College Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

They Got That Special Feeling

09.05.09 at 3:24 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Offense clicking? Check.

Defense stifling? Looks that way.

Special teams? Having fun.

You  know a team has it going when the kicking game has its way with the opponent.

The Eagles are doing just that. More precisely, Rich Gunnell is having his way. In  the first quarter, he returned a punt 56 yards to the Northeastern 29, which led to Josh Haden’s seven-yard touchdown run. In the second Gunnell teamed up with sophomore punter Ryan Quigley to produce another.

Quigley pinned the Huskies on their four-yard line on his first punt attempt of the season (though, the Northeastern returner, Greg Abelli, probably should not have fielded the ball). The Eagles defense forced a quick three-and-out, forcing Huskies punter Ron Conway to boot the ball from his own one.

The punt sailed 45 yards.

Gunnell returned it for 46.

Gunnell has three returns for 120 yards so far.

Eagles 28 – Huskies 0

For good measure, senior place kicker Steve Aponavicius has been successful in all five of his extra points while adding a chip-shot 24-yard field goal in the middle of the quarter.

The fifth touchdown of the afternoon came in the Eagles’ two-minute drill when Justin Tuggle led BC on a four-play, 47-second drive drive. The redshirt freshman completed his first career touchdown pass to Montel Harris (three touchdowns so far: two running, one receiving) with the drive highlight courtesy of a 42-yard completion from Tuggle to sophomore wideout Colin Larmond Jr.

Halftime: BC 38 – NU 0.

Read More: justin tuggle, montel harris, rich gunnell, ryan quigley

Eagles Erupt To Start Season

09.05.09 at 2:37 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Got to love the buzz of a college football game day. The students are tailgating, the alumni are remembering and the marching band is blaring. Alumni Stadium is alive again and it is a beautiful day for a game.

Welcome to our new Boston College blog at WEEI.com.

The wait is over. After a long, sultry summer of drills, meetings and scrimmages, Boston College football has returned to Chestnut Hill.

And it did not take long for the Eagles to get going.

The big question for the Eagles coming into today’s game against Northeastern was who was at the quarterback position? Who will the starter be? How much will each quarterback play?

First-year head coach Frank Spaziani did not seemed too concerned over the question when asked earlier this week. “It’s not going to make a difference,” Spaziani told reporters. With the Eagles taking on the lowly Northeastern Huskies, the coach has time to determine his depth chart.

Well, it probably won’t make a difference after all.

Redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle got the start. His first play as a college quarterback was a successful one. He handed the ball to sophomore running back Montel Harris, who broke it for 48 yards and a touchdown on Boston College’s first offensive play of the season.

Everything according to plan? You would think so.

Tuggle came out for the second series, starting at the Northeastern 29-yard line and led the Eagles in for another quick score as Boston College completed the drive in five plays and 1:33. Fellow sophomore running back Josh Haden picked up the score as he punched the goal line with a seven-yard scamper.

To this point, the BC defense has forced three straight three-and-outs for the Huskies.

Twenty-five-year-old freshman David Shinskie, also in his first plays of his college career, came out for the third series and led the offense on a 75-yard, seven-play touchdown drive with Harris once again breaking the plane for the score.

End of first quarter: Boston College 21 – Northeastern 0.

Read More: david shinksie, justin tuggle, montel harris,

BC Coach Frank Spaziani on D&C

09.04.09 at 2:12 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani joined Steve DeOssie, Greg Dickerson and Jon Meterperel on the Dennis & Callahan Show to preview the upcoming season. Coach Spaz and the boys joked about honey-do lists, information sources and DeOssie’€™s ability to jump back onto the field (or on the sidelines?). 

Highlights from the conversation are below.

Click here for the full audio version.

Coach, what are your nerves like the day before your first game running the helm at Boston College?

Well, I think it’€™s the normal apprehension, making sure all the T’€™s are crossed and the I’€™s are dotted and, you know, what I did I think of what didn’€™t I think of, blah, blah, blah.

I got a lot of great assistants helping me out, so we are ready to go.

Was there ever a point throughout this preseason or throughout this whole process since January, when you were hired, when you felt overwhelmed?

No. Never. I think there’€™s two ways to go with new jobs; you’€™re either overwhelmed or energized and I was the latter.

Coach, so far in the preseason and training camp overall with a guy like Mark Herzlich going down, how has your defense been able to step up? How have the guys reacted to his absence?

Well, you know, Steve, you played. There is a reaction and we’€™re going to miss these guys but it’€™s life, it’€™s sports, it’€™s whatever it is. But, you know, certainly going to miss him but we’€™ve got to go on. We’€™ve got to play Saturday at two o’€™clock and when it gets down to it, you know, you’€™ve got to do it, you’€™ve got to move on and make the best of it and somebody’€™s got to pick up the sword and move forward.

Who are your most pleasant surprises over the last month in camp?

Well, we’€™ve had, a lot of the younger guys, you know, this class that we had coming in they look like they are real prospects and a lot of the younger guys that have had to step up have done a good job. But the biggest surprise has been how well everybody’€™s adapted to the new staff, the players and making progress. I mean, we’€™re getting better everyday, believe me, we have a long way to go, but we are getting better everyday.

You look at the two-deep (depth chart) coach and there is redshirt freshman and true freshman. It’€™s all around that two-deep and I know that might be daunting for some coaches but you feel that you are well armed because have Gary Tranquill running your offense and you promote Bill McGovern to run the defense, what does that mean for your team?

Well, first of all, Gary is a Hall of Fame coach. He might be one of the best football coaches I have ever been around. Well, he certainly is, let me say that. He’€™s one of the best coaches in the country. He’€™s been through a lot of things and if there is anybody who can handle the issues over there on offense it’€™s Gary. I mean he’€™s not going to be thrown off-kilter by anything we have over there. 

And Billy, I’€™ve worked with Billy for 10 years, you know, the system’€™s in place and, you know, Billy’€™s getting his chance to do what he can do.

Deossie wanted the gig, I think.

Well, he’€™s uh. . . we’€™ll let him play. . .

How do you see the ACC stacking up this year? It’€™s going to be pretty good competition this year across the board.

Well, the thing about the league is, well, you know, we had our conferences meetings down there early on, and this year a lot of the teams have better quarterback situations. Not us withstanding. But, most of the teams have quarterbacks coming back, they’€™ve played for a while and usually that’€™s a good sign for a league.

You talked about the quarterback situation. Does that keep you up at night and how do you think it sorts itself out over the next few weeks and the first part of the season?

Well, a lot of things keep me up at night and that might be the 1:30 or two o’€™clock feeding but it’€™s going to sort itself out. We have young men there and they each have redeeming qualities and we would have hoped that it would have been a little clearer right now but that’€™s not the case, so we have to play and see how it sorts itself out and hopefully these guys will separate from one another and we will be a little more solid at that position.

You’€™re going to start Justin Tuggle tomorrow. . . first career start, redshirt freshman. . .

We are?!

Is that the word? You tell me. You tell me. My sources indicate.

Sources?! You’€™re talking to the source!

What we have is that either Dave (Shinskie) or Justin (Tuggle) is going to start the game and Mike (Marscovetra) is going to plan. I mean, that’€™s the plan right now. And, once again, it’€™s a game and, you know, we have to win. So, we are going to do what’€™s best for the team but we have to keep in mind that winning is what’€™s best for the team.

Hey, Uncle Dave Shinskie, you mention him. If he does start tomorrow it will be his first snap in seven years. What do you like about him?

First of all Dave is, obviously, Dave has some maturity on him. He’€™s been around the block a little, done some things. And, he has the skills, he has the physical talent to be a quarterback at this level. Once again, what he hasn’€™t done is taken snaps and we have to find that out about him. Unfortunately he missed a couple scrimmages so the evaluation process was set back a little.

Coach, your take on what happened in Tampa yesterday and your predecessor with coach Jags being let go by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday?

Well, let me just say this, I don’€™t really have a take on it but my thoughts are with Jeff and his family because anytime you have that anxiety or that kind of turmoil, it’€™s your personal issues and your family that need to be addressed first.

Fair, unfair, that a guy like Rahim Morris calls him a guy that wasn’€™t a details guy or a guy that wasn’€™t precise? Did you see anything like that in your time with him at Boston College?

Well, once again, the situation with Boston College and the situation at Tampa . . . I’€™m not at Tampa. All I know is that we won a lot games here at Boston College with Jeff as the head coach.

Tom O’€™Brien’€™s (N.C. State) Wolf Pack lose last night to South Carolina 7-3. I talked to you early and you thought it would be a pretty high scoring game. What do you think went wrong for them?

That’€™s what happens when you predict. That’€™s why you guys do what you do and that’€™s why I did what I do.

I know for the ACC, it’€™s a pride thing. They had a stat last night, SEC 237 wins, ACC 114 wins head-to-head. What does that tell you?

I don’€™t know what that tells me. Master of the obvious, that the SEC has won more games than the ACC. It’€™s all individual basis and it’€™s all about what’€™s happening now and sports and that’€™s why you play them. I don’€™t read much into it really. I don’€™t have time to. Once again it’€™s great for the fans, it’€™s great for the media. Gives you something to talk about, right?

How about, who’€™s starting at outside linebacker for me?

Dominick LeGrande? There’€™s some young guys at linebacker though?

There certainly are. I had to write letters to all their parents to get permission.

We saw that also Herzlich was on campus again this week. Any good word out of that camp there?

Yeah. Best as I can determine just talking with Mark is that everything is going just like they want, they get the results that they want. He’€™s getting some of his treatments here and he’€™s going to be around the squad as much as his doctors allow. And, that’€™s great for us and more importantly great for him.

He’€™s a special kid and a special player and he’€™s certainly redefined that position for us over there beyond my wildest imagination. We’€™re just hoping that the best can come out of the whole deal and we will see him back in uniform.

Eagles Offense Ready to Soar

09.02.09 at 2:11 pm ET
By   |   Comments

CHESTNUT HILL ‘€“ One of the best lines from the 1995 movie Four Rooms comes in the fourth of the four rooms when Quentin Tarantino’€™s character says ‘€œthose who make declarative statements are more likely to look foolish in retrospect.’€

Not that Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani fears to look foolish, it is just that when it comes to his quarterback situation, he deigns to make any declarative statements.

With Saturday’€™s season opener against Northeastern looming, Spaziani has yet to name his starter and there is a good probability that we will not know until the first snap is taken.

In the conversation are three very different types freshman: 25 year old former minor league baseball player David Shinskie, redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle and true freshman Mike Marscovetra. Shinskie has complicated the discussion from last week (when it looked like a Tuggle versus Codi Boek battle) by coming back from a cracked rib to practice this week. He has been taking reps in practice along with Tuggle.

‘€œWe’€™re still deciphering it. Hopefully Uncle Dave (Shinskie) will be out here practicing again and he can get a good practice in and it will be Tuggle and Uncle Dave and Marscovetra third,’€ Spaziani said. ‘€œNow, who’€™s going to start the game? One of those three guys is.’€

The guess is that Tuggle and Shinskie will both play significant amounts against Northeastern as the coaching staff looks to separate the two on the depth chart.

‘€œWe’€™ve scrimmaged and now we put guys in the game. We hoped that they would have separated themselves but that hasn’€™t happened. So now the next place to separate themselves is on the field,’€ Spaziani said.

Shinskie told reporters today that his side is ‘€œstill a little tender’€ but that he is ready to go. When asked if was pushing himself for the opener he offered and enthusiastic yes.

‘€œOh my god. I had to do it, I don’€™t care what kind of pain I was in. If I had to take six ibproufen instead of four, I was going to do it. Even my highschool coach called me up and told me ‘€˜get out there.’€™ So, it was very important, you know, just to be able to stand on the sidelines, you know,’€ Shinskie said. ‘€œJust to be out there is something that I really want to do.’€

 

 Outside the quandary at quarterback, there is a buzz around the Citadel on Chestnut Hill. The offense, now with a solidified depth chart at every other position, is excited to get the ball rolling. Spaziani seamed pleased with the progress they have made during the last week.

‘€œThey’€™re making progress every day. Offense is doing really well. They’€™ve got to be ready to go and they will be ready to go. Now, are they going to be as good as they’€™re going to be? No,’€ Spaziani said. ‘€œThey’€™ve got a ways to go but obviously we get a quarterback that we’€™re solidified in that position, that’€™ll help.’€

 With the dynamic sophomore duo of Montel Harris and Josh Haden at running back and captain wide receiver Rich Gunnell poised for a big senior season, there is reason for excitement. But the real reason for the buzz is the fact that the Eagles are returning four of their five juggernauts on the offensive line and the fifth (red-shirt freshman Emmett Cleary) is a titan at 6-foot 7-inches and 297 pounds. Boston College has a history of good offensive linemen and the beasts in the trenches are throwing around the ‘€œO-Line U’€ tag line to help describe this years bunch.

‘€œWhat people are kind of expecting, kind of saying ‘€” O-Line U. A lot of people are starting to say this is turning back into O-Line U. With the four returning starters that we do have, just with the size up front, being able to move people around up front, goes back to the old offenses, just the old offensive scheme, being able to move the ball around the field,’€ Junior right guard Thomas Claiborne said.

Claiborne, like some of his offensive teammates, exuded confidence, flashing sneaky smiles at the thought of pummeling opposing defenses. Tuggle, for one, shares this sentiment.

‘€œThe guys in front of you are veterans, they’€™ve been around and they help you out as much as they can. And they’€™re the solid O-Line U. Everyone knows about them all around the country, it’€™s good to know that you got five guys in front of you who are ready to protect you each and every play,’€ Tuggle said.

Joining Claiborne and left guard Cleary are two All-ACC Preseason Team members are junior left tackle Anthony Costonzo and senior center Matt Tennant. Hulking junior Rich Lapham, all 322 pounds of him, mans the right tackle position. There is a lot of size and experience to like.

‘€œSo, it helps,’€ Spaziani said. ‘€œThe more experience you have the better off you are because you can’€™t coach experience.’€

Harris’€™s eyes lit up when talking about the big boys in front of him. 

 

‘€œReal confident. A lot of offensive line coming back from last year, we are able to relax more and be comfortable on the field, so, it should be fun this year,’€ Harris said. ‘€œThomas Claiborne. Every play before he tells me to follow behind him cause he’€™s going to throw me a block.’€

So, with the bedrock offensive line and talent at running back, it is understandable that Spaziani does not seem too worried about who will start at quarterback against Northeastern, a team not normally known for its football prowess (2-10, 1-7 in CAA play last year).

‘€œThe reason it’€™s vague (the quarterback position) is because we don’€™t have one. We don’€™t have one yet so it doesn’€™t make a difference in my mind. I know everybody wants it, who is it, make a decision. It it was going to make a big difference we would make a decision but it’€™s not going to make a difference,’€ Spaziani said.

With two games against lesser out of conference opponents at home to start the season (Northeastern then Kent State on September 12th) Spaziani has time to sort things out under center, whichever flavor of freshman he decides to go with.

College Basketball Headlines
College Football Headlines