Monday, June 29, 2015

Thoughts on the out of conference Basketball schedule

BC announced their non-conference schedule and it is best to call it...soft. The best games -- outside of one holiday tournament -- are Harvard, Penn State and Providence. This is not a schedule to build BC's resume. It is designed to help Christian get through his second season with a very young roster.

I don't begrudge the soft scheduling this year. It is the same philosophy we are using in football. The belief is the easier wins now will lead to better wins in a few years. It's the opposite strategy of Steve Donahue's Death March meant to impress Selection Committees. The idea is that the team learns to win before taking on ACC teams. I think it might work. I also don't think we are heading to any tournament this year, so the team's resume is a non-issue. I also don't think scheduling a bunch of heavyweights would generate much interest. Or at least as much interest as winning should.

My only real gripe is not scheduling more local teams. Why not schedule a BU or Holy Cross in place of Delaware or St. Francis? Even though they are not basketball rivals, teams like those do carry some tradition. A little juice and energy into a non-conference game is better than nothing.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gray verbals and other links

New Jersey DB/WR KJ Gray committed to BC this weekend. He's considered a three star and the one of the Top 20 players in New Jersey. He also had offers from Iowa, Rutgers and Syracuse.

Three Eagles were selected in the weekend's NHL Draft.

Hanlan is ready for the NBA's Summer League.

All the various NFL analytics reinforce how well Matt Ryan is playing.

Congrats to BC guy Bob Ryan on his Red Smith Award.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Buffalo on the 2016 schedule

BC's 2016 schedule is becoming a little more clear. After working FOIA requests, MattBC03 confirmed that BC will host Buffalo October 1, 2016. The good news is that this means that BC will have six home games despite the trip to Ireland. The bad news? The home games will be UMass, Buffalo, three ACC games and barring a miracle another FCS team.

Bates deserves credit for working with Buffalo, Northern Illinois and the MAC on making this work. Plenty of altered schedules and penalties were in play, so this did take a good amount of dealing and scheduling to pull it off. 

It will be interesting to see how the coach and AD spin the game. It confirms they are keeping the schedule manageable and winnable. The people who pay attention are going to be upset, but I feel like casual fans, recruits and the media won't. I think padding BC's win total is their goal and that will help change perception of the program. I think it will work too. However, if we do build the program with soft scheduling, eventually the media will start calling BC out.

Friday, June 26, 2015

We know about Wade, but who will catch his passes?

Each Darius Wade interview confirms that he's going to be the starting QB this season and probably have a long leash. If there was still uncertainty or if the other guys were breathing down his neck, BC wouldn't have him making the media rounds. That's good news. Locking in a QB is critical. Technically the OLine is a question mark, but we can trust the coaching there. The backfield is proven, so the only real unknown is the pass catchers.

Let's start with the obvious: it is unlikely any of the blocking Tight Ends will become big pass catchers. So that means Louie Addazio and Michael Giacone are not suddenly going to become threats to score or move the ball through the air. Drew Barksdale...hasn't gotten on the field much in two years. Probably more of the same this year. Wolford is a nice change of pace, but won't be a primary target. Harrison Jackson is returning from injury and was a secondary option prior to sitting out.

We could group Swigert with Jackson as an unknown after injury but when he has been healthy, he's been very good. Even if he doesn't have his previous speed, I still trust him to get open and make plays. I think Callinan can get some of the passes that went to Bordner last year. Dudeck always proves useful and has good hands, so I expect him to be good for a catch a game.

Alston and Outlow will be big parts of the passing attack. That is easy to predict. They are both proven. They both have huge upside and can make plays. And both will be on the field a lot. In most situations they will be easy passes for Wade to complete. If anyone has a big jump in production, it will be these guys.

Dixon, Smith and McClary [edited: he's now officially a DB] are all young and didn't get much attention last season. One of them will increase his role.

If there is one newcomer who might make an immediate impact, it could be Nolan Borgersen. He's got size, speed and a head start on the offense.

Even with a new QB and new OC, I don't expect us to turn into a Mike Leach offense. But we will throw it more. Let's just hope these guys can catch.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jazz draft Hanlan

It probably wasn't as high as he dreamed of going, but Olivier Hanlan's decision to declare for the NBA Draft paid off as the Utah Jazz selected him with the 41st pick overall. As a second round pick, Hanlan won't get a guaranteed contract, but he should get a fair shot. The Jazz have done a good job over the years of developing their own picks and giving them playing time.

Throughout the night the experts talked up Hanlan's ability and Jay Bilas even felt Olivier should have gone higher. This wasn't a storybook ending, but he is now a professional. Congrats and good luck.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Answering email: names on uniforms

I try to answer all the emails sent to me. Sometimes the topic merits opening the discussion up to the larger BC fanbase. Here is an email from David H. and my response.
Question for ya -- do you think that player names should go back on the football jerseys? I believe that Spaz took them off, and Addazio has just kept the status quo.

I really wish they would put the player names back on. Makes it a lot easier to follow the team during the game and get excited about individual players. Not easy to remember all the numbers out there. I also think that the players and maybe even families might feel more proud with their family name on the uniform.

Wondering if there's any sort of movement or vocal group that feels the same way?

I would welcome a return of names on the back of the jerseys. Let’s be practical about the whole thing. It is not like we are preserving some history or tradition. The names have been coming on and off BC jerseys for five decades now. Sometimes we have them on the road but not home. Some coaches have mixed it up (TOB had it both ways). Even if you use the names (or lack thereof) as a motivational tool and a form of team unity, does that really make a difference?

Addazio is a big believer in motivational tools, so I don’t expect any change in the policy any time soon. Maybe if he hears enough negative feedback from recruits, he might change things.

The other factor that might help get names back is Under Armour. They are always looking to tweak the look and jerseys so adding the names back could be an upcoming recommendation. At least we no longer have the italics numbers, which made identifying players strictly by number very confusing.

My prediction is that names will return to home jerseys within two years. Addazio or Under Armour will make the change for sake of change.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Texas recruit and other links

Texas WR Christian McStravick committed to BC Monday. Most of the services rate him as a 3 star prospect. BC is his first Power 5 offer, but he has the type of size that should work well in our offense.

The Herald featured Noah Hanifan in their run up to the NHL Draft.

Mikaela Rix, Tess Chandler and Caroline Margolis all earned spots on the ACC's All Academic Lacrosse team.