Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Kent State will test BC defense
By Jack McCluskey Special to ESPNBoston.com
NEWTON, Mass. -- The Boston College defense had some trouble stopping the Weber State offense in the teams' season opener Saturday. Perhaps more trouble than the Eagles had expected.
The Wildcats held onto the ball for 37 minutes and 36 seconds, gained 381 total yards of offense and scored 20 points.
According to which Eagle you ask, that might've been because of a lack of focus, it might've been because of how quickly Wildcats QB Cameron Higgins got rid of the ball or it might've been something else all together.
If it was the quarterback play, the Eagles had better watch out when Kent State comes to town this weekend. The Golden Flashes are led by sophomore signal-caller Spencer Keith, who last season set freshman school records for total passing yards (2,174) and touchdowns (14), among others, despite starting only seven games.
Eagles coach Frank Spaziani said he knows the Kent State staff is high on Keith, and noted that the quarterback who came before Keith wasn't too shabby either: Julian Edelman.
"He's good, and they know how to throw the ball," Spaziani said of Keith and the Golden Flashes. "We've got our work cut out for us."
Shaky Under Center?
Dave Shinskie made some mistakes against Weber State that will need to be corrected this week.
The Eagles have work to do on the offensive side of the ball, as well. While Spaziani indicated he would stick with the same arrangement at quarterback -- with sophomore Dave Shinskie starting and sophomore Mike Marscovetra subbing in later -- there were some shaky moments under center in the opener.
In fact, on the opening series Shinskie couldn't even find the center, accidentally lining up under the guard. While he eventually settled down enough to throw for 185 yards and two touchdowns (to go along with two interceptions), Shinskie admitted the game was moving a little too fast for him.
"You have to remember that it's just a game, slow yourself down, read and react, and not get nervous," Shinskie said Wednesday.
The 26-year-old starter, who played minor league baseball for six years before landing at BC, said he has to remember to use his check downs more when he doesn't like the look of the defense.
"Matt Ryan, when he was here, used his check downs a lot," Shinskie said. "I have to do that more, especially with Montel [Harris]. He's a playmaker, so you have to put the ball in his hands."
With Virginia Tech looming after the early bye in Week 3, and with the Hokies coming off a high-profile loss to Boise State in their opener, might the Eagles find themselves looking past Kent State?
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"I don't think we'll have any trouble focusing on Kent State," senior linebacker Mike Morrissey said, citing the Golden Flashes' great athletes and solid coaching as reasons to take them seriously.
"There are no easy games in college football," Morrissey said.
Senior defensive end Alex Albright is looking forward to the coin flip before Saturday's game. The senior co-captain will get to shake hands with two old friends from his hometown of Cincinnati: strong safety Brian Lainhart and middle linebacker Cobrani Mixon, who happen to be co-captains for the Golden Flashes.
Mixon and Lainhart went to Colerain High School in Cincinnati, while Albright went to St. Xavier. According to Albright, in addition to exchanging pleasantries about home, the trio regularly enjoys a friendly round of trash talking.
Asked whether he had a chance to speak to them this week, Albright said, "Not yet, but I plan to."
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com.