Sunday, October 24, 2010
Boston College football's losing streak hit five games yesterday, as the Eagles fell to Maryland, 24-21. I did not see the game (thanks to others scheduling commitments for me when I would have otherwise had none), but the more I think about it, the more I'm pleased I didn't have to sit through it.
This team has proven itself utterly incapable of winning football games now, with the only two wins being unimpressive victories over Weber State and Kent State. So now, what do we do about it?
Well, WE do nothing about it, but Gene DeFilippo can fire Frank Spaziani and Gary Tranquill (and if the whole coaching staff went with them, I won't shed any tears). I think I officially hopped on the bandwagon during the NC State trainwreck, and got heat for it as it was supposedly "too soon." Well, two weeks and two facepalm-worthy losses later, is it still too soon?
I doubt it. The "Fire Spaz" bandwagon is taking on disciples, while the "Fire Tranq" bandwagon is so full that people are falling off and hanging onto the bumper. Of course, I think we all know that there are more people involved with this program who may need to be shown the exit, but that's a matter for another article as far as I'm concerned.
Back to the matter at hand, I went into previous posts of mine to see what I had been writing about this team last year. Take, for example, something I wrote on September 19, 2009, following Boston College's horrid loss at Clemson in which they amassed a whopping 54 yards of total offense:
"I'd can [Tranquill's] ass before they got back on the plane."
"Speaking of coaches, Spaziani's interview was weak and defeatist. "It could get ugly" - no shit, sherlock!"
Also in there was a mention of poor OL play and Spaz punting when down big.
The next week against Wake Forest:
"This Eagles team is talented, but as much of a poorly-coached mess as a 3-1 team can be."
And the week after that against Florida State, one of the few times you heard me utter "Shinskie" and "good" in the same sentence:
"This game should not have been close. Spaziani and the coaching staff got soft as soon as the second half started, with their big lead, and just like last week, they let the other team come back in the game. This is a poor coaching staff. I'm not checking my blood pressure; I don't want to know."
You tend to notice a lot of recurring themes when you go back and look at things you said a while ago. One thing I've noticed is that I didn't always pan the coaches or Shinskie, but the instances of me doing that were very much into the minority as opposed to me saying it's a poor coaching staff. Now, let's look forward to 2010. Here's something I posted on February 4th of this year, on the day the football schedule was released:
"My very, very, ridiculously early guess when looking at this schedule is 9-3."
That is very much in line with what most BC fans were thinking, given how light the schedule is, particularly the second half, and that we expected the team to be improved. Recall the seven games which have been played so far this season, think about all of the criticisms you had of the Eagles last year, and think about all of the criticisms you have of them now. What's one common thread that runs through all of it?
Answer: BC makes the same damn mistakes this year as last year, only this time, they're worse. Our offense is worse. Our defense is worse. BC couldn't beat up the teams they should have beaten up, and lost to everyone else. Adjustments, what the hell are those? And as for varying the offensive play calling, forget it. The football program, which by and large does not lack in talent, is floating upside down like my erstwhile goldfish. This team is underperforming to such an incomprehensible degree that anyone who considers him or herself to be a fan of BC football should be physically ill at the preponderance of the team's failures thus far. The only real solution I can see is to dismiss the coaches.
Does this mean the players bear no blame? Absolutely not. There are a handful of guys you can pick off of this roster and say "he's not playing well." After all, several of our receivers can't catch the ball and our offensive line went from a strength to a joke. Is it fair, however, to say that the players are then mostly to blame and not the coaches? No, it's not. The staff apparently doesn't have much of a winning mentality. After the game, Coach Spaz said this team doesn't have a "winning edge." Well, of course it doesn't, sir. Your team looks flat just about every week, and that's on you. Your offensive gameplan (concocted by your hand-picked buddy whom you coaxed out of retirement) is so transparent that it's practically invisible, and that's on you. Some of your players are apparently regressing and/or making the same mistakes on a regular basis, and that's on you AND your assistants. You wave the white flag with comments like "This could get ugly" and by punting at the end of the game when you're already getting killed. Your picture will not be next to the word "Gutsy" in the new Merriam-Webster Dictionary. You have a losing record now against FBS teams. Finally, your team has managed to completely bomb out with one of the easiest schedules I can remember.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't think Frank Spaziani is a bad guy, and I don't question his allegiance to BC (hell, it's part of why he got hired). That does not, however, make you a good head coach, or even an average one. GDF painted himself into a corner by firing Jags, and Spaz was the "safe" hire to bring continuity. The only problem with that was that we're worse now than under Jags, and worse than we even were under Tom O'Brien, a man who used to chuck his players under the proverbial bus and exemplified the "we are what we are" defeatism which, unfortunately, IS being continued in 2010.
Will the AD own up to his mistake and kick the coach and his assistants to the curb? I have my doubts. Would it be the right thing to do? Yes, and here's why: ATL posted something on his blog as I write this article, and he says it better than I can:
"The belief is that the PR hit and the shakeup would hurt BC more than another bad year under Spaz. I disagree. I think when you have the wrong guy in place, you are better off making a change." ... "Do recruits care about past instability? Do fans clamor for the old days or say that [the old coach] didn't get a fair shot? Of course not."
Coach Spaz is not, and never was, the right man for the job. Why put the program through more losing seasons (and they would be losing seasons: he's almost a senior citizen for crying out loud, and it's his first head coaching job; he is well past his prime) just for the sake of sparing BC the "revolving door" tag? In my view, I'd rather BC get rid of the bad coach and hire a good one rather than keep the bad coach, rack up some bad years, and be able to claim some flimsy shred of "stability." It's better for BC to cut the crap now rather than embrace years more of mediocrity under the current regime. It's your call, Gene.