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Column: A Moment Of Emotion From Spaz After Loss

Sports Editor

Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

You read his words on paper, and it sounds like he doesn’t care anymore. His go-to phrases are about a lack of execution, doing some good things but making too many mistakes, and guys fighting hard, but not being able to get it done where it counts—in the win column.

All of those excuses, or whatever you want to call them, are incredibly frustrating. It’s the same problems every week. We hear the same things from Frank Spaziani every single week. But what is left to say?
Following Saturday’s 37-17 loss to Georgia Tech, we headed down to the press conference with Spaziani. Heading into the game, despite seemingly everyone in the world calling for his head, I thought there was no way Spaziani would be fired midseason. But after the defense was embarrassed yet again, and the Eagles picked up their fifth straight loss, the possibility of this being my last press conference with Spaz filled my head.

We got into the area where the press conference would be held—in Georgia Tech’s weight room. The away team’s press conference always takes place in a makeshift area, and this time was no different. Sitting before a small podium, we waited for Spaziani to make his appearance.

Minutes later, he walked in. You could hear a pin drop in the room, everybody realizing the circumstances that surrounded the defeat—another loss, the sixth of the season. New athletic director Brad Bates was in Atlanta to witness at least the massacre that was the first half. If the program’s struggles weren’t clear to him before, I thought, well, he got a first-hand look at a microcosm of what’s gone wrong all season for Boston College. Could this be it—the last postgame presser with Spaziani? The emotions of another loss blinded at least me of seeing any chance of him returning to the sideline next Saturday.

And then Spaziani took his place behind the podium. He began talking, though you could barely hear him. He sounded somber, his words softly spoken, as he tried to put into words another loss that was filled with the same problems that his team has encountered all year. At first, it sounded like any other of Spaziani’s press conferences. He talked about a lack of execution, seeing some positives but more mistakes that his team couldn’t overcome, and his guys fighting hard but not being able to get it done in the end. Same old, same old.

After asking Spaziani about the loss, getting his thoughts on the problems with the defense and what went wrong on specific plays, there was only one question left to ask Spaziani: Where do you go from here? With five games left in a lost season, how can you turn things around? Can you?
Spaziani depicted the season as sand going out of an hourglass, a spot-on analogy of a season slipping out of his grasp. Then, he finally let his emotions get to him.

“We’re not that far,” said an exasperated Spaziani, closing his eyes and clutching onto the podium, as if it would make all of BC’s problems go away. “We’re really not that far away.”
He paused, then delivered a final blow: “… But we’re miles away.”

What Spaziani said doesn’t really make sense on paper, but it made complete sense in that moment. He had just delivered all of his typical lines, and then he tried to sum up how to get past another loss. There was nothing left to say—no more excuses to be made. The “miles away” comment came from pure emotion—something Spaziani doesn’t show a lot of. And it summed up perfectly how this season has gone for BC.

I don’t think Spaziani will be the head coach in Chestnut Hill next September, and I’m not saying he should be. The Eagles have failed to make the adjustments necessary to pick up a W in the past five games, and that starts at the top. Spaziani has been unable to turn the landslide of a football program around, and that will likely cost him his job in the coming months.

But it’s not for a lack of caring. Spaziani doesn’t show much outward passion and emotion, whether it be to the media, the fans, or maybe even to his players. I think that’s just who he is. Yet in that brief moment during his press conference on Saturday, he let his guard slip for just a little and showed some of what he was really feeling inside.

The sand that’s going out of the hourglass is falling quickly. That hourglass Spaziani spoke of is the season, but it’s also his time left on the Heights. With each passing loss, the sand falls faster. Soon, his time will be up. Spaziani will be out there on the field each day until Bates tells him his time has come. But until then, don’t expect him to stop caring.

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