Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sanders saves the day

Last year in a late January game against Virginia Tech Rakim Sanders made a huge shot to send the game to OT. BC lost and the season went down the tubes shortly after. This year Sanders made a huge shot to win a game over Virginia Tech. Maybe this will prove to be the turning point as the team tries to solidify its tournament resume and lock in a spot in the top half of the ACC. Nothing is set but standing 5-3 at the halfway point of the ACC slate puts BC in good position.

-- Solid minutes from Tyler Roche. With Trapani in foul trouble, Roche got serious minutes and played well. He hit his shots, grabbed a couple rebounds and most surprisingly played solid D.
-- Out rebounding the Hokies. Big night from Raji and Dunn, but Sanders' put back was the most important. VT killed us on the boards earlier in the season in Blacksburg. Controlling things tonight made a difference, especially in the second half.
-- The final possession. It worked so Al looks great, but the reality is it is a great call. You put it in Rice's hand for the final shot, have him drive and then have the guys close to the basket to pick up the rebound. It's a high percentage move.

-- The final two minutes. BC made some questionable plays in the final two minutes to let the lead slip away. Why is Rice giving it up in traffic? Why wasn't Trapani more careful with the elbow? Why did they fall asleep on the inbounds? It wasn't pretty.
-- Chucking from 3. Another off night from downtown. Other than Rice, I really don't think anyone else deserves the green light from long distance.

Good win in front of a good crowd. Now let's get a win against UVA before the brutal Wake, Clemson, Duke stretch.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Expansion news and other links

There will be baseball in Brighton! Most of BC's expansion received approval yesterday. The main hang up remains some of the dorms on the former seminary land. Overall this is good news for the school. Now it wasn't part of the approval or expansion plans but someone better start sketching out ideas for exclusive football practice facilities (indoor and outdoor). Why you ask? It might not be a sticking point with Spaz, but it will be with a future coach (just like it was with TOB and Jags). Getting the idea in the queue now while all this other construction and planning takes place makes sense. In ten years there might not be an inch of campus left to put it on.

For those who missed it, here is the school's official release on the McGovern promotion.

Hockey East awarded Scott Clemmensen their Unsung Hero honor. Clemmensen continues to play well for the Devils.

The women's basketball team is now 5-1 in the ACC.

The Beanpot starts Monday and BC's opening round opponent is long overdue for some Beanpot glory.

Matt Ryan parlayed his rookie season into a few endorsement deals including one with Axe. It makes me fill a bit old when a BC QB is pitching products that skew to a demographic younger than me. Come on, Matt, endorse a minivan and I'll be all over it!

One of BC's last targets is headed to Iowa. Can't blame him though as it is hard for an offensive lineman to commit to a school without knowing his future position coach.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tampa names Jags offensive coordinator

Jags is now officially back in the NFL. He joins new Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris as offensive coordinator. Regardless of what you think of the BC breakup it does bring some financial relief to BC's football program. Reportedly the school's obligation is prorated based on Jags' future employement. The uncertain news is if any current BC staffers will join him in Tampa.

Report: BC will promote McGovern

A smaller news site out of New Jersey reports that Bill McGovern will be our next Defensive Coordinator. It is probably true, but I am surprised it didn't break at one of the Boston outlets or on one of the BC message boards.

McGovern is a solid selection and helps with continuity on the defensive side of the ball. He briefly served as interim DC under Dan Henning more than a decade ago. McGovern has coached under three different BC Head Coaches and clearly likes the school and the area. He is also an important recruiter for us in northern Jersey.

There have been grumblings that McGovern felt neglected and slighted as BC took its time in naming him as Spaz' successor. Supposedly Spaz made a play for a few big names. In the end this move makes sense. The next question is how involved will Spaz be in defensive game prep and in-game play calling?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More bloggers weigh in on staff changes and other links is perplexed by the Tranquill hire.

This take at the Fanhouse references back to some of my earlier posts.

The Chargers signed DeJuan Tribble for another year. (Thanks to Tim for the link.)

The blogger picked up on Tajh Boyd's lack of certainty and excitement over his commitment to play at Clemson.

Another glimpse into the crazy world of recruiting...

I've tried to explain my opinion on recruiting many times on this blog and offline with others. Let me clarify things a bit since recruiting will be a hot topic for the next three weeks.

1. I think recruiting is very important. Talent is the life blood of a program. The team with more talent will win more often.

2. I don't trust the recruiting rankings. Others have successfully argued both sides elsewhere on the internet. You can find those debates if you are interested. I think the stats are misleading and as anyone who has a good BC education knows, there is a difference between correlation and causation.

3. I think talent development and nurturing your players is underrated. Projecting a player from one level to another is very difficult (high school to college, college to NFL). I think seeing something in a kid and then working with him and keeping him in your program for four or five years is an undervalued and hard to measure aspect of winning.

Why restate that now? Because of the growing interest around Nick Klemm. Klemm is an Atlanta-area kid that committed to BC in December. To say he is a under the radar, late bloomer, project would be an understatement. Supposedly a good kid, he played on a team in one of the most heavily recruited high school football leagues in the South. I would safely assume that at least one coach from every SEC team and half the ACC has been to at one of his games this year too see other players. Yet he generated very little interest. When BC started recruiting him, recruitniks who follow the stuff more closely than I do panned the offer and said Jags and Co. were scrambling and terrible recruiters. Now -- seven weeks later -- Maryland has interest and we might lose this kid that no one wanted! If he was so terrible why does he have other options now? If some BC fans didn't want him last fall, why the concern now? Funny how things play out.

Football 2008 In Review: Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda...

Sorry to the delay in the year in review stuff. Got a little sidetracked with the coaching change. Keep in mind that I am using what happened during the season. Any of the off the field drama that happened after Nashville didn’t influence this.

This portion was formerly known as the biggest disappointments. I softened the tone to acknowledge that all these guys make huge sacrifices for our school. But I still feel the need to point out poor performances or guys who wasted opportunities. You’ll notice two names that are not on this list: Chris Crane and Dominique Davis. While both generated numerous mistakes and agita among BC fans, they are not the type of players I try to feature here. The point of this are the guys who blew it or let us down for other reasons. Crane and Davis offset their cringe inducing moments with enough big plays to get a pass here.

1. Billy Bennett. It is easy to pick on a kicker, but this kid never delivered on his potential and then doubled the disappointment by being a jerk off the field. Even before his fallout he wasn’t nearly as consistent as or as powerful as we needed him to be on kickoffs. Some kicks had distance yet no hang time. Others had hang time without distance. He never got a shot at kicking field goals, but he also never did anything in practice to give the staff confidence that he could make the kicks under pressure.

2. Jeff Smith. Another case where it may seem like I am picking on a player. That is not my intention. Yes he’s battled injuries, but if you talk to people around the program that was not why he wasn’t on the field at the end of the season. He never showed the desire or aptitude to be used in the regular offense. When I saw Haden and Harris get caught from behind all I could think about what could have been. Smith is probably the fastest player in the ACC. The guy who couldn’t even be touched against Kent State never showed up after that game. It’s a shame. We could have used a focused Smith this year on offense.

3. Kick off coverage. This sort of relates back to Bennett, but even after he was gone things weren’t good. The tackling was often poor and the guys often seemed to just sit back and wait. The staff rotated a variety of different guys in there (starters, backups, etc.) and nothing seemed to click. The only game where you could say it cost us was Clemson, but the field position battle does influence our ability to score and the kickoffs did us no favors.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Road rally

Solid win tonight against the Terps. A road win in the ACC is nice and so is improving to 4-3 in conference, but the most important part of the win was the comeback. Here are my first thoughts. Don't be shy about leaving our responses in the comments.

-- Using a lot of 2-3 zone in the second half. The players responded and did a good job of covering their area and helping when needed. We should probably use it more against small front line teams (like Maryland).
-- Playing without Rice. The announcers attributed BC's struggles to Rice's foul trouble. That didn't tell the whole story. We fell behind when he was in the game. But Paris came off the bench for a long stretch and helped chip away at the lead. That's a good sign.
-- Trapani on Vazquez. I've been harsh on Joe's D, but tonight he handled Vazquez well and his size and length proved to be an issue.

-- Dumb fouls. Rice and Southern got themselves in foul trouble again. Fortunately they both held on and played well with four fouls. But both have had a penchant these bonehead moves. One of these days it is going to hurt us.
-- First half D. It was pathetic...poor transition, poor rebounding and plenty of lost men. Maryland had it too easy and a better team would have made our hole insurmountable.

Even with the rough patches against GT and MD, this team is playing good basketball. Virginia Tech looms large. Let's hope this momentum continues

Other schools following BC's lead and other links

BC's stance with Jags set a precedent. Hampton just fired their coach for exploring NFL opportunities.

Although he was let go Sunday, BC and ESPN are just getting around to the Yanowsky news now. Regardless of the press release, he did not resign.

More on our new kicker.

This post explores fan fatigue at ACC schools. It will be interesting to see how fans respond to Spaz.

Which Maryland team will show up tonight?

If you feel like BC's been inconsistent, you haven't been following Maryland. They have solid wins over Michigan and Michigan State. They got killed by Georgetown and lost to Morgan State! They are also coming off the worse loss to Duke in their history.

We matchup fairly well against them as they are poor offensively but decent on D. They are not particularly big so I don't think they will expose our front line issues. The excitable and annoying Greivis Vasquez remains the cornerstone of their offense. I imagine we'll put bigger bodies on him like Sanders and Raji. Whoever guards him will have to keep him from penetrating since we don't have a shot blocking presence this year.

I think the key will be rebounding. The Terps don't rebound particularly well on either end. If we control the boards, we can control the game.

Here is Kenpom's breakdown of Maryland.

Dienhart returns to flame Gene and other links

Tom Dienhart has always been one of TOB's biggest boosters. The inexplicable relationship and support allegedly stemmed from a shared agent. Who knows? Of course since in the process of making TOB sound great he also became of critic of Jags and the Jags hire. Now that BC bounced Jags, Dienhart popped back up only this time to lambaste Gene. Although I have been critical of Gene in this process, I don't think Dienhart is offering anything insightful. He is just piling on one of his favorite targets. Plus he floats Mitch Browning as a replacement but Browning is supposedly joining Tennessee's staff.

BC seems a little concerned with Bryan Davis's grades.

Here is a Q&A with Ron Brace.

Monday, January 26, 2009

An opponent's take on BC hoops and other links

The Washington Post got an unnamed ACC assistant to provide a scouting report on BC. Very interesting to read what outsiders have to say about Rice, Trapani and our offense.

BC is still on the bubble.

Brian St. Pierre is now a blogger.

A look back on the difficulty of projecting QBs from high school to college.

Bill Coen is leaning on his D to win games at Northeastern. Where was that defensive prowess when he was at the Heights?!

Speculating on staff changes

'Like sands through the hourglass...

The hardcore fans are debating the merits of Spaz's first hire and trying to read the tea leaves to figure out who is staying and who is going. Before I get into the speculation, let me restate what I said this weekend: 1. we won't get positive confirmation on returning staffers until after Signing Day and 2. if Jags gets hired you could see one or two guys join him in the NFL.

Topic 1: 'Oregon hired a WR coach, that means Ryan Day is staying at BC, right?'

It is a good indicator but doesn't assure anything. Once Mike Belotti steps down, another coaching spot will open up with the Ducks. Day will be a likely candidate then too. For a young guy he's got a decent network and a strong reputation so he'll have options. I hope he stays. In his case, I would say we won't have any positive confirmation until Signing Day.

Topic 2: If Yano is gone, why is he still listed on the team web site?
I would chalk it up to the site hasn't been updated. Bicknell is still listed and they haven't put anything up for Tranquill yet (outside of the press release).

Topic 3: What is going on with McGovern and the defensive coordinator opening?

There a few different theories floating around on this one. McGovern might still get the job, but if he was the prime candidate why wouldn't they have locked him in and announced it already? Occam's Razor would say they are looking elsewhere and he is the fallback.

Topic 4: We have three openings, when are we going to hear about new staffers and hires?

I think you'll hear names as they happen. BC might wait until after signing day as a courtesy to their current employers. As far as who they will hire, I think you can look at Jags' staff and Spaz's first hire as templates. Expect any new staffers to have a BC connection, Spaz connection or Gene D connection. The coaching fraternity does exist and they are likely to go with familiar faces.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Eagles and other links

BC picked up a few more commitments over the weekend. The most important was arguably kicker Nate Freese. The hope is that he'll give us the distance we've been lacking on kickoffs and long field goals. It probably means that Steve Aponavicius won't be back for a fifth year.

The end of this article mentions new BC commit Conor O'Neal.

Ryan Day' coaching future remains up in the air. Don Yanowsky is gone (sorry no link yet). This was somewhat expected since he had ties with Logan and Jags.

Final Raji plug from the Senior Bowl.

The hockey team picked up another critical win over Maine on Sunday.

William Pratcher will not be an Eagle, but in his own words "BC never really showed me that they really wanted me"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Back on track after defeating 'Pack

This win won't pump up BC's RPI, but I think it was an important win on a few fronts. First it evens BC's conference record to 3-3. I also thought that it was important that BC reacted differently when they wasted a big lead. Unlike Georgia Tech, this time when BC fell apart, they put together another run and controlled down the stretch. Other thoughts follow. Leave yours in the comments.

-- Offensive rebounds. This is an obvious one as BC dominated the boards. Part of it was a good effort on BC and part was NC State playing very passively.
-- Rice's even performance. As I've said, this has been a weird year for Rice. Today was different and more inline with what we all expect. He ran the show but instead of waiting for the second half, he decided to attack in the first half. His aggressiveness helped the entire offense. His D was better today than it has been. And no stupid fouls.
-- Raji playing through pain. I don't think people realize how banged up Corey is. His lower body is heavily wrapped and he is limping when he is not running the court. But that didn't stop him. 30 minutes, 12 boards and some good moves running the break...the guy is showing a lot of heart.

-- The transition D during NC State's comeback. Little effort and some stupid fouls too.
-- Trapani's jumpers. They were way off today. Not sure what was wrong.

Next up, another winnable game against Maryland. Let's hope today's performance is an indicator of things to come.

Women's basketball kicking butt and other links

The women's basketball team is flying under the radar, but is off to a very strong start in ACC play. They improved to 4-1 in conference by romping Clemson on Friday.

Did anyone else realize that Troy Bell was Larry Fitzgerald's high school QB?

Not that I wrote anything particularly special, but it seems like HD framed her Tranquill piece along the same lines I did.

The Hockey team got a much needed win Saturday night over Maine.

Staff stuff

The Tranquill hire threw everyone for a loop. With 24 hours to digest it all, I still don't know what to think. Honestly, I am shaking my part because of the age factor but also because, like so many things in this process, it never had to happen. Tranquill may bring a lot to the table. He may do a great job. He may be just what Spaz needs. But even if he is, he remains a risky, risky hire. Instead of taking that risk, Spaz probably could have brought him on in some capacity and then bestowed the OC title on a safer or more exciting candidate.

These curve balls have everyone speculating on what other staffers might stay or go. In my opinion, the only sure thing to return is Mike Siravo. I would say everyone else could leave. We probably won't have a certain staff until two things have happened:

1. We get through Signing Day. Once Signing Day is concluded, the staffers might be free to move on to other college jobs.

2. Jags figures out his 2009 plans. If Jags does get an NFL coordinator job, you might see a few BC names join him.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gary Tranquill as OC? Yet another interesting twist in this drama

When I first heard this rumor floated early Friday that Gary Tranquill might be our offensive coordinator I thought it was a joke. Now, according to the Globe, it is going to happen. In my opinion this doesn't look promising. Let me explain why.

It is not fair but everybody's first reaction is going to be over his age. Tranquill is 68 and will be 69 in April. Age doesn't mean he cannot still coach, but it is going to be used against him and BC in recruiting. He has also retired...twice. So this is his second time coming out of retirement. When he talks to recruits and players, there is going to be doubt that he will be around for their four years shaping the offense.

Track record
This is my bigger concern with Tranquill. Think of BC's 2004 and 2005 games against North Carolina. Watching the Heels did you think they were well coached offensively? Or that the play calling exploited our weaknesses? The first Tire Bowl was right around the time I started this blog and I remember thinking that the Heels' offensive players had good talent but many bad habits.

Here are some of the raw numbers from his stint at UNC.
2001: points -- 337; record 8-5
2002: points -- 223; record 3-9
2003: points -- 317; record 2-10
2004: points -- 319; record 6-6
2005: points -- 198; record 5-6

Not particulary impressive and never any consistency or upward trend.

Here is his go around at Michigan State with Nick Saban

1995: points 287; record 6-5-1
1996: points 358; record 6-6
1997: points 342; record 7-5
1998: points 336; record 6-6

Tranquill retired for the first time after that season. The following year with a new OC, Michigan State scored 378 points and went 10-2.

Tranquill hasn't been around a lot of winning football in a long time. He also has a reputation for very conservative gameplans. This SI article from 1997 went behind the scenes with Michigan State. In a telling moment Tranquill decides that given State's lack of playmakers and Michigan's exotic defensive packages he would go simple and basic. The philosophy is closer to TOB/Bible than Jags/Logan.

I am not as worried about recruiting. Carolina had decent offensive talent while he was there. I don't know how much of that was due to Tranquill, but he obviously wasn't an impediment. However, when you google his name a post from a Michigan State message board comes up with Tranquill as the punchline regarding recruiting:

"a great recruiter" - a description applied to every MSU assistant coach over the past 20 years with the possible exception of Gary Tranquill.

Signal to the other staffers
One of the recurring message board themes of the past few weeks was the importance of keeping Ryan Day. This is probably not encouraging. He may stay, but the other two guys on the staff who just got passed over left. Don't be surprised if Day bolts after getting passed over for a job he thought was his.

What I like about the hire
When Spaz was hired, I said he needed a trusted, veteran presence. He's got one. He's known Tranquill for more than 30 years. Tranquill has seen it all and spent time with Saban, Welsh, and Belichick. He's coached in the NFL, Big Ten, and ACC. He's been a head coach. If Spaz needs someone to talk to and work through things, he can turn to his wise friend and mentor. I would have preferred Tranquill as an assistant head coach or even as a QB coach, but at least he's a resource.

This was an unconventional pick. It will provide plenty of jokes and references (Grumpy Old Men, The Sunshine Boys, Cocoon) but the ultimate test will be on the field. We have talent of offense. If Tranquill can get through to one of the QBs we may surprise people next year.

NC State bloggers on the BC game

It is interesting to read what others think of our team. It also helps when the bloggers use numbers and stats to back up their perspective. Two very good NC State blogs did just that in their previews of this weekend's game. Here is Section Six's take. This is from YANCSSB. Kenpom's data predicts a BC win.

The Pack have inside talent which should give us trouble. But they also lack a good point guard, meaning Rice can focus on offense. A win here becomes very important as this is probably the lighter portion of our ACC schedule.

Coughlin on Bicknell and other links

In a statement regarding the Bicknell hire, Tom Coughlin reflected on Bick JR as a player. He also followed Bick's work at BC...but someone needs to tell TC we didn't win 10 games this year.

Yet another Raji link. And another.

Because it is the end of the week and I don't give them enough credit, be sure to check out BC Interruption and BC All Access.

Finch headed to BC and other links

Kentucky's Mr. Football Deuce Finch committed to BC. This is a nice pick up for the transition staff and still shows that BC can sell itself, regardless of who is coaching.

In his mock draft, Mel Kiper has Raji going to the Broncos at 12. Don Banks thinks the Redskins will take BJ with the 13th selection. Raji continues to be the center of attention with the media.

Former BC assistant Bill Coen is building a nice program at Northeastern.

More on Stephen Boyd's promotion at Chaminade.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bicknell gone

Jack Bicknell Jr. is leaving BC. Reportedly he will work for old friend Tom Coughlin. I am happy that he found a soft landing and sad to see him go. Like his namesake, Bick was liked and respected by all. Blaudschun, who has been pro-BC, pro-Spaz throughout this entire affair posted what has been floating around in the gossip and on the message boards:
DeFilippo sweetened the pot by offering an "assistant head coach title'' with the job and a boost in pay as well as an understanding that somewhere down the road was a strong potential to be the head coach at the Heights.
Another unfortunate aspect of all this is that Bick, Logan and Spaz were all under that impression that they were next in line. Hopefully Bicknell will be back one day under better circumstances. It was nice to see his dad around the program again. Loyalty and love of BC has been tossed around a lot lately. I don't think there is a family that has put more love and sweat into BC football than the Bicknells.

Spaz hopefully has a strong candidate lined up to replace Bicknell. A good offensive line coach can make a world of difference.

Looking back at St. Pierre

If this blog had been around when Brian St. Pierre was quarterbacking at BC, I probably would have spent an inordinate amount of time criticizing him.

St. Pierre is an interesting link in the chain of BC QBs. He was TOB's first true QB recruit and served as the template for how TOB and Bible would recruit and groom QBs for the next ten years. Tall, smart, reasonable athleticism and arm strength, BSP came to campus, redshirted, was used as part of the second quarter experiment and then played as the starter his final two years. Things went according to plan until St. Pierre regressed as a Senior. All his major passing stats declined, but worse, his decision making and ability to play under pressure went away. I still remember him throwing a pass at a wide open Sean Ryan's feet in a tough loss at Pitt. BC went 9-4 in 2002, but St. Pierre was shaky (at best) in the big games and tough losses.

Perspective and time has been kind to BSP. He doesn't have the signature performance or charm of some other BC QBs, but as we've seen with Porter and Davis, BSP clearly wasn't rock bottom.

He's hung around the NFL since leaving the Heights waiting for his Matt Cassel-Kurt Warner moment to spring up the depth chart and save the day. It hasn't happened and may never. I still don't know if BSP has that special something in him. But by all accounts, he's a good guy, making a good living and still in demand around the a back up.

His hometown paper still loves him and apparently the Cardinals owe him a bit of thanks for the win on Sunday.

I am not emotionally invested in either Super Bowl team. Given St. Pierre and Pat Ross's BC connections I will probably root for the Cardinals. Who knows, this might be the pinnacle of his career or maybe he'll finally get his shot. And not that he is waiting or cares, but I think I am overdue to thank Brian for his time at BC and for representing the school well as an alum.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Recruiting geography and other links

This article is sparking all sorts of discussion in the blogosphere. The premise -- that the talent in the south is deeper and better and gives southern schools an advantage -- overstates that advantage and also overlooks the other factors in winning. As BC has shown, you can win when you don't have a deep talent pool in your backyard. Winning is not just about finding talent, it's also about nurturing it and then using that talent to out scheme your opponent on Saturday. Now, I am not saying BC has as much talent as Florida, but I also don't think Florida is assured of anything based on their location and good recruiting. Just look at what happened with Ron Zook. Coaching still matters. Development still matters. And the recruiting rankings still miss guys (see BJ Raji). I'll flush out other thoughts related to this concentration of power in the south in a later post.

New Jersey Oline prospect Nolan MacMillan is visiting BC this weekend.

BC has interest in South Carolina kicker Grant Clayton.

ACC writers are still talking about the Gene-Jags contract.

Pat Ross and Brian St. Pierre are the BC guys in the Super Bowl.

Former BC star and NFL pro bowler is going to take over Long Island's Chaminade's football team.

This guys speculates that Logan would join Jags in San Fran.

Everybody Loves BJ

BJ Raji has made himself a lot of money this week. I cannot think of any BC player who has come out of the Senior Bowl receiving more accolades. The hype building around this performance is Mamula-esque. Here is the latest round of news bits out of Mobile:

-- Bruce Feldman talked to the guys who recruited Raji out of high school and remind us that the recruiting services don't always ID the best players coming out of high school. Raji was only a 2 star by the major services.
-- BJ might be Hovan's replacement in Tampa.
-- Raji continued his dominance in the last day in full pads.
-- BJ drawing oohs and aahs from harden professionals.
-- Raji and Brace got attention from Todd McShay.
-- This writer noted that he dominated everyone he faced. gets new look and other links

BC's official website unveiled a new design Tuesday. I think the colors pop a bit more and the navigation, buttons and links are all a bit cleaner and more intuitive. This is a definite improvement. They also have a links section to BC-related stories...wonder where they got that idea?

Corey Raji had a strong night but BJ is the Raji having a really good week. He's probably working his way into the Top 15 of the draft.

BC guy Tim O'Shea's program at Bryant is taking baby steps.

Ayla Brown will sing the national anthem at the American Hockey League All-Star Game.

Former BC coaching bridesmaid Mark Whipple is a candidate for Miami's open offensive coordinator job.

Jags has emerged as a leading candidate for the 49ers open offensive coordinator job. Regardless of how you feel about him, Jags getting hired is a good thing as it would reduce BC's financial obligation to our former coach.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A win is a win...thoughts from a night at Georgia Tech

Road game for the team but a rare "home" game for those of us BC fans based in Atlanta. Most of us hadn't seen a basketball win in person in quite a while so this was nice relief. My pictures are below. I apologize for the lack of action is always a little tough with basketball. One other note before I get into analysis: we are not the only ACC team with attendance issues. I would say the building was half full. I know Georgia Tech is struggling, but this was a conference game with a reasonable start time and they did not have a big turnout. Even the student section was half filled. BC fans have issues, but we are not alone in our attendance woes.

Thoughts on the game
Strange game that left me wonder how did we win? I thought BC outplayed Georgia Tech in the first half...only to trail. BC started to pull away in the second half...only to collapse. BC went into OT without three starters...and pulled out the win. At the end of the day, BC got lucky. To play so poorly during the final five minutes and still win was a nice break. Maybe this will be the turning point.

-- Dunn's contributions. Dunn is not a star and probably will never be a starter, but he acquitted himself well as our other big men started fouling out. He played conservatively and got a few nice rebounds. We needed him tonight and he didn't do anything to hurt the team.
-- Reggie Jackson overcoming mistakes. The nice thing about sitting close is picking up on things you don't see on TV. Jackson was beating himself up when his turnover led to Georgia Tech taking the lead late in the game. Al sent him to the bench. Yet he didn't sulk and was itching to get back on the floor. When Sanders fouled out, he had his chance and played well in OT.
-- Sanders' shooting. He still makes me cringe with some of his shot selections, but he deserves credit for when they fall. I'd still like him to hit the boards a bit harder.

-- Handling the press. Earlier in the year, the team broke the press with ease. Losing Trapani hurt tonight since he's a tall guy for who can catch the midcourt pass and he makes good passes.
-- Dumb fouls. I don't think the refs helped but these guys have to be more careful. Sanders' final foul was dumb and so was Southern's.
-- Offensive rebounds. With Raji fighting through his injury and Southern in foul trouble we didn't get many second chance opportunities. Other guys need to step up on the glass.

Winning a game you should have lost is always a good thing. I hope it serves as a sign that things are turning around. NC State is up next. That game is winnable. Now let's hope the guys can play a complete game.

Still no staff news and other links

Towards the end of this article Rivals mentions Logan's departure but speculates more on his replacement. Many BC fans are wondering why coordinator replacements have yet to be named. I expect resolution this week. The reason for the delay is that outsiders were considered for both spots. In the end, I think familiarity, timing and money will force Spaz to promote from within. I also expect BC to back fill for any open lower level staff spots with familiar/connected names.

BC rugby won the Atlantic Coast Invitational. Congrats to them and all the people in "club" sports. These guys and girls in clubs compete with little to no fan or financial support. (Thanks to Stuart for the link.)

ESPN came up with a convoluted way to measure a program's prestige. BC came in 40th. Does anyone even care?

Rice claims he is remaining positive, but his quotes and body language say other things. I hope the team starts to turn things around tonight.

The BCI guys get into the spirit of inauguration day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Raji, Brace turning heads and other links

The reports are trickling out of the Senior Bowl and it is reinforcing what we already know: Raji and Brace are very good. Of the two, Raji is drawing more acclaim.

In the later part of this article Dillon Quinn explains why he may want to play for Cincinnati.

Dr. Saturday wonders what the future holds for the spread. Under Logan, BC was 'spread'-ish. His rumored replacement, Ryan Day, has also worked with a variety of spread guys like Chip Kelley and Urban Meyer. I am less concerned with the spread and more concerned that our new OC keeps the current blocking philosophy. Speaking of blocking -- Jack Bicknell won't be the next UMass coach. Let's hope he stays on at BC.

This blogger thinks he knows how the basketball team can turn things around.

HD has her overrated and underrated looks at the ACC season, yet not much attention is paid to BC.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recruiting news and other links

A program looking for a sense of hope got it with the verbal commitment of Ohio Linebacker Luke Kuechly. Kuechly is a St. Xavier product and keeps the BC-Cincinnati connection alive. Hopefully BC's other remaining targets respond as well to the coaching change as Kuechly did.

Kuechly wasn't the only recruit to commit this weekend. Georgia defensive tackle Bryan Davis also verballed to BC after visiting this weekend.

It is not all good news on the recruiting front. Dillon Quinn, one of BC's highest rated recruits, took a visit to Cincinnati and loved it. We'll see if he decommits from us to play for the Bearcats.

BC is still laying groundwork for next year's recruiting class including this QB.

Hockey's swoon continued Saturday night.

The BC women's basketball team improved to 3-1 in the ACC with their win over Miami.

BC has offered Mass basketball standout Carson Desrosiers a scholarship.

Belated basketball thoughts

This team is not that far off...which only makes the continued struggles that much more frustrating. This is what Al said after Saturday's loss to Virginia Tech:
“This is not youth...This is about hustle and recognition, a couple of times we just stood and watched. It takes a certain attitude, and we didn’t get the rebounds we needed.”

The pieces are in place but we are also dealing with serious flaws, like...
1. Our two best shooters (Rice and Trapani) are poor defenders. Both got killed in one on one battles Saturday.
2. Sanders forces way too much. The trade off for a night like UNC when he was on fire seems to be three straight duds. Sanders also needs to work the boards more aggressively.
3. Our big men are still very raw. I think both have potential, but right now seem to be in over their heads.

Yet we all those flaws and the half-assed effort Saturday night, this was a two possession game with a minute and a half left. This is not a championship team but they should be a bubble team. I think for these guys to turn things around -- and I think they can -- Rice and Sanders just need to play smarter. Both need better shot selection and Rice needs to help his teammates find easy baskets. Rice also needs to turn up his defense.

I will see them in person Tuesday night. Since joining the ACC, Georgia Tech has been a house of horrors for BC. Hopefully I am their to witness the turning point for this team.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bicknell candidate for UMass and other links

As hinted, UMass and Jack Bicknell Jr. have mutual interest in their open head coaching position. Despite my admiration for Logan, I think keeping Bicknell is 10 times more important. First he's the most experienced guy on the offensive side of the ball. He would also provide some much needed continuity on the offensive line. We teach a specific style. Unless we get a replacement who is also an Alex Gibbs disciple, we will be teaching a new scheme to our returning players. That could cause problems. I also think Bick could serve as one of those experienced head coaching sounding boards Spaz will need. Finally, Bicknell is liked by everyone. Players, fellow coaches, AD staff, former teammates and alumni all think very highly of him. He was not a Jags crony. He is clearly a guy with his own love and connection to BC. If he stays on it would serve as an unspoken endorsement of Spaz and his ability to win at BC.

UMass Lowell upset the hockey team Friday night.

Saint Louis Athletica of the WPS selected women's soccer player Kara McNeill in the WPS draft.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Logan leaves

BC confirmed the Logan rumor. I thought he did a great job and enjoyed my two brief encounters with the man. As much as I would have loved for him to stay, I think it is more important that our head coach puts his own staff in place.

Once the full staff is in place, I'll analyze what each member brings to the table.

Soccer star drafted by MLS and other links

The Columbus Crew drafted Paul Gerstenberger in the second round of the MLS draft. Congrats to Paul as he was key part of BC's 2007 ACC Championship.

The final portion of this article mentions BC guy Brian Flores as part of the next group of young turks being groomed for big things with the Patriots.

One of the last remaining 4-star BC targets Devon Custis eliminated BC from his recruiting mainly due to the coaching change.

Robert Francois is a player to watch in the Shrine Game.

Look for one or two BC names to emerge in the UMass coaching search.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wake up call

So there was that game last night...

Wake is a great team and I expect them to be a high seed in the tournament. But BC did not play well last night. For those who missed it, here is the very good game story from Julian Bellow (can the Globe please make him the full time BC beat writer?!?). Here are the raw numbers.

I don't know what we have in this group. More talented Skinner teams have been run out of the building before. Most bounced back during the season. Unfortunately I think every game is going to be a surprise. What follows are my specific points about last night:

-- Reggie Jackson's fight. If you ask me, he was the spark during the second half run. He's not at the point where he can carry the team, but hopefully he continues to play with emotion and confidence. This team is lacking both.
-- Going small. With Raji at 50% and Wake's bigs dominating, it only made sense to go small. It was a little too late, but the Paris-Jackson-Rice combo worked. We should use it more often.
-- The crowd. Full house even for a 9 o'clock start. They also made some noise during the second half run. Despite the loss, it was the best BC basketball crowd for a non-Duke, UNC, Kansas game since 2007.

-- Interior D. It was a bad match up to begin with but we did everything wrong with their big men. No boxing out, no effort, poor footwork. Why not get Ravenal a shot. No one else did anything.
-- Transition D. There wasn't any. Part of it was Wake's speed, but also lack of effort and sloppy play.
-- Shot selection. One of my keys to the game from the short preview. BC had trouble establishing the offense early and then just started chucking it up as things progressed.

Recruiting news and other links

Although the staff is still unknown (latest rumor is that Steve Logan will be leaving), someone from BC is still recruiting. The last note in this article mentions BC's interest in Louisiana QB Blake Matherne. Kelton Hill is another dual threat QB that has BC has visited.

Outsiders continue to debate the Jags dismissal. This Tennessee writer is in Gene's corner.

This is a pretty good article on Spaz. It even addresses the time he was demoted at UVA and went off to the CFL.

Was the ACC the best conference last year?

There is growing sentiment for an early signing period in college football.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Will the real Eagles please stand up?

I know there is some BC sports fatigue out there right now, but we still have winter sports to play! Tonight the men's basketball team take on Wake Forest. Wake Forest enters the game undefeated and very good. They are good on both ends of the floor and better defensively than North Carolina. The team that beat the Heels can handle Wake. The team that lost to Harvard will get killed. Which team is the real BC?

The keys to victory are as follows:

-- Control the defensive boards. Like us, Wake lives off of offensive rebounds. It helps their efficiency and point totals. BC cannot allow second chance points.
-- Avoid foul trouble. The foul trouble in some games has hurt our rotation and sent our opponents to the line. Wake shoots 70% from the line.
-- Find good shots. The difference between Miami and Nort Carolina was shot selection. This team needs to work the possessions until they get the high percentage play.

Harvard was clearly a letdown. Miami was a hard fought game where BC did not execute well. Tonight is a true test. They can beat Wake but will need great performances and smart play.

Spaz reactions and other links

Nick Larkin went to bat for his former coach during the process. TOB was also happy with the selection.

Connecticut writers are already speculating on where Skinner's latest commitment will fit in the roster.

HD has her rundown of the ACC season. I will pick up my season in review stuff once things get back to normal around here.

This is HD's take on our recruiting needs. But she uses faulty logic here. You don't really recruit your current class looking to fill spots left by your departing seniors. BC isn't going to find a tackle to replace Raji. They are hoping that the guys they have already on campus are good enough to fill the void. Current recruits will be for positions that will have holes in the coming seasons.

Other bloggers are still weighing in on the Jags-Gene-Spaz drama (here and here).

Here is the history of older coaches in the ACC.

Spaz is the Mustache Wednesday subject at EDSBS.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Spaz's To Do list

I've been criticized for being overly negative or piling on Spaz before he even starts. That's not my intention. In fact, I am actually optimistic about next season. I think the defense should be excellent again. The offense has all the pieces in place except for QB. If Davis matures or Tuggle steps up, Spaz's first season could surprise.

But there is a lot of work to do before September. I don't think Xs and Os will be an issue with Spaz. I do think other issues will arise. Knowing that, this is what he should do.

1. Get at least one experienced coordinator on staff and at least one former coach. One of the supposed benefits of promoting Spaz was his ability to retain the staff. I don't think it will be that easy or even necessary. This is his team. Let him pick the staff. If he wants to clean house, I have no problem with it. Once his guys are in place, I hope there are the two veteran presences listed above. Although very experienced, Spaz is a first time head coach. He needs a staff that will support him and challenge him. Not a bunch of yes men. He needs a few voices that he knows he can trust and to whom he can delegate. When Jags had questions or faced issues or just needed reassurance, he could turn to Logan or Spaz. They had been around the block a few times. Spaz needs those same sounding boards too. I hope he finds them.

2. Find a recruiting strategy and stick with it. I am on record with not caring about star rankings or ratings. However, I do think a staff needs to be of one mind on recruiting. Jags' staff proved to be good evaluators, but seemed to shoot in multiple directions on their strategy and targets. And I think that lack of direction and clarity hurt when BC attempted to lock in commitments. Spaz needs to decide what type of kid he wants (projects, under the radar, 4 stars, etc) and where they will spread their resources (the Midwest, Jersey, ACC territories). And he needs to decide how BC will approach kids, who will have authority to offer scholarships and who will be the closer.

3. Show the on the field emotion off the field. Spaz clearly has fire. We see it every Saturday in his reactions. He held his own in the press conference, but I still think his personality was muted a bit. BC fans want passion. They want hope. They want to believe. Share that passion when you speak to the press and certainly when you speak to fans. That, along with winning, will turn the skeptics around and have kids lining up to play for BC.

Who interviewed and other links

Former TOB staffer Don Treadwell was another name called over the weekend regarding the opening. The Globe also states now that the external search was quick and didn't include many candidates.

HD speculates that Spaz could bring on his former protege Jon Tenuta.

SI's Joe Posnanski has a quote from a former Big East who is not a fan of Gene.

The players had good things to say about Spaz.

Bill McGovern is a candidate for the UMass job. Look for other BC names to pop up in that search soon.

What others are saying

The message boards are having a spirited debate on our new football coach. The emails I've received have trended negative. You can read the comments on the blog. But what do the less passionate observers think?

Blaudschun kept his focus on the news, but took a positive angle.
For Spaziani, who had fretted over the turmoil of the past few weeks as much as anyone, it was the culmination of a career chase which has finally put him in complete control of a program.

HD also likes the selection.

This is not only the most logical hire for the Eagles, but it's also the best choice.

Kevin Armstrong takes a news approach but adds color on the feeling surrounding the program.

...Spaziani, who has been at The Heights 12 years, brings stability to a program that was in "crisis mode" last week, according to one source close to the program.

Michael David Smith states this will be Gene's legacy.

The bottom line is that DeFilippo has put his own reputation on the line by firing Jagodzinski and hiring Spaziani. If Spaziani turns out to be a coach who can lead BC to an ACC title, DeFilippo will be praised for this decision. But if BC goes in the tank in 2009, everyone will be asking why DeFilippo replaced a proven winner with a relative unknown, just because the winner had ambition.

Gut reaction

There is a reason I don’t blog during games. I don’t want to post overreactions. There will be plenty of blogging ahead and plenty of things to say and analyze on this process. As always I will try to focus on the positive, the relative information, and the objective.

I think it is pretty clear that I liked Jags. My attachment to his persona and the fun I’ve had the past two years is certainly clouding my judgment, but I had a long track record that preceded him and will continue on regardless of who the coach is. As I said in the Dirty Laundry post, long after Gene, Jags and now Spaz are gone, I will still be a proud Boston College Alumnus and BC sports fan.

I think this entire situation was mismanaged. I think BC made the wrong hire and wasted this opportunity. Those opinions will not stop me from giving to the school, cheering for BC or attending games. I will root like hell for Frank Spaziani to succeed.

Ever to excel.

It is Spaz

3 PM press conference. Much more to come.

"It's quiet...too quiet"

Is the new BC coach behind one of these doors?

Are things nearing to a close? It's starting to look that way. I am thinking the reveal will catch people by surprise.

Like Mike London, Skip Holtz is denying any interest and says he is committed to East Carolina. Don't get too upset about these sorts of public stances. Last time around BC asked candidates to deny and keep quiet, so I imagine that is protocal this time. We'll never get confirmation on which current head coaches interviewed until the dust settles.

Conroy wonders if the delays related to Addazio's medical issues will hurt recruiting.

Other writers are still commenting on Gene's stand.

The BC shake out is getting attention at the American Football Coaches Association convention.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nightly update: no real news and other links

Earlier this afternoon Mark Blaudschun said that Mike London had an impressive interview. Only later in the day did he edit his own blog post with a quote from London saying he has not heard from BC. Regardless of what London is saying don't read too much into anything. All coaches are forced to lie to the press for recruiting reasons. For example, Jags denied the Jets interest but as we know he did have one and did go forward.

London also told the Richmond media he is focused on his current job.

I think BC's interest in London was legit but he is probably just denying to protect his current position and recruiting efforts.

Hats off to the current staffers for continuing their recruiting efforts. Bryan Davis is ready to commit even though we don't have a coach.

Joel Kight is expecting a home visit from our Head Coach. Someone might want to let him know what's gone on the past week.

The ACC named Carolyn Swords player of the week.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

Lot's of information, disinformation and misinformation floating around. I don't know what to make of it. When in doubt though, I have to go back to my experience from the last coaching search. Then media kept focusing on Whipple while people close to the situation kept saying Jags was a real and viable candidate. This time around Eagle Action and The Globe seem positive Spaziani will be the new coach in less than a day. Who knows, they could be right, but I am hearing conflicting reports. I know others have interviewed and the intention was to identify at least one external candidate worthy of a final interview. If Spaziani is named the new coach Tuesday morning I'll be very dissapointed in the candidate and the process. But that is for another post.

First let's clarify what we know:
-- As of 1 PM ET, BC had still not scheduled a press conference for Monday night or Tuesday morning. The current staff had not been informed of a decision. Those things could change in an instant but if BC were naming an internal candidate tomorrow, you'd think they would start locking the staff in and begin the media work.
-- Steve Addazio has not been interviewed even though Urban Meyer publicly said he expects the interview to happen. If you are BC and one of your alleged top candidates is willing to interview, has the support of his boss and just won a national title, do you not take your time and talk to him?

Misinformation from Eagle Action
-- Despite their reporting, coaches under contract have interviewed. I assume it was with the permission of their current employers. This search was not restricted to assistant and unemployed coaches.
-- Spaziani is not the only viable internal candidate. There is strong support for Jack Bicknell Jr. As I have said, if we go internal, I would prefer Bick.

What I think
At the end of the day even while EA and the Globe grasp at straws, I think we are headed towards Spaziani. That said, in my opinion tomorrow would be about the worst time to name an internal candidate. It would mean BC wasted time last week and rushed the externals process all to end up with a guy you could have named the minute the Jags stuff leaked.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend roundup

Strange news from the coaching scene:

1. East Carolina released a statement saying BC has not contacted them regarding Skip Holtz. Two simple explanations: they are denying to protect Skip in case he doesn't get the job or BC hasn't contacted ECU.

2. Steve Addazio has been hospitalized with a knee infection.

Does this sound like things are ready to wrap Monday? I certainly don't have an audience with the BC decision makers in this process, but let me say what I've been saying to anyone who will listen: don't rush this search!!! Hire the right guy and keeping the staff or recruits will not matter in the long run.

The hockey team had a rough weekend in Vermont coming up with one loss and one tie.

The new BC staff may be able to get in on this recruit who South Carolina just spurned.

Women's basketball is now 2-0 in the ACC.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Quick basketball and coaching thoughts

Not a good night for the basketball team. Now we know Harvard was not an aberration. This team still makes too many mistakes. Miami's two best players were nonfactors and fouled out and we still lost. The refs didn't help BC's case, but ultimately the offense was the problem. They did not take good shots and with Raji dinged up, there were not enough second chance points. Every game is going to be an adventure this year. I'll have more thoughts on the loss Sunday afternoon.

Coaching stuff
Once again the Globe is all over the place in its coverage. I agree that with their lead that Spaz remains the frontrunner. I strongly disagree that Barry Gallup even has a shot. I imagine that was a courtesy interview at best. I also challenge Blaudschun's assertion that interviews wrapped up Saturday. I know of at least one going on Sunday. I strongly challenge that '...[Steve] Addazio appears to be the primary "outside" candidate"'. I think Addazio would be a good fit, but I don't think he's been interviewed yet and know that he is not the primary outsider.

I know I am being more coy about the process this time around, but I am not going to leak any interviewee who is a current head coach and not public yet. The last thing we need is for one of them to turtle up when things leak. As for for public names, I would rank them as follows:
1. Spaz (way out in front)
2. London
3. Holtz

As of me writing this late Saturday, Addazio has not had a face to face yet with anyone.

Coaching articles
-- Roy Johnson thinks Gene should interview Charlie Strong
-- An ACC reporter's follow up the Holtz angle. No comments all around.

Clearing up the latest Globe article

The Globe had another update. Parts were spot on. Others were off. I'll do my best to clear up which is which.

1. Spaz is clearly the favorite. In fact, in my opinion the process and short timeline stacks the deck in his favor.

2. London and Holtz will be interviewed. I am surprised the Holtz thing got out. It had been floating prior to this report, but I figured he'd be more careful keeping his name out of the press given his own recruiting needs.

3. Norvell and Addazio are highly unlikely to even get interviewed. I don't know why Blaudschun even included their names. Not that they couldn't be good candidates, but unless they hop on planes to somewhere on the East Coast this weekend, they are not going to fit into the interviewers schedule.

4. There are other candidates getting interviewed who haven't been leaked. My guess is BC is protecting their recruiting efforts in the case that they don't get the job.

At the end of the day the main focus of the article is right -- all signs are pointing to Spaz.

Friday, January 09, 2009

What a weird week

I thought this would be a sleepy week with plenty of Year in Review stuff. So much for that. I still haven't even had time to rewatch the bowl game yet. Under normal circumstances I would have done deep dives on the glorious North Carolina upset and the troubling Harvard loss.

On the basketball front, BC takes on Miami Saturday night. Let's hope it is with renewed focus.

Coaching News Update
Despite reports, BC did not name an interim coach Friday. That's good news. An interim serves no real purpose. People close to the process are sketching a scenario where outsiders are being interviewed this weekend and Leahy will make a decision among the internal and external finalists by the middle of the next week. I'll provide updates as they happen.


Even without a coach some are expecting big things from us next year. Depending on who we put in place, I think the team has real potential.

Nick Klemm is still committed to BC regardless of who the coach is.

These guys think they have the keys to success for a BC coach.

This writer thinks Gene might be a little hypocritical.

Although coachless, BC is still recruiting and has interest in Nico Ranieri.

Interim issues

If the timeline Blaudschun sets is real (and all the gossip seems to confirm it) then Frank Spaziani is only a few days away from being named coach. There are hundreds of questions to ask, but the two big ones for me are:

1. Why no real efforts at a national search? Gene boasted of the stack of names interested in the job. BC should explore any and all decent candidates. Despite fears of losing recruits, there is no reason to rush this. Find the right guy and this recruiting class will not matter. There is no looming game. Spring practice is down the road. Get the right guy and everything will be fine in the long run. This is an opportunity. Rushing it would be a mistake.

2. What makes Spaziani a better candidate now than he was two years ago? He's been passed over once. There were reasons then. Do those reasons not hold true now? If the arguement for Spaz now is consistency and ability to hold the staff in place (which is no sure thing with any internal guy) and recruits in place (which is no sure thing) then go with the better internal choice of Jack Bicknell Jr. He might not be the best candidate out there, but in my opinion, he is a much better candidate now than Spaz.

I am hoping this Globe article is a trial ballon that pops.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Herzy returning, media messengers and other links

Herzy is coming back. Great news for many reasons. He's a great kid and leader for a time like this. This means our D should be pretty strong next year. Herzy, like Ryan two years ago, will be a nice shiny thing to help seduce a new coach. But best of all for Mark and his family he gets another year to improve his draft stock.

At times the media can act as messengers for their friends. For example: Blaudschun demands quick action and warns that Spaz won't stay if he is passed over again. He even describes Spaz's treatment as an ornament. Nice. I think if there is anything we've all learned it is that you don't try to force Gene's hand. I think Spaz would be a good holdover at DC again. I wouldn't be thrilled if he got the head job. If that costs us his services in the short term, so be it. Gene needs to make the right hire.

HD also thinks Spaz should be choice No. 1. What is interesting though is that she throws Tom Bradley's name in there. She could just being throwing darts, however, HD did cover the Penn State for a while. She could be floating his name with his encouragement. If Bradley has real interest, Gene needs to have a serious talk with him. He would a big splash.

Skinner says his team doesn't yet know how to handle success. No kidding. Al did get a new commit for the 2010 class.

More kudos for Gene's stance.

Looking at this job opportunity

When Gene says he had a stack of names ready to go, he wasn't lying. There are only 120 head coaching jobs in college football. They are a precious commodity. And the nature of the business is that everyone throws their name in the ring. Because until this week, there had never been any downside to a coach doing so. You could be the most entrenched, richest, winningest coach, at your beloved Alma mater, living in Eden, have a perfectly happy home life and you'd still listen to a call from BC or have your friends or intermediaries float your name. It's Gene's job to separate the wheat from the chaff. Once things get serious, candidates have to look at the BC job for what it is and ask themselves: "do I want this?" Here are the pros and cons of taking a job at BC right now:

-- You can win here. Some in the coaching community thought TOB was a miracle worker for winning at BC. That made a few potential names skeptical of how good the job was last time around. If you are going to be thankful to Jags for anything, be thankful that he won. Now there are plenty of folks thinking, "If he won there, so can I."
-- Little to no booster pressure or media pressure. If you are reading this blog, you are into BC. I thank you for being here and am glad you share one of my passions. Unfortunately there are not enough of us. You know the reasons. Hopefully that will change, but we certainly don't make the head coach's life miserable. He won't spend months on the rubber chicken circuit. He can go to restaurants in Boston and not be recognized. Also, we have two beat writers who are generally soft in their coverage and their angles. The rest of the Boston media barely pays attention and the national media doesn't expect much from BC. Meaning that anything you do is going to be portrayed as the "little engine that could."
-- We will pay for good coordinators. A good coach will need a good staff. BC stepped up to the plate last time around. I expect them to do so this time around.
-- You'll have the most secure contract in America! Assuming he keeps his nose clean, the next BC coach will get to complete the length of his contract...regardless of on the field results. I don't think any of us want that. I don't even know if Gene really wants that, but his stance just painted us into that corner.

-- You have an involved AD. Gene might give the next guy more breathing room, but I doubt it. Old habits die hard. Last time around Gene had a strong say in staffing. I expect him to do so again. So the new coach will have to take on at least a few of the current staff.
-- You cannot leave for the length of your contract. The flip side of the security is that Gene is clearly going to bake in strict job movement and interview clauses. That will scare some guys off.

I didn't get into things like recruiting with restrictions or the cost of living in Boston. Every program has its own unique qualities that intrigue or turn off potential candidates. I didn't mention salary either. No one is going to come for less than they are currently making. BC has been middle market on salary, so don't expect coaches in the SEC making $3 Mil a year to pack their bags this weekend.

For this exercise I wanted to get into things that are unique to the profession and taking this job right now.

Given the above the search will likely narrow to internal guys, guys who know Gene, or coaches desperate for a spot in a BCS conference.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

BC winning the PR battle

I've questioned how BC handled this situation in general, but one thing is clear: the administration won the PR battle. Sure some people took Gene to task for overreacting but most have gobbled up Gene's quotes and are now applauding his stand. Supposedly the Globe is prepping a piece that will bury Jags and make it look like he's been angling for any NFL job from Day 1. Here are some of Wednesday's reactions.

Dan Wetzel thinks Gene did the right thing.

Gregg Doyel takes an even stronger stand applauding BC.

Kevin Armstrong agrees with me that this should have stayed behind closed doors.

Brian Cook thinks we should hire Charlie Strong.

HD thinks BC's stance means we won't get an ambitious head coach.

Oh yeah, we just lost to Harvard

Strange day at the Heights. A few days after beating North Carolina the basketball team got stomped by Harvard. Now this is the best Harvard team in years, but still, this shouldn't happen. Skinner's teams are notorious for these types of games and it is especially a problem with a young team. Rice supposedly dogged it and the defense allowed Harvard to get easy baskets. Hopefully this will be a wake up call for the guys. It is a wake up call for me. This team has potential, but hasn't turned the corner yet.

Parsing the joint statement

You can read it here. Thankfully, both sides took the high road.

As you would expect all the language is safe and vague. Key points for me anyway are:

"vision for the future"
-- No idea what that means or how they differed. In the press conference Gene spoke of winning at BC and included the standard talking points (good students, good people, etc). I imagine based on this Gene's vision involved a long-term coach that was partners with him. Jags clearly envisioned this job as a stepping stone.

"terminated without cause"
-- Using this phrase could have been part of the settlement. But if BC felt they were wronged legally and/or ethically using 'without cause' might be a sticking point.

"the search for Jagodzinski's replacement would include both internal and external candidates"
-- Good news. Given the timing and Gene's history of wanting a say in key staff positions, the odds favor an internal promotion, but at least they will talk to outsiders.

ESPN reporting Spaz as Interim

Sorry, no link yet.

Candidates list

The odds say we will promote from within, but here is my first go at a short list from Sunday night.

Revisions that I would make since then:

Additional Internal guys
Ryan Day -- Everyone agrees that Day will be a head coach one day. Now is not the time for him. The new guy is going to face unique conditions. It is probably not best to put that on a very young, first time head coach. But stranger things have happened.
Ben Sirmans -- If BC wants to shift the PR focus, there is no better way to do it than by hiring an African American. Sirmans is a smart, bright, well liked young coach. But like Day, this is not a good fit for a green Head Coach.
Bill McGovern -- Well-liked by everyone. Good teacher. Good recruiter. Does that make him a Head Coach? I don't know.

New external guys
Phil Fulmer -- Gene's old buddy wants to coach again. This would be the ultimate fish out of water. That means huge upside and huge downside. I don't think this will happen and don't know how I'd even feel about it. It would probably take me a few minutes to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Pete Carmichael JR -- Carmichael is a BC grad, son of a former BC staffer and current Saints QB coach. If we are going to hire this type of guy, we might as well go with Bick JR.

New perspecitve on previously mentioned external guys
Charlie Strong -- given the bomb Strong just dropped on the media, he clearly wants his shot now. I have no problem giving it to him.

Mutually Assured Destruction

There are no winners in this. Just a bunch of losers. Both parties are leaking their respective sides. Few will ever know the true ”he said, he said.” I would love to release a detail-by-detail rehash that captured who was lying to whom and who said what when and promises kept and promises made. After piecing together what I know, the reality was much more simple and unfortunately, much more human. Two once good friends let ego, power, money and ambition corrupt a very good situation. It escalated very quickly. Deception was not the issue. Hurt feelings, pride and of course, money were. It could have been saved through early Sunday night, but once things went public, it was over.

I hope Jags gets the NFL Head Coaching job he longed for and comes out ahead from all this. He’s got a very nice family and his power play just turned their lives upside down.

I hope Gene makes a perfect hire. I hope we get the national-championship winning lifer we’ve all longed for. But the reality is his power play just blew up a good thing (that he himself put together) over minor issues.

I will continue to defend Jags’ right to advance his career and continue to thank him for two great years.

I will have more on our new coach, the future of the program and opinions on the news of the day as they play out. Now I just feel depressed.