FOOTBALL: Time Running Out For Spaziani, BC

By Greg Joyce, Sports Editor

Less than 24 hours after the most disappointing loss of the season for Boston College, head coach Frank Spaziani held his weekly teleconference on Sunday after a team meeting and watching tape of the game.

Spaziani sounded somber and defeated throughout most of the call, as he tried to move past the devastating 34-31 loss to Army and look toward a daunting opponent in Florida Sate.

“After looking at the tape, it’s still a very tough defeat in a lot of ways,” Spaziani said. “How it happened…it’s something that we have to put behind us and put our nose to the grindstone and keep moving forward.”

The last-minute loss to Army came after the Eagles made one of their biggest defensive plays of the season, a goal-line stand against the Black Knights that seemingly put the game away. Just a few minutes later though, Army had run over the BC defense and secured its first win of the season.

(Daniel Lee / Heights Editor)

Now, Spaziani must figure out a way to put such a tough loss behind him and his team, as a road trip to Florida State is looming.

“We just had our team meeting and we worked hard at it,” Spaziani said about putting the loss behind him. “Once again, there’s some things that we think we need to do. We’ve been addressing it all year and we still need to keep addressing it. These guys have responded for 16 years, I don’t see them not responding again. But we’ll get on the practice field and see how it goes. We’ll see.”

The most frustrating part of it all for BC has been the paradox between the major improvements on the offense this season, while the defense has suffered. Chase Rettig and the offense have put up over 30 points in four of the five games this season, but the Eagles only have one win to show for it. BC is ranked 104th in the country in total defense, allowing 469.8 yards per game. The rushing defense has been even worse, ranking 117th in the country (out of 120 FBS teams) by allowing 259 rushing yards per game.

“You can always do stuff to improve it,” Spaziani said of the defense. “Looking on what has happened the past couple of weeks, I think we’ve been in the right places, but we just haven’t been able to execute. Now we’ve made mistakes, you’re going to make mistakes, but we just haven’t … there’s nobody erasing the mistakes and making some big plays. We made a couple over the last few weeks, but not enough. They did make a couple big plays down on the goal line at the end. We just have to get some more of them, and then we’ll be better off. You can always help them by calling and trying to understand better what they can do and what they can’t do.”

Spaziani thinks the reason for the disparity between the offense’s success and the defense’s woes has been an issue of consistency and depth.

“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “We knew we’d be better over there on offense. All signs pointed to that [the offense] was going to be much better. And one of the things that has happened over on offense, besides the scheme and the coaches, is that we’ve had some more depth over there, we’ve got some more consistency, guys have been out to practice, and if somebody did miss, it was a quality backup in there. That’s one of the things that has hurt us over on defense.

“Once again, these are not—I can’t emphasize that enough—these are not excuses, but it’s part of the problem. We haven’t had any consistency that you need. That always shows up on defense first. Guys that maybe missed practice or we have to move guys around, and that’s a tough thing to do.”

Asked what it would take to turn things around, Spaziani answered, “a whole team consistency.” If the Eagles can figure out a way to maintain that consistency, Spaziani believes they could be a different team.

“Winning breeds a lot more confidence, and losing creates a little more doubt,” Spaziani said. “[There are] a lot of extraneous factors out there. There are a lot of things working on their minds. They have to understand it’s their team, and they can have as much success as they want.”

Time for that success is slipping away with each passing game though, as the schedule from here on out only gets more difficult. Each week sounds more and more like the last: the offense doing its job for the most part, while the defense struggles to execute properly. The excuses of consistency and depth are starting to become tiresome, and it’s looking like BC is headed toward another lost season under Spaziani.

“Realistically, we knew our margin of error was slim, and we had to have some things go right,” Spaziani said. “We’re 1-4 … and we’re playing hard. We’re playing hard. A couple of games could have gone either way and stuff, but we have to figure out why that’s not happening.”

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