Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Throwing in the Towel

I apologize for the infrequency of my posts the past week.  I just received internet back this Monday and was very busy yesterday with Election Day.  I have not had the chance to give my thoughts on the Florida State debacle which I had the opportunity to witness in person.  In short, it was depressing.

There is no energy left whatsoever surrounding this program.  The team is flat.  The fan base is too.  I had the misfortune of sitting in the student section for the first quarter of the game.  I convinced a few friends to relive the glory days once more, hoping that if we pulled the upset, it would be a fun time.  Instead, it was terrible.  There was no interest in the game from the student section.  For a Thursday night, primetime game, the student section was not even half full by the time kick off rolled around.  With ten minutes left in the end of the game, the majority of the student section was empty once again (I guess they had to go study...).  I remember being there and getting loud for big games, being rowdy and making Alumni as hostile as possible.  This was not the case among the students this year.  Not even at the beginning of the game when there was a chance we could do well.  I feel bad for the students right now.  Watching this team, with its defeatist coach, and really no end in sight (despite our wishes) is a difficult experience and the students are being robbed of one of the best things about going to Boston College.  For their sake, I hope they get to experience a winning team and an exciting coach before they graduate.

On one of the message boards, the question was asked, somewhat tongue in cheek, somewhat not, "When did Spaz throw in the towel?"  Possible answers were 7-0, 14-0, 21-0, etc. etc. Though the one that sticks out was "Before the game even started."  It is frightening to think that this is even a possibility, let alone the likelihood.  Spaz has shown, time and again, that he is outmatched and in over his head at his current job.  He clearly does not believe that his team can win.  What kind of coach believes that?  Part of a coach's job is to make his athletes believe they can beat anyone at anytime.  I once heard Mike Leach say, about coaching athletes, "Don't remind them that they're young.  Don't tell them what they can't do, tell them what they can."  We do have a young, inexperienced team, that fact is used constantly by the coaching staff and the Athletic Director to explain away our football woes, but what a real coach does, what a coach who believes in his team and their ability does is play to their strengths and make sure that those athletes believe that they can beat anyone.  Whether, in reality, they can or can't is irrelevant.  What is important is having a coach who wills his athletes to believe they are invincible.

With about ten minutes left to go in the fourth quarter, down by 24 points, Boston College had the ball.  There were few illusions among the fans that we would win this game, but at least we would go down fighting.  After two running plays, and a pass play, down 24 points with now about six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Boston College lined up for a punt.  The yellow towel had been thrown in, the white flag waved.  Frank Spaziani had made the decision that he would not go down fighting, that he would punt the ball away and pin Florida State down in their own territory and let them run out the clock and end the game.  In that single move Spaz showed the entire nation, at least the ones still watching the game, but more importantly the entire BC community that avoiding a blow out, rather more of a blow out, was more important than fighting it out.  More important that showing his players that, even though they were down, they were still going to go after Florida State, still be aggressive.  Instead, Spaz threw in the towel.  The only question that remains is when he made that decision.  7-0, 14-0, 21-0, 28-0?  Or in August?

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