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Column: The Puzzling Case Of Deuce Finch At RB

Sports Editor

Published: Monday, November 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

There has to be something we don’t know. From the outside, it doesn’t make sense that Deuce Finch was in Chestnut Hill while the rest of his teammates were battling down in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Saturday afternoon.

Finch lost the starting running back job after he failed to stand out through three games at the start of this year. I understand that move. What I don’t understand is how Finch has yet to see the field since then. It’s almost as if Finch is suspended—except he’s not. Instead, head coach Frank Spaziani has chosen to push Finch back on the depth chart.

It appeared that Finch had made his way into Spaziani’s doghouse, but why? Maybe there is some acceptable reason for it, but we’ve yet to hear it. On Thursday afternoon, Spaziani was asked whether Finch has made his way out of the doghouse. He gave the safe and standard answer.

“No doghouse, Deuce is working hard,” Spaziani said.

So he’s working hard, but apparently not hard enough to get any carries during the game. In fact, Finch made his way onto the scout team this past week, sporting the gold jersey relegated to members of the scout team—usually reserved for redshirts and walk-ons.

“He’s been working on and off the scout team, going to meetings, and you can only get so many backs ready to play,” Spaziani said Thursday. “We needed to make sure we designated something, that’s all.”

I understand that you can only get so many backs ready to play, but it’s not like Boston College has an overflow of all-star running backs at its disposal. That’s why it baffles me that two fumbles in the first two games took Finch from starter to scout team in a matter of weeks. Because you know who else has had fumbling problems this year? The current starter, Andre Williams—he’s fumbled four times in nine games. Yet we haven’t seen Williams relegated to the doghouse.

Last Thursday, I asked Spaziani who would be next in line if Williams were to keep having issues hanging onto the ball. He groaned at the idea of it, but went on with an answer.

“It’s a good question, because just fumbling alone, as itself, it’s a big factor, but then there’s a lot of stuff that goes into it,” he said. “Are you preparing not to fumble? Where you’re at with some other things, your other options.”

Spaziani was then asked who was the third-string running back after Williams and David Dudeck. The answer was not Finch, but instead James McCaffrey, who came to BC as a defensive back before transitioning to wide receiver at the start of the season.

“It’s good we don’t have to get down to that,” Spaziani said. “That’s what that third running back should be—‘who is it?’”

Apparently he forgot to knock on wood. When Williams went down with an injury in the first half of Saturday’s game, it was up to Dudeck to take over. I think Dudeck has a bright future, and so does Spaziani, but putting the entire running game in the hands of a true freshman is a lot to ask. The entire running game was on his back because McCaffrey didn’t see the field. Neither did Finch—he couldn’t. He didn’t even make the trip down to North Carolina for the game.

For his part, Williams gave Finch his support following Saturday’s game when asked about the running back situation.

“I’m not really too sure what’s going to happen with the running backs,” Williams said. “Deuce is still a viable running back, so I’m pretty sure he’s definitely going to find his way back in the mix. Other than that, I’m not too sure.”

On Thursday, Spaziani assured us again that Finch wasn’t a lost cause for the rest of the season, saying he could definitely work his way back onto the field on Saturdays.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “Yeah, no one is off on some island somewhere where they can’t get back. No jersey is tattooed on you, it doesn’t matter what color it is. It’s not tattooed. Things change and situations change and every player is accountable for themselves and can change their status—good and bad. You can be a starter and you can work your way out of the starting role. You can be down on the depth chart and work your way up.”

Except it’s hard to work your way up the depth chart when you aren’t even at the game to play when the starter goes down with an injury.

Yesterday afternoon, Spaziani said the health of Williams wasn’t yet clear, as he was to be evaluated later on Sunday night.

“But next man in line,” Spaziani said. “We’ll just go down the batting order and take our running backs that we have and start practicing.

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