Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Matt's media tour and other links

Matt is doing a lot of press now that he is a Falcon. Here is his the USA Today article. (thanks to Tim E. for the link.)

The station I listen to in the morning spoke with Matt Ryan this week.

BC Mike passed on this two part interview that Matt had with another Atlanta radio station. (Part 1, Part 2).

The idea of expanding the ACC basketball schedule to 18 games is back on the table.

Now that spring ball is over, David Glenn is looking at each ACC team.

The hockey team visited the Massachusetts State House. Maybe Gene should talk to the lawmakers about their shortsighted idea of taxing the schools' endowment. As this article shows, the major HUB universities have a growing influence and footprint.

Basketball Season Grades: Al Skinner

I’ve been dragging my feet on this post since the end of the season. I could have buried it amidst the hockey stuff or the draft coverage, but that wouldn’t have been fair. Before I get into the thoughts on this season, let me restate that I think Al Skinner is a great coach and the program is still in good hands. The grade and post below are strictly about the 2007-08 season.

The loss to Kansas didn’t bother me. Nor did the stinker against Robert Morris. When the team followed those bumps with three straight ACC wins, I was at ease. We were looking at another good season. New faces, new challenges, same Skinner results. Who would have known that 3-0 start would be the peak of it all? Shortly after the quick start, the wheels came off.

There were so many problems I don’t know where to begin. Ultimately what made this season different from past is we did not establish an offense that could dictate tempo and force teams to play our style. Left scrambling for points, we were susceptible to presses and couldn’t stop other teams’ runs. How did we go from being so consistent to the mess we became? Part of it was the roster change, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Skinner made the mistake of trying to bridge the eras. We tried to use Blair and Spears like they had the same inside games as Dudley and Smith. When that failed against better competition, Skinner started giving those minutes to Southern (and Raji somewhat) and moved to a more open style of play a la the Troy Bell years. By then it was too little too late. We also were very sloppy with the ball. That’s to be expected with so many young players, but there wasn’t much improvement as the season progressed.

I also hoped the defense would be better this year. It wasn’t. While the team showed improvement on the perimeter and in transition, the defensive rebounding and interior play was lacking.

There’s a perception that Al doesn’t coach during that games. Anyone who has sat near the BC bench can easily refute that myth. However, his in-game adjustments hit the wrong notes this year. We let winnable contests get away from us too often during ACC play.

Fortunately recruiting held up and there is more talent on the way.

I remain optimistic. I’ll give Skinner a pass for this year and probably for next year too. But I can’t sugarcoat what happened on the court this year. I look forward to next fall so we can put this season behind us.

Season Grade: C-

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New women's coach and other links

BC hired Sylvia Crawley to replace Cathy Inglese as Head Coach of the women's basketball team. Crawley comes to the Heights with two years of head coaching experience at Ohio University. You can watch the press conference at 2:30 PM ET on

Jamie Silva is excited about being a Colt.

Tyronne Pruitt will join Cherilus in Detroit.

Sad, disturbing news: former BC star Ivan Caesar was killed in Orlando.

In other free agent news Jon Loyte signed with Tampa Bay.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Matt at Radio City Music Hall

BC guy Brendan S. was at Radio City on Saturday and took these shots of Matts's first few moments as a Falcon.

More Spring Game pics and more links

LBI Eagle took these two shots of the game.

Tribble was the third BC player drafted. Dunbar signed with New Orleans as a free agent and Silva went to the Colts as a free agent.

Mitch Albom takes a look at the Cherilus pick.

Former Eagle Daye Kaba announced he will transfer to Marist.

With the changes in their roster, Tampa Bay is considering using former Eagle Jeremy Trueblood at left tackle.

In a non-sports story, did anyone else know that BC has been keeping a Catholic school in Brighton afloat? Yet we are still not considered a good neighbor!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Behind the scenes of Matt Ryan's first Falcon press conference

This morning I got up early to drive out to the Falcons headquarters in Flowery Branch for the team’s 9 AM press conference. As I got out of my car a stretch SUV limo came rolling down the hill loaded with the Ryan clan. One of the Falcons’ folks greeted them and gushed “you all look so good.” And they did. Perfectly pressed and fresh, you’d never guess the whirlwind they’ve been on during the past 48 hours. The Falcons staff ushered the family into a private area while the press slowly gathered in the team meeting room.

I know that the perception outside of Atlanta is that the organization is a mess. It’s not. Despite the off field issues, Arthur Blank changed the culture of the organization years ago. The facilities are first rate. The staff was very courteous. The infrastructure is there to handle, protect and promote Matt off the field.

As I was lingering around the hallways waiting for the press conference to start, I bumped into Matt. Like my brief encounters with him in the past, Matt comes off as genuine. He was beaming and very excited about coming to Atlanta and glad there is a nice BC contingent in the area.

The press conference started (you can watch it here on Arthur Blank led off and made an emphasis on the character of both his first round draft picks (the Falcons also drafted USC Tackle Sam Baker). Blank also took a moment to address the Ryan and Baker families directly.

Following the press conference all the parties posed for a variety of pictures. It had the feel of a bridal party being directed through the alter portraits: “OK, we need Matt and Sam and Mr. Blank. Great! Now, just Matt and Sam. Got it. Hold up the jerseys. Ok, the whole Ryan family is next…”

After the pictures, Matt sat down for one on ones with the local media.

The thing BC fans should be most proud of is how Matt carries himself. Even when the cameras were off, Matt took the time to introduce himself to everyone in a polite confident manor. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. He wasn’t too cool or oblivious. Even the receptionist, who was just putting on her headset as Matt was wrapping up in the lobby (and in her own world). Matt took the time to come over to her desk, extend his hand and introduce himself.

A few other notes:
-- Arthur Blank’s son wore a BC t-shirt
-- Matt and Sam Baker share the same agent - BC guy Tom Condon
-- Sports Illustrated had a special photo shoot right after the press conference. That note and the fact that Peter King was in the Falcons war room on Saturday leads me to believe Matt will be the focus of a big spread this week.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Draft thoughts

I know many of you didn't want to see Ryan go to Atlanta. Fear of the chaotic organization, fear of him getting killed behind their porous line and fear that Atlanta is not a good sports town. I am biased but I think this could be the perfect marraige. Matt can be a great player and is tough enough to take him lumps in Atlanta. The Falcons can build around him and become a competitive team. If he succeeds, he'll own this town and no one will ever talk about Vick. I will be at the press conference Sunday morning and have more thoughts after.

Great news for Gosder Cherilus too. Detroit is not a glamour team, but after his rough offseason and struggles on the left side, he should be happy to be a first rounder.

Saturday links

Detroit surprised their fans by taking Gos.

Here is a broader recap of the Spring Game.

Jags had good things to say about Billy Flutie's play.

Claiborne is coming along as a offensive lineman.

Thoughts on the Spring Game

I try not to read to much into any Spring Game. That said, here were my takeaways:
-- I was surprised by going shotgun style formations may be gone for next season.
-- Crane and Davis both looked comfortable running the spread plays.
-- Crane had his moments but still made some bad throws.
-- Davis is raw. So is Boek.
-- Johnson... there wasn't much to see and his one long pass was terrible.
-- Haden showed a nice spark, however, his final stats weren't that impressive. Mulrooney also looked decent.
-- The offensive line looked solid.
-- As for the D, good for the most part. They didn't put much pressure on the QBs, but did a decent job containing long plays and forcing turnovers.

Crane is not Ryan, but word out of practice is that he's playing well. Nothing I saw today made me change my opinion. He is capable of putting together a nice season and getting us back to a bowl game.

Hats off to BC for one of the better Spring Games. I heard glowing reports from those who attended the festivities. Attendance also seemed higher than past years (the weather helped). Also, thanks to BC and ACC Select for adding the broadcast late this week.

Let me know your thoughts.

Pics of the Spring Game

Thanks to Joe Bags and Chris S. for sending the pictures below.