ACC: Montell Harris
September, 13, 2009
By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
Boston College quarterback Dave Shinskie didn’t watch Thursday night’s game between Clemson and Georgia Tech, even though the Eagles will travel to Death Valley to face the Tigers in their first ACC game of the season on Saturday.
It’s hardly as if Shinskie was the only one on the team who ignored the prime-time game, and coach Frank Spaziani was hardly surprised to hear it.
|AP Photo/Lisa Poole|
|Frank Spaziani’s Eagles have outscored their first two opponents 88-7.|
“Well, I asked him not to watch it,” Spaziani said. “It doesn’t surprise me that they listened to their coach. It’s a distraction. We have had everybody, ever since the summer, talking about the third game of the year before we played our first two. We hadn’t played No. 2 yet, and there was still a lot of talk about Game No. 3. We usually like to watch the Thursday night game, it was just bad timing that it was Clemson.”
Now, after outscoring their first two opponents 88-7, Clemson is all they’re watching. Granted, Boston College’s first two wins against Northeastern and Kent State were somewhat expected, considering the first was an FCS program and the second a 4-8 team in the MAC a year ago. But the Eagles, which were predicted by the media this summer to finish last in the Atlantic Division after winning it the past two seasons, have looked more promising despite the many questions the team faced heading into September.
Remember, this is a team that entered the season without a quarterback with any collegiate experience. There was a staff overhaul that included promoting Spaziani from defensive coordinator to head coach, and hiring Gary Tranquill as offensive coordinator. Two NFL draft pick defensive tackles had to be replaced, as did the entire linebacking corps after standout Mark Herzlich was diagnosed with cancer, and leader Mike McLaughlin has been sidelined with an Achilles injury. It seemed as if they couldn’t catch a break this offseason.
And yet the Eagles enter this week 2-0.
Asked if he has any sense of what this team is capable of this year after its commanding start, Spaziani didn’t hesitate when he said, “no.”
“Nope,” he said. “This is a real, real young squad in a lot of ways, with a new staff and a new system. I’m not sure. It’s going to take four or five more weeks before we know really what kind of football team we have. We’ve got good kids, I’ll tell you that. We’ve got good kids who know how to work.”
|Michael Tureski/Icon SMI|
|Dave Shinskie has thrown one TD pass in each of BC's first two games.|
Led by a veteran offensive line, Boston College’s offense has steamrolled its opponents, despite not knowing who its starting quarterback will be this season. The running game, led by Montel Harris, has flourished, and both quarterbacks, Justin Tuggle and Shinskie, have had their moments. There has only been one turnover so far -- an interception by Shinskie against Kent State. Spaziani said Sunday they’re still evaluating the position and that “there’s not a great deal of separation.”
“Me and Justin, we’re going at it at practice every day and in the games, and we’ve both been successful,” Shinskie said. “It’s been fun so far. We back each other up every week, we back each other up every series. When Coach Spaz makes a decision and gives the nod to one of us, I’ll be happy for him, he’ll be happy for me. Whatever works out.”
While they might not yet know where their place is in the Atlantic Division, or who their quarterback will be on Saturday, or how the young defense will fare against the veteran talent and speed of Clemson, the Eagles have definitely learned a few things about themselves in the first two weeks.
“We’ve learned that we can overcome adversity, in losing some guys on defense and having no quarterback,” Shinskie said. “By working hard we’ve overcome all the stuff people have said about us in the beginning of the year. I mean, they expected us to win these first two games, but we’re going to work hard this next week and the week after. We’re looking one game at a time and this Clemson game is the biggest game of the year so far.
“We might have to work a little harder than we did the past two weeks,” he said, “but that’s what BC football is all about -- overcoming adversity and working hard.”
And in that respect, the Eagles are also 2-0.
Final Cincinnati 17 Virginia Tech 33 Final 15 Arizona State 36 Duke 31 Final Miami (FL) 21 South Carolina 24 Final/OT Boston College 30 Penn State 31 Final Nebraska 42 24 USC 45
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35 Final Rutgers 40 North Carolina 21 Final North Carolina State 34 UCF 27
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State