Football Notebook: Spring Practices Underway
After An Overhaul On The Coaching Staff, The Eagles Begin Football Again
Published: Sunday, February 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Amidst a handful of coaching changes in the past two weeks, spring practice kicked off on Saturday for the Boston College football team. After the Eagles failed to reach a bowl game for the first time since 1998, head coach Frank Spaziani decided to move up the start of practices.
"We haven't been on the field since Thanksgiving, so we had plenty of time off," Spaziani said on Thursday. He also noted that the calendar had an effect on the decision. Since Easter is early this year, the usual spring football schedule would have been broken into two segments, forcing it to drag on. "So [it is a combination of] those things, and having more time to heal after spring ball, get ready for the season, which is an important season. All of those factors went into it."
After a disappointing 2011 season in which BC finished 4-8, Spaziani said he is excited to get the new season going by building off of last year's momentum.
"I think the future is bright," Spaziani said. "There are a lot of guys that gained some experience last year. We have a whole new staff on offense with a lot of energy. Change can either smother you or excite you. I think the latter is what's going on around here. We're moving forward, and it's a chance for us to start moving in a better direction than the last one."
One of the most notable changes personnel-wise for the upcoming season is five new coaches on the sideline. Doug Martin will be the new offensive coordinator, Jim Bollman the new offensive line/running backs coach, Sean Desai the new running backs and special teams coach, Aaron Smith the new wide receivers coach, and Al Washington the new assistant special teams and defensive line coach.
"Yeah, we're excited about [the coaching changes]," Spaziani said. "Sean Desai comes highly recommended as a special teams [coach], and he coached outside linebackers at Temple. Very astute football mind, and adds some youth to us. Al Washington of course played here. He bleeds Boston College. He's been coaching for five years now, and it was time for him to step into the role that we have for him. And then Aaron Smith had worked our camp for us. He was a receiver at Connecticut and coached at the Coast Guard Academy and of course Columbia. So he adds some youth to us, and we had known about him. So we're happy about it, and it's adding a lot of excitement."
Spaziani said that there was not a reason for concern with the overturn in coaching staff because of the typical short life of a college assistant coach.
"Well ... let me say this: You're never caught off guard completely like this," Spaziani said. "The average term of an assistant coach at a college is some stat under two years. I think people read too much into it. Wisconsin lost five coaches, Notre Dame [lost] three, USC [lost] three, Tennessee [lost] six, Alabama [lost] two, Washington [lost] five. You know what I mean? It hasn't happened around here like this for a little bit. But those guys left for coordinators jobs and some other reasons, a couple personal reasons."
Sophomore Chase Rettig enters camp as the incumbent quarterback, having started every game of last year. Toward the end of the year, though, his classmate Josh Bordner saw an increase in snaps, typically as a dual-threat quarterback. Spaziani said the competition between the two quarterbacks will make each of them better, benefiting both for the upcoming season.
"Chase is obviously an incumbent, and we don't like to have the starting quarterback looking over his shoulder," Spaziani said. "But just like we tell everybody, no jerseys are tattooed on you. It's all about production. [Chase] is the incumbent, and he's got to make some progress, and we're looking forward to the other guys making some progress too and giving us some healthy competition."
Running back Montel Harris will be coming back this year as a fifth-year senior after missing most of last season due to a reoccurring knee injury. After he received a medical redshirt for the year, Harris will look to rebound this year to be an elite running back, and so far, so good.
"Montel looks like he's 100 percent, but he's looked like he's been 100 percent before," Spaziani said. "He's running around, working hard, and we're anxious to see him get out there and do what he does in the spring. The spring is about players improving and stuff, so we'll monitor how Montel does. Right now, he looks like he is 100 percent."