Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring Game and ACCSelect Review

Over analyzing the Spring Game is silly. The intensity is not there, the rosters are filled with holes, and the scheming is curtailed. All that said, many positives from Saturday. Ryan threw the ball well downfield. Jags and Logan made a point in the plays and then in their interaction with the fans of “throwing it around the field.” I think these guys are conscious of BC’s reputation and are trying to reenergize the fans. Many of the young guys caught some big balls. The offensive line continued to be a mixed bag. Pass protection looked okay, but the run blocking could use some work. Reports out of practices have not been good so I don’t know if Saturday’s performance was an improvement or as bad as it has been. Don’t attribute the uneven play to the new scheme. Yes there is an adaptation but many of the stretches and other runs have been in our playbook since Jags’ first tenure at the Heights. We are just short on talent and experience and Jags and Bicknell are going to have to coach them up.

Defense looked fine, but injuries and schemes prevented them from doing much. Everything I've heard out of practices is that the D has been awesome, which is part of the reason they played basic for most of the day. Jags wanted the offense to have some breathing room.

Overall, if you just saw the product on the field, you would not have known we have a new coaching staff. However, Gatorade baths, trying to please fans and a few roster moves and wrinkles made it a good start to the Jags era.

ACC Select

I was able to watch this game through the wonders of ACC Select. It is the new online On Demand video service for non-televised events. While the focus will be on the non-revenue sports, this type of system will be a godsend for things like the Spring Game or some of our basketball exhibitions. It still has an amateur feel: there were only a few simple graphics and the camera work and cuts are not clean, but the visuals and the stream were very good. The highlight for me was hearing the ZBC guys provide the color commentary. As a former ZBCer, I have a soft spot for these guys and they did well considering they're unpaid students with no production support and it is essentially a scrimmage. Granted on TV, you’d never have a soundless interview like they had with Shamari Spears in the second quarter. Ari and Mike seemed like they were having fun and I hope their friends and family enjoyed their TV work. I know if this feature had been around in my day, my mother would have watched it on an endless loop.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Spring Game mega post

All reports from the Spring Game were glowing. The weather was great, good attendance, a baseball game in the background and a definite change in attitude among the fans and coaches. If you missed the game go to and watch it on demand. I plan on watching it this week and will post my thoughts after. Alex was there and posted a good recap on his blog.

Thanks to Kristofer C. and Huelsebu for sharing some of their pics below.

Finally a tip of the hat for job well done to the Herald's Steve Conroy. He wrote a great feature about Jags' path back to Boston and was the first to write about the challenges the Jagodzinskis faces with their youngest daughter Jacqui who suffers from autism and epilepsy. I really respect the way Jags and his family are handling this. These things are so sensitive and private and tough to handle publically. I knew about Jacqui during the hiring process, but as long as Jags wasn't talking about it, I wasn't going to write about it. He didn't use it as part of who he is in the process, but now that he has settled in and Jacqui's going to be attending the Campus School the time was right for him to open up about this issue.

There are many advantages to being a head coach and one of them is to use your platform to shed light on things that otherwise wouldn't get attention. Hopefully Jags and Lisa will find a way to give back and the BC community will support them.

Friday, April 27, 2007

ATL_eagle Scouting Service (BC’s Mel Kiper) Part III

In the third part of the series I look at Taylor Sele, Larry Anam, Tony Gonzalez and Ryan Glasper. All expressed desire to play at the next level but will probably go undrafted.

Ryan Glasper, S

Overview: Rushed back last season by the coaching staff. Good instincts and football IQ. May lack the speed for the NFL.

My take: I am sorry Glasper got screwed last season. We played much better with him. I don't expect him to get drafted but think he will hang on an NFL roster for a season or two.

Larry Anam, DB

Overview: Great size and speed. Hard hitter. Lacks technique.

My take: Larry played well last year and did improve over four years. But I still don't know if he has the instincts to play NFL football.

Taylor Sele, WR

Overview: Speed. Speed and more speed.

My take: A reserve WR is not someone you'd expect to get NFL attention, but his speed will open doors. Sele was excellent on special teams but needs to work on his routes and hands. If he develops into an NFL receiver, Bible and TOB are going to look foolish for letting him rot on the bench for four years.

Tony Gonzalez, WR

Overview: Great hands, good athlete, lacks size and speed.

My take:
Another solid contributor, but probably not an NFL caliber WR. But like Glasper, he has the toughness and work ethic that might get him on a roster.

Mamula, Bicknell and other links

I planned on posting something on Mike Mamula today, but the beat me to it (thanks to HJS for finding). Mamula was a combine freak and a slight reach at the No. 7 slot, so he is constantly used as an example of bust. The reality is very different. While not an all-pro, he was a very productive NFL player.

The local papers provided some good coverage of the Bicknell move. The Herald had quotes from Jags and the Globe posted his salary. The salary thing is interesting in two different ways. TOB claimed that BC wouldn't pay coaches. We know that Dana Bible is making $220,000 at NC State (state employee salaries are public record). If the Bicknell $200,000 number is accurate than that means BC is paying a position coach only $20,000 less than an NC State coordinator. This confirms that BC does and will pay for good talent. Finally from a coverage standpoint, the salary number is just one of the first examples in the change in tone under Blaudschun. I doubt Gene wants the salary out there (for a variety of reasons). I also doubt Vega ever would have published it and crossed BC. With Blaudschun on the Globe's BC beat full-time, the relationship and coverage could take a turn for the worse.

A look around the ACC from ESPN.

Sean Williams finally got around to declaring for the draft. (Thank Tim K. for the link.)

A few draft links for those of you who didn't see them on the message boards. Taylor Sele turned heads at our Pro Day. He did a great job as a special teamer, but was certainly under used by the old staff. Here's a Beekman feature in the Herald.

Finally, held a Q&A with Cherilus.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bicknell link and a few other things

Here is my write up of Bicknell's return at the Fanhouse.

My take on Jon Abbate's draft prospects.

While this guy never took the field under Logan, it is interesting to note who found him and recruited him. I know we will go after plenty of big names, but Logan's repuation for finding hidden gems is well earned. Pickney's profile is very similar to incoming recruit Dominique Davis.

Bicknell back at BC

That was quick. Jack (Jr.) is back. Less than a week after the departure of Jim Turner, BC hired his replacement in Jack Bicknell Jr. Bicknell leaves Texas Tech after a few months as their Offensive Line Coach. In addition to the O-Line job, Jags and BC gave him an Assistant Head Coach title. This is a very good hire. Even with talk of Alex Gibbs in the mix, I think this was the best way to go. Gibbs would have been a temporary solution at best. Now they get a more predictable, stable hire and can still have Gibbs continue his consulting. When the staff was first announced, I broke down each guy (and the Turner stuff proved prescient, i.e.: tough working with Jags, no BCS experience). Here is my breakdown of Bicknell Jr. and an updated "what I like and what I worry about."

Offensive Line Coach: Jack Bicknell Jr.
What he brings to the table: Experience and perspective as a former head coach, cutting edge offense philosophy from La. Tech and Texas Tech's pass happy spreads, familiarity with BC, a unique perspective on what it is like as the Head Coach at BC, and southeast and Texas recruiting ties.
Connection to Jags: None that I know of, but his brother Bob coached with Siravo and Day on Al Golden's staff at Temple.
Connection to BC: Grad and son of former BC Coach Jack Bicknell
Question mark: No obvious one. He'll have to adjust to being staff again, but he's already gone through that at Texas Tech the past few months. After Turner problems, there is also the question of how he will work in Jags' area of expertise.
Overall assessment: This is an upgrade to the staff. He fills one of Turner's roles as a former player, yet also brings experience to a staff that is still somewhat green to this level of competition. Plus giving him the Assistant Coach title and hiring him away from another BCS school proves that BC is paying top dollar for coaching talent.

What I like about the whole staff -- revised
1. A good balance of experience and new guys. You now have two former head coaches and Spaz, who has been an interim at BC. That helps offset Siravo, Day and Comissiong all making big leaps in their respective careers. We also maintain our "BC Guy" quota.

What I worry about -- revised
1. The Tower of Babel on Offense. I am not worried about Bicknell and Jags getting along and seeing a Turner Part II. Having gone through it, I hope and presume that both were candid with each other in the process and will have a good working relationship. My one smallish concern is too many different schools of thought on the offensive side. You’ve guys who’ve worked pass happy, to the conventional, to spread options and Alex Gibbs showing up periodically to share his wisdom. Logan and Jags get the final say, but I hope they can incorporate the best of everyone’s influences in one direction and don’t have five guys going 20 different ways.

Jags on 'EEI

Here is a quick link to Jags segment on Dennis & Callahan this morning. He promotes the spring game and takes the high road on the Turner thing. While not earth shattering, these sorts of public appearences and reaching out to the media will hopefully make a difference in how fans and non fans feel about the program.

What's up with Sean Williams?

Every once in a while I get updates from current students on Sean Williams. He's kind of a "Where's Waldo?" on campus. "I was at a party with Sean...", "Saw Sean at the Plex..." etc. Inevitably these same folks would ask if I knew anything and if there was still a chance he would return next season. I didn't understand Sean's presence on campus, but always doubted his return. Well now we are nearing the deadline to enter the draft and Sean has still not filed his paperwork. There are three possible explanations:
1. Sean has forgotten to file
2. Sean will file this weekend
3. Sean does not plan to file and wants to and/or will return

My bet is that he just hasn't gotten around to his paperwork. If the deadline passes, then we can spark up the speculation about the possible return of the Williams' Block Party.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Trouble with Women’s Hockey

Like many alumni I have an “oh, that’s nice” attitude towards the BC Women’s Hockey program and its success. No disrespect to female athletes, it is just that access and coverage of women’s hockey is thin at best and I don’t have much passion for it. For most of the year women's hockey is under the radar, they pop up and win a big tourney, then fall back to their place in the sports scene. So this potential scandal involving misconduct between Coach Mutch and one of the players is the worst kind of news and attention. As expected, the Globe takes a soft approach while the Herald gets a little more salacious.

The degree of this relationship and misconduct is still unknown, but even if it is just inappropriate text messages the guy had to go. There is a line and he crossed it. What I can’t figure out is why these things continue to happen. Whether it is straight or homosexual, there is an underlying creepy factor to many women’s sports. If this were happening in men’s sports I think it would receive much more attention and explanation.

I hope it gets resolved quickly. BC is positioned to have a perennial power in women’s hockey. Let’s hope the school finds someone who can coach and control him or herself.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ATL_eagle Scouting Service (BC’s Mel Kiper) Part II

In the second part of the series I look at James Marten. Although he received less attention and fewer accolades than Josh Beekman, Marten may be the more appealing draftee.

James Marten, T

Overview: Marten is another versatile lineman having played at Guard and Tackle during his BC career. Has the right frame to play tackle at the NFL level. Moves well. Occasionally has trouble with speed rushers on the edge. Very few mental lapses. Good but not great strength.

My take: Considering he moved to the most difficult position on the line as a Senior, Marten put together a nice season. I think he’ll be a solid NFL tackle, most likely on the right side. I just don’t know if he has the balance or quickness to play Left Tackle. I expect Beekman to have the better career, but there is no reason Marten should fall past the third round. Expect him to be a contributing addition to any team that drafts him.

Quick links: Offensive linemen: A closer look and 7 points with James Marten

Monday, April 23, 2007

ATL_eagle Scouting Service (BC’s Mel Kiper) Part I

There are fewer prospects this year so I’ll preview Beekman, Marten and then all the other seniors who hope to make a team as free agents.

Josh Beekman, OG-C.

Overview: Beekman is projected to go in the second or third round. The All-American’s shape and measurables have put a drag on his draft stock. While he carries some extra weight, he moves very well for someone his size. He has a high football IQ and is able to play Center. Dominated his position and opponents for the past three seasons. Curiously struggled in one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl.

My take: If Josh falls into the third round he’ll be a steal for the team drafting him. I don’t know what happened in his drills, but I’ve watched every game of his the past two seasons multiple times and he was easily the best and most consistent lineman I saw. He rarely made mistakes. He took on all comers and numerous current and future NFL lineman. His footwork is very good. He may lack explosiveness for an interior guy but that didn't seem to hurt at this level. The only time I he was badly beat was at the end of the NC State game and that was one play against another future draft pick. I think Josh will be a very good NFL player and continue BC’s tradition of producing quality NFL lineman.

Quick link: Beekman waits to see where NFL draft sends him sends him

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Everyone take a deep breadth

You’ve gotta love Mark Blaudschun’s headline on the Turner departure (we’ll be getting more of Blaudschun and less of Vega in the coming months…and that is not good). The departure, as well as some expected and out in the open turnover on the administrative side has fired up the speculation and concern on the message boards. Everyone needs to relax. What should be reassuring to all is that this is being taken care of now instead of lingering into the next year. The staff needs to be on the same page and regardless of whose spin you want to believe, the change is proof that one member wasn’t…and it was addressed quickly.

And as we learned under TOB what really matters is not what you hear or I hear or what Eagle Action writers post or what the Globe says. What matters is what happens on the field. Wish Turner the best but give our new coach and staff the time they need to make the program their own.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Scrimmage request and links

If anyone gets into the scrimmage and they allow cameras send along your pics and videos.

Jeff Smith fans will hopefully find some reassurance in this article.

I raise a question about the Virginia Tech merchandise at the Fanhouse.

The Jags as OC post is below. The Oline U post will wait until after the scrimmage and for a few other things to clear up.

Jags as OC: Game 10, Syracuse 1997

During the Syracuse game the offense was pedestrian. They moved the ball but couldn’t score enough and lost at the Dome. Here are the stats:

Stat Line
First downs 13
Rushed-yards 40-144
Passing yards 171
Sacked-yards lost 1-6
Return yards 23
Passes 12-20-1
Punts 7-43.7
Fumbles-lost 2-1
Penalties-yards 3-20
Time of possession 30:38

What can we learn from the game? Jags will use the personel given him. For those of you who erased all memory of the Henning era, TOB inherited a roster that was overloaded with Tight Ends. They moved them as appropriate, but still were left with more than they needed. Instead of letting them languish, Jags did incorporate his talent. In this game alone Dragos, Guazzo, Tardio, and Pollack all caught passes. Chamberlin and Hemmert (two other guys who played multiple positions over their careers) also caugh balls. One thing that was unfortunate about this game is that Cloud had clearly established himself yet was still splitting carries with Walker.

We lost the game but Syracuse was playing very well at the time. The next game would be the bright spot and the birth of the Superfans.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fanhouse links

Jags as OC continues Friday and I hope to have a new thing on OLine U up soon. To fill the gap, check out these worthwhile posts from the Fanhouse.

Texting may be curtailed. This is great news. Having coaches text all day is a serious waste of time in the recruiting arms race.

Jim Grobe continues to do his own thing.

Fellow Fanhouse blogger Nick Dallamora is a current Virginia Tech student. He's spent the past few days capturing the feel and events in Blacksburg. Worth your time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jags as OC: Game 9, Pitt 1997

While this series is about Jags as OC, going back over the games made me realize that many of my (and others’) complaints over the past few years are a product of TOB, not his assistant coaches. For example in this game we had special teams problems and ran a questionable two-point conversion. Does that sound like a team you know?

The offense really clicked against Pitt – yet it didn’t translate to the scoreboard. In the end, we pulled out in bad weather with a late drive. Here are the stats.

Stat Line
First downs 22
Rushed-yards 31-136
Passing yards 268
Sacked-yards lost 2-15
Return yards 6
Passes 24-38-0
Punts 5-45.8
Fumbles-lost 2-1
Penalties-yards 3-20
Time of possession 34:15

What can we learn from the game? This was a well called game. Good balance of run and pass. Good adjustments after falling behind early. But we’ve seen all of that before. The Jags' takeaway from this game was the two minute drill he called to win the game. BC chipped away with some short plays and then MHass hit DiCosmo for a long pass to set up the final kick.

Give the team, TOB and Jags credit…they pulled out of their tailspin and it was largely due to that drive.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Random diversion courtesy of TOB

I don't have much to say on Virginia Tech that hasn't already been said. To lighten the mood, I thought I'd post something slightly funny, yet little did I know that a fellow Fanhouser would already cover TOB boring fans at the NC State Spring Game.

Reading names of walk on type practice squad players makes for riveting halftime entertainment.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Michigan game and other links

We are playing Michigan in next season's ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The game is in Ann Arbor. Very cool and fair as both teams will be in rebuilding mode. The game is on ESPNU. John Beilein is a great coach and his style always gives us trouble. Should be interesting.

Brian Boyle signed with the LA Kings.

This is not sport related, but the Jesuit's are shutting down the Jesuit Urban Center in Boston. The Center generated a fair bit of controversy over the years and now will steer some of their Parishioners towards St. Ignatius.

Scrimmage rumblings

There was nothing in the papers and nothing on about the first scrimmage on Saturday. However, Gridiron Club members were invited and also met with Jags before the on-field stuff. (If you are in the area and live and die BC, you should probably join the Gridiron Club. Well worth the $50 membership fee.)

First the good news: Jags came off very well in the meeting. He took questions from the audience. Nothing ground breaking in his answers, but he I keep hearing how passionate he comes off and how likeable he seems.

The offense looked very similar to the TOB unit. By next fall, I am sure you’ll see more of the options, running QBs, and “wide open, pass happy” stuff that the Globe and Herald mentioned in their spring articles. But these new guys are smart. They are not going to change the identity of the school nor misuse the current roster because they are married to one style of play. It will be a gradual transition to the new scheme.

The defense looked very good. That’s expected with the so much returning talent and the coaching consistency.

The bad news: the offensive line looked very sloppy. I’ve heard rumblings prior to the game, but this sort of confirmed it. The starting from line consisted of Cherilus, Poles, Sheridan, Anevski and Sheil. Sheil went down early with a reported knee issue. Hall filled in for him. TOB apologists will blame the poor line play on the adjustment to Jags’ zone blocking scheme. Don’t buy it. We are looking a steap drop off in talent from recent years. I would say this is the least talented line we’ve sent out in five or six years. Fortunately Jags and Turner have time to get these guys up to speed.

One other note from Andrew F. who was at the scrimmage and Q&A. One of the Gridiron Club guys asked about Jags recruiting mobile QBs. He explained, and I am paraphrasing here, that the nice thing about recruiting athletic QBs is that if they don’t work out as passers, you can often move them to other positions like safety or WR. This makes senses and confirms that these guys are going to continue to recruit this position differently.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Sporting News pro-TOB bias continues

In the past I've questioned The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart's love affair with TOB. Well now he has come out with his ACC coaches ranking. Guess who he ranked last? This is how he gushed about TOB: "...O'Brien is a great coach. He worked for too long in anonymity at Boston College, where he never was fully appreciated." Something is up here.

Every writer (including this one) has biases and agendas. Mine are pretty obvious. I want to see BC win and will lean pro BC in most of my work. I don't know anything about Dienhart's relationship with TOB, but there is an angle. Take this article. First, you could argue that putting Shannon and Jags (two new coaches) at the bottom is unfair. But why is Shannon ahead of Jags? Jags was a coordinator in a BCS conference a decade ago. He just left a coordinator position in the NFL. Shannon has been on hand as Miami self destructed. What makes him a better coach than Jags? Then Dienhart closes with this little jab: "...But can he run the whole show? The jury is out. But know this: Jags inherited a loaded deck and needs to win big this fall. And if he tastes success, will he bolt back to the NFL." In those few sentences he raised expectation for Jags, set him up for a fall and then hedged by saying (paraphrasing) "if he wins, he's gone." TOB couldn't have said it better himself.

Why do I care? I guess I shouldn't. Tom Dienhart doesn't matter. He is a no-name columnist for a struggling brand. What bothers me is that I anticipate more shilling for TOB in the future and a few more digs at Jags.

One day Jags will give us plenty to rank, grade and discuss. In the meantime give the guy a chance to do something on the field and ignore this TOB mouthpiece.

Thanks to BCDee for finding this gem.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Alum news and bowl stuff

Thanks to Jim G. for sending along this link on BC grad Mark Schmidt. The former BC hoopster is the leading candidate for the St. Bonaventure. While at BC he roomed with Flutie and with Tim o'Shea.

Here is my take on Navy getting an invite to a bowl in April. This got me thinking about the ACC situation and the conference's need to improve its lower end bowls. I am all for a playoff, but as long as there is a bowl system why not make deals and/or create bowls that better fit the ACC's geography. There is no reason the 8th place ACC team should go to Boise. Why not work with the Redskins and put a bowl in DC at Fedex Field? The game would be an easy sell for the Virginia teams and Maryland. The Tobacco Road schools could drive and it is a reasonable flight from Boston. Leave the other slot open and invite Navy every other year and a worthy MAC or Big East team for the other slot.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jags as OC: Game 8, Notre Dame 1997

Like any good blowhard writer I occasionally pick and choose my stats to reinforce my own hypothesis. Sometimes I claim each game is a separate event. Other times I’ll blame what happened in a prior game. I bring this up because at this point in the 1997 season it felt like everyone had kinda thrown in the towel (the end of the season would prove me wrong). So what Jags did on offense in this game was nice but the Irish were so far ahead it is hard to gauge tendencies or effectiveness.

Stat Line
First downs 19
Rushed-yards 32-83
Passing yards 277
Sacked-yards lost 3-20
Return yards 16
Passes 23-33-1
Punts 7-40.9
Fumbles-lost 0-0
Penalties-yards 10-95
Time of possession 30:24

What can we learn from the game? Players make the ultimate difference. I think Jags and Logan will take us to that next level, but ultimately it is about the talent. Just look at this game. Dicosmo returns and suddenly Hasselbeck is throwing the ball well. Notre Dame was effective in slowing the run, which also forced us to chuck it a little.

This was a bad game. But I’ll give the offense credit. They kept chipping away and narrowing the scoring into the third quarter. It didn’t matter though. Whenever we cut the lead, Notre Dame waltzed back down the field to score again.

Non BC links

Two quick self promoting links.

Orson from Every Day Should Be Saturday has started an internet radio show and I was on with a short little snippet towards the 78 minute mark. If you like College Football you'll probably enjoy Orson's show.

Another ACC AOL story.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Jags as OC: Game 7, Miami 1997

When I first mentioned Jags as a candidate for this job, I referenced the Notre Dame game in 1998, which turned out to be one of the worst losses of the TOB era. This game was another low point. TOB deserves the blame for not knowing the OT rules, however, if I ever get the chance, I would like to get Jags’ take on this game.

Despite being a lowpoint for TOB, but a high point for Jags’ offense.

Stat Line
First downs 26
Rushed-yards 49-360
Passing yards 134
Sacked-yards lost 3-19
Return yards 21
Passes 13-26-1
Punts 4-46.3
Fumbles-lost 1-1
Penalties-yards 4-19
Time of possession 25:50

What can we learn from the game? Jags called a great game. What is so reassuring about his coaching style is how we dealt with an early deficit. In a show off confidence and understanding of your resources, we staged our comeback on the ground. Walker ran for 186. Cloud added another 156. In my opinion, this was one of the biggest differences between the Jags OC era and the Bible OC era. Bible would only abandon his gameplan late and even then, reluctantly (see Peterson’s comeback at South Bend). Jags was willing to go in a new direction as soon as the score dictated it (I’ve heard this same thing about Logan). In this game, Jags was down early. Balance got tossed, yet not in the direction you’d expect. Dicosmo was still out so he put the ball in the hands of our best players. He didn’t care that both were running backs. We didn't get pass happy. Jags kept going with what was working. BC got back into the game and forced OT.

Downsides: another uneven performance from Hasselbeck. This is where my memory is playing tricks on me. I called this game on ZBC and remember Matt having a good game and good senior year. But as I look back at the stats, his numbers weren’t all that great. We’d be killing QB performances like that today. In this game, the line’s pass protection slipped a notch below the previously high standards.

Finally, there is the OT. Long story short, BC went for 2 before we had to. After the game TOB explained that he misunderstood the rules. Because this was before the internet took off, and because BC was under the media radar and because he was a new head coach, this inexcusable excuse never got much attention. I hope Jags knew the rule and got overruled. Who knows? The sideline can be a chaotic place. Not that it justifies anything but I can tell you that the radio and TV booths were a mess. No one had a good grasp of the new OT rules. Sean Grande, who was calling the game for WEEI, is always on top of that stuff and even he and Cronin were popping their heads in the hallway to get clarification.

In the end, this fits in with the recurring theme of the 1997 season: we lost the game, but the running game dominated and the play calling was solid.

Monday, April 09, 2007

ESPN shows Jags some love

Aside from that biased BC grad at AOL, the national media hasn't paid much attention to the new regime at BC. It is somewhat expected as Jags comes back to the college game without a network of friendly writers. He is very personable, so I don't think it will take long for big guys to get around to him. In the meantime, gets off to a nice start in this article. What is most comforting out of this article is the talk of adapting TOB's offense to the new Logan schemes. From some of the initial articles out of practice, it came off like Ryan was going to be running the wishbone. I never bought it and always assumed the transition would be gradual. And these guys are going to try to win (and win big) this year.

Jags as OC: Game 6, Virginia Tech 1997

The latest in the series. The Virginia Tech marked another low spot for the offense. Scoring struggles continued, Hasselbeck proved ineffective after returning from injury and the two headed backfield may have been giving the wrong guy the ball. Here are the stats.

Stat Line
First downs 10
Rushed-yards 28-123
Passing yards 153
Sacked-yards lost 0-0
Return yards 43
Passes 10-24-1
Punts 8-41.1
Fumbles-lost 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-28
Time of possession 23:52

What can we learn from the game?
The protection remained strong. That's a good thing. That was about the only good thing from this game. MHass couldn't take advantage of the quality protection, so he sprayed his balls around the field. Jags hadn't worked with him very long, but during his senior year, you never would have guessed that Matt would go on to be Pro Bowler. Other challenges: with Dicosmo still out, this team did not have many guys who could make plays in the open field. At this point Cloud was a known gamebreaker, yet he was still splitting caries. Sure he didn't explode in this game, but he caught two passes for 60+ yards. We should have given him the ball more (a mistake we would correct in 1998). In addition to not scoring points, this team did not do itself any favors grinding out the clock.

Virginia Tech would prove to be one of the better teams on our schedule. However, that doesn't mask the offensive problems from this game.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Hope everyone had a nice weekend. Mine was great. Went to an Easter Egg hunt, watched some golf, Sunday Mass, etc. Oh, there was a little hockey game Saturday night. I can't pretend that I get nearly as emotional about hockey as I do BC football and basketball, but losing like that sucked. You feel for the kids. They dominated the first period. Hung tough through endless power plays in the second and just got out played the final 12 minutes. (That concludes my hockey coverage until next fall.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Putting the Skinner rumors to rest

There have been plenty of Skinner rumors the past few weeks. I have no access to Al, but I get sent gossip all the time. I am pretty confident he is staying at BC. At the Georgia Tech game, I asked repeatedly and got the same answer: Al and Gene are on good terms and Al wants to stay. Then when things started up again, I asked a very good source at ESPN. Same answer: Al is staying. Then when things kept going, I asked a guy in Tobacco Road in the know. Same thing: Al is staying. Ignore this BS on Eagle Action and stop giving them your money, and don't allow them to keep creating phony names just to stir trouble and spike traffic. They say the rumors are hot. They're not. The rumors are cold and Eagle Action is the only place keeping them alive.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

One down, one big one left

A nice controlled game became the Wild Wild West in the final minutes. When BC gave up the shorthanded goal behind the net, I thought the night was going to end badly. However, the team rallied and capped it off with an amazing 4-6 shorthanded goal. Great win. Now close the season out with a championship Saturday.

Hockey reminder, links

For those more casual BC Hockey fans, don't forget that we take on North Dakota in the Frozen Four tonight at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN 2.

Enrico has an update on Mamula. Inspired by something I read on the message boards, I am going to try to put Mamula's NFL career in perspective as we approach the draft.

I continue to post non-BC stuff over at the Fanhouse. I strongly encourage you to add the Fanhouse to your list of daily sports reads. Why waste your time on on the pay stuff at ESPN, when there is plenty of fresh, original content there.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Replacing offense year to year

Al has a big task ahead. He is replacing Dudley and Marshall and the lesser contributions of Haynes and Williams. While we’ve lost big contributors before, this will be the biggest hole since the team turned the corner in 2001. Just using some raw numbers (points) BC must replace 56% of its total offense. But in Al’s tenure there is no strong correlation between lost production and a change in winning percentage the following year.

YearLoss of Production
From Previous Year
Change in Winning Pct
200443% .093
200516% .127
200734% (.141)

I think Rice can really explode next year. I also think Spears, Blair and Roche can also improve their offense. But I think for us to maintain our relative success, we will need at least one of the freshman to average 15 or so points a game.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Basketball Season Grades: Al Skinner

This should come as no surprise to regular readers, but I think Al did a nice job this season. Certainly not his best work (I would put 2001 as his top year and 2004 as his next best), but considering all the things he dealt with, we should be proud of our team and the season. For the second straight year he had us in the Top 4 of the ACC and held the team together when things could have fallen apart.

My biggest problem with Al and criticism of the season is also what I am indirectly most proud of – the whole Sean Williams thing. Al is not a good baby sitter. Period. It has hurt him and the program over the years. We never would have been in the mess had he handled Williams and McClain differently earlier in their careers. Losing players like that disrupts the roster, hurts chemistry and put guys in awkward positions on and off the court. However, as much as Al helped create this mess, his definitive work in cleaning in up and holding the team together deserve high marks.

There are a few other gripes. The game management raised questions, but at this point I’ve come around to recognize how and why Al manages the game like he does. In addition to game management, other issues arose. Al’s rotations raised questions about Oates and Roche’s minutes. Haynes and Spears did not develop. Our defense remained a liability. We also lost games we should have won like Duquesne and Vermont.

Now let me get all Pollyannaish as there was plenty to be glad about. I was happy to see the offense remain very efficient. Down the stretch Skinner varied our defensive schemes more than he has in five seasons. The assistants picked up where the old staff left off. Oates and Blair got better as the season progressed. We kept our composure during the Miami game during the ACC tourney and won tough games against Florida State.

Not Al’s best work, but considering all the distractions, I will still give him a cushy grade.

Grade: B+

Pickem winner, basketball future and football rumors

Congrats to Eagles 2003for winning the pool. Email me your information and you’ll get your token prize.

David Glenn is forecasting next season’s ACC. He has us in the bottom tier. I think the currently constituted team could win 6 ACC games. I’ll reserve final judgment based on which players return to our conference rivals.

My take on the most recent articles based on rumors and second hand info…

While I am not anywhere near campus I’ve heard very good things about Ryan. As this article mentions, he is moving well, picking up the offense very well and impressing the new coaches. I think we are in for a big year from him.

As the Globe mentions, the news is not so good for Toal. I hope he redshirts. I’ve heard his weight is really down. He could use the extra year to bulk up and replace the loss muscle.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Basketball Season Grades: Jared Dudley

Does Jared Dudley need a grade? The guy already won the ACC Player of the Year award. He’s BC all-time leader in minutes played and along with Sean Marshall, is the only BC player to play in four NCAA tournaments. That said, here are some of the specifics of this year.

Jared’s defense was inconsistent. His overall game also seemed to suffer during our stretch grind. Teams focused on him and took him out of our gameplans. The fact that Jared did so much (all while nursing a stress fracture) was commendable, but still it was disappointing to see him struggle (relative to his normal high standards).

The things that Jared improved on were many. His ball handling got better. His foul shooting improved slightly. His perimeter game took huge leaps. He showed he could beat guys off the dribble. He didn’t have a finisher like Craig to help his assist numbers, but I feel his passing improved – especially out of double teams. He ran the floor well. And while I was critical of his one on one defense, his help D and his disruption of opponents passes were critical to our success.

Jared left everything out on the court. For that he’ll always be one of my favorites. He concluded a great career with an outstanding season.

Grade: A