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Spaziani left a bit shaken

Penn State grad feels for victims

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / November 10, 2011

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Frank Spaziani is a Boston College guy.

The BC football coach is also a Jersey guy. He grew up in central New Jersey and was a high school pitcher who drew the attention of pro scouts and a high school quarterback who drew the attention of college recruiters.

Spaziani is also a Penn State guy, one of coach Joe Paterno’s early recruits. Spaziani played defensive end at Penn State in the ’60s, and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Paterno in 1969.

Even before the Penn State trustees decided last night to remove Paterno and school president Graham Spanier, Spaziani reflected on Paterno’s career as well as the tarnish now attached to the coach and the program.

“It’s a very shocking development, the whole story,’’ said Spaziani. “And his retirement is part of the story, but it’s not the whole story.

“The victims, to me, that’s the story. I’m a human being first and foremost, and a dad. It’s about the victims.

“It’s a shocking development. How can one put anything into words? There is a lot there. Football and everything, that’s inconsequential. It’s about what happened.’’

As for Penn State rebuilding its reputation, Spaziani said, “It’s a terrible cloud to have lingering.’’

“It hurts. It hurts their reputation. There are residual effects, and they will last for a while.’’

Seniors scarce

Festivities for senior day will be quick Saturday, since BC has only nine seniors. Of that group, only center Mark Spinney, tight end Lars Anderson, cornerback Donnie Fletcher, and punter Ryan Quigley are listed as starters. Twenty-eight of the top 44 players on the depth chart are freshmen or sophomores . . . Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly has had double-digit tackles for an NCAA-record 31 games . . . One of the freshmen who has emerged is defensive end Brian Mihalik, who chose BC after considering Stanford and a school in a different academic neighborhood, West Virginia. “I liked the coaches at West Virginia,’’ explained Mihalik.

O’Brien returns

With North Carolina State the opponent Saturday, former BC coach Tom O’Brien makes a return to The Heights. O’Brien and Spaziani coached together for 26 years. O’Brien won 42 games at Alumni Stadium as BC coach, but has never won as a visiting coach . . . North Carolina State cornerback David Amerson has nine interceptions, which leads the nation. As a team, North Carolina State has 19, which is third in the country . . . BC’s depth chart lists redshirt freshman Josh Bordner and Dave Shinskie as the backup quarterbacks. Bordner made his debut last week in the second quarter against Florida State and provided one of the few offensive sparks for the Eagles, picking up 45 yards on seven carries and completing a pass for 37 yards to wide receiver Bobby Swigert.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at