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 

Report: Coach Engelstad To Be Named Mount Saint Mary’s Men’s Basketball Coach

basketballBy Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

According to various sources, along with recent reports this morning, Mount Saint Mary’s is expected to hire Dan Engelstad as its next men’s basketball coach.

Engelstad is expected to replace Jamion Christian, who recently accepted the head coaching position at Siena College, per last week’s release from the school’s athletic department.

As noted in Kyle McFadden‘s piece on Medium.com last night, a source told him that Engelstad will be tabbed the program’s 22nd head coach on Wednesday.

In addition to McFadden, other reporters, including Rob Dauster and Tim Murray have also confirmed via their sources that Engelstad will become the program’s next head coach, too.

Since taking over the Southern Vermont College men’s basketball program five years ago, Engelstad has compiled an impressive record of 104-34. He guided the Mountaineers this past season to a 22-6 ledger, which included a trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament and New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Tournament crown.

Prior to taking over the SVC men’s basketball team, Engelstad spent time as an assistant coach at Mount Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross. As noted in his bio on the SVC website, Engelstad was the youngest Division I coach during the 2007-08 season.

Harvard, Yale Set To Renew Rivalry At Fenway Park

HarvardYaleFenway
Members of Fenway Sports Management pose with both Harvard and Yale Football captains, and Coach Tim Murphy on Tuesday afternoon at Fenway Park. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)

Harvard University and Yale University are set to renew their historic football rivalry later this fall at historic Fenway Park as the 135th playing of “The Game” is scheduled for Saturday, November 17th.

Both teams meet in the final week of the regular season annually, but this year’s game will mark the first time “The Game” will be played on the same playing surface as the Boston Red Sox.

“This year, it is our distinct privilege to host what is arguably one of the most celebrated rivalries and marry one of college football’s most classic games with one of America’s most classic venues,” said Fenway Sports Management Managing Director Mark Lev.

Harvard is no stranger to Fenway Park – in fact, the baseball team was the first athletic program to compete at the historic ballpark 106 years ago when the Crimson faced the Red Sox on a rainy-snowy day. The game marked the first-ever contest at Fenway Park.

Additionally, Harvard’s George “Iron” Davis, who pitched for the Boston Braves, was the first-ever ballplayer to toss a no-hitter at Fenway Park on September 9, 1914. Six years later, the Crimson baseball team beat the Bulldogs at the park by a score of 6-3, thanks to pitcher Babe Felton, who quarterbacked the Harvard football team earlier in the school year.

Yale currently leads the all-time football series (67-59-8), but has tied the Crimson eight times over the past 134 years, including in 1968 when Harvard rallied to even the score at 29-29. Those eight ties, according to Harvard Athletic Director Bob Scalise, are considered wins around the Cambridge campus.

“We think (this game at Fenway Park) will be a terrific experience for our student-athletes and fans,” said Scalise.

“We hope that this rendition of ‘The Game’ will be an instant classic to add to the rivalry and rich tradition,” he added.

This year’s contest certainly has a special meaning to Harvard coach Tim Murphy, who grew up in Kingston, Massachusetts and idolized Rico Petrocelli, who played shortstop for the Red Sox for 13 seasons.

“It’s such an iconic place whether we come here for Red Sox games or concerts it’s always an amazing experience,” said Murphy. “I think it is going to be a great event for any of the alumni fans or players who were involved (with this rivalry).”

Added Harvard captain Zach Miller, “To be able to (have the game played) here (is) awesome, it’s so amazing for us.”

Miller said he and his team had a chance to watch Brown University and Dartmouth College compete at Fenway Park last season under the lights on a chilly Friday evening in November. Harvard-Yale will most likely be an afternoon game, however, the start time of this year’s game has yet to be announced.

“It was very cool (seeing Brown-Dartmouth) on tv and just knowing we were going to be playing there next year was very cool,” said Miller, who was elected the program’s 145th captain. “Just the opportunity to be at Fenway, this historical park, our team – it’s huge for Harvard football, Yale football and this rivalry. It means a lot to us.”

Similar to Miller, Yale captain Kyle Mullen is also excited about competing this fall at Fenway Park. “I’m really excited for the game,” said Mullen, who hails from New Jersey and roots for the New York Mets, not the Red Sox.

Yale captured last year’s meeting, defeating Harvard, 24-3, in New Haven, Connecticut. Mullen, who plays defensive end for the Bulldogs, recorded a trio of solo stops in the win, including a pair of tackles for a loss of six yards.

The senior captain of the Bulldogs said he was looking forward to beating the Crimson at Harvard Stadium this fall, but said Fenway Park works for him as well.

“I was looking forward to beating Harvard at their home stadium, but I guess I will have to settle for this,” he said with a big smile.

Both Harvard and Yale will begin their respective seasons on Saturday, September 15th with the Crimson hosting San Diego and Bulldogs visiting Holy Cross.

WACBA Hoops: Holy Cross’ Manis and Nichols’ Echevarria Headline 2018 All-WACBA Awards

WACBABy WACBA Hoops (@WACBAHoops)

WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross sophomore Lauren Manis and Nichols junior Marcos Echevarria headline the All-WACBA scrolls as the Worcester Area College Basketball Association revealed its 2017-18 awards Wednesday in Jen Toland’s weekly college column. Voters included sports information directors or primary contacts from each of the nine NCAA schools in Worcester County, including Division I Holy Cross and Division II Assumption, as well as members of the local media.

In a close vote, Manis was named the WACBA Women’s Player of the Year. Fitchburg State’s Mikaela Mitchell claimed Rookie of the Year honors while Becker head coach David Bostick, who shared last year’s accolades, repeated as Coach of the Year. Nichols earned two of the three men’s major awards as Echevarria and head coach Tom Glynn, the recipient of 10 first place votes, repeated as Player and Coach of the Year, respectively. Assumption’s Matthew Kelly was selected as the men’s Rookie of the Year.

Manis also made the All-WACBA First Team for the second consecutive year, as did Becker sophomore Cassidy Harrison, Worcester State junior Britt Herring and WPI senior Ama Biney. Fellow Crusader, senior Infiniti Thomas-Waheed was upgraded from last year’s second team while Assumption junior Morgan O’Donnell made her debut on the scroll. Clark junior Ogechi Ezemma and Becker junior Adrianna Dowdy headlined the second team. They were joined by Anna Maria senior Kristina Russo, Fitchburg State sophomore Angelina Marazzi, Worcester State sophomore Catherine Sweeney and WPI senior Madison Beck.

Echevarria, who was on the top half of all 12 ballots, and sophomore teammate DeAnte Bruton, as well as Anna Maria sophomore Mike Rapoza and Becker senior Samuel Durodola were all named to the All-WACBA First Team for the second year in-a-row. Becker junior Kareem Davis moved up to the first team while Holy Cross junior Jehyve Floyd also earned top billing. WPI senior Chris Rodgers led the second team that also featured Kelly, Clark junior Luca McCormick, Fitchburg State junior Jonathan Perez, Nichols sophomore Jerome Cunningham and Worcester State sophomore Shaun McCarthy.

WACBA (Worcester Area College Basketball Association) is an organization billed as “one of its kind in the country” featuring nine colleges, 18 programs plus sports information directors and media members to foster friendships and camaraderie along with promoting the GREAT GAME OF BASKETBALL throughout the TRADITION RICH Worcester Country Area.


WACBA Women’s Basketball End of The Year Awards

Player of the Year: Lauren Manis (Franklin, Mass.), Holy Cross

Rookie of the Year: Mikaela Mitchell (Millbury, Mass.), Fitchburg State

Coach of the Year: David Bostick, Becker

First Team

Assumption

Morgan O’DonnellEaston, Mass.Jr.

Becker

Cassidy HarrisonFoxborough, Mass.So.
Holy CrossInfiniti Thomas-WaheedNewton, Mass.Sr.
Holy CrossLauren ManisFranklin, Mass.So.
Worcester StateBritt HerringWest Brookfield, Mass.Jr.
WPIAma BineyWorcester, Mass.Sr.

Second Team

Anna MariaKristina RussoSouth Windsor, Conn.Sr.
BeckerAdrianna DowdyEast Haven Conn.Jr.
ClarkOgechi EzemmaHope Valley, R.I.Jr.
Fitchburg StateAngelina MarazziManchester, N.H.So.
Worcester StateCatherine SweeneyLowell, Mass.So.
WPIMadison BeckSyracuse, N.Y.Sr.

WACBA Men’s Basketball End of The Year Awards

Player of the Year: Marcos Echevarria (Lynn, Mass.), Nichols

Rookie of the Year: Matthew Kelly (North Potomac, Md.), Assumption

Coach of the Year:
Tom Glynn, Nichols

First Team

Anna MariaMike RapozaCharlton, Mass.So.
BeckerKareem DavisLowell, MassJr.
BeckerSamuel DurodolaRosedale, N.Y.Sr.
Holy CrossJehyve FloydSayreville, N.J.Jr.
NicholsDeAnte BrutonNew London, Conn.So.
NicholsMarcos EchevarriaLynn, Mass.Jr.

Second Team

AssumptionMatthew KellyNorth Potomac, Md.Fr.
ClarkLuca McCormickFort Lauderdale, Fla.Jr.
Fitchburg StateJonathan PerezLowell, Mass.Jr.
NicholsJerome CunninghamWestbury, N.Y.So.
Worcester StateShaun McCarthyOxford, Mass.So.
WPIChris RodgersFranklin, Mass.Sr.

 

WACBA Honor Roll: Men’s Basketball Week 13 (Tues., Feb. 27th)

WACBABy NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) & WACBA Hoops (@WACBAHoops)

WORCESTER  With another week of college basketball in the books, it is time to unveil this week’s Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) Men’s Basketball Honor Roll, including our Player and Rookie of the Week honors.


DeANTE BRUTON

Men’s Player of the Week: DeAnte Bruton (Nichols College | Soph. | New London, Conn.): DeAnte Bruton helped lead the Bison to their second-straight CCC Championship, averaging 25.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.3 steals per game over three games. Bruton scored 15 points to go with five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals in a 100-68 win over Western New England. He followed that up with 34 points, including 25 in the second half, 10 rebounds, an assist, and three steals in an 89-75 win over Roger Williams. In the Championship game, Bruton scored 18 points in the first half before finishing with 27 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals in a 98-89 win over Endicott. For the week, Bruton shot 57.1% (32-of-56) from the field and 47.1% (8-of-17) from beyond the arc.


Jacob Grandison

Men’s Rookie of the Week: Jacob Grandison (Holy Cross | Fr. | Oakland, Calif.): Grandison led the team in both games last week. He totaled 16 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three assists in the victory over American before adding 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists at Colgate. For the week, he averaged 16.0 points 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals on the week, while hitting 55.0 percent of his field goal attempts and 87.5 percent of his free throws.


MARCOS POW WACBA

Honorable Mention: Marcos Echevarria (Nichols College | Jr. | Lynn, Mass.): Marcos Echevarria helped lead the Bison to their second-straight CCC crown, averaging 24.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game over three contests. Echevarria recorded 21 points, one rebound, six assists, and two steals in a 100-68 win over Western New England. He followed that up with 18 points, five rebounds, five assists, and a steal in an 89-75 win over Roger Williams. In the Championship game, he scored 33 points, including 25 in the second half, to go with four rebounds, an assist and three steals in a 98-89 win over Endicott. For the week, Echevarria shot 45.3% (24-of-53) from the field and 41.7% (15-of-36) from beyond the arc.