Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Big East is the Big East again

The Big East started as a basketball conference made up of predominately Catholic colleges. With the news that the Catholic basketball schools are getting to keep the name "The Big East" and the association with Madison Square Garden, the Big East is what it always should have been. BC won't be part of the organization this time around, but this is an example of college teams making sound decisions, taking their legacy into their own hands and understanding the value of association. For all of our collective complaining about the "basketball schools" over the years, they finally did something right. That is a lesson to BC and our athletic leaders.

Overall this won't impact BC much. We will still play Providence regularly and it might speed up Notre Dame's transition to the ACC. But other than that, it should be status quo. It will diminish the exiled football schools a bit more. Until UConn and Cincinnati find better homes and better branding, they are sliding towards mid-majordom. That should help our recruiting in both areas and help when we recruit against USF and UCF in Florida.

I truly wish these programs success. Catholic schools helped make college basketball what it is today and it would be nice to see these guys rebuild their brand again.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Another ugly road loss

Is it too late to ask the ACC to move its 2013 basketball tournament out of the state of North Carolina? Tobacco Road has not been kind to our fledgling Eagles as NC State trounced us 82-64 Tuesday night. NC State is a talented team, but they are underachievers and there was no reason the score had to be so lopsided. Once again we dug ourselves in a hole early and never really climbed out. Even our comeback in the first half was undone by letting NC State make a buzzer-beating 3. Other thoughts:

-- Shooting 3s when down in the first half. Odio missed some and so did Rahon, but the intent is good.
-- Hanlan creating his own shot. If our offense is stagnant at any time, Donahue needs to give him the green light to penetrate. He's the only guy we have who can create his own shot.
-- Clifford finishing. He's not back, but at least he got off the ground to throw a few down.

-- Tentative offense. Just like Duke, NC State played very tight man early. What did BC do? Pass around the perimeter over and over. There is not enough motion in our motion offense at times. Someone needs to be aggressive!
-- Odio coming back down to Earth. The loss wasn't his fault by any means, but it did confirm that Odio is not Superman. He is going to have off nights. Tonight he was sloppy with the basketball and couldn't convert on his open looks.
-- Van Nest's decision making. I tweeted that he and Heckmann share the same basketball brain. Half hearted shots and passes that leave you wondering if he is playing in a fog or pressing or what?
-- Anderson's frustration. He got T'd up and didn't get involved in the offense until the second half. He is our best player and is often asked to do it all down low, bu the needs to keep his poise. And he needs to be an offensive factor even when he is not getting the ball in the post (rebounds, pick and rolls, etc.).

'Cuse facilities, Hockey loss, Bollman update and other links

Syracuse announced their plans to build an indoor practice facility. We all owe them a debt of thanks, because now this might finally light a fire under the BC administration for us to build one. If Syracuse can do it, so can we. Raising the money is not an issue. Finding a location is an issue but can be worked around. The issue is if our new AD and the rest of the University are willing to fight for this. I know people don't like the arms race aspect of big time sports, but we will be playing with one hand tied behind our back if we don't keep investing and upgrading our facilities.

The hockey team played its makeup game against UMass-Lowell Tuesday night and lost 4-2.

Remember when Dan Monteroso decommitted to sign with Purdue? At the time he was following former BC coach Jim Bollman. I wonder if Monteroso is second guessing himself now that Bollman is off to Michigan State. Bollman is just another reminder how mercenary the coaching business is and BC as an institution should not forget that. We -- the fans and the school leaders -- always place too much emphasis on a coach's desire to be at BC, when the coaches are just looking for the best job for themselves.

BC target Sam Hubbard is now getting Big Ten interest.

USA Today posted a pretty fair preview of our Spring Football outlook.

Congrats to the BC runners who made the ACC's All Academic team.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Friday is the new Thursday

Thursday night games were an honor. Friday night games are a chore. That seems to be an undercurrent among BC fans...even among those who commute to games from outside of New England. But Virginia Tech's decision to beg off of a Thursday night in 2013 is the surest sign that Thursday night games are now devalued across college football.

VT explained their desire to not host a Thursday game was the pain it caused their fan base and the logistics on campus. I don't know if I totally buy that. The Hokies never seem to have a problem filling the stands on a Thursday. My suspicion is now that the NFL plays weekly on Thursday, the game is less of a recruiting tool and less popular with fans. The TV ratings also reflect that the time slot has lost its luster.

That is why I am glad to see BC embrace the Friday option. Unlike Thursday, the ratings for the Friday games continue to grow. And playing in New England means we are not disrupting many high school football games, like Friday night games would in other parts of the country.

I am not a season ticket holder, so it is easy for me to overlook the commuting factor, but I would have to imagine a Friday night game is easier for people south of Connecticut too. The drive might take a little longer but showing up for work on the next day is no longer an issue.

I think we will learn to love the Friday game. I also think it will have a positive effect on marketing the program. BC won't have all that many chances at the spotlight over the next two years. We need to make the most of them.

An evening with Steve Addazio

Last night Brad Bates and Steve Addazio hosted a Town Hall. It was nice of Brad Bates to show up, but it was really the Steve Addazio show. Like a veteran performer, he mixed in a little comedy, a little drama and sent the crowd home happy. Per the recappers:

Make 'Em Laugh
Last night Addazio broke out his Spaz impression! No one got a picture of it, but I now have a new white whale. I must see our new coach openly mock our old sad sack coach. I guess it involved crossing your arms and sulking. I don't get the sense that this was premeditated. Addazio seems more emotional and seat of your pants in these types of situations. But his instinct to mock Spaz was right on with his audience. It also shows a sense of humor, something that has been sorely lacking around football for a few years.

Poetry Night at the Coffee House
Addazio read his new favorite poem the "The Oak Tree" by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr. He read this early this winter at some booster meetings. A bombastic, rah-rah football guy stopping for poetry is certainly different, but once again, it went over well with the crowd. Here is the text:

"The Oak Tree" 
by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr.

A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the Oak Tree's leaves away.
Then snapped its boughs 
and pulled its bark
until the Oak was tired and stark. 

But still the Oak Tree held its ground 
while other trees fell all around. 
The weary wind gave up and spoke, 
"How can you still be standing Oak?" 

The Oak Tree said, I know that you 
can break each branch of mine in two, 
carry every leaf away, 
shake my limbs and make me sway. 

But I have roots stretched in the earth, 
growing stronger since my birth. 
You'll never touch them, for you see 
they are the deepest part of me. 

Until today, I wasn't sure 
of just how much I could endure. 
But now I've found with thanks to you, 
I'm stronger than I ever knew.

Always be selling
Ultimately this will be decided on the field, but Addazio does understand selling his vision to BC fans. He said he dreams of driving up to Alumni as it is surrounded by tailgating fans. He talked about fans noise and making the game day experience more exciting. He emphasized the he's in charge of recruiting and thinks BC is a sleeping giant. It was exactly what everyone wants to hear.

If not for his final season with Temple, I would be chugging the Addazio Kool-Aid. I like his coordinators, I like his passion and I like his work ethic. Now he just needs to translate those things onto the field. One thing is clear though from these meetings: Addazio knows how to work a room. Comedy and poetry are a tough tight rope for anyone to walk in front of a crowd and even more so when you are public figure and football coach. Most of his peers try to remain deadly serious (think TOB or Saban). Addazio is letting us see who he really is. Like anything else this is risky. But if he wins, it will make him that much more endearing.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thoughts on the 2013 Football Schedule

The ACC finally released their football schedule. The BC-specific schedule is here:

August 31 -- Villanova
September 6 -- Wake Forest
September 14 -- at USC
September 28 -- Florida State
October 5 -- Army
October 12 -- at Clemson
October 26 -- at North Carolina
November  2 -- Virginia Tech
November 9 -- at New Mexico State
November 16 -- NC State
November 23 -- at Maryland
November 30 -- at Syracuse

Nova! The big news was Villanova replacing Stony Brook as the opener. Adding the Wildcats was all the result of some musical chairs pulled off by ESPN and the ACC, so that Pitt (Villanova's previously scheduled  opponent) could play a conference game against FSU opening weekend. This is a win-win for BC. We get an easier "W" against a lessor FCS opponent and we get a somewhat more appealing game. Villanova has the cross-demographic appeal to old school whalepants fans and the younger SuperFans who have friends at the fellow Catholic school.

First Friday. We've played plenty of Friday games before, but this year's game against Wake Forest represents our first official Friday under the revised ACC TV deal. This will be a test of our attendance and TV appeal.

Manageable dates. On paper our toughest games will be Florida State and Clemson. Prior to FSU we get a bye and play Army at home before our trip to Death Valley. That should give the staff plenty of time to prepare. One of the most frustrating aspects of the Spaz regime was our cowardly gameplans against elite teams. Hopefully the schedule allows Daz to have the whole team up for these games.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hockey takes away the sting of bad basketball loss

One Sunday, two games. The first was painful and the second could have been but had a happy ending.

At this point I don't think any of us know which version of the basketball team will show up. Each iteration of the team has its own challenges, but sometimes they compete and look ready. The other times it is like they are playing in slow motion and overwhelmed by the situation. Sunday's loss to Duke falls into the overwhelmed category. The team started okay, but one Duke run was all it took for the wheels to fall off. Turnovers were an issue in the first half. We also couldn't even get good shots off. The refs didn't help, but they weren't the reason we lost. I could list multiple gripes about what went wrong, but the thing that is still gnawing hours later is the tempo in the second half. We were down 20+ and the team was still working the possessions and passing the ball around the perimeter. I didn't expect a furious comeback but it would have been nice to try it. Or chuck more 3s! Or do something! Part of "teaching these guys to win" is about playing for 40 minutes. If we are down 30 and there is still 15 minutes left, the guys have to play with a sense of urgency. To fight for everything. That sort of intensity will carry over to other games and pay dividends down the road. It is the sort of killer instinct we might be missing.

That intensity is part of the Hockey team's culture. They kept the pressure on in OT and scored the game winner with minutes left. The win left BC in fourth first place [My mistake. Thanks for the heads up] within Hockey East, which will be critical come playoff time. The team's next game is Tuesday.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Keeping a presence in Cincy and other links

Shortly after the staff was assembled, Addazio also introduced their respective recruiting territories. Ohio was listed but there was no special mention of Cincinnati. Since Southwest Ohio has been a critical pipeline for BC for nearly 15 years, I had hoped that we would protect our base there. Now it looks like we are still going to hit our traditional feeder schools as BC has offered St. X's Nick Carovillano

Most of you probably read this by now, but Addazio's Q&A with ESPN is worth your time. Even though he has yet to even coach a game, I feel like I've changed my opinion on Addazio a dozens times. It will probably wear thin after a while, but for now I still like his passion and confidence.

Women's Hockey tied Vermont.

BC is going to be part of next Fall's 2k Sports Classic.

Lacrosse lost to Ohio State.

The baseball team lost to East Carolina on Friday.

The second half of this article mentions Montel Harris's talking point to the GMs at the Combine. It is a pretty simple explanation.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tweets of the Week

New feature alert! Every week I am going to highlight some of the BC-related tweets of the week. If you have any suggestions, you can always post them in the comments, tweet them or email me.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The pre-Combine consensus on BC's three prospects

The NFL Combine kicks off this week and three BC players have a chance to make a name for themselves. After our disappointing season, I was surprised that our three seniors Emmett Cleary, Chris Pantale and John Wetzel even earned invites. More accomplished BC guys have been snubbed in the past. But even with the Combine opportunity, none of the three Eagles are sure to get drafted. All will need to use this time to change perception or get one or two teams to fall in love with them. Here is what the experts are critiquing prior to their workouts.

Emmett Cleary

WEAKNESSES Must gain additional strength in his lower body in an NFL weight program, usually widens to anchor but can get put on his heels by better power rushes if losing the hand battles. Not the quickest of feet. Height gives him some stiffness running in the open field, also makes him vulnerable to slipping off blocks or overextending after initial contact.

Chris Pantale 

BOTTOM LINE The Eagles’ starting tight end has not accumulated tremendous production throughout his career. While this is definitely in part due to the offense he played in, he does not profile as a great receiver at the next level. However, he should be a solid pass catcher, who also possesses a strong blocking mentality.

John Wetzel

STRENGTHS Tall and thick throughout his frame that gives him great strength as a run-blocker. Explodes from a three-point stance, making him tough for tackles to hold their ground when he crashes the edge and making him capable of taking out linebackers at the second level. Strong punch, consistent in his aiming point. When balanced and patient in pass protection, extends his long arms and move his feet well enough to eclipse small rush ends -- and pulling off a bull rush against him is extremely difficult because of his strong anchor.

USBWA honors Dick Kelley

As I've written in the past, BC's Dick Kelley is a fixture on the college basketball circuit. So it should be no surprise that the U.S. Basketball Writers Association named Dick the male recipient of their Most Courageous Award. The organization and BC will present the award to Dick at our home game against Virginia on March 3.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More Outlow stuff and other links

Addazio's first real commitment spoke to ESPN about BC. Based on Outlow's comments, you can tell Addazio is pitching BC's academics (as he should), but he's also selling early playing time. Hopefully the ability to play early carries across this whole recruiting class.

The Red Sox will only use their relievers against BC in our annual exhibition Spring Training game.

Here is a Q&A with Nick Clancy.

This is about Nebraska, but I think it is an interesting read on geography, player development and how recruiting has evolved. Because Nebraska has to look beyond its borders for talent, I thought there were a lot of lessons for BC to learn.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Baby steps? BC puts Maryland away

There was a moment...a moment of doubt that crept into all of our minds. You know the one I am talking about. In the final two minutes when Maryland hit a three and we followed it with a turnover. Were we about to watch BC blow another close game at home? But this time we hung on and closed out Maryland 69-58. It is our fourth ACC win (matching last season's total) and hopefully a sign of this team's growing confidence and composure. Here are my other thoughts (and as always you are encouraged to leave your own thoughts in the comments section):

-- Hanlan taking over. With most of the team having an off night, Hanlan did a little bit of everything. Down the stretch he also dominated our possessions with a lot of dribbling...and of course he made some clutch shots and free throws. He's cruising towards ACC Freshman of the Year awards.
-- Odio!!! Calling him a good energy guy or a change of pace is underselling his stellar play the past few weeks. He's a very, very good help defender. He's a good finisher and a good rebounder. Throw in some heady plays and we've got a rising star on our hands. Who would have guessed that it would be Eddie Odio who made the "leap" this year?
-- Strategy on Len. Anderson did most of the heavy lifting in guarding their big man, but our overall gameplan was solid. We doubled and also made it difficult for him to even get good positioning on his post ups.
-- Mad bombing. We've been in a bad habit of abandoning the 3 when it is not falling early. Despite missing a ton of 3s in the first half, we kept taking them. That sort of mindset is critical for a team built like us. Plus even on off nights, a 3 is a better offensive efficiency shot than a long two.

-- Anderson's offense. I applaud him for taking on Len, but he still needs to deliver on both ends. Even if he is not taking shots, he needs to be more careful with the ball and grab more rebounds.
-- The transition D.  We put ourselves in a huge first half hole by allowing their marksman (Aronhalt) to get off clean looks from long range. Those are the type of careless lapses that have cost us games and make me question if the guys are learning.

Addazio gets first verbal of 2014 recruiting class

After the disappointing close to the transitional recruiting class, many (including me) were looking for Addazio to clean up in his 2014 class. It is off to a good start with the first verbal Marcus Outlow. The Connecticut RB has a solid offer list and will probably be a highly rated recruit when the 2014 rankings come out. Now let's add some more talent. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Opening up the video vault

Every once in a while I step across a link to BC minutia and I get excited to share it. I know that only someone reading a BC blog like this is looking for a random assortment of partial BC's football broadcasts. If you haven't been and are looking for one of those classic internet time eaters, go to the page and watch 15 or 20 minutes of one of these old games.

The page is heavy on the Flutie era, but there is a freshness to watching these games that I rarely get. I've seen the Miami game a million times and the West Virginia game is often on ESPN Classic, but I've never seen the Alabama or Penn State games prior to this page. Now go enjoy ten hours of random BC watching.

As a parting gift for the Addazio fans, here is a clip of BC vs Temple in 1984:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hockey ties UNH and other links

We hoped that winning the Beanpot would be a spring board but our first few post Beanpot games have been frustrating. Following Friday's loss, the team tied UNH Sunday afternoon. They still trail Merrimack in the Hockey East standings.

Marcellus Bowman signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

On the recruiting front, BC was one of the first to offer a scholarship to Florida WR Garrett Johnson.

Women's Basketball lost to Miami.

Women's Ice Hockey shut out UConn.

Baseball lost to Marist.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beyond Deja vu: Hoops loses another close game

This is becoming a bit absurd. With a 66-69 loss to Florida State , BC fell to 4-8 in close games (decided by five points or less). We are 1-6 in close ACC games. Statistically more of these games should be wins. Although each game is a separate event, the more close games you play over time, the more likely your record in them should be around .500. So why isn't it happening for BC? A little is bad luck, but it is not all random. This game, like others, saw enough wasted possessions and questionable defense to undo any chance of a win. Here are my other thoughts:

-- More offensive production from Heckmann. This is his best stretch of play since last year's early season games. He is playing with much more confidence and getting off shots with pressure.
-- Odio adding offense. Huge 3 and a solid overall day. At this point he should probably get more than 20 minutes a game.
-- Making FTs. We wouldn't have had a chance to tie it, if we didn't make our late Free Throws.

-- Anderson taking the final 3. He's our best player and got a clean look, so I understand why it happened. But he's only making 23% from 3. You would want Lonnie, Rahon, Heckmann or even Hanlon taking that shot instead.
-- Taking too many mid-range jumpers. It is no man's land, especially with the type of offense we run. If we aren't getting better looks or opportunities to drive to the basket, then attempt more 3s.
-- Defensive breakdowns. I am encouraged that we used more zone than we have in weeks, yet it wasn't a cure all. The guys need to be more decisive on switches and getting back to their assignments.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Women's Hoops beats UVA and other links

The Women's Basketball team defeated Virginia Thursday night. The win improved their ACC record to 4-9. They play Miami on Sunday.

The Redskins signed Ron Brace. Let's hope a new system and new team give his career a boost.

BC is looking at New York DT prospect Thomas Holley. BC also offered Ohio WR Derek Kief.

The New York Times quoted BC's Warren Zola on the insurance ramifications of the Nerlens Noel injury.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who had it best?

After yesterday's post on the worst of times, I thought it might make sense to determine whose four years on the Heights were the best. As always leave your opinion below.

Class of 2008

  • Four winning and exciting seasons of Football
  • Matt Ryan's various comebacks topped off by the Virginia Tech game
  • The final year in Big East basketball and our strong start
  • The Sweet 16 run in 2006
  • GameDay on campus for basketball and football
  • A National Championship in Hockey
  • The move to the ACC
The only dark clouds during this four years were all about the near misses. We almost went to the Fiesta Bowl when they were freshmen. We almost won the ACC Tournament against Duke in 2006. We lost the ACC Championship. We came up short in a few Frozen Fours. But overall this was a great four year run.

Class of 1994
  • David Gordon's kick
  • Knocking off North Carolina en route to the Elite Eight
  • The rise of Tom Coughlin
  • A Thrilling Beanpot win in 1994
The highs for this group were really high, but there was also plenty of lowpoints. Hockey endured the Cedorchuck mess. Prior to the Elite Eight run, JOB's basketball teams underachieved. Football was great but they still only witnessed two winning seasons.

Class of 1985
  • Four years of Doug Flutie culminating with the Heisman and Miracle in Miami
  • A Frozen Four appearance in 1985
  • Four really good basketball years, including one Elite Eight and one Sweet 16
  • One Beanpot title
In my opinion this was probably the ultimate time to be a BC fan. The Flutie years changed so much about the school and where were are today. Flutie was also the most exciting player in college sports. That is something we've never come close to recapturing. He also was embraced within Boston. Maybe that had more to do with him being from Natick than BC capturing the imagination of the locals, but that added to the moment. The basketball run was very underrated too. BC was playing really good basketball and the Big East was at its apex. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Close one finally goes BC's way

Aside from the win, the most encouraging thing about tonight was the team's reaction. As Austin Tedesco tweeted, they didn't act like this was special or they got some monkey off their back. This was a close game that went our way, but also a reminder that we should be better than our record. And even in victory, we didn't play to our potential. If not for some bad decisions on Wake's part in the final minute, who knows how this would have played out. I am not really relieved nor excited. I guess I am a bit hopeful. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the start of a strong finish to the season. Other thoughts:

-- Heckmann's offensive game. It wasn't a perfect night for him (his turnovers were typical Heckmann) but there was a confidence that has been missing. Heckmann has enough skills to create mismatches offensively. It was nice to see him finally use them. 
-- Making free throws. The foul line has been our undoing in close games. Tonight it was a strength (18-21).
-- Aggressive Defense. There were plenty of boneheaded defensive moments but at least the guys are getting more aggressive. 

-- Anderson settling for the midrange shots. He wasn't converting and it takes our best offensive rebounder away from the basket.
-- Careless passes. I am glad to see the team do more backdoor cuts, but the execution needs to be improved. 
-- The final shot. I know he got fouled and made his shots, but that is the best we could do? Rahon throwing himself towards the basket with two guys on him? After so many questionable late possessions, I would hope for something better.

Who had it worse?

The only thing more annoying than an older person going on about how rough he had it back in the day, is the young person lacking perspective who whines about how bad things are. When @DShaw31 asked me if he and his current seniors had just experienced the worst four years of BC sports I had to respond. These young spoiled kids with their instant gratification don't know how good they have it. Of course anyone who has followed BC sports knows that MY FOUR YEARS were the worst in school history. No one had it as rough as me and my fellow '98ers. But in an effort to put some reason behind the argument, I tried to construct a logical measurement of whose years were worst. For the purpose of the debate, I am only capturing what happened with Football, Men's Basketball and Men's Hockey. I am not trying to slight our women's teams or Soccer or Sailing. I think when discussing BC as a "fan" , the experiences are really centered on the Big 3. If and when people starting showing up for other sports, then we can quantify their impact on the campus physique. Now onto the debate.

As much as I want to say 1998 had it the worst. It was probably 1999 the really captured BC's lowpoint. Let me run through it.

The sports pain of the BC Class of 1999

  • Four losing football seasons. 
  • "Gambling scandal"
  • Losing to Army and Temple when both were terrible
  • The basketball meltdown after JOB left
  • Losing to Notre Dame on the four straight Mike Cloud runs.
  • Losing in the NCAA Hockey Finals in Boston to Michigan.
  • Watched BU win four straight Beanpots.
Of the highpoints for '99ers, BC won the Big East Basketball Tournament when they were Sophomores. The Hockey team followed the loss to Michigan with another Frozen Four run. Although they suffered through two bad hockey seasons, by the time the Class of 1999 graduated, it was clear that Hockey was back.

But they are not the only group to feel pain.

The sports pain of the BC Class of 1991
  • Four losing football seasons
  • Terrible hockey season their freshman year.
  • Three losing basketball seasons

The Class of 1991 did have three good hockey seasons and made the NCAAs three straight times. In fact when they graduated, Len Ceglarski was the winningest coach in college hockey. While the 1991 crew didn't have the off the field drama like the 1999ers experienced, the problem they faced was boring, losing sports and no hope for the future. When they graduated Bicknell was still in charge. JOB showed no signs that he could turn the corner and Ceglarski was on his farewell tour. I don't think they left campus as happy BC fans.

As always there are others with scars. People who graduated in 1979 saw BC's winless football season, a mediocre stretch of hockey and the end of Bob Zuffelato's tenure with two losing seasons.

I understand the current seniors being frustrated. They had four years of Spaz and watched Steve Donahue rebuild during their final two seasons. But I don't have any sympathy for them. They witnessed two National Championships in Hockey with a possible third on the way. BC won four Beanpots. And as boring as the Spaz era was, we went to two bowl games and hosted GameDay on campus. Not great, but certainly not our lowpoint.

I am sure this will fire up debate, so feel free to make a case for another era in the comments. Be honest with regards to the highs and lows since that is what being a BC fan is all about. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Recruiting news and other links

At his Signing Day press conference, Steve Addazio said 2014 recruiting was already in full swing. You can start to see some of the activity based on the recruits talking to the media. BC has an offer into Florida QB Sean White. Illinois OL prospect Chase Gianacakos just visited campus. Despite an ACL injury, BC has interest in Florida WR prospect Charles Nelson

Because of the Rangers's schedule Chris Kreider was able to see his old teammates win another Beanpot

After playing 2012 in the Arena League, the Seattle Seahawks are giving Will Blackmon another shot at the NFL.

The NFL invited Montell Harris to the Combine. Based on how he ended his season, you would have to think he's back to full strength. Let's hope he gets a shot at the next level.

Finally, BC produced a 'Tribute to Jerry York" If you haven't already watched, click on the Youtube video below. It is well worth your time.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Four in a row! BC wins another Beanpot

(Pic via Mook Williams)

It's a regional tournament. It comes in the middle of the season. It doesn't really mean much. Yet winning the Beanpot never gets old. Tonight's victory was our fourth in a row.

We broke things open in the second period. Gaudreau scored twice and Milner had 20 saves. The team resumes its normal schedule on Friday against Merrimack. Will this be the spark to another championship run? In past seasons BC has broken out of doldrums after the Beanpot. We have enough talent and the right guy behind the bench. After all York has been through this year, it would be nice to end the season with another trophy.

Beanpot Championship Game Watches

Tired of shoveling? Or maybe you live somewhere warm and saw all that snow dump on New England and longed for a touch of Boston. Either way, joining up with your fellow Eagles to watch the Beanpot is a great idea. If your local Chapter is having an event and it is not listed, post it below or email me.

Atlanta Game Watch 
Taco Mac
The Prado, Roswell Rd
Atlanta, GA

Dallas Game Watch
Christies Sports Bar
2811 Mckinney Ave Ste 22
Dallas, TX 75204 

Fairfield County, CT Game Watch 
Tavern on 7
611 Main Ave
Norwalk, CT 06851 

New York City Game Watch
Bounce Sporting Club
55 W 21st St

Philadelphia Game Watch
Fox & Hound
1501 Spruce Street
Center City
($5 validated parking available)

Washington, D.C. Game Watch
Irish Whiskey Public House
1207 19th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20036

Seattle Game Watch
Buckley's in Belltown
2331 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yet another close Conte loss

It seems like I am constantly revisiting the "moral victory" aspect of this basketball season, but what else can you do when the team keeps losing close game? Sunday night's loss to Duke was fun and pulled me in, yet even in the final moments, I had real doubts about our chance to win. Does that invalidate the previous 39 minutes of fun basketball? Does it make it any less fun to watch Odio dunk it or Hanlan intercept a pass while running in a full sprint? No. But that doesn't mean we should feel good about coming close in another loss. There are eight regular season games left. This team needs to win at least three of them. The close games are proof enough that they can. Other thoughts:

-- Odio dunk! and everything else. In a season full of empty moments and lack of progress, Odio has been one of the standouts. He's not even a space filler anymore. He's bringing legitimate energy and defense when he is on the floor. We are better with him than without. He doesn't need to shoot much. He doesn't need to handle the ball. He just needs to play smart, don't make any turnovers and be aggressive near the basket. It was a good showing. 
-- The Defensive game plan. I am not sure which assistant was responsible for tonight's prep but it was well done. Even as Duke adjusted in the second half, we countered with more ball pressure and trying to cut off Plumlee's passing lanes.
-- Hanlan's driving. I will get to the final shot below, but thank goodness Hanlan is willing and able to drive to the basket. So many of the guys are passive under the slightest pressure and we waste so much time passing around the perimeter. Hanlan might miss FGs, but good things are happening when he drives.

-- The final possessions. Rahon's clanker was terrible. It was a good look but bad, bad shot. That's on him. The Hanlan possession was as frustrating but for different reasons. I would have liked for him to shoot earlier in the shot clock. Why did Donahue have him wait so long? Anderson got the rebound (and was fouled). If Hanlan shoots earlier in the possession we might get another shot. The risk is Duke answers, but when you are down a point, that is very secondary. First get the lead! Then worry about protecting it.
-- Abandoning the 3. We were cold and were keeping it close regardless, but that doesn't excuse not attempting more. 
-- Officiating. It is cliches to argue that Duke gets all the calls, but they do. Cook knew he fouled Anderson on the last play. You could see how he reacted. But there were about ten different times that they could have whistled Cook earlier. Duke's guards were very aggressive with their hands. It is not the reason why we lost and is not new, but needs to be mentioned when it is egregious. 

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Bubble trouble

As BCI first posted via @FaceOffKB5, the bubble over Alumni Stadium collapsed due to the blizzard. Mother Nature can wreak havoc on even the most sturdy of buildings, but this is not unexpected. Inflatable roofs don't do well under heavy snow. You only need to look at the issues the Silverdome and the Metrodome had with their inflatable roofs. I am sure the clean up will be relatively quick and I would hope BC has insurance for this sort of thing but it does raise the facilities question again. We need an permanent indoor practice facility. Patch working solutions is just going to lead to issues like this again.

A glimpse into how BC is selling the program to recruits

We all love BC, but how do you convince a high school prospect that it is the right program for him? Below is a recruiting video the Football program put together to sell our history, sell Boston, sell Addazio and sell the opportunity to get to the NFL. It's a solid package and should be what we emphasize. While short on recent highlights, all Addazio needs to say to kids is that just means more opportunity for you to play and contribute to BC's history of excellence. 

Friday, February 08, 2013

Weather screws everything up

This will be a weird weekend for BC sports. The weather has already forced the rescheduling of the men's hockey game against UMass-Lowell and the women's game against Providence.

The women's basketball team got out of town early before the storm and are waiting it out in North Carolina. They play Wake Forest on Sunday.

Men's basketball is scheduled to play Duke on Sunday on ESPNU. I've asked BC for an update. I assume that as long as the Blue Devils can get to Conte the game will take place. That will be a disappointment for snowed-in fans, but I think ESPN's schedule and Duke's travel needs will trump any desire to help BC's basketball attendance.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Kevin Lempa back at BC for third go around

Steve Addazio hired Kevin Lempa and now officially has an NCAA approved 10-man staff. Lempa should be a familiar name to BC fans as this is his third stint with the program. He was on Bicknell's staff in the 1980s and then returned to BC in the later TOB years. He is a decent hire and a bit of a BC bad penny (which I'll explain) and I am okay with having him on board.

Lempa likes BC, likes the area, is a pretty good coach and an underrated recruiter of New England high schools.  That makes him a positive addition to the staff. He also has ties to Don Brown, so I am sure that was a factor in the decision to bring him back. But after his last go around, I never thought he would be at BC again.

Like most work places, football staffs can easily form cliques. Sometimes it is by age or race or which side of the ball you are on. In the later TOB years, Lempa was sort of the man without a country. Like many of the other staffers with New England roots, he wanted to stay, but wasn't given that option by Gene, Spaz (and therefore Jags). He left without even cleaning out his office. But unlike most of the guys who weren't hand selected by Gene, Lempa was not offered a job with NC State. Fortunately for him, he caught on with Maryland.

And because he didn't follow TOB to Raleigh, Lempa felt free to go on record with ESPN with regards to the Ryan Glasper story (my take, ESPN's). While the Glasper story reflected poorly on TOB, I thought Lempa's association with it was enough to make him persona non grata now. The doctors criticized in the situation are still with the program. Perhaps Lempa's loyalty to the players and guys like Glasper was enough to overlook any issues related to the story.

I wish the staff was a little younger, but overall it is a nice mix. You have nice base of institutional knowledge, talent scouts and solid positional teachers. It should be a strong spring.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Addazio gets a pass on this recruiting class

Steve Addazio made his reputation on recruiting. Given his big, fiery persona, you can see how he can connect with high school kids. While opinions varied on the Addazio hire, even the most pessimistic BC fans conceded that he would probably improve our talent base. Today he announced his first official BC recruiting class...and it was the worst in the conference and the worst BC class since national services started tracking these things. Once again the divided fan base agreed on one thing: this was a disappointing first effort from our new head coach. I understand how it could be a letdown, but I don't blame Addazio for this class. It is not his fault and not all bad news.

Transition classes are always a bit of a crapshoot. You have a mix of players from two staffs and a compressed timeline that usually involves rerecruiting your own players due to the coaching change. At a place like BC -- where we honor all prior commitments and have less natural attrition -- transition classes are even more unique  If a coach doesn't have a half a dozen aces up his sleeve, you just hope he can keep the class together. Addazio for the most part did that. He had four defectors, but all things considered, that is not terrible. The guys who left, either got better offers, followed a former BC assistant or felt they weren't going to fit in BC's new offense. No one left because they didn't like or trust Addazio. Most had good things to say about BC and the new staff. That won't improve our rankings but it is a good sign for the future.

Size matters too. Because this was a smaller class, Addazio couldn't go out and take a bunch of flyers on guys who might pan out. Instead he backfilled as needed. He was conservative in his roster management. He could have loaded up this class with at least four more guys and just bet on attrition. But he didn't. Once again, BC is better off keeping one of our current players in the program another season than trying to land a recruit no one feels strongly about. The payoff for this small class is that Addazio will have two large classes the next two seasons. If he is a great recruiter, then the 2014 and 2015 classes should be highly ranked.

Although Spaz&Daz didn't land elite players, there are still some things to appreciate about this class:
-- It is heavy on Ohio players. This is and will be a key territory for any BC coach
-- Despite our terrible season, we were still relevant in ACC territories like Florida and Georgia
-- Addazio landed fifth year transfer Matt Patchan. This is one of his former Florida players. Patchan is injury prone, but if healthy he will contribute. As I've written previously BC is a perfect school for fifth year players.  We are never going heavy on JUCOs, so it may be the only chance we can bring in mature players who can contribute immediately.

Addazio did his usual spiel at the press conference and Flynn Fund. He didn't distance himself from the new crop of kids but his comments confirmed his focus is on the 2014 class. He will need to strike it big because BC isn't going to get a big spark from this class. We can blame Spaz, but Addazio can't. These are his guys now. Let's hope he coaches them up.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Not even close

Our first loss to Miami was a heart breaker. Tuesday's loss was never in doubt once Miami took an early lead. A little surge at the start of the second half narrowed the deficit, but Miami killed the momentum with some tough 3s. The Hurricanes are playing good basketball and will always cause problems for us with their size, but that doesn't excuse the poor play. We seemed real tentative on offense and over passed many times. Here are my other thoughts:

-- The first half Defense. We weren't down in the first 20 minutes simply because Miami overpowered us (see first dislike). Instead we played good defense and with intensity. And the guys guarding their big men moved well and didn't just hack away.
-- Anderson's ability to score close. He had some nice moves inside against Miami's giants. In fact his wide open mid-range shots on the pick and pop were the problem.

-- Hesitation and timidness on offense. Time and again our guys would pass decent looks. Too often that "extra" pass led to nothing. We wasted time and forced some bad shots towards the end of the shot clock.
-- Odio taking 3s. The other team's are forcing the issue by leaving him open, but I would prefer he play closer to the basket and grab more boards.
-- Rahon's night. This happens to freshmen. But Hanlon over came a cold shooting night by getting better shots close to the basket. Rahon stopped looking for his shot.

Rouse commits to BC

New York Running Back Tyler Rouse committed to BC Tuesday and will sign a Letter of Intent Wednesday. Although he was New York's Gatorade Player of the Year, Rouse didn't attract much FBS-level interest due to his height. He's only 5'8, however, his productivity shows he can carry a big load.

Congrats to Tyler and let's hope his decision means National Signing Day is a good one for BC. Addazio's reputation as a recruiter is not exclusively about sales. He's also supposed to have a good eye for talent. I hope this is an example of him finding a diamond in the rough.

Monday, February 04, 2013

BC wins Beanpot opener

After a tight first period, BC scored to go up 1-0 going into the first break. From there we controlled defeating Harvard 4-1. BC will now face...NORTHEASTERN in the Finals next Monday. Yes, you read that correctly, BU lost in the first game. Too bad. 

I wanted to note that the students really came through tonight. It was referenced on twitter, but you could see and hear it on the NESN feed. They were loud and ready to cheer. Let's keep it going next week in the Finals.

Division shuffle may mean end of "VT rivalry"

Jason Staples broke the news Monday that the ACC is likely to shake up the divisions with the departure of Maryland and the arrival of Louisville. Instead of the Cardinals taking Maryland's spot in the Atlantic, Louisville would join the Coastal and Georgia Tech would move to the Atlantic. As a BC fan in Atlanta, I love the idea, but that is not the big news. Because Georgia Tech and Clemson are now cross-division rivals, having them in the same division would require adjustments for everyone. Staples speculates that Clemson would now face Virginia Tech annually. If that happens and the other "rivalries" stay the same, that leaves BC facing Louisville or Virginia annually.

While we do have some history with Virginia Tech, I wouldn't shed a tear over dropping them from our schedule. Since we joined the conference, the Hokies have been the most consistent program and hurt our win-loss record. Even if they fade a bit as Beamer ages, I still think it will be a tough game for any BC team. Plus the location is hardly inviting for any of our fans.

Louisville as a annual opponent won't excite the old-timers at Alumni, but it is not a bad game or rivalry for us. They are good now, but based on the historical strengths of each program, we should be able to compete with them. Making trips to Louisville also benefits our recruiting in Cincinnati and southwest Ohio. And although it is a "southern" school, geographically the game would be a nice road trip for our fans in Ohio and Indiana.

Virginia probably excites more people and is near a huge alumni base, but I don't think it will happen. My prediction is that the two more established ACC schools in UVA and Georgia Tech will ask to be paired together and let the newbies in BC and Louisville have each other.

This does confirm that my idea of a "Big East" and "ACC" divisional mix is dead, but getting rid of the Hokies is a nice compromise.

Beanpot Game Watches UPDATED

Since football didn't inspire much passion last season and the basketball team doesn't seem poised for a postseason run, the hockey team might be the only reason for BC fans around the country to gather for a while. With the Beanpot kicking off tonight, some Alumni Chapters are hosting Game Watches. If your chapter is and it is not listed, email me or post in the comments.

Atlanta Game Watch
Taco Mac
The Prado, Roswell Rd
Atlanta, GA

Fairfield County, CT Game Watch
Tavern on 7
611 Main Ave
Norwalk, CT 06851

New York City Game Watch
The Royal NYC
127 4th Ave

Washington, D.C. Game Watch 
Irish Whiskey Public House
1207 19th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20036

Seattle Game Watch 
Buckley's in Belltown
2331 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Boyle to UConn, Kuechly honored and other links

Tim Boyle made it official: he will sign with UConn instead of BC this week. I usually wish bad things upon commitments that spurn BC, but I can't blame Boyle for this. He wasn't really wanted in Chestnut Hill. Best of luck to him in the future.

Luke Kuechly won the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

The Women's Basketball Team lost to Maryland.

Guest Blog: @eagle98alum shares his thoughts on the second town hall

Regular reader and BC twitterer @eagle98alum attended Brad Bates second Town Hall this weekend. Somewhat skeptical going in, he felt much better about BC's direction after the meeting. Here are his thoughts:

"Bates greeted everyone at the door. There were about 15 tables setup with a BC athletic dept representative at each one. Our table had Ciaran Cullen, the Assistant Director of the Flynn Fund. The meeting started off with Bates introducing Coach Addazio. Daz told us about his staff and what they each bring to the university. He wants great men, fathers and husbands on his sideline. He loves Ryan Day. He mentioned that Day was getting offers recently as last week for other jobs but Ryan is committed here and loves BC. This team will be tough and aggressive on both sides if the ball. 

Several people were allowed to ask questions. Some of which were about his offensive scheme. Addazio said he's done every offense and that they all work. He emphasized he wants a balanced offense but really wants to run the ball. He believes in smash mouth football. Daz was asked that in recent years our lines have been undersized and if he's going to look into getting bigger guys. Daz said when he looks for linemen, he isn't concerned with height and weight. He mentioned, Mike Pouncey who is 6 feet. He wants a lineman who has speed and will smash guys down the field. He loves seeing an OL follow a RB down the field, smashing Lbs and DBs along the way. He talks to many former BC OL alumni about bringing smash mouth football back to BC. 

[He also mentioned] No more bend but dont break defenses. We will be aggressive and attack. 

Someone asked him how he plans to improve recruiting, currently BC is 13th out of 14 in some ACC recruiting magazine. Addazio said he doesn't care about stars. He wants to find players who will be great four year players. He looks for a player who has "it." ...mentioned Flutie, Ryan and Tebow. Kids who are winners. He said a lot of 4/5 star players don't pan out. [Then he] told a story about Jamie Silva and how he recruited him at Indiana. When Jamie committed to BC, he knew he had "it." 'A hard working kid.' 

Daz was also asked about our future schedules. He said he doesn't care who we play, just wants fans to be loyal and support his team. His team will play hard and make us proud. He leaves all scheduling to Bates. An 80 year old alumni mentioned that Tom Coughlin entered in a more difficult situation at BC than he [Daz] did: 'Coughlin's first year the team struggled but played hard. The next year BC went 8-3.' The man told Addazio to be Tom Coughlin. Everyone laughed and Addazio said he loved to be Tom. 

Coach ended with a poem about an oak tree that bent with the wind, losing its leaves but remained strong because of its roots. BC is that oak tree. 

I originally wasn't enthused with the hire. But after hearing Addazio speak I am sold! So much energy and he is committed to BC. I believe he will bring BC back to at least 8-4/9-3 seasons. 

After coach left, Bates opened the floor to us to talk about the Gameday experience. Most concerns were about tailgating. Increasing hours, better access to the stadium. Too many senseless rules, especially on Shea. There was some random complaints about the band and what music they play. There was a question about expanding the stadium to 55-60,000. Person said other schools must use that vs BC in recruiting. Bates said until there is a waiting list for tickets, Alumni Stadium will not be increased. Some older alumni complained about our prime seats going to opposing fans and that season ticket holders should be held accountable. One gentleman complained about BC always getting a game on Labor Day weekend. Bates asked us if we would be ok with a game on the Monday of Labor Day itself. When asked about scheduling, Bates said the future home schedules will have 7 home games. 

The biggest theme itself was tailgating and access. Besides one old woman from Virginia who believes increasing tailgate hours will decrease spirit and they'll be more 'drunks with their beer suitcases,' everyone wanted a better GameDay experience. 

 We then went into a 10 minute discussion at our own tables with the BC rep. We each spoke about our concerns, mainly tailgating. The BC rep mentioned the possibility of 5 hrs pregame and 2 hrs post. [We] discussed parking in Brighton campus, expanding Fan Fest to other locations. Basically they realize they need to fix game day. It will not happen over night. Takes time. 

I left feeling good that we were heard. I've been a season ticket holder since graduation and have run a tailgate at BC for last 5 years. Tailgating is only reason to be going to the games last few years since the team hasn't been good, and yet tailgating on Shea and other places is embarrassing. It was good to let the administration know how we felt. Hopefully improvements are down the road.

Go BC!

Thanks to @eagle98alum for sharing his thoughts.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

A "Yes, yes, yes, NO, yes" win over Clemson

Immediately after the game I felt numb and went to Twitter to gripe. A couple of hours later I feel better, but still think this was a frustrating win. The headline of this post may be clumsy but for those who didn't see the game, I think it captured the spirit of the day. We played really well for long stretches, shots were falling and then the wheels came off. Fortunately we closed it out. Here are my detailed thoughts:

-- Defensive effort. Clemson is not a good offensive team but we still played good defense for most of the game. There was an energy and an aggressiveness that has been missing. We also did a good job helping and doubling without getting burned. Odio seemed to provide the spark and often that sort of thing is contagious.
-- The backdoor and driving to the basket. Rahon was the key for most of this. Unlike Hanlon, who drives with a shot in mind, Rahon seems to drive to open something else. We also converted on guys cutting to the basket more.
-- Anderson's late basket when the lead was cut to 1. Getting a good shot to our best player is the best way to turn the tide.

-- The collapse. There were a myriad of things that went wrong. Part of it was Roper just getting hot for them, but we still made some stupid turnovers and lost our edge offensively.
-- Donahue over substituting down the stretch. When a team is pressing you need to put your best, and most poised lineup out there and let them play. All the substituting has guys overthinking and pressing.
-- Free throws. How much better would our record be if we converted more free throws? How can we be so hot from 3 and clank so many gimmes?