“Let me say this about that [call]. And I do understand that it’s a point of contention and people would have different opinions on it. But that situation has been produced in practice and simulated in scrimmages. That exact situation came up in one of our scrimmages, which we script. We script different times, we script overtime … That situation came up. We hailed off the cuff as you would in a scrimmage, in simulated game. We made a decision on that day, and then we went back in and reviewed it and discussed how we would do this in a game, was that right—we second-guessed ourselves ahead of time. Some of the factors that went into it were, ‘Okay, well we decided to go to overtime. Well why would you decide to go to overtime?’ How was your offense playing? How was your defense playing? How was the flow of the game going? What was the pulse of the players? It’s a little bit more than just, ‘Oh there’s 59 seconds left, let’s make this decision.’ And I do understand that. But we as coaches have to do a little bit more than that. Is there second-guessing? You better believe it. But under those circumstances, we thought that was our best chance to win. I’ll tell you why: throwing the ball we were 13-for-something. We were getting sacked. Our guys weren’t open. We were having pressure there. We were playing some good defense. We felt going into overtime was our best calculated [chance] to win. It turned out wrong. Now, did it turn out wrong because of that? I don’t know. There were a lot of other things. There’s a lot that goes into that. Second-guessing? I don’t know, maybe we would have thrown a screen rather than run a draw on the first play [of overtime]. But the decision? I would do the same thing. I would do the same, taking into account everything that I just told you. It’s a little bit more than—that’s why we try to take the feelings out of it. We try to do a professional job with it. That’s what coaches do.”
“You can disagree. That’s what fans are. We got great fans and great students. Gotta love that—anyone can disagree. But it’s 59 seconds on our 16-yard line. And my job is to give our kids the best chance and make a calculated judgment on what our best chance is to win. And we felt going into overtime that we could hold them to a field goal and we felt we could score. We felt we would not give up a touchdown. That’s the way we felt. It didn’t turn out that way, but not for a lack of effort or thinking about it. A lot of thought went into it.”— Head coach Frank Spaziani on if he had any second-guessing of his decision to take a knee at the end of regulation and take the game into overtime, which BC lost 30-23.
I don’t know what goes through their mind as far as that. But it’s their team. They’re playing for themselves, their school, and all the work they’ve put in. That’s who you’re playing for, it’s as simple as that. We think we have good leadership, and we’ve got the respect of the team, we’ve had it always. I don’t think that plays into anything.
If a spaceship came down and took me away tomorrow, it’s [still] their team. At the end of the year, they’re gonna look at the record, and it’s what they did. I think that’s a healthy way to approach it.— Frank Spaziani on if he thought the team might be playing to show they had his back
Frank Spaziani Teleconference: Week One
It’s officially game week for the Boston College football team, and head coach Frank Spaziani conducted his weekly teleconference today looking ahead to Saturday’s opener against Miami. Here is some of what Spaz had to say:
“We’re in game week. The coaches are excited and the players are excited. We’re anxious to find out what kind of football team we have. We have a very formidable opponent in Miami, and we’re looking forward to the game.”
On the tight end situation without senior Chris Pantale:
“We have a couple different ways to go. CJ Parsons and [Jarrett] Darmstatter and [Brian] Miller have scrimmaged, and [Dave] Bowen and [Liam] Porter have been there. I think it’s going to be by committee for a while until we figure it out.”
On what he sees in Miami quarterback Stephen Morris:
“Stephen is a very big league quarterback with skills. All you do is have to go back and look at the Maryland game he started last year. He didn’t skip a beat as far as their offense. They moved the ball and scored very well. I know the situation that they had last year was obviously a new situation in handling everybody, but he has all the skills and I’m sure with a whole season with the system under his belt and now an offseason and a preseason, we’re expecting an accomplished quarterback in there, and somebody that albeit hasn’t played a lot of plays, but has been in games and been around and I’m sure he’s going to be well-schooled.”
On the wide receiver situation without Bobby Swigert:
“We have some quality guys there. We like what’s going on over there at the wide receiver spot, but they gotta do it in the game. Liking them and having them do it is two different things. Doug [Martin]’s got a great feel for certain things. We gotta just put them in the right positions to give them a chance to make a play and then they gotta do it.”
On the health of the defensive line, including senior captain Kaleb Ramsey:
“We’re fully loaded over there now. We got all the parts back and everybody’s working. It’s a matter of how we use them and when we use them.”
You played Miami in the last game last year and the first game this year. Does that change the dynamics of things?
“Not really. They’re back-to-back games nine or ten months apart. They’re two different teams. A lot of things have changed from that game—the atmosphere, the psychology, the teamwork. They’re just two different teams. I can speak for our team and I’m sure [Miami head coach] Al [Al Golden] would say the same thing.”
On the announcement of walk-ons Mike Javorski and Ted Davenport earning scholarships:
“Every year since I’ve been the head coach and even before, if we’ve had extra scholarships, we’ve tried to reward our walk-ons, for two reasons. It’s very hard for us to get walk-ons, and they’re an integral part of our success. When we have somebody that’s done what Mike Javorski has done, it’s kind of a no-brainer to reward him a scholarship. It’s good for morale, it’s good for the guys that are there. Teddy’s a little bit different story, in that he’s played and participated for us. Barry Gallup said he’s got some extra money in his pocket, let’s give it out. But both of those guys are well-deserving, and they’re great students also. There’s a lot of things about them. They’ll play as much as we need them to do, whatever we ask.”
Is opening with a conference game a good thing?
“I don’t mind it, because it’s the same for both of us. Miami is the same as us. There is no game earlier or they didn’t have any extra practice time. So, you have to play the game, so why not get them going? That’s the way I look at it. It’s one week. Every week is an individual season. Conference game or no conference, let’s find out who we are.’’
Who in particular stands out from Miami, if anybody?
“I cannot identify them they’re so fast. They have some very good players on both sides of the ball. Obviously their skill people and their size and their quickness. That’s an athletic football team with some good players and they’re well-coached.”
Impressions From Friday’s Win Over Miami
By Stephen Sikora
Some observations from Boston College’s 24-17 win over Miami on Friday, aside from Luke Kuechly being … well, Luke Kuechly:
Chase Looking Great
At one point in the game late in the second quarter, Chase Rettig was 8-of-9 for 101 yards and a touchdown. He finished 13 of 17 for 196 and two touchdowns; of his four incompletions, two were drops by his receivers. All game long Rettigs’s passes were sharp and on target, as he routinely hit receivers in stride on 5-12 yard routes through the air, whether he was standing in the pocket or throwing on the run in play action rollouts. The announcers of the game went from saying early on that “Rettig’s numbers aren’t all that sexy,” to him playing “pretty impressive all day.” He certainly looked it. Having said all that, Rettig only attempted one deep ball that he badly overthrew, and didn’t try any sideline plays to receivers that require a tight window to throw to. The sophomore quarterback is definitely improving, as this game he showed he could find open receivers, stand tall in the pocket, and deliver short to intermediate passes accurately. He connected with tight end Chris Pantale for 70 yards and two TDs, after establishing a solid rapport with him last week at Notre Dame. With the ground game working, the intermediate throws were all that were needed to come up with a win. But against a better defense and when facing a deficit, deep balls and sideline outs will need to become plays that Rettig is comfortable with, or the offense will face the same fate as it did this year. If we see as much improvement out of Rettig this offseason as we saw from this year’s first game to its last, BC should be in good hands with its quarterback next year.
Offense Sputters on Short Gains
BC did not show many weaknesses against Miami, but there was a glaring one: failure to convert short yard gains. On important plays of two yards or less, head coach Frank Spaziani often opted for the running game, understandable given how well the backs and O-line were playing. The first significant short play was 4th and 1 at the Miami 13; at the time, BC was down 14-10. But rather than let Rettig stay on the field after he had engineered a solid drive, Josh Bordner’s number was called—a guy who has thrown two passes all year. So of course Miami knew the Eagles were running, and predictably stopped Bordner in the backfield for a one-yard loss. Later on in the third quarter BC was up 17-14, having just drove down the field with a 1st and goal at the two, offense in rhythm. But as the first down play approached, Spaz put Bordner in, then called timeout. Not only did he ruin the momentum the offense had going, but after deliberating, he put Bordner in again, who promptly fumbled and let Miami recover. Spaz, I’m sorry, but the Josh Bordner experiment is not working out. Stop messing with a good thing in Rettig, and when you need a short gain, there is a host of running backs to choose from. Rolandan Finch had a rock-solid game of 22 carries for 96 yards; I’m sure he would have been fine gaining a couple more.
Defense Rallies After Tumultuous First Few Minutes
I’m not sure even the coaches have an answer for what transpired with the defense this game. The first play from scrimmage, BC gave up a 60-yard completion, and two minutes later Miami scored after the Eagles hadn’t stopped a play of theirs yet. Miami’s next possession: 79-yard touchdown run. With the game 14-7 already, this looked like it was going to be a blowout. However, from then on the defense slammed the door shut, allowing a measly three additional points the entire game, which were given up on Miami’s last drive when BC was playing prevent defense. Of Miami’s final 10 possessions of the game disregarding their last one, BC forced six punts (five of which were three-and-outs) and intercepted Miami four times. The Hurricanes QB, Jacory Harris, had five interceptions the entire year before this game. After starting 6-of-7 for 91 yards and a TD, Harris went 11-of-24 for 88 yards and four picks until that final drive. Aside from the continuing dominance of Kuechly, Donnie Fletcher had a nice jump ball interception against a Miami receiver, Max Holloway had a couple of tackles for loss, and Ryan Quigley continued to put BC in great field position with his punting. Overall, a quality effort from the 44th ranked college football defense.
Season Wrap Up and Future Outlook
Four wins in a season is not acceptable for a BC football team, even if it did go 3-2 in its last five games, including a two-point loss at Notre Dame. Back in the middle of the year when the Eagles were 1-6 with no progress in sight, I was done with Spaz and telling everyone who listened that I wanted him fired. Now, I’m not so sure. The past five games have almost certainly guaranteed Spaz another year, so what’s the sense in pleading for his exit when it’s not going to happen? We’ve seen glimpses of BC’s potential throughout the season, and we saw a lot of it in this game, a solid effort from both sides of the ball. The established reasonable expectation for next year should be six wins and a bowl game. If we continue playing under .500 football, Spaz may in fact need to leave the team he’s been with since 1997.