ACC: Dave Brock
Or, you can wait for me to give it to you.
I’m a neutral reporter, though, so I see both sides of the story -- why your team will win, and of course, why it won’t. Let the series begin today with one good reason why …
Boston College will get back to a bowl game: Only Florida State has more returning starting experience.
The Eagles return 17 starters, including a two-year starter at quarterback in Chase Rettig. It’s not like coach Frank Spaziani doesn’t have anything to work with. This is not a rebuilding year for the roster. It’s a group of hard-working players who are disappointed with the direction of the program, and are willing to do their best to turn it around.
Nine starters return on offense, including four on the offensive line. What was a major question mark at this time a year ago should now be a strength for BC’s offense. First-year offensive coordinator Doug Martin said the offensive line should be one of the most improved groups. Even without running back Montel Harris, the Eagles have depth at the position. The biggest question is, who will emerge as a dependable wide receiver? Defensively, the Eagles have big shoes to fill after the early, but expected, departure of linebacker Luke Kuechly, but there is still plenty of talent at linebacker. Also, the defensive linemen gained valuable experience last season, and should be better at stopping the run.
Why it won’t: There has been too much turnover at the offensive coordinator position, plain and simple.
Martin will be the Eagles’ fifth offensive coordinator in five seasons, as BC has replaced Steve Logan (2008), Gary Tranquill (2009-10), and Kevin Rogers and Dave Brock (2011). The players have had to adjust to yet another personality, philosophy, scheme and terminology. How much better would Rettig have been, or how much more rapid would his growth have been had he continued to progress in the same system? The entire offensive staff got a shakeup this offseason, as four of the five assistants from last season are gone. Some have wondered whether or not Spaziani is an effective staff manager. He has maintained that Rogers took a leave of absence for health reasons, and the others left for better opportunities. All that matters this season is that everyone works together well enough to win, but even the players know staff stability counts for something.
Spring practice start date: Feb. 18
Spring game: March 31 (1 p.m. ET)
What to watch:
- Yet another offensive transition. Doug Martin will be the Eagles’ fifth offensive coordinator in five seasons, including Kevin Rogers, who took a medical leave of absence early last year and never returned, and Dave Brock, who replaced Rogers. Martin said he is looking for a physical downhill running game, wants to increase the tempo and add some no-huddle elements.
- The return of running back Montel Harris. The ACC’s leading rusher in 2010 missed most of last season with a knee injury, but he is expected to return for spring ball. How healthy and durable he is remains a question, but he’s still aiming to break a 33-year-old ACC rushing record.
- Who will replace All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly? It’s an open competition as Kuechly is the only linebacker departing. Sean Duggan was his backup last year, but Steele Divitto put in a lot of work this offseason on his own time.
Spring practice start date: March 7
Spring game: April 14 (4 p.m. ET)
What to watch:
- The rebuilding efforts up front. Clemson has to replace three starters on both the offensive and defensive lines. On defense, Malliciah Goodman is the only starter returning on the line, and he’ll be one of the candidates to replace the production of end Andre Branch, but Corey Crawford will be the next in line at the position.
- The defensive transition under first-year defensive coordinator Brent Venables. After giving up 70 points to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, Dabo Swinney fired Kevin Steele and hired Venables. How quickly will he be able to make a difference and will everyone buy in?
- The linebackers. This is the year that the outstanding linebackers in the 2011 recruiting class will finally have their chance to shine. Venables is also the linebackers coach, and he’ll have a young, talented group to work with. The lineup of the future should include Stephone Anthony, Lateek Townsend and Tony Steward, all top 100 players coming out of high school.
Spring practice start date: March 19
Spring game: April 14
What to watch:
- Maturation of the offensive line. FSU started four freshmen in the Champs Sports Bowl against Notre Dame, and those players will be expected to continue their improvement this spring. The most important question is who will replace the top two tackles from a year ago in Zebrie Sanders and Andrew Datko.
- The kicking game. Punters aren’t usually in the spotlight, but that wasn’t the case at FSU, where All-American Shawn Powell had an impact on every game. Finding a replacement for him this offseason will be a priority.
- The running backs. Chris Thompson, who broke his back last year, is expected to return this spring, and has been cleared for the most part, but the coaching staff isn’t likely to push him. Devonta Freeman will be the main man, but there are plenty of other candidates to emerge -- if, of course, the offensive line figures things out.
Spring practice start date: March 10
Spring game: April 21
What to watch:
- The quarterback drama. Maryland’s two-quarterback storyline will continue this spring -- if, of course, Danny O’Brien decides to remain at Maryland instead of transferring. There has been much speculation about his future, but for now, the staff expects him to be limited this spring as he continues to recover from a broken arm. C.J. Brown should get the most reps.
- An overhaul of schemes. Maryland hired a new offensive coordinator in Mike Locksley and a new defensive coordinator in Brian Stewart. How quickly the Terps buy into their systems and philosophies will be critical in turning around last year’s 2-10 record.
- The running backs. This is a position where a true freshman could earn some playing time this year, but standout recruit Stefon Diggs won’t be on campus in time to compete this spring. Meanwhile, Justus Pickett returns, along with Brandon Ross, who redshirted last year. Wes Brown (who played at Good Counsel with Diggs) could also compete for major playing time when he arrives for summer camp.
Spring practice start date: March 23
Spring game: April 21 (1 p.m. ET)
What to watch:
- Who will emerge as dependable linebackers. With Audie Cole and Terrell Manning gone, this position is a big question mark for the Wolfpack. Cole was the team’s leading tackler each of the past two seasons, and Manning was one of the defense’s most disruptive players last year.
- The new go-to for Glennon. With T.J. Graham gone, NC State turns to a young group of receivers. Tobias Palmer and Bryan Underwood return, but there are several unheralded players who have a chance to make names for themselves by emerging as a go-to player for quarterback Mike Glennon.
- The running game. NC State returns four of five starters on the offensive line, but will Mustafa Greene return in time for the spring? When he does, the Pack will have another new running backs coach, who has yet to be announced. NC State had the No. 109 rushing offense in the country last year. Greene would be a big boost.
Spring practice start date: March 1
Spring game: April 14 (1 p.m. ET)
What to watch:
- The revamped offensive line. The Deacs have to replace four starters up front. Coach Jim Grobe has played only one true freshman there in 11 years. He has several redshirt freshmen and sophomores who are expected to fill in.
- The next playmakers. Wake Forest is thin at running back (Josh Harris returns, but has a history of hamstring injuries), the Deacs lose two starting wideouts -- including record-setter Chris Givens -- their top two tight ends and 2011 leading rusher Brandon Pendergrass.
- Solidifying the secondary. The Deacs have to replace starting free safety Josh Bush and starting strong safety Cyhl Quarles. There is still plenty of talent at cornerback, but the safety position is thin.
It hardly ends there, though.
Boston College will have to replace three more offensive assistants, as Rutgers announced the hires of Dave Brock (offensive coordinator/wide receivers) and Ben Sirmans (running backs), and the Philadelphia Daily News has reported the impending hire of former BC receivers coach Ryan Day as co-offensive coordinator. The Eagles also have a new offensive line coach in Jim Bollman, who was previously the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Ohio State.
BC today announced the hire of Sean Desai, who will coach running backs and special teams. This past season, Desai was assistant director of football operations at the University of Miami. Aaron Smith will coach the wide receivers, and former BC defensive lineman Al Washington will serve as assistant special teams coach and will assist with the defensive line.
If you look at last season’s coaching staff, four of the five offensive assistants are gone. The exception is Sean Devine. After Bollman was hired, Devine was assigned to the tight ends.
This offensive overhaul could be just what BC needs, as the Eagles had one of the worst offenses in the country last season.
“Whenever there’s any kind of change it’s energizing,” coach Frank Spaziani said. “Things either smother you or you get energized by it. So, it’s good.”
Spaziani insisted that there was nothing more to the departures than career opportunities, as Brock and Day both wanted to be offensive coordinators. Brock coached at Hofstra with Rutgers coach Kyle Flood. Spaziani reiterated the fact that former offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers never returned from his leave of absence for health reasons. And Sirmans, a native of New Jersey, had a chance to get closer to home and his mother.
After last season’s 4-8 finish, something had to change with BC’s offense. In this case, it will be just about everything.
Tight ends coach Dave Brock has been named acting offensive coordinator and will coach the quarterbacks. Graduate assistant Ben Johnson will be elevated to tight ends coach on an interim basis.
“Our football program operates as a family unit, and we are totally supportive of Kevin,” coach Frank Spaziani said in a prepared statement. “I would like to ask our fans and followers to support Kevin and respect his privacy. I have the utmost confidence in Dave Brock, and we will begin the transition immediately.”
This is most unfortunate for Rogers, who is a well-respected, well-liked coach and one of the good guys in the business. Whatever it is, hopefully it won't sideline him for too long. BC's offense, which has only averaged 10 points through two games, didn't need any more bad news, but obviously Rogers' health is the bigger concern for the Eagles.
Wide receivers coach Ryan Day and tight ends coach Dave Brock were two of the leading candidates to replace retired coordinator Gary Tranquill according to both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, but if it were going to be one of the two, the Eagles would have made that announcement by now.
It doesn't make sense to wait on promoting an internal candidate with signing day rapidly approaching. That way, coach Frank Spaziani would have been able to go into recruits' homes saying, "Look, here's our guy. This is what our offense will look like."
Instead, by playing it close to the vest, Spaziani does two things: 1. He doesn't scare off any recruits who might not be sold on whomever he really wants to hire, and 2. He's able to tell recruits he's either been too busy recruiting to worry about it, or that he's got his candidate and not to worry about it.
Odds are Spaz has his candidate, and it's not Day or Brock.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Boston College coach Frank Spaziani has hired former Akron assistant Mike Dawson as special-teams assistant coach, the school announced Monday. The staff is now complete heading into spring football practices.
Dawson, who has 11 years of coaching experience, spent the past three seasons (2006-08) as linebackers coach at the University of Akron.
Including Spaziani, who previously held the post of defensive coordinator before he was hired to replace Jeff Jagodzinski, the Eagles will have new faces in six positions this spring.
Spaziani promoted Bill McGovern to defensive coordinator and named Gary Tranquill offensive coordinator. He named Dave Brock tight ends coach and Sean Devine offensive line coach.
Four assistants who have been with the program for the past two seasons -- defensive line coach Jeff Comissiong, wide receivers coach Ryan Day, running backs coach Ben Sirmans and defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Siravo -- will return as members of Spaziani's staff.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Boston College coach Frank Spaziani has hired Dave Brock as tight ends coach and Sean Devine as offensive line coach, the school announced today. The only position that still needs to be filled is linebackers coach.
The Eagles are making progress, and both Brock and Devine have previous experience as recruiting coordinators, which can only help.
Brock spent the past two seasons at Kansas State, and six of his 20 years of experience came as an offensive coordinator. Brock is familiar with the ACC, as he spent two seasons as assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator and receivers coach at North Carolina.
Devine is a smart coach. How do I know? He got his degree in physics. As for football, he spent the past 13 seasons at New Hampshire, where he was offensive coordinator for the past two.
In his first seven seasons with the Wildcats, Devine served as the coach of the defensive line. Before being promoted to offensive coordinator, Devine was the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for four seasons.
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