BC finding its way, and finding ways to win

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / October 5, 2009

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Frank Spaziani won’t say it. Coaching 101 dictates that you follow the one-game-at-a-time mantra. Spaziani may be a rookie head coach, but he knows that you are only as good as your last win, or as bad as your last loss.

In the last two weeks, Spaziani and Boston College have been good. At times, very good. Good enough to beat Wake Forest and Florida State, which surprisingly puts the Eagles among the contenders in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Not bad for a team picked to finish last after winning the division title the last two years.

Up next is a game Saturday at Virginia Tech (4-1, 2-0), which would seem to be an uphill battle. But BC has fared well against the Hokies during the regular season - winning the last two meetings. In the ACC title game, it has been the Hokies’ show.

Spaziani is making no predictions, yet he senses something.

“The players have something special brewing,’’ said Spaziani, still savoring Saturday’s 28-21 win over Florida State. “But once again, we have to move forward. That’s where we’re at.’’

Where BC is at is 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the ACC, with back-to-back impressive offensive performances, which was unlikely after the disaster against Clemson Sept. 19.

Against Wake Forest, BC built a 24-10 fourth-quarter lead and saw it disappear, before winning, 27-24, in overtime. Against Florida State, BC grabbed a 21-6 halftime lead and also saw it disappear in the final quarter.

Which raises the question: What happened?

Too conservative on offense in sitting on the ball?

Too conservative on defense in falling into a contain, rather than attack, mode?

“As a team grows we’ve got to build on some of this,’’ said Spaziani. “Same as happened the week before. I’d like to get to the point where we don’t give [the lead] up. Once again, we’re a work in progress. We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got to get a lot better.’’

Yes, the Eagles do. But they have shown they can do the job - whether it’s on offense, led by quarterback Dave Shinskie or running back Montel Harris, or on defense, where freshman linebacker Luke Kuechly is emerging as a star.

They just need to sustain it for more than 30 minutes, or more than 45 minutes.

“It’s a concern,’’ said Spaziani of the squandered leads. “We know how to address it and we will.’’

Still, the Eagles found a way to win. “Even though we gave up the lead, we came back,’’ he said.

Spaziani said defensive end Alex Albright, who sprained an ankle against the Seminoles, was receiving treatment and there would be no word until the middle of the week on whether he would be available for Virginia Tech.