Thursday, January 19, 2012

GDF Interview: Part II

In Part I, GDF talked about the overall state of the athletic department and discussed Jerry York and the hockey program.  In Part II, we discuss Steve Donahue's rebuilding project and the state of the football program.  Enjoy!

Okay let me ask you an easy one: How happy are you with the job that Steve Donahue is doing?

I'm never happy when we don't have a real good record, but I could not be happier with Steve Donahue.  He is a great, great, great person and one heck of a good coach.  He is exciting our players, the students, the fans.  People on campus love him...He's shown that he can recruit big-time and his style of play is exciting to watch and we're going to be very, very, very successful here, starting next year and the year after.  You know a lot of games we're starting five freshmen and that, you know, is not the best for this year but for the next year, and the next year, and the next year, it's really, really helpful.  

And the good thing is that Steve's brought in two other recruits for this coming year who will be here in the fall of 2012 who are excellent players and will have a very good chance of starting when they get on campus.  So, I couldn't be happier with Steve Donahue and the way he's built this program.  He's building it in the right way. 

What do you think a realistic ceiling on this team might be in four years? 

You know, I look at it this way...George Mason made it to the Final Four, and Butler made it to the Final Four on two different occasions.  If those teams can make it to the Final Four, Boston College can make it to the Final Four.  And, you know, I'm not saying we're going to do it every year, but we have that ability to do that and I would not be at all surprised if down the road Steve Donahue gets one of our teams and we go to the Final Four.  He's that good of a coach and he's that good of a recruiter.  

So which of the freshmen is your favorite to watch play on the team this year?

You know I like them all.  I don't have any one freshman that I like better than the others.  I think that Ryan Anderson has done a terrific job.  Our local guy, Dennis Clifford, has played exceptionally well.  Lonnie Jackson's had some real good games shooting the ball.  He's a terrific shooter and I watched him in practice the other day and he just made three point shot after shot after shot and it was really neat.  And Patrick Heckmann is going to be a real good player too so I don't really have a favorite but I sure do like watching them play.  I like their hustle. I like their attitude.  I like the fact that they're smart, they're tough, they play hard, and it's been fun.

How many ACC games do you think we'll win this year?

You know what, I don't predict how many games we'll win because if I gave a number then somebody would say "Gee, I want to win more than that."  I want to win them all.  I want to win every ACC game (laughs).  That's why we play, so that's what I want us to do.

So I guess let's talk football for a few minutes.  The line seems to have been that we've been in rebuilding mode for the past few years.  Is the rebuilding project over?

Yeah, well, here's the thing, you know, that I want people to remember.  When I got here, to Boston College, in the fall of '97, Michael, the football team had had three winning teams in ten years.  Three.  We put together a string of 12 consecutive winning teams.  10 of those 12 teams won eight or more games.  Six of those 12 teams won nine or more.  And we had one 10 win season and an 11 win season.  That's probably the best 12 years in our history.  It's been a remarkable run.

Last year, you know, was a difficult year for us.   As you know, Michael, the difference between winning and losing is so small.  I mean, we line up to kick the football from the five yard line and we hit the upright and the ball kicks back.  We've got another team deep down in their own territory and all we've got to do is knock down the third pass and it's third and long, we knock down the pass, and we get within an inch of it, you know, and it's complete and so we lose that ball game.  We lost four or five games, maybe five games, that were decided by a touchdown or less.  We won one of them.

So we've got to do a lot better.  And part of it's rebuilding, part of it's injuries.  But the fact is that nobody, nobody, first of all me, is happy with a 4-8 season.  A 4-8 season is totally unacceptable.  We're building this program and we expect to be back and going to bowls...

...Starting next year?

Starting next year.

What does Doug Martin bring to the table as an offensive coordinator and how will the offense be different under him than it may have been under Rogers?

Well, I don't know that.  I know Doug just a little bit.  I met him when we played Kent State several times.  And I met him once when he was at the University of Kentucky, but I was not involved in any of the interviews.  I did not know Jim Bollman.  I did know Doug Martin.  Being a Kentucky grad, when I was at the University of Kentucky I met him.  Doug is a good football coach.  I mean he's a very, very good football coach and his offense will be very similar to what Steve Logan did here when he was here for two years in '07 and '08.  I think the fact that Doug worked for Steve for seven, eight, ten years...their philosophies are very much the same and our offense was very good in those years.  And I think you'll see more of us going back to some of the things that we did in '07 and '08 rather than a lot of the things we did in '09, '10, and '11.

So were you convinced by the NCAA's ruling on Momah or do you think that we have a decent shot on appeal? 

I thought that we had a very good chance to begin with, you know, and my staff put together a phenomenal case.  And, the case was turned down but we do have a right to an appeal and we're doing everything in our power to make sure that we can put forth the best appeal for Momah that we can put together.  You know if anyone deserves this year it's Momah.  He really does.

What about the state of recruiting for the football team?  It seems that we've lost some recruits over the past few days and it's a small class to begin with.

Yeah we're a small class to begin with but we're going to sign 18 or 19 players.  You know, every year it's the same thing, that our players aren't five star or, you know, four star, or whatever.  If you look at the Virginia Techs, they're never rated high in the recruiting.  And we recruit players here that are smart, that are tough, and that will work like crazy.  Those are the three things that we really, really look for in players.  And if you look at who we've recruited over the past few years...guys like Rositano, Sylvia, Taj Kimble, Vardaro, Gallik, some of our linemen...I think we're recruiting very well.

We might lose some players but we've got some other players that are getting ready to commit here.  It's going to be a very good year.  It's going to be another very good year.  You know, Montel wasn't really, really highly recruited, and look what kind of a player he came out to be.  Castonzo...even Luke Kuechly.  So, believe me, our coaches do a good job of evaluating talent and they will have a good recruiting class.  I know that.  

So you're not concerned at all about the de-commits?

No.  No.  You know, that happens.  I just read about a quarterback.  He committed to Indiana.  Then he de-committed and committed to LSU and then he de-committed again and ended up at Notre Dame.  So there's some of that at this time of year but we're not really worried about that because we've got some really, real good recruits out there, many of whom we haven't offered because we got some early commits, you know, but they're still waiting on us.

Good...So how enthusiastic would you say the fan base is towards the football program right now, and if you sort of had to rank fan enthusiasm for the three major programs where do you think that football would stack up?

You know, I don't know.  You've got to ask the fans that.  I know that this was a funny year.  This is a year where we lost a lot of close games.  This is a year where we have a lot of injuries.  This was a year where we let some games slip away, which was extremely disappointing, and nobody was more disappointed than Frank Spaziani and me, nobody.  So I don't know where it is.  I do know that we're playing a great home schedule.  On our home schedule we've got Virginia Tech, Clemson, Maryland, Miami, and Notre Dame.  I mean that's a terrific home schedule.  Our team, I think, we're going to have a good football team, and, you know what, winning gets people excited, and we've got to show that we can win and we've got to win some early games.

I think that people are excited about the basketball program, I really do.  You watch these four freshmen and they've won their last two games in the ACC.  We were picked for last.  These freshmen are better than people gave them credit for.  With John Cahill down now, John has an injured shoulder, we've got, what, five, six freshmen, a junior, a senior, and a sophomore in the rotation of nine or ten.  No, we're really excited about where Steve's going...

And Jerry York's always about right here.  He's always about second or third in the country at this time and then our hockey team starts to take off and the same thing will happen this year and Jerry York will make sure we're in it right to the end.

What about Chase Rettig?  Are you ever at all concerned with him concerning how many offensive coordinators he's seen? 

You know what, I'm really not.  You know that's not something you choose to have but that's not a real factor.  I was reading something about the San Fransisco 49ers the other day and they were saying that Alex Smith has had something like, oh I don't know, seven or eight offensive coordinators in ten years or eleven years, and look at the year he's having.  So no, that doesn't matter to me as much.  The terminology will be different but Chase and Bordner are both very smart and they'll pick it up.

These coaches will put them in the right positions and they're going to use motion, use sets, use shifting to help get receivers open and all so...Would I pick it to be this way?  Would Spaz pick it to be this way where he's had this many offensive coordinators over the past few years?  No, but it's not something that can't be overcome.  The systems, you know, they're just not that tough. 

Which do you see happening first: ACC Championship in football or basketball?

I hope both!  I mean I don't want to pick one over the other.  I want to win both.  You know, we played for the ACC Football Championship twice, played a very good Virginia Tech team twice, and didn't make it.  And we got into the finals one time in basketball and got beat on a fall-away jumper with no time left from the top of the key...didn't hit anything but net.  So you know I don't which will come first.  I want them both.  I want to win them both...

Okay last one, what was your best day at the office in the past year?

The best day in the office this past year?  I don't know if there was any one day that I could think of that was the best day but I could tell you some of the good days.  It was a real good day when Montel and Ramsey were given another year on a medical red shirt.  It was a real good day when we signed some of our basketball players.  It is a great day when our hockey team, both hockey teams, one's third and one's fourth.  It was a great day when our women's cross country team finished, what, 12th in the country, 13th in the country.  It was a great day when the men's and women's soccer teams got top four seeds in the 64 teams.

I mean we've had a lot of great things happen here and we've got a lot more great things to happen, you know.  Nobody has a period where you can go on forever.  There's always bumps in the road.  Until the bowl game the University of Texas was, what, 25-25 in their last...they were 5-7 and 7-4, 12-12, in their last 25 or 24 games. Those things happen.  Are we happy about it?  No.  Are we working our fannies off to do everything we can to change it?  Yeah!  And as I said to you before, 4-8 is totally unacceptable to Spaz and me and should be unacceptable to the fans and the students, and to everybody else.  That's not BC.


  1. Excellent interview. I'm not sure what the parameters are, but it would be nice if you ask GDF follow-up questions. However, I'm not sure he would be responsive. I love Donahue, but did he bring in a "great" recruiting class? The numbers just don't bear that out. Also, how is it not under the program's control to hire effective coordinators that won't be dropping out? Why, if Logan was such an asset, was he not retained? Why does GDF seem unaware of how the fans view the current state of the football team? He simply doesn't feel accountable to fans and alumni, as far as I can tell.

    I don't think GDF is a bad guy, nor do I discount the success the programs have had under his tenure. However, I think he does a terrible job of responding to and addressing the concerns of alumni. He has a brash attitude and doesn't admit his failures. That's not a likeable or effective trait for someone in his position. To the observer, outside of the Athletics Department, it seems that GDF considers Spaz's success and his own intertwined. It appears that GDF would have let go of Spaz, but kept him to uphold his own reputation as a source of personal pride. That's a typical human response, but he doesn't address it.

    Finally, although I thought Lively's letter contained some personal attacks at GDF and some bizarre allegations of racism, I also believe that BC's response lacked dignity. Questioning his mental state and referring to anonymous people who were "concerned" for him is a total low blow. They need to issue a retraction. You take the high road. If you are in a position of authority, you need to be classier than that.

    1. Absolutely on point in regards to Lively. I'll have a post up on that in a little bit...

    2. I look forward to reading that. This is totally off-topic, but what is the status of Suntrup in the QB rotation? I admired Bordner's fearlessness, but he didn't look like an every-down quarterback. Rettig seems like a total class act, but he gets antsy in the pocket and that's something that's nearly impossible to correct. Of course, the receiving corps was depleted (and weak to begin with), so that's something to consider. However, he didn't seem to see the field well, make multiple reads, or respond to pressure (like Paul Pete, for example, who was Cool Hand Luke back there).

      Neither of these fine young men look like the quarterback of the future. Fans were fawning over Suntrup when he was recruited, but he hasn't gotten much attention. Is he perceived as a disappointment? Is he considering a transfer? I'd have to imagine that he's frustrated. Just curious. He had some great offers and this isn't exactly a "deep bench" situation.

  2. thanks for this interview. was really well done, and i appreciate how you pressed mean gene on the state of football and the state of alumni support.

    it continues to amaze me that the duke loss is blamed on the kicker and not on spaz's boneheaded decision to not even center the ball (let alone actually go for a TD; which they didn't as soon as they got inside the 20).

    gene is on record saying the team should be bowling next year -- maybe he knows the excuses have run out. put up or shut up time for him and the stash.

  3. any word on those frozen fenway jerseys....

  4. As to Suntrup's position in the rotation - probably nothing. The likelyhood that hes better than Rettig at this point approaches zero. Outside of the possibility that Rettig decides to transfer and no longer deal with Spaz, or an injury to him during the season, I wouldn't expect to see him at all next year.

    Oh, and I'm going on the record saying that for the most part, the QB rotation is ridiculous and not at all helpful/


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