Spaziani’s Eagles now eyeing Irish

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / October 19, 2009

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A week ago, the Boston College football team was soul-searching. Defensive cocaptain Mike McLaughlin decided a players-only meeting was necessary, to put a 48-14 pounding by Virginia Tech behind them and to focus on the final six games of the regular season.

Meanwhile, Frank Spaziani was trying to figure out what he was doing right and what he was doing wrong in his first season as a head coach.

A friend bought Spaziani a book by Friedrich Nietzsche for some philosophical guidance. The coach laughed and then leafed through the book and found one thought that stuck: “Don’t let the past be an anchor.’’

It certainly wasn’t in the Eagles’ 52-20 rout Saturday of North Carolina State, which was coached by Tom O’Brien, Spaziani’s longtime friend and colleague.

But just as the loss to the Hokies was relegated to the past, the win over the Wolfpack already has been put in the rearview mirror as the Eagles (5-2, 3-2) prepare for a two-week trip away from the Atlantic Coast Conference with games at Notre Dame and against Central Michigan.

When Spaziani was asked if the Eagles could put the win over NC State behind them, he said, “We’d better. The past is the past, we have to move on.’’

The next two weeks carry a very low risk factor. The Eagles can lose both games and not be affected in their quest for the ACC Atlantic Division title.

But they also need one more victory to get the six necessary to become bowl-eligible. That will be one theme this week. The other is obvious: Continue the offensive roll they are now on, particularly in the running game. Sophomore running back Montel Harris shredded NC State with school-record totals of 264 yards and five touchdowns.

Harris, running more than at any time this season from BC’s Wildcat offense, or as the Eagles call it, the Bazooka formation, was spectacular in taking apart the Wolfpack defense after taking the snap from center.

“It was read and react,’’ said Harris. “We had seen that their secondary weren’t very good tacklers so we felt that if we could get into the secondary then we could make some plays.’’

The Eagles made the plays.

“That’s what football is about,’’ said free safety Wes Davis. “It’s not about gimmicks or reverses. It’s not about special offenses and all that. I think our offense embodied what BC is all about: tough, nothing fancy, us vs. them.’’

Spaziani next matches wits with another longtime friend, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta. As for what it will take to post a road win (the Eagles lost badly at Clemson and at Virginia Tech), “It’s no secret,’’ Spaziani said. “It’s hard work and practice, practice, practice.’’