Thursday, October 23, 2014

BC-Wake Forest preview

Time for another rebound. My pipedream of us making a run at the Division is probably over, but there is still much on the line. BC needs this game to get closer to bowl eligibility and to keep momentum going into the tougher second half of the season. BC also needs to prove that we have a killer instinct. Wake is struggling right now and leaning on a freshman QB coming back from injury. We need to put them away early and not let another game come down to the wire.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game) 
You don't always need a long history or bad blood to make a series interesting. Think back to the Wake games when we first started playing them. They were close, memorable and once we were in the same conference, important for both teams. As both declined the past few years, the games lost much of their juice. I hope that Clawson gets the Deacons back to consistently winning. I don't think Wake-BC will ever be Ohio State-Michigan or even BC-Syracuse or BC-Notre Dame, but it was fun having competitive, relevant games against them for a few years.

Three Simple Keys
1. Murphy needs to rush for more than 100 yards. It can't get more simple than that. I want him to pass. I want the other players to step up. But the reality is that he is our best playmaker and our best player. Just like Andre Williams last year, if he gets going, everything else opens up. Clemson did a good job on him, but we also got away designed runs a bit. Don't overthink things this week.
2. Bring Wolford down. He's not afraid to get out of the pocket and try to make a play. Wrapping him up will be important.
3. No drops. They are drive killers.

Gambling Notes
-- Clawson is 0-3 in ACC play
-- Addazio is 4-4 on the road
-- Addazio is 1-1 in the state of North Carolina
The current line is BC-13

Factoid
BB&T Field is the smallest stadium in the ACC at 31,500.

Scoreboard Watching
Syracuse at Clemson will be a good indicator of what we can expect from the Orange. It wouldn't be a bad thing to see the Tigers stomp them. I want their season to be over and their players checked out by the time they get to Chestnut Hill.

I hope to see...
One game where the placekicking is not an issue. It wasn't the only reason we lost, but missing the extra point last week did impact the play calling late in the game.

BC is in trouble if...
We cannot establish the run. The Deacons have a decent pass defense. If we cannot grind it out on the ground, I worry about trying to win it in the air.

Bottom Line
Wake is not a good team. They barely beat Army and haven't been competitive in most of their ACC games. My only real fear is facing them on the road. But I think like our last road game in North Carolina, BC will put a huge emphasis on running and overpower them. I think we control the clock and the ball and win comfortably.
Final Score: BC 28, Wake Forest 13

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Another class of New England hoops stars slips away

Despite being located in a talent rich region, in the last 25 years much of BC's basketball success was on the backs of outsiders. The last great Massachusetts player to carry a team was Sconnie Penn and he didn't even finish his career at BC. Blame the AAU leaders. Blame the BC Admissions office. Point to Skinner or Donahue or now Christian. While we have landed some kids via New England prep schools (Smith, Hanlan), they are unfortunately the outliers and not the norm. That was supposed to change this year. This was going to be the best group of Massachusetts and New England recruits in years. Donahue was building towards this class (supposedly) and Christian hired New England recruiters in order to close on the local kids. It didn't happen. The last hope for a star player -- Josh Sharma -- committed to Stanford Wednesday. Recruiting is not over and Christian has yet to coach a game at BC, so I will continue to preach patience. We don't need to own New England to be great, but it would be nice. BC shouldn't have to look for hidden gems in California or hope to find a few overlooked transfers. The foundation for a great program is within a three hour drive of campus. Maybe Christian can get next year's locals. But for now another group of Massachusetts stars are headed elsewhere.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What Could've Been: When BC almost hired Dave Clawson


As we know, during any coaching search, plenty of gossip and flatout BS rises to the surfaces. When BC went looking to replace TOB in 2006 many coaches were linked to the job. Some were real discussions and some were nonsense. The one candidate that BC fans rarely harp on is Dave Clawson. The new Wake coach was floated as a possibility and was probably much closer to being hired than any of us ever imagined.

In the closed-knit community of college football, it is important to pick your mentors well. As a rising assistant coach at Villanova, Clawson struck up a friendship with Gene DeFilippo, the Wildcats AD. I don't know what the connection was, but it lasted as Clawson worked his way up the ladder. His first success was reviviing Fordham's moribund football program. From there he jumped to the higher profile Richmond job. It was at Richmond that Gene and Clawson's history would become a factor in both men's future. After three seasons at Richmond, Clawson had the team turned around, but he wasn't on any national radar until he landed an interview for the open BC job. His candidacy caught people by surprise but could be rationalized by the head coaching success and his history with Catholic schools. BC went in a different direction and hired another guy who Gene had mentored in Jags, but the process clearly influenced Gene and Clawson. Gene liked what he saw in Clawson and if not for his lack of experience with BCS-level programs might have gone to bat for him. Clawson clearly appreciated the professional rub he got from being interviewed because the next jump in his career came via GDF.

After missing out on the BC job, Clawson produced another very strong season in Richmond. Yet no big jobs came calling this time around. Maybe too many big programs viewed him as a FCS lifer. The only way to change that was to prove himself at thet next level as a recruiter and coordinator. At the same time, that Clawson was looking to add a different type of experience, Gene's old friend Phil Fulmer was looking for a new Offensive Coordinator. Gene played matchmaker and now his protege would have SEC experience to round out his resume. But his time in Knoxville was a disaster. The offense sputtered and Fulmer was fired. Meanwhile the team he built in Richmond went on to win the National Championship. Instead of being mentioned for ACC level head coaching jobs, Clawson was now looking for any job. He got one as the Head Coach at Bowling Green. It wasn't a career dead-end, but he wasn't considered for the BC job when Gene had an opening a few weeks later and he wasn't on the fast track to a big job like Mike London (the guy who won at Richmond with Clawson's recruits).  A good coach survives though and after five years Clawson had Bowling Green turned around and impressed enough people to land the Wake job. If anything he could point to his track record as a rebuilder as a reason he got the Wake job.

I don't know if Clawson regrets his stop in Tennessee or thinks about what he could have done at BC with our 2007 talent. I am sure Gene is proud of him and proud of whatever influence he had on Clawson's career. Who knows? If Gene had hired Clawson instead of two other friends of his (Jags and Spaz), Gene might still be the AD at BC.

Clawson won't be the only "what if" of the day. Wake will start John Wolford at QB. He's Bobby's brother and many -- including thsi blogger -- suspected he would be at BC one day. However, he never really fit into Daz's plans. Despite some losing and a recent head injury, the younger Wolford seems to be doing well in Winston-Salem.

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Thanks to Will Beekman

I wanted to take a moment to thank my friend Will Beekman for filling in on the blog this weekend and on Monday.  As I mentioned, I was busy with a wedding, the associated travel and then catching up with real life. I will still post my thoughts on the Clemson loss whenever I can fit it in and basically have the blog back on a normal schedule as we get ready for Wake. But I do take your continued support seriously and that's why when I cannot blog, I want to leave it in good hands with someone like Will. He's a good guy and like all of us cares a lot about BC and BC sports.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Virginia Tech kickoff announced and other links

Earlier today the ACC announced the Virginia Tech game will be a 12:30PM kickoff.  TV coverage will be a "split network" with the UNC/Miami game which means check your local listings in the week leading up to the game, especially if you don't live in the New England market.


Over the weekend, the men's hockey team picked up their first victory of the young season with a 6-2 win at RIT.


The Portland Press Herald had a nice write-up on Quinton Porter yesterday.  Nice to read up on what he's been up to since his days at BC.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Will's thoughts on the Clemson game

Just a few quick thoughts about the game.  More will be posted later on.
  • There were so many missed opportunities that could have swung the game in BC's direction.  This article touches on a few of them, but the Bordner drop, the under-thrown pass off the reverse, and the Rouse drop are the top 3 in my mind.  Of course we all want to see BC make PATs, but those others hurt more. When you play very good teams (and Clemson is one of them), you have to take advantage of the opportunities you create for yourself.  If BC had executed on any one of those three plays, we would have had a much better chance of winning.  If we had hit two of them, the chances of winning would have jumped exponentially. 
  • It's nice to see Clemson travel in such strong numbers, but Alumni was embarrassingly filled with orange yesterday.  There were giant blocks of the upper sideline section closer to the reservoir filled with Clemson fans.  I think it may have been the loudest & largest Clemson fan base I've seen at Alumni.  Clemson fans are incredibly friendly, and it's great to see them come to Boston in the numbers that they do, but it'd be really nice to see much more maroon and gold than orange in the upper sections at kickoff.
  • Overall the defense played well, and it's hard to be critical of a group that allowed just 17 points, but we gave up too many 3rd down conversions.  Case in point - the series when BC had Clemson starting on their own 9.  After 2 plays netting negative one yard, Clemson had a 3rd and 11.  They ran for 13 and got to their 21.  BC held the next 2 downs, and on 3rd and 4 Clemson gained 16 to their 43.  BC stopped Clemson on the next set of downs, and they ended up punting....which BC received on their own 6.  To recap - that was a drive that started on Clemson's 9, and BC gave up two big plays on 3rd down which allowed Clemson to get to a place to pin BC within our 10.  It completely shifted the field position game and put a lot of pressure on the offense to move the ball.
  • BC's offense (understandably) didn't put up the big numbers like in other games this season, but it was nice to see Day & crew keep installing new looks/formations/plays.  The Bordner pass off the reverse was one, but the Sherman Alston TD reception was another - lining him up in the backfield, pulling a guard to make it look like a run....nice to see new wrinkles develop in our offensive attack each week.
  • Steven Daniels is coming on strong. He had a good game stopping the run and lead BC with 11 tackles.
  • Murphy's 43-yard run with the game on the line was something special.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tigers too much

I didn't get to see any of the game (family weddings take precedence over good blogging). From following a bit online I gather BC had some moments but didn't do enough. Like all losses it is now about regrouping. 

I will have more comments later and an update Sunday.

In-game comments post: Clemson

Most of the BC-Clemson games have been exciting. Let's hope this one is too. Leave your thoughts and comments during the game.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Tweets of the Week

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Game Watches: Clemson

Game Watches are going global with London hosting one this week. I don't know if it is the Clemson matchup or renewed enthusiasm, but there are more clubs hosting this week. If your club is hosting a Watch, be sure to post it in the comment section.

Charleston Game Watch
Manny's Neighborhood Grill
1680 Old Towne Rd
Charleston

Dallas Game Watch
Corner Bar
4830 McKinney Ave.
Dallas

Denver Game Watch
Whittier Pub
2000 East 28th Ave
Denver

London Game Watch
Jetlag
25 Cleveland St
Fitzrovia, W1T 6QB

Los Angeles Game Watch
Sonny McLeans Irish Pub
2615 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica

Naples Game Watch
Boston Beer Garden
2396 Immokalee Rd
Naples

New York City Game Watches
Joshua Tree
513 3rd Avenue (between 34th and 35th Street)
New York, N.Y.

American Whiskey
30th Street between 7th and 8th Ave

Philadelphia Game Watch
Fox & Hound
1501 Spruce St.
Philadelphia

Phoenix Game Watch
Gallagher's Sports Grill
7575 N. 16th Street
Phoenix

San Diego Game Watch
The Beer Company
602 Broadway St.
San Diego

San Francisco Game Watch
Shanghai Kelly's
2064 Polk St.
San Francisco

Washington, D.C. Game Watch
Irish Whiskey Public House
1207 19th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C.

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