Upon being hired in October, Boston College athletic director Brad Bates said he would wait until the end of the season to evaluate the football program, specifically embattled coach Frank Spaziani. While Bates and Spaziani have talked since Bates’s arrival at the Heights, Spaziani said none of those conversations has centered on what to expect once the season ends Saturday.
“We haven’t had any discussions on that,” Spaziani said.
A 30-23 overtime loss to Virginia Tech Saturday in their last home game of the season dropped the Eagles to 2-9, their worst mark since 1989. Should they fall to North Carolina State in their season finale this Saturday, they would join the 1978 Eagles, who went 0-11, as the only teams to lose 10 or more games in a season.
Bates has been visible since his arrival, making a point to travel to the Florida State game immediately after he was hired and then to the Georgia Tech game a week later. He has said that the success of the football program is important for the university as a whole.
By and large, Bates and Spaziani’s interactions have been casual meet-and-greets. In the coming days, however, they will have to discuss the team’s issues.
Injuries plagued the Eagles this season. Their defense, which had been Spaziani’s specialty in his 17 years with the program, was among the worst in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
With a game to play, Spaziani said he hasn’t taken the time to reflect on the season’s shortcomings.
“You do that after the season,” he said. “I haven’t thought about it in those terms.”
A day after hearing boos at Alumni Stadium, Spaziani defended his decision to play for OT against Virginia Tech rather than roll the dice with 1:05 left and two timeouts.
“I do understand that it’s a point of contention and people would have different opinions on it,” he said. “But that situation has been produced in practice and simulated in scrimmages. That exact situation came up in one of our scrimmages, which we script. We script different times, we script overtime. That situation came up.
“It was off the cuff, as you would in a scrimmage, in simulated game. We made a decision on that day, and then we went back in and reviewed it and discussed how we would do this in a game, was that right? We second-guessed ourselves ahead of time.”
He said that at that point in the game against the Hokies, he considered the flow of the game, his offense’s struggles passing the ball, the seven sacks that Chase Rettig had taken, and the relatively strong performance by his defense, and decided OT was the best option.
“It’s a little bit more than just, ‘Oh there’s 59 seconds left, let’s make this decision,’ ” he said. “And I do understand that. But we as coaches have to do a little bit more than that. Is there second-guessing? You better believe it. But under those circumstances, we thought that was our best chance to win.
“It turned out wrong. Now, did it turn out wrong because of that? I don’t know. There were a lot of other things. There’s a lot that goes into that. Second-guessing? I don’t know.”
Spaziani said, if anything, he might have gone with a screen instead of a draw play, near the end of the game, but otherwise he was OK with the decision to go to extra time.
“I would do the same thing,” he said. “That’s why we try to take the feelings out of it. We try to do a professional job with it. That’s what coaches do.”Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.