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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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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,

Shinskie named starting QB for opener

08.27.10 at 11:26 am ET
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Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani made it official that Dave Shinskie wil be the starting quarterback for the Eagles when they open the season Sept. 4 against Weber State at Alumni Stadium. Shinskie, a 26-year-old sophomore who started 10 games last season, beat out sophomore Mike Marscovetra and freshmen Chase Rettig and Josh Bordner in camp.

‘€œDave had a very good camp,’€ Spaziani said in a statement. ‘€œHe is the incumbent, and we won games with him last year. He has improved and he is certainly deserving.’€

Shinskie, a Pennsylvania native who played minor league baseball before joining the Eagles, set BC freshman passing records last season with 2,049 yards and 15 touchdowns. He completed 51.7 percent of his passes.

Spaziani also announced that redshirt freshman defensive tackle Dillon Quinn has been suspended for the first three games due to an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Read More: dave shinskie, Dillon Quinn, frank spaziani,

Larmond to miss season with knee injury

08.23.10 at 12:27 pm ET
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Boston College wide receiver Colin Larmond Jr. suffered a season-ending knee injury during practice Saturday, the school announced. Larmond, a junior from Whippany, N.J., was the Eagles’ top returning receiver, with 29 receptions for 596 yards and five touchdowns last season. He led the 2009 team in yards per catch (20.6) and finished second in receptions (29), yards (596), touchdowns (5) and average per game (45.8).

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Albright to Herzlich: ‘Don’t do too much’

08.13.10 at 6:59 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Much has been written and said about linebacker Mark Herzlich and his attempt this year to return from a rare form of bone cancer and play a red-shirt senior year for the Boston College Eagles.

What hasn’t gotten a lot of focus is the concern from his teammates who know how badly he wants back. Teammates like senior defensive end Alex Albright. The senior from St. Xavier high school in Cincinnati can see the desperation all over Herzlich’s face, especially since the news over the summer that he suffered a broken right foot, delaying his conditioning and his eventual return to the team.

“You can even see it when he was out there for the first practice, he wasn’t practicing but he was out there with his helmet,” Albright said. “He’s always antsy, he’s jumping around, he wants to be out there practicing. It’s difficult to watch. I’d rather him not jump back into it if he’s not 100 percent sure because there’s too much risk involved with something like that.”

It’s exactly for that reason that Albright knows Herzlich will push his limits to show he can return to his 2008 self, when he picked off six passes and dominated the ACC from his linebacker position on the Eagles defense, earning conference defensive player of the year honors.

“I just don’t want Mark to do too much,” Albright said with a tinge of fear. “I don’t want him to feel like he has to be like he was his junior year when he was Defensive Player of the Year. I don’t want him to feel like he has to do it all. I want him to just be a member of this defensive corps until he feels comfortable getting back into the swing of things.

“I just don’t want him to feel like he has this burden of expectation on himself where he feels like he has to come out and do everything. I just want him to take it slow. The last thing I want is for him to get injured again or something happen.”

But if Herzlich can return to his old self and join the likes of Albright and fellow St. Xavier high school product and ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, Luke Keuchly, then BC could be going places. And Albright knows it.

“I think we expect to win every game, just as every team does,” he said. “I don’t think [expectations] too dissimilar from last year, though. We’re out here to prove people wrong. Last year, people picked us to win two games. This year, people picked us to finish fifth in the ACC or something. We want to be first. We always want to be first.We want to go to the Orange Bowl, we want to win the ACC. That’s our expectation, to go as far as we possibly can.”

Read More: Alex Albright, BC Football, Boston College, Luke Keuchly

Herzlich can’t catch a break

08.13.10 at 1:59 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — An injured right foot is the latest physical hurdle Mark Herzlich has to clear to return to the game he loves.

The fifth-year senior All-American linebacker and Butkus Award finalist was in line to return from his successful bout with Ewing’s sarcoma – a rare bone cancer – when he was diagnosed with a broken right foot and held out of practice at Boston College.

Herzlich sustained the stress fracture while training six weeks ago. Until that injury heals, Herzlich has to stay on the sidelines and was unable to take part Friday’s first full practice with pads.

“It’€™s frustrating, but I obviously have dealt with much worse than a foot fracture,” Herzlich said. “Whatever it is, it’€™s sidelining me right now. I just need to try to get back. It’€™s another thing to hurdle.”

On Friday, for his press conference inside the Conte Forum media room, Herzlich wasn’t wearing a cast or even a protective boot on the right foot but rather a loosely-fitting, untied running shoe for comfort.

Herzlich, the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, is hopeful to be ready for the season opener with Weber State on Sept. 4 after announcing Friday that X-rays and MRIs showed “significant healing.”

“Right now it’€™s kind of wait and see, see how it progresses. There’€™s no jumping into it too soon, so we are going to be overly cautious with it and make sure it gets fully healed. The last thing we want to do is come back too soon and have it linger throughout the season,” Herzlich added, before predicting, “I’€™ll be back by the first game, but most likely much sooner.”

Sources with knowledge of the injury told WEEI.com Friday there is doubt as to whether Herzlich will be healed enough to play in the season opener – something head coach Frank Spaziani confirmed Friday afternoon.

“Mark’s situation is Mark’s situation,” Spaziani said. “When he’s back, that’s total speculation as far as I’m concerned. Until he gets out there and does it, we’re all rooting for him. You have to take him out of the equation, I think.”

While Herzlich is being held out, he is back to being a glorified assistant defensive coach for such stars as linebacker Luke Kuechly and pass rusher Alex Albright, just like he was in 2009 when he was recovering from Ewing’s sarcoma.

“I’m frustrated for Mark because I know what this means to him and what he’s trying to accomplish,” Spaziani added. “When you cannot assist like you think you want to assist, there’s a little bit of that frustration in there and I understand his frustration. We have to take it as it comes and I think we’ll be fine. It’ll be that much more sweeter when he gets to the goal.”

After four days of workouts and walk-throughs, the BC Eagles had their first day of practice in pads on Friday afternoon on campus.

Read More: ACC, BC Football, frank spaziani, Mark Herzlich

Football names captains

08.11.10 at 6:51 am ET
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As the Boston College football team goes through its first week of practice for the 2010 season, the Eagles announced their captains. Seniors Alex Albright, Anthony Castonzo, Wes Davis and James McCluskey received the honors.

Albright, a defensive end, recorded 32 tackles. His eight tackles for a loss ranked second on the team.

Castonzo, regarded as one of the top left tackles in the country, was an All-ACC and All-America preseason pick and is a Rhodes Scholarship nominee.

Davis started all 13 games at free safety last season and led the team with three interceptions.

McCluskey appeared in eight games at fullback last year after recovering from a torn Achilles tendon in the spring.

Read More: Alex Albright, Anthony Castonzo, James McCluskey, Wes Davis

Thurman part of ACC Football Legends class of 2010

08.03.10 at 2:05 pm ET
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Defensive back Tony Thurman, a key member of the standout Boston College teams of the early 1980s, was announced as part of the ACC Football Legends class of 2010. Thurman, a 1984 All-American, still holds BC records for interceptions in a game (3, twice), season (12 in 1984, when he led the nation) and career (25). The Lynn product was inducted into the BC Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.

Here is the complete release from the ACC:

Led by the Atlantic Coast Conference‘€™s all-time career rushing leader in NC State’€™s Ted Brown (Apple Valley, Minn.), Georgia Tech’€™s only three-time first-team All-America in Randy Rhino (Marietta, Ga.), and one of only five players in ACC history to have been named ACC Player of the Year twice in Clemson’€™s Steve Fuller (Enid, Okla.), the ACC Tuesday announced its Class of 2010 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game Legends.

The Legends will be honored at this year’€™s Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game weekend. They will be honored at the ACC Night of Legends event on Friday, Dec. 3, will also be recognized during ceremonies at Bank of America Stadium for the 6th Annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship, which has a 7:45 p.m. kickoff on Dec. 4 and will be nationally televised by ESPN.

The group of 12 former gridiron standouts from current ACC schools includes five former players who earned some kind of ACC Player of the Year honors, three members of the ACC’€™s prestigious 50th Anniversary Football Team, a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, eight former All-Americas including four consensus All-Americas, eight players who combined for 58 years of professional football experience and eight who were drafted into the National Football League, including five first-round picks.

In all, the collection of players and coaches combined to capture a national championship, one NFL World Championship, a Canadian Football League Grey Cup and seven ACC team titles.

Read the rest of this entry »

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ACC media consistently underrates BC football

07.30.10 at 9:40 am ET
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There was an interesting post at a D.C.-area blog called D1scourse.com this week. Blogger Patrick Stevens looked at the last five years of the ACC football media’s predictions and found that Boston College consistently was underrated.

Putting it into a math formula, the Eagles’ average predicted standing was 3.4, while they finished at an average standing of 1.8, putting them 1.6 above their prediction. That’s the highest number of any ACC team, well ahead of Georgia Tech’s 1.1 differential. Wake Forest (1.0) and Duke (0.2) are the only other teams with a plus differential.

The most overrated team? The runaway winner is Florida State, with a differential of -1.6 (predicted at 1.4, finished at 3.0). Miami is next at 0.9 (predicted at 2.6, finished at 3.5).

BC was predicted this week to finish third in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, receiving 389 points and four first-place votes, behind Florida State (565 points, 78 first-place votes) and Clemson (479 and 16).

In the Coastal Division, Virginia Tech was predicted first, followed by Miami, Georgia Tech and North Carolina.

Click here for the complete predictions.

Four Eagles named Preseason All-ACC

07.28.10 at 11:54 am ET
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Boston College sophomore linebacker Luke Kuechly and three Eagles offensive players ‘€” tackle Anthony Castonzo, guard Thomas Claiborne and running back Montel Harris ‘€” were named to the Preseason All-ACC team announced Wednesday. Voting was conducted by media at the ACC Football Kickoff on Sunday and Monday in Greensboro, N.C.

BC was second only to North Carolina in the number of players on the team. The Tar Heels had five spots ‘€” all on defense, as they ranked sixth nationally in total defense last season.

Here is the complete release from the ACC:

GREENSBORO, N.C. ‘€” North Carolina led all Atlantic Coast Conference schools with five players selected to the 2010 Preseason All-ACC Football team in voting conducted by the media at the annual ACC Football Kickoff, which was held July 25-26 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro.

The Preseason All-ACC team was announced Wednesday. In all, 20 of the 23 honorees on the team earned first or second-team All-ACC honors last fall, with 16 having been selected to the All-ACC first team. The three remaining players who were voted onto the 2010 preseason team were Honorable Mention All-ACC last year.

North Carolina’s defense, which finished sixth nationally last year in total defense, had all five of the UNC players selected to the preseason All-ACC squad in defensive end Robert Quinn (Ladson, S.C.), defensive tackle Marvin Austin (Washington, D.C.), linebacker Quan Sturdivant (Oakboro, N.C.), cornerback Kendric Burney (Jacksonville, N.C.) and safety Deunta Williams (Jacksonville, N.C.).

Boston College was next with four players chosen in tailback Montel Harris (Jacksonville, Fla.), offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (Hawthorn Woods, Ill.), offensive guard Thomas Claiborne (Randolph, Mass.) and linebacker Luke Kuechly (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Clemson and Miami each had three players honored, followed by Maryland and Florida State with two and Duke, Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia Tech with one each. Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel (Tallahassee, Fla.) garnered the most votes, being named on 48 of the 52 ballots while North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn (47 votes) and Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams (45) were the next highest.

Though Florida State had just two players chosen, they were quarterback Christian Ponder (Colleyville, Tex.), the media pick for ACC Preseason Player of the Year, and offensive guard Rodney Hudson (Mobile, Ala.), who is seeking to become only the seventh player in ACC history–and only the fourth position player–to be selected to the All-ACC Football Team for four consecutive seasons. Hudson was a second-team All-ACC choice as a freshman in 2007 and earned first-team honors in 2008 and 2009.

Miami’s Matt Bosher (Jupiter, Fla.), who earned first-team All-ACC honors as a placekicker and second team as a punter last year, was named to the preseason team at both positions.

Maryland’s Torrey Smith (Colonial Beach, Va.), who set ACC single-season kickoff return yardage records in each of the last two seasons, was also named to the preseason team at two positions–specialist and wide receiver. Smith was a second-team All-ACC choice at both positions last year.

Those who were chosen first-team All-ACC last fall included Robert Quinn, Quan Sturdivant, Kendric Burney and Deunta Williams of North Carolina; Allen Bailey, Matt Bosher and Brandon Harris of Miami; Anthony Castonzo and Luke Kuechly of Boston College; DeAndre McDaniel of Clemson, Donovan Varner of Duke, Rodney Hudson of Florida State, Sean Bedford of Georgia Tech, Alex Wujciak of Maryland, George Bryan of NC State and Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech.

Boston College’s Montel Harris, Clemson’s Chris Hairston, Maryland’s Torrey Smith, Miami’s Matt Bosher and North Carolina’s Marvin Austin were selected to the 2009 All-ACC second team, while Boston College’s Thomas Claiborne, Clemson’s Jarvis Jenkins and Florida State’s Christian Ponder were honorable mention All-ACC last fall.

Ten of the ACC’s 12 teams were represented on the team, and a total of 52 ballots were cast at the Kickoff for the preseason all-conference football team.

2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Team
Offense
Pos.    Name (Votes)                                             Ht          Wt        Class            Hometown

WR      Donovan Varner, Duke (27)                          5-9         170         Junior            Miami, Fla.
WR      Torrey Smith, Maryland (19)                        6-1         200         Junior            Colonial Beach, Va.
TE       George Bryan, NC State (21)                         6-5          265         Junior            Castle Hayne, N.C.
T          Anthony Castonzo, Boston College (43)     6-7         295         Senior             Hawthorn Woods, Ill.
T          Chris Hairston, Clemson (21)                       6-7         325          Senior            Winston-Salem, N.C.
G          Rodney Hudson, Florida State (43)            6-2         282         Senior             Mobile, Ala.
G          Thomas Claiborne, Boston College (21)     6-3         325          Senior             Randolph, Mass.
C          Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech (25)                 6-1          274         Senior              Gainesville, Fla.
QB       Christian Ponder, Florida State (35)           6-3         227          Senior             Colleyville, Tex.
RB       Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech (45)              5-10        211          Sophomore    Manassas, Va.
RB       Montel Harris, Boston College (30)            5-10        200        Junior              Jacksonville, Fla.

Defense
Pos.    Name (Votes)                                             Ht          Wt        Class            Hometown
DE        Robert Quinn, North Carolina (47)             6-5          270        Junior           Ladson, S.C.
DE        Allen Bailey, Miami (31)                                6-4          288        Senior           Sapelo, Ga.
DT        Marvin Austin, North Carolina (32)           6-3           305        Senior           Washington, D.C.
DT        Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson (27)                       6-4           310        Senior           Clemson, S.C.
LB         Alex Wujciak, Maryland (34)                       6-3           245        Senior           West Caldwell, N.J.
LB         Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina (32)       6-2           235        Senior           Oakboro, N.C.
LB         Luke Kuechly, Boston College (25)             6-3           225        Sophomore  Cincinnati, Ohio
CB         Kendric Burney, North Carolina (27)        5-9            190        Senior            Jacksonville, N.C.
CB         Brandon Harris, Miami (26)                        5-11          195         Junior           Miami, Fla.
S            DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (48)              6-1            215        Senior            Tallahassee, Fla.
S            Deunta Williams, North Carolina (41)       6-2            210        Senior           Jacksonville, N.C.

Specialists
Pos.    Name (Votes)                                             Ht          Wt        Class            Hometown
PK        Matt Bosher, Miami (32)                               6-0          205        Senior           Jupiter, Fla.
P           Matt Bosher, Miami (20)                               6-0          205        Senior           Jupiter, Fla.
SP         Torrey Smith, Maryland (24)                        6-1          210        Junior           Colonial Beach, Va.

Read More: Anthony Castonzo, luke kuechly, montel harris, Thomas Claiborne
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