Tuesday, July 31, 2018

ACC Coaches finally have something nice to say about BC

Every year the best part of Athlon's College Football preview is the anonymous quote from a rival coach. The types of comments fall into three categories:

1. The rare gushing. Usually saved for Alabama. This has a coach saying "they do everything right...blah blah blah." It is complimentary but a bit detached as if the great team is unattainable and not really a fair comparison.

2. The backhanded compliment. "They do a lot with a little. Well coached, but the talent isn't there, etc" These are usually the type of comments people make about BC. It is harmless but clearly condescending.

3. Something really catty. This is when a coach makes an outright criticism of a team, usually in a demeaning or dismissive way. "I don't know what they are doing..." BC would get this on occasion.

This summer's Athlon profile of BC is unique. Take a look.

-- "Our coaches were laughing when watching game tape of (AJ) Dillon. Not laughing at him, laughing at how ridiculously good he is."-- An opposing ACC assistant coach

What a surprise. It is deserved praise for Dillon and refreshingly candid. It also doesn't dismiss him or BC. Respect, I guess. It feels nice.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Another solid pick up for Addazio

The recruiting momentum continued as BC added a Florida OLine prospect to their current recruiting class. Maurice Smith's verbal means another 3 star with plenty of suitors. His Power 5 offers included Mississippi State and Indiana. He's from Miami Central, so he's playing against elite competition. (Miami had yet to offer.)

Smith's height may be keeping some of Florida's bigger programs away, but I trust Brian White on Florida guys. (White is listed as one of his recruiters, along with new OL coach Phil Trautwein.)

Addazio tends to slow down recruiting once practices start, so I expect a small spike this week and then things to cool off as the staff shifts their focus back to getting the players ready.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

A reminder about last year

As I keep reading others write about this year's BC team, I see everything from "break out" and  "sleeper"  to potential five win letdowns. The sites that share their prediction models seem to put BC's win total right around six again. But this tweet reminded me how even the best experts couldn't get a good feel on BC last year. Doing so well against the spread (8-1-1) is almost a backhanded compliment. The sports books don't care about Addazio or BC, they just want to be right and close to the line. Yet they couldn't get a good feel for BC -- before or after the offensive explosion.

Assuming BC stays healthy this year, I think we will be a little more predictable for the oddsmakers. Personally I would gladly trade doing well against the spread for actual Ws instead.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

BC makes offer to Mass product

Recruiting had been quite for a few weeks...at least on social media. We know that some of the assistants are on the road, but there are still kids visiting. And seeing the new Field House probably didn't dull Mass DE Greg Crippen's excitement when BC offered him. He already holds offers from Michigan and Purdue. It would be nice to lockdown a local kid who is generating that type of interest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Everyone is talking about the Field House

It was a big day for BC's newest facility. They announced the name and gave the media a tour. What we've been calling the indoor practice facility is now officially the Fish Field House in honor of former BOT Chair John Fish.

We've known and followed the Field House for a long time, but the official unveiling is a nice gesture. Anything that gets people talking about BC Football in a positive light helps. Jarmond and Addazio referenced that this will also be used for other sports (so that this is about more than football). It does represent a commitment to winning and finally catches BC up with most of the P5 teams.

What I find disheartening is some BC fans criticizing the facility. While you can question the value or long-term importance of major college sports, you can't argue with what BC did here. They funded this without major debt and without leaning on current student revenues to offset the cost. If we are going to ask BC students to compete in major sports, we need to give them the resources to compete. Based purely on wanting the best for our current BC students, it is no different than investing in state of the art classrooms or dorms or whatever.

There will always be something new that BC needs. At this point the campus is always under construction and college sports are in an arms race. A Conte renovation and an upgrade to the basketball facilities are probably next. But for now it is nice to enjoy our shiny new building.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Dillon named Preseason ACC POY

A day after I said the ACC Media doesn't respect BC, they went out and voted AJ Dillon the Preseason Player of the Year. Seeing Dillon honored as well as three other Eagles on the All Conference Preseason team, makes the 4th place finish all that more surprising. I guess they don't trust Addazio to put this talent together in a way to challenge the top of the division.

It is a great honor for Dillon and will raise his profile that much more. He was going to be the focal point of the offense. Now he will be the focal point of the media coverage too. If his game is developing and the other guys step up, BC's offense should be explosive.

Monday, July 23, 2018

ACC Media not as excited as some national pundits

Phil Steele thinks BC is a Top 25 team. The football media that watches all the ACC are not as optimistic. They voted BC 4th in the Atlantic Division. While none of this matters right now, I actually trust Steele over the collective wisdom of the ACC folks.

While they have access to Addazio and have to keep tabs on BC, most of the ACC media members are not paying attention to BC. They are in other markets and for many, BC is just a weird fit. We've had some nice moments, but for most there is no reason to expect more than 7-6, which sounds 4th place-ish. Steele, on the other hand, has formulas and stats that he leans on. So if his stats say BC is experienced in XYZ or did this or that well or has an easier schedule than perceived, he can run with it. Steele's metrics are not perfect and he often points out when they went wrong. But being different and occasionally picking a surprise team is how he built his name.

Truthfully, if I had been at the Media Days and voted, I would probably have selected BC 2nd in the division. I don't trust Addazio nor do I think this team is great, but I think it is a down year for the division and all the teams have flaws and question marks.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Lessons from Last Chance U Season 3

I just finished up the latest season of Netflix's Last Chance U and highly recommend any football fans watches. The primary focus has moved to Independence Community College in Kansas, but there is still a lot to learn about college football as it applies to BC. (There is also an epilogue on the main personalities from Season 1 and Season 2.) Here are some of my takeaways. SPOILERS AHEAD.

We don't know everything about some "elite" recruits 

One of the featured players is former Florida State QB Malik Henry. If someone like Henry ever signed with BC, the fanbase would flip out and assume that Henry would be on his way to winning four Heismans at BC and a few National Championships. Yet watching this guy play, you wonder how anyone -- including Florida State -- thought he would be so good. I think with someone like Henry, the hype starts early, perpetuates itself and no one ever stops to ask if the kid is really a great player. He's pretty thin and smallish, so you wonder if he could ever take a pounding. Based on the game action, neither his arm nor his legs seems special. Finally he is a royal pain in the ass who assumes he is great and smarter than everyone. As he hopped around high schools (four in total), how did no one realize he was a fraud? How did Jimbo Fisher not realize he would be a challenge? I think Addazio leans on "character" a bit much when he talks about BC. But I do think BC's emphasis on a player coming to camp, and being around the staff a lot, has value. You can start to find out what these kids are really like and who is just hype and ego.

Talent > coaching

Like the previous seasons, you start to see how great talent can cover up a lot of mistakes and make coaches look good. Independence's Coach Jason Brown admits as much throughout the doc. It is chaos on the sidelines and the practices appear very disorganized. Brown is futzing around with all sorts of administrative stuff (like pizza and uniforms) and yet they are still winning. They even overcome all sorts of infighting among the coaches, the players, and the coaches vs players. I want smart, organized, and stable coaches. But shows like this remind me that most champions are winning with talent more than they are winning with great coaching.

Still no BC presence

Last year's background clip of a BC game remains as close was we've gotten to the Netflix series. None of the players are in the BC mix. An assistant from New Mexico State (who works with Spaz and Doug Martin) shows up to recruit, but that's about it. That is probably for the best. Although they've moved from Mississippi to Kansas, the typical JUCO player remains such a bad fit for BC, that I have no problem with Addazio avoiding that route.

Friday, July 20, 2018

See the press conferences

There is still not a lot coming out of the ACC Media Days. (Maybe Saturday?) Here is video of Addazio, Sweeney and Allen talking to the press.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Addazio doesn't say much in press conference

At this point I don't expect Steve Addazio to create some sort of controversy or get the College Football world's attention like Larry Fedora did. However, I wouldn't mind a little insight into the team or some specifics for the fans. If the opening press conference was any indication, we are not getting much out o the ACC Media Days. The biggest news -- which we already knew -- was that Brown was back and will be cleared by the time practices start in August.

Otherwise it was generic talk about team chemistry. There was an answer to a weird question about teams adjusting to the weather. He reiterated his desire to play good D and run the ball. Addazio also talked a little about his history with Paul Pasqualoni. But that was it. Very little about what's going on in football. Nothing on the uptick in recruiting. He didn't even get a chance to talk up facilities.

On Friday most of the one on one interview content will seep out. Hopefully he said something in those sessions that give us an idea of what to expect, how this year will be different and how he is dealing with the expectations.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

ACC Network focus of Day 1 of ACC Media Days

During his state of the conference press conference John Swofford spent much of his time on the ACC Network. The few big takeaways were that the conference is going to put ACC Matchups on the Network right away in 2019. The opening weekend ACC game is rumored to be BC-Virginia Tech. I don't know if we should be honored or worried about being first.

Swofford also shared how far behind financially the ACC revenues are compared to the SEC and Big Ten. The Network should shrink that gap a bit.

Carriage is the final and most important issue. Who cares about the ACC Network if no one can see it. Swofford claims ESPN is going to leverage its other assets to force the cable and satellite providers' hands. ESPN seems pretty protective and fearful of cord cutting, so I don't know how much hardball they will play. I am hoping that if the major carriers don't open up the season with the network, that fans will have other access points.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Thoughts on Connelly's BC preview

SB Nation's Bill Connelly posted his annual, thorough and statistically based BC preview. It is well worth the read and he is pretty optimistic about BC's future. However, he doesn't see BC breaking through its seven-win ceiling this year. I agree with most of what Connelly writes with the exception of these few things.

His optimism about the Offense
I don't think the midseason explosion we saw in the offense last year was an aberration, but I also don't think it will be the new norm. If you look at what Addazio and Loeffler have accomplished together and apart, they are rarely producing elite, efficient offenses. There are a few spikes, but more often than not (including last year) they are in the lower third of college offenses. I think we be better with Dillon and an healthy line. I do expect more from Brown. Yet I don't think we will ever be a Top 30 offense. Talent can change things, but Addazio (and Loeffler's) track record says that the way they prepare, teach and manage has a clear ceiling.

His worries about depth
Connelly mentions a few times that if BC "stays healthy..." with an emphasis on the D. I am not worried about our depth. To his credit Addazio has upgraded the talent level and seemingly every replacement the past two years has been nearly as good as the guy who was starting. Avoiding injuries is important but I can't see any player changing the course of the season. We lost Landry for most of last year and still played well on that side of the ball.

His view of the schedule
He worries that BC could start out hot and play well but would still suffer due to the difficulty of the final stretch of the schedule. I don't share his fear. Only Clemson has established a consistency that makes their game a longshot. All the other teams have been beaten recently (Louisville, FSU) or have some significant new challenges (new coach, new coordinator, new QB). They are plenty of winnable games in the second portion of the schedule.

Monday, July 16, 2018

We are getting closer

Lots of sites and blogs have countdowns to the season. Today's from IMG was pretty good.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sean Marshall back trying to win for Frates

If you have followed Sean Marshall's summer ball experiences the past two years, you know he puts teams together to honor his friend Pete Frates and raise money for ALS. He's back again this summer to honor Frates, more ALS patients and to win it all. The update is above. Good luck to his team!

Friday, July 13, 2018

A few construction updates

This week BC released an update on all their construction projects -- sports and non-sports. The important dates for Football remain July 27 and August 3. On the 27, the school will file its Certificate of Occupancy. On August 3, official Football practices begin inside.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dillon keeps talking up his teammates

AJ Dillon is clearly a fun guy to watch. Based on all the quotes he's been giving the past twelve months, I think he is probably a fun guy to play with. Dillon is often talking up his team in the media, encouraging them on Social Media and giving shoutouts to teammates and recruits on Twitter. When done well, that sort of leadership builds camaraderie and confidence. Look what he had to say to ESPN about his expectations for the season.
"I'm most excited to open up some eyes around the nation. I feel like we've got a lot of great pieces on this team, offensively and defensively, and I feel like we're going to shock a lot of people this year, so I'm excited for that. We've got a bunch of great senior leadership, and we've got guys who are really invested and working hard. The focus is indescribable. Everyone is dialed in right now, everyone is trying to get the most of each other. Walking around you have this positive vibe about this team and what we're going to bring to the table and you know everybody's working really hard. I've never been a part of anything like this before."

Let's hope Dillon's beliefs are shared by everyone on the team.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Report: FSU thinking of adding Lacrosse

A college lacrosse blog used a Freedom of Information request to look into rumors of Florida State starting a DI college lacrosse program. While most of the official channels within the university focused on a Women's Team, there has been talk by their administration the past few years about including Lax in their master plan. Aside from the growing popularity of the sport, their rival's (University of Florida) expansion into lacrosse seems to be driving some of the interest at FSU.

What does this have to do with BC? While we can't do FOA requests to a private school, I imagine the topic has been discussed in official channels lately. We know all of BC's recent Athletic Directors have gotten the question from the Alumni base. Jarmond has repeated the same old narratives about the challenges of bringing back the Men's team. If other ACC team's expand, it will only make those excuses more hollow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Who is going to breakout this season?

If this year is going to be special a few players are going to have to make the leap. The ACC Network predicts that White, Robinson and Lamont will have big, critical seasons for BC. See the video below. 

Monday, July 09, 2018

Bowman getting media push

It didn't take long for the media to turn their attention from the new Clipper Jerome Robinson, to returning BC Eagle Ky Bowman. The Herald is just the latest to feature him, but he's been in the Globe and in a bunch of College Hoops previews. Most have glowing quotes from Christian. Bowman deserves the attention, but this sort of push doesn't come without BC's help. 

I like that they are pushing him. Perhaps it was part of a promise that if he returned, he would be one of the most well known -- and respected players -- in the ACC. I hope it also is a signal of a big season and that Christian and BC think this team can exceed expectations.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

BC not the only college battling ridiculous locals

Lasell College -- a small liberal arts school in Newton -- wants to put up four light towers on their small athletic fields. The lights are within Newton's current zoning laws. But in an all to familiar story, they have been battling neighbors for two years in court about the lights.

I understand that people can fight for protection of their neighborhood and property. But it certainly feels like everyone in the town of Newton calls their lawyer at the mention of any local college wanting to cut a blade of grass. The list of hoops that BC has jumped through over the years is endless. I feel for Lasell as four light towers doesn't seem like much of an intrusion. And like many of the residents who complain about BC, I ask "did they not see the college when they bought their homes?"

In writing this up, I looked at satellite images of Newton North and Newton South high schools to see if their fields had light towers. Based on the images it appears they don't, so at least the locals aren't using a double standard for the colleges. But that still doesn't make any of this reasonable.

Lasell seems to be winning small victories in court. I hope it continues. It would only mean good things for BC.

Friday, July 06, 2018

BC announces ACC Media Days selections

Zach Allen and Tommy Sweeney will represent BC at the ACC Media Days in July in Charlotte. There are no mandates for who goes, but traditionally a school selects a senior from each side of the ball. They also tend to pick guys who represent the school well and can handle themselves in interviews. It is also an expectations setter because they also expect these guys to have big seasons.

Allen is getting a lot of attention. On the Offensive side of the ball, Dillon has been getting most of the focus. However, if other teams sell out to stop the run, Sweeney can have a big year. Best of luck to both guys.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Phil Steele high on Will Harris

Phil Steele's All America team is a bit different from the others. While Allen (Second Team) and Dillon (Third Team) were predictable, I didn't expect Will Harris to get first team honors. To Steele's credit, he watches a lot of tape and obviously thinks highly of Harris. Steele also talks to multiple coaches on a staff, so someone is talking up Will Harris to him. I hope it is a good sign.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Another BC preview

I am always interested when unbiased college football folks do deep dives on BC. While they might not know as much, they also aren't as emotionally involved so there may be less pessimism (or optimism) in the preview. This video is long, but it does go game-by-game...and has the predictable 7-5 victory total. It does call for an upset of Miami and a huge season for Dillon too. 

Monday, July 02, 2018

Denis makes Sporting News 1st All America list

BC's most recognized DB picked up another honor as the Sporting News named him to its preseason All America list. The preseason lists are very important because there is momentum and awareness to these awards. The voters don't watch every game. So for positions like DBs, where they are only paying attention to the biggest names, the remainder of the ballot is often filled with guys who were on the preseason list (assuming they had a statistically strong season).

Denis' big stats are at risk given the turnover in the secondary. He will be getting tougher assignments and probably won't have as many INT opportunities. However, with all the hype, if he has a good season, he will be swimming in national accolades.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Media taking notice of BC's class

This article breaksdown the latest recruits and BC's ranking among other programs. 

This Rivals' article focusing on many teams but highlights BC in the middle. It also points out our success in the Midwest. Traditionally the Midwest has been a key point for BC, but usually in certain pockets (like Cincy). With this class, we seem to be covering the region as a whole.

Here is Garwo talking about coming to BC and how the current running backs were influential in his decision.