BC freshmen need to grow up quickly

The pressure has increased each week. Find a way to stop the losing.  Do anything. Say anything.  That’s what losing teams do.

They’re have been no “player only” gatherings per se. But there have been plenty of one on one and other “big brother-little brother” discussions in meetings about attitude and experience and the BC way of doing things–win or lose.

Boston College is in that situation as it faces Maryland on Saturday at Alumni Stadium. One more loss means that any chance of a bowl game will disappear for the second consecutive season.  One more loss will drive more fans away from a shrinking core base of support. One more loss will increase the intensity of the voices yelling, screaming and pleading for the departure of BC coach Frank Spaziani.

The players are not living in a bubble. They hear the yells, they understand the frustration and they FEEL the pain, more than the fans, more than Spaziani.

“We have  tradition of winning here,” said senior middle linebacker Nick Clancy on Wednesday. “We know what’s that about. We have been to the ACC championship game. We don’t want to be known as the class that screwed that up.”

Clancy says there is no internal problem in terms of unity. No one has stopped trying. No one has chalked up the 1-6 start as a lost cause.

But it is an issue in terms of reaching the common goal and it is a concern among the veterans, well aware of a tradition that is being tarnished with each loss.

“We’re looking for different things, different ways to fix this,” said Clancy, who leads the team in tackles. “This week in the drills we had first team defense working against first team offense. That’s going to help us (defense) in terms of the team speed you  find during games.”

Spaziani said he switched from the traditional 1st team O vs. 2nd team defense way of practicing as a way to energize his team in terms of enthusiasm as well as preparation. “They have been busting their tails,” said Spaziani. “We had to give them something different.”

Clancy says the frustration level is increasing on an individual basis, particularly among the seniors. “We don’t want the freshman to think this is the way it is around here,” he said.

Clancy will not play the “what if” game, but he acknowledges that much of the game luck that BC has had this season has been bad. “You can go to any of the games we played and say, there was this moment that changed the momentum around,” he said. “It’s tough to take.”

The BC way in the past has to let senior leadership set the tone and style for the incoming freshmen, many of whom were being redshirted.

“Freshmen always come in with a sense of entitlement,” said one former BC player who has watched the breakdown this season with a mixture of disappointment and anger. “But in the past they had to wait their turn and by the time they were in the rotation, they understood what this place was about. They had to wait their turn when players like Matt Ryan and Mike McLaughlin played and showed us the way.

“But this year is different because so many freshmen have been thrown into the mix right away.  They think  they can just step in and do the job and they can’t.”

For the seniors on the team, such as offensive co-captain and tight end  Chris Pantale, the combination of youth and experience melding into the BC system has been an exercise in frustration at times.

Pantale, who missed the first half of the season  with a broken foot, says one of the most frustrating parts of the season has been in seeing the reputation of BC football being chipped away with each loss.

Like Clancy, Pantale does not want to be part of a class in which the tradition of winning headed south.

“You see things that happen and it drives you crazy”, said Pantale. “And then you see the freshmen and you keep telling them, this is not what BC is about. But they haven’t experienced anything else at BC, so sometimes its tough.”

Spaziani, like most coaches, follows the theory that the best thing about freshmen football players is that they become sophomores. He hasn’t had close to the luxury of doing that with this group of players.

The 2-deep depth chart which BC posted before the Maryland game includes 14 freshmen.  The beleaguered defensive line will have two freshman starters–defensive tackle Conor Wujciak and defensive end Kieran Borcich. The defensive backfield includes two sophomores and a freshmen.

There is more maturity on the offensive side, which may be one of the reasons why the offensive unit has been relatively effective in almost all of its games.

The Eagles–both the coaching staff and the senior leadership–which includes only five starters–are in a classic “one game at a time” mode.

“It’s win this one and then try and win the next one” said Pantale. “We were in the same spot a year ago and we beat Maryland and won three out of last five games.”

Last year’s version of BC was an older group. Whether this year’s team is wiser remains to be seen.

© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.

  11 comments for “BC freshmen need to grow up quickly

  1. CAG
    October 24, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Not that blauds is going to respond, but its funny how he’s saying Spaz hasn’t had the “luxury” to let freshman sit. Well, he would have had that luxury had he not kicked off a ton of players who’d be starting for us and put others in the doghouse.

    • Joe Crum
      October 25, 2012 at 6:01 am

      You make some good points.

    • BCAlum2000
      October 25, 2012 at 8:15 am

      The BS excuse that Spaz has not had the luxury to let freshmen would be laughable even without his dismissals of so many starters. This is the same BS excuse the circus clown has been using for three years now. The reason freshmen have to play is because Spaz’s recruits are terrible and cannot compete at this level. He then thinks the solution is to replace last year’s terrible recruit with this year’s terrible recruit who cannot compete at this level. Seriously, you gotta love Blauds who will make any excuse possible to defend his “friend”. The circus clown has now been coach for 4 years. These are all his recruits. Stop blaming past coaches, injuries, etc. Blame the one and only problem, the circus clown.

      • CAG
        October 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

        Listen 2000, it’s simple. The fight goes continues.

  2. BCAlum2000
    October 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Fire that circus clown Spaz and we will be one step closer to returning to the “BC way”. Unfortunately these freshman will never experience that as this program is a good 3-5 years away from even being competitive again.

  3. The Nexus
    October 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    The problem is, the vast majority don’t know “the BC way of doing things”. The last 4 years the “BC way” has been make excuses, run off players, and make excuses.

    Even Pantale hits on it: “And then you see the freshmen and you keep telling them, this is not what BC is about. But they haven’t experienced anything else at BC, so sometimes its tough.”

    Only 5 more games.

  4. Eagle on the Riviera
    October 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    from todays conference call (thanks BCI)

    COACH SPAZIANI: Once again, I think as a head coach you understand exactly what the problems are and you try to manage your way through it. I think anybody that looked at our roster, has looked at it over the last four years, takes a look at it, would understand the challenges that we have.



    • CAG
      October 24, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Don’t worry Eagle, soon enough the dinosaur will be out and a new leader will wash out all the vermin and excuses that has been plaguing the program for far too long. I can’t wait for opening day next year.

  5. Joe Crum
    October 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Me, like most fans, follow the theory that the best thing about your friend is he’ll be fired soon.

  6. george
    October 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Pantale: “this is not what BC is about. But they haven’t experienced anything else at BC” …………………………….
    That’s right. It is the SPAZ way, THe McGovern Way. the way for losers. ………………

    And Mark, there is no longer any pressure on BC. There is no longer an expectation of winning this season ot ever under SPAZ. No one wants to go to games, incoluding ND. The ENTIRE BC NATION simply wants to move on. If the seniors want to win ONE game against FBS play this year, good luck. But no one gives a shit about the SPAZ team anymore. I don’t

  7. Rick B
    October 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Mark – can you explain why it seems that one of the same excuses every year for the last three season has been too many freshmen are in the rotation? I recall that excuse started three season ago yet those freshmen that played haven’t seemed to progress because they are still using a lot of freshmen. I am confused why this is the case and when does the cycle stop?

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