Frank Spaziani does not have to announce his first injury report until the Thursday before the regular season opener against Miami on Sept. 1. That’s the good news for the Boston College football coach.
The bad news is that the Eagles have been hitting each other for less than a week and already the injuries are starting to mount. And it’s more than just nicks and bruises. It’s broken bones. Already tight end Chris Pantale is out for a couple of months with some broken bones in his foot. Cornerback Albert Louis-Jean is sidelined for the same reason.
The latest foot fault happened to Duece Finch, the Eagles’ leading rusher last season. Finch has a foot problem. Just how long the 5-foot-10 inch 211 pound junior will be sidelined remains unclear. After taking part in team pictures Thursday morning, Finch went through the routine of MRI, x-ray and all the other tests available to determine the seriousness of the injury.
The Eagles finally received some good news late in the afternoon on Thursday when tests revealed only a sprained left foot with a minimum of five days of missed practice time, followed by another re-evaluation after that.
In other words, hopefully good to go for the opener against Miami.
But the concerns remain.
“You look at everything,” said NC State football coach Tom O’Brien on Thursday afternoon. “You look at the trainers, you look at the field, you look at the equipment.”
O’Brien, who spent 10 years turning BC into a bowl-contending team each season before moving to NC State in 2007, was hit with a series of injuries through his first five seasons at State that could and were, at times, crippling.
“”Year 3 was tough because we spent so much time putting things back together and getting players in place that we had to use walk-ons,” said O’Brien. “Last year (Year 5) was a little better because we had some depth and we could fill in with scholarship players.”
O’Brien said that after considerable study, the consensus at State was that it was a shoe problem. “The shoes today are horrible,” he said. “They keep on making them lighter. You have football players basically playing in track shoes and it can’t be done, especially when you are talking about offensive and defensive linemen.”
O’Brien says some injuries may fall into the “stuff happens” category. “We had a player who had flat feet and he just was always getting hurt,” said O’Brien, who has turned the Wolfpack into a Top 25 caliber program.
O’Brien sees one good sign for the problems that BC and his friend and former assistant Spaziani are enduring. “The only advantage is that when injuries happen in the pre-season, you have time to recover.” said O’Brien. “When the injuries happen during the regular season, you don’t have that luxury. That’s when you get in trouble.”
NC State has a contract with Adidas to provide shoes for its football team. O’Brien said the model that Adidas was supplying was one of the problems. “We just changed shoes with Adidas,” said O’Brien.
BC has a contract with Under Armour to provide shoes. Count on Spaziani and the training staff to be examining the shoes the Eagles wear each practice even more closely.
Someone or some thing has to be blamed. Already there is chatter that BC’s new turf at Alumni Stadium is to blame, which doesn’t seem to make sense since the turf last season was hard and worn while this season it is soft and plush
Well, maybe that does make sense.
Or maybe, it is as O’Brien suggests a shoe problem.
When you are a program that needs wins such as BC, you look at everything from head to toe, and especially the shoes.
Thankfully for Duece Finch and for Spaziani, this time it was only a sprain, rather than a break.
© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.