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FOOTBALL: Win Gives BC A New Psyche In Prep For Wake Forest

Eagles Not Satisfied With Last Week's Win, Looking To Build Off It

Sports Editor

Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

The meteorologists might not think so, but the sun is shining a little brighter in Chestnut Hill this week as the Eagles prepare for Wake Forest.

“The sun shines a little brighter, the birds are singing,” said fifth-year offensive tackle Emmett Cleary with a laugh. “It’s just so much better to win. We’ve had games this year that we could’ve [won] and we didn’t.”

Saturday’s 20-17 win over Maryland has rejuvenated the Boston College squad, mentally and physically. It doesn’t take care of everything, but it is certainly a step in the right direction for the Eagles after having lost five straight games prior to the win.

“The body hurts a little bit less, you’re in your mind a little bit less as well, classes are easier to sit through because you just know, ‘All right, gotta get ready for next week,’” said linebacker Kevin Pierre Louis.

“For a lot of the older guys, it was like the storm clouds kind of parted,” Cleary said. “For the last year, we’ve found crazy new ways to lose games each week. It’s really important to be validated for all the hard work you put in, so I’m just real happy for our team.”

Head coach Frank Spaziani has been pleased with the way his team has been practicing of late, and the win has certainly inserted a little more confidence into his players.

“It’s human nature,” Spaziani said. “There’s not a bubbling ‘We’ve arrived.’ But they feel better about themselves. It’s just like doing well on a test or getting a promotion … you feel good. It helps, and you go to work the next day and you feel better. There’s a little bounce, a little more fun. The most fun is winning, so that helps. It’s been real positive.”

Practices this week have been better coming off the win instead of another loss, and the effects have been positive. Not only has the win proved that all their hard work is actually paying off, but it has also made the Eagles hungrier for another one.

“[Practice] is definitely not as depressing, I’ll tell you that,” said tight end Chris Pantale. “After a win, it leaves a better taste in your mouth. Now everyone’s just hungry for that taste and wants to keep it going.”

“It’s always good to come back to practice after a win,” said running back Andre Williams. “You have something to look forward to. You want to keep that feeling going, you don’t want to let it go. I feel like there’s just more urgency at practice. We’ve got to keep it going at all costs.”

That sense of urgency comes with knowing that the Eagles are still 2-6, and they have four more games remaining on the schedule. While the win certainly improves the mood in the locker room and on the practice field, BC knows there is still a lot more work to be done, and it has to put the Maryland game in the past with a trip to Wake Forest quickly approaching.

“We’ve moved on,” said quarterback Chase Rettig. “It feels good to have a win, but you got to turn the page and move on. We’re still 2-6, so we got to work has hard as we can to get to 3-6 and finish out this season as strong as possible.”

So far, Cleary has seen his team moving in the right direction after dealing with its first ACC win.

“[Tuesday] was a real physical practice and our guys were thumping, so that’s encouraging that they know how to handle a win,” Cleary said.

Another improvement in practice has been the wrinkle that Spaziani threw into play last week, having the first team offense go up against the first team defense.

“I think that’s kind of just the shot we needed,” Cleary said of the new practices. “We were at times more physical on offense, and then the D, they came out and played. I think the proof’s in the pudding there. I think it was very valuable for us to get the good reps. It’s encouraging and I like the way we’re doing it now.”

Spaziani has seen the difference as well.

“Oh yeah, that’s been a positive from everybody on the staff as well as the players,” Spaziani said.

The new style has also shortened practice by 25-30 minutes, which has kept players’ bodies in better condition. This far into the season, guys are starting to feel their bodies wearing on them at times with little injuries adding up, but Williams said the new practices help address that concern.

“I definitely felt a difference in the game [against Maryland],” Williams said. “I just felt fresher, like I had more energy.”

Between the win and the new practice style, BC appears to be a revitalized team. The Eagles have finally proven that this group of players has what it takes to win in the ACC. Now they are just hungry for another.

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