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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
BC trying to avoid losing mentality

By Jack McCluskey

NEWTON, Mass. -- The most important thing is not getting used to this.

For the past couple of seasons, Boston College has done more losing than winning. The Eagles had their string of 12 consecutive seasons with a bowl berth snapped in 2011, and then started a new streak of bowl-less seasons when they clinched a losing season in 2012.

Coming off yet another loss, this time 21-6 to then-No. 4 Notre Dame at home in prime time, before practice on Wednesday the 2-8 Eagles talked about what they need to do to prevent a losing mindset from taking hold in Chestnut Hill.

“I think the biggest thing to establish to the young guys is developing a winning mentality and making sure that you’re not accustomed to losing,” offensive co-captain Chris Pantale said. “Sometimes when you lose one or two games in a row, you start to get accustomed to certain little things that losing provides, ‘Oh, it’s just one bad play,’ or ‘Oh it’s just one game.’

“And then guys start to fall into a funk.”

Pantale said it’s up to the veterans to prevent that mindset from setting in.

“Just put an emphasis on guys that losing is not acceptable, it’s not OK,” he said. “I think that’s important to preach to young guys.”

The Eagles have two games left, beginning with Virginia Tech on Saturday (12:30 ET) and ending with NC State on Nov. 24.

Emmett Cleary, the other offensive co-captain, sees potential in his younger teammates.

“I love our young guys, we’ve got a lot of talent in the program right now,” Cleary said. “And they work. Practice has been great this year, probably as lively as since I’ve been here.”

In order to get back to what BC has been accustomed to, however, Cleary hit the same notes as Pantale.

“The main thing is make sure people don’t get used to this,” the left tackle said. “It can become a mentality where losing is all right. I don’t think that’s the case here, but it’s critical to maintain that. That this is an aberration from what this program does.”

Though the team’s record has gone steadily downhill (from 8 wins to 7 to 4 to the current 2) since Frank Spaziani took the reins from Jeff Jagodzinski in 2009, the Eagles still believe they are the team that went to 12 straight bowl games and not the one currently in the midst of two straight years without a bowl berth.

Spaziani, for one, isn’t concerned about complacency setting in.

“We won’t allow it to happen,” he said. “I don’t think they’re used to losing right now. There’s problems that have impeded our progress. We always have to work through those problems. There’s nothing here that gives any indication that anybody is satisfied with their station.”

Cleary & Co. clearly aren’t.

“You don’t stand for it,” the senior said when asked how to combat the losing mentality. “You can’t treat this stuff as business as usual, because it’s not. And it can’t be if we want to be the program that we think we are.”

Injury updates

While the official injury report isn’t released until Thursdays at BC, Spaziani had updates on the two most notable injuries that occurred in Saturday’s game against No. 3 Notre Dame.

Nick Clancy, who sustained a concussion in the loss, has been cleared to resume activities. Spaziani didn’t say how much he would be doing in practice, and as of now the senior isn’t on the two-deep for the game versus Virginia Tech on Saturday. But it’s possible that Clancy is cleared to play.

Sophomore Sean Duggan stepped in for Clancy against the Irish, and is currently atop the depth chart at middle linebacker.

The news wasn’t as good for Bobby Swigert. The wideout suffered a “severe” injury to his right knee, according to the coach, and will likely have surgery on Friday.

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