Skinner: Change takes time

January 18, 2010 - 6:56 am
Boston College coach Al Skinner participated in the ACC basketball coaches conference call Monday and talked about his team's attempts to rebound from its three-game losing streak. In the most recent loss, an embarrassing 73-57 rout vs. visiting Maryland Saturday, Skinner lamented his team's lack of effort, particularly at the defensive end. "We're just not defending as well as we need to," Skinner said Monday. "That's, I guess, a little surprising, but that's the bottom line. We're not defending as well as we should be defending and offensively probably not shooting quite as well. Unfortunately, a lot of times guys' offense dictate their defense, and I think that's what's happened here. "I think that's one of the most difficult things to overcome in this game when you're not shooting the ball well is to go back on the other end and defend well," Skinner added. "We've got to somehow be able to bounce back and do that because we haven't shot the ball particularly well, or at least consistently well. And so, at times, the energy hasn't been there on the defensive end. That has to change." Skinner said he has talked to his team about having a better approach on the court, but he warns that it may take time for the Eagles to toughen up mentally to the level he wants. "We've discussed some things, and hopefully those things will come to light," Skinner said. "Anytime you're looking to change characteristics, that always takes time and it's difficult, but I think we've attempted to address it and hopefully we'll see some results from it." Asked if there were any players he would rely on to take a leadership role, Skinner said any such player would have to present himself on his own. "I never believed that a coach can appoint a leader," he said. "I think a leader always has to emerge, and when you have difficult times, that's the time that true leadership starts to show its head. I'm hoping that that will occur. But collectively I think everybody's got to take some responsibility. At times, I wish it was one or two guys, but I think it's collectively. I think everybody needs to pull together and rely on each other and help each other, and I'm not sure we've been doing enough of that." The Eagles return to action Tuesday night at Miami, which is tied with BC (and NC State) for last in the conference at 1-3. BC (10-8 overall) beat Miami last month at Conte Forum, but Skinner warns that that game will have little impact on the rematch. "It's such a long time ago, we're probably at two different places than we were then," Skinner said. "So, I'm not sure if it has much meaning other than the fact that we got the win. Obviously, [it was] a closely played contest. But we're in a different place now. It's almost like a new season in comparison to where we were a month ago. The only advantage is that we got the win. But like I said, it's a new day." Miami coach Frank Haith's team is coming off a pair of double-digit losses in ACC play and is looking for a faster start Tuesday night. He wants his team to work harder on offense, which should create for an interesting matchup as Skinner focuses on his team toughening up on defense. "We need to compete a little bit better, particularly at the beginning of games," Haith said. "I think we've done some things to shore up some things execution-wise offensively. ... We need to execute better on the offensive end '€” that's screening harder, that's cutting harder. Particularly on the road, sometimes we've had a tendency to not move as quickly and screen as quickly as we need to to execute."