with reality. This shakeup is going to cause Spaz and Gene major headaches. They will have to hire unemployed guys or young and up and comers who are willing to risk uncertainty with Spaz in exchange for a BCS job. I hope he goes with young and hungry, but the trackrecord probably means we will hire guys who don't have jobs.

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Update: Day to Temple, Sirmans to Rutgers

The rumored has become official. Ryan Day is leaving BC to become Temple's Offensive Coordinator. Ben Sirmans is leaving BC to become Rutgers Running Backs coach. This is good news for both of them and bad, bad news for BC. BC is losing two of their younger coaches and two of their better recruiters. Staff changes are part of college football, but none of this speaks well to how Spaz is running things nor his future.


Day has always been viewed as a rising star in the coaching ranks. He turned down opportunities at Mississippi State and Oregon to keep coaching at BC. It was long rumored that he would be our Offensive Coordinator one day. After Tranq retired I was told and reported that it would happen. It didn't and I think that signaled the beginning of the end for Day at BC. You can only be the young guy for so long. If he wasn't going to get a chance to call plays at BC, he needed to move on to a place where he would have that power. He worked with Steve Addazio at Florida and worked at Temple under Al Golden. It was a natural progression. Let's hope he is successful there and maybe one day returns to BC as the head coach.


Ben Sirmans is another huge loss for BC. Not only was he a good position coach, but he was a critical recruiter (he covered Cincinnati for us). Where you can explain away Day's departure, Sirmans doesn't make as much sense. Rutgers is a lateral move at best (the Big East's BCS status is in question). Given their budgets, I don't think they are offering lot more money. What they may offer is stability. The Knights new coach will probably get at least three years at Rutgers. Does anyone think Spaz will be coaching BC in three more years? Sirmans is also a New Jersey native, so the "coming home" aspect might appeal to him. Plus he already has a working relationship with Dave Brock.


BC didn't want to make changes. After BC's Signing Day I was told the staff was set. But obviously the staffers were still looking for opportunities. Leaving for inferior programs after getting overlooked for bigger opportunities at BC speaks to Spaz and Gene's management of the staff. It also reinforces the rumors of staff issues that Spaz dismissed a few weeks ago. I hope Spaz uses these openings to bring in young and hungry guys. This is his chance to change the energy around the program. Old retreads are not the way to build for the future.

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Report: Day and Sirmans leaving

Coachingsearch.com is reporting that Day and Sirmans are also leaving BC. The rumors are they are headed to Rutgers too to work with Brock. I'll have more as this developes. For what it is worth, Coachingsearch.com was wrong on our initial S&C hire.

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

The uselessness and the utility of Rivals' rankings

Rivals unveiled their Rivals 250 for the 2013 recruiting class. As the WSJ noted, these rankings cover just a small portion of the football population. And the Godfather of recruit ranking admits politics plays a part in the process. There is value though in knowing who BC is targeting early, who is our competition and which players hale from BC feeder schools and territories. These are the names to note and follow in the coming months.


Kendall Fuller, DB; Olney, MD; Our Lady Of Good Counsel
The scoop: He's got offers from the whole world, so it will be an uphill battle. The good news is that we've pulled kids from Good Counsel in the past.


Joey Bosa, DE; Fort Lauderdale, FL; St. Thomas Aquinas
The scoop:
Alabama is listed as his favorite. The only plus for us is that he is the son of former Eagle star John Bosa.


Hayden Rettig, QB; Los Angeles, CA; Cathedral
The scoop:
Yes, Chase's younger brother is also a highly ranked QB. Based on his twitter feed, you won't find a bigger BC cheerleader than Chase. But who knows what his family thinks of how things have played out on the field. He's now on his fourth OC. My guess is that much of Hayden's decision will depend on how Chase plays this year in the new offense.


Andrew Isaacs, TE; Manchester, CT; Manchester
The scoop:
He's already committed to BC!! This was good news but that doesn't mean BC can take their foot off the gas. We now have to keep other programs from trying to poach him.


Kyle Bosch, OL; Wheaton, IL; St. Francis
The scoop:
His main recruiter was Dave Brock. I don't know how that impact his thoughts on BC.


Ryan Burns, QB; Ashburn, VA; Stone Bridge
The scoop:
As with any QB target, I imagine how our offense plays this year will be the biggest factor. The second factor will be how the Rettig brothers play.


Henry Poggi, DT; Baltimore, MD; Gilman School
The scoop:
Gilman is one of those schools where Boston College is a popular destination for their regular students. I think BC needs to play that angle more with sports recruits. Maybe the pitch will work with Poggi.


Adam Breneman, TE; Camp Hill, PA; Cedar Cliff
The scoop:
BC locked up a Tight End already and it is not necessarily a high priority. Effort might be better spent on other recruits.


Eli Woodard, CB; Voorhees, NJ; Eastern
The scoop:
It looks like Ohio State is hot on Woodard. Based on Meyer's relentlessness, I don't think we will win many head to head recruiting battles.

Garrett Sickels, DE; Little Silver, NJ; Red Bank Regional
The scoop:
He has offers from everyone. I would hope that BC pitches its success with defensive players and the lack of depth at DE.


Ahmad Fulwood, WR; Jacksonville, FL; Bishop Kenny
The scoop:
Trying to build on our Jacksonville pipeline, BC has offered Fulwood. But based on his list, it looks like he is headed to an SEC power.


David Williams, RB; Philadelphia, PA; West Catholic
The scoop:
He's got offers from all the big schools in the northeast. Like all running back targets, we should be pitching playing time based on our depth chart.


Evan Lisle, OL; Centerville, OH; Centerville
The scoop:
He's got offers from many Big Ten schools. But this is why you hire a long-time Ohio State offensive line coach.


John Montelus, OT; Everett, MA; Everett
The scoop:
I actually like our chances here. Everett has been a BC-friendly program for a few years now and Sean Devine is listed as his main recruiter. Devine seems to do a good job connecting with his targets.


Also of note, there are a few kids from Trinity in Louisville on Rivals's list. With Finch progressing, I hope we don't overlook going back into Louisville for more talent. BC is not involved with Trinity Christian safety Nick Washington. I would hope that our inroads in Jacksonville and success with Montel Harris would provide some opportunity there. The biggest no brainer to me is Dallas Jesuit WR Jake Oliver. But BC is not even listed for him.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The young guys get first big win



After the loss to Georgia Tech, Meter and I were talking about what went wrong. He simply said: "if they make two more '3's, they win." It was overly-simple, but he was 100% correct. For Donahue's teams to win, they need to make their three-point shots. However, against an elite team like Florida State, they also had to do other things. They did them tonight, giving Donahue the biggest win with this new batch of starters. Here are my thoughts. As always, leave yours in the comments.


Likes
-- Matt Humphrey providing leadership. The transfer concerned me early in the season. He seemed hot-headed and a bit of a ballhog. The past few games, he's been really good. He's playing great defense and is not afraid to drive to the basket.
-- Daniels driving. By threatening to penetrate, it gave him space. He obviously took advantage of the looks.
-- Varied defenses. We used 2-3, man-to-man and applied pressure at different times. It produced one of the best defensive efforts of the season.
-- Making foul shots down the stretch. We've seen so many games getaway from us. Most of you have to admit you feared a last minute comeback. But the guys made most of their foul shots late, giving BC enough cushion to hold on.
-- Going small. We used a small lineup for stretches against Georgia Tech and it produced quality minutes. Tonight -- against a bigger and taller team -- small ball worked again.
-- Lonnie Jackson's four point play. Didn't that feel like Jared Dudley?


Dislikes
-- Clifford's foul trouble. He's got to be more careful.
--Slow stretches in the first half. I am proud that they fought back, but you cannot put yourself down double-digits to a good team.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Heights reporting Brock to Rutgers

The Heights delivered some breaking news that Dave Brock is leaving BC to become the Offensive Coordinator at Rutgers. With the way his tenure has gone at BC, this departure is not a surprise. Brock was passed over for the Offensive Coordinator role when BC hired Kevin Rogers. Later -- after Rogers was fired -- Spaz promoted Brock into the role midseason. BC's offensive productivity remained lackluster so another change was made. Not wanting to lose one of their best recruiters, instead of firing Brock, BC merely demoted him. It appears that when he had a chance to be a coordinator again in a BCS conference he took it.


As a Special Teams coach losing Brock is not a big deal. Losing him as a recruiter hurts. Spaz's current staff doesn't have a collection of sweet-talking, road warrior, closers. Whoever they hire to replace Brock better be a diehard recruiter.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

BC wins Beanpot opener and will face BU again

BC smashed Northeastern 7-1 in the first night of the Beanpot. This leaves BC to play BU once again next Monday. With that many goals, there were plenty of highlights including two-short handed goals.


As a reminder next Monday's game doesn't mean anything if BU wins but will be a nice springboard for us if we win another Championship!

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Timing of the ACC TV deal

The ACC expanded for two reasons: stability and money. Short-term stability is ensured as the dominoes fell and all the logical dance partners moved spots. A looming 16 team SEC or 16 team Big Ten could happen, but not for at least five more years. The money related to a new TV deal is a little more complicated. According to the Sports Business Journal, the ACC is only likely to get an additional $1-2 millions for the new teams. Considering that the ACC expanded to trigger an opening in their TV deal, a small bump seems dissappointing. There are multiple factors in this, but timing is the biggest one.

When the ACC signed its current deal, the SEC had the biggest TV contract. The ACC willingly took a smaller deal in exchange for a deeper partnership with ESPN. The ACC also forgoed the Big Ten's path of creating its own TV network. The only real alternative for the ACC was Fox. Fox provided a good deal but all things being equal ESPN made more sense from a financial and marketing relationship. What no one predicted is that the ACC deal would become antiquated less than a year after it was signed. First Texas got its own TV network from ESPN (the same company that talked the SEC and ACC out of TV networks). Then the PAC 10 expanded, got their own TV network and a blockbuster deal from ESPN and Fox. Most of those moves were defensive as ESPN and Fox didn't want NBC/Comcast encroaching on their territory of college sports. Since they were watching their peer conferences get rich, it was only natural for the ACC to ask for more. Expansion was a trigger, so the ACC expanded. But ESPN doesn't seem to have any more blank checks.


Since the PAC 12 deal, NBC has been less aggressive in acquiring college content. The NFL has also announced they will be showing games on Thursday night all season, which devalues ESPN's college football timeslots. Mix in the continued economic uncertainty and suddenly it looks like the ACC missed out again on a big pay day.


The ACC deal allows ESPN the opportunity to match any offers. So I assume this initial increase is an effort to placate and scare the ACC. I don't know how Swofford and company will play their hand, but I think they have to ask for more or reopen the contract. While it may seem like the ACC is operating from a position of weakness, bold moves (like the ones made by Big Ten, Pac 10 and Texas) have been rewarded in these deals. The ACC might be "down" but they still have some assets that won't change like Big TV markets, really popular national teams in football and basketball and the ability to play in timeslots that other conferences might not due to timezone issues or unwillingness to play on weekday nights. If ESPN or the other networks don't budge, start your own TV network. It has worked for the Big Ten and would finally make the conference truly stable and independent.

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I didn't forget the Beanpot and other links

The Beanpot starts tonight. BC is in the late game against Northeastern. I apologize for the lack of a preview, but I haven't been able to watch much BC hockey lately. The Heights put up a good piece. If you have some sort of sports package you can watch the game on NESN.


Women's basketball lost to Wake Forest. They remain winless in conference but still have a few winnable games left on their schedule.


Donnie Fletcher answered some questions for this NFL Draft blog. He attributes much of his success to BC.


ESPN didn't think much of BC's recruiting efforts this year.


I'm glad BC wrote this article on Steele Divitto. If the Globe won't write it, BC might as well promote it on their own site. You also have to be impressed with Steele's maturity.

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Congrats to the Mara Family



One of the things we sell to football recruits is that BC is a family and being an Eagle will open all sorts of doors. In football, no family or organization embodies that spirit quite like the Maras. Congratulations to them for winning another Super Bowl. Congrats to all the BC folks who work for the Giants. Congratulations to Chris Snee and Will Blackmon. I really feel great for Kiwi. He received a Super Bowl ring four years ago, but had to watch from the sidelines recuperating. This time he earned it on the field. The only bittersweet aspect to all of this was that Mark Herzlich didn't get to suit up. Let's hope he gets rewarded in another season or too just like Kiwi.


The Maras (and Tisches) also deserve credit for sticking with Tom Coughlin. I know many BC fans secretly wished he would finish his career in Chestnut Hill. That's not going to happen, but at least we can always say BC was where it all started.

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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Thoughts after seeing hoops team up close

Living in Atlanta makes attending BC basketball in-person a challenge. Saturday's loss to Georgia Tech was my first chance to see Donahue up close and I think it was probably as good a sample as any. BC controlled the tempo, played good defense, yet found themselves trailing late and couldn't pull out the win. I like Donahue and he knows more about basketball than I will ever know, but I think he's making some mistakes with this team. Let me explain.


Doing it all himself.
Steve Donahue is working his ass off during the game. He's pacing, he subbing, he is shouting instructions, he is leading the huddles, he's talking to the players on the bench. His assistants are not as active...especially when compared to how Skinner and JOB's assistants worked during games. I don't know if this is Donahue's preferred method or the inexperience of his staff or if he wants to be the lone voice for these young guys. But sometimes a different voice can make a difference. The assistants should be talking to the bench players during the game. They should be giving feedback to the players who have just come off the floor. Allowing the assistants to do more during the game can free up Donahue and may help the players get better.


The offense doesn't have natural movement.
Every possession is too scripted. The players wait for Donahue's signal and instructions each time in the half court. You would hope that with any offense -- but especially a motion variant -- that guys would move naturally. There should be some flow. Because they don't have freedom I think every one is too stagnant and wastes too much time.


They are passing too much.
I have no problem with the perimeter passing. But these guys need to be more aggressive. Take shots when they are slightly open. Many of our turnovers came when the guys were making one final unneeded pass. There were plenty of terrible passes close to the basket when the guys should have taken the shot.


I think Donahue is a very good game coach. If winning was based solely on in-game coaching and effort, Donahue would have a national championship. But obviously there is more to it. Maybe in order to get better Donahue has to let his players and his staff do more on their own. This team's style of play and W-L record are not pretty, but I think their development over the next month will be interesting to watch.

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Friday, February 03, 2012

BC's football world is not very big

Whenever someone starts worrying about BC's football future or how quickly we will rebound post-Spaz, I like to remind them that BC's football world is not very big. We are not competing against 120 FBS schools. We are not competing in the SEC or Big Ten. Our competition is Florida State, Clemson, NC State, Maryland, Wake Forest and now Syracuse. Finish with a better record than those six schools and you go to the ACC Championship. It is that simple. If you are going by history, BC is as strong as all the other programs outside of Florida State. Now this doesn't mean that we can just send out any old team and win the division. It does mean that with the right coach and the right talent BC can compete to win this division every year. Now let's look at the short-term horizon for each school.


Sleeping Giants: Clemson, Florida State and NC State
Due to their size, commitment to facilities, location and recruiting appeal, Clemson, Florida State and NC State all have potential to be great programs. When their programs are clicking they should be better than BC. But the reality is that there will rarely be a year when all three are peaking at the same time. In good years, BC will probably only compete with one to win the division. And the good news is that all three have major questions that they will have to answer in the next few seasons. NC State will have to replace TOB. Will they hire someone as good? FSU seems headed in the right direction. If Fisher's recruiting translates to wins, the giant will no longer be sleeping. But Fisher has yet to prove he can reach Bowden like levels of success. He will be given another year or two to win. If he doesn't, change will come. I don't think FSU will stay mediocre forever. They just have too much going for them. But I don't know if Fisher is the guy to make them great. Clemson is also another Jekyll and Hyde program. I've questioned Swinney from Day 1, yet he just won the conference. And he is a relentless recruiter. But as the Orange Bowl showed, Xs and Os are still an issue. I also wonder how he will do when he keeps having to replace coordinators. I love Clemson's potential. Like Florida State, they shouldn't be down for long, but if they keep Swinney as long as they kept Tommy Bowden, I think we can count on them being inconsistent.


Programs we can handle: Syracuse and Maryland
There is still time for Randy Edsall to turn things around, but based on his disastrous first season with the Terps, I don't think they will be an obstacle for Spaz or his successor. Syracuse still has a long way to go too. But regardless of how good their current coaches are, neither Maryland nor Syracuse should ever be dramatically better than BC on an annual basis.


Program that should revert to the basement: Wake Forest
Jim Grobe is five years younger than Spaz so he has plenty of time ahead. But how long will he hang around and how long can he produce like he has? Also, will Wake ever find a good replacement when he does leave? They are a private school with smaller natural recruiting footprint and the play in a small, off campus stadium. I think life after Grobe will be tough.


I know we will play Virginia Tech every year and other ACC teams. But those should not be BC's focus. We just have to be better than the six schools in our division and the rest will one day fall in place. I am not blind to BC's issue nor do I think any new coach can come in and compete for an National Championship in Year 1. However, if you really look at things, BC can and should be able to compete within the division every year.

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Syracuse officially in Atlantic Division

The ACC announced that Syracuse will be slotted in the Atlantic and Pitt will join the Coastal. On the basketball side, Syracuse will be our designated "rival" and the rest of the teams will rotate on and off BC's schedule. This is good news on multiple fronts.


For football this is great. BC's history with Syracuse is long and meaningful to older fans and Alumni. We were scheduled to play them over the next decade so this doesn't dramatically increase the difficulty of our schedule. When it was a non-conference game, it was designed to be the final regular season game for both teams. Now that it is a conference game, that matchup can be guaranteed. The expansion also means the ACC regular season will expand to nine games too. That's a mixed blessing for BC fans. We will now have more meaningful games, but fewer opportunities for exciting non-conference games. BC also keeps Virginia Tech as its permanent cross-division game.


Basketball will now play Syracuse twice every year. All the other schools will rotated in a tiered basis. We will not play Miami and Virginia Tech twice every year. This schedule will help interest but will hurt BC's chances to pad our win total. Despite their recent successes, I think playing Miami and VT twice in hoops annually was going to be beneficial to BC. I have doubt about either school ever becoming dominant powers in hoops. Now we will play a more balanced schedule ACC schedule, which will probably be harder.

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Another women's basketball blowout and other links

The good news: BC stayed within four points of Maryland in the second half. The bad news: they were already down 38 points at the half. I can't speak to the issues surrounding the program with any sort of expertise. But these scores are shocking and embarrassing.


Reggie Jackson is showing steady improvement in Oklahoma City.


Philly.com will follow Luke Kuechly's preparation for the NFL Draft.


Mark Herzlich is ready to go but the Giants haven't decided if he will be active yet.

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Should Donahue slow things down?

Although BC lost to NC State Wednesday, the game was closer for longer than other recent losses. BC played in a slow, deliberate style with lots of perimeter passing that ate up time. The closest thing I would compare it to would be the Princeton offense without the backdoor cuts. It wasn't pretty but I loved it. After the game, I tweeted the crew from the Heights to ask Donahue if he was going to use this pace for the rest of the season. The Heights blog did some great reporting and got text and video of Donahue explaining the strategy.


One thing Donahue made clear: this was not a permanent shift and not his desired style of play. While I think Donahue is a very good game coach, I actually think he is being a little stubborn here. I think that slow style of play is the way to go. We are witnesses to the effectiveness of Al Skinner's flex. It showed that if you have an unorthodox style that requires the other team to be patient on defense, you can score at a high rate. I know things weren't perfect. Plenty of possessions were rushed and we don't have a guy who can save the possessions in the final seconds. But overall, the strategy worked. Donahue also acknowledged that the pace helped the guys stay fresh.


Donahue's preferred style of play is much more up tempo and prolific. But for now I say do anything you can to get BC winning. Georgia Tech is not as talented as NC State, so BC may be tempted to push tempo. But if things get rough, I hope Donahue turns back to the Princeton style again.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What I like about Spaz's recruiting class

It is not all doom and gloom on the BC recruiting front. Although I don't like Spaz's approach to recruiting, there were a some positives in his 2012 recruiting class. Below are the actual commitments followed by my happy thoughts.

Jim Cashman, OL, Haddonfield, N.J.
Dan Crimmins, Tight End, Closter, N.J.
Steven Daniels, Linebacker, Cincinnati, Ohio
David Dudeck, DB, Princeton, N.J.
Mike Giacone, Tight End, Jersey City, N.J.
Marcus Grant, Wide Receiver, Carver, Mass. TRANSFER
Win Homer, OL, Christchurch, Va.
Harrison Jackson, Wide Receiver, Round Hill, Va.
Bryce Jones, DB, University Heights, Ohio
Tim Joy, Linebacker, Chelmsford, Mass.
Malachi Moore, DE, Hackettstown, N.J.
Justin Simmons, DB, Stuart, Fla.
Mike Strizak, Linebacker, Fair Lawn, N.J.
Frank Taylor, OL, Warrington, Pa.
Bobby Wolford, Linebacker, Jacksonville, Fla.
Karim Zoungrana, Wide Receiver, Montreal, Quebec

1. Jersey! Although we didn't capitalize as much on the Rutgers and Penn State shakeup as I would have liked, we still brought in six commitments from New Jersey. The Garden State remains the most densely populated football territory in the northeast. BC needs to remain relevant there. Signing six kids out of a 16 person class helps.


2. Making your last minute flyer scholarship offer count. In the final days BC offered and received a commitment from David Dudeck. Dudeck is a decent sized athlete who played QB, WR and safety in high school. His dad also happens to be the head coach at the Hun School. Hun regularly sends kids to FBS and FCS schools. Much like Toal at Don Bosco, it doesn't hurt to have an important high school coach on your side.


3. O Canada. When Akeel Lynch decommitted we lost some of our Maple Leaf connection, but I am still happy to see Karim "Joel" Zoungrana in the class. He looks to be a classic late bloomer and is already on campus. In my opinion BC should target a few Canadians every year and have about five on the roster at any given time. As I have said before, the Canadian kids are a little older, tend to come in with better academic fundamentals and are not turned off by playing in cold, northern Boston. You can't win national championships recruiting just Canadians, but you can get some nice depth. Canada is low hanging fruit as far as a recruiting territory goes.

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Concerns about Spaz's recruiting class

About a year ago on the rubber chicken BC fundraising circuit, both Gene and Spaz said this recruiting class would be the best one yet. Because of its size and the staff's years together, the two claimed that BC would be able to hone in on the players they wanted. While the quantity would be down, the quality would be up. It didn't really turn out that way. I don't mean to disparage the incoming recruits at all. My concern is that so few of BC's initial targets signed, that we had a high percentage of decommittments and that we were scrambling late to fill the class. That speaks to mismanagement.


Here are my big concerns:

1. Scholarship management. Here is how most schools handle things. They have a certain number of open scholarships. They then pad in an additional two or three into their count. Once their class is signed, they deal with fifth year players and walkons. The goal is to get to 85 scholarship athletes. Over the past few seasons BC has been under that number. Blame transition. Blame Spaz kicking kids off in the summer. Regardless of who is at fault, BC was never drastically out of sync on scholarships. In his interview with Around the Res Gene mentioned that BC would recruit 18-19 players this year. Spaz just signed 16. Assuming Momah comes back and you invite back all of your fifth years, that still leaves BC a few athletes short. Maybe Spaz doesn't plan on losing any kids to attrition. Maybe he wants to reward multiple walk ons. Who knows but just to get to 16, he had to offer several last minute, totally under the radar recruits. And he lucked out with a Rutgers guy falling into his lap.


Every college football scholarship is a precious commodity. While rewarding a walk on is nice, the winning method in football is to find an impact player who can make a difference to your team. Not using two or three every year on recruits or banking them or whatever strategy you have is a self-imposed sanction.


2. No defensive tackles and no running backs. Spaz brushed this off by saying they were only looking for elite guys at those spots. I would be more concerned with depth. Last year we saw how quickly things can get thin at running back. At DT we just need more talent for future seasons.


3. Not landing more of Massachusetts's best players. Spaz can talk about process and evaluation but he cannot deny that he offered numerous kids from Massachusetts scholarships and they selected other programs. That doesn't speak well to BC. Location is the single biggest factor in recruiting yet BC can't seem to leverage that with the majority of our Massachusetts targets.


4. Not taking better advantage of the chaos at other programs. Rutgers, Penn State and Pitt all had chaotic coaching changes. We pulled one recruit from the rubble. Yet we also lost recruits to Penn State. How does that happen? Why can't this staff connect with more of our targets or sell the value of BC vs the problems at other schools?


I'll have the good news on this class later after BC sends out its press release.

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