Atlantic divers?

BC football is picked last in its ACC division

By Sarina Mathai
Globe Correspondent / July 28, 2009

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After an offseason worthy of a reality television series, the Boston College football team yesterday was picked to finish last in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference in a preseason poll.

Yet new coach Frank Spaziani did not seem troubled by the poll, and believes only time will tell what the team can do.

“It’s still early and we’re in the embryonic stages, but we’re pointed in the right direction,’’ said Spaziani by phone from the ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C.

Since BC lost to Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl Dec. 31, coach Jeff Jagodzinski moved to the NFL after a nasty departure from the Eagles, making defensive coordinator Spaziani the third head coach since 2006; Dominique Davis, slated to be the starting quarterback, transferred for academic reasons; and last season’s ACC Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Mark Herzlich, was diagnosed with cancer and will miss his senior year.

Thus BC received only 145 points in the poll of media members. Florida State is picked to win the Atlantic, with Virginia Tech pegged to win the Coastal Division.

The most crucial area of concern for the Eagles is quarterback. Among those vying for the job are Codi Boek, a former junior college QB who transferred to BC and switched to fullback last season; David Shinskie, a 25-year-old freshman who spent the last couple of years in the Minnesota Twins minor league system, and Billy Flutie, the nephew of former Eagles standout Doug Flutie.

“Right now, it’s a very nebulous and precarious situation,’’ said Spaziani. “We have enough experience [on the coaching staff] to figure out what we’re going to have to do.’’

It was an emotional blow when Herzlich revealed in June that he would miss the season to battle cancer.

When asked if he would use Herzlich’s absence as a rallying cry, Spaziani said, “I wouldn’t term it that way - it’s more of a reality cry - [Herzlich] isn’t going to be around, he’s not going to be there, so what are we going to do about it?’’

Spaziani said linebacker Michael McLaughlin, who tore his Achilles’ in March, is “ahead of schedule’’.

The coach admits his Eagles may not possess the “flash and dash’’ of other teams in the ACC, “but we’re not trying to be anyone else [other than what they are] and we think that’s pretty good. We’ll do with what we have.’’