BC's Frank Spaziani Playing it Close to the Vest

by - Senior Writer -
Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani started his head caoching career with wins over Northeastern 54-0 and Kent St. 34-7.

Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani played it close to the vest on Sunday afternoon, not letting the media get a true understanding of his football team or his thoughts about this Saturday’s opponent in Clemson.

However, Spaziani himself may not know entirely what he has in this Eagles’ football team following an off-season of turmoil and two tune-up games against Northeastern [54-0] and Kent St. [34-7].

During the offseason, the Eagles lost head coach Jeff Jagodzinski after a dispute with Athletic Director Gene DiFillippo, had quarterback Dominique Davis [the only returning quarterback with game experience] put on academic probation and subsequently transfer, then saw ACC Defensive Player of the Year and linebacker Mark Herzlich announce that he had Ewing’s sarcoma [a form of bone cancer], and would miss the 2009 season while he takes treatments.

Saturday may provide his first true glimpse of how the rest of the season will progress when the Eagles tee it up against the Tigers at Noon in Death Valley, a game televised regionally by Raycom Sports. However, Spaziani said that even Saturday may not provide the answers he is searching for.

“Nope,” he said. “This is a real, real young squad in a lot of ways, with a new staff and a new system. I’m not sure. It’s going to take four or five more weeks before we know really what kind of football team we have. We’ve got good kids, I’ll tell you that. We’ve got good kids who know how to work. With Clemson, we have a new pace. We have to pick it up, because there will be new challenges.”

One of the challenges Spaziani is facing is in trying to find a quarterback, with redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle [son of former NFL Pro Bowler Jessie Tuggle] splitting time with true freshman Dave Shinskie. Spaziani declined to name a starter for the Clemson game, but hinted that he will know for sure by Thursday of this week.

Both quarterbacks had decent numbers on Saturday, with Shinskie going 9-for-16 for 73 yards and a touchdown and an interception. Tuggle, meanwhile, went 6-for-12 for 150 yards with two touchdowns.

“Both of them ran the game, they both threw the ball well and they made some plays,” Spaziani said. “There’s not a great deal of separation, but there comes a point where you have to take some of the information, make a decision and move on. The only difference is that one might be a little taller. We may not make a decision until Thursday, but we will figure it out. “

Spaziani said that trying to replicate the Tigers’ speed in practice this week will be difficult as his team prepares for the likes of C.J. Spiller, Jacoby Ford and the other weapons the Tiger possess.

“Any time you have to practice against speed, it’s very difficult,” he said. “It’s about the guys who’ve been on the field with it before and understand it. We’ll try to drill into their heads as much as we can where we have to be and how we have to coordinate everything, but I don’t think there’s any way for us to create it.”

Spaziani also said he told his team to not watch last Thursday night’s primetime game between the Tigers and Georgia Tech, instead wanting his to focus solely on last Saturday’s opponent.

“Well, I asked them not to watch it,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me that they listened to their coach. It’s a distraction. We have had everybody, ever since the summer, talking about the third game of the year before we played our first two. We hadn’t played No. 2 yet, and there was still a lot of talk about Game No. 3. We usually like to watch the Thursday night game; it was just bad timing that it was Clemson.”

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