October 1, 2012
Army-Boston College: Two teams seeking a breather
A football team looks forward to a struggling opponent being next up on the schedule for relief from the weekly grind of a college football season that has gone wrong.
The trouble with the Army-Boston College matchup on Saturday at Michie Stadium is determining which team can take advantage of the others' woes. The Eagles (1-3) and the Black Knights (0-4) are giving up too many yards and too many points to have anything but a losing record.
Army Black Knights fans are painfully aware, is 0-4 and allowing 474.8 yards and 38.8 points a game. Boston College, as Army fans will be encouraged to know, is yielding 438.5 yards and 27.8 points.
However, Boston College has played a much tougher schedule that includes losses to two teams currently ranked in the Top 25 (Clemson #15 & Northwestern #24) and a third (Miami) with votes in the Top 25.
The Eagles opened with a 41-32 loss at home to Miami (4-1) and won its only game a week later 34-3 over Maine (1-3), a Football Championship Subdivision school. Since then they've lost 22-13 at No. 24 Northwestern (5-0) of the Big Ten and 45-31 to No. 15 Clemson (4-1) in an ACC home game.
"The first thing we look at is, do we have them in the right defense?" Boston College coach Frank Spaziani said. "That seems to be the case. The X's and O's were correct. We didn't execute it. We tried to cut back on some things, but maybe have to cut back on some more. Maybe we're being too fine on things.
"There were sporadic series when we made some plays. We stopped them on fourth down, got an interception and got a fumble. There were some things but not enough."
Spaziani, like Army coach Rich Ellerson, is struggling in his fourth year of trying to turn around a program.
"One of the problems we're facing is we have guys in and out," said Spaziani, referring to injuries. "But we've got to go with the guys we've got."
Boston College has been thin on the defensive line with the loss of senior tackle Kaleb Ramsey (6-3, 288) and junior defensive end Kasim Edeball (6-2, 258). Edeball is expected to return this week against Army, but facing the Black Knights' triple-option offense always means opponents have to prepare differently from their routine.
Spaziani would prefer to continue to work on the fundamentals the Eagles need to strengthen for the remainder of their ACC schedule.
"It's a different offense," he said. "Some of the fundamental stuff we need to get corrected and have our guys hone in on gets skewed this week because of the unique offense you have to spend time on. But we still have to tackle and shed blocks. It's about the X's and O's that are a little different."
Spaziani and Ellerson also are head coaches who were defensive coordinators, which adds to their frustration. But high-scoring games is the trend throughout college football. Both teams have veteran quarterbacks.
Boston College junior Chase Rettig (6-2, 213) of San Clemente, Calif., is a third-year starter. He's 97 of 170 with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He's averaging 324.2 yards a game.
Army senior quarterback Trent Steelman (6-0, 207) became Army's career rushing leader for a quarterback with 2,362 yards when he ran for 89 last week, but the Black Knights failed to score a touchdown in a 20-3 loss to Stony Brook (4-1), which is ranked No. 18 among FCS schools.
"We never want to get involved in these junior high basketball scores," Spaziani said. "It's hard to win unless you have exceptional offensive talent. We've made progress and like the guys we have on offense, but we can't count on that week in and week out."
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