October 3, 2012
Renewing Army series helps BC in ACC play
Army and Boston College are renewing their series for the first time since 2007 when the Northeastern schools meet for the 37th time in a non-conference game at noon Saturday at Michie Stadium on the campus of West Point.
It's become routine for the head coach of Army's upcoming opponent discuss respect for West Point and their football players, along with the players' commitment to the nation but at the same time how tough it is to prepare for the Black Knights. Football coaches are creatures of habit, and game-planning for the triple-option forces them out of their practice routine geared toward more commonly seen spread and pro-style offenses.
"It's as unique as it gets -- there are only a few people in the country running it," Boston College coach Frank Spaziani said. "It presents a practice problem with execution and with (our scout team) trying to give a proper look. You can't really duplicate it and it's a major problem and concern, but we've been through it before."
But if you're an Atlantic Coast Conference school such as Boston College, it's not so bad. Two weeks after the Eagles (1-3) play the Black Knights (0-4), BC travels to Georgia Tech for an ACC game. Georgia Tech has run the triple-option since head coach Paul Johnson left a successful stint at Navy to take the Yellow Jackets' job five years ago.
"Some of the plays are very similar," Spaziani said on Wednesday of the two offenses. "Some of the things we have to practice against are the same, so yes it helps."
Boston College obviously wants to win both games, but an ACC contest carries more weight than a non-conference date. But Spaziani says the football schedule is made up at the administration and it's not by design his Eagles are playing Army as preparation for Georgia Tech.
"They give me a schedule and we play it," he said.
This year's game is Boston College's first trip to Michie Stadium since 2000. The Eagles have won five straight over Army and leads the series 24-12. The teams play again next year at Boston College and in 2014 at Yankee Stadium.
Spaziani is in his fourth year at BC and trying to turn around the program after it dipped to 4-8 and missed a bowl game last year. But he has an appreciation for academy football from his time as a Navy assistant from 1975 to 1981.
Spaziani said unlike Georgia Tech, which has a broader talent pool to recruit from than the academies, the triple-option remains the best offense for academy coaches to use.
"Those guys have unique problems they have to address," Spaziani said of the demands faced by academy football. "So they do different things to help themselves and help their players."
On the other side of the ball, Boston College will try to exploit Army's trouble defending the pass.
The Eagles lost last week to No. 15 Clemson 41-35, but wide receiver Alex Amidon was named the ACC Receiver of the Week. He caught eight balls for 193 yards and two touchdowns. The 5-11, 186-pound junior has 100-plus yards receiving in three of the Eagles' four games and could present a tremendous match-up problem for the Army secondary, who have struggled through the 2012 season.
"This is his third year he's made progress every year," Spaziani said. "He works extremely hard and spends a lot of time in the film room. Doug (Martin, offensive coordinator) has done a good job of putting him in the right spots. (Alex) works harder than most football players and he has some speed and ability."
Of course Spaziani's defense will have their hands full trying to shut down the nation's 2nd leading rushing offense, in the Army Black Knights.
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