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.


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


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

Dallas Game Watch
Corner Bar
4830 McKinney Ave.

Denver Game Watch
Whittier Pub
2000 East 28th Ave

London Game Watch
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

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.

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

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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Thursday, October 16, 2014

BC-Clemson preview

Think back to our first few years in the ACC. Every team was in it because no team was great. It all really came down to who played well within the division. That’s how Wake won. That’s how BC won during the two Jags years. Now -- with another Jameis Winston suspension looming -- it seems like the Division might be up for grabs again. BC remains a long shot, but there is no reason we cannot make a run. Our one ACC loss was out of the Division. If we play well, we can beat anyone left on our schedule. Of course to do that, we have to start by upsetting a vulnerable Clemson team this week.

What's on my mind (not totally related to this game) 
I ran into a Clemson fan this Nantucket. I'm here for a wedding and he was here as part of his trip to see the game Saturday. He couldn't have been nicer and talked about how much he loves coming up to New England for the game and thinks we have a good team, etc. I know much has been written about the Clemson fan culture and their hospitality, but all the cliches and stereotypes are true. It is really hard to hate them when they are being so nice and courteous all the time. 

Three Simple Keys
1. Murphy rushing for more than 100 yard. Last week proved it is just that simple. He's our best player and our best chance to make a big play. We need him running at least 12 times and we need him to break some big plays.
2. Better Kickoff Coverage. We cannot give them shortfields. I am fine with the deep squibs. But the guys have to do a better job tackling.
3. Great blocking. As I wrote earlier in the week, Addazio is worried about Clemson's DLine. We need to control the line and avoid mistakes. If Murphy doesn't have time, we are not winning.

Gambling Notes
-- Addazio is 7-3 at home
-- Addazio is 5-5 in ACC games
-- Swinney is 14-15 on the road
The current line is BC+5 

Since we don't play Notre Dame annually anymore, the O'Rourke–McFadden Trophy is the only annual trophy tied to a BC game. Clemson is 5-1 in the series since the Trophy debuted.

Scoreboard Watching
An undefeated Notre Dame is traveling to Tallahassee to play undefeated Florida State. The only thing that is missing is the Irish taking on BC the next week. I am not one of those BC fans who lives for the Notre Dame rivalry, but I never minded bursting their bubble the week after big Florida State wins.

I hope to see… 
BC connect on some deep balls. The bomb to Amidon last year was a thing of beauty. But it was also a good call because Clemson kept cheating up to stop the run. Murphy has yet to show he can throw a deep go as well as Rettig, but the play will be there.  

BC is in trouble if... 
We don’t get to Stoudt. When Brissett had time last week, he picked our secondary apart. Once we got pressure on him, NC State's offense went stagnant. If Stoudt has time, he can make the throws and Clemson still has plenty of playmakers.

Bottom Line
I see this as the game as the perfect storm for us. It is at home. We are riding high after last week and seemingly have most of our issues worked out. Clemson is trotting out their former starting QB after their dynamic freshman QB got hurt. I don’t think this will be easy, but I still think we can bring enough pressure to slow them in the redzone and we get a few scores on some big runs from Murphy.
Final Score: BC 27, Clemson 23

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