Column: Spring Football Game A Diversion From Your Typical 'March Madness'
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
For Superfans, the final week of March implies an abundance of interesting sport storylines to follow. We eagerly anticipate an unpredictable close to a month of men’s basketball “madness,” even while our brackets lay in waste. We welcome our baseball and softball teams back to the friendly confines of Shea Field and watch them improve with each game, even when they are stacked up against tough ACC competition. Most importantly, we are caught up in the excitement of watching head coach Jerry York’s Eagles continue their journey toward another NCAA hockey championship in the Frozen Four.
Springtime at Boston College also means–yep, you guessed it–football.
Though it pains me to crush the hopes and dreams of pretty much every Superfan with this grim reminder, the prelude to the BC football team’s 2012 season kicks off (or considering our offensive execution last year, punts) this Saturday with the annual Jay McGillis Spring Game at Alumni Stadium—whether we like it or not. As much as we’d like to believe that the start of spring brings warmer weather and blue skies, it also apparently brings head coach Frank Spaziani back to the sidelines with a changed cast of characters after leading his team to a disappointing 4-8 record last year. I understand that such disheartening news rains on the parade of the sudden optimism that BC sports fans had up until this point. After all, is this really the best time to bring up a subpar football team in the midst of a hockey championship run? Who decided to start pouring on the misery in March rather than just wait until September?
We all may not be looking forward to getting an early glimpse of this year’s football squad and what it’ll have to offer on game day for Superfans this season. But with a preseason that’s bound to have more drama-filled storylines than my grandmother’s favorite soap opera, no one can say that following Spaz’s Eagles won’t be interesting.
Though we can’t be certain of the gains the Eagles will make this season, we are sure of what they have lost: collegiate star-turned NFL draft prospect Luke Kuechly. Projected as a high first-round pick, the former record-setting BC linebacker will soon be enjoying well-deserved success at the professional level. Yet the gaping hole Kuechly leaves behind in his alma mater’s defense is a storyline in itself. In any situation, replacing a Butkus award-winner who averaged nearly 16 tackles per game is a daunting task. Perhaps an entire chapter has been torn out of Spaziani’s playbook and rival ACC offenses have one less thing to fear now that Luke is gone, but–on the bright side–it will give BC’s young talent the opportunity to step in and prove its worth to this team going forward.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the extreme makeover BC’s coaching staff underwent in the offseason, with the curious departure of offensive coordinator Dave Brock and other assistants creating further controversy over the team’s situation. A new arrival to Spaz’s supporting cast is new OC Doug Martin, whose new responsibility is resurrecting an offense that averaged an anemic 18.2 points per game last season.
As if that task wasn’t enough to keep Martin busy, he also walks into a brewing quarterback competition between incumbent Chase Rettig and wildcat extraordinaire Josh Bordner. Many saw Rettig’s 2011 campaign as an unfulfilled opportunity to transition from a highly touted prospect to the second coming of Matt Ryan. Though the rising junior experienced flashes of brilliance last year that displayed his strong skill set, the emergence of Bordner as a versatile, Tebow-esque option under center has put pressure on Rettig to come out strong in camp, putting his starting job in jeopardy. The outcome of this duel will be sure to not only shape the Eagles’ offense for 2012, but also cast the fate of the team’s season.
Even though March Madness of all sorts will be soon coming to an end, Saturday’s spring football game and the circumstances surrounding it will ensure that there are no dull moments. We ought not to see it as just the beginning of the end for the Eagles, but rather the beginning of a five-month long storyline any soap opera fan would find captivating.