|Frank Spaziani: ‘We’re going to a different stratosphere now’||09.08.12 at 7:09 pm ET|
CHESTNUT HILL — Frank Spaziani made no bones about it Saturday after his team’s 34-3 cakewalk over Maine. The win is great but the Eagles have to play a lot better over the course of their remaining 10 games if they have any chance of seeing positive results.
They trailed 3-0 after 15 minutes despite dominating play. They couldn’t convert yards into points and, as a matter of fact, they gave Maine its only points on red zone turnover.
“I have a new bald spot in the back of my head,” Spaziani said. “It was an inauspicious start. Those things are there. They need to be corrected. We are not going to be able to go the rest of the season, playing the schedule that we play, doing that. [After the first quarter] we tried to let our players know it’s a football game. It’s 60 minutes and you’ve got to keep playing.”
And that starts with Northwestern on the road at Evanston, Ill. next Saturday.
“We’re going to a different stratosphere now,” Spaziani said. “We’ve got two games under our belt. We’re going on the road. It’s a game that we need to play well. We took some steps forward in areas, but we’ve got 10 tough games coming up and we’ve got to get better. There are some good things out there but we’ve got to get better.”
One area where the Eagles most certainly took steps forward was on defense, starting with a red zone stand when running back Duece Finch fumbled at the BC 18, giving Maine the ball at the Eagles 10.
But the defense allowed only a 19-yard field goal, Maine’s only points of the day.
“Anytime you give up the ball in the red zone like that, a field goal [allowed] is palatable, depending on the situation,” Spaziani said. “The defense did a good job keeping Maine out of the end zone.
BC also dug in on third down, allowing Maine just three first downs on 18 third-down tries.
“That is always one of our MOs,” Junior linebacker Steele Divitto said. “You want to stop them on third down, get off the field and get the offense in and give them a shot. The offense did an awesome job taking care of the ball. They were a little sloppy in the beginning but they responded well.”
BC allowed just 193 yards on 73 defensive snaps. BC’s offense compiled 385 yards on 74 snaps.
NOTES: X-rays on Chase Rettig‘s back following Saturday’s game were negative. He has taken several big hits near the sidelines in the first two weeks and his back became sore in the second half. “It’s fine,” Rettig said afterward. “I took some hits last week and today and I just need to get in the tub this week.” Rettig finished 16-of-32 for 219 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions. “Chase was fine,” Spaziani said. “He had a winning effort. There is a lot of improvement he needs to make off of this one. He’s a good player but he made a few mistakes that we need not to make. We need him to be almost perfect. That’s what we’re looking for.” … Fullback Jake Sinkovec also had X-rays on his right foot after the game. Those were also negative.
|Spiffy Evans is the new sensation at Boston College: ‘I love giving my team that extra spark’||09.08.12 at 6:28 pm ET|
CHESTNUT HILL — Meet Curtric Jamal Evans, more commonly known as Spiffy Evans.
On Saturday, he was more than just a cute nickname or an athlete with 600 pairs of sneakers. The sophomore from Hollywood, Fla. led Boston College to a 34-3 win over the Maine Black Bears in a game the Eagles needed badly for team confidence – and his own. Evans electrified the 30,685 in attendance at Alumni Stadium with a game-breaking 82-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter and gave his team the lead for good on a three-yard TD catch in the second quarter. Evans finished with four catches for 53 yards, two punts for 93 yards and one kickoff return for 10 yards. A total of 156 total yards on seven touches.
“Spiffy played a little better than he practiced,” said BC coach Frank Spaziani. “He did some nice things out there. That’s his potential. We need him to keep doing that.”
“Coach just sat me down and talked about keeping my confidence this week in practice,” Evans told WEEI.com. “He knows the kind of player I can be. I just wanted to focus on that after a few drops last week. He could see it in my eyes this week in practice that I needed a confidence boost.”
As for the nickname Spiffy?
“It came from my grandfather, actually,” Evans explained. “He gave it to me when I was around seven years old because I have a lot of sneakers. From a kid, I just love fashion, like sneakers, old stuff like vintage wear, hats, anything that you can put on and wear. He just gave me that nickname and said, ‘I’m a unique kid.’ I just stuck with it since.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Frank Spaziani: ‘That was a winnable game’||09.01.12 at 8:52 pm ET|
CHESTNUT HILL — In the first game after the Luke Kuechly era, Boston College showed they have a long way to go to prove they can handle the defensive load without him.
In a game they out-gained Miami, 542-415, in total yards, the Eagles could not stop the Hurricanes when they needed to in a 41-32 loss Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.
The Eagles allowed true freshman Duke Johnson to show off skills that made him one of the most sought after players coming into college. Johnson broke off touchdown runs of 54 and 56 yards in coming back from a 14-0 hole. The Eagles also fumbled twice, leading directly to 10 Miami points and Chase Rettig threw an interception that was returned 41 yards for a touchdown.
“I thought we played sloppy,” Eagles coach Frank Spaziani said. “We made some mistakes that hurt us on offense. We certainly moved the ball and did some really nice things. I think we played hard until the end. We made a couple of fumbles and had some turnovers, obviously. We had two long runs which we can’t have happen on defense. We have to figure out what the problem was. We have to play better defense than that.
“But there are some good signs there. We have to build on that and move forward.”
The best sign, of course, was BC’s ability to move the ball nearly at will with a high-powered passing attack, picking the slack for Montel Harris, the running back kicked off the team in the summer.
“That was a winnable game,” Spaziani said. “Not taking anything away from Miami. They deserved to win but we need to play better. We need to catch the ball, hold onto the ball and tackle. Those are the things that we can improve on and we need to.
“Certainly, defensively we have to play better than that. No one made a play. It didn’t look like it. We did fight and stop them a couple of times, but not when we needed to. You can’t give up big plays. You score 32 points and you should win the game.”
Next up, the Maine Black Bears next Saturday at Alumni.
|Setting the Scene from the Heights: Eagles-Hurricanes||09.01.12 at 3:30 pm ET|
CHESTNUT HILL — The post-Luke Kuechly era begins today at Alumni Stadium as the Eagles play host to the Miami Hurricanes on national television.
Kuechly – a perennial All-American linebacker – was taken ninth overall by the Carolina Panthers in the first round of April’s NFL Draft, choosing to come out after his junior season.
This will mark the first time in four years that someone other than Kuechly will man the middle linebacker position. Nick Clancy – a 6-foot-3 232-pound senior will get the chance.
Another notable name will be the press box for the season opener as former Colts general manager Bill Polian is taking in the game. Polian was fired by Colts owner Jim Irsay after last season’s 2-14 season in Indianapolis.
There is a brand new turf down on the field at Alumni Stadium as a state-of-the-art Astroturf was installed in the spring. The new surface is something called. “AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60H.”
The Hurricanes won 15 straight between 1985 and 2006 but the Eagles have won the last two games by a combined score of 52-31, including last season’s 24-17 win in Miami.
This is the first time BC has opened a season against Miami since 1993 when the Hurricanes came away with a 23-7 win at Alumni Stadium.
Neither team is ranked in the national polls to start the season as the game also opens ACC play for both schools. BC is once again in the Atlantic division while Miami resides in the Coastal division.
The key to the Boston College offense will be the right arm of quarterback Chase Rettig. Last year, during a 4-8 campaign, Rettig completed 170 of 317 passes fro 1,960 yards, throwing for 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
The are two Patriots scouts on hand as well as scouts from the Giants and Jets.
|Luke Kuechly is ‘so pumped up’ and ready for the challenge in Carolina||04.27.12 at 1:11 pm ET|
Luke Kuechly is ready to prove his skeptics wrong. At 6-foot-3 but only 237 pounds, there are those who doubt he can handle the rigors of the inside linebacker position in the NFL. He’ll get pushed around and not be fast enough, they fear.
Fear, though, is not in Kuechly’s vocabulary. Excitement and anticipation are.
“I’m so pumped up that they were interested in me and wanted me on their team,” Kuechly said in a conference call from his Cincinnati home with friends and family Thursday night after the Panthers chose him ninth overall in the 2012 NFL draft. “It’s an honor, and now I’ve got to get down there and do what I can to contribute to the team. I’m just excited right now for the opportunity.”
So why, if he was undersized and just a step slow, was he taken as the ninth overall pick?
Simple. He’s one of the smartest and most instinctive linebackers to come out in the draft in the last several years. He can also play all over the field.
He moved from inside to outside when Mark Herzlich was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. In three years at Boston College, he became a two-time first-team All-America linebacker.
“They told me to be ready to pick it up and be ready to play all three positions,” he said. “I’ve got to pick up the playbook quick and just be versatile and ready to go.
“I just love playing football. It’s been my top priority since I started playing. I love playing football, love the mental aspects of the game and preparing for the game. It’s something I enjoy doing.”
That certainly showed at Boston College, where he registered 532 tackles, including 299 solo tackles, in 38 career games in three seasons (2009-11) at Boston College. He is the NCAA career-record holder in tackles per game (14.0) and solo tackles per game (7.87).
Kuechly earned the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Butkus Award, the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Lott Impact Trophy after leading all collegiate football players in tackles (191) and solo tackles (102) – for the second straight season – last fall.
“The process is about getting a job in the NFL,’’ he said Thursday night. “Everybody has to do it. It’s a business where you have to go out and perform and make plays and be productive. That’s how it works.’’
Kuechly is the 19th Eagle to have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Boston College NFL first-round draft picks:
YEAR NAME POS. TEAM RD. PICK
2012 Luke Kuechly LB Panthers 1 9
2011 Anthony Castonzo OT Colts 1 22
2009 B.J. Raji DT Packers 1 9
2008 Matt Ryan QB Falcons 1 3
2008 Gosder Cherilus OT Lions 1 17
2006 Mathias Kiwanuka DE Giants 1 32
2002 William Green RB Browns 1 16
2002 Marc Colombo OT Bears 1 29
2000 Chris Hovan DT Vikings 1 25
1999 Damien Woody C Patriots 1 17
1996 Pete Kendall OT Seahawks 1 21
1995 Mike Mamula LB Eagles 1 7
1989 Joe Wolf G Cardinals 1 17
1987 John Bosa DE Dolphins 1 16
1977 Steve Shindler G Broncos 1 18
1972 Bill Thomas RB Cowboys 1 26
1967 Bob Hyland G Packers 1 9
1959 Don Allard QB Redskins 1 4
1943 Mike Holovak FB Rams 1 5
|Frank Spaziani doesn’t know if his team can turn it around again, and who can blame him?||10.01.11 at 6:20 pm ET|
CHESTNUT HILL — Given the chance to say this team has the same opportunity to turn things around the way they did in 2010, Eagles coach Frank Spaziani sound a very ominous tone on Saturday, following his team’s 27-19 loss to Wake Forest at Alumni Stadium.
Perhaps it was just trying to light a fire under his team, a wake-up call or simply facing facts but Coach Spaz said he’s not sure what his team is made of because of its practice habits and the overwhelming challenges they’ve been put up against before the season even began.
Last year, the team started 2-5 before winning its final five games of the regular season to wind up in a bowl. Spaziani said he doesn’t feel the same vibe this season. Why?
The team lost both of its safeties before the season began, was without Montel Harris for the first three games and has lost Ifeanyi Momah and C.J. Jones to season-ending knee injuries.
“On the surface, that sounds [good],” Spaziani said of a possible inspiration from the 2010 turnaround. “But this is a whole different team, this is a whole different team with a whole different mindset and a lot of different things surround them, Mentally, they have some other things we have to work through. That was a different team and this one is something different. I’m not sure there is a carryover. I would like to think there was but I don’t sense that.”
“The margin of error for us, where we are at, is minuscule,” Spaziani said. “It’s unconscionable, really, for us to have two 15-yard penalties in the first half and three offsides, two of them by veteran players. They are not trying to do it but we can’t overcome some of that stuff. We have to get it corrected.”
All the players have to do is look at the rest of the schedule this month to get the sense of urgency. They travel to Clemson before their bye week. Then they return for road games at Virginia Tech and Maryland before returning home for a game on national TV on Nov. 3 vs. Florida State.
“The problems are there,” Spaziani said. “We’re making progress. We obviously have to make some more progress. One of the issues is that we have to have consistency in practice. I’m not talking about effort. I’m talking about being out there every practice. Right now, we have to shuffle some guys. It’s not an excuse but it shows itself on Saturday. That’s where we are right now. You have to do it in practice and you have to do it every day. We’ll get it, we’ll get it. The sooner the better.”
|Montel Harris: New rushing record is ‘second on my list’ of priorities||10.01.11 at 5:52 pm ET|
CHESTNUT HILL — As he sat in the trainer’s room, getting his banged up left knee treated, Montel Harris downplayed his record-setting day at the Heights on Saturday.
With a 26-yard run off the left side in the fourth quarter, Harris passed Derrick Knight for first place in all-time rushing yards at Boston College. No one in an Eagles uniform has ever rushed for more in their time in Chestnut Hill.
“In the moment, breaking the record falls second on my list,” Harris said in a statement after getting treatment on his knee. “We work hard every week to get a win and we came up short this time. I’m sure I’ll look back on the end of the season and view this as a huge accomplishment. Right now, I’m trying to help our team get the season going in the right direction with some wins.”
Harris’ appeared to do just that when his run set up Boston College’s first – and only – touchdown of the day, as Chase Rettig found a wide-open Alex Amidon in the end zone to cut the Wake Forest lead to 24-16.
But BC failed in its next two possessions and came out with its fourth loss in five games to start the 2011 season.
Harris said after the game he did get a chance to meet Knight recently, the man he passed on the way to a new record. Knight had 3,725 yards from 2000-03 while Harris now has 3,735 with seven games still remaining in the regular season.
“I met him for the first time in the training room the other day,” Harris explained. “He asked me if I was ready to break the record. I told him, ‘Yes, I’m ready.’ After we talked a little bit, he said, ‘Hi, I’m Derrick Knight. Nice to meet you.’ That was my first experience meeting him.”
|Setting the scene: BC Eagles open vs. Northwestern||09.03.11 at 11:28 am ET|
CHESTNUT HILL — The Boston College Eagles are about to find out how well they can handle adversity.
In the team’s annual preseason scrimmage they lost star tailback Montel Harris due to a knee injury. They have lost two safeties in the last two weeks, one to suspension, one to a transfer. Okechukwu Okoroha was dismissed for disciplinary reasons while Dominick LeGrande decided to transfer.
Those are big losses on both sides of the ball.
But they still have depth they think can carry them early on, led by All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly, who comes into today’s game with Northwestern at Alumni with a remarkable streak of 22 straight games with double-digit tackles.
Their secondary recorded 20 interceptions last year, eighth best in the nation, as teams tried to avoid the Eagles front seven.
The Eagles also have this going for them: Northwestern will be without star quarterback David Persa, still recuperating from a season-ending Achilles rupture on the game-winning TD pass against No. 13 Iowa last November.
Sophomore Kain Colter will start in his place. Keep an eye on All-American LT Al Netter, an Outland Trophy candidate. He will be assigned with protecting Colter’s blind side.
The Patriots, Seahawks, Lions, Saints, 49ers, Redskins and Bears are the NFL teams with scouts on hand today to evaluate Netter, among others.
Frank Spaziani enters his third season at the reigns of the BC program. Last season, the team started 2-5 before winning their final five regular season games to finish 7-5 before dropping a 20-13 decision to Colin Kaepernick and the Nevada Wolfpack in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Northwestern also finished 7-5 in 2010, and also dropped their bowl game, a 45-38 to Texas Tech.
|Top-ranked Eagles survive a big scare from their biggest rival, advance to Beanpot final||02.07.11 at 11:44 pm ET|
Tommy Cross scored on the power play at 3:17 of overtime to lift top-ranked Boston College to a 3-2 win over Boston University in the second Beanpot semifinal Monday night at TD Garden.
Cross fired a shot from the high slot just 16 seconds after Ryan Ruikka was whistled for a cross-check. The Eagles advance to next Monday night’s Beanpot championship game, looking for their second straight title – 16th overall – against Northeastern, a 4-0 winner over Harvard in the first game of the Garden twinbill.
It marks just the third time in the 59 years of the tournament that the two schools will meet in the Beanpot title game.
BC, the 2010 Beanpot champs, took an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Philip Samuelsson at 14:37 of the first. With the BC crowd in a frenzy, the Terriers came back just 38 seconds later to tie it on a goal by Wade Megan. BU took the lead, 2-1, on the only goal of the second period when Corey Trivino beat John Muse.
The Eagles appeared to tie it late in the second period when Pat Mullane came down the right wing and fired a shot on Kieran Millan. The BU goalie made the initial save but TV replays showed BC’s Jimmy Hayes appeared to poke the rebound across the line. The play was reviewed for several minutes but the goal was disallowed.
Hayes eventually got the equalizer five minutes into the third when his wrister beat Millan to the glove side. Samuelsson had a clean breakaway with 51.4 seconds left in regulation but Millan stopped the backhand shot.
BC, the No. 1 team in the nation, improved to 20-6-0 on the season and will play at Providence Friday night before taking the ice next Monday at 7:30 in hopes of defending their title. If they beat Northeastern next Monday, they will have captured three Beanpots in four years and will have claimed consecutive titles for the first time since the 1963-65 teams won three in a row.
|Former BC star a real ‘pest’ to the Bruins on the ice||01.21.11 at 12:25 pm ET|
The TD Garden ice has always been kind to Nathan Gerbe.
It was again on Thursday night as the list of former Boston College players coming back to Boston and providing nightmare after nightmare to the Bruins continues to grow.
There’s Brian Leetch with the Rangers. There’s David Emma, Brian Gionta and Bill Guerin with the Devils. There’s Patrick Eaves of the Hurricanes. Now, add Nathan Gerbe to that list.
With Bruins holding a precarious 2-1 lead midway through the second period, Gerbe fired a shot from the left circle past Tuukka Rask for the game-tying goal on the power play. It changed the momentum and set the stage for Thomas Vanek to take over the game in the third in Buffalo’s 4-2 win Thursday night at the Garden.
Gerbe – not lacking confidence despite his 5-foot-5 frame – was the latest from The Heights to make life miserable for the Bruins as he mixed it up with B’s captain Zdeno Chara and then lit the lamp.
“I’m a little frustrating player to play against,” Gerbe said. “I am a little pest there, so I just tried to get under their skin a little bit. It is all in fun. He is a big guy, and I don’t think I would win in a battle but it was definitely one to enjoy. I tired to hold my ground as much as possible. Just stand there and don’t fall. He is so strong and such a good D man. It is fun to compete against him.”
He certainly was a pest to the Black and Gold Thursday night.
“Those Boston College guys did a good job for us tonight,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff added. “I thought [Tyler] Myers made a great play, great look to feed it to him. Nathan, on the heels of playing a real strong game for us the other night, playing a excellent game for us tonight.”
Gerbe, of course, was excellent during his three seasons at Boston College, capped off in 2008 when he scored five goals in the final two games of the Frozen Four, leading the Eagles to the national championship. He earned a place at the table as a Hobey Baker finalist as one of the very top players in all of college hockey with 68 points in 43 games. He led the Eagles to the Beapot and Hockey East titles that year, too – on the same Garden ice.
“Yeah you always get a lot of good memories here and a lot of good feelings,” Gerbe said. “You get chills up your body, but it is a different league and you try to do as well as you can every night.”
He scored last year in the playoffs against the Bruins in Game 6 but the Sabres lost, 4-3, as the Bruins moved onto the second round.
Now, he is helping to turn around a Sabres ship that was sinking just two weeks ago. The Sabres have beaten the two teams – Montreal and Boston – ahead of them in back-to-back games and are showing signs of moving up from 10th in the East.
‘Very, very satisfying to score here,” Gerbe said. “Even more satisfying to get the win and get the two points. It was huge for us. Hopefully we can keep rolling.”