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Confidence is still high

Despite BC’s 0-2 start, Spaziani sees positives

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / September 12, 2011

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When Frank Spaziani was the Boston College defensive coordinator on Tom O’Brien’s staff, he could be spotted on the sideline during games with a yellow towel on his shoulder. The towel had several purposes. His players easily could spot Spaziani, and it allowed the often emotional coach to wipe off the sweat during moments of stress.

When Spaziani was elevated to head coach of the Eagles in January 2009, he decided to take a more low-key role on the sideline. But following a tough 24-17 opening-game home loss to Northwestern last week, Spaziani, looking for any edge, brought back the towel - white this time - for Saturday night’s game at Central Florida.

Not much worked in the Eagles’ 30-3 loss to UCF as the offense went belly-up for the second straight week and the defense finally collapsed under the load of carrying both units.

But after a night and part of yesterday viewing tape, assessing what went wrong and how to fix it, Spaziani made it clear he is not waving any white towels - or flags - regarding the Eagles’ first 0-2 start since 1994.

“We woke up, looked at the tape, and we saw a lot of positives,’’ said Spaziani. “But there were too many negatives.’’

Most of the negatives came on the offensive side of the ball, which produced one scoring drive, on the opening series of the game, and nothing else. The Eagles had only 141 yards of total offense.

“I said after the first week that we needed to help our guys,’’ said Spaziani, who may or may not get running back Montel Harris (knee) back for Saturday’s home game against Duke. “We need to help our guys on defense, same on offense. I will say that the morale is tremendous and we have to build on that.’’

But there is only so much Spaziani can do with a roster that is full of young players. “When you don’t have a B.J. Raji or a Matt Ryan, you have to take the players and what they can do and magnify that,’’ said Spaziani, referring to former Eagles who now are stars in the NFL, Raji a nose tackle with the Packers and Ryan the quarterback of the Falcons.

Spaziani said the Eagles don’t have much room for error.

“We don’t have much wiggle room,’’ he said. “We’re a fragile little group of guys and the margin of error is so small for us.’’

Spaziani said he would talk with quarterback Chase Rettig to make sure his confidence level has not eroded after a game in which he completed only 10 of 23 passes for 70 yards. The sophomore was sacked three times and threw two interceptions.

“Externally, I have not seen any of that,’’ said Spaziani.

Defensive back C.J. Jones and center Mark Spinney had MRIs yesterday on leg injuries suffered against UCF.

Jones’s appears the worse of the two, and Spaziani said a medical redshirt year for the sophomore is a possibility.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at