Wednesday, December 29, 2010

End of the Year Grade for The 'Stache

C's get degrees, and sometimes contract extensions as well. I really could have gone with a B- here but this team was disappointing in that it was fairly talented and had an easy schedule. I honestly thought at the beginning of the season that we may have had the makings of an '07-type run, even without the help of Matty Ice. Overall, I think it is unfair to say that Spaz had a terrible year, but I would characterize it as below average, and hence the C+

Frank Spaziani
Overall Grade: C+

  1. Recruiting: To me, this is the most surprising element of the Spaz coaching era. I had the opportunity to talk to Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe shortly after Spaz was hired and he told me that he honestly thought that Spaz would surprise a lot of people with his recruiting capabilities. In particular, he pointed to Spaz's ability to connect with teenagers and his work ethic, both of which are virtues that serve him well on the recruiting trail.
  2. Defense: The defense has been, and will continue to be, the strongest part of the BC football team. Having grown up in the shadow of some of the great Bill Parcells defenses in New York (my dad still recounts some of the more amazing Lawrence Taylor plays he saw), I have a real appreciation for our growing linebacker tradition. Although BC is known as O-line U, I think we are becoming one of the better schools for linebackers to play at, as evidenced by this year's recruiting class, which sports four linebackers ranked in the top 50.
  3. Sideline Emotion: From what I've seen, I love Spaziani's sideline demeanor. He is not afraid to show emotion when needed and he usually doesn't hesitate to get in the ear of a ref who he thinks made a bad call. One of my biggest complaints with O'Brien is that I could never tell just by looking at his face how he felt about the game. Sometimes the players need that emotion to feed off of during the course of the game. Jags brought decidedly more emotion to the BC sidelines than O'Brien, but sometimes looked like an eight year old girl when doing so (Va. Tech anyone?).
Dislikes after the jump.


    1. O'Brien-isms: I'm going to set aside the five game losing streak for a second to concentrate on some of the aspects of the losing streak that made it all the more frustrating. One of the aspects I hated most was how Spaz seemed to be resigned to losses in public, much in the same way O'Brien was. There seems to be a part of Spaz that doesn't really believe that BC, as an institution, has what it takes to complete that "magical season" which would put us over the top and into a BCS bowl. Spaz's post-game press interviews were depressing at best last year, and at their worst they reminded me a little of (dare I say it?) Wade Phillips. I don't ever expect to see BC win a national championship in football, but that doesn't mean that winning a national championship isn't a goal worth pursuing. I expect our coaches to believe that every game is "winable" and that anything short of a BCS goal in not a true success.
    2. Tranq: Need I say more here? Spaz's obsession with Tranq is honestly inexplicable. While the offense made strides this year and credit needs to be given to the coaching staff for the development of several true freshmen, the play-calling and talent assessment seem inexplicable at times. Why are we not a more consistent play-action team? How did anyone think that Shinskie gave us a better chance than Rettig? Tranq needs to go and we need to find a young, up-and-coming OC. While this means that the new OC will be relatively unproven, that is a risk I am willing to take at this point.
    3. Special Teams: Okay, Spaz recruited a kicker. A really, really, really good kicker as far as BC kickers go, but the rest of the specials teams is simply atrocious. When was the last time you honestly believed that a BC return man had the chance to take it to the house on a kickoff? My guess is that its been about four years. According to ESPN, we have the WORST kickoff return unit in D-I college football this year, tied with Louisiana-Lafayette for a paltry average of 17.6 yards per kickoff return. Think about how bad that number is. That means that every time our team took a knee in the endzone, it increased our return average. Terrible. Just Terrible.

    Next Up: Coach Donahue

    Grades so far

    Gene Defilippo: B+
    Student Body: D-
    Coach Spaziani: C+

    Average: 2.11 C/C+


    1. Great analysis! Spaz's confidence in Tranq is was definitely what harmed this team the most. Could another dislike of Spaz be that he too often played not to lose? He seemed to go too conservative on offense once we had a lead, no matter how small. It was as if we played to protect a small lead for a few quarters rather than try to expand on the lead. A good example of this is the end of the first half against Clemson. We had the ball inside the Clemson 30 with a timeout and 40 seconds left. Two runs, an incomplete pass, and 35 seconds later, we were kicking a field goal. No sense of urgency and seemingly no desire to actually shoot for the endzone.

      That being said, I do like the job Spaz has done so far. As you said, the defense continued to dominate this year and the recruiting is looking much better, neither of which are easy things to accomplish. A new, young offensive coordinator could make Spaz a much better coach. Also, his stache has to be at least an A-

    2. I completely agree with your criticism of his time management in terms of play calling. With hindsight, that probably should have made the list but I'm not sure whether Spaz is directing Tranq to milk the clock at certain points or if Tranq is doing this at his own initiative. That would be something I would like to ask Spaz if I ever got a chance to interview him. Thanks for the comment Billy.


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