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Shinskie: ‘I should be the starting quarterback’

09.25.10 at 5:14 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Call it supreme confidence, leadership, misplaced bravado or simply whistling past the graveyard but Dave Shinskie believes he should still be the starting quarterback of the Boston College football team this season.

Even after he was intercepted twice and lost a fumble in Saturday’s 19-0 loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies in the ACC opener for 2010.

It was the first time in 148 games Boston College was blanked from opening kickoff to final gun since the Hokies did it on the same field Oct. 8, 1998, the year before a quarterback named Michael Vick came to Blacksburg, Va.

There will be plenty of calls for head coach Frank Spaziani to change the starting quarterback this week with Notre Dame on the docket for next Saturday night at Alumni Stadium. And Spaziani admitted after the game he may have already made up his mind to go to either Mike Marscovetra or Chase Rettig.

“What if I have already?” Spaziani quipped, before adding that he won’t let the mystery linger. ”We’re not going to go out there and let them line up on their own like gym class.”

But Shinskie isn’t ready to give up the ship.

“I think I should be the starting quarterback,” Shinskie said afterward. “There’s a lot of stuff that goes into being a starting quarterback and I think I have that. That’s all I have to say.”

Shinskie finished 11-of-25 for just 130 yards and two interceptions and a lost fumble. His first interception – picked by Jayron Hosley in the end zone stopped BC’s first real threat in its tracks after reaching the Tech 10. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ACC football, Boston College, dave shinskie, frank spaziani

What we learned: Virginia Tech 19, Boston College 0

09.25.10 at 3:15 pm ET
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Five Things We Learned: Eagles shut out by Hokies

Virginia Tech and Boston College faced off in an ACC opener on a scorcher of a day for each squad. Game-time temperature was 86 with the readings on the field well over 100.

It was their first meeting in Alumni Stadium since a 28-23 Eagles win two years ago, when it was Virginia Tech that couldn’t manage an offensive touchdown. BC had won 10 of the last 11 games at Alumni entering Saturday. But it was evident early on that the Alumni advantage would not be enough to inspire their offense and keep Virginia Tech from taking revenge with an impressive 19-0 shutout of Boston College on Saturday in front of a crowd of 42,317.

It was the first time BC was shutout since a 17-0 loss to the Hokies on Oct. 8, 1998.

Hokies make opening statement: After winning the coin toss in the ACC opener, the Hokies chose to defer the opening kickoff to their opponents, sending the Eagles a firm message: Beat us with your offense. It was all too clear that the Eagles were not up to the challenge. Running back Montel Harris was able to find the open field for large chunks of yardage to the tune of 111 yards on 19 rushes but he was unable to find the end zone.

“The offensive line was giving a good push, we just weren’t able to finish drives and put points on the board,” Harris said. “We’ve been running a lot of the same plays this week, just trying to make sure with repetition we’ll be able to execute our plays and it seemed to work for the time being but we just weren’t able to finish off drives. That’s what we needed to win.”

Freshman kicker Nate Freese’s 47-yard field goal attempt fell wide right in the second quarter, the first missed opportunity of his career at BC after making all four of his attempts against Kent State.

Shinskie couldn’t handle the ACC heat: The 26-year-old sophomore quarterback looked very uncomfortable and wilted in the heat. The former minor league pitcher threw a shutout on Saturday but was unable to even finish the game before being replaced in the second half. It was 86 degrees outside but the Hokies made sure to add some extra heat. Dave Shinskie looked uncomfortable in a backfield constantly faced with pressure by the Virginia Tech defense. After showing some signs of growth and promise in contests against Weber State and Kent State, Shinskie clearly was unprepared to handle a talented and tenacious Hokies defense. Shinskie went 11-25 with 130 yards and two interceptions and a fumble. Every drive Shinskie faced serious pressure and was unable to maintain any inkling of awareness or composure long enough to provide a legitimate test for the Virginia Tech defense. The VT defense finished the game with six sacks on BC quarterbacks.

Mike Petraglia takes a closer look a quarterback controversy brewing at The Heights.

BC defense all Eagles have to lean on: While it was clear the offense could not put points on the board, the Eagles defense played a solid game against a potent Virginia Tech attack that was given great field position thanks to three BC turnovers. Linebackers Luke Kuechly and Mark Herzlich were constantly in on defensive stops that forced the Hokies to kick four field goals. One of the lone bright spots for the Eagles in the game was created when Kuechly tipped a Tyrod Taylor pass, resulting in Herzlich’s first interception since a November 29, 2008 game against Maryland. The BC fans in Alumni for Parents’ Weekend cheered loudly for Herzlich, proud of his comeback from Ewing’s sarcoma. He finished the game with seven tackles as well. Kuechly led the BC defense and finished with 16 tackles, his 12th straight game with double-digit tackles. Freshman linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis also continued his impressive first year with the defense as he recorded 11 tackles, proving that BC has one of the top linebacker units in the nation. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ACC football, Boston College, dave shinskie, montel harris

Frank Spaziani: ‘The pace is going to pick up’

09.11.10 at 8:03 pm ET
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Montel Harris and the Eagles showed flashes against Kent State but lacked consistency. (AP)

Running back Montel Harris and the Eagles showed flashes against Kent State but lacked consistency. (AP)

Don’t let the score fool you, the Eagles have a lot of work to do.

Whether it was the lack of offensive execution by sophomore quarterback Dave Shinskie or the inability of running back Montel Harris to find holes at the line of scrimmage, BC looked shaky at times in its 26-13 win over Kent State (1-1) on Saturday.

Even BC’s coach admitted as much.

“Right now, we have a lot of loose ends,” Frank Spaziani said. “We have to clean it up as coaches and we have to get to where we execute a little better and hopefully, we’ll get better. The pace is going to pick up and we have to pick up, also.”

Spaziani pointed to the fact his team has next weekend off to help prepare for what figures to be a riled-up Virginia Tech squad in two weeks in its ACC opener. Tech lost to James Madison, 21-16, on Saturday, highlighting a putrid day for the ACC. Other conference heavies to lose included Miami (at Ohio State) and Florida State (embarrassed at Oklahoma) as all four Top 25 ACC teams lost.

In the first half, the Eagles couldn’t seem to get any hint of offensive rhythm together. At one point, Spaziani swapped Shinksie for sophomore backup Mark Marscovetra, frustrated by the offense’s inability to create first downs and maintain ball control.

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Things We Learned: BC offense halfway there

09.11.10 at 6:44 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — For one half of football, it couldn’t have been much worse — or uglier — for those calling the offensive plays for Boston College. And while the Eagles beat the Golden Flashes of Kent State, 26-13, Saturday at Alumni Stadium, it’s obvious work remains before they play Virginia Tech in two weeks at The Heights.

Whether it was Dave Shinskie or Mike Marscovetra, the only thing offensive for the Eagles was their execution.

They ran 32 plays and only mustered 129 yards. Their only saving grace was their defense made life even more miserable for Kent’s offense. The Golden Flashes ran two more plays but managed 27 fewer yards in the opening half.

Shinskie was given a first-and-goal at the Kent State 8-yard line following a 22-yard interception return by Alex Albright. He could not advance the ball a single yard, and the Eagles had to settle for a 27-yard Nate Freese field goal.

Marscovetra relieved Shinskie following an ill-fated three-and-out to end the first quarter. But Marscovetra fared even worse, throwing an interception that allowed Kent State to tie the game.

Shinskie was re-inserted and led the team down the field on an 11-play, 74-yard drive in the final 4:54 of the first half. Coach Frank Spaziani was visibly frustrated and even gave thought to going for it on fourth-and-goal at the Kent 5. But cooler and calmer heads prevailed and Freese was brought in for the second of four field goals on the afternoon.

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BC 6, Kent State 3 – Halftime summary

09.11.10 at 5:44 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — How ugly was it in the first 30 minutes at Alumni Stadium?

Boston College gained only 129 yards and still outgained Kent State by 27 yards.

Nate Freese connected on field goals of 27 and 22 yards to help BC take a 6-3 lead before an understandably understimulated home crowd.

BC’s go-ahead field goal came on the last play of the first half and capped the best offensive series of the half for the Eagles, 11 plays, 74 yards in the final 4 minutes, 54 seconds.

Dave Shinskie had his struggles to say the least. Before leading his team inside the 10, he was pulled once in the first half for ineffective play and couldn’t budge the offense when given a first-and-goal at the Kent 8 following a 22-yard interception return by Alex Albright.

Sophomore Mike Marscovetra came in and actually fared worse, going 1-for-3 and throwing a pick at midfield.

The highlight for the Eagles came on defense. In addition to Albright’s pick, they held Kent’s passing game – once led by Julian Edelman – to 13-of-23 for 87 yards and two interceptions.

Read More: ACC, Boston College, Julian Edelman, Kent State

BC 3, Kent State 0 – First quarter summary

09.11.10 at 4:16 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — This much is obvious about the Boston College Eagles this year.

They will go as far as their hard-hitting defense will take them.

Alex Albright, Luke Kuechly and Mark Herzlich all made big hits and big plays in the opening 15 minutes as the Eagles grabbed a 3-0 lead over Kent State of the MAC.

Albright’s 22-yard interception return to the Kent State 8 set up the only points by either team. Nate Freese banged through a 27-yard field goal after quarterback Dave Shinskie could not lead the Eagles into the end zone.

With several NFL scouts in attendance in the press box, Albright showed the ability to drop from his defensive end position into pass coverage and then showed good hands in picking off the pass from Spencer Keith.

Kuechly and Herzlich laid big hits on running backs coming out of the backfield, trying to catch the linebackers out of position in space. It didn’t work.

Read More: ACC, Boston College, Kent State, MAC

Isaac Johnson leaves football team

09.10.10 at 6:29 am ET
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Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani confirmed Thursday that junior cornerback Isaac Johnson has departed the program due to “personal issues.” Johnson, a former Everett High School standout who did not play in Saturday’s season-opener vs. Weber State, had 27 tackles with an interception and a forced fumble last season.

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Things We Learned: Herzlich’s return helps Eagles take flight

09.05.10 at 6:00 am ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — It was what everyone was waiting for. For the first time in 612 days, linebacker Mark Herzlich ran out of the tunnel to the Eagles’ faithful in Alumni Stadium, where he was met with a roar of applause.

It was a moment that fans, teammates, family and coaches from across the nation had waited for since hearing about Herzlich’s battle with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. And, of course, Herzlich himself was no different.

“It was excitement. I thought I might be nervous but it was all about playing games,” said Herzlich, the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

Herzlich’s emotional return had been impeded this summer by a foot fracture. But while his recovery from that injury limited the amount of time he played on Saturday, he was still on the field enough to rack up five tackles against Weber State.

Herzlich was also joined by a special guest arranged by Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo. Sister Barbara Anne Hallman, a cancer survivor from Mishawaka, Indiana, forged a relationship with Herzlich when she heard of his diagnosis and flew to the game to see his return, even though it meant missing her Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

“It was awesome that she got to come out,” said Herzlich. “I hope she’ll be able to make it out on Oct. 2 to watch us beat her beloved Notre Dame.”

Clearly the Eagles were able to build off of the energy the return of No. 94 brought. After an early interception, the Eagles scored on four straight possessions to bring the score to 24-3. Boston College never looked back and they kicked off the 2010 season with a 38-20 win over Weber St. (Recap.)

Here are some other lessons from BC’s season opener:

SPAZIANI READY FOR ROUND 2

Following a year of new experiences in his first season as head coach of the Eagles, BC head coach Frank Spaziani entered the 2010 season with high expectations placed on his shoulders. After an 8-5 season that tied Boston College for second in the ACC Atlantic Division, the Eagles are looking to contend for a spot in the ACC Championship and to extend their streak of bowl games another year.

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Read More: dave shinskie, luke kuechly, Mark Herzlich, montel harris

Spaziani on D&C: Herzlich wants to play

09.03.10 at 8:51 am ET
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Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the Eagles’ season, which begins Saturday afternoon against visiting Weber State. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Spaziani provided an update on senior linebacker Mark Herzlich, who missed last season while battling cancer and was slowed in the preseason with a broken bone in his foot. Herzlich returned to practice this week and may see limited action Saturday.

“I’ll sit with him today and get a feel for what he thinks he can do,” Spaziani said. “And I’ll give him my input on what I think he can do.  And then we’ll come to a meeting of the minds and see if he can do something.”

Added Spaziani: “Mark just wants to get right in there. But Mark’s a mature, intelligent young man and has certainly been through a lot. He understands where he’s at and he understands the importance of being smart about this.”

One linebacker Spaziani does not have to worry about is standout sophomore Luke Kuechly. Said Spaziani:  “Luke is a very instinctive linebacker, as all great ones are. … The great ones, you just get out of the way of. And he’s living proof. We’re just trying not to mess him up.”

As for the program’s overall outlook, Spaziani said he’s still working to fix the problems he inherited when he was promoted to head coach prior to last season.

“We’ve had inherent problems that it didn’t take overnight to get the problems, and it’s not going to take overnight to solve them,” Spaziani said. “Having said that, we’ve got enough players to win. There are no excuses. We’re moving forward. But we’re still on thin ice. Until we get a couple of years of where we want to be, we’re going to have to manage certain problems that we hopefully can resolve.”

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Spaziani: Herzlich likely to play sparingly in opener

09.01.10 at 12:59 pm ET
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Frank Spaziani (AP)

Frank Spaziani (AP)

Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich is back practicing as he tries to battle back from his broken foot, and it’s possible the senior standout could see some action in Saturday afternoon’s season-opener vs. Weber State at Alumni Stadium.

“He has decided he’s going to push on with it,” BC coach Frank Spaziani said Wednesday on the weekly ACC Football Coaches Teleconference. “He just started out there [practicing] Saturday for the first time, and Sunday a little bit. Of course, we were off Monday. Yesterday he was out there, did a little bit more. As you could imagine, not having played football in I don’t know how many days … and coming back from the cancer and the broken bone, he’s — rusty is not the right adjective — he’s behind a little bit. But he’s working hard.

“Never put anything past him. Hopefully, we can get him in the game this week.”

Spaziani said that he will try to get Herzlich in for at least a few plays, but that could all change based on the next couple of practices.

“This is day to day,” Spaziani said. “He came off the practice field exhausted yesterday and tired, as he should be. I haven’t seen him yet today. We’ll go out there today and see what he can do. We’re not going to push him, but we’re going to try to get him so that he can get in the game and do something. And then if he can’t, we’ll hold off and we’ll do it again next week.”

Looking at his overall team, Spaziani was cautiously optimistic about Saturday’s game. “I don’t know whether we’re ready for the opener, but it’s time to open up and find out what kind of football team we have,” he said. “We’re ready to go.”

Sophomore Dave Shinskie will start at quarterback, but classmate Mike Marscovetra is likely to get some snaps as well.

“It’s a lot different than last year, but it’s not much different,” Spaziani said of the quarterback competition. “By that I mean Dave’s the incumbent and has the job and has been named that. But Mike Marscovetra has done a good job and he’s been around. He’s pushing him for some competition.

“As I said, Dave needs to show the improvement in the game. He needs to pick up. He’s done the other stuff, as Mike has, but now we need to see it in the game. Some of the pitfalls he was subject to last year need to be eradicated, and we need to move forward in the games.”

Read More: dave shinskie, frank spaziani, Mark Herzlich,
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