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.”
Unique is one way BC coaches described Maine’s special teams to their players this past week, and Evans was paying attention.
[Coaches] told us that their special teams were going to do a lot of tricks,” Evans said. “Basically, I was back there by myself. [Jeffrey Ondish] was hitting some, he was shanking some and he was hitting some deep. It was basically adjusting to the ball to make the best play and being smart about it.
“I love giving my team that extra spark because once I scored, everyone was really into the game. You could see how bland the game was at first, but once you get a spark like that on special teams, there is no telling what our team will do on both sides of the ball.”
But if you think the 82-yard take to the house was his favorite moment, you’d be mistaken. That came when when his teammates Johnathan Coleman caught his first career touchdown in the second quarter, putting BC up, 14-3.
“[Coaches] always tells us when a big play happens, to be excited,” Evans said. “When he got his first [career] touchdown, that had to be one of the greatest moments for me because I got to celebrate with my teammates. He ran away from me. I couldn’t catch him. It was better than my punt return for a touchdown because I practice big plays, so I should expect them to come. But for my teammates, we work hard so to see someone else have the glory and I can celebrate with them is better.”
As for Evans’ 82-yard explosion up the middle, it was BC’s first punt return for a TD since Rich Gunnell on Sept. 9, 2009. And for Spaziani, it was none too soon.
“We haven’t had the real dynamic returner in all the years I’ve been that I’ve been here,” Spaziani said. “We try to be fundamentally sound, catch the ball and get up field. I think they outkicked their coverage. We got some blocks and he did what he was supposed to do. That’s what will happen if you are fundamentally sound. You’ll get something good like that.”