December 19, 2006

New boss with old ties

Meet the new boss....same as the old boss?

Not from the sound of it.

The hiring Jeff Jagodzinski to be the new BC football coach makes sense on so many levels. To say he's the perfect guy for the job is, obviously, going out on a limb because the man has never been a head coach before. But neither was Tom O'Brien, and that worked out pretty well, didn't it?

Jags? Mark Whipple? There seemed to be a feeling the new man had to have some sort of feel for the landscape. I personally would have like to have seen Frank Spaziani get more of a shot but you have to understand why that didn't happen. This is a new blood, and if you have to have new blood, you might as well make it some of the old blood.

The continuity factor is big here, and that makes you wonder about something. If it's true what we hear, that Gene DeFilippo had wanted Tom O'Brien to make some changes on the staff in recent years, then you have to think about which coaches he wants. The more you look at it, though, the more it looks like DeFilippo's main concern was over the offense. There will be a new guy in that spot and Dana Bible, well respected all over the country but seen as a bit - a bit? - too conservative around here, is likely to move on. There will be a new look, things will change some.

That can't be for the worse - not with Matt Ryan coming back for his senior year and probably the best quarterback in the ACC. Not with a player like Jeff Smith and all that quickness waiting to be turned loose. We all would have loved to have seen more from the kid this year. Sure he was learning, but throw him out there every once and a while and see what happens. That wasn't O'Brien's style. We can assume it wasn't Bible's, either, but then, again, the coordinator may have just been following the plan.

The plan was too predictable too often. Now, there will be a new plan. Heck, BC might even hand the ball off to the fullback, the first man through, in a game sometime soon. It's only been eight years since Ryan Burch and Frank Chamberlin got the call. Mike Vega and myself had a running gag going with O'Brien about it, about how the play wasn't even in the playbook. O'Brien once said, "If I ever hand the ball off to the fullback (in the two-back set), I'll turn around and look at you guys." We never had to call him on it, because he never handed the ball to the fullback.

Don't you do it ONCE, just to plant the seed in the mind of the defense. I mean, is it truly a fake when the other team knows the guy's not going to get the ball?

I know that's a minor point, but it's a point about how rigid O'Brien was. Successful? Yes - to that certain point. You wonder what a little extra might have done in terms of getting that extra win. We'll see what happens with the new guy.

DeFilippo is a football guy and is clearly excited over his choice to replace O'Brien. This has been said before, but any coach coming in here next year wins eight games in his sleep. Now, the coach coming in has a BC background. He also is an offensive guy and should be a huge plus for Ryan as the QB keeps his eye on the pros.

To me, the whole thing sounds like fun. Hey, it might even take a game or two for Jagodzinski and his new staff (which will include old names) to get attacked on the message boards (what's the grace period, anyway?).

Turning to basketball for a second, ya gotta love the AP poll voters. BC starts out No. 15, probably a bit too high, moves to No. 14 with a win over UNH, then loses to Vermont, without Sean Williams and Akida McLain and then to Providence, without McLain and with Williams playing his first game. The Eagles then reel off six straight wins, including victories over Michigan State and Maryland, and they're still buried at No. 30.

Now, the people who just look at scores will see what may well be a loss at No. 11 Kansas and bury BC even further.

That's OK, I happen to think this team is going to be a real factor in the ACC race. Jared Dudley is as good as any player in the league and Williams gets better every time he steps on the floor - the feeling is he's already enough better for this to be his final year in college (more about that in the next column).

McLain? Welcome to the Last Chance Café, Akida. Screw it up this time and you're gone. It's really that simple.


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