Evolution of Dave Shinskie

October 03, 2009 - 11:23 am
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CHESTNUT HILL -- It is supposed to be a "Gold Out" day at Alumni Stadium. Fans have been encouraged to show their unity in the fight against cancer by purchasing gold "beat cancer" t-shirts in support of Mark Herzlich and his fight against Ewings Sarcoma (which he may have finally won). The "Gold Out" may turn into a wash out. It has been raining in Boston all day and the forecast for the rest of the day is not promising. Thus, unless Boston College starts passing out golden ponchos, it may not see a sea of golden t-shirts unless there are some brave souls who do not mind being wet and cold for the duration of the game. One wonders how the conditions will effect the quarterbacks in this game. Boston College is no stranger to bad weather this year. It was raining in the second week when it beat Kent State (though not as bad as today) and there was an absolute deluge in Death Valley in the loss to Clemson. Toss out the win against the Golden Flashes. The Eagles outmatched Kent State in just about every phase of the game and the both Justin Tuggle and Dave Shinskie played well enough. In Clemson, nobody on offense played well . Not Tuggle, not Shinskie. Nobody. The result may have been a result of a young team playing its first game on the road, it may have been the Tigers speed, it may have been the rain. Shinskie got two series in the game, fumbled the ball twice (lost one) and sat on the bench for the duration thereafter.  "I was kind of upset after Clemson, not that I didn'€™t get the start but when I got in there didn'€™t do what I really wanted to do," Shinski said.  "[Last week] got the start and had a really good game on offense so it was nice to get the weight off my shoulders. Shinskie did indeed have a good game against Wake Forest. He was 18-29 with 228 yards, three touchdowns against one interception. It appears the quarterback may have turned the corner. Shinskie started the his new career on Chestnut Hill after having spent seven years in the nether regions of minor league baseball. He had not played organized football since high school and was starting college life as a 25 year old freshman. Throughout training camp he was never the presumptive starter (none of head coach Frank Spaziani's options were) and it did not help that he cracked a rib halfway through which set back his progression. The adjustments have been steep but Shinskie may be starting to "get it." "It" is a difficult term to describe. It is confidence, leadership, mental and physical progression. "It" has been evident on the practice field, where Shinskie has been much more vocal recently, to the game field, where he is marking his check downs and making quicker reads.  "A lot of growth on his part. The mistakes he has been making from the beginning of camp to right now is just 100-percent better," tight end Jordon McMichael, the recipient of a 50 yard touchdown pass from Shinskie last week, said "Like the goal line catch [last week against Wake Forest], I was his first read. He went in his progression, I was his first read, but you saw his eyes go through the progression until he saw where Chris [Pantale] was and threw a perfect ball right there. So, just him being able to go through is progressions and read the different receivers, he'€™s improved immensely." Shinskie was seen jumping and clapping during practice on Wednesday, prompting Spaziani to say "woo-wee, look at that boy" and he has been much more vocal in the huddle, lending confidence to his teammates and foreshadowing that this team may have founds its offensive leader. "Definitely he has more confidence . . . just kind of the way he walks around and holds himself in the huddle," right tackle Rich Lapham said. "You need to take on that leadership role and that is something he was definitely doing yesterday in practice and hopefully will continue to do as the week progresses." For his part though, Shinskie knows that the is still a work in progress. One good game does not a quarterback make. But it may be a beginning. Shinskie still needs to work on his technical skills and keep the football from sailing on him, but the confidence that Lapham referred to is starting to shine through. He is working to get faster and more precise every day. "It is not physically faster," Shinskie said. "It is more mentally faster than physically faster. Because once you are mentally faster you are able to see the reads faster and throw the ball faster and make good decisions. Just as simple as looking at one guy, looking at two guys in a matter of one look and throwing it to the check down." The way to do that is with continued repetitions in practice and games and Shinskie is likely to get the majority of those as the season progresses if he sustain a consistent level of play. "It'€™s just reps. Like I said, the more reps you get, the more practice, the better you get. I am just happy I am getting the opportunity to be able to do this," Shinskie said. The Eagles are minutes away from kickoff against Florida State. Gold Out or wash out, Shinskie is ready to continue on his road of evolution from the mound to under center.