Monday, June 30, 2008

2008 Position Previews: Tight Ends

This is the fourth part of my position by position breakdown of the 2008 roster.


BC enters the season with the best Tight End in the conference and a bunch of questions behind him. Like other positions, this could year could serve as a looking glass into Steve Logan’s vision for this offense. Will Purvis be the last in a long line of pass-catching BC Tight Ends as the position gets phased out or will the new kids become offensive weapons too?

To show how impressive our Tight End history is, you need to look no further than Ryan Purvis’s 2007. He was all conference and caught 54 passes. He now has 89 catches for his career. Impressive, right? Yet even if he duplicated his ‘07 efforts, he wouldn’t even move into the Top 2 of BC TEs in total catches. The list currently has Pete Mitchell with 190 and Mark Chmura with 164 at the top. (Along with those two, BC Top 10 career reception list includes Flutie's main TE Scott Geiselman.)

If he has another strong year, Purvis can join Mitchell as the only BC Tight End to be first-team all conference in back-to-back seasons.

The Players
Ryan Purvis, SR, 6’4, 258lbs
Jordon McMichael, SO, 6’5, 257lbs
Lars Anderson, FR, 6’3, 245lbs
Chris Pantale, FR, 6’5, 225lbs
Michael Stone, FR, 6’6, 230lbs

Purvis is obviously very talented. Already a decent blocker, last season he took his total skill set to a new level. He is sure-handed and does a good job getting open in soft zones. He established himself as Ryan’s safety valve. Will he have the same repartee with Crane? Let’s hope so. McMichael is a big kid who blocks well. If he can stay healthy he should be thrown to more this season. Anderson redshirted last year. He played well in the spring and should be a contributor this year. Pantale and Stone will both be true freshmen. Based on depth issues one will likely play and one will hopefully redshirt.

I think four guys will play this year with Purvis being the focal point. Unlike last year, I think we’ll need the Tight Ends to be bigger factors in the running game. As long as the guys stay healthy, Tight Ends should not be an area of concern.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Newton turns to BC for more money

[Disclaimer: this is a non sports post, and yes my perspective is skewed as a BC alum living in suburban Atlanta. That said, I would feel the same way if I lived in Newton or if I was across the street from a major university.]

According to the Globe, Newton is facing a budget shortfall and looking to BC to help fill the gap. While I am all for being a good neighbor, BC should be very careful in how and what they do. Given the political climate in Massachusetts, BC should not allow for any precedent for taxes on their property or endowment. If BC agrees to any additional payments, it should be under specific terms and in exchange for leeway in the development plans and on-campus activities. As a reminder: Newton is the reason we can't have more night events on campus (specifically Thursday night ESPN football games). Newton is also the reason most of the new buildings are on lower campus and not near College Road. (I wonder how much of Newton's shortfalls can be traced back to frivolous lawsuits they've had against BC over the years?) If BC bails out Newton, they better get something concrete in return.

I love the Boston area and Massachusetts, but the growing sentiment to go after the schools is very disconcerting, short-sighted and dangerous. This editorial lays out my fear. The higher-education industry is one of the stabilizing forces in the area. Attacking BC and the other schools with new taxes puts them at a disadvantage. If these schools become less desirable (because of costs or value) then their endowments, their investments in the community, and their staffs will suffer. That hurts Massachusetts.

The not in my backyard mentality and soak the rich (in this case rich school) is never a good long-term solution. BC should use this moment to do some good for our neighbors, heal their relationship with Newton, and change the perception of the school within the community.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Eric Reynolds is not coming to BC

Freshman to be Eric Reynolds will not be joining his fellow recruits this summer at BC. Instead he will play college football closer to his Pennsylvania home at Temple. The Reynolds' rumors had been floating for a few days. Rivals confirmed it on their message boards Friday. Don't expect much of an explanation from BC. Supposedly depth chart issues, off the field issues and admissions issues all contributed to Reynolds playing somewhere else.

This probably won't have much of an impact on the field or on this season. The already crowded backfield needed a shakeout and Reynolds was a likely candidate to redshirt. Best of luck to the kid.

Friday, June 27, 2008

White Maroon & Gold House and other links

The Hockey team enjoyed their time in Washington.

BC is still after Virginia lineman Jay Weatherington.

This link is Michigan focused, but provides some insight into the zone stretch play we will use this year.

We have interest in Florida WR Kenny Whittaker.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The NFL gossip around Cherilus and other links

If the Lions or other NFL teams didn't know about Cherilus, they are living under a rock. A basic google search would have kept them up to date. If NFL scouts suspected more, they had two separate coaching staffs (BC and NC State) as potential resources. This gripe rings really hollow to me.

New commit Sterlin Phipher coach had a few comments on Sterlin's decision.

BC was mentioned in this overview of Finley Dunne's Tavern in Chicago. See, our gamewatches make a difference!

SMQ takes a deeper look at our future opponent Georgia Tech. Like everyone else, SMQ thinks it will take some time to adjust to the new offense. Keeping with the previews, here's a look at Clemson.

Here's a radio interview with Matt Ryan.

Some BC Guys put together a funny freshmen orientation parody.

Cherilus and Tribble episode over and other links

Cherilus and Tribble both agreed to probation on their bar fight arrest. Gos is also out $52,000 as part of the ruling. Now the guys just have to keep their noses clean. Because Bob Hohler wrote the article, he had to include an unrelated note about Brady Smith.

Here is Father Leahy's official letter regarding the campus expansion.

SMQ provides a great preview of Virginia Tech.

Former Eagle Tim Bulman never gave up on his NFL dream.

Bleacher Report gives Clif Ramsey some all-ACC accolades.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jags grabs another recruit

Virginia product Sterlin Phifer committed to BC Tuesday. Another nice pick up. I am also glad to see BC making more inroads into traditional ACC country like southeast Virginia.

Blogging without an editor

Norvface's correction in my last post reminded me to thank all my readers for their support and understanding. I apologize in advance for malaprops, typos and weird blogger spellcheck corrections. I am a one-man band and write these things at night, often while a little punchy. Hurried posting also contributes to mistakes. Ever to excel when it comes to better copy, but I hope you guys understand.

Know your opponents: Quarterback edition

The past few seasons, Notre Dame blog Blue-Gray Sky has eschewed team-by-team previews and instead grouped opponent previews by position. I am ripping off honoring their idea with the BC version.

1. Wake Forest -- Riley Skinner. 2007: 2204 passing yards, 72.4 completion percentage, 12 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
Returning Starter

BC knocked Skinner out of the season opener last year. Despite his rough start, he put together another very good season. Skinner is very effective in the offense and has led the Deacs to two straight bowls. Entering the season you have to wonder if Skinner’s strange offseason will provide any distractions once play begins. I think Skinner will put the embarrassment behind him and be the best QB in the conference. His backup is Brett Hodges (who saw a little time against BC).

2. Notre Dame -- Jimmy Clausen. 2007: 1,254 passing yards, 56.3 completion percentage, 7 touchdowns, six interceptions.
Returning Starter

Clausen was the uber recruit of his class. He arrived in South Bend with almost as much hype as Ron Powlus. However an injury and a porous offensive line kept him from filling the void left by Brady Quinn. Because of the hype surrounding Clausen, fans reveled in his failure. I actually think Clausen showed potential in our game. Assuming he adjusts to the pace of the game this season and their offensive line improves, I expect him to have a much better year. Clausen can sit in the pocket and Notre Dame has added more weapons around him. He can make all the throws. Evan Sharpley returns as Clausen’s likely backup.

3. Virginia Tech -- Sean Glennon. 2007: 1,796 passing yards, 60.9 completion percentage, 12 touchdowns, five interceptions.
Returning Starter

Every preview of Virginia Tech has them confidently at the top of their division. Yet no one has a clear understanding of how their QB situation will play out. After last season’s ACC Championship game win, you’d think that Glennon would be the sure incumbent. Was his late season play a sign of maturity or will he revert to the dear in headlights QB that BC saw in 2006? The backup Tyrod Taylor is the hope, savior, new Vick, yet looked very ordinary last year. Regardless if they split time or one wrests the job away from the other, I think Virginia Tech will get decent production from their QB this year.

4. Clemson -- Cullen Harper. 2007: 2,991 passing yards, 65.1 completion percentage, 27 touchdowns, six interceptions
Returning Starter

Maybe I am a little overly sensitive to all the “Harper was better than Ryan” talk, but I think Clemson’s QB might be the most overrated guy in the conference. He’s solid but unspectacular. In my opinion he’s a real beneficiary of the game-breaking talent around him and an offense that produces efficient and risk averse passing. Willy Korn is his talented backup. To me the key to beating Clemson is stopping the run game, not getting to Harper.

5. Florida State -- Drew Weatherford. 2007: 2,049 passing yards, 56.9 completion percentage, nine touchdowns, three interceptions.
Returning Starter

For the first time in his career Weatherford is not in a QB controversy. Xavier Lee, his foil the past three years, is gone. Weatherford is the statuesque pocket passer with the big arm. Even as he picked BC apart last season, I’ve never been that impressed with him. If BC can actually get to him this year, we should neutralize some of his big plays. If Weatherford succumbs to injury again, Christian Ponder and super recruit EJ Manuel will be called on to fill his shoes.

6. North Carolina -- TJ Yates. 2007: 2,655 passing yards, 59.7 completion percentage, 14 touchdowns, 18 interceptions.
Returning Starter

The lanky Yates made some all-freshmen teams last year. He doesn’t have a big arm, but was able to move the ball. He also took a beating in the pocket. As their line improves and his decision making gets better, Yates’ numbers should improve. If he doesn’t progress, look for freshman Mike Paulus to get on the field.

7. Central Florida -- Michael Greco Jr. 2007: 303 passing yards, 53.3 completion percentage, zero touchdowns, one interception.
New starter

Greco is the expected starter. A one time NC State recruit, he took a detour through Junior College before heading to Central Florida. Greco moves well for his size and can tuck it and run if needed. If Greco doesn’t step up Central Florida is likely to go with Joe Weatherford – Drew’s younger brother. He’s less mobile than Greco and an untested redshirt freshmen.

8. Kent State -- Julian Edelmen. 2007: 1,318 passing yards, 51.9 completion percentage, seven touchdowns, nine interceptions.
Returning Starter

Edelmen can run. He netted 455 yards on the ground last year and ran in two TDs. He suffered two big injuries in an abbreviated season last year. The rash of injuries Kent State went through last season gives them decent depth heading into this season. Anthony Magazu and Georgio Morgan will fight for the back up spot. Kent State’s QBs are asked to do many of the things BC will do this year: run, throw on rollouts, use the option.

9. Maryland -- Josh Portis 2007: Did not play.
New Starter

Maryland is one of a few BC opponents that will have a QB battle well into summer practice. Jordan Steffy, who suffered from concussions last year, is back and hoping to reclaim the starter role. Chris Turner, who had a career night against BC, is also back. But both are expected to step aside as Josh Portis finally takes snaps in College Park. Portis played at Florida as a true freshmen, but then bailed when Tim Tebow arrived. Despite off the field issues, Friedgen is ready to turn it over to him. His size and running ability is supposed to give Maryland’s offense a dynamic they haven’t had in years.

10. NC State -- Daniel Evans. 2007: 2,030 passing yards, 57.2 completion percentage, 12 touchdowns, 13 interceptions.
Returning Starter

Yes, Daniel Evans is still around. The side-arming Cinderella who beat BC on a late throw in 2006 returns for his final go around. He’s yo-yo’d in and out of the lineup in his time at NC State. As BC fans know, he does just enough to beat you yet can also make real boneheaded mistakes. Justin Burke and Harrison Beck will also compete for the starting role. Mike Glennon, the first prototypical TOB QB at NC State, will also be on campus. If TOB stick to the script, Glennon will redshirt this year.

11. Georgia Tech -- Josh Nesbitt. 2007: 93 passing yards, 38.5 completion percentage, one touchdown, two interceptions.
New Starter

No offense will look more different from 2007 than Georgia Tech. We have no idea who will start either. Nesbitt is penciled in for now. Calvin Booker will also be in the mix. Neither will pass much, but that is not what they are asked to do in Paul Johnson’s system. Instead the difficulty comes in reading the D’s run defense and knowing when to hang on and when to pitch…all while taking a real beating. This year will be rough for whoever gets the call as QB.

12. Rhode Island -- Derek Cassidy. 2007: 1,020 passing yards, 49.7 completion percentage, five touchdowns, six interceptions.
New Starter

Cassidy is experienced, having started most of the past two seasons. So he’s got that going for him. That’s about it though. His stats and Rhode Island’s success are lacking. He’s been sacked a lot. If BC can’t shut him down, then we will have some serious questions about our season.

ESPN Bowl predictions and other stuff

It is never too early for bowl predictions. This one is actually close to what I would predict. Those who attended our last bowl in San Fran had a great time.

It's good to be the champ (and married to the coaches daughter): Chris Snee got a new contract.

Josh Beekman hopes to start this season.

Jared Dudley provides a scouting report on Sean Singletary.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SI's look at college recruiting's Andy Staples put together a solid multi-part series on college football recruiting that is worth the read. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). It is a reminder of how much salesmanship goes into the process. If BC does have a ceiling in football, it really would come down to recruiting. Our fans, our culture, and our history will never fully embrace some of this nonsense. Does that mean we can't win it all? No. But it probably keeps us from being a perennial Top 5 program as long as the current system is in place.

One other note BC note from the series: BC self reported violations in the fledgling post war days of the NCAA. Six other schools also came forward as part of the "sinful seven." The resolution and punishment served as the foundation for many of the NCAA rules and regulations we have today.

More on O'Shea and other links

It may seem like I am focusing an inordinate amount of time on Tim O'Shea's move to Bryant, but it does have BC ramifications. While it was never his job to have, many assumed that if Skinner were to ever leave BC, O'Shea would be the prime candidate to replace Al. Now that he has taken himself from a mid-major program to a school making the jump to DI, O'Shea's path is on a different course. This is not meant to say that O'Shea couldn't or won't coach BC one day. He might. If he builds up Bryant it actually may enhance his resume. But the timing and the undertaking are curious. I also think that if O'Shea felt that BC job would be open in the next two or three years he would have stuck it out at Ohio. There are probably more factors in play than I can even speculate, but I take O'Shea's move as a sign that Skinner is safe with Gene and committed to BC.

Tyrese Rice is taking part in a Richmond summer league.

Incoming Eagles Isaac Johnson, Nick Halloran and Mike Stone all took part in the last week's Shriner Classic.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Phil Steele’s Cliffs Notes: Notre Dame

Steele loves the Irish. I know most fans think the gushing is a pure play to sell more magazines, but I actually agree with him on this one. Like Steele, I believe a soft schedule and a jelling group of young talent will spark another Notre Dame “return to glory.”

Here are some of the reasons Steele is high on the Irish.

Nuggets and notes of interest
-- The Irish have nine offensive starters returning and seven defensive starters returning. They also have 37 lettermen coming back.
-- Charlie Weis is 17-13 vs BCS teams
-- Weis is 10-4 as the away team.
-- Last year Notre Dame was neutral in the turnover margin
-- They have the 67th most difficult schedule
-- Notre Dame average 75 yards rushing per game. Statistically it was the worse rushing game in Notre Dame history.
-- Steele ranks their running backs as the 23rd best group in the country.
-- He predicts they’ll play Florida State in the Gator Bowl.
-- Notre Dame is No. 1 on his most improved list
-- Notre Dame is No. 19 in his rankings
-- According to Steele, the Irish have the No. 1 group of incoming freshman
-- They finished 93rd in his special indexing in 2007
-- They are 24th in his power poll
-- He projects them to have the 9th best pass defense in 2008
-- They are expected to be the most improved in scoring offense this year.

Et tu, HBO?

HBO is producing a documentary on the Duke-North Carolina rivalry. It is bad enough that ESPN and all its tentacles put the Blue Devils and Heels above all other programs, but now one of the leading ESPN alternatives is continuing this larger (and largely unchallenged) media narrative. Like all other HBO docs, I am sure it will be good. I just wish they had picked a different subject.

From a BC perspective, the Duke-UNC thing is a double-edged sword. We benefit financially due to our conference partnership. The flip side is that we and nine other schools play second fiddle when it comes to perception amongst the media, fans and recruits.

Flutie gets a statue and other links

BC will unveil a statue of Flutie outside of Alumni this fall. Long overdue in my opinion.

Louis Hinnant had some good things to say about BC in this interview.

This new deal will allow you to add all sorts of widgets and game enhancers ACC/Raycom broadcasts.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A good story about a BC guy and other links

The Globe featured a story on incoming freshman Brendan Grimes. Sad story with a nice ending and definitely worth the read.

This article takes us through Cam Atkinson's draft day experience. Atkinson still plans on coming to BC to play for Jerry York.

ACC Nation predicts us to finish at the bottom of the ACC Atlantic.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hockey team goes to Washington and other links

Our National Championship hockey team will be part of a Rose Garden celebration at the White House this Tuesday. Three BC hockey players were selected in the NHL Draft this weekend. (Thanks to Bob for the heads up.)

Tyrese knows he has to broaden his game to impress NBA scouts next season. (Thanks to Frank and Adam for the link.)

Rivals slotted us at No. 44 in their preseason rankings. This statistical look sees us at the bottom of the ACC Atlantic.

Here's more on Jimmy Noel's commitment. Noel's high school coach gave the Herald some background on the signing.

ACC writer J.P. Giglio predicts an 8th place finish for our basketball team.

Tim O'Shea is taking a paycut by moving east for the Bryant job. His motivation may truly be geography.

I think North Carolina will be good this year. The New York Times disagrees.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Noel commits and other links

Everett product Jimmy Noel became the latest addition to this year's recruiting class. Noel's former teammate and future Eagle Isaac Johnson is taking part in the Shriners Football Classic.

Here's the NYT preview for Georgia Tech. Fortunately we play them early in the year. I think they'll get much better once they get a good handle on their new offense.

In a curious move, BC guy Tim O'Shea left Ohio University to take over the head job at Bryant.

SMQ takes a look at Clemson. Is this finally Tommy Bowden's year?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Arnold and Maria's kid can't get in and other links

At the Russert Memorial, Maria Shriver shared a story related to Tim and BC:
Shriver, California's first lady and member of the Kennedy family, recalled how Russert tried to help get her daughter into Boston College, which Luke attended.

He told her "it's competitive," she said. "You need to know people in Boston. You need to know people in the Catholic church."

Shriver had that covered, although her daughter landed on the waiting list.

How hard is it to get into BC these days? Someone get this girl off the waiting list. It would be "FAHN-tastic" to see Arnie is a SuperFan t-shirt.

Future Eagle Chris Pantale also had a strong track season.

RealFootball thinks Albright will be a key to our defense this year.

ESPN lumped us in with Boston when rating the best sports years of all-time. (Thanks to Rob M. for the link.)

New Hampshire product Derrick Sylvester just committed to BC baseball.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2008 Position Previews: Offensive Line

This is the third part of my position by position breakdown of the 2008 roster.

Last season the offensive line was a source of frustration. While they protected Matt fairly well in passing situations, their effectiveness in run blocking was inconsistent and only got worse after Poles’ season-ending injury. Now in the second season of the zone blocking scheme, the unit should be more effective in opening gaps and stretching the opponent’s front seven.

Although we are filling two starting spot and departed depth, the actual starting line that takes the field against Kent State will be almost as experienced as the unit we started for Wake Forest in 2007. Take a look.

Combined starts of Cherilus, Poles, Tennant, Ramsey and Castonzo prior to Wake Forest 2007: 50

Combined starts of Castonzo, Tennant, Ramsey (and anyone else) prior to the Kent State 2008 = 41

In addition to that real time in the trenches, this unit has spent most (or all in some cases) of their time at BC in this zone scheme. Last year much of the oline practice time was spent unlearning old habits. We still have questions about two positions, but given how well Castonzo and Tennant played last year, I am not worried about a new starter emerging.

The players
C - Matt Tennant, JR, 6’4, 284lbs
G – Clif Ramsey, SR, 6’6, 302lbs
T — Anthony Castonzo, SO, 6’7, 272lbs
G – Thomas Claiborne, SO, 6’3, 330lbs
T – Rich Lapham, SO, 6’8, 324lbs
G/T – John Elliott, FR, 6’4, 280lbs
G/T – Pat Sheil, JR, 6’6, 283lbs
C – Bryan Murphy, SR, 6’3, 280lbs
G – Nick Rossi, JR, 6’6, 294lbs
G/T – Nathan Richman, FR, 6’6, 274lbs
G/T – Mark Spinney, FR, 6’4, 273lbs
G/T – Nick Schepis, FR, 6’4, 280lbs

Castonzo is getting most of the preseason pub and with good reason. He started as a true freshmen and played well. Although he struggled with speed rushers (most notably against Virginia Tec), he was very good in the run game. Can Castonzo transition to the left side? With Cherilus’ struggles fresh in our minds, it is a fair question. I think he’ll do well. In part because of the versatility he’s shown so far and in part because of coaching. Ramsey was used in a variety of positions in the spring. The consensus seems to be that he’ll play Left Guard. After a rough start early in the year, Ramsey finished the season strong. Not only was he making his blocks, he also began covering other’s mistakes. He should be good on the left side. Tennant was very consistent and probably the best run blocker. I expect him to have an all ACC type year. The other spots are TBD. Claiborne is the favorite for the RG spot. He’s slimmed down and supposedly has been very good on the offensive side of the ball. Rich Lapham is expected to play RT. Like Claiborne, he’s slimmed down and made huge strides to adapt to the new style of play. The other players are somewhat interchangeable and will all be used depending on injuries. Sheil was once highly touted yet can’t seem to get on the field. I’ve heard good things about the play of Richman and Elliott. Rossi moved over from the defensive side (where he was a pleasant surprise). Schepis has battled injuries and is questionable going into summer camps.

Due to other changes on the offensive side of the ball, it might be difficult to measure the success of the oline this year. Even if we are not explosive in the running game and even if Crane struggles, the line could improve from last season. What I hope to see is consistent push from the zone blocking and decent pass protection. Last year the offensive line was a question mark heading into the season and a liability at various times during the season. This year it should not be either.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The future of BC housing and other links

BC unveiled its plan for the Brighton campus and for 2000 Comm Ave. Gotta love the jeering from the locals. It will be interesting to see who fills all the off campus apartments students currently use. I have a hunch the demographics will change and the Brighton folks will long for the days when students lived in the area. Here is BC's map of the plans.

Despite Miami's strong push, we are recruiting Florida product Lawrence Henderson. named Flutie Boston College's "face of the program." Was there much debate in Bristol over that one?

Former Eagle Pat Ross signed with the Panthers.

Matt Ryan hasn't forgotten his Philly roots. (Thanks to John S. for the link.)

Phil Steele’s Cliffs Notes: Central Florida

Steele is bullish on Central Florida. He predicts a second-place finish within their division and thinks they could win the conference again.

Despite losing the nation's leading rusher, the Knights will field an experienced defense and should provide us with a serious challenge early in the season.

Nuggets and notes of interest
-- Central Florida has five offensive starters returning and nine defensive starters returning. In total, they have 37 returning lettermen.
-- George O’Leary is 1-11 vs BCS teams as Central Florida’s coach.
-- O’Leary is 10-14 on the road at UCF.
-- Central Florida is 1-8 vs ACC teams.
-- Despite their success in running the ball last season, they still passed 57.2% of the time.
-- Their top seven tacklers from last season return.
-- They were only +1 in the turnover ratio.
-- They have the 81st most difficult schedule
-- They are 70th in Steele’s power ranking
-- Although they have to replace four offensive line starters (including three that were all conference), five guys on their projected offensive line have started at one point in their careers
-- UCF had the 8th best special teams unit of 2007.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A BC preview and other links

College Football News produced their annual preview of BC. They stick to the looming narrative ("great D, questions on offense"). Included within is a deeper look at both sides of the ball and a projected depth chart. One fresh point that CFN makes and which I haven't gotten around to yet: the schedule. It sets up well. If we can pad the ledger with some early wins, the momentum might carry us a bit into the second half of the season.

The site of one of BC's greatest moments is now rubble. I like old stadiums as much as the next guy, but never felt like I was missing anything by not seeing the Orange Bowl.

More "Matt Ryan Explained" from KSK.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A new commit and other links

Hartford product Andre Lawrence committed to BC Saturday. He's expected to play linebacker for us. Rivals calls Lawernce the 18th best outside linebacker in the country.

Although he didn't rack up many yards future Eagle Eric Reynolds was on the winning team in the Big 33 game. Reynolds had some thoughts about the end of his high school career.

Rising field hockey star Emily Kozniuk is working hard to overcome her injury.

We are continuing our push into Illinois. This time recruiting versatile back Tyler Hudetz.

Oddsmakers don't expect much from BC this year.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

BC continues to mourn Russert

A statement from the Athletic Department.

Father Leahy's statement on behalf of the BC family.

More on his relationship with BC.

Finally, the perfect example that Tim was a good sport: his participation in "The BC"

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, 1950-2008

Huge BC fan and BC dad Tim Russert died Friday after a sudden heart attack. Terrible news. Thoughts and prayers go out to Luke Russert '08 and to the whole Russert family.

Florida recruits and other links

This article lists the summer camp activities for a bunch of south Florida's top recruits. Included are updates on BC targets Eugene Smith, Nico Flores and Rodney Smith.

We've also offered Florida athlete Victor Marc. It seems like he has high interest in South Carolina.

Future Eagle Eric Reynolds is taking part in the Pennsylvania Big 33 game.

The Cowboys are moving James Marten to guard.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Phil Steele’s Cliffs Notes: Kent State

While the national media expects very little from Kent State, Phil Steele is somewhat bullish on the Golden Flashes. College Football’s contrarian expects them to finish third in their division and bounce back from their lousy 2007.

Since Steele specializes in his own formulas, facts and figures and skips some of the narrative fluff that fills the other preview magazines, I thought I would share the data that stood out to me.

Nuggets and notes of interest
-- Kent State has decent experience: eight offensive starters return and eight defensive starters return. They also have 43 other lettermen returning.
-- They had a -11 turnover margin last year meaning they were somewhat unlucky last year and potentially better than their 2007 record.
-- They’ve been awful in odd numbered years (3-9 in 2007, 1-10 in 2005) and decent in even numbered years (6-6 in 2006 and 5-6 in 2004).
-- The Golden Flashes return their top three rushers, their top three receivers and three of their four leading tacklers.
-- The MAC school is 1-7 vs BCS teams
-- They haven’t played a neutral site game in eight years
-- Steele projects KSU to be among the most improved in points scored (15th in his ranking)
-- Steele’s strength of schedule formula has them at 111th nationally
-- They are 82nd in his power rankings
-- They were 82nd in his 2007 special teams rating

BC connections: Their Head Coach Doug Martin coached with Jags and Logan at East Carolina. Their backup Quarterback is Anthony Magazu – brother of current BC wide receiver Dom Magazu and son of former BC offensive line coach Dave Magazu.

SI's frustrating Top 10 and other links

Reader Sunjit passed on this list and photo gallery of the Top 10 athletes in BC history. These sorts of things drive me nuts due to their lack of perspective and context. In all the years of BC sports five of the ten best are from the last ten years? Come on. Only one two hockey players? [NOTE: Thanks to Shawn and DG for pointing out that Emma was a hockey player. SI has him listed with basketball.] Also, does SI rate them on college accomplishments, pure athleticism, or overall athletic career? I would hope it would be just college, but they list many of the wrong guys (and girl). Other than No. 1 and No. 2, the list is full of holes.

Tyrelle Blair took part in this Q&A on his workouts and plans for the future.

Former Eagle Michael Cotton took an assistant job with Bucknell.

Current Eagle Ayla Brown talks more about her summer theatre plans.

Blog Hey Jenny Slater compiled all the preseason rankings and no surprise, we don't crack anyone's list. The ACC is slightly underrepresented with only three teams consistently getting ranked.

This is only tangentially related to BC, but I thought this quote from a Syracuse blogger regarding the state of the Orange was candid, sad and effective in capturing how quickly the landscape can change in college sports:

The 14th winningest program of all time (yep, look it up). A National Championship (1959). A Heisman Trophy winner (Ernie Davis). Home of Jim Brown, Floyd Little, Larry Csonka, Joe Morris, Art Monk, Dwight Freeney and Donovan McNabb. Four-time Big East champion.

And yet, in a matter of just three years, none of that matters anymore. Cause all anyone can see is the failure pile currently residing at the bottom of the resurgent© Big East. The only team not pulling their weight. The House That Greg Robinson Built…Shoddily And Without Adequate Plumbing. There are actually kids living in the Northeast right who only know Rutgers as a football power and Syracuse as a basement-dweller. That’s insane.

Think what could have been for Syracuse. They should serve as a reminder to us how important facilities, an engaged AD and coaching can be in success of a program.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

2008 Position Previews: Running Backs

This is the second part of my position by position breakdown of the 2008 roster.

The move to the zone blocking scheme was supposed to re-energize BC’s once mighty rushing attack. Though the scheme changed, the productivity didn’t. BC averaged 3.4 yards a game in TOB’s last year. We averaged 3.4 yards per carry last season. This year the running game becomes that much more important…just as BC is nearly replacing its whole backfield.

I would be more concerned about our lack of experience in the backfield if we hadn’t gone through this just a few seasons ago. Think back to 2004. Our most experienced running back that season was Jeff (a.k.a. Survival) Ross, who entered 2004 with a whopping seven carries for 33 yards. A trio of freshmen (Callender, Brooks and Whitworth) filled the void adequately. This year BC will rely on a pack of freshmen again.

Although it is just a glorified scrimmage, the Spring Game did provide a glimpse into how BC will run this year. First, I think you’ll see more rushing attempts. Last season we passed 61% of the time. (As a reference point we passed 51% of the time in TOB’s final year.) I imagine the staple play will be the draw/spread read from the shotgun (you’ve seen it as part of West Virginia and Florida’s offense). But I also think you’ll see a variety of plays that emphasize the varied talents of the freshmen and take advantage of the stretch plays available in the zone scheme.

Replacing our departed’s yards per carry shouldn’t be hard. The challenge will be who can fill the void left in the passing game. Callender was a game-changer out of the backfield. I expect the swings and screens will remain part of the offense, I just don’t know which one of these newbies will step up.

The Players
FB – James McCluskey, SO, 6’2, 231lbs
TB – Dan Mulrooney, SO, 6’1, 197lbs
TB – Josh Haden, FR, 5’8, 190lbs
TB – Montel Harris, FR, 5’9, 195lbs
TB – Eric Reynolds, FR, 5’10, 195lbs
TB – Jerry Kelly, FR, 6’0, 220lbs

McCluskey returns as the leading rusher from last season. He carried the ball eight times for 14 yards and three touchdowns. I think he’ll get more carries this year, but will not be a feature back. Don’t be surprised if he is occasionally used as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Dan Mulrooney spent time on special teams and defense last year. He moved to the offensive side for depth reasons and looked decent in the spring. If the freshmen step up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mulrooney flip back to defense eventually. Haden was the prized recruit of his class and has been on campus since January. That should give him a leg up vs. his fellow freshmen. He is a bit undersized, but small backs have thrived in this type of scheme before. If he is the primary back, will he hold up? Jerry Kelly is another signee likely to play as a true freshmen. The largest of the recent commits, he can provide a nice change of pace to the smaller guys in the mix. Reynolds and Harris were well regarded recruits with similar frames. I imagine one will get regular playing time. I wonder where the other would fit in. I don’t think Jags wants to play all four freshmen. Redshirting one would help depth and recruiting in future seasons.

I think the rushing game will improve beyond the 3.4 yards per carry. I also think at least one of the frosh will break out and become a big play threat. My biggest concern? Pass protection. Last year Callender was very important in blitz pickup. Can an untested played do the same?

Though unproven and raw, this group should excite most BC fans. I think there is enough diversity and talent to be effective. I also think the progression to Logan’s preferred offense will provide more balance.

If the running backs are decent, we’ll be okay. If any of them are great, we’ll be one of the surprise teams in college football.

Infomercial: Last minute BC-themed Father's Day gifts

If you're looking for last minute gift ideas, the guys at who had the vintage BC calenders are back with vintage BC stationary/Notecards. I know many people skip the formal Thank You note these days, but the BC angle is a nice touch. (I hope the Athletic Department knows about these.) If you buy through this link you get a 10% discount. [Full disclosure: I get a piece of every sale I send their way.]

NC State scouting report and other links

The New York Times continues their excellent preseason work with this capsule on our opponent NC State.

Lomas Brown has taken Gos under his wing in Detroit.

A healthy Kiwi may be moving back to the defensive line.

Because of the new eagle on the way, the Mrs. and I missed our 10th reunion. Seems like members of the class of 2003 enjoyed themselves.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Ryan's sweet swing and other links

If Matt's football career doesn't work out, he may have a future on the golf course or in front of the camera. (Thanks to Willis for the link.)

BC Law grad Shannon Miller was just inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

Tyrelle Blair was one of the many players the Sonics worked out. He may catch on with someone, but I doubt a team will use a draft pick on Blair.

Three BC baseball players were selected in MLB draft.

Replacing rebounders

One of my hypotheses regarding next year's basketball team was that Blair, Oates and Spears were highly replaceable. To reinforce my hunch, I ran some numbers and was surprised by what I had previously overlooked.

Rebounds per minute of the departed
Blair -- 0.21
Spears -- 0.23
Oates -- 0.17

Rebounds per minute of the returning
Raji -- 0.21
Sanders -- 0.17
Trapiani -- 0.20*
Southern -- 0.22
(* Trapiani's numbers from his year with Vermont.)

As you can see, the four players expected to fill many of the departed's minutes rebounded at a rate that was very similar to Spears, Oates and Blair.

What does it mean?
We probably won't be a significantly better rebounding team next year. However, the hope is that the replacements are much better all-around players and make BC more effecient in other areas.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

First reaction to Phil Steele's BC prediction

I bought Phil Steele's preview last night. (I've sworn off all the other preview magazines.) I will spend a lot more time writing about Steele this summer, but thought I'd share the basics first.
-- He predicts BC to finish 5th in the Atlantic.
-- He forecasts BC to play Boise in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Given his track record, I am not worried.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Chris Crane then

Four years into his BC career, we are still not sure what we have in Chris Crane. We know his size and his stats. We know he is cut from the same mold as our last batch of QBs (tall, white, from the northeast, product of the Dana Bible summer camps). Expectations for him this season are relatively low. No one thinks he'll be Matt Ryan. My hope is that he is steady and keeps the team in games.

Crane coming out of high school
Low expectations aren't a new thing. As a prospect, not much was expected of Crane.

Rivals gave Crane 3 stars and ranked him as the 17th overall QB prospect in 2004.

Scout gave Crane 2 stars and ranked him as the 62nd best QB prospect in 2004.

BC's own press release on signing day focused on Brian Toal and Marquise Liverpool.

In this article Crane explains that the decision came down to BC, Clemson, Stanford and Virginia. Not a bad group from which to choose, but it is not as if BC won a recruiting battle over national powers for Crane's services. (Also of note in that article: Crane talks about Peterson and Porter but doesn't mention Ryan. Shows how things pan out.)

20/20 hindsight on 2004
Regardless of how Crane does, I think it is safe to say he was the best prospect we focused on in his class. Take a look at the other QBs BC recruited in 2004. (And it wasn't just BC...looking back 2004 will prove to be a poor year for QB prospects. Here are the pro style and dual threats from that year. Not many all conference players.)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Kent State scouting reports and other links

Here is a pretty comprehensive look at Kent State from the New York Times. I did not realize their head coach Doug Martin worked under Steve Logan at ECU. Should make game planning a little easier.

Like last season, Rivals is ranking all the teams in college football. Kent State comes in at 113.

Explain how this works: Logan is considered a Top 20 offensive coordinator. Spaz is considered a Top 20 defensive coordinator. Jags is nowhere to be found on this list.

Sailing came up just a little short in their bid to win three titles in one week.

One house keeping note: someone sent me an email today with a subject line regarding BC tickets. Unfortunately it went to my Span folder and I deleted it before I had the chance to open. Sorry. If it was important, please send it again.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

2008 Position Previews: Linebackers

This is the first part of my position by position breakdown of the 2008 roster.


Once again the strength of the defense will be the linebackers. Despite losing two starters to graduation, the unit should be our deepest and most talented.

The cliché regarding Spaz’s defenses is that he uses the same scheme regardless of personnel, opponent or game situation. That’s not true. Increasingly he’s used more variety in his front seven packages and sent blitzers from various positions. The old dog has been able to add new tricks due to the talented and diverse group of linebackers. This year is no exception. In fact, BC has one of the most experienced units in college football. Take a look:

Toal – 36 games played, 25 games started
Akins – 39 games played, 5 games started
Herzlich – 27 games played, 16 games started
Francois – 38 games played, 7 started
McLaughlin – 23 games played, 3 started

Those five are just the LBs who have started. We are also adding some younger players into the mix. The depth and talent should allow Spaz to continue to tinker and keep BC competitive as our offense transitions.

The Players
LB – Brian Toal, SR, 6’0, 252lbs
LB – Mark Herzlich, JR, 6’4, 238lbs
LB – Kevin Akins, SR, 6’2, 220lbs
LB – Robert Francois, SR, 6’2, 245lbs
LB – Mike McLaughlin, JR, 6’0, 250lbs
LB – Darius Bagan, SO, 6’2, 233lbs
LB – Dan Williams, FR, 6’2, 224lbs
LB – Will Thompson, FR, 6’1, 233lbs
LB – Mike Morrissey, SO, 6’2, 210lbs
LB – Nick Clancy, FR, 6’2, 215lbs
LB – Alex DiSanzo, FR, 6’2, 220lbs

I am hoping a healthy rejuvenated Toal comes back and has a huge year. When fit and focused he is probably our best linebacker in pass coverage and just as capable as running a QB down. Herzlich is a beast and also very savvy. I expect him to have an all ACC season. Akins struggled early last year but played very well down the stretch. His effectiveness as a late blitzer was somewhat neutered last season…teams just expected and protected against it. This year – with an even better front four – should allow Akins to run at QBs again. Francois is always a steady performer. At this point I don’t expect a leap in his performance, but his consistency will be an asset this season. McLaughlin is a decent tackler. In all his playing time, he has not yet had a game changing moment, but he is a serviceable player. Morrissey got on the field on a regular basis last season. I don’t know where he fits into the mix this year. The real unknowns are Williams, Bagan and Thompson. All were highly touted recruits. Hopefully they will all get regular playing time this season as they will be critical to filling voids in 2009. Clancy and DiSanzo are true freshmen. Because of the depth we don’t need to play them this year. If they are capable, one or both might play this season.

Even if you exclude the true freshmen, there is more than enough talent at linebacker this year. It is to the point where guys like Morrissey and McLaughlin might have fewer snaps than they played last year (a good problem to have).

Overlooked in all of this is that LB is one of our best coached positions. Credit goes to Bill McGovern for their performance.

The preseason magazines are filled with the “best this” and the “best that.” You won’t read much nationally about of our guys in the middle. That’s too bad as they will be what holds this team together in 2008.

More TV stuff and other links

Here is ESPN's tentative schedule for next season. Don't read too much into this as it can and will change. The only looming coverage gaps are Central Florida and URI. At worst, both will be available on the Internet. If we win our first two, I imagine the Central Florida game will get picked up on real TV.

Kevin Challenger is getting more coverage in Canada then he ever got here.

This guy has a theory on why Fontaine bolted and how we can prevent it.

Stuck behind a desk? Wishing you could be by the water watching some sailing with a cool drink in your hand? Sorry. I can't help. But I can provide a link to some pictures of BC's races here.

Former Eagle Patrick Eaves signed a nice deal with the Hurricanes. (Thanks to Joe F. for the tip.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Kent State game will be televised!

Fear not those who cannot get to Cleveland for Labor Day weekend, the Kent State game will be on TV. The game is set for prime time on ESPN U.

I know some die hard sports fans hoped to create their own baseball/football double header by going to the Indians game too. The Tribe plays Seattle at 3:55 PM. You could probably catch seven innings before having to walk over to the Browns stadium in time for kickoff.

One more observation...with all the talk of conferences creating their own networks, there hasn't been much speculation about the ACC. At this point I don't think it is needed. We have the ACC network -- it's called ESPN U. They seemingly pick up any ACC football or basketball game they can get their hands on.

Parsing a random recruiting article

This article on recruiting athletes vs position players mentions BC recruiting coordinator Mike Siravo. There are two things about this particular article that caught my attention and show a definite culture shift in BC football.

1. The move to athletes. Jags spoke of this from the outset, but now the philosophy is attached to our program. Shane Beamer was the other coach mentioned with Siravo. Despite being with South Carolina now, Beamer is a product of the Virginia Tech system which always placed an emphasis on athletes.
2. Geographic shift. A offensive line prospect from Hilton Head dropped our recruiting coordinator's name. I have no idea how good this kid is (he's not even profiled by the major scouting services), but it shows that BC is beating the bushes looking for kids anywhere.

I have no idea what will come of Anderson or this year's recruiting class, but I think this staff's methods will prove themselves over time.

Underappreciated: Troy Bell

This article on the difficulty of averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in college included a little factoid about former Eagle Troy Bell:
Troy Bell is the only player from any of the Big Six conferences to average 20-plus points in three seasons since 1999. Bell averaged 20.4 in 2000-01, 21.6 in 2001-02 and 25.2 in 2002-03.

With all that has happened since he left (Smith, Dudley, the ACC move) I feel like many BC fans have already lost perspective on how good Troy Bell was. Little nuggets like this serve as nice reminders.

Monday, June 02, 2008

More Sailing Championships and other links

Quite a spring for the Sailing team. They won another championship over the weekend.

Arthur Lynch-Fontaine explained his 180 on the Eagles to a local paper. Does it sound like he is BC-bound to you?

KSK continues their deeper look at Matt Ryan.

Here is video of Orpik's legendary shift in the Stanley Cup Finals. (Thanks to Tim E. and Jon M. for sending it.)