Saturday, February 06, 2016

Losing continues in Louisville

During the scoring drought at the start of the game, I really started to wonder if BC would score more than 10 points before the half. Things have gotten that bad. Even with a few runs to make it closer, the final score was pretty representative of how bad the loss to Louisville was. With listless play like this it is only fair to ask if this is the is going to be the worst basketball team in BC history.

What were the positives? Barnes-Thompkins showed some fight and made a few nice shots. Dennis Clifford -- who was overmatched inside -- still played hard and did all right defensively. That is about it. Like all really bad BC seasons, watching is becoming a chore.

The national basketball people are saying Christian needs time. I agree. But this season is not giving me much hope. Great coaches have down years. I don't think great coaches have years this bad...especially when the roster is filled with their players.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Post Signing Day staff shakeup

Todd Fitch and Ben Albert are gone. Paul Pasqualoni and Rich Gunnell are on board. With the announcement coming just a day and a half after Signing Day, you have to infer that all of this has been in the works for a while. As soon as Addazio demoted Fitch, there were rumblings he was unhappy. Despite his shortcomings as an OC, Fitch was a very good recruiter, so it was important for him to stay on until all LOIs were signed.

I am not sure why BC waited on Albert. Like Fitch, there was gossip he would be gone for weeks. Unlike Fitch, he wasn't critical to recruiting.

In their places come two familiar names. Paul Pasqualoni gave Addazio his first big break in college and has served as a long-time mentor. Hopefully he can help Addazio through this rough stretch. He's overqualified as a Defensive Line coach and should be a good local recruiter. Rich Gunnell will now be Wide Receivers coach. Since wrapping up his playing career, Gunnell spent time as a GA at BC, a DLine coach at Tufts and a Head Coach in High School. He's an unknown at this level. But the staff needs youth and someone who can connect with recruits.

The school also announced that Ricky Brown will be a recruiting coordinator/quality control coach. This is more administrative and does not count towards the NCAA ten staffer limit. I am sure Brown will be helpful, but he will not be on the road recruiting and has some limitations with player interactions.

All in all, I think Addazio upgraded. He removed an underperforming recruiter, added some youth and added a mentor/game manager. Maybe 3-9 was the turning point.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

What is the path back to success?

It was fitting that BC's poorly rated recruiting class signed on the same day as the basketball team lost again. Many BC fans are wondering: "will it every get better" and "what do the coaches have to do?" The simple answer is "yes" and "everything." I don't know if Addazio and Christian will be the ones to fix their respective programs, because I feel like both are missing an element to true, long-term success.

Talent is what is most important in all sports. At a basic level, Christian and Addazio (and Brad Bates) get that. Addazio is a passionate recruiter and Christian put an emphasis on hiring ace recruiters for his staff. BC is never going to have its pick of the best players. For the sake of this post (and your own sanity), just accept that. However, BC can still get enough elite talent to win championships. But to win those championships, BC needs really, really good talent AND systems in which that talent can excel. The system aspect is where I feel like Christian and Addazio are both missing the mark.

Addazio got me thinking about systems with his Signing Day press conference. He acknowledged that BC can't really outskill top teams. He said the emphasis is going to have to be on OL and DL. It was an echo of the Pro Style discussion. Addazio has upgraded the skill talent, but not to the level where we can win on skill alone. Now he is banking on OL success and a slightly different look and style of play from most of the conference. It is the formula that worked before. I hope he can execute it at BC.

If Addazio is transitioning towards a different system, Christian is showing no signs of the same structure. Losing to Virginia should serve as a reminder. The Bennetts have won without elite talent, but with a rigid system (in their case pack line D). We've used more zone of late, but haven't gone all in on anything offensively or defensively. It is sort of the opposite of Donahue (and even Skinner). On paper Christian's talent is an upgrade, but the talent still seems lost. Perhaps it will click as they age, but I prefer a more proven model in case the talent doesn't ever reach elite levels.

The way the basketball season is headed, I think all BC fans will be questioning the future. Things will get better. I just hope it is sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Addazio's recruiting class not impressing Recruiting Services

BC lost a lot of momentum coming off a 3-9 season. No aspect of the program demonstrates that more than the recruiting rankings. Understanding that the services are deeply flawed, they all share a the same opinion of BC's latest recruits. (Also note these rankings could change slightly after Signing Day, but not enough to disprove my point.)

Rivals ranks BC 88th nationally and last in the ACC.

Scout ranks BC 71st nationally and last in the ACC.

247 ranks BC 78th nationally and last in the ACC.

As a trend, this is not good. However, I am not all doom and gloom on this group. Its size was going to hurt the rankings. BC touts the transfers, but the recruiting rankings do not. Therefore incoming QB Patrick Towles, incoming OL Jimmy Lowery and incoming punter Satchel Ziffer do not influence the rankings. As I have been pounding home, those sorts of 5th year transfers are a better use of Addazio's scholarship count than a raw freshman. All three of those guys can make an immediate impact.

Addazio's press conference was pretty typical: "leaders" "great kids" etc. I don't think Addazio fakes enthusiasm well, so I take his high regard for this team as genuine. I didn't love his youth excuse making, but let's see how this season progresses.

The only new nugget that stood out to me was Addazio mentioning Catholic schools across the country. We've always recruited pockets of Catholic schools in certain regions, but never tried to blanket all the Catholic schools across the country. It is a great idea. We have a natural "in" and at many of those places the Admission's Office is already familiar with the school's academics.

We won't know about this class for a few years. I won't worry about the rankings. All that matters is what Addazio does with them.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

How news coverage of head injuries is changing

Jim Unis was one of BC's most highly touted recruits. Unfortunately head injuries and concussions cut his career short. At the time, the news of his retirement received decent local coverage, but nothing national. When Spencer Rositano retired from football due to lingering concussion issues, his hometown D.C./Virginia media covered the story too, but that was it. In a measurement of how things have changed, James Hendren's concussion-related retirement sparked a good deal of national interest.

All Hendren did was post the information on his Instagram page. From there it made it to the blogesphere and the message boards. On Tuesday, Yahoo, Fox Sports, The Score and others all reported on his decision. This is for a freshman backup on a 3-9 team. If Hendren had blown out his knee, there is no way it makes that type of news. The media isn't interested in this kid. They are interested in his head.

I don't take concussions or head injuries lightly. I was upset when BC played Rouse after he was clearly wobbling during a game. But I also hope the media doesn't exploit these kids just because football-related concussions are a hot topic. These are still young men whose dream just ended.

Fortunately BC does a good job of keeping injured players involved in the program. Unis helped the TOB teams after he couldn't play. And BC pushed them to all complete their degrees. Football still remains dangerous, but BC does care about these kids in ways other schools do not.

I wish Hendren the best and his future headlines are not related to his injury.

Monday, February 01, 2016

BC wins Beanpot Opener

Given that this was the best Harvard team BC has faced in a Beanpot Opener, getting a win is a major positive. Throw in a BC comeback and winning with a very thin list of Goalie, a 3-2 victory feels good.

Casey Fitzgerald started off the scoring. Sanford tied it up and then White scored BC's go ahead goal. Demko saved 21 shots.

BC will face the winner of Northeastern and BU for the Championship next Monday.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Campanile working to close recruiting class

A week ago I wrote that losing a Tight End wasn't important, so I can't turn around and say that getting New Jersey Tight End Korab Idrizi on board is going to change the program. But getting him to flip from Rutgers to BC is a great early return by new DB's Coach Anthony Campanile.

If Addazio is going to turn the program around he will need more talent. Regardless of our inroads in other areas, New Jersey will still be a critical territory and that is where Campanile comes in. Ideally he can get the state's top stars to BC, but more realistically he will leverage his knowledge and ties to the area to find the underrated future stars that BC can close. New Rutgers coach Chris Ash doesn't have ties to the state, nor did he hire any local recruiting ace. There could be plenty of potential Rutgers prospects that BC can now shift.

Signing Day is this Wednesday. There are bound to be a few more surprises. Hopefully all of them good for BC. And hopefully Campanile's early success is a sign of bigger things to come.