Spaziani Building A House Of Bricks

November 28, 2009 - 6:14 am

If you are a Boston College football diehard there is a fair chance that, at the start of the semester, you had a pit in your stomach the size of a grapefruit. Where was this team? A new had coach, a plethora of young quarterbacks, none of whom had ever thrown a pass in major college football, a defense that was missing its best player and a linebacking corps that was starting three players who had never played at their particular positions. No wonder BC was voted to finish near the bottom of the conference. The preseason polls predicted that the only team the Eagles would be better than was perennial conference doormat Duke (who has also surprised this year, by the way). The foundation of the program looked like it was in shambles. Time to rebuild. Or was it? "It is like the three little pigs, right?" Head coach Frank Spaziani said. "You got the straw house, the sticks and the bricks. We are trying to build the brick house to have something good. We are on the right track for the big picture. Certainly it helps to have some victories, but we are on the right track." This afternoon BC travels to College Park, Maryland looking for win No. 8 against the Terrapins. Ask just about anybody outside of Chestnut Hill if the Eagles were going to be an eight win team in 2009 and they would have given you a sideways look, muttered something about being delusional and walked away. Yet, here BC stands, another solid season with a better outlook for next year. "We have brick plans, that is what we got to do . . . This game is a big game. It is an important game. It is the last game in the body of work and once we are all done we will reflect on it," Spaziani said. "We've always felt that we could win every game, always." "When I took over it was what it was . . . In August we had to work through our problems. Who is going to take the snaps? Who is going to play linebacker? How were we to know in August that [Luke] Kuechly would arrive? Take him out of the equation. That was like 'puff,' a gift for you," Spaziani said. In retrospect, perhaps too much was made about the player losses the Eagles suffered. The previous foundation had been eroded, from Brian Toal to Mark Herzlich to Matt Ryan and Dominique Davis (to name a few on an impressive list of who is no longer on the field). BC could still put out an above average to pretty good offensive line, it had two running backs in Montel Harris and Josh Haden that could pound the ball and a few rising players on defense with something to prove. Outside of Kuechly, the next biggest surprise on the team is probably strong safety Marcellus Bowman, a backup free safety for three years before stepping to the strong side this year and playing well. There was some foundation from which to build. "It is not like we are Coastal Carolina here, building from scratch," Spaziani said. "We didn't have to build a program. The program was here. We just had some issues to deal with and that is what we are trying to do. We are trying to get to the point where the issues are normal that are inherent to running a football team. We don't want to have the problems of no linebackers, no quarterbacks, not enough linemen, it could go on and on." "We had quarterbacks who didn't know what they were doing and quarterbacks on defense who didn't know what they were doing. Hopefully that is behind us. If it isn't then we have one of those little straw houses," Spaziani said. The final step for BC in the regular season is to go south one final time and hammer the nail on the foundation. An eight win season would be a significant punctuation for this Eagles team and a tribute to the seniors who have have helped keep the foundation strong in this transitional year. Next year looks promising as BC can plug Herzlich back into the linebacking corps with Kuechly, get a backup running back healthy to support Harris (Rolandan Finch is primed for that duty but has missed the last month of the season with mono) and a year of growth for oft-erratic quarterback Dave Shinskie. First things first. Maryland awaits BC with kickoff coming at 3:30 p.m. Stay tuned to The BC Blog all day for updates on how the final test of plays out.