Boston Colleges: Spiffy Evans

BC notebook: Youth movement delivers

October, 27, 2012
NEWTON, Mass. -- The youth movement is officially under way at Boston College.

Because of injuries and ineffective performance, the Eagles have been forced to play more underclassmen (true freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores) than they would like to this season.

Predictably, that has led to some uneven performances. There have been flashes of potential and glaring examples of inexperience.

But in BC's 20-17 win over Maryland on Saturday, a number of youngsters made their marks in a positive fashion.

The first one to get into the action was David Dudeck, who caught a 20-yard pass from Chase Rettig for a touchdown on the Eagles' second offensive snap. After he hauled it in, the true freshman stumbled a little and fell to the turf out of the back of the end zone. It was the first career TD for Dudeck. The 6-foot, 195-pounder acted like he'd been there before, dropping the ball and immediately turning to celebrate with his teammates.

Midway through the second quarter BC brought pressure on Maryland QB Caleb Rowe, and when the freshman tried to get off a pass it was intercepted by defensive end Kieran Borcich. It was the first interception for the redshirt freshman, and flipped the field position battle in BC's favor after Maryland had started the previous two drives in Eagles territory.

Later in the half, Rowe rolled away from more pressure and tried to hit a receiver in the end zone only to have Justin Simmons leap to make the interception. It was the first pick for Simmons, who also made a big play on third down earlier in the half to thwart a Terrapins drive.

"They've been contributors," BC head coach Frank Spaziani said of the youngsters. "We can't say enough about them."

Simmons said defensive backs coach Mike Siravo told his class at the beginning of camp, "We're gonna need you this season, so prepare as if you were a first-string guy."

"And so I mean that's been our mentality, all the freshman, since day one," Simmons said. "Preparing, making the older guys work. Today all we did was put what we're learned in practice and what we've been preparing for in the game."

"The future is bright," Spaziani said. "They can only get better and we can only get better."

Giving a leg up

Spiffy Evans put the Eagles in great position in the first quarter.

The sophomore wide receiver gave BC a short field with a 27-yard return to start the team's first possession and had a 72-yard return to set up another scoring chance on the next possession.

"I felt like I gave us a spark, being able to make something happen once I got the ball in my hands," Evans said.

Evans' 72-yarder was the second longest for BC this season, and the second longest of his career, after only an 82-yard return for a touchdown against Maine.

"He's an explosive guy. That was the buzz before I met him, before he got here," Rettig said of Evans. "He made plays, put us in good field position. Spiff put us in some really good situations."

Odds and ends

The Eagles got another big game from Alex Amidon, who hauled in nine passes for 137 yards. That is his fifth 100-plus yard receiving game of the season, and gives him 943 total yards for the year. That total places Amidon third all-time in the Eagles' record books for a single season. … Linebacker Nick Clancy was credited with three pass breakups on the day, upping his total to seven on the season -- best on the team. … Nate Freese connected on two field goals, and is 12-for-12 on kicks of less than 50 yards this season. Maryland kicker Brad Craddock missed a 36-yard attempt early in the first quarter, pushing it wide left. That miss came back to haunt the Terps in the three-point loss.

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

BC receivers starting to catch on

September, 10, 2012
Wide receiver is not a glory position at Boston College. Never has been.

But could it be?

That’s up to the Eagles’ wideouts themselves. If they can prove they deserve to get the ball more, it seems new offensive coordinator Doug Martin is willing to give it to them.

“I said in the beginning of camp we had some real potential there,” coach Frank Spaziani said in his Sunday conference call. “Better than we’ve had here, really. We’re starting to see some of those guys grow.”

[+] EnlargeAlex Amidon
Anthony Nesmith/CSM /Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesAlex Amidon is the only experienced threat at wideout for BC.
Alex Amidon (16 catches for 248 yards and a TD through the first two games), Johnathan Coleman (5 for 64 and a TD) and Spiffy Evans (6 for 64 and a TD) are stepping up after injuries sidelined expected top options Bobby Swigert and Chris Pantale.

In the first two weeks, quarterback Chase Rettig has almost half the total passing touchdowns he had last season (five through two games, 12 in all of ’11). He’s hit five different receivers for scores, including the three aforementioned plus running back Tahj Kimble and H-back Jake Sinkovec.

Rettig’s 660 yards passing ranks sixth in the country, his completions (48) are tied for 18th and his attempts (83) are tied for 12th.

Clearly, the Eagles are going to throw the ball. And while the lofty rankings Rettig is currently occupying may be a case of statistics misrepresenting the facts -- the Eagles were forced to throw 51 times in the opener against Miami because they trailed for much of the game; they threw a more normal amount against Maine, with 33 attempts, closer to their average of 27 attempts a game last season -- there’s no denying that BC will be more dangerous if the offense can spread the opposing defense out.

Before getting hurt in the opener, Colin Larmond Jr. talked excitedly about the potential he saw at his position. Coleman, he said, could play Division I basketball anywhere in the country. Amidon never gets tired and is as dedicated as anyone.

How about that guy Spiffy? (Evans, who told reporters after the game Saturday that he got his nickname in part because of his massive sneaker collection, goes by @spiffy_thatsme7 on Twitter.)

The 6-foot, 184-pound wideout from Hollywood, Fla., had his first two career catches against the Hurricanes, but gained just 11 yards on the grabs. He was the receiver who got stood up at the goal line late in the fourth against Miami, setting up Rettig’s unsuccessful QB keeper on the next play.

But against the Black Bears, Evans wouldn’t be kept out of the end zone. He scored his first career touchdown on a 7-yard pass from Rettig in the second quarter, and in the third quarter returned a punt 82 yards for another touchdown.

It was BC’s first punt return TD since Rich Gunnell (now a graduate assistant for the Eagles) had one against Northeastern in 2009, and it showed just how explosive Spiffy can be.

Of course, the FCS Black Bears are a long way from, say, the Clemson Tigers. But the BC wideouts’ performances so far this season show that there is at least potential there for big-play ability, which isn’t something the Eagles have always had.

Just how stiff a test Northwestern’s secondary will be remains to be seen. The Wildcats lost three starters to graduation after last season and allowed 470 yards through the air in their opener against Syracuse, but just 217 to Vanderbilt in their second game.

And while it remains to be seen if the Eagles’ wideouts can ace the next test and help the team to win No. 2, Spaziani is high on the collection of players he has at the position.

“I think the future is bright over there,” he said.

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