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Notre Dame third down a real downer for Eagles in loss 11.11.12 at 11:08 am ET
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Midway through the third quarter, it seemed as though quarterback Everett Golson and the Notre Dame offense would’ve been content spiking the ball on first and second down and still manage to gain a first down.

Why not? The Fighting Irish started off the game off by going perfect 10-for-10 on third down, twice overcoming penalties that had backed them up or taken away a successful conversion. Of those eight conversions, Golson ran or five and passed for two. He also threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score in a 21-6 win at Alumni Stadium.

“You have to play good defense to win, and you certainly have to play good third down defense,” coach Frank Spaziani said. “Some of it was our execution and some of it was their execution and some of it was their improvisation. It goes back to my topic sentence: We have to make some plays and when we get the opportunity, we have to make our share of them.”

The Eagles were heavy underdogs heading into the game and were predicted to get steamrolled by the undefeated Irish. With that said, Notre Dame came in and scored the easy victory, but it’s difficult to say that they blew the doors off BC. The Eagles defense allowed six yards of offense per play, but did not surrender many big plays, giving up no breakaway plays over 25 yards or quick-strike scores.

Instead, Irish coach Brian Kelly and the offense showcased a gameplan of cold-hearted efficiency that lead to sustained, but, more importantly, successful drives. Each of Notre Dame’s three scoring drives went at least nine plays and lasted at least four minutes, 56 seconds. The Irish’s most sustained drive was a grueling 16-play, 97-yard drive scoring drive right before the half that lasted eight minutes, 30 seconds.

“Whenever you’re facing a national-caliber team, you know they’re going to execute, and that’s something that we struggled with this year,” linebacker Steele Divitto said. “We gave them the third-and-long and we just can’t get off the field and that’s something we have to work on and continue to build on in the future.”

The Eagles, though, were never truly out of the game, as the lead never stretched past 18 points and came back within two scores in the fourth quarter. However, the Eagles, who spent much of the game watching the Irish convert time after time, couldn’t sustain their drives, going 8-of-15 on third down conversions and had converted 4-of-8 before Notre Dame faltered once on third down.

The main source of frustration, especially on third down, came in the form of Golson, a redshirt freshman that is known as a dual-threat quarterback, going 16-of-24 through the air for 200 yards while rushing for 39 yards on 11 carries. Both sets of skills were on display Saturday, as Golson showed his scrambling abilities as well as a capacity to manage the game in an effort to sustain drives.

“He’s good. He’s still a freshman, though,” Divitto said. “He’s very dynamic, he’s quick and he’s a good athlete. He’s definitely a playmaker. He’s definitely a guy they can go to to make plays. He’s been the guy who led them down the field in the fourth quarter or whatever it was and he’s done a heck of a job so far.”

While the Irish thrived in the running game, recording 184 yards on 40 carries as a team, the Eagles failed to get a consistent ground game going, leading to unfavorable third down situations. While the output far outshined last week’s effort that produced 12 yards on 21 carries against Wake Forest, BC totaled just 53 yards on 23 carries, a 2.3 average, thanks in large part to quarterback Chase Rettig losing 36 yards from sacks.

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BC coach Frank Spaziani on Notre Dame: ‘Tremendous for our league’ 09.12.12 at 11:14 am ET
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BC coach Frank Spaziani leads the Eagles against Northwestern on Saturday. (AP)

The ACC announced Wednesday that Notre Dame will join the Big East for all sports except football and hockey, and the Irish will play five football games annually against ACC opponents. For Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani, not much will change, as the Eagles and Irish have played the past five seasons and have a contract to play five more times between now and 2019.

“From our perspective, we play them every year,” Spaziani said on Wednesday’s ACC football coaches teleconference, joking, “I thought they were in the ACC, to be honest with you.”

Added Spaziani: “We have a mutual respect for each other, an appreciation for each other. We understand what a great institution it is. So, I think it’s tremendous for our league and certainly for Boston College. We play them, now to be playing them in other sports, it’s valuable. It’s very valuable. … It’s a marquee brand. I think anytime you add a marquee brand to your established tradition and the wonderful stuff that you have, it enhances it.”

BC hosts Notre Dame on Nov. 10, and then after a two-year hiatus, the schools will play in 2015, ’16, ’18 and ’19. But right now Spaziani is focused on another team from the Midwest, as the Eagles travel to Chicago for a game against Northwestern on Saturday. The Wildcats are off to a 2-0 start, with wins over Syracuse and Vanderbilt. BC is 1-1, with a win over Maine following a season-opening loss to Miami.

“They’re very well-coached,” Spaziani said of the Wildcats, who are led by seventh-year coach Pat Fitzgerald. “They have some very good players. They just play a very good brand of football. They know how to win. They demonstrated that in their first two games.”

BC received a big performance in the win over Maine from young wide receiver Spiffy Evans. The sophomore caught a 3-yard pass for a touchdown and ran back a punt 82 yards for another score.

“He’s like a lot of young players, they take a little bit of time to develop,” Spaziani said. “He’s been with us for a year, and played as a true freshman last year. He’s only gotten better, and certainly that was one of his better football games. And his best football is ahead of him. Now the next thing to do, once you’ve done it, is be consistent, keep doing it. Spiffy’s a hard-worker and he’s got some talent. We’re excited about having him.”

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Frank Spaziani: ‘We’re going to a different stratosphere now’ 09.08.12 at 7:09 pm ET
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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.

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Spiffy Evans is the new sensation at Boston College: ‘I love giving my team that extra spark’ at 6:28 pm ET
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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 »

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Frank Spaziani: ‘That was a winnable game’ 09.01.12 at 8:52 pm ET
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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.

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Video: BC football hands out pair of scholarships to walk-ons 08.24.12 at 9:52 pm ET
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The Boston College football team has had a rough preseason, receiving little respect from preseason prognosticators and suffering some key injuries. However, the mood was brighter when coach Frank Spaziani announced at a team meeting that two walk-ons would be receiving scholarships this season.

Running back Mike Javorski and defensive back Ted Davenport of Medway were the lucky recipients, and the announcement was captured on film.

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BC adds three coaches to football staff 02.13.12 at 2:26 pm ET
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Boston College on Monday announced the addition of three coaches to its football staff: Sean Desai, Aaron Smith and former Eagles defensive lineman Al Washington.

Following is the school’s press release.

Boston College coach Frank Spaziani has announced three additions to the football coaching staff.

Sean Desai will coach running backs and special teams. This past season, Desai was assistant director of football operations at the University of Miami. From 2007-11, he served in several capacities on the Temple University football staff, including special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach. Desai is a 2004 Cum Laude graduate of Boston University and earned a M.A. in higher & postsecondary education and an Ed.D. in educational administration from Temple.

Aaron Smith will coach wide receivers. Smith has served as wide receivers coach at Columbia University since 2007 and was wide receivers coach at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy from 2006-07. Smith is a 2006 graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he played wide receiver.

Former BC defensive lineman Al Washington will serve as assistant special teams coach and will assist with the defensive line. Washington spent last season as linebackers coach at Elon University and served as defensive line coach at Slippery Rock University from 2009-11. He was a defensive graduate assistant at NC State from 2008-09 and served as defensive line coach at RPI from 2007-08. Washington is a 2006 BC graduate and played in the Canadian Football League in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

The three replace Dave Brock, Ben Sirmans and Ryan Day, who have resigned to accept positions at other institutions.

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Win Homer heads crop of 16 BC football recruits 02.01.12 at 1:47 pm ET
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Boston College announced its 16-player football recruiting class Wednesday, national signing day. Here are bios of each player, from a BC press release.

Jim Cashman, Offensive Line, 6-7, 275, Haddonfield Memorial HS, Haddonfield, N.J.

Played both offensive line and defensive line … earned first-team All-Conference and All-Group II honors as a junior in 2010 … also earned a spot on the New Jersey Super 100 Team … a member of the National Honor Society and Latin Honor Society … captured New Jersey’s Maxwell Player of the Year honors … played for head coach Frank DeLano … also recruited by Connecticut, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Virginia.

Dan Crimmins, Tight End, 6-5, 220, Demarest HS/Closter, N.J.

Earned 2011 All-Metro second-team honors as a senior in 2011 … registered 55 receptions for 1,249 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior … earned 2010 National Division First-Team accolades after catching 52 passes for 1,036 yards and three touchdowns as a junior … played for head coach Tomy Mottola … also recruited by Connecticut, Maryland and Temple.

Steven Daniels, Linebacker, 6-0, 225, Worcester Academy/Cincinnati

Played the 2011 season at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Mass. … earned first-team all-state selection as a senior at St. Xavier HS in Cincinnati in 2010; had 34 tackles for loss – including 18 sacks – as a senior … played for head coach Steve Specht … also recruited by Kentucky, Louisville, Texas A&M, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina State and Pittsburgh.

David Dudeck, Strong Safety, 6-0, 195, The Hun School/Princeton, N.J.

Earned All-Conference honors as a senior in 2011 … was named New Jersey Prep School Player of the Year by The Star Ledger … registered 51 receptions for more than 1,000 yards and 10 TDs for The Hun School in 2011.

Mike Giacone, Tight End, 6-5, 246, St. Peters Prep/Jersey City, N.J.

Had 16 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns in 2011 … helped lead his team to its 12th consecutive divisional/county title … named to the HCIAL All-Conference, Red Division First Team … was a 2011 Hudson Reporter All-Area High School Football Team selection … chosen to play in the Chesapeake Bowl, a senior-only, all-star football game … also recruited by Maryland, Connecticut and Rutgers.

Read the rest of this entry »

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BC special teams coach Mike Dawson leaves staff 12.21.11 at 8:45 pm ET
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Boston College special teams coach Mike Dawson announced that he will leave the team effective Jan. 1 and will pursue opportunities outside of football, according to a release from the school.

“Mike Dawson has been a valuable member of our staff for the past three seasons,” coach Frank Spaziani said in the statement. “We wish him nothing but the best as he heads down a new career path. I’m certain he will be a success wherever his career path leads him.”

Dawson, who played linebacker and defensive end at UMass in the mid-1990s, was with BC for three seasons. He had 11 previous seasons of experience, including stops at Akron, New Hampshire, UMass-Lowell, Maine and Pittsburgh.

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BC looks to end season on positive note at Miami 11.24.11 at 9:16 am ET
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Boston College wide receiver Bobby Swigert catches a touchdown pass in Saturday's loss to Notre Dame. (AP)

Almost 27 years ago to the day, a diminutive Boston College quarterback named Doug Flutie completed a 48-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to wide receiver Gerard Phelan to lift the Eagles over the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes, 47-45, in the regular-season finale between two of the top teams in the country.

Things are a little different this time around.

On Friday afternoon, the Eagles visit Miami to take on the Hurricanes in the last game of the season. But Boston College (3-8, 2-5 ACC) is finishing one of its worst seasons in recent history, while Miami (6-5, 3-4) has been dealing with an NCAA investigation into a recruiting scandal all season. Still, Eagles coach Franks Spaziani knows the significance of a game between BC and Miami.

“We’re excited about going down to Miami on this anniversary of what everybody remembers the infamous Hail Mary pass,” Spaziani said. “We’ve got a tough task ahead of us. We’ve got a very good Miami team and a short week for both of us.”

Boston College is coming off a 16-14 loss at the hands of Notre Dame last Saturday. Sophomore Chase Rettig passed for 170 yards and a touchdown, while junior linebacker Luke Kuechly had 14 tackles, leaving him just one tackle shy of the Boston College career record.

Miami beat South Florida, 6-3, last Saturday to become bowl eligible. But the Hurricanes will self-impose a postseason ban in an attempt to lessen NCAA sanctions as the result of the ongoing investigation into improper recruiting benefits that occurred between 2002 and 2010. As a result, Friday’s game will be the last of the 2011 season for Miami.

Despite the controversy surrounding Miami, Spaziani recognizes that the Hurricanes are a dangerous team whose athleticism creates matchup problems, especially the mobility of senior quarterback Jacory Harris.

“There’s tremendous team speed, size, a very mobile, athletic quarterback, and we’ve had problems with this type of matchup before,” Spaziani said. “We’re certainly going to have to put ourselves in the right position, first of all, and then we’re going to have to make some certain … some plays that we haven’t made in the past. But this is a very difficult matchup for us in a lot of ways”

Miami coach Al Golden said that his team, particularly the seniors, is extra amped to play in its final game of the season.

“I think there is urgency, clearly, and I’m really proud of the way our seniors have led us all year and certainly leading us through this, what we hope is our last piece of adversity in this year,” Golden said.

Many have speculated that Golden is interested in the Penn State coaching job that will be open following the firing of Joe Paterno in the wake of the PSU child sex scandal. When asked about it during the ACC coaches conference call on Tuesday, Golden did not address the rumors head on.

“The question has been posed the last couple of weeks, and I said over and over again, I’m happy here,” Golden said. “I’m excited about what we’re doing with our program. I’m excited about the recruiting class that we’re putting together, and clearly excited about what our team has done.”

Spaziani, meanwhile, will certainly face criticism after Boston College’s worst season since 1998. But with such a young team gaining valuable experience this season, Spaziani is hopeful for the future of the Eagles.

“Success comes from making mistakes,” Spaziani said. “So we certainly have made our share of mistakes this year, and hopefully we have a foundation, and we think we do. We’re moving forward.”

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