Flaherty: BC Eagles Have Pieces In Place For A Successful 2018 Campaign

Steve Addazio
Steve Addazio has some key pieces in place to make an exciting run this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

By Dan Flaherty (@TheSportsNotebo)

Boston College has been as predictable a college football program as any in the country, at least since Steve Addazio became head coach back in 2013.

In Addazio’s five seasons, he’s finished 7-6 four different times, including the last two years. That’s what made the Over/Under win totals released in Las Vegas earlier this month so interesting—BC was listed at 5.5.

Furthermore, this doubt comes in a year when Addazio returns 14 starters. He brings back his entire offensive line. He brings back A.J. Dillon, a sophomore running back who rushed for nearly 1,600 yards last year. He brings a quarterback in Anthony Brown who got valuable experience last year as a freshman.

Defensively, the Eagles can build around defensive end Zach Allen, a disruptor that has the NFL in his future.

The doubt on Boston College also comes at a time when the opportunity to move up the ladder in the ACC’s Atlantic Division is there for the taking. While Clemson is firmly entrenched at the top, the Florida State program is in flux after the departure of coach Jimbo Fisher and Louisville’s rise under Bobby Petrino seems to have crested. Boston College beat both FSU and Louisville last season.

But the Eagles lost decisively to Wake Forest and N.C. State – both teams are divisional rivals. They are each more highly regarded on the Vegas Strip at the moment.

Addazio’s program is a throwback, built on physical football and tough defense that works to overcome mediocre play (at best) from the quarterback position. Brown’s numbers last year—52% completion percentage, 5.3 yards-per-attempt and 11 touchdowns versus nine interceptions—look straight out of the 1970s.

In an era where everything is seen to be about the quarterback, BC is not going to have believers as long as this current trend continues. Nor is there any reason to expect a change of course this season.

While it’s reasonable to expect improvement from Brown, I don’t think there will be too many comparisons to Matt Ryan floating around the Heights. And on the positive side, there is every reason to think Boston College can take what it usually does well under Addazio and simply do it better.

Dillon is one of the best halfbacks in college football. His most impressive number isn’t the yardage totals—you can attribute at least some of that to the workload he gets in this offense. The most impressive number is his 5.3 yards-per-rush. That’s good under any circumstances, and especially when opposing defenses know you’re getting the ball.

Dillon, with that veteran offensive line in front of him, molded by the hard-nosed Addazio, can make a run at ACC Player of the Year. If he breaks 2,000 yards, an invite to the Heisman banquet in early December could be in the offing.

How far Dillon can carry the Eagles will be apparent by mid-October. After tuneup games with Massachusetts and Holy Cross, Boston College faces two road games that will provide a good early gauge on where they’re at. They go to Wake Forest on a Thursday night and then visit Purdue, a Big Ten Conference team on the rise, the following Saturday.

After a game with Temple to close September, BC has a road game at N.C. State and a home date with Louisville. By this point in the schedule, the Eagles need to be 5-2. They’ll go into a bye week and on the far side of that bye are four games in four weeks—against Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State. The Eagles have to hope they can steal one win during this stretch and then close the season at home by beating Syracuse. That gets them to seven wins again.

I’m one who likes old-fashioned football and I really hope Addazio can do it. The schedule is difficult and in a different environment, the head coach might be in real trouble. But in a market where media hype and fan intensity hones in on pro sports, the BC boss can keep people happy if he just keeps winning seven games each season, while  providing a little Saturday afternoon diversion.

As long as the benchmark stays that reasonable, I think he’ll continue to do it in 2018.

Dan Flaherty is the owner of TheSportsNotebook.com and the author of Great 1980s Sports MomentsStay connected with Dan on Twitter at @TheSportsNotebo 

Dan Mulrooney Tabbed Anna Maria College Football Coach

Former WPI defensive coordinator Dan Mulrooney was recently named the next Anna Maria football coach. (PHOTO CREDIT: WPI Athletics)
Former WPI defensive coordinator Dan Mulrooney was recently named the next Anna Maria football coach. (PHOTO CREDIT: WPI Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11

A “new culture” is set to begin at Anna Maria College as Athletic Director Serge DeBari announced yesterday that Dan Mulrooney would become the next football coach of the AMCATs football program.

“He is a hardworking football coach with a great attitude looking for an opportunity to develop high character student-athletes on and off the field,” DeBari said in the athletic department’s release.

Mulrooney comes to Paxton, Massachusetts following an impressive three-year stint with the WPI football team as the defensive coordinator. Mulrooney helped the Engineers enjoy a pair of winning seasons (2015 & 2016), while improving the defense every year.

A Division I safety and tailback, Mulrooney competed for both Boston College and Stony Brook – he concluded his career as Seawolves’ leading tackler in 2011, while earning Big South Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

Mulrooney hails from Waterbury, Connecticut and competed for Holy Cross High School where he earned a pair of all-state accolades, while guiding his squad to two state titles.

Said Mulrooney, “I am an enthusiastic, dedicated, hardworking coach, who strives to develop student-athletes to reach their maximum potential.”

Mass. College Hockey: Power Play Goals Lift No. 5 BC Past No. 7 Harvard In Beanpot Semifinal

Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald netted the quickest goal in the last 10 years of the Beanpot as the Eagles beat Harvard in Monday's semifinal. (Photo Credit: BCHeights.com)
Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald netted the quickest goal in the last 10 years of the Beanpot as the Eagles beat Harvard in Monday’s semifinal. (Photo Credit: BCHeights.com)

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, Mass. – A pair of second period power play goals by sophomore Zach Sanford and freshman Colin White proved to be the difference as the fifth-ranked Boston College Eagles defeated seventh-ranked Harvard University, 3-2, in the 64th Boston Beanpot semifinals on Monday evening at the T.D. Garden.

With the win, the Eagles will compete in their 35th championship in program history. Boston College will face either ninth-ranked Boston University or Northeastern University next Monday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The Crimson will compete in the consolation game with puck drop scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald provided the Eagles with an early lead, potting his third goal of the season at 1:35 in the opening stanza. Fitzgerald’s goal was the quickest marker since Bryan Ewing lit the lamp 10 years earlier as a member of the BU Terriers.

Harvard, which did not register a single shot for close to 10 minutes, capitalized on its initial attempt as freshman Ryan Donato netted his first-ever Beanpot goal after racing into the Eagles zone at 9:47. Classmate Adam Baughman pushed the Crimson ahead, 2-1, minutes later as he slid the puck past BC junior goalie Thatcher Demko at 14:44. The goal marked Baughman’s initial collegiate marker.

The Crimson would not locate the back of the net for the remainder of the game as Demko turned aside 21 shots. Harvard sophomore goaltender Merrick Madsen denied 30 shots, including 13 attempts in the final session.

“(Boston College) played a strong game and were really able to limit us. (We) didn’t get the amount of zone time and possession of the puck that we needed (so we could) create more offense, so give them a lot of credit for (the win), but we’re disappointed and frustrated that we didn’t execute a lot of the things we needed to do to be more successful,” said Harvard head coach Ted Donato.

Monday’s win marked Boston College’s 12th consecutive victory against Harvard in the Beanpot, while head coach Jerry York improves to 14-1 against the Crimson.

“It was a good test for us,” York said following his team’s 18th win of the season. “I thought Harvard gave us all we could handle tonight, I thought the ability for us to kill (a late third period) penalty was a major factor, and then our five versus six – we never really let them get settled coming up the ice, so those are kind of key parts of the game.”

Mass. College Hockey: Former BC Right-Wing Hayes Inks 3-Year Deal With Boston Bruins

By Matt Noonan 

Former Boston College men’s ice hockey right-wing Jimmy Hayes inked his name on a three-year contract with the Boston Bruins this afternoon, which was confirmed through a press release by the team.

Hayes was traded to Boston last Wednesday in a deal that sent Reilly Smith and Marc Savard’s contract to the Florida Panthers.

Former Boston College men's ice hockey right wing Jimmy Hayes inked his name on a three-year deal with the Boston Bruins. (Photo Credit: Sun-Sentinel.com)
Former Boston College men’s ice hockey right wing Jimmy Hayes inked his name on a three-year deal with the Boston Bruins. (Photo Credit: Sun-Sentinel.com)

A Dorchester native, Hayes was a second round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008. He was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 and skated in part of three seasons – 43 games to be exact – before he was dealt to the Florida Panthers during the 2013-14 campaign. With the Panthers, Hayes appeared in 125 games and recorded 30 goals and 23 assists. His best season as a pro was this past year where he registered 19 goals and 16 assists (35 points) in 72 games.

Hayes spent three seasons with Boston College, tallying 42 goals and 39 assists for 81 points. His best season with the Eagles occurred during the 2010-11 season when he netted a career-best 21 goals, along with 12 assists. Boston College captured the Boston Beanpot and Hockey East regular season and tournament crowns before concluding their campaign in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

In 2010, Hayes and the Eagles defeated Wisconsin in the NCAA Championship game, 5-0, to claim the program’s fourth national championship.

Mass. College Hockey: Record Number of Hockey East Players Taken in NHL Draft

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Hockey East Association and Director of communications, Brian Smith, here is this morning’s release on this past weekend’s National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft that saw a record 23 current or future players selected:

WAKEFIELD, Mass. – A record 23 current or future Hockey East players were selected in the 2015 National Hockey League Entry Draft, including Boston University’s Jack Eichel (Rd. 1, Pick 2/Buffalo Sabres) and Boston College’s Noah Hanifin (Rd. 1, Pick 5/Carolina Hurricanes). The two rising sophomores, who were each selected in the top five, marked in the attached release.

In addition to Eichel and Hanifin, two other current Hockey East skaters heard their named called in Sunrise, Florida as BU rising sophomore A.J. Greer (Rd. 2, Pick 39/Colorado Avalanche) and Merrimack rising sophomore Brett Seney (Rd. 6, Pick 157/New Jersey Devils) were chosen. Also included in this year’s crop were 13 incoming freshmen for the 2015-16 season, five skaters verbally committed for 2016-17 and one player verbally committed for 2017-18.

In total, the 23 players with Hockey East ties represent 41% of the 56 current or future NCAA players selected.

The Hockey East Association is a 12-team Division-I college men’s hockey conference founded in 1984 and also sponsors a nine-team Division-I women’s league that began play in 2002-03.