Thursday, April 30, 2009

Raji talks about drug tests and other links

In his first big press conference in Green Bay BJ spoke about his failed drug test while at BC. He reaffirms that he moved on and learned from that and the combine hubbub.

Mr. College Football thinks Tranquill is one of the key additions among ACC staffers.

Here is more on our new OL recruit.

HD took a look at the different QB depth charts around the conference.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Herzy media push and other links

Herzy is making the media rounds. I imagine it is the start of a national award push the Sports Information Department will make for him this fall. He spoke with HD about the changes in practice and his influence on the Spaz hire.

HD also mentioned Chris Pantale's strong spring.

SI has us in what would be the "others receiving votes" category of their 2009 Top 25. Surprising given the general media perception predicts major drop off for us.

The Softball team beat Dartmouth Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New recruit and other links

It looks like Spaz is going to land another one of this early targets. On Thursday, Philly tackle Seth Betancourt is expected to announce that he is headed to Chestnut Hill to play for BC.

We just finished the 2009 Draft so of course it is time to start thinking about 2010. This mock draft has Herzy going top 10.

Any Katz remains high on BC's basketball team next year.

BC slugged it out with Quinnipiac Tuesday.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Basketball highlights and other links

Above is a great video of this season's highlights. Check out more basketball vids at BCHOOPS08 page on youtube.

Mike Dee, the Head of Fenway Sports Group, may step down to take over the Miami Dolphins. Who knows what his departure will mean for BC sports marketing. Dee was the driving force behind FSG. Let's hope his replacement could keep up the momentum on BC's efforts.

Brandon Robinson signed with Philly so he stays an Eagle.

Robert Francois signed with the Vikings.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More draft stuff and other links

Ron Brace is the first BC guy taken by the Pats since 2003.

The Packers did not get caught up or distracted by the false news related to Raji's drug test.

The Globe estimated a crowd of 2,000 at the Spring Game. The Herald had a bit more detail including a quote from Castonzo emphasizing the transition to a more power running line scheme.

Toal might be one of the underrated guys to get picked on Day 2. (Thanks to Ryan for the link.) Former Eagle Fraz Joseph is also hoping for his chance and holds no ill will towards BC. (Thanks to Matt for the link.)

Baseball lost to Duke 9-2 on Saturday.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Good day for alums, bad day for current BC QBs

You can't use weather as an excuse for what happened today. On a beautiful day in Boston the BC offense couldn't move the ball and all three QBs looked raw in the annual spring game. It is not panic time yet, but I think this season could see the offense significantly struggle. Below are some shots by regular commentator Joe Bags.

The good news today was both BJ Raji and Ron Brace were drafted on the first day of the 2009 NFL Draft. Brace gets to stay close to home in his deal. Raji will play in the middle of nowhere, but that should be good. In Green Bay he can focus just on football.

Perfect Day for the BC sports fan

Those lucky enough to be in Boston will have a beautiful day to head over to campus and watch the Spring Game. Good news too in that the NFL Draft and Yankees-Sox have been pushed back to later in the day for those who might view those as conflicts (but really, what is more important than BC football?).

One request to anyone attending the game: please take pictures.

I'll have thoughts on the game and draft late tonight.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Watch the Spring Game online and other links

Once again ACC/BC All Access is stepping up to the plate and broadcasting the Spring Game for free. That is huge for those of us outside of Boston. If you haven't used the All Access system in the past, give it a shot. It is a cool thing for those who can't get all their BC content locally.

In his final mock draft, Peter King has Raji going to the Bengals.

Jay Glazer has Raji falling to Jacksonville.

The ACC named Kristin Igoe and goalkeeper Katie Monaghan to their all conference lacrosse team.

And what of Chris Crane?

All the talk of our prospects ignored one of the most important names from last season -- Chris Crane. Last spring, when he was finally taking snaps with the first team, many on the staff thought Crane might be an NFL QB. He had the body and the arm and showed promise. Spring became summer and concern creeped in. As we all know it only got worse as real games began. And just when things seemed to be turning around, he broke his collar bone.

Crane will not be drafted this weekend, but he will still get a shot at the NFL. Every team is looking for the next Matt Cassell...some raw untested QB talent they can groom and then leverage. But you don't get that long to prove yourself. Crane will have mini camp and maybe some time this summer to earn his way onto a practice squad. From there, who knows?

One team I don't think will wait for Crane to develop is Tampa Bay. I don't think there is any bad blood between Jags/Logan and Crane, but I doubt they will want to relive this last season at the NFL level. Plus Chris deserves a fresh start. He frightened and frustrated me to no end this year, but I always root for these guys to succeed. Hopefully he makes the most of his chance.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Getting to know Gary Tranquill and other links

The Globe produced a solid piece on Gary Tranquill. It echoed many of the good things we are hearing. It sounds like Tranquill can be a good mentor to the young QBs and will build an offense around what works. My concern was never about Tranquill's ability to groom kids or provide a veteran presence. My concern remains the productivity of his offense and if he can make lemonade out of the lemons. Saturday will be our first glimpse of how things will look.

HD listed some ACC darkhorses. BC was not included. She does realize that there is talent on offense.

The BC women lost to Duke in the opening round of the ACC Lacrosse tournament.

This blogger has Brace ranked as the 55th best prospect and Raji as the 14th.

My mock draft part 2

This is part 2 of my mock draft dealing with Raji and Brace. Both should go early, possibly both in the first round.

"With the fifth pick in the NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select B.J. Raji, Defensive Tackle, Boston College."

For the second year in a row, I think BC will have a top 5 pick. That's a true accomplishment. The Bengals, Packers and Jaguars are also potential landing spots, but I think Cleveland will jump at the chance to get an anchor for their defensive line. As far as B.J.'s pro prospects, I think he can be a very good at this level. His maturity and focus remain a question, but I think his senior year and Senior Bowl speak to his willingness to put in extra effort. When the false drug test leak broke I compared Raji's experience to Warren Sapp. My analogy was based on the drug issue, but it may have been appropriate on a skill level comparison too. Raji can be as good as Sapp. Let's hope Saturday is the start of a brilliant NFL career.

"With the 7th pick of the second round, the Jacksonville Jaguars select Ron Brace, Defensive Tackle, Boston College."

I've read repeatedly that many teams looking at Raji are also considering Brace. Jacksonville has a need at DT and Brace will probably be available when they select in the second round. I think he'll be a good fit and a good pro. His upside is probably limited compared to Raji, but there is no reason he can't have a solid NFL career.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My mock draft part 1

Predicting the top picks is a crap shoot. Knowing that, I am just having fun and predicting where some of our guys will end up. This is Part 1. Part 2 will deal with the bonus babies Brace and Raji.

"With the the 28th pick of the 5th round, the New York Giants select Clif Ramsey, Gaurd, Boston College."

As previously stated I am a big Ramsey fan. The reason I think he ends up in New York is two fold: Coughlin and Bicknell. By the fifth round teams aren't picking for primary need. They can truly start picking best available. What they are hoping for is added depth and someone who can contribute. TC is obviously a big believer in BC linemen. With Bicknell on the staff, I bet he goes to bat for Clif. I have no idea if this will happen or if Ramsey will even get drafted, but I could see this happening.

"With the 47th pick of the 7th round, the Kansas City Chiefs select, Brian Toal, Linebacker, Boston College."

Yes, I think Toal will be "Mr. Irrelevant." My gut tells me that someone will take a chance on him. Why not the Chiefs? In New England Pioli looked for players like Brian. Toal is versatile with a good football IQ. Pioli will take him knowing there is a chance he can contribute in three phases of the game.

Free Agents

Ryan Purvis -- Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons saw ever pass Matt threw in college. They obviously know our pass catchers and gave Tony Gonzalez a chance last year. They need depth and skill at Tight End. I bet they try to sign Purvis as a free agent.

Robert Francois -- Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers always seem to find the under the radar guys when adding depth to their defense. Francois seems like the type of player they like (good speed, size and upside).

Kevin Akins -- Oakland Raiders
This is just a hunch. I am basing this on the Raiders tradition of speed and the potential to use him as a light, quick LB. It doesn't hurt that Ricky Brown has done well as a free agent there too.

BC-Michigan in ACC Challenge and other links

BC played went to Ann Arbor two years ago as part of the ACC Challenge. Neither team was particularly good and the game was shunned off to an early ESPN U start. Next season BC will travel to Ann Arbor again only this time it will probably be one of the featured games of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Here are the other matchups.

Although none of the marquee sports earned recognition, numerous BC teams scored very high on the NCAA's APR report.

Former Eagle Tim Ceglarski stepped down as Elmira's coach.

Sean Ryan signed with the Chiefs.

BC is in the mix for Maryland LB Troy Gloster.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What do the NFL guys really think about our prospects

One thing that I always find interesting about the NFL draft is the's anonymous assessments of potential draftees. The criticism is often harsh and often on the money. We tend to love all our guys and think they all deserve a shot in the NFL. Sometimes the undrafted guy proves the BC fan right (Dunbar and Silva come to mind) and then other guy who we think should be stars never catch on (Callender). So here are some of the critiques of our potential draftees.

BJ Raji

The Good

...Arguably the single-most dominant player during the week of practice at the Senior Bowl.

The Bad
Reliable tackler, but lacks the balance and lateral quickness to break down and make the tackle in space. Most effective when operating as part of a rotation. Maturity is a concern.

My Take: Raji is going early. I think he will be a good Pro. Regardless of his weight and maturity, BJ has shown that when the game starts he can stay focused. That's what matters.

Ron Brace

The Good
Versatile defender capable of projecting as a zero-, one- or three-technique at the next level.

The Bad
Marginal effort and ability in pursuit. Flanked by a better prospect in Raji and often faces only one blocker.

My Take: While not as flashy as Raji, I think Brace is a steal. He was great last year when Raji was suspended. That showed he can carry a DLine. Assuming his back checks out, I would draft Brace in the 1st round.

Kevin Akins

The Good

Versatile defender capable of making an immediate contribution on special teams.

The Bad
Good aggression to take on blocks, but gets washed out if engaged.

My Take: I have been surprised by the interest in Akins. Great kid, great college player, but I never thought he was an NFL guy. What position will he play? His lackluster combine probably ended his chance of getting drafted.

Robert Francois

The Good

Gives good pop to tight ends and can ride in coverage. ... Gets good depth on his drops and is alert in coverage

The Bad
Performance might have been inflated due to the surrounding talent at defensive tackle and linebacker.

My Take: I think Francois can and will catch on as a free agent. He was one of those guys who always looked good when I watched the games back. If not for our loaded LB group the past three years, he would have played and stood out more.

Ryan Purvis

The Good

Knows where the holes in zone coverage are and has the size and reliable receiving skills to settle there and be a security blanket.

The Bad
based on his dismal performance in 2008, he might be a case for having a great quarterback (Matt Ryan) making him look better than he actually was.

My Take: Purvis's stock dropped the most from last year to this year and it is reflected in the Scout's comments. I think in the right place Purvis can be a good pass catching TE. It wouldn't surprise me if he joins Matt in NFL.

Clif Ramsey

The Good

High-effort player. ... Versatile, with a starting season at both left and right guard.

The Bad
Flashes quickness to the second level, but lacks the balance and agility to block NFL-caliber athletes at the second level.

My Take: I think Ramsey is going to be a steal on Day 2. Here is an all conference player from a program with a great OL tradition and he is generating little interest. Unbelievable. Ramsey was easily our most consistent and most improved player on the offensive side of the ball last year. If he keeps getting better he will be a very good NFL player.

Brian Toal
The Good

Plays with wild abandon; is willing to blow up fullbacks in the hole or blockers on the outside so his teammates can make the play.

The Bad
His constant search for contact makes his injury issues especially problematic.

My Take: Like Akins, I think Toal's tweener status makes his NFL prospects iffy. However, I think the intrigue surrounding him may force a team to use a final round pick on our oft injured player.

With just days to go I think four guys will get drafted (Raji, Brace, Ramsey and Toal). I'll explain why and predict where guys will land and where the free agents should sign later this week.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Penn State rumors and other links

Patriots' Day is always slow for BC news, but word leaked that BC and Penn State are talking schedules. This would allow Spaz to take on his first mentor in Joe Paterno. It would be great to have them back in the regular schedule rotation. Plus taking on JoePa allows Spaz to look young, fresh and hip.

The Broncos like both of our Defensive Tackles. They probably can't wait for Raji to drop so they may reach for Brace. (Thanks to John for the link.)

SI is finally retracting its Raji story. (Thanks to Matt for the link.) 4/20 justice! BJ recently spoke with the 49ers.

Matt Ryan is going to be in an ESPN ad that will air this fall.

This New Jersey linebacker doesn't have a BC offer yet but hopes to turn some heads this summer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baseball shutout and other links

BC dropped an ACC series when Virginia shut them out Sunday.

The softball team picked up just their second ACC win of the year by beating Maryland in extra innings.

2010 commit Kevin Pierre-Louis spoke with Eagle Insider about his decision and the coaching staff.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What to make of Boek's big break

I hate reading too much into these spring scrimmages, but Codi Boek's continued good play is an interesting storyline. Even though he was switched back to QB prior to practices starting, most felt the QB situation was a two-man race between Tuggle and Davis. Can Boek be in the mix? If he does become the BC QB it will just be the latest in his roller coaster career.

When Boek signed with BC it made for good copy but the coaching staff was very excited about his prospects. A JUCO coach who helped funnel him to BC said he was better than Paul Peterson. Then he arrived on campus and struggled. He had trouble picking up the offense and didn't look like a DIA QB. When I asked Purvis about Davis and Boek at the ACC media days, he spoke highly of Dominique's progress. His nonanswer on Boek spoke volumes. Before official summer practice began Boek was moved to fullback. I felt it was premature. Why give up on kid after only one spring session? Yet everyone I heard from said that getting another Peterson wasn't going to happen. Even during the Crane and Davis struggles, using Boek never seemed like a viable option.

One of the benefits of coaching changes is the clean slate that certain players get from the new staff. Boek would probably still be a fullback if Jags was still around. He may not be the answer but given the way his entire football career has gone, you can never count the kid out.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Attention Atlanta area fans and alums: join the BC club for Relay for Life

The BC Club of Atlanta is joining other area alumni clubs to help raise money to fight cancer. Details below. Congrats on the club for doing more than just sports stuff.

The Boston College Alumni Association of Atlanta and other local ACC alumni groups (Clemson, FSU, Miami, NCSU, VT, others) are coming together for one cause - to help raise money to fight cancer!

Please join us for a happy hour to raise money for the Cobb County Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

A $10 donation at the door includes your beers that evening. Please pass this on - ANYONE AND EVERYONE is invited to attend!

A great deal on beers and helping to cure cancer. Win/Win everyone!

To learn more about the Cobb County Relay for Life, visit or Thanks for your support!

What's old is new again on offense

Spaz talked to HD today and gave her a high level overview of the new offense. He mentions less passing, more traditional running, and more "pro style." All of that is vague enough to not really tell us anything. The only concern for me is the running game. I hope we don't completely abandon the zone scheme and stretches. Because our OL coach, line and backs are all comfortable in that style.

Spaz didn't tip his hand on the QB front either. Word is that Davis remains on top of the depth chart but isn't really standing out.

I remain optimistic about next season but predict a lot of 9-7, 13-10 type of games.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Looking back at Spaz Part 3

Spaz is a first-time head coach, but he is a very familiar name to BC fans. Having called the defenses for 10 years, I thought the offseason would be a good time to look back at some of his best and worst moments. Hopefully he’s learned from these events and will use that knowledge this season now that he is in charge of both sides of the ball.

Boston College 14 -- Notre Dame 7
November 2, 2002

What Happened?

I don't need to say much to remind BC and Notre Dame fans of the game. BC limped in 4-3 coming off a tough loss to Pitt. The Irish were undefeated, ranked second in the country and decided to break out the green jerseys. Although the Irish put up 357 yards in the game, the BC D saved the day. Some of their defensive accomplishments included:

-- Forcing five turnovers
-- Converting one INT into a touchdown
-- Only allowing one score despite the Irish's six trips to the redzone
-- 4 sacks which included knocking out Notre Dame's starting QB

But Spaz's biggest contribution might have been less about scheme and more about motivation. During the back and forth of the game, the NBC cameras caught Spaz admonishing the guys that the game wasn't over. The fire and mood was something BC fans rarely saw from our head coach. Seeing passion and seeing the impact it had on the players was encouraging. It showed Spaz cared. And most importantly, it was the right message.

What I hope he’s learned?

That Notre Dame team was not some sort of offensive juggernaut. It wasn't Spaz's miracle game plan that won the day. Instead it was about plugging holes due to injury, a sound attack and keeping the guys focused. The biggest take away was hopefully how to deal with the heightened expectations and emotions of a big game. Spaz has seen multiple approaches: from TOB's every game is the same approach, to Jags' rah rah stuff. There is a happy medium and there are moments to push some buttons during the game. Spaz's outburst showed that he understands that. As a head coach Spaz's words and motivational ploys are that much more important. I hope he harnesses that passion like he did against Notre Dame seven years ago.

Barber resigns from Board and other links

Greg Barber, who endowed the football coach's salary, resigned from the BC Board of Trustees. He gave the Globe a pithy "no comment" on why he decided to resign now. Read into it what you want. The speculation is pretty broad. Everything from his continued frustration with Gene, to his net worth taking a serious hit have been whispered as explanations. I have nothing concrete either way, but Barber has been pretty vocal about his unhappiness with BC Athletics for the past two years.

Kiwi and his mother are sharing their family story with students in Connecticut.

What is it about UMass that is giving the baseball team such trouble?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Basketball Season Grades: Corey Raji

I didn't know what to factor into Corey Raji's grade. He showed guts and toughness by playing with a bad groin for the heart of the schedule. Yet he clearly frustrated fans and didn't progress as much as I would have hoped. At the end of the day it comes back to expectations and Raji didn't meet them.

The good news about Raji is that what he did well, he did very well. He's an instinctive rebounder who led the team in offensive [Corrected. Thanks, conlonc] boards. Having a guy who can keep those possessions alive is the key to Skinner's offensive system. Raji was good on the glass last year and only got better this year. In addition to being in the right place at the right time, he's also shown he can grab a ball in traffic and fight for those tough rebounds. Raji excelled in transition. He runs the floor well and is a good finisher on the break.

Raji's weaknesses were pretty evident -- he had 0 touch around the basket. He failed to convert on numerous opportunities close to the hoop. I have no idea what happened. Last year he had a very good shooting percentage by filling the stat sheet with putbacks and bunnies. Now it is like he is trying to get a ball through one of those small hoops you'd see at a carnival. Raji also struggled at times defensively. Big men got some easy baskets on him. Last year we often gave him a tough defensive assignment on wing players. This year other eagles got the call.

Raji has a great career ahead of him. Anyone who can rebound like that has huge value to any team. Maybe with the expectations a little lower next year, he'll step up his game.

Season Grade: B-

Slow news day

Not much going on BC wise today. Later tonight I'll have the latest basketball grades and upcoming this week there will be more on the Best and Worst of Spaz.

Austin Giles remains confident the DLine will deliver even without Brace and Raji.

Joe Lunardi thinks we will be a bubble team next year. The BCI guys are all over this. I think we are a lock to make the tourney and think we can potentially challenge for the conference title.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rice impressing in Portsmouth and other links

Tyrese Rice helped his draft status by impressing scouts at one of the NBA's preDraft camps in Portsmouth. He is now considered a "riser."

The Browns invited Ron Brace to Cleveland for an interview/workout. They are considering him for one of their mid round picks.

Cathy Inglese got a new job. She is now the head coach at URI. Best of luck to her there.

Bruce Feldman ranks Herzy as one of those great players who will never win a Heisman.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More GDF: Gene gets an extension

BC announced a signed extension for Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo. The press release is below and my thoughts are after.


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass (4-13-09)-- Boston College has extended the contract of Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo through May 2014, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, announced today.

In announcing the extension, Leahy praised DeFilippo for his success in enhancing Boston College Athletics as one of the most successful and respected athletics programs in the nation.

"Gene DeFilippo has provided tremendous leadership and vision to Boston College ’s athletics program, and he is also a great ambassador for our University,” said Fr. Leahy. "I am pleased that he will be with us for at least another five years."

Since arriving at Boston College in 1997, DeFilippo has been credited with strengthening the BC athletics program in a number of areas, including academic support, facilities and fund raising. During his tenure, Boston College student-athletes have consistently earned among the nation's highest graduation rates, resulting in the coveted Athletic Director’s Award for Academic Excellence during the 2007-2008 academic year. In addition, DeFilippo has spearheaded renovations to Conte Forum and Shea Field, added a new field hockey and a lacrosse/soccer field on the Newton Campus, and new field turf and an air-supported structure over Alumni Stadium that provides an indoor winter practice facility for all sports.

DeFilippo was also instrumental in the successful completion of the privately funded 72,000 square-foot Yawkey Athletics Center , which houses the football program and Learning Resources for Student Athletes, and provided critically needed space in Conte Forum for women’s athletics and Olympic sports.

Through his efforts, donations in support of BC athletics have grown steadily, with alumni, parents and friends contributing a record $21 million in 2008, a 10 percent increase over the previous year and a 200 percent increase from 2003.

Furthermore, DeFilippo oversaw the successful transition to full membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference, thereby enhancing the University’s visibility on the national stage and helping to significantly increase athletic revenue in support of BC’s 31 varsity sports.

“I am extremely fortunate in that the only job I want is the one I have here at Boston College ,” said DeFilippo. "I look forward to working with Fr. Leahy and the University community, our student-athletes and staff towards our goal of making BC Athletics the best it can be.”

Prior to coming to Boston College , DeFilippo served as director of athletics at Villanova University from 1993-1997 and has worked in athletics administration at the University of Kentucky , the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg , and Vanderbilt University . He also coached football at Vanderbilt, Youngstown State University and Tennessee .

A 1973 graduate of Springfield College with a bachelor of science degree, DeFilippo earned a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Tennessee in 1974.

DeFilippo and his wife, Anne, are the parents of three children: Christine, John and Mary.

During the Jags firing I found myself at the center of a lot of BC speculation, gossip and positioning. While it was clear Gene had Father Leahy's ear and support, he is not universally loved and supported. There are many serious donors who have been turned off by him and who felt he mishandled the Jags firing and subsequent search. Some friends of Gene also wondered if the whole saga hadn't taken a lot out of him and if he would hang it up before his contract ran out. This extension brings more clarity to all the speculation. Gene obviously still has enough support around BC to get this extension. And he seems like he wants to hang around BC for a few more years.

Personally I think the extension was premature. Gene is currently under contract until 2011. Was he going anywhere? Did we need to give him more money given the current ticket sales and donation challenges? Also, what happens if the Spaz decision proves to be a poor one? Gene will get much of the blame for that. If things don't go well that means we could be buying out a football coach and AD.

At the end of the day I think Gene has been a good AD. But this premature extension speaks to some of the same issues that have surrounded his tenure: he has too much power and is unchecked in his decisions too often.

Regardless of the money, politics or personality, this now means Gene will probably hire our next football coach, basketball coach and hockey coach. Let's hope he gets wise with age and leaves us in good hands.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Basketball Season Grades: Biko Paris

In football the most popular guy is the backup quarterback. In basketball the backup point guard doesn't usually generate much excitement or longing. Yet this year you'd hear plenty of people wanting to see more of Biko Paris. The thought was the team was better with him at 1 and Rice at the 2 spot. While we will never know if Paris would have made more of a difference, we do know that Paris was very productive in his role this year.

Even though he is the closest thing we had to a point guard, Paris wasn't just a distributor. In the final weeks and in the ACC tourney he proved he could make big outside shots. Paris is also careful with the ball. His assist to turnover ratio was the best on the team.

While I think he'll play well in his expanded role next season, Paris still has room for improvement. He struggles a bit in the press. He doesn't take risks defensively but isn't particularly strong or able to just down top guards. We have no idea if he will sustain the same level of productivity if he starts logging 30+ minutes.

This is a glowing review for a guy who was only seventh in minutes played. He wasn't a game changer, but his steady hand and solid production was just what this team needed and will be a good foundation for next season.

Season Grade: B

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Baseball keeps bringing it and other links

Easter weekend means slow news around BC. Fortunately we have baseball and BJ Raji.

Baseball blasted Wake in the first game of a double header and then won the series by winning the second game. BC is now 9-6 in the ACC.

BJ Raji won't be at the NFL Draft. Smart move from his agents. If he went to the draft and slid even just one slot out of the top 10, BJ would be the focus of tons of negative publicity.

SI tried to spin their unofficial retraction on the Raji story.

BJ was one of the players featured in the's draft capsules.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Martinez update and other links

Former BC pitcher Joe Martinez took a line drive to the head (video is not for the faint of heart) in the Giants game Thursday. All the latest reports indicate he will be okay.

Nathan Gerbe won the AHL's rookie of the year award. Another Eagle Cory Schneider won the 2009 Bastien Memorial Award. It is given to the AHL's outstanding goalie of the year.

In this mailbag Jamie Newberg thinks BC's recruiting will be better under Spaz. I am not concerned either way and think the "new coach = better recruiting" is another crutch of the recruiting sites (although I like Newberg a lot).

Andy Katz -- who is easily the most plugged in national writer when it comes to BC hoops -- is very optimistic about next year's team. If Katz is saying and thinking good things than that means the staff is confident too.

UNC's National Championship win increased BC's ACC related revenue.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

SI buries Raji story and other links

SI, which first reported the Raji drug test story, has now removed it from their web site. No explanation or formal retraction was given. (Legal issues perhaps?) This saga is beyond strange. Who know what twist it will take next? posted a Q&A with Lars Anderson.

Baseball beat URI
to improve to 20-11.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Basketball Season Grades: Tyler Roche

In an earlier Basketball Grades post, I referenced the rebirth of Tyler Roche. A few folks scoffed. I think I was on the mark. How else would you describe a guy who was ignored for the first few weeks by the coaching staff, written off by most BC fans and then became a solid contributor?

With the youth movement and Trapani's transfer complete, Roche was sitting on the end of the bench early in the season. As he would later tell the media, the former starter felt frustrated. He knew he could contribute. But I am sure the staff had many of the same old fears regarding Roche: can't make the shots in game and is limited defensively.

Eventually he got on the floor and stepped up. He started knocking down his 3s. He didn't shut anyone down, but became a serviceable and fundamentally sound defender. Although not as tall or as versatile as Trapani, Roche served as a good sub when Trapani needed a rest.

Now just because he improved doesn't mean he doesn't have flaws. He made some curious decisions inbounding and doesn't have a great handle.

Roche will never be an all conference player. But the grade is in part based on expectations. He exceeded them this season.

Season Grade: B

Baseball Beanpot, latest on Raji and other links

No luck with anything Beanpot related for BC. The baseball team lost to struggling UMass in the opener of the Beanpot. They allowed the Minutemen to score three runs in the final two innings. BC plays Harvard in the consolation game next week.

The Raji parents have now come to B.J.'s defense on the drug test issue. In the Globe Reiss tries to get to the bottom of it all. The confusing part for me is that Raji's agents are now on the offensive saying they haven't heard from the NFL and using the NFL's silence as confirmation that test story was bogus. Yet I've read in a couple of places that the NFL doesn't release the test info to teams until April 20. So they are going around claiming innocence and there is a chance that they could still be burned by an NFL report. I think it is best that they all just take a wait and see and B.J. focuses on his team interviews.

Herzy is on the Lott Trophy watch list.

Softball beat Providence twice on Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

We have a winner

Congrats to "Matt Ryan's Hair" for winning the Eagle In Atlanta NCAA Tourney pool. He correctly picked 47 of 63 games and beat out 188 other blog readers. Drop me a line so that you can claim your prize.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Raji claims innocence via Facebook

Initially Raji's new agents protested the SI story and said he was innocent. BJ, who did not issue any public statement, updated his Facebook status Monday with this "Correction not guilty...Break that news."

He still is not issuing any formal denial or rebuttal, but it is implied from the Facebook post that he is innocent and has been cleared in some capacity. Yet as of Monday night there were no new stories related to the case or any leaks on the blogs or message boards. The only news was another press release from his agents still claiming he is innocent. Regardless of what Raji says in the coming weeks the story probably won't go away nor impact his draft status much.

(Thanks to Brad for the tip.)

Play football with Matt Ryan

Matt is having a football camp here in Atlanta. Although I can think of a dozen our so alums who would gladly play catch with him for a few hours, this is only open to kids 7-14. Matt is also providing a discount for the children of BC alums (see details below).

I am glad to see Matt doing this sort of thing. After he is done with these kids, do you think he'd hold a session for Davis, Tuggle and Boek?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Basketball Season Grades: Reggie Jackson

If you look at Reggie Jackson's stat line for the year, you wouldn't come away thinking he was a difference maker. Yet he was vital and did everything well without his weaknesses being exploited.

Any discussion of Jackson has to center on the Duke and North Carolina games. In both he stepped up and was unafraid to have the ball in his hands late in the game. That poise -- against college basketball heavyweights -- is an encouraging sign of things to come.

I also think Jackson's energy and defense were critical. The wiry guard mixed it up close to the basket for 14 blocked shots. Jackson also pushed the tempo off of turnovers. In a program that requires a lot of self motivation, Jackson provided a much needed spark.

If you are going to fault him for anything, it was his outside shooting and occasionally getting lost on defensive switches. But as I mentioned earlier, even those problems never cost us a game.

Jackson outperformed expectations and looks to be a key for the next three years. Next season he'll have to step up his game to fill some of the void left by Rice, but grading him on what he did this year, I give him high marks.

Season Grade: A-

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Scrimmage stuff and other links

BC held its first scrimmage of the spring. New coach, new staff, same storyline. The defense dominated. Dominique Davis struggled. From the few fans that attended, they said BC used mostly no huddle and many of the snaps had the QB under center. I wouldn't read too much into any of this. We have a long way to go until the opener.

CT linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis -- who originally committed under Jags -- is back in the fold.

Rice is now on the preDraft circuit and picked up Most Outstanding Player honors in a Detroit All Star game.

Although we only have three active QBs in the NFL, that is more than most schools. (Thanks to Miinn for the link.)

Win some, lose some: both baseball and softball split doubleheaders Saturday.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Roster updates and other links

BC released the latest football roster. Bios for all the new coaches are included. On the player front the news is really only in the omissions and new positions. John Elliot and Chris Hayden-Martin are off due to injury (and likely done as football players). No word on what happened to Jerry Kelly. The attrition rate is a reminder of why I don't like the practice of banking scholarships.

McGovern spoke with HD. He repeats what we know: it's Herzy and the youngsters.

The baseball game against NC State was postponed. There will be a double header Saturday.

The BCI guys posted this already but for those who missed it, Cablevision will be adding ESPN U on more of their systems. I get the U through DirecTV now and although the broadcasts have a low rent feel, it is nice to have all the games on the big screen.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Reefer madness: Raji adds twist to his draft day story

Every Draft Guru and ESPN talking head owes BJ Raji a big thank you. His stupid mistake just provided a second act to his draft story and fodder for the endless on-air debates that surround the NFL Draft. He's gone from this year's Mamula to this year's Warren Sapp.

After the season ended Raji was considered a late first rounder. Then he dominated the Senior Bowl practices. Buzz built. Then they actually played the Senior Bowl and looked even better. The media and NFL started taking notice. Raji followed this performance with a very good combine and Pro Day. Detroit even floated taking him first overall. This skyrocketing reminded many BC fans of Mamula's assent.

Now word leaked that he failed a drug test prior to his combine. This will only remind people of BJ's past issues. Do you spend a first round pick on a guy who hasn't shown consistent effort? Do you give millions to a guy who battles his weight? Do you build your defense around a guy who had problems in the classroom? Do you want to deal with the headache of having your new star deal with the drug question in every interview for the next 12 months? Do you want to take a guy who was too dumb, or oblivious, or undisciplined to avoid pot for a few weeks prior to a scheduled drug test? All these types of questions surrounded Warren Sapp in 1995 (ironically the same draft as Mamula).

In the end I think Raji will have a draft day similar to Sapp's. He'll slide a little further than he would have prior to the leak. He'll be embarrassed and over analyzed. And he will be a steal for whatever team gets him. He'll make good money but not as much as he would have a month ago. If he becomes a good pro no one will care. If he is a bust, everyone will say "I told you so."

Some regulars may wonder why I chose to focus on the media angle instead of BJ's boneheadedness. Partially because I don't think it will matter and partially because I am resigned to guys doing stupid things. They're human and just because you are a good football player doesn't mean you are a good decision maker. BJ's did a stupid thing and nothing I say can change that or bring a fresh take. My only hope is he changes his behavior and learns. But given his track record I think he'll remain talented and reckless.

Mock drafting BJ and other links

It is Mock Draft season where you see the endless possibilities of who will land where. This version has the Packers taking Raji 9th overall.

The BC Crew team had a strong weekend. The Varsity team went undefeated against New England Rowing Conference rivals New Hampshire and Rhode Island. (Thanks to John for the link.)

This may not seem like a big deal, but the men's tennis team is ranked for the first time in school history. Congrats to the guys.

Another big day for Tony Sanchez as the baseball team beat UConn. They take on NC State at home this weekend. Not sure what the weather will be like, but come out and support what looks to be one of the best BC baseball teams in some time.

The softball team won both ends of a double-header against Holy Cross Wednesday.

Joe Martinez won the Giants Spring Training award. Let's hope it is a sign that he's going to have a big season. (Thanks to Michael for the link.)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

End of the line for BC women hoops

The women's run through the WNIT ended tonight against USF. The game got away from them in the second half and they could never claw back in. It would have been nice to win something this spring. Regardless, the postseason experience will hopefully serve a a foundation for next season.

Critiquing Dinich and other links

(Sorry for the long break between Monday and Tuesday's posts. Every once in a while real life interferes with blogging. I'll try to get back to a more consistent schedule in the coming weeks.)

My connection with Heather Dinich has been sort of an inside joke among the blog crowd and on the BC message boards. But the reality is her work frustrates me to no end. Take her article on the BC qb battle. This simple piece represents the problem with ESPN's conference blogger concept. She offers no new information to the die hard BC fans and it's probably a little too long to engage a fan of another ACC program. I understand the limitations and time constraints of blogging. I know Dinich works hard. I just wish she would try to take new looks on old topics or at least get better quotes. She has great access, yet doesn't have Spaz (or Tranq) saying anything new about any of the QBs. It is a missed opportunity. I have plenty of missed opportunities on this blog, but this is a hobby and an outlet for me. She gets paid to blog. Hopefully I will have a Q&A with HD in the future and she can better explain ESPN's direction with these blogs.

The baseball team pounded Northeastern Tuesday.

Here is more on Petrecki's signing with San Jose.