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Friday, October 19, 2012
Eagles' D will be tested vs. Georgia Tech

By Jack McCluskey

The Eagles say they will not make excuses. They are 1-5 and have yet to beat a BCS opponent, their only win coming against FCS Maine.

They have been better on offense, but mostly putrid on defense.

“There are no excuses,” BC head coach Frank Spaziani said in his conference call Sunday. “You deal with the situation the way it is. We have not been very good on defense.”

The Eagles are 11th in the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 32.7 points per game, rushing defense and total defense. There are 12 teams in the ACC.

While they aren’t making excuses, the Eagles do say there are certain extenuating circumstances.

“One of them is guys have been in and out,” Spaziani said of his defense, which at times has missed defensive linemen Kasim Edebali and Kaleb Ramsey and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis and hasn’t had Al Louis-Jean all season. “That’s OK sometimes if you have some veterans that have been around and played a lot of football, but these guys need to practice and see the reps and be in the same spot all the time.

“KPL played hard and played well and did some things, but missing a week and missing a day or two in practice, he did some things out there he doesn’t usually do,” Spaziani said, referring to Pierre-Louis’ performance against No. 12 Florida State. “That’s where it hurts you, in consistency.”

Asked what the team can do to improve the defense, Spaziani said it’s simple.

“We’ve taught our whole package, it’s a matter of execution,” he said. “When you’re facing offenses like they are today -- and we got a different one coming at us again this week -- it’s about fundamentals and understanding your role in a certain defense. Once you start gimmicking things, you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

The Eagles have to deal with Georgia Tech and its triple option offense on Saturday in Atlanta.

Asked if they might have a leg up on this weekend’s matchup, considering BC just played a similar offense in Army two weeks ago, Spaziani chuckled.

“Considering the way we handled Army, I don’t know,” he said. “Certainly there’s some carry-over, we practiced against it, that should be beneficial. These guys are substantially different even though it’s similar.”

The Black Knights piled up 516 rushing yards against BC in a 34-31 win in West Point, N.Y.

Though they had high hopes entering the season, the Yellow Jackets are just 2-4 through half the season. During their bye this past week, the team fired defensive coordinator Al Groh.

BC can’t look at Georgia Tech’s record and the turmoil in its program and feel better about the situation in Chestnut Hill. Spaziani is embattled, and though his job seems safe for the rest of the season -- new athletic director Brad Bates said he would assess the situation at the end of the year, rather than reacting to the week to week results -- anything beyond that is in question.

The Eagles need a win in the worst way.

“They’ve had some issues,” Spaziani said of the Yellow Jackets. “Once again, it goes back to us taking care of ourselves. We take care of ourselves and how we have to improve and we’ll be OK.”

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