Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Winning puts wind in BC's sails
By Jack McCluskey
NEWTON, Mass. -- Coming off a win, things have been a little bit lighter at Boston College this week. Sandy put a bit of a damper on that, naturally, but it's only human nature.
"There's not a bubbly, like 'we've arrived,' but they feel better about themselves," Eagles coach Frank Spaziani said before practice Wednesday. "It's like doing well on a test or getting a promotion or having something turn out right. You feel good, it helps and you go to work the next day and you feel better. There's a little bounce. There's a little more fun. The most fun is winning, so it helps.
"We've been practicing well. They had a good practice yesterday and I expect another one today."
BC linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis
The Eagles are in the midst of another disappointing season, mired at 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the ACC. Prior to the 20-17 win over Maryland on Saturday, they had lost five in a row and hadn't beaten an FBS team (the only prior win coming against FCS Maine).
Yet here they are, preparing for this weekend's matchup at Wake Forest (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3) with the wind at their backs, a welcome change from the norm so far in 2012.
Spaziani said the team is sticking with practicing first-team offense on first-team defense this week, after the switch produced a positive result this past week.
"That's been a positive, from everybody on the staff as well as the players," Spaziani said.
Practices have been about 25-30 minutes shorter, according to running back Andre Williams, but the difference in time is made up for by an increase in intensity. As a bonus, the shorter practices help players recover from the nicks and bruises they all feel at this point in the season.
"I definitely felt a difference in the game," Williams said. "I just felt fresher, like I had more energy."
Not hurting from hit
Kevin Pierre-Louis took a serious shot in the second quarter Saturday. The kind of hit that you can hear in the upper deck.
Freshman Stefon Diggs unloaded on Pierre-Louis as the linebacker chased quarterback Caleb Rowe toward the BC sideline, appearing to make contact with the linebacker's head. Diggs was flagged for unnecessary roughness, the 15-yard penalty submarining a Terps drive.
Though Pierre-Louis went to the ground, immediately took off his helmet and was attended to by trainers on the sideline after the hit, the linebacker said Wednesday he just got the wind knocked out of him.
"He must have caught me right in the middle of a breath," Pierre-Louis said. "Because pretty much once I got hit I just couldn't breathe, but once I got my breath back I was like 'I'm fine, I can go back in.'"
Asked after the game whether he thought the play merited a flag or not, Spaziani said it was one of those calls.
"I don't know whether that was or not," the coach said. "I'm sure if 50 people look at it, 25 of 'em say yeah, 25 say no. I think with concussions and everything the way it's going, you have to try to be consistent. The officials are trying to do a good job, and it's a tough call to make. I think it's good for football."
Pierre-Louis said trainers checked him for concussion symptoms but that he was cleared.
Bates wasting little time
Just weeks into his stint as BC's new athletic director, Brad Bates is already making things happen. The new AD announced on Wednesday that the Eagles will play a two-game series with Ohio State in the next decade.
"This will be a great opportunity for our team to measure itself against one of the premier programs in college football," Bates said in a statement. "We will have the opportunity to showcase the rich history and tradition of Boston College football in a great matchup between ACC and Big Ten schools."
BC will play in Columbus on Sept. 19, 2020, and Ohio State will visit Chestnut Hill on Sept. 18, 2021.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.