Continuing our question and answer series with opponents bloggers, this weeks Boston College Q and A was done by Soaring to Glory. I know I for one am looking forward to this game as it is the one game every two years, where I don’t have to travel to go see the Terps. More importantly I am looking forward to this game to find out what this team is made of. I think the same could be said of fans of BC.
Turtledroppings: This is Boston College’s 6th season in the ACC. How do you feel and the fan base feel about the move?
Soaring To Glory I think we’re fine with where we are now. Personally, I like the ACC and the intra-conference matchups we have with it. I’m not going to lie, our conference in football hasn’t been much to write home about, but it’s still better than where we were. The Big East as presently constituted is practically worthless outside of West Virginia. Also, despite all of the chest-thumping from over there, the ACC is a superior basketball conference, but that’s neither here nor there.
Every once in a long while, you’ll get an older BC fan who pines for the days of the Big East, but I suspect they’re well into the minority now. Myself, I got to BC during our last year in the Big East, so the old rivalries never really meant much to me and the ACC is basically all I’ve known in Eagles sports.
TD: Not unlike Maryland, BC has been starting a quarterback that was not anticipated to play much during the season. What was Dave Shinskie’s downfall, and what does freshman Chase Rettig bring to the table?
STG: Dave Shinskie’s downfall started last season with some really miserable performances on his part, but he won the job out of camp this year because of (a) the “previous experience” card and (b) the fact that his backup at the time, Mike Marscovetra, was worse. Shinskie was consistently inconsistent, and my “Shinskie Rule” was that for each good play he made, he would make an equally bad one. We BC fans got very frustrated with his lack of development – inaccurate throws, not going through progressions, not taking care of the football, lack of poise, so on and so forth. Meanwhile, Marscovetra also got playing time, but he was dreadful in each appearance.
So, the Eagles went with Rettig. The original plan was to redshirt him, but once it became clear that both option A and option B were not working out, Spaziani went to option C (C as in Chase). Hindsight is 20/20, but now it seems obvious to Eagles fans that he should have been starting all along this year. He brings things to the table that neither of the other two quarterbacks do for the most part: poise, pocket presence, mobility, and well-thrown balls. As for intangibles, he seems to have a certain confidence when he’s on the field, and that in itself is reassuring to BC fans. I’ve already seen more out of him in two games than I did the others in a year and a half. Ultimately, I think he will develop into a very good quarterback for BC.
TD: Where do you think BC has and advantage against Maryland, and where do you think Maryland has an advantage?
STG: Boston College definitely has an advantage in stopping the run. This defense is the 10th best rush defense in the nation, and the Terps are 80th in rushing the football, so you would figure Maryland will have little success on the ground. BC’s weakness on defense has been (for most of the season, anyway) stopping the pass, but in the Florida State game, the Eagles were actually able to disrupt a quarterback’s rhythm for a change. I think that’s where Maryland’s strength lies on the defensive side: I haven’t seen very much of the Terps’ play live this season, but Maryland’s pass defense has appeared to be adequate statistically, while BC’s passing game still struggles (even with an improving Chase Rettig). Offensively, however, neither team is much good from what I can tell. In a way, then, I guess you could say that both teams have certain advantages on defense.
TD: Regardless of what team you are a fan of, everyone is excited to see Mark Herzlich back on the field this year. How has he played so far, and do you think he is back to his old self?
STG: Of course, we can all agree with that sentiment, but unfortunately, if I’m going to be fair, I’d have to say that he’s not back to his old self. On certain plays, you see flashes of what he used to be, and that he still has his football instincts. Overall, however, he hasn’t been very visible, and is often getting overshadowed by BC’s next great linebacker, Luke Kuechly. Herzlich used to be BC’s big play guy on defense, but now, the torch has been passed. (Like Herzlich, I think Kuechly eventually has an ACC DPOY award in his future).
None of us hold it against him, however. He has been through a lot in his time, and the fact that he’s playing at all is nothing short of amazing and a testament to his willpower and fortitude. More than anything right now, I would say that while he isn’t contributing on the field the way he used to, he is still a tremendous inspiration to this group. I’d say they’re doing something right, though, and the numbers back that up.
TD: What is your take on the job Frank Spaziani is doing so far?
STG: Public opinion is turning against Coach Spaz. Speaking for myself, I don’t dislike the guy and I don’t want him to fail, but he has been criticized (rightly) for numerous shortcomings during his short tenure. Spaziani teams, at least to us, seem unprepared and unmotivated. Gary Tranquill, his hand-picked offensive coordinator, was a terrible hire. His postgame press conferences are uninspiring and practically defeatist. His clock/timeout management is highly questionable. That’s not to say he’s done everything wrong, but I personally don’t think he’s a good fit, nor do I think he’s head coach material. For so long as he is the head honcho, I do not think BC will win an ACC title (or even win the ACC Atlantic).
The circumstances surrounding his hire were interesting. His predecessor, Jeff Jagodzinski, was fired for interviewing for the Jets head coaching job. We were promised a “national search” to find his replacement, but of course, that never really happened. Our athletic director went with Spaziani because he was the safe pick and would supposedly bring continuity. Unfortunately, he’s on the wrong side of 60 and his team has underperformed. Playing it safe has gotten BC where it is right now – that is to say, mediocrity.
TD: What is your prediction for the game?
STG: As I’ve posted on my own blog this week, I think that despite all of BC’s problems, their defense will put forth another respectable game and the offense will stay out of its own way long enough to get the Eagles through the finish line. I’m thinking something in the ballpark of 23-17 BC. I don’t say that with complete confidence, but I believe this game does favor the Eagles.
Thanks again to Soaring to Glory from the land of chowder and lobster for taking the time to answer our questions and allow us to get a BC fans perspective on the Eagles and Terps. It should be an interesting game as both teams are desperate to right the ship. Be sure to check in with STG to get all the up to the minute news going into the game. For those of you Maryland fans coming up to Boston, I highly recommend the Lobster Mac and Cheese if any of the restaurants you frequent have it on the menu! Go Terps!