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Spaziani, BC may be on to something

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / November 27, 2011
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Boston College coach Frank Spaziani will hold a staff meeting tomorrow. He will review a season that ended the way the Eagles wanted - with a 24-17 win at Miami on Friday - but also included eight losses and no bowl bid.

He will talk about how to make things better next season. Changes may or may not be made. No one is sure yet, including Spaziani.

Defensive coordinator Bill McGovern has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the opening at the University of Massachusetts. McGovern would be a great fit for the Minutemen, who are moving into the strange new world of the Bowl Subdivision in the Mid-American Conference. He would be a home run, with his defensive mind, recruiting skills, familiarity with UMass, and comfort level with the media. If McGovern leaves, don’t be surprised if Spaziani takes over the added responsibility of defensive coordinator.

And yes, Spaziani will be back at BC because he deserves to continue a rebuilding project that is making progress.

The victory over Miami was satisfying because it ended the season on a positive note - the first time in three years the Eagles ended their season with a win - and that counts for something.

“Everything is getting better,’’ said Spaziani. “We got a win, and 4-8 is still 4-8, but finishing with a win is satisfying. We have been inching toward it, we still have a long way to go.’’

Yes, the Eagles do. And they may have to do it minus linebacker Luke Kuechly, who must decide if he wants to return for his senior season or enter the NFL draft.

Kuechly could take the money and run. The country’s leading tackler, and the favorite to win the Butkus Award as college football’s best linebacker, is being talked about as a possible top-15 draft pick, which could get him a signing bonus of several million dollars.

But he could also do what Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck did this season, come back simply because he wants to be a kid for another year and play football with his friends. Kuechly could be part of a defense that next season will have veterans on the line, at linebacker, and in the secondary, instead of inexperienced freshmen and sophomores doing on-the-job training.

“It will work itself out in the next few weeks,’’ said Kuechly, who could play alongside linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto, who emerged this season as potential stars.

Offensively, there needs to be improvement. Whether that comes from more changes on the coaching staff, which took an early-season hit when coordinator Kevin Rogers took a medical leave of absence and was replaced by Dave Brock, or a reassignment of duties is uncertain. Presuming that Rogers will not be back, Spaziani has an opening to fill.

Running back Montel Harris, who was the preseason pick as Atlantic Coast Conference offensive player of the year, should be back for a fifth season after being shut down in September because of a recurring knee injury. Throw in the development of Andre Williams, Rolandan Finch, and Tahj Kimble and you have talent and depth at running back.

At wide receiver, Ifeanyi Momah, another player who was shut down early because of a knee injury, could be back for a sixth season if the NCAA grants a wavier. A decision is expected in early January. Spaziani argues that if the NCAA wants to do right by its student-athletes, Momah should be granted the waiver.

At quarterback, sophomore Chase Rettig ended the season with one of the best efforts of his young career, throwing a pair of TD passes and making few mistakes.

“The thing I am going to work hardest in the offseason is accountability,’’ said Rettig. “Becoming more of a leader. I want to have a good offseason.’’

Spaziani sees Rettig developing. “I’ve always said he has made progress,’’ said Spaziani, who also probably will take a look at expanding the role of quarterback Josh Bordner, who provided a spark at times this season.

BC is done for this season. It could have, and should have, won at least two more games, which would have meant playing in a bowl game for the 13th consecutive season.

It didn’t happen. What happens in 2012 is unknown, but a root system is in place and must be nurtured.

If Kuechly comes back, if the waivers for the veterans are granted, if everyone stays healthy, it could be a much better year than people expect.

In any case, Spaziani deserves to be there to see if it blossoms.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at

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