Spaziani Trying To Get The Right Mentality Back To BC
By Greg Joyce, Sports Editor
Yesterday, fifth-year captain Emmett Cleary said that much of the Boston College football team’s struggles over the past two seasons could be attributed to a lack of seniors and fifth-years. Multiple players from Cleary’s class have left, either for personal or academic reasons.
Today, head coach Frank Spaziani tried to put into words the effect that the attrition has had on the Eagles and their downfall in recent years.
“It was something that you would rather not have happen,” Spaziani said about the players leaving. “You would rather have those guys being fifth-year seniors or seniors now. That would be more of a strength, but it just wasn’t. You worry about who’s here rather than who’s not here.”
Spaziani has been a coach on the Heights for 16 years, but he said it wasn’t always the case that this many players left BC.
“There weren’t many people leaving,” Spaziani said. “In the first 8 to 10 years I was here, there weren’t many people transferring out, I don’t remember any. And then did we lose somebody academically? I don’t remember any of those.”
The perfect example of the kind of player that made BC what it was during its successful years a few years ago is BJ Raji, Spaziani said. The night before Raji was set to begin his fourth year on the football team at BC, he was declared academically ineligible for the season.
“He could have just went, ‘I’m going to the NFL,’” Spaziani said. “But he went, ‘Okay. I’m going to class, I’m going to scout team, and I’ll play next year. That was the quote ‘attitude.’ That’s what we need.”
Asked if that “attitude” has changed or if it is not present among the current group of players, Spaziani backtracked a little.
“Attitude wasn’t the right word,” Spaziani said. “It’s just what the place represented and why you came here and all of those things. The guys, even though maybe it wasn’t working out for them—because it doesn’t work out for everyone. You recruit 20 guys, you don’t have 20 starters in four years. It doesn’t work out that way. But they liked it here. They came here for the education, the community, and that blend. It was worth it to stay here for them. And then it got changed. “
Why did that mindset get changed? Spaziani paused for some time, then chose his words carefully.
“Recruiting…three coaches in four years,” he said. “Different stuff.”
Despite the change, Spaziani said he thinks it’s moving back to BC getting the right players—the ones who want to be in Chestnut Hill for the right reasons.
“I think so,” Spaziani said. “You’ve got a constant. Whats been the constant?”
Pointing to himself, Spaziani answered his own question.