There is Still Cause for Concern with BC Football

Maybe it was the glint of the sun coming out after a long winter in Chestnut Hill. Maybe it was a weird spin on the ball. Whatever it was, it’s safe to say it distracted Thadd Smith. After he waved for a fair catch on a punt return, he failed to actually catch the ball. It bounced off Smith’s helmet and into the endzone, where a mad scramble for the ball ended with a safety and the first points of Boston College football’s Jay McGillis Memorial Spring Game.

There was no more fitting way to open scoring in the game. BC, coming off of a season full of ineptitude and painfully bad losses, couldn’t even score on itself. Instead, the first points were scored on the biggest fluke play ever, a miffed fair catch punt return safety. What’s more, it wasn’t even clear at first which team—the Maroon team or Gold team, the latter of which wore white jerseys for some reason—got the safety. The scoreboard flashed that the two points were going to Maroon, but 12 minutes later changed to show that Gold led 2-0. It didn’t matter in the long run, as Colton Lichtenberg would go on to make two field goals for Maroon, allowing them to come back for a 6-2 victory.

In today’s game, the Eagles picked up where they left off last fall. Each side’s defense looked solid, continuing last year’s successful defensive campaign. Jimmy Martin, Wyatt Ray, Harold Landry, and John Johnson each recorded a sack. Defensive lineman Landry in particular stood out, exploding past both Anthony Palazzolo and Aaron Monteiro to wreak havoc on the Maroon team.

Martin also picked off an Anthony Brown pass in the game. Connor Strachan added four tackles and a forced fumble, while Atem Ntantang’s fumble recovery joined his game-high six tackles. Overall, the defense looked good—a relief, given that the offense looked downright sloppy at times.

And all four of the quarterbacks got playing time today, but none were able to set up drives finishing in touchdowns.

Although the teams managed to reach the red zone, mistakes and miscues ensured that they did not score any touchdowns. Penalties pushed both teams back on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, Wade fumbled (and recovered) the ball in the red zone, wasting a down for the Maroon team. Maroon and Gold could only score in the second quarter, coming up short throughout the first, third, and fourth quarters.

Given that last season, BC’s offense was disastrous and struggled to convert in the red zone, it didn’t look hopeful that the Eagles could not score a touchdown today either. Wade addressed these troubles after the game, assuring that BC would work until it got everything down.

“We haven’t really put too much emphasis on it yet, but we’ll make sure to get it right,” he said.

Yup. Let’s leave it at that.

The defense looked sharp, and the offense looked sloppy. So how about special teams? Well, Lichtenberg made both of his attempted field goals. Both were within 40 yards, but a perfect outing for the kicker is a good sign. Other than that, there wasn’t much to be hopeful about with special teams. Thadd Smith’s miffed fair catch led to that safety. Jeff Smith, meanwhile, who is making the transition from quarterback to wide receiver, didn’t look comfortable as a punt returner.

He was sent out to return the opening kickoff of the second half and waved for a fair catch, evidently unaware that it’s against the rules to fair catch a kickoff. Though it’s early in his transition to wide receiver and he still has time to improve, it wasn’t a good sign in a game full of blunders.

Following the game’s conclusion, players milled around on the field, talking to family and signing autographs for fans. Despite the sloppiness of the contest, there was a carefree atmosphere on the turf, as players laughed and posed for photos, looking unperturbed at the performance that had just been given. This seemingly careless attitude, however, can be attributed to the coaching staff. Head coach Steve Addazio explained that the game was never meant to be overly competitive and that he saw progress regardless of the outcome.

“Today was a day to have some fun,” he said.

Featured Image by Alec Greaney / Heights Editor

April 16, 2016

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