Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mock Drafts and other links

Sometimes you see Mock Drafts that capture the first round. This one goes much deeper and hence predicts that John Johnson goes to the Redskins and Milano to Green Bay.

247 notes the importance of new verbal Joey Luchetti's Lawrence Academy teammates. I don't think this was a package deal, but getting the other guys that much more excited about BC is not a bad thing.

For those who missed it, BC provided a nice recap of Father Monan's funeral. The links also includes video from the Mass.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Practice Facility gets Boston approval and other links

Paperwork shouldn't be such a big deal, but the City of Boston signing off on the Indoor Practice Facility is big news. There will be plenty of bumps ahead, but this really means that BC can break ground this year and show recruits some progress.

The Heights confirmed that BC is using Parker Executive Search to run its AD process. This is normal to the process at most school's. Parker will do a lot of the vetting for BC. I am glad a search firm was hired and relieved it wasn't Gene's or Bates'. Parker has conflicts, but nothing really related to BC.

Here is more on BC's Pro Day from CBS Sports. Going on the reporter's comments, the Colts have interest in Towles and the Ravens have interest in Johnson.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The NFL still likes BC's talent

Because the graduating seniors were part of a smallish recruiting class recruited by Spaz, the knock on them is that they weren't that talented. Considering 22 NFL teams turned out for BC's Pro Day, this group either outperformed its ranking or BC's Football reputation outshines the recruiting experts.

Another turnout factor that impressed me about BC's Pro Day was that this was the rescheduled date. BC's first Pro Day was changed due to fear of last week's blizzard.

Because he already measured well at the Combine, Matt Milano only did position drills. John Johnson did everything and was usually BC's top scorer in most drills. Myles Willis did well enough that he will hopefully generate some free agent interest.

If I had to guess who was the reason so many teams showed up, I would have to say Patrick Towles. Regardless of Towles' history or our frustration with his play, the guy still has all the NFL tools. He's big and athletic and can throw it a mile. Some NFL team might want him in their camp. If a team does turn Towles into a viable NFL backup, they will have really leveraged BC's anonymous Pro Day.

Monday, March 20, 2017

New verbals for Addazio's latest recruiting class

It took a little longer than usual, but Addazio and his staff finally have some verbals in the 2018 recruiting class. The first is Rhode Island WR Jehlani Galloway. This is a guy the staff is very familiar with and has good upside. Of course he doesn't have great offers or high rankings as of now. But I think BC's attention will get others to come calling. Welcome aboard, Galloway.

The other verbal is Lawrence Academy's Joey Luchetti. Like Galloway, there is a familiarity/upside aspect to this commit. He might end up as a Defensive End or Tight End. Addazio hasn't been this open or vague with that type of position assignment, but for decades BC recruited this sort of body type and then found a position for the guy once he got on campus. It is like calling him an "athlete" but not considering him for the speed positions.

I expect more verbals to follow. Spring Ball is a key recruiting time as you can get kids on campus and get them excited about the future.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Why BC is out of the NCAA Hockey Tourney

For a minute, I thought BC was going to do it. I thought the Hockey team was going to earn an auto-bid into the NCAA Tournament by winning the Hockey East Tournament. UMass-Lowell won, so BC is now home. To those who don't pay much attention to college hockey, this might not make sense. BC playing well in the HE Tourney should make them more attractive. But unfortunately it was too, little too late. BC's struggles in February proved too costly and so the Eagles are the first team out. 

BCI has a great explainer on the NCAA's selection process via Pairwise. The Heights also put things in perspective. This team was very young. Not much was officially expected in the preseason. It is just at BC, we expect York to pull out a miracle every year. It is news when we don't make the postseason. I know this makes me sound a bit optimistic, a bit ungrateful and a bit entitled, but I expect BC to bounce back next year.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

RIP Father Monan

If you are proud of what Boston College is today, you owe it to mostly one man: Father Donald Monan, S.J. If you attended BC in the last 45 years, your educational and social experience was really shaped by one man: Father Monan. If you are a fan of BC sports, the school and its athletics would not be where they are today without the passion of Father Monan. The school's 24th president died Saturday at the Campion home for Jesuits in Weston. He leaves behind and enormous and proud legacy.

Doug Flutie is often given credit as the spark for BC's current popularity, but nothing Flutie did on the field happens without Father Monan. By the time Doug arrived, Father Monan had already rebuilt the school's teetering financials and started the building boom that changed BC from a regional commuter school to a national university. Monan respected athletics and saw sports as a key to a full educational experience. He supported our teams and athletes and encouraged BC to take part in the then risky proposition of the Big East Conference. But Monan also knew that any attention BC earned on the field had to be complimented with elite academics. That academic focus, not the sports, is why BC's reputation is now solidified among the best universities in the country.

But beyond his accomplishments as an educator, leader and Catholic thinker, I think what is hard to capture was Monan's warmth and charm. In that case he was an ideal university President. Who wouldn't help BC when Father Monan called? No wonder the school was able to raise so much money during his tenure. He had that easy way about him that inspired trust and love. I was a BC student during his final years. To say he was beloved was an understatement. His fellow Jesuits had tremendous loyalty to him too. A few years after we graduated, my wife and I visited another Jesuit at St. Mary's for lunch. As we were wrapping up, Monan walked over to say hello. As our host introduced us, Father Monan then spent a few minutes talking to us about BC, life after graduation, etc. His charisma in that scenario showed that he could have done many things with his life and been a great success in politics or business. All of us -- especially the Jesuits and BC -- are lucky that he received the call to serve others. His leadership, vision and compassion will forever be a part of Boston College. We all owe him our thanks. May he rest in peace.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Men's Hockey still alive; Women's season over

The Men's team is one step closer to pulling off an incredible run. Friday they beat BU in the Hockey East Semis. BC held the lead throughout, but BU made it interesting late. Now it is on to UMass-Lowell. BC has plenty of Hockey East titles, but this one would be one of the most unlikely. The team couldn't buy a goal in the final few weeks of the regular season. Now they can put that slide far, far behind them. I won't even get into what else winning the Hockey East will do (no jinx).

In disappointing news, the Women's team had another great season come up short. Facing Wisconsin in the Frozen Four, the women lost a defensive battle when Wisconsin scored with seconds left. With how great the program is, it is only a matter of time before they start a string of national championships. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Indiana is a reminder that many places have high expectatiohs

I have written that Jim Christian is safe for next year. But his safety is still driven by the uncertainty about his superiors, not BC's extending patience to its coach. While there is a sentiment among some BC fans that coaches should be given plenty of time to improve, Indiana just fired Tom Crean. He might have won two Big Ten championships, but Crean is an example that there are high expectations everywhere.

I do think things will improve next year for Jim Christian. His roster will be a bit more experienced and a bit more talented. But we need more than a slight improvement. Why not get above .500. Why not win half our ACC games. The BC Basketball program has plenty of problems, but not enough to say that the team cannot win and compete with the middle of the pack in the ACC.

I am sure Crean wishes things were different now. But none of this is fair, especially to the coaches. Fans always think: "what have you done for me lately?" That is why the coaches get paid big bucks. And that is why the jobs churn so fast. Heck, Crean might benefit from BC's high expectations if Christian is fired next year and we look to hire a name like Crean.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

News and notes from practice

The big news of the Addazio's first practice media session was his declaration that Wade heads into Spring the starter. It was much more clarity than he even offered earlier in the week. You could be cynical and think that it is all a ploy to keep Wade happy, but according to reports out of practice -- Wade looked good. Brown also got plenty of reps in practice too. But let's remember it is only the first day. I just want someone to step up this fall.

Based on the roster update, Jack Cottrell, Joel Rich and Drew Barksdale are not getting fifth years and are off the roster. Good luck to all. Not surprised that they didn't get fifth years. All were Spaz recruits who have never been major contributors. I can see why Addazio would rather bring on new players with greater upside than three guys who are there purely for depth.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March Madness rooting guide

Another March, another relatively meaningless time for BC Basketball. But the Big Dance is still a fun sporting event and it is even easier to jump on a bandwagon when BC's not even near the action. I would rather be rooting for BC, but here are some team's and storylines that are kinda, sorta related to our Eagles. Here is who I am rooting for:

The Entire ACC.  This even includes Duke, Louisville (I despise Pitino) and Notre Dame. What's good for the ACC is good for BC. If they all do well, it means more money for BC and more respect for the conference. Don't listen to anyone who says a strong ACC makes our rebuild harder. The job is always going to be tough, but our next coach will come in at a good time. Coach K, Pitino, Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim are all getting really old. Some of those programs will have a difficult transition. A new BC coach can take advantage of that. But in the mean time why not have the conference's reputation as strong as possible?

VCU. Potential AD Ed McLaughlin won't take a shot or call a play during the tourney, but why not have his team do well? Another deep run for VCU helps his reputation with future coaches he might hire at BC.

Jesuit Schools. Some BC fans question if the Jesuits care about sports. Marquette, Creighton, Gonzaga, and Xavier are proof that Jesuits schools can compete without compromising their mission.

Providence. I think the time has passed for Ed Cooley to come back to BC, but I still like to see him do well.

Northwestern. They have one of the worst basketball traditions in Power 5 conferences. If Chris Collins can get them into the Tournament in four years, then plenty of coaches can do the same at BC. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Reading into Addazio's Spring Ball press conference

Despite an incoming blizzard, as far as BC Football is concerned, it is spring. The reality of College Football is that the players are working with the Strength and Conditioning staff year round, but Spring Ball allows Addazio and his coaches to run organized official practices. With the official practices about to begin, Addazio addressed the media and discussed his team. Here are a few of the takeaways:

-- Addazio says both QBs have a shot. When Wade started following other coaches on Twitter, many assumed he was transferring. But based on what Addazio said, Wade is still very much in the picture at BC. He's going to get plenty of reps in Spring Ball and Addazio talked more about him publicly on Monday than he has in months. Addazio also pumped up Anthony Brown and spoke of Brown's physical maturation. The backups like Fadule and Perry also got a token mention. While I would love Brown to emerge this Spring as a viable ACC starter, I know this will take time. Addazio doesn't need a perfect QB in three weeks, but he does need an idea of what the guys can do and where the staff is going to place their time, energy and faith.

-- BC is being cautious about injured players. I was surprised by how many players Addazio is holding out of the practices either due to injury or recovery from recent surgery. Jon Baker, Kam Moore, Chris Garrison, Connor Strachan, and Jake Burt are being "held back." Addazio implied they will have some level of participation but not full contact. In theory this caution will allow other guys to step up and develop. My fear is that one of these injuries or recoveries will linger. Plus nearly ever Spring one or two key players gets injured during the spring. BC has more depth than any other time under Addazio, but I don't want it tested with key injuries.

-- Addazio claims the offense is changing.  Addazio referenced the bowl game and BC's surprise uptempo shift multiple times. He seemed to really focus in on the number of plays. He also referenced a permanent shift in that style of play. I am glad he is finally owning up to the offensive struggles. But can he really go against his instincts this fall? I am cynical. I think BC will play faster, but I still think that Addazio is going to remain conservative and continue to screw up clock and late game management. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Baseball's rough weekend; Women's Hockey to Frozen Four and other links

After starting ACC play with a win over FSU, the Baseball team fell back down to Earth. They lost both games of a double header Saturday.

The BC Women's Hockey team is headed back to the Frozen Four.

Softball improved to 2-1 in ACC play after beating Virginia.

Finally, BC Basketball was terrible this year. It was totally forgettable, except for one issue: playing spoiler. It turns out beating Syracuse was an issue come selection time. So we can revel in that...

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Hockey dominates Vermont again, headed to Garden

This is the BC Hockey we've been waiting on for a month. BC followed up Friday's decisive win over Vermont with another seven goal night Saturday. With the win, BC advances to the next round of the Hockey East Tournament at the Garden.

Now the question becomes, can they keep up this pace in the final few games of Hockey East tourney play? A lot can happen and these two wins help, but BC probably still needs to win out to make the NCAAs. But if they keep playing like this, next week will be a breeze.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Hockey opens post season the right way

The last time week checked in with the Men's Hockey team, they were in the middle of a losing streak. They couldn't generate any shots on goal and were on the outside of the NCAA Tournament. Friday night all those problems were gone. The team crushed Vermont in the opening game of the Hockey East Tournament.

BC now needs to follow up on the win, by beating Vermont again. The game will be at Conte again on Saturday night. Let's hope they keep it up and this is just the first of many postseason wins.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Addazio keeping company with his old friends

The coaching community is often referred to as the "Coaching Fraternity." That's pretty accurate, as the network takes care of itself and they often protect guys within the business. For as much as coaches are critical of one another, rarely will they say things publicly. Instead coaches provide empty platitudes towards their peers. "He's a great coach..." Within the fraternity there are cliques of friends and colleagues that take those relationships a bit deeper. As you can see from this upcoming Ohio State Coaches Clinic, Addazio remains part of Urban Meyer's clique.

If you're going to be tight with someone, Meyer is not a bad guy to associate with. He seems to have a good mix of consistency in work ethic combined with an openness to new football ideas and trends. When Bill Belichick takes the time to help out Meyer, you know he is doing something right.

My frustration with the Meyer-Addazio relationship is that Addazio hasn't adopted Meyer's game management techniques. Meyer is not perfect, but he is much more aggressive with his pace of offense. He also has a good handle on timeouts. Addazio hasn't incorporated those same game management nuances while at BC. However, Addazio does seem to emulate his old boss in player evaluations and work ethic.

The relationship with Meyer should benefit BC again this summer when Addazio and BC join Ohio State on their satellite camp tour.

To be great Addazio can't just be a Meyer imitator. He has do be himself. But even at this stage in his career, Addazio can learn something from guys like Meyer and Belichick.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Good news on Bowman

Per Zack Spears, Ky Bowman's injury is not as bad as some initial fears.

Because there is no tear, there is not the arduous rehab and potential lost season. A lost season could have led to all sorts of dominoes that would have worked against BC. I don't take this knee lightly but there is no reason for pessimism about it. Christian can still use Bowman as the cornerstone of his plan.

Good luck to Bowman on the surgery and I hope his recovery is swift.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Bowman's injury fitting end to forgettable year

The best thing about BC Basketball is having an MRI on his knee Wednesday. It was that kind of season.

In the actual loss to Wake Forest, BC tied the game up early in the second half without Bowman but then it fell apart. The gameplan from the start was to get physical with Wake and it led to a lot of fouls and playing time for Reyes. He looked good, so there is that going for BC.

But overall this was another waste of time year. A waste of BC's time. Our fans' time. And most importantly, the players' time. Because of the timing of this all, we are headed for another big waste of time next year.

There are many reasons why BC is struggling on the basketball court. None are insurmountable. I don't think Christian will be the guy to fix things. I just hope that next year he leaves BC basketball in a better place than he found it.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Solid Combine for Milano

He wasn't the target of NFL Networks' coverage, but Matt Milano did do well at the Combine.
Despite his numbers, Milano's real value to the NFL remains his versatility. He can play LB and tackle whoever he is supposed to nail. He also has experience putting pressure on the QBs. Finally, he can cover too.

I don't know where Milano will go. The big sites still have him as a 6th or 7th rounder. When you are that late you are not guaranteed anything, so I hope he finds one team that believes and gives him a chance on the field.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Bowman needs to be a building block

Ky Bowman made the ACC's all freshmen team. That's a big deal and a nice honor. Congrats to him. But if BC is ever going to get back to competing, we need to put a player on the All Freshmen team every year.

When things are going well at BC, there is a consistent influx of new basketball talent. Skinner at one point had four consecutive years of players landing on the Big East/ACC All Freshmen team. It was only when he failed to follow Tyrece Rice with another impact recruit that things started to fall apart. He would still get other players on -- like Reggie Jackson -- but that slight lull opened the door for Gene to make a change. Donahue and Christian have both recruited All ACC Freshmen. Just not enough.

Bowman's momentum faded a bit the past few games, but he can still be a leader of a good team. But I don't know if Christian will find enough talent to keep his job.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Basketball loses to Clemson

BC basketball ended their regular season with a loss to Clemson. After showing promise two months ago, this team took a bad, bad turn. We wrap up conference play with a 2-16 conference record. That is good for last in the conference. The only measurement where it is improvement is from last year's disaster.

As for this actual game, BC's best players were not factors. Bowman finished with ten, while Robinson scored nine. BC went ice cold near the end of the first half and never really threatened from then on.

Maybe the ACC Tournament will be a positive step. Maybe the team pulls off an upset or two. I know it is unlikely, but it is more fun to think about that instead of another L.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Mamula narrative never dies

Some use Mike Mamula as a representative of a NFL Combine warrior who never lived up to the hype. I like to use his story as an example of the laziness and predictability of the media. While the frequency of of mentions of Mamula's performance has died down a bit the past few seasons, he is still noted ever time the NFL Combine rolls around.

What I liked about this article is that it actually includes just how impressive Mamula was during his workout in Indianapolis. He performed in 1995. Now -- in 2017 -- many of his numbers remain the best ever for a defensive lineman. Teams can use Mamula as a cautionary tale of putting too much emphasis on the Combine. But prospects should still use him as a role model. Mamula had his moment and he crushed it. No apologies necessary.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Bob Bicknell headed to Baylor

Former Eagle Bob Bicknell is headed back to the college game to be WR's coach at Baylor. Bicknell and new Baylor Coach Matt Rhule worked together at Temple over a decade ago. Since that time, Bicknell has bounced around a bit at the NFL level. It is good to see him back in the college ranks at Baylor.

Beyond the Rhule connection, Bicknell at Baylor makes sense. It is a chance to return to college with a Power 5 team that has real upside. It also exposes him to Texas recruiting and Texas high school coaches.

Bicknell's brother was always viewed as a potential BC coach. He nearly was hired when BC fired Jags. Bob was never really mentioned. He wasn't in the college game at the time and never did much to put himself on that path. A stint at Baylor isn't all it takes, but it does put him on the college radar (obviously timing and success at Baylor are also part of the scenario). Best of luck to Bicknell at Baylor. It will be nice to have more BC guys at this level.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

BC never close in loss to Notre Dame

Same old, same old as BC lost to Notre Dame Wednesday. Because the game wasn't close, the announce team had plenty of time to get into relevant topics for BC. One thing I found interesting was the discussion of the ACC being a "one and done" conference. Because of that talent turnover at traditional powers, the announcers believe that a school like Notre Dame has an advantage. Most Irish recruits will stay for four years and that familiarity and experience helps them beat the "one and done" schools. I agree with the premise. There is no reason BC shouldn't be developing each recruiting class and exploiting that experience. Our challenge with doing it has been the recent turnover and scholarship imbalance. With the right coach, this can be fixed.

The other small thing that I liked is that our reserves played hard to keep the Notre Dame walk-ons from scoring. While it didn't work, I am glad that they are still fighting.

BC only has a few games to make us feel a little better. I want a win, but at this point I am not expecting one.

The safest job in basketball

Regardless of what BC does tonight, Jim Christian's job is safe. Even if the team looks lifeless in its last two weeks, Jim Christian is safe. No show the ACC Tourney? Safe. It really doesn't matter at this point. Jim Christian is coming back next year.

Most of the security comes from a lack of true leadership. Brad Bates is out and his replacement won't be around to make a timely decision. Father Leahy and BC obviously have the power to make a move on Christian whenever, but they won't. Unlike Addazio, who has plenty of detractors and people he's pissed off, the basketball program is faced with apathy. Many people care, just not enough and not nearly as many as those that care about Football.

I've never been thrilled with the Christian hire, but this has been worse than I thought. Barring a small turnaround with the remaining schedule, there has been no signs of life or improvement. His talent is marginally better than Donahue's but the execution is just as bad. With Donahue you could point to a frustrating, but statistically defensible Offense. With Christian, both Offense and Defense are bad. Scott Spinelli keeps beating the bushes for any talent, but do you trust JC and the staff to develop it?

We can debate the idea of an immediate firing, but we are stuck for another year. I do have a little hope. It is based on the belief and faith that the new AD will not repeat Bates' basketball mistake. The new AD will hopefully have time and a plan and deliver a clear message with a new hire. Until then we are left with another lame duck year with Christian.