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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Q&A with Bill of Eagle in Atlanta

Remember when I said we'd probably be doing some more of these Q&A's with bloggers from other schools? Well we're on a roll, going back-to-back Q&A in sequential weeks.

This week we chat with Bill of Eagle in Atlanta, a Boston College fan who wound up deep in the heart of Dixie. Bonus for him, though: Matt Ryan managed to land in his backyard! That'd be like Philip Rivers getting drafted by the Raleigh semi-pro football team.

Eh, Sort of.

Anyway, you can find my answers to his queries here.

As to the questions I tossed his way, I asked him about Chris Crane, injuries, Steve Logan, the BC fan's second-favorite past time--hating Tom O'Brien--and of course about North Carolina's culinary gift to the world, barbecue.


Losing Matt Ryan to the NFL was obviously a big loss for the Eagles...can Chris Crane turn things around before the season (and his career) is over? How do BC fans feel about the job offensive coordinator Steve Logan has done this season with Crane?

If by turnaround you mean become a competent passer and potential NFL draftee, then no. I think we’ve seen most of Crane’s upside. That said, I think BC can win with his mistakes. He still brings things to the table (the ability to stretch the field with his arm and the deceptive running). Regardless of how well he plays week to week, he’ll still be on a short leash and will continue to split time with Dominique Davis. The coaches haven’t spelled it out, but they have indicated that the hot hand will get most of the snaps.

As for Logan, I am a big fan. How others feel will probably be influenced by the remainder of the season. No one expected Crane to be Matt Ryan. But most people thought Logan could mask his weaknesses and play to his strengths. That hasn’t happened yet. But there is still time.

As a member of a fanbase that essentially ran off a decent-but-not-great coach (Herb Sendek), I both understand and yet am somewhat puzzled by the venom BC fans have for O'Brien, even two years after his departure. Can you sum up just why there is so much hate for O'Brien in Chesnut Hill?
Most BC fans don’t hate O’Brien. In fact, I would say most are indifferent. As for the hardcore group, there were a few things that set them off. First and foremost is TOB’s ability to come up one game short and play not to lose against top teams. Then you mix in his whining about BC faults. He also had a habit of floating his name for every opening every year. The final blow to many was his parting shot. Saying “9 or 10” wins is the best you could do at BC rubbed people the wrong way. Ultimately his personality and underselling of BC is the foundation of the dislike. I am sure that in time and after he retires he’ll be welcome back with some sort of ceremony. Until then, he won’t have many in Chestnut Hill rooting for him.

It looks like, from the stats, that the rushing carries are getting divvied up pretty evenly among Montel Harris, Jeff Smith and Josh Haden. What do each of these three backs bring to the table, and how does Logan like to employ them in the running game?
Smith has the raw speed. Harris is probably the most natural (great vision and balance). Haden is somewhere in between. They’ve all been used similarly. We are in more of a true spread this year, so most are getting handoffs out of the shot gun and running to a hole. You’ll also see some option runs on Saturday.

What are your overall impressions of head coach Jeff Jagodzinski in year two?
Last year Jags showed he can coach. He put together a good staff. Took over an experienced team and took them further than anyone had previously done. This year’s challenge is different and we will see how he rides it out.

As for overall impression, I like the guy. I think he’s brought a good energy and outlook to the program yet hasn’t undone any of the great and unique things about BC. He gets “it.”

Did Boston College ever go through a period of injuries under Tom O'Brien like the ones State is dealing with currently?
I cannot remember a specific time where BC was hit as hard with injuries as NC State has been this season. Among the people who follow the program closely, many were critical of former Strength and Conditioning coach Todd Rice (NCSU's current S&C). He always claimed that his stretching method limited injuries. I am not a doctor nor personal trainer so I don't know what is better in the long run. I do know that many BC players lost weight and gained muscle under our new system. Anecdotally we also saw less flab and fewer tired arm tackles. We've had a few injuries but the serious ones were head/neck that have nothing to do with S&C programs.

And finally, have you ever had Eastern North Carolina style barbecue, can you tell the difference between it and Lexington style, and have you now or ever used "barbecue" as a verb?
Although I was raised elsewhere, I’ve lived in the South for a decade. I’ve had all different sorts of barbecue (dry, vinegar, mustard). My preference is still tomato based sauce. Scoff away. I do have to give the Carolinas respect for championing the whole pig concept. Why have just ribs or shoulder when you can have everything?

My thoughts exactly, Bill! If folks out in Lexington are only eating the shoulders, then what the hell are they doing with the rest of the pig? God made all of it tasty! You may prefer tomato-based 'cue, but you're alright in my book.

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