Sunday, May 31, 2015

Opponent preview roundup

Scout started publishing their team previews. BC's is not up yet, but plenty of our opponents are. I find team-by-team previews from magazines and websites helpful. I don't follow the ins and outs of Syracuse or Northern Illinois like I do BC, so this gives me some insights and helps set expectations for us and them. Here are the ones that are out and a few takeaways...

Florida State -- Like us Florida State has a revamped offensive line and a new QB. Like us, they have a good position coach at OLine (Rick Trickett) so I think they will be ok.

Northern Illinois -- the preview starts with talk of Northern Illinois making the jump to a Power 5 conference, so you know expectations are high. For BC it will be more about stopping the run.

Syracuse -- The Orange are replacing most of their Defense. This team did not score much last year, so a revamped O and a young D could make for a long season. We don't play them until the end of the year, so they will have figured things out or checked out on the season.

Wake Forest -- There schedule is almost as bad as ours. Like us they play Notre Dame. Their other non-conference games are Elon, Indiana, and Army. They are also very young.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

More Second Round talk for Hanlan

With the NBA Draft approaching, it appears Olivier Hanlan will be a second round pick. Even the Phoenix Suns -- who love combo guards and have a GM who has known Hanlan for years -- seem to view him as a second round talent

Hanlan fits into Washington's needs, but they look like they will wait until the second round to move on him.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, May 28, 2015

No Crimmins, no big deal

Wednesday, ACC Sports reported that Dan Crimmins was no longer on the team. No reason nor confirmation came from BC, however, Crimmins is not listed on the roster. It is the offseason and I know that Crimmins accounted for 18% of our receptions last year, but I think this won't really impact the season.

Crimmins served as a nice hybrid WR/TE and was a decent blocker, but in the whole scheme of things, he was replaceable. We will remain a run first attack and the running game is where the majority of our playermakers are. Crimmins would have been a "nice to have" guy and we could have used his experience, but I think our current roster can backfill his productivity. The only real benefit of Crimmins over his potential replacements was his ability to play both positions. Now we are more likely to see pure blockers or pure WRs in what would have been his snaps.

Crimmins' absence does raise some questions. Will he return to BC next year to use his final year of eligibility? Will Addazio find a 5th year over the summer? I think both are unlikely. I don't know if Crimmins would want to come back and I don't know if BC has any recent grads in their pipeline.

Good luck to Crimmins wherever he finishes his career.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Grantland dives deep on OLine with Addazio

The Addazio offseason media tour continues as he is the main subject in this Grantland article on building an offensive line. There are plenty of good nuggets in there, but the most interesting to me was the drill he has the lineman run in the offseason conditioning:

At Boston College, winter conditioning includes a borderline-sadistic drill in which one player contorts himself into a chairlike position, back against a wall, and balances weights on his knees. At the same time, another player pushes a 45-pound plate around the room as fast as he can. The longer it takes the second player to finish the course, the longer his teammate has to support the weights on his knees; if the player against the wall drops the plates, his teammate has to go back to the starting line. Addazio’s description of this regimen alone will turn the listener’s thighs to jelly.

“We’re trying to create accountability with each other,” Addazio says. “Don’t let your partner down. Don’t let your teammate down. You work on these skill sets.”

While Addazio has a plan for building an Oline, I still think it can be as simple as coaching. As mush as we hated Tranquill or thought Spaz was inept, what really undermined his teams was the OLine coaching. Jags showed that a head coach who appreciates OL play combined with a very good position coach can come in and make an Oline thrive. Addazio did the same thing in his first two years. I don't love the turnover at the OLine this year, but I have full confidence in Addazio and Justin Frye to make these guys competent by our opener.

BC proudly calls itself OLine U and I hope we always do. We need that mentality to compete. It is an area where we've shown we can recruit and develop and it covers so many potential weaknesses.

I hope Addazio has a long and successful tenure and I also hope that whoever replaces him has an Oline background. That works for BC.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Can BC's hardline recruiting stance backfire?

Rivals' Justin Rowland posted an interesting article on BC's old school recruiting policy. Rowland points out that in a world of social media and recruits flirting with everyone and wanting to take all their visits, BC's idea of committing and sticking is risky. In his first two classes Addazio only suffered one decommit. Yet watching Danny Dalton walk away this spring and seeing Anthony Brown drag his feet to committing has recruiting analysts and some fans questioning Addazio's aggressive stance.

I have no problem with Addazio wanting commitments to shut their recruiting down. It is aggressive, but it makes sense. All these kids are fickle and young and easily swayed. Hold them down any way you can to Signing Day. Because of who we are, it is easy to negatively recruit against BC. We also offer a very different experience on recruiting visits. Look at how Dalton second-guessed his commitment just based on the thought that Alabama was interested. Imagine if they had offered or he had visited. We sell a solid, proven experience and path. But teenagers can be seduced by the flash.

Some might think Addazio is hypocritical since BC actively recruits kids committed elsewhere. But I also don't fault him on that front. Everyone is doing it. BC needs to also.

As he gets more established and BC adds some new facilities, Addazio might not have to take such a hardline on visits. Until then, he needs to do whatever it takes and protect his recruiting classes.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

$10,000 decision

You probably heard about this story last week, but here is BC golfer Brian Butler explaining why he turned down the $10,000 prize that came with a hole-in-one he made at a recent tournament. I am glad he loves BC Golf enough to keep his eligibility. He seems like a smart guy, but he clearly doesn't understand BC jinxes. As a junior he should know that when he said he won't make a second hole-in-one (which would trigger a $1 million prize) he reversed the mojo and will now be faced with a $1 million decision.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Two more commitments for Addazio

Addazio picked up two more commitments for his 2016 recruiting class. Both were pleasant surprises in their own way. The first commitment came from Michigan OLine prospect Tom Kowalkoski. He is 6'4 and 265 lbs and plays for traditional power Catholic Central. Kowalkoski holds offers from MAC schools, but BC was the first Power 5 to offer and fortunately he committed in a quick time frame. I am sure BC's interest will get some of the Big Ten schools talking to him off the ledge, but Addazio does a good job of keeping commitments committed.

The second commitment was New Jersey QB Anthony Brown. BC focused in on Brown months ago and have been waiting on his verbal. Just when it seemed like he was ready, things would drag out. Other schools came calling and it looked like he might be slow playing BC. I don't know why he finally decided, but he's now a verbal commitment. Brown is 6'2 and has a live arm. He holds offers from many of our peers, like Northwestern, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

This class won't be as big as the last two, so it is nice to get key pieces like a QB and Lineman. I assume more things will pick up when camps start in a few weeks.

Latvian Meznieks commits

Jim Christian added the most interesting piece to his recruiting class yet: Ervins Meznieks. Other than some Youtube highlights (below), there is not much available on the Latvian. He's 6'6 so he's undersized to be a true front court player. He seems like the sort of risk Christian can take right now. If he matures and develops, BC gets a steal. If he doesn't then the odds are he'll be back in Europe in a year or two. Good luck to Ervins and let's see where this unique recruiting class goes next.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Arizona package? and other links

The best type of recruiting is when one elite player brings in another. According to Hoffses, that could be happening at BC if Arizona big man Andre Adams joins Sammy Barnes-Thompkins.  Adams will probably have to decide soon. The added bonus of the package is that it helps the transition for two kids far away from home.

For those who missed it, Chase Rettig signed with the Chargers. This follows a tryout with the Dolphins. I don't know why these teams are showing interest now but didn't really pursue Chase after Green Bay dropped him last season. I wish him well and think he can still be a solid NFL backup.

Rettig's teammate KPL is ready to get back on the field.

BC finished 6th nationally for APR success. 12 Eagle teams qualified for being in the Top 10th percentile of their respective sport in graduating student athletes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Barnes-Thompkins commits

Jim Christian picked up another recruit with Sammy Barnes-Thompkins. He is a combo guard from Arizona and originally committed to St. John's and reopened his recruiting after Steve Lavin left. This is huge on many fronts. First BC added some major conference talent and depth. Second, like last year, BC took advantage of a coaching change at another school. In an ideal world, BC would have a deep pipeline and relationships that allowed them to lock up their own recruits. But being opportunistic about a shakeup at another program is not a bad thing.

This seems like the end of the 2015 recruits. Now BC can focus on transfers, who can bring roster balances and some experience.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Christian talks to Vega and other links

Michael Vega remains the friendliest media outlet BC sports has, so I found the tone of this article with Christian interesting. The Basketball coach gives of the impression that this rebuilding and retooling of the roster is all part of the plan. Yet, there's no mention of the staff change nor how quiet the transfer news has been. How does Vega not even mention a staffer leaving last week? I agree with Christian that roster construction is more fluid than it has ever been, but BC fans would hope that he could speed up the turnaround by finding the right players quickly.

It has been a long, long road back for Charlie Davies, but this seen in New England has been great.

ESPN posted a short preview of the Football team.

BCI pointed out that a Miss State-BC series would fit both team's football schedules. I would love to see it too, but highly doubt it will happen. I don't think Mullen or Addazio would want it at this point.

Ifeanyi Momah switched positions from WR to Tight End and it may help him make the Cardinals' roster.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Congratulations Class of 2015

Boston College welcomed a new group of students to our family of Alumni. Congratulations to the graduates and to their families.

I question the role of BC sports in the current landscape and how it serves or distracts from the mission of the school. But I cannot question its value in connecting the community. I hope that most of today's graduates consider BC a special place. and as they watch BC sports far away from campus and not in a yellow SuperFan shirt, they will realize how lucky they were to attend CB and how special our community is.

Of course many of the graduates were BC student athletes. Congrats to them and their coaches for ensuring they crossed the ultimate finish line.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Corporate Dude

This might seem like another fawning Addazio post but at this point what's good for Steve Addazio is good for BC. While we still need a really good coach, having someone who is willingly the face of the program is still such a breath of fresh air that I have to note the change. Look at the past few weeks as Daz started working the corporate circuit. The visit to Under Armour was part of an overall BC event, but Addazio talking to Wheels Up at one of their corporate events was not.

This is the face of our school interacting with business leaders. Do the people in this room go out and buy BC football tickets? Probably not many. If they paid Addazio (I assume they did), does BC get any of the money? Highly unlikely. Yet even without the direct benefit, these sorts of experiences do help BC. It opens the door for future sponsorships. It keeps Addazio happy. Maybe there is a future BC parent in that crowd who was partly inspired by the coach. Maybe Addazio can make a connection that gets one of his players a post-football job. But there is a long-tail benefit to having our coach expand his network beyond football and beyond BC. 

As much as he likes to give speeches or make TV appearances, football comes first. That won't change. But it is refreshing to see our coach embrace the off-the-field aspects of the job. It shows he has a passion for people and is proud of what he's building. That sort of pride should translate to the team he coaches. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Predictable TV times and other links

Since it is a Friday game, we knew BC-Florida State would be on ESPN. Friday the school announced the kickoff times and TV coverage for Maine and Howard. Predictably both will be on ESPN3. Both games start at 1 pm. At this point, the ESPN3 things shouldn't bother me. The production values have improved and you can stream it on a big screen, but the whole aspect still feels small time. The other kick times will be announced two weeks prior to the game. 

Now that Croke Park is off the table, Aviva Stadium is the likely host of a potential BC-Georgia Tech game in Ireland.

Hanlan generated good buzz at the NBA Combine. 

Baseball split their final games with Notre Dame and finished the season 27-27 (10-19 in ACC play). That buys Gambino another season and hopefully gives Bates enough momentum to get the much needed baseball facilities and funding moving.

BC will play Penn State in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. 


Friday, May 15, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday with Luke Kuechly

This current video of Luke Kuechly is making the rounds.

Since it is Thursday, it is a great time to look back on some of Luke's highlights at BC. He's also set to graduate in a few days.

Luke's years might not have been the most fun time to follow BC Football, but we were and are lucky to have him.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Murphy leaving is bad news for BC Basketball

Creighton hired Preston Murphy. Let that sink in for a minute. A guy who has spent most of his career in New England and was on his second stint at BC, just left for Creighton. It is hard to even call it a lateral move. Even if you spin it as Jim Christian wanting to get his whole staff on the same page or Murphy wanting to spread his wings and network, it still raises plenty of questions.

When Bates hired Christian, some of the obvious knocks against him were his reputation as a mediocre recruiter and his lack of ties to New England. He addressed those issues by opening up the checkbook to hire Scott Spinelli away from Maryland and bringing back Murphy. Murphy gained a lot of trust as one of the better assistants in the final Skinner seasons and only reinforced his reputation by performing well after he left BC. It seemed like this was a good foundation. Christian could build the program and be the Xs & Os and the two ace recruiters would bring in elite talent.

In the year since they were all hired, the plan had its moments. There have certainly been some big recruiting wins but also some frustrating losses. This incoming class is better than any BC Class in the last seven years, but it is still not among the ACC's best. There were still gripes that the assistants were bringing in recruits only Christian wasn't closing.

Christian's got a busy few weeks ahead of him. He still has to find some worthwhile transfers and has to replace Murphy with another good recruiter. If Murphy and Christian weren't on the same page, it is probably better to make the change now, but I hope for BC's sake Christian turns this into a positive. From here it sure seems like a crack in the wall.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hoffses interviews Mobley and other links

Eric Hoffses posted an interview with basketball transfer target Matt Mobley. BC is the only major conference team recruiting Mobley right now. He visits BC this weekend.

Shakim Phillips signed a free agent deal with Pittsburgh. Good luck to him.

The Bears claimed former Eagle Chris Pantale off of waivers.

Arizona QB prospect Dylan Wright visited BC. Most services have him as a three star.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Report: ND blocking Golson from BC, other schools

Despite some early speculation, Everett Golson is definitely not transferring to BC. According to multiple reports, the Irish blocked their former QB from playing any team on their 2015 schedule. Because he graduated this weekend, Golson is eligible immediately.

I know a few BC fans hoped to see Golson in maroon and gold, but I always suspected the scheduling conflict would be an issue. While it might not seem fair, blocking a few transfer destinations is common place. BC has -- and probably would do -- the same thing.

At this point BC is all in with Wade (and Flutie). The extra Ohio State QBs are all staying in Columbus and no one else out their is worth disrupting the plan for our young QBs. We will see some growing pains in 2015, but the hope is that it pays off in the following seasons.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Lax knocked out of NCAA Tournament and other links

Lacrosse's great season ended in the most disappointing fashion. Loyola University Maryland upset the Eagles 19-12.

Wisconsin offered current verbal Bryce Morais. Many other big programs will keep coming at him until Signing Day.

Baseball split their series with Hartford and are back at .500 for the season.

The ESPN crew don't think we are making a bowl this season.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Can the ACC still use the Pac 12 for leverage?

Fox's Clay Travis recently posted a ranking of the 15 most valuable sports networks. In the end he lists the Pac 12 Network as a cautionary tale. Although the network has decent reach, it doesn't generate high fees per household. Travis then mentions the ACC desire to have its own network. The chatter on the ACC Network is not new. However, it may be time to restart an old idea: a joint network between the ACC and Pac 12. Even if the ACC wants its own network, at least talking to the Pac 12 gives the conference leverage with ESPN and potential cable partners.

The History
Before the Pac 10 expanded and formed its own network, there was speculation that the ACC and Pac 10 could join together to form their own sports network. At the time the Big Ten was the only major conference with its own network. The ACC instead took a then record payout from ESPN. Since that deal, the Pac 12 went ahead and formed its own network, the SEC finally launched theirs and Texas started the Longhorn Network with ESPN.

The ACC's spot in the negotiation cycle
Since BC joined the ACC, the conference has always signed record-breaking TV deals only to see other conferences get bigger deals and more control over their inventory. The ACC has done a few things -- like add Notre Dame -- to improve the deals, but the pattern remains. The ACC signs a deal only to see it outdated the minute the ink is dry.

ESPN and the ACC
The ACC has a great relationship with ESPN. The network currently controls all the inventory and distributes it across their channels and resells select games to Raycom. But at times it feels like ESPN takes the ACC for granted. They helped the SEC get its network off the ground. They still give prime early timeslots to the Big Ten. I understand that ESPN is running a business and wants ratings regardless of teams, but I feel at times that the ACC could be in some of those better slots and generate equal ratings. But because of the exclusive partnership, ESPN can put the ACC wherever they choose. If the ACC had other distribution partners (or its own network), the conference's scheduling and revenue leverage would be better. If the ACC goes ahead with its own network ESPN will be involved. But can the ACC get ESPN to make the network a priority, like the SEC Network is/was?

Why partner with the Pac 12 now?
The ACC and Pac 12 compliment each other in multiple ways. The spread of the schools from the Eastern timezone to the Pacific means games wouldn't compete for air time. The ACC also brings huge east coast TV markets. Getting together means this could be the first college network with national reach and national appeal for advertisers. (No more FoodLion or Bojangles.)

The other big benefit for partnering with the Pac 12 is that they've already done a lot of the heavy lifting. They have the TV studios. They have the reach. They have the satellite signals. Adding the ACC just allows them to return to those 90 million homes and drive new, more lucrative deals.

The final reason to partner with the Pac 12 on a TV deal is that it ties them to the ACC. With all the talk of the Power 5, there is still an underlying fear of teams breaking away or forming a Power 4. With the Pac 12 and ACC in a partnership, the two conferences can act together on issues like paying players, freshman eligibility and the football selection committee.

Since it already has its own deal, it might not make sense for the Pac 12 to partner with the ACC. But it does provide them with a chance to jump start their network. Even with a revenue split with the ACC, the Pac 12 could come out way ahead of where they are now.

Why talk is important
The ACC spurned the Pac 12 years ago, so why would they enter an agreement now? Especially when they are finally close to getting what they want: The ACC Network. I think the ACC will probably get their network this time. But ESPN could drag its feet. Cable operators could balk. By at least exploring a Pac 12 partnership as a threat, the ACC gets a little more leverage. ESPN would rather give the ACC what they want instead of having a true competitor in a national ACC-Pac 12 Net that ESPN doesn't control.

How this ends
I would love to see the ACC make a bold mover. But my fear is more of the same -- an outdated TV deal and a half-baked ACC Channel. But before they sign a new deal it wouldn't hurt to call the Pac 12.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, May 07, 2015

FSU knocks Softball out of ACC Tournament

The BC Softball season came to an end Thursday as the Eagles lost to Florida State. The Seminoles got a lead in the 4th, shut down a BC rally and then added some insurance runs later. They advance to the Semifinals.

It was a big deal that BC did enough to into the ACC Tournament, but losing still stings. The team finished 27-24.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Fitch talks and other links

BC posted an interview with new Offensive Coordinator Todd Fitch. Fitch doesn't get into Xs and Os or reveal much of anything. However, you do start to understand how the promotion all came together. I think Fitch also makes it pretty clear how important being in house was for the offense and for him taking the job. Plus he acknowledges Addazio's influence. We will throw more next year, but we are still going to be run heavy.

While still working on the 2016 recruiting class, the football staff is also making plenty of offers for the 2017 class. One of the latest targets is Florida OL prospect Jonathon MacCollister.

Softball begins play in the ACC Tournament on Thurday. The Eagles face Florida State.

Former Eagle Will Magarity transferred to Davidson. I hope he recovers from his head injuries and succeeds there. The only surprise to me is that he didn't end up at Penn with Steve Donahue.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Basketball transfer updates

Central Connecticut State's Matt Mobley listed a bunch of potential landing spots, but speculation that he's favoring BC kicked up over the weekend. He's a scorer and a Mass native. He's probably the best transfer currently mentioning BC.

Michigan big man Max Bielfeldt is keeping his options -- including staying in Ann Arbor -- open. Based on his quotes, it sounds like he prefers Iowa State.

Neither Mobley nor Bielfeldt are difference makers. Both would be looking to play out their careers at a high level. Based on no other high profile transfers even mentioning BC, I think Christian is going to give the freshmen lots of minutes. The incoming transfers will just be for depth and some contribution.

As for the guys who left...Lonnie Jackson is officially headed to Boise State. Most expected him to head west and BSU has been floated as a possible outcome for a few weeks. He can play right away and if he stays healthy should be able good for at least three 3-pointers a game. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

ESPN still slighting BC in ACC Power Rankings

It is the offseason, but that doesn't slow down ESPN. They continue to fill up their ACC blog with power rankings. Any list or ranking is a good tool as it engages readers and helps improve search engine optimization. The latest poll ranks teams heading into 2015. Not so surprisingly, ESPN ranked BC 11 out of 14 ACC teams heading into next season.

In the power rankings, there is another team tied with BC, leaving only Wake and Cuse as lower than the Eagles. This also isn't surprising. Yet instead of explaining why BC is below so many (new QB, new OL), the recap focuses on Addazio's first two years. Adelson notes his success in beating expectations in Year 1 and Year 2. But she doesn't follow that logic and move him up in this ranking. With his track record, I would have put UVA (with London's hot seats) and Pitt (new staff) behind our Eagles. I also would have used the Power Rankings to question a traditional power. Why not put Virginia Tech low? They've been uneven the past two years. Or give Al Golden's critics fuel by moving BC ahead of the Canes. This is subjective, so ESPN should make it interesting.

In the whole scheme of things, it is good that expectations are so low this year. If BC can show just the littlest aptitude and get to a bowl, it will be viewed as a major accomplishment.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Other Eagles sign NFL deals

The NFL Draft is not the only way to get on an NFL team. Depending on the situation, signing as an undrafted free agent has its advantages. The player is just as much of a long-shot as a late rounder, yet has a little more control over where he goes. He and his agent can pick a spot or team that has real need. Many Eagles in the past few years have picked up Super Bowl rings by signing with the right team as a free agent (Herzy!). Here are the guys who didn't hear their names called over the weekend but still have a chance to make a team:

  • Tyler Murphy -- signed with the Steelers. He will be part of their mini-camp and is listed as a WR. He has to show potential early for them to invest time in his transition from QB. 
  • Josh Keyes -- signed with Tampa Bay. He seems like a good fit for Smith's 4-3, Cover 2 scheme. He can cover a lot of ground and has good speed. 
  • Manny Asprilla -- signed with the Chargers. San Diego brought in 21 undrafted free agents. That seems like a shotgun approach. I don't love Asprilla's chances, but I am glad he'll get a shot.
  • Bobby Vardaro -- signed with the Vikings. Their Fanside site considers him a potential backup.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

49ers draft Silberman

I rushed my earlier post and failed to note that the 49ers selected Ian Silberman in the 6th round too. Congrats to Ian and I love that he gets to work with former BC assistant Steve Logan.

Silberman provides another good story for Addazio since he was a transfer who BC helped make better. Good luck to him.

Gallik, Mihalik taken in NFL Draft

Congratulations to the newest Eagles in the NFL. First the Tennessee Titan took Andy Gallik in the sixth round Saturday. One round later, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Brian Mihalik. Both were somewhat surprising.

Most projections had Gallik going in the midrounds. Falling into the sixth means less upfront money -- and doesn't even assure a final roster spot -- but Gallik should get a fair shake in Tennessee. He's versatile enough that even if he doesn't earn a starter's spot, he can back up the interior positions.

Mihalik always seemed a long shot, but the Philadelphia connections to the current BC roster gives the Eagles a different sort of insight. Seventh rounders are regularly cut. Hopefully Brian impresses and he makes the team. His size always gives him a differentiator.

Considering the attrition and questionable lack of quality that went into Spaz's core recruiting classes, BC should be happy with two players taken. Let's hope the upcoming NFL Drafts are filled with more Eagles.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Tweets of the Week