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Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Eagles have done their homework on Clemson

By Jack McCluskey

NEWTON, Mass. -- Frank Spaziani gave his team an assignment during the team’s bye week: Watch Clemson-Florida State.

The anticipation level for the matchup with the Tigers this Saturday at the Heights (3:30 p.m., ESPN2) was already high in the BC locker room, but after the Eagles completed their assignment it went to another level.

“Within the locker room, it’s huge,” left tackle Emmett Cleary said. “This is a big ACC opponent, and a team we love playing. These are the games you come to BC to play, so we’re pretty amped about it.”

They weren’t disappointed with their Saturday assignment this past weekend.

“It was fireworks, man,” fifth-year senior Nick Clancy said. “They were pulling out all the stops.”

The middle linebacker was referring to the No. 17 Tigers’ offense, which had two wide receivers throw passes in the 49-37 loss to the Seminoles.

Clancy & Co. already knew they would have their hands full with Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, Andre Ellington and the rest of the Tigers’ offense, but seeing them explode on No. 4 FSU reinforced that knowledge.

“We definitely used the bye week as a leg up, to focus on Clemson,” Clancy said. “Any edge we can get against this team is gonna be helpful for us because they have so many weapons.”

Clemson is averaging 39.0 points and more than 500 yards of offense (304.3 passing, 198.5 rushing) per game. Against FSU, Watkins threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Ellington, the first passing TD by a Clemson wideout since 2009 (and that came against Coastal Carolina).

“We kind of just keyed them this past week,” Clancy said, “understanding what they could do, respecting what they could do and then basing our game plan off that.”

Reinforcing a strength

BC’s passing game, which currently sits atop the ACC with an average of 317 yards a game, is getting a boost this week with the return of Bobby Swigert.

The junior led the Eagles with 44 catches and three scores, and was second in receiving yards at 470, in 2011. He missed the first three games this season after suffering a knee injury in the final scrimmage of camp.

“It was really frustrating to make it that far through camp and then go down like that,” Swigert said. “But I tried to keep my head up. It was really frustrating, it was really hard on me. But I treated it every day, I worked, I rehabbed. I’m just excited to get back out there.”

And thanks in part to the emergence of Alex Amidon, Swigert finds himself in a new spot on the field now that he’s back -- the outside.

“It’s kind of weird, actually,” he said with a chuckle. “Ever since I stepped foot on this campus, I’ve been on the inside.

“But I always knew the outside stuff, they just never put me out there because they thought I was more of a slot guy. … But they’re putting me out there now, [and] they like what they see.”

Spaziani was cautiously optimistic when asked about Swigert prior to practice Wednesday.

“It’s not like he hasn’t missed a beat,” the coach said, “but every day he’s getting better and he’s done a good job in practice.”

Tweeting up a (140-character) storm

BC fans got a chance to interact (sort of) directly with defensive co-captain Jim Noel on Wednesday, when the athletic department hosted a live Twitter chat with the senior defensive back.

The questions ranged from why he chose to play defense (“I don’t think I’m a glamorous type of guy, so maybe that’s why I’m on the Defense!” Noel responded) to his favorite part of being a BC student-athlete (“My favorite thing about being a student-athlete would have to be all the people that you get to be with between the students & the athletes”).

A few of his teammates got into the act, as well. Defensive end Kasim Edebali tweeted “hottest thing on twitter right now…#AskJimNoel.” Wideout Johnathan Coleman tweeted a few questions of his own, such as: “#askjimnoel how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?”

Odds and ends

Workers were busy readying Alumni Stadium for Saturday’s game, applying oversized stickers to columns underneath the stands. Each sticker has the picture of a different “fan favorite” on it, from Mike Ruth to Doug Flutie to Luke Kuechly. … In addition to hosting a Top 25 team, this weekend is also parents’ weekend at BC. There are signs set up around campus warning of increased traffic because of the event. … QB Chase Rettig turned 21 on Wednesday, prompting this tweet from Spiffy Evans.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.