Boston College head basketball coach Steve Donahue seems like a nice enough fellow, a good ambassador for our school, and a guy who cares about the program and his players.
It is, therefore, disconcerting that the man needs to make more and more excuses to write off several seasons of poor play, including this disastrous one.
Following the loss to Duke less than a week ago, he had this to say:
“We have the No. 1 hardest schedule in the country and I don’t think it’s even close, and it may have been a little bit too much to bite off for this group. That being said, the next three weeks is critical. We’ve got to play and play well. We’ve got to have fight and can’t have those moments we had tonight. The next three weeks we’ve got to play and got to have some success, and I feel confident this group will.”
(It’s actually 14th-hardest.)
We have heard him say that the schedule, which he wanted, was too tough and his players have been unable to adapt. We have also heard him say in the past that he needed a certain number of games (50) with this group to get them winning, which is kind of like making a preemptive excuse to buy yourself a couple years in your job. Of course, never mind the fact that Donahue is almost 90 games deep with his first recruiting class and they still aren’t winning.
Whether quotes like the former or analysts like LaPhonso Ellis all but claiming that Dennis Clifford was the difference between the Eagles being legit and being what they are at present, there is no shortage of excuses being made by the coach or by certain elements of the media. For this coach, with every quote, there’s always a promise of winning eventually, but he never manages to pay up. It is slightly and sadly reminiscent of the dying days of the previous football coaching regime.
Tonight, Coach Donahue and the Eagles go to Georgia Tech to face the Yellow Jackets for the second time this season. The first time, at Conte Forum, Boston College got bombed out of the gate, made things interesting, and then characteristically faded to an eight-point loss despite being the favored team. Now, the 6-17 (2-8) Eagles are the road underdogs and deservedly so.
If the Eagles should improve to 7-17, someone out there is going to call this the start of a comeback that isn’t coming. If 6-18 is in the cards, however, what will the excuse be for losing to the ACC’s 12th-place team tonight? Road environments are too hostile? They’re still not over the Providence game from November? Things are just too tough for this young team that isn’t very young anymore? They needed all seven feet of Dennis Clifford to grab a couple boards but he wasn’t there? The way this season is going, it’s likely we’ll get to find out.