Little Boston College football does these days gets the attention of the national media types — unless they’re putting together a “coaches on the hot seat” list, that is — but with the dismissal of all-time rushing leader Montel Harris, outsiders are taking note. Reaction across the college sports world has come in, and much like the initial tweets showed, some of them are coming down quite hard on the program.
A smattering of those articles and other tweets uphold that claim.
Boston College fans were just getting used to winning when it was abruptly taken away, which is why some are calling for coach Frank Spaziani’s head. However, DiFilippo doesn’t seem to be persuaded. He said Spaziani, who is 19-19 in his three seasons, is not only safe, but the best coach the program had had in the 15 years the athletic director had been there.
Harris’ dismissal put this team in a bad spot, pure and simple. A lot of people will want to blame Spaziani, but Harris isn’t guiltless here and if this team struggles again, he’ll shoulder as much blame as Coach Spaz.
The Harris dismissal is less indicative of tangible production, and as Paul Myerberg points out, more a perceived sense of gloom outsiders have about the program. Frankly, Harris’s loss is not even close to the most significant BC has sustained this off-season; that would be nation-leading tackler and linebacker extraordinaire Luke Kuechly.
The Eagles can attribute all of their victories to defense, holding opponents to a combined 61 points in those four outings. The defense nearly did enough to get BC bowl eligible, but the lack of an offensive punch supporting it ultimately doomed the Eagles’ bowl streak. Rebuilding the defense without Kuechly or sacks leader Max Holloway could prove a more arduous task than the one new offensive coordinator Doug Martin faces with his unit — although, that there is a new coordinator is a possible cause of concern.
The true damage in losing Harris is largely symbolic, and we can’t downplay how much it means. His place in the record books was just about the only thing left for BC supporters to hang onto after a 4-8 season, especially with team leader Luke Kuechly gone to the NFL. With Kuechly around, the defense was actually not bad last year, but now it … well, it … well, how much do you like Chase Rettig?
[Frank Spaziani] cited offensive tackles John Wetzel and Emmett Cleary, tight end Chris Pantale, wide receivers Colin Larmond Jr., Bobby Swigert and Alex Amidon and quarterback Chase Rettig as examples of players who’ve been on the field enough to know what it takes to succeed. The first four will be seniors in 2012, while the last three will be juniors.
BC opens the 2012 season Sept. 1 at home against Miami, but the most accomplished running back in school history won’t be taking the field in Alumni Stadium in the maroon and gold.
I think Frank Spaziani has done a great job at Boston College preparing them for the big move to the Patriot League.
— edsbs (@edsbs) May 1, 2012
So far though, there seems to be no one saying that Harris absolutely did no wrong, but there are people saying BC handled his dismissal wrong.
I am fine with whatever reaction you would like to have to this news, but I do question why there are a lot of people refusing to acknowledge that Montel let his teammates down to at least some degree and putting this whole mess squarely on Spaz. If those are the same people who are constantly screaming #FireSpaz and #FireGDF from the mountain tops, please explain.
Not all of the reaction was negative towards Boston College football, Frank Spaziani, or Gene DeFilippo, and such variety is represented here, but enough of it has been to raise some eyebrows. The realization that something is wrong with the program has grown within the Eagle fan community for years now, but lately, outsiders are beginning to realize it.
Why was Montel Harris kicked off the team? I don’t know and neither do you. You may have your theories and I might too, but until someone comes out and tells us, we simply can’t say for sure. I suppose what I’m saying is this: I see a handful of ordinary folks out there assuming that Harris did something illegal like so many other athletes who get kicked off teams, but frankly, you can’t assume that, and I think it does a great disservice to him to assume it. Until now, we had never heard of any disciplinary action in which he was involved and all indications are that he was a well-respected player and a good public face for the university. Now he’s being pegged by his own former coach as a repeat offender when we don’t even know what the offenses are (with the obvious connotation being that we’re supposed to assume Harris is a “bad apple” so to speak). You have to admit, this hasn’t been handled well and it has a certain peculiarity to it.
Nobody is saying Montel Harris didn’t violate Spaz’s rules, because he did. There’s good reason to distrust the words coming from the leaders of this program, but it’s clear he did something wrong in the coach’s eyes. What I’m saying is that there is more to the story that we don’t know — such as what those rules were, how Montel went about “repeatedly” violating them, and if there were other factors or motivations involved (and there very well might have been). Until we know that, however, we’re still dealing in speculation.
What we do not have to speculate about is that the Eagles no longer have Montel Harris, and despite the fact that he probably wasn’t going to be a major contributor in 2012, the perception is that this is a symbolic blow to an already sinking ship. Sometimes, perception merely resembles reality, but in this case, it’s spot on.