Friday, February 28, 2014

Coaching Profiles: Bruce Pearl

We all know the issues BC needs to address with regards to Bruce Pearl. But as other schools ready to fire their coaches, it is also important to ask "would Pearl come back to BC?" Behind closed doors I wonder if Pearl would prefer going back to the SEC where he knows the coaches, never has to worry about recruits graduating and can stay relatively close to his family. Auburn is likely to make a change. Alabama could also be looking for a new coach. If both decide to suck up their pride and hire a former Tennessee coach (and if Mike Slive doesn't blackball Pearl), I would think Pearl would prefer those jobs to BC.

-- Instant excitement and energy around the basketball program
-- Pearl's style would probably suit the current roster and be a reasonable transition
-- Pearl is willing to sell the program to recruits, media and fans
-- Great redemption story
-- Bringing in an established winner

-- Unless a comprise can be worked out on the show clause, BC would voluntarily place itself on probation until August 2014
-- Unless the show clause is adjusted, Pearl cannot recruit until August
-- Pearl's baggage will be used against BC in recruiting
-- Any basketball issue (on or off the court) will be overly scrutinized because of Pearl's history

If you are basing the decision purely on basketball, Pearl is the obvious choice. However, it is not that simple. Can he be contrite and say the right things to BC? Will he overplay his hand with any new suitor and end up alienating all the major programs? Will Brad Bates put his reputation in the line with the BC trustees for this one hire? I still think it is all unlikely. Who knows? We are approaching Lent. Maybe the story of the Prodigal Son will strike a nerve with the right people when it comes time to pursue Pearl.

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Goals for Spring Ball

BC's official spring practices begin Friday. In a way this year's spring session is more important than last year. In 2013 Addazio was installing a system, but he was also taking over a veteran team and expectations were extremely low. Now he's got to prove last year wasn't a fluke and find some new playmakers. Here are the big issues for the next few weeks.

1. Put Wade and Murphy through the ringer. It might not seem fair to ask two guys who have only been on campus for six weeks to step up, but that is Addazio's reality. While he doesn't have to announce a starter, the staff does need a good idea of what each guy is capable of and who gets the most reps in August.

2. Flush out the guys buried on the roster. There are plenty of Spaz recruits who barely got on the field last year. Come summer they will be competing with 30 new players Addazio brought in. If these guys want to play this fall they need to make an impression now. The end result of spring ball should be a few guys who blossom and a few who decide to transfer.

3. Make adjustments on D. Don Brown's squads usually improve from Year 1 to Year 2. Brown not only needs to replace some talent, but he needs to fix the holes from last year. We generated more pressure, but still allowed way too much yardage and scores. Talent and scheme was an issue, but there were plenty of missed tackles and blown assignments. That can start to change now.

4. Make a big deal of the Spring Game. BC cancelled last year's Spring Game in the wake of the Marathon Bombing. It was the right call at the time. Now is Addazio's chance to restart the Spring Game tradition. Spring Games can be a great tool. They can excite the fanbase and draw in recruits. Yet it has always been an afterthought at BC. Addazio seems committed to new traditions and selling the school. Holding an impactful Spring Game is one more tool to changing the culture of BC football.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

BC wastes good effort from Hanlan, Heckmann in loss to Pitt

BC's reliance on 3s and converting at the free throw line isn't always going to work. It didn't in tonight's loss against Pitt, but that wasn't the real problem. Only having three guys show up for the game was the big issue...and terrible defense again. 

I am glad Patrick Heckmann is coming into his own as the season comes to a close. But his success and the terrible game from Rahon and Jackson highlight a less discussed Donahue issue -- our rotations. Because we lack a traditional lineup or a balanced roster, we have too many players competing for minutes and all bringing similar skills to the table. So players cannot get into a consistent groove or once one guy gets hot, another player becomes a non factor. The roster doesn't compliment each other. Hanlan had a great game. That should be enough, but if we don't have four more guys playing halfway decent, we cannot win. 

Wake is up next. Anyone want to take a guess on who will get hot next at the expense of Heckmann's minutes?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

KPL love and other links

The biggest BC winner coming out of the NFL Combine is KPL. Both Yahoo and FOX listed him among the biggest movers at the Combine. By dominating his position group in the drills, KPL will force NFL teams to go and look back at his game tape. While not as consistent as Kuechly (who is?), KPL certainly made a lot of plays and a lot of tackles. I think he could move up into the 3rd round.

It looks like BC might use as many as six different running backs next year.

Mike Naples and Steele Divitto are training together for BC's Pro Day at the renowned Parisi Football Academy. Naples started blogging about the experience too.

This Falcons blogger wants Andre Williams in Atlanta. Considering how often the Falcons like to screen, I don't know if it is a good fit.

OL Prospect Justin Skule is looking at multiple ACC schools.

The Women's Lacrosse team's matchup with Syracuse Wednesday is great opportunity for the team to move up the rankings.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Coaching Profiles: Tod Kowalczyk

Before BC played Toledo this season, I had never heard of Tod Kowalczyk. And frankly after the Rockets won, I still wasn't concerned with their coach. My focus was more on BC's shakey start. Two months later, the BC season is even worse and Kowalczyk has put together the best season of a quietly respectable head coaching career.

What you need to know
Kowalczyk could be a hot name in three weeks if Toledo makes a Tourney run, however, even without a splash, his resume and accomplishments deserve consideration for BC. A Midwest guy, Kowalczyk has enough ties and experience in the New England and the Northeast that BC wouldn't be foreign territory (assistant at UNH, St. Anselm and Rutgers). His time at Marquette is also an important career stop as it gave him major confernece recruiting and a familiarity with working at a Jesuit school. Unlike some other midmajor names, Kowalczyk will understand the type of talent it will take to win at BC. As a MAC Coach, I am sure that Bates has some familiarity with him and his reputation. I don't know if there is anything more to the relationship.

-- Long run in the Wisconsin University System, which has been a good incubator of coaching talent (Bennett, Pearl, Ryan)
-- Consistent winner at two different programs
-- Has recruited in New England

-- Despite consistent winning, no NCAA Tournament appearances as a Head Coach
-- Teams tended to follow a Donahue, Skinner model of good offenses and poor defenses
-- No ACC ties
-- No ties to BC
-- Unknown to most BC fans

Kowalczyk is not the type of coach you hire to sell seats in Year 1. I don't think he's a sure thing nor necessarily the way BC will go initially. But if we cannot land a Pearl or Howland, this is the type of coach we should strongly consider. In 12 seasons as a Head Coach, Kowalczyk only has three losing seasons. Above style or offensive efficiency or the ability to recruit, we need to reestablish a culture of winning. Kowalczyk brings that culture. He will be a head coach in a major conference soon. BC might be the right fit for him and for us.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Amidon's decision

While Andre Williams and Matt Patchan open eyes at the NFL Combine, there is one BC star whose story is not getting much attention. Alex Amidon began the season as a legitimate Wide Receiver prospect. Although BC passed less this year, Amidon's speed against elite DBs would have been enough to get NFL attention. Yet he isn't at the NFL Combine and is not training for the BC Pro Day. Alex Amidon has decided to not continue his football career. Instead he's enjoying his final days at BC as a regular student.

While I don't think Amidon would have been a sure thing in the NFL, he was good enough. Amidon possessed legitimate speed and decent hands. He easily could have caught on with the right team or in a pass happy system. Heck, he still has time to change his mind. But regardless I think Amidon does deserve congratulation on his choice. Not many people could or would turn down the allure of the NFL to find their own path.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Back to normal

I didn't get to watch the game today. (Real life comes before blogging.) I did get to listen to most of it on satellite radio. It happened to be the Miami feed, which proved interesting. The announcers obviously focused on the 'Canes, but were very respectful of BC and yet sort of matter of fact in our ineptitude. This was our eighth straight loss to Miami and our 42nd double-digit loss under Donahue.

Steve Donahue is a great ambassador for the school. He's not a great basketball coach for the school. As much as I enjoyed the Syracuse win and hope he lines up other elite recruits to join Miller, he's not the guy. I may try to watch the game Sunday, but I don't know if it is even worth it. Syracuse was an anomaly. This is who were are and who this team is. I expect more of the same as the season plays out.

Hockey shuts out Lowell and other links

Hockey defeated UMass-Lowell 3-0 Friday. Gaudreau extended his scoring streak to 27 games.

Baseball lost to Stetson. The two teams play again Saturday.

The Bills are interested in Andre Williams.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Miller commits

2015 basketball recruit Jeremy Miller committed to BC Thursday. Miller is a Top 100 prospect and the biggest name to commit under Donahue. Coming on the heels of the Syracuse win, this is good news for the embattled coach. But this doesn't change the prognosis that Donahue will be fired. Miller is a nice get, but we need at least three more elite verbals if the coach plans on staying.

Syracuse Win: the morning after

There was lots of good publicity in the aftermath of the game.

Here is a clip of some students greeting the team when they arrived back on campus.

ESPN and Yahoo both posted stories that related to Dick Kelley.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


This was the season to forget...until tonight. BC pulled off the upset of the season in the Carrier Dome by beating No. 1 Syracuse 62-59. There's a lot to digest with regards to what this means and the emotion attached with Dick Kelley, but the focus first should be on the game.

A couple of thoughts...
-- Heckmann played the game of his BC career. He didn't light up the scoreboard, but he played smart and focused. There wasn't one boneheaded move and his defense was very good.
-- Hanlan was the best player on the court. Syracuse boasts the Conference Player of the Year and a handful of McDonald's guys, but Hanlan made some huge clutch shots, and more importantly, could get his shot off against all of them.
-- Syracuse's pace helped us. It wasn't just the 2-3. Their methodical half court offense allowed us to play better defense than we've played all year. We didn't have many blown switches and they really didn't exploit their size advantage.

Dick Kelley was mentioned on the broadcast and practically trended on Twitter. It was the best thing about the finish. I wish Dick had been alive to see the game. He would have been proud of his guys.

We are past saving the season or saving his job. If anything, I think you can view this game as an indictment of the season. Why haven't we had shorter rotations all year? If playing slower led to better D, why didn't we do that earlier? After the game Donahue said, he told the team to stop trying to win a certain way. "Win ugly" is what he implored. Coach, where do you think they got the idea that every possession had to be a certain way? It is all too little, too late. I think this shows how much the team has underachieved and how a new voice and new vision for next year can make a big difference. 

Potential issues for BC's Combine invitees

The NFL invited five BC players to the Combine. Andre Williams, Matt Patchan and Kasim Edebali, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Kaleb Ramsey all played well enough to earn the Combine invite but all still have a lot to prove. The Combine is just their first chance to impress and overcome any objections, potential teams might have. Here are each player's issues:

Andre Williams -- Teams will first want to know that he is healthy. After the medical issues, I am sure there will be questions about his versatility and if he can perform in a pass focused, zone running offense.

Matt Patchan -- Also has an injury history. However, his time at BC should put some of that to ease. I am sure scouts will want to know about his strength and if he can play a Tackle position at the NFL Level. 

Kasim Edebali -- Of all the BC players Edebali's 40 time is probably most critical. He's got the perfect frame for an edge rusher in the NFL, but needs to show that he has the speed. 

Kevin Pierre-Louis -- If Edebali has to prove his speed, KPL probably has to prove his size. He's been listed as 6'1, 225 lbs, but I don't know if he will be that big under the NFL's less inflated numbers. He proved he can play and Kuechly's NFL success certainly helps him. But there will be some teams that question KPL's ability to be an every down NFL Linebacker.

Kaleb Ramsey -- Ramsey's got the package and athleticism. Most NFL teams that do their homework will probably wonder about his desire. Is he motivated and ready for the grind of the NFL? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Coaching Profiles: Mike Hopkins

BC returns to the Carrier Dome Wednesday night. As important as it might be to face the nation's top team, the game might also serve as a preview of BC's basketball future. Syracuse's top assistant Mike Hopkins is nearly everything BC would want in a new coach. He's been an ace recruiter for a leading program. He has experience in the best basketball conferences in the country. He's brings a solid basketball acumen and a proven defensive system. He's worked at private schools. The only thing missing on Hopkins' resume is the issue that he's never been a head coach.

What you need to know
Hiring an assistant usually isn't an issue. 99% of them would jump on the chance to have their own program, especially one in the ACC with a winning tradition. Hopkins' is not a sure thing. He's turned down other jobs in the past and most assume that he will be Boeheim's successor at Syracuse. But his multiple interviews for the USC job showed that he was willing to leave for the right situation. Who knows his motivations these days? These handoffs when an icon steps down are always political and fraught with egos. Maybe he's tired of waiting. Or maybe he knows that the right job -- and winning there -- will make him that much more desirable to Syracuse down the road. I don't think BC will look at many assistants, but I think Hopkins will be on the short list.

-- Brings in BC's most aggressive and successful recruiter in 30 years
-- Could install the 2-3 and have BC playing good to great defense within two seasons
-- Personable "face of the program" type who will be accessible
-- Strong ties to northeast AAU
-- Strong ties to Southern California basketball scene

-- No Head Coaching experience
-- the chance that he might leave for Syracuse the minute Boeheim retires

BC hasn't hired an assistant for the head basketball job since Bob Zuffelato. Maybe it is time to try the idea again. I like everything about Hopkins and I am not worried about his lack of head coaching experience. Boeheim delegates so much that Hopkins has better "big time" experience than half the candidates that BC will consider. There is a chance the he runs back to Syracuse one day. But if that is a fear, BC just needs to build in some sort of contractual, time-adjusted buyout. We can require that he spends four seasons here.

Bates said during the football search that prior head coaching experience was critical. I think he will probably follow that model this time too. But if one guy gets a pass on the head experience, it will be Hopkins.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What non-BC fans are saying

I think BC bloggers were so quick to attack the Donahue excuse narrative because we feared BC would face criticism at the end of the season when they would presumably fire Donahue. The continued losing -- especially to undermanned teams like Georgia Tech and Notre Dame -- is ending any need to combat a media narrative. If Twitter is any indication, the media expect Donahue to be fired. Take a look at some of these comments over the last few days.

Now that is just a small sample of ACC folks following another loss. It is not going to influence Bates. But it does show that some others expect more from us. I know our fans do. I just wish the Boston media would share the same perspective.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekend Roundup: Hockey good, basketball bad Part 184

The Hockey team swept Vermont this weekend. Of course that wrapped up the Hockey East regular season title, but what else do you expect come "Trophy Time"?

Not to be outdone, the BC Women won their Hockey East title too.

Basketball lost to Notre Dame. I will write more about the loss on Monday, but the big issue was BC's inability to slow them and we couldn't cover our issues with 3-point shooting.

The Women's Basketball team lost to Syracuse.

Here is another article about Dick Kelley by a writer who knew him for 30 years.

Don't look now, but Baseball has won three in a row.

Addazio knows that with the departure of his seniors, there is a drop off in talent among the returning players.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Coaching Profiles: Ben Howland

Whenever people speculate about the BC job, Bruce Pearl is the first name mentioned. However, there is another high profile college basketball coach who is available. To me Ben Howland is the most intriguing candidate out there. He's a proven winner, he's available and he supposedly wants to coach in a situation like BC. Many things can happen to trip up these sorts of perfect fits, but to me Howland represents BC's most realistic chance to land an elite, high-profile coach in a major sport since the hiring of Jerry York 20 years ago.

What you need to know
Howland is the former UCLA and Pitt coach. He's known for his defensive focus and like Donahue has a tendency to coach possession to possession. If Bruce Pearl never met a reporter or AAU coach he didn't like, Howland would be the opposite. It wasn't his record that did him in at UCLA (the Bruins won the Pac 12 last year -- and he was still fired!). Howland was let go because he had worn out his welcome with all the UCLA power brokers. He didn't kiss the rings or do the rubber chicken circuit. I don't know Howland and only get gossip from people around basketball, but the guy wants to coach again and wants to coach at a school where he won't have to put up with a lot of the B.S. Gosh, if he could only find a BCS Conference team where the media and boosters wouldn't be on his back? Where he could just focus on basketball. Does anyone know of such a place that might be looking to make a change?

-- Familiar with coaching and recruiting in the Northeast.
-- Proven winner in major conferences.
-- Multiple Final Four appearances.
-- Has a long track record of developing mid-level recruits into elite players on elite teams.
-- Has familiarity with a school like BC (Howland got his Master from Gonzaga).
-- Only five losing seasons in 19 years at three different schools.

-- Other than stint at Pitt, has been primarily a West Coast guy.
-- No ties to BC or Brad Bates.
-- Will not be a marketer/media guy like Pearl or Addazio.
-- Other coaches using his UCLA exit against him with elite recruits.
-- Plays a methodical, defensive style of basketball that won't excite the casual fan.

If you are thinking "dream coach," think Howland. He's much more realistic than BC bringing Pearl home. Despite his BC ties, I think Pearl's baggage is going to be too much for BC.  I don't care about Howland's lack of sizzle. If he wins like he did at Pitt and UCLA, Conte will be filled. While BC would have to pay Howland more than we've ever paid a basketball coach, I don't think money is going to be the issue. Howland is going to be able to pick his spot. I hear he wants a situation "like BC" but that doesn't mean he wants BC and BC only, or that this is going to happen. BC's history says that Howland won't happen, but that shouldn't stop Brad Bates from reaching out. If Howland is willing, he's the best coach BC can find.

Kelley wake and funeral information

For those looking to pay their respects to Dick Kelley, here are the details on his wake and funeral.

Visitation hours scheduled for 4-8 p.m. Monday
Lehman, Reen & McNamara Funeral Home
63 Chestnut Hill Ave., Brighton.

Funeral Mass scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday
Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola
28 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tweets of the Week

Dick Kelley, 1965-2014

When message boards started leaking news that Mark Herzlich might have cancer, the first person I called was Dick Kelley. I knew Dick would be honest in what he knew, have the right perspective and outlook on the situation, and above all I knew Dick would always do and say what was best for BC's student athletes. Last night, Dick lost his battle to A.L.S. If you are a BC sports fan or member of the BC community, you will miss Dick, even if you did not have the pleasure of knowing him.

One recurring thing I hear from BC fans is how they feel BC kids are different. There may be some base truth to that, but you or I wouldn't know it if not for people like Dick Kelley and his colleagues in Sports Information. Dick was the one who would prep the media and get the good stories and anecdotes out to a larger audience. Dick would write the media guides and press releases that would serve as the introduction of so many BC athletes to the national stage. And as you've read countless times from former athletes, it was Dick who helped so many men and women find their own voice, but a voice that echoed and reinforced the values of the school they represented.

I didn't know any of Dick's family but I've known various members of Dick's second family, the Sports Information Department. I feel for them right now. This ends an emotionally overwhelming three years, but it was all still too fast.

Dick dedicated most of his life to BC and helped hundreds of BC students in his time. I don't know how you can honor or repay that dedication and sacrifice. I am just thankful for his help, friendship and what he did for Boston College.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Overthinking to another loss

BC lost another heartbreaker to Georgia Tech Thursday. There were a dozen turning points that led to the loss, but the overriding issue (for me) is Steve Donahue's micromanaging of the game. We were up five with three minutes left. Statistically the game is in BC's favor at that point. Get a few more points, play conservative D and you win. But that's not what happened. Instead we worked the clock to our own detriment. We forced shots over and over again as time was running out. Why is this happening with a veteran team? Why is this happening when we have a player like Hanlan who can score on nearly anyone in the ACC? How did we go up with seconds left? We put the ball in the hands of our best player and let him do his thing. Sometimes it is that simple. ...And if you are going to call a timeout with seconds left, be sure to put in a solid defensive plan.

This is all over anyway. Donahue is just making it easier for Bates to fire him. There will be little backlash. How can there be? We have a terrible record and the worst defense in the conference. I feel for Donahue. With Spaz, I felt he never believed in the team or did what it took to win. Donahue works his ass off every game. That's why it is so frustrating. He is surprised every time his moves don't work. Fool me once...

Friday I will start the profiles of our potential new coaches.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Georgia Tech game postponed

Georgia Tech postponed Wednesday night's basketball game. The game will take place Thursday afternoon. I know those outside the area scoff at Atlanta shutting down from a winter storm, but I can tell you from my house in the suburbs that the roads are covered in ice. And based on Danya's pictures, things aren't much better downtown.

Hopefully the game goes off on Thursday. Due to the extra prep time and lack of crowd, maybe BC can pull a little upset.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What I want in a BC Basketball Coach

There is no perfect choice for BC basketball. Whoever we hire is going to have a flaw or two or a serious gap in his resume that leaves us wondering if he can do the job. That doesn't stop me from day dreaming. I find myself thinking "what if BC had an unlimited budget?" and "what if every basketball coach in America wanted the job?". Of the current coaches, I think my best fit for BC would be Billy Donovan. Now I know Donovan's not taking the job, but let me explain why I would want him.

-- A proven coach, who is younger than 50. I would like BC's coach to be around for another 10 to 15 years. While Coach K and Boeheim are showing that you can still be great well into your 60s, they are the exception. But in any major sport, you are not going to find many coaches in their 40s who have as long and successful a track record as Donovan. And if a coach has won two national championships (like Donovan has at Florida), he is probably extremely selective when it comes to his next job.

-- A clean record. I am all for Bruce Pearl, but in an ideal world he wouldn't have a history with the NCAA. I don't think BC needs to be the Boy Scouts of college sports, but I also don't want to be at the forefront of the dirty coach debate. It is just an unnecessary distraction.

-- A great recruiter and great teacher. I don't really care who we recruit. I don't really care where they come from. What I do care about is that a coach is able to sell BC and find his type of players. And then once he has his players, he needs to create an environment where they improve every year.

-- Good game coach. What is so interesting about college basketball is how few coaches are great at managing wins and losses. So many games are won by talent, that a coach can get by without being a great game strategist. If anything I think game management has become Donahue's biggest issue. He's so focused on each possession that there is no flow to the game and sometimes his players cannot think for themselves.

-- A connection to Boston or a school like BC. It seems like this is too big an issue for many BC hires, but every college falls victim too it. You want someone who is "one of us" and wants to be there. While it can limit the candidate pool, I think it is still important. A coach is the face of the program and the school. He needs to understand the community he now represents and he needs to understand the pros and cons of the job.

While we can get parts of this list, we are not getting all of them. No one who has won multiple national titles is coming to BC. But that doesn't mean we can't get some of these things. But this is only what I want. Let me know in the comments section who and what you are looking for in our next basketball coach.

Monday, February 10, 2014

That's five in a row (but who's counting?)

The Beanpot was BU's tournament for most of its existence. Not anymore though. Monday night BC won its fifth straight Beanpot, defeated Northeastern 4-1. BC scored first, but it was a pretty even game overall. Northeastern evened it in the second period and wasn't going to let us waltz to another title. BC took the lead again late in the third and then piled up some late goals in the final minutes when the Huskies started taking chances.

Jerry York refers to this time as the start of the championship run. But I don't even know if we need to ramp up anything. The team hasn't lost since November. We could keep riding this momentum through Hockey East an onto another Frozen Four. But let's not look too far ahead.

This is a bragging rights tournament, so let's brag! We won again. Congrats to everyone on the team. For they don't even know what it is like to lose a Beanpot!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

If you can't say anything nice...

When things are falling apart, there is not much a coach can say to the media and fans to make it better. The less said the better. The biggest problem with explaining what's going wrong is that the most loyal fans either already know or have already heard it. With Duke in town, I am sure the post game media mix had some new faces and some national guys. It led Donahue to say this:
"We have the No. 1 hardest schedule in the country and I don’t think it’s even close, and it may have been a little bit too much to bite off for this group,’’ Donahue said. ‘‘That being said, the next three weeks is critical. We've got to play and play well. We've got to have fight and can’t have those moments we had tonight. The next three weeks we've got to play and got to have some success, and I feel confident this group will."
It is nice that Donahue owns up that the team had moments they shouldn't have against Duke. I hope the next three weeks are great. But stop talking about the schedule. Like the Clifford issue, it is over. The team didn't respond, but that doesn't excuse the ACC play.

This quotes reminds me of other BC situations that have gone bad. I don't think many BC fans think ill of Donahue now. And I don't think sentiment will dramatically turn if we end the season with a whimper. However, I do think he will lose some good will if he keeps talking about what went wrong. It may not be intentional but is sounds like excuse making. Instead I hope he focuses on fighting hard and trying to win over the next three weeks.

(HT to the EO boards for pointing out the quote first.)

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Duke dominates second half

The only thing more predictable than the loss was BC fans' mood during the game. On the message boards and social media, there was a sense of detachment over the first half. BC played well and hung with the Dukies, but everyone was just waiting for things to fall apart. And they did. Duke made a run to start the second half and never looked back

Since I've moved into "next year" mode, I do think there were some positives from this game. Hanlan showed that he can score on any team. Duke is much more talented and he was able to get space and drive throughout the game. When we think of selling points to a new coach, taking over a team led by Olivier Hanlan is a clear plus. Conte was also full and into the game for long stretches (more so than those of us watching on TV). BC's Basketball account tweeted out that this was only the second sellout of the season. In my opinion, I think this just shows how starved BC fans are for any game with some juice. This was Duke on a Saturday night. If we had a competitive team, attendance would be much better for all games. 

When we talk about what's wrong this year and why we lost Saturday, ultimately we don't have the same level of talent or coaching as Duke. We should be better than we are, but we weren't going to be upper echelon this year. However, we can catch a good team off guard this year. The clock is ticking. I don't think it will save Donahue, but it would help the players and fans going into next year. 

Friday, February 07, 2014

Women's Basketball wins and other links

The Women's Basketball team defeated UVA Thursday night. The win helped BC improve to 3-7 in ACC play.

New Jersey is going to be a focal point of the 2015 recruiting cycle.

According to 247's metrics, Ryan Day is the best recruiter on BC's staff. Their system did not rank any of the BC staffers among their 100 best recruiters.

If you look at the last item in this article, you can read about Addazio's restaurant recommendations. We know he uses Twitter. Is Yelp also one of his favorites?

Johnny Gaudreau and Thatcher Demko earned player of the month honors from Hockey Commissioners’ Association.

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Note to Media covering BC: Stop using Dennis Clifford

This topic is starting to get a dead horse vibe, but after last night's broadcast I felt like Ellis' points shouldn't go unchallenged. Is this team better with Clifford? Yes. Would he have made a difference this year? Yes. But BC's inability to protect the rim or have in inside presence is on Steve Donahue and his staff.

Dennis Clifford's injury issues go back to November 2012. He was a seven footer in a boot and doing water workouts in December 2012. I am not a doctor, but even a casual basketball fan can rattle off the big men who were slow to recover from lower body injuries. And with each injury, Dennis Clifford's recoveries took longer. That should have been a huge red flag to Donahue and his staff. They never should have counted on Dennis Clifford to ever be 100% again. Did they recruit a big man during the 2012-13 cycle? Only very late in the process when they picked up Will Magarity. I was thrilled about Magarity. I knew his game was different from Clifford's but I thought he would at least give us size on D. Yet he hasn't played significant minutes. Is is because he's not good defensively? Is it because the offense is less efficient with him? I don't know. But the failure to use him or have him serviceable is on the coaching staff.

Now if Dennis Clifford were truly the missing piece to this team, then you would expect that the staff would be turning over every rock they could to find another serviceable big man. We have at least one scholarship this year. Yet we are not in play with anyone of note. That is failure. The whole team is coming back next year. If Donahue really believes it is all about having a defensive big man, then why hasn't he locked one up?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Losing continues as UVA stomps BC

For those who didn't watch, this was as lopsided a 10-point loss as you'll find. BC was down by double digits throughout and down by close to 20 for long stretches. If not for a too little, too late scoring run late, this loss would have been worse.

Virginia is good and would have made most teams look bad, but there was many frustrating moments tonight. For yet another game Hanlan was a non-factor for 30 minutes. People might blame him. I'm blaming coaching. This guy is a talent and can drive on anyone in the conference. He proved it late. Why do we waste our time and his talent with long, clock killing possessions around the perimeter? I know the offense isn't the real problem, but if we weren't so married to that offensive system, we might be able to do some different things defensively. But that is something a different coach can try.

If you're looking for silver linings, you can be glad that LaPhonso Ellis is not our AD. He used long chunks of the broadcast to talk about the Dennis Clifford injury and how that impacted BC this year. (No mention of Clifford's injury history.) Bob Wischusen -- who knows better -- didn't let it slide.

Anderson did Anderson things and played well and got back in after getting a busted lip. I don't think many BC players are going to get conference honors in March, but he deserves some All ACC votes. He's been the most consistent player on the team.

The fun continues with Duke on Saturday.

Post press conference Signing Day thoughts

Looking at a recruiting class on paper is one thing. Hearing Addazio talk about how he built the group and his thoughts and expectations for players is much more enlightening. The coached addressed the media this afternoon. Here on my thoughts on his thoughts...

1. Build a Wall. That's every coaches' mantra and Addazio appears to be doing it. It is a smart move, supported by most recruiting data. Regardless of facilities, TV, and even education, geography remains the biggest factor in recruiting. A five hour radius tends to be every program's baseline. BC's radius means we need to get the best players out of New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. So far, so good.

2. Playing true freshmen. I want Addazio to redshirt players. He clearly wants to play them right away. Regardless of whether or not we are sacrificing long-term stability, seeing new players on the field next year should be exciting. It also becomes a good selling point to future recruits.

3. QBs. We new about Wade's promise and Murphy's experience. But we had not heard Addazio talk about Troy Flutie until today. Based on the comments, Flutie will get a chance to play.

4. Where is Ohio? For many years the Buckeye State served as the backbone of our recruiting. This year we signed one player from Ohio. Considering we brought in 30 recruits, that is a huge drop off. Maybe Addazio doesn't want to spread his staff too thin. Maybe he just didn't like many Ohio kids this year. Or maybe he didn't want to go head to head with his friend at Ohio State. If we are not a factor in Ohio next year, you will know there has been a purposeful change.

5. Staying big. For the first time Addazio mentioned the future style of play. He admitted that there will be more spread elements this upcoming season but said BC will still impose a bruising style with a run focus.

First reactions to Signing Day

I will follow up after Addazio's Press Conference Wednesday afternoon, but here are my initial thoughts on Signing Day...

1. Making it a BIG DEAL!!!. Some may be put off by the hype surrounding Signing Day. I can see your point. But that doesn't mean it is going away. If BC wants to compete at this level, it means we have to have special web pages for the signees. It means we have to put it up all over social media. It means we have to play the game with the recruiting sites.

2. Holding onto the class. Other than Tarpley's change of heart last week, Addazio did a good job of keeping everyone on board. That is tougher than it sounds. Even the best programs and best recruiters get surprises along the way.

3. Strength in numbers. BC lists 30 recruits on their website. That is a huge class for any school and a mega class by BC's usually conservative standards. There will be attrition and guys who don't live up to their hype, but I am all for big classes. Addazio needs help in many areas. Bringing in a big class speeds up the rebuilding process.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Why Addazio the Developer is ultimately more important that Addazio the Recruiter

When BC hired Addazio, the first thing most of us mentioned was his reputation as a recruiter. He was known for beating the bushes, working the phones and selling kids on his program. The Rah Rah intensity we see on the sidelines tends to connect with high school kids. And as you saw last year, Addazio also embraces any tool he can to help him recruit (Twitter, Vines, TV). For a "recruiter" Wednesday's Signing Day is their Super Bowl, Christmas, and Fourth of July rolled into one. It is the culmination of a long process and one final way to keep score. I welcome Addazio's passion for recruiting and his energy. Wednesday should be fun as BC is expected to sign a really big, well regarded class. But ultimately Wednesday is not that important. What happens between now and September is.

When BC is at its best -- regardless of the coach -- we are deep and a mix of elite recruits combined with a mature roster full of recruits who developed in the program. This incoming recruiting class will be huge. If Addazio is thinking long term, he will try to redshirt as many players as he can. Then five years from now, he will have a bunch of fifth years who know his systems and have physically grown under his Strength and Conditioning program. Under TOB redshirting and players coming up under one Staff started paying off in the early 2000s. However, coaching changes, attrition and some bad luck, has seen our player development suffer. As Addazio fills the team with his players, he can hopefully start taking the same long view, instead of just patchworking the current roster to maximize wins.

The way the OLine and Andre Williams blossomed in Year 1 has me optimistic about Addazio's ability to identify underutilized talent and teach under-performing players. It showed that he's more than just a salesman and gets me excited about how the team will perform once he's got his recruits in his system.

Monday, February 03, 2014

BC gets past BU in Beanpot Opener

Remember when BU used to dominate the Beanpot? It is getting hard because on Monday BC knocked the Terriers out of the tournament in a 3-1 victory. The final goal was an empty netter that wrapped up the win. BC will go for its fifth straight Beanpot title next Monday against Northeastern. The Huskies crushed Harvard 6-0.

Like so much of our hockey success, I think Beanpot success is becoming so commonplace that we risk taking it for granted. But watching Jack Parker between periods on NESN was a reminder that these runs cannot go on forever. We should cherish this time and relish that we have one of the classiest men in sports leading this program.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Rough recruiting weekend and other links

There are only a few days left before Signing Day. I think we all expect Addazio to finish strong, however, this weekend was a bit of a speed bump. Recent verbal Tre Tarpley flipped his commitment and is now headed to Vanderbilt. The second bit of bad news came when A.J. Bush committed to Nebraska. BC got involved late, but Nebraska jumped in and gave him a chance at QB. I expect BC to try to use these last few openings before Wednesday.

Here is a Beanpot preview.

Alexandra Carpenter is generating a lot of attention as we near the Olympics.

Women's Basketball lost to Virginia Tech.

Luke Kuechly earned the Defensive Player of the Year at the NFL Honors show.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

BC gives away game in South Bend

I could load up on the snark or rant about all the team's flaws. But I think it is best to stick with the facts. BC had the game in hand. Hanlan committed a dumb foul that sent the game to OT. BC's issues during the game -- poor defensive rotations and not enough size to bang inside with the Irish bigs nor enough athleticism to deal with the suddenly hot Eric Atkins -- were magnified in OT. They lost on a 3-pointer when the D was late. The team is now 6-15.

As Hoffses pointed out the tough schedule was supposed to ready this team for just this sort of situation. They were on the road against a flawed, desperate team and had the lead. Yet they couldn't hold on, mostly due to defense.

Brian and I went back and forth the other day on twitter about this team's talent. I don't think they are the Fab 5, but the talent is much better than the record indicates. I think this is the sort of game that proved it. They have enough talent to beat this Notre Dame team, but they are not playing well on D. I think so much emphasis is put on offense (execution and rotations) that everything else suffers. Would I rather watch an offense where Hanlan just drove and chucked it all game? I would if that meant we could be better on D and survive with playing better defensive players and/or bigs (Owens, Magarity, even Caudill). But none of it matters. We are just playing for pride or playing out the string depending on your point of view.

We will be back for more frustration against UVA.