2011 BC football breakdown, Part XXV: Coaching staff


Last stop on the twenty-five part preview of Boston College football’s players in 2011 is to look at who will coach those players on the sidelines. We know most of these guys already, but there is one new coach in particular who will have a significant say in whether or not the Eagles turn things around this season.

Frank Spaziani | Head Coach

Coach Spaz enters his third year at the top of Boston College football after having spent quite a long while serving as defensive coordinator. Whatever criticisms I’ve had of him as a coach are not personal, nor are they across the board; all indications are that the guy is genuine and honest, loyal to Boston College, well-respected, and is a very capable recruiter who is good at selling newcomers to the heights on the “family” nature of business around here. The number of three and four-star recruits BC has hauled in lately should at least attest to that much. There was also a reported flare of passion and bravado from the coach on media day, which, if true, would be a welcome change.

With all of that said, in-game coaching has been an issue for the first two seasons of his head coaching tenure. Spaziani teams are typically far too conservative for my liking. In the past two years, the Eagles have not taken many chances, whether by not going for it in short-yardage fourth-down situations, not going for the big play or not deviating from a very predictable set of plays (though Gary Tranquill also deserved quite a lot of blame for that), or not taking the opportunity to score before the half when the Eagles have the ball. Further, clock and timeout management has been the source of many puzzled reactions amongst BC fans in those previous seasons.

It is my hope that he succeeds in his third season and bounces back. With last year being disappointing (my story and I’m sticking to it), he and his team will need to produce in 2011.

Bill McGovern | Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers

McGovern’s got a pretty good gig: head up one of the better defenses in FBS and coach guys like Luke Kuechly, Kevin Pierre-Louis, and Albert Louis-Jean, amongst many talented players. He has coached with Spaziani at Boston College for quite a long time and as linebackers coach has helped groom some good ones, most recently Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly. While his defense last season was tops in all of FBS in stopping the run, it could have been better in stopping the pass and could have been much better in dialing up a pass rush.

Kevin Rogers | Offensive Coordinator

What we ask of Boston College’s new offensive coordinator is no simple task: build this offense up from scratch. Yes, you’ve got some definite talent to work with, but when it came to results in 2009 and 2010, the Eagles got virtually none. Rogers had made many stops on his career, the most recent of which was in Minnesota as quarterbacks coach to the man who probably wishes he lost Jenn Sterger’s number (or doesn’t, depending on his level of personal shame). Though that was a stint in the NFL, most of Rogers’ coaching experience comes from the collegiate level. Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech are a few of his stops on offensive coaching staffs.

There is literally nowhere to go but up for the Eagles’ offense. His predecessor’s 2010 season was abysmal, as Boston College was near the bottom of FBS offenses. His playcalling was predictable to the point of being comical and the offense managed under his guidance some of the most embarrassing performances they’ve had in a quarter of a century (see: BC at Clemson, 2009). Rogers will need to open up the playbook and be creative. If he does either of those two things, Boston College will have a better offense than last year. More than that, however, the Eagles under Rogers will have to play to guys’ strengths but not be afraid to take chances. Run, run, pass, punt over and over again will get our offense ranked dead last in the ACC again (we had a worse offense than a Wake team that won three games, and that’s saying something), and I think Rogers has the good sense to avoid such predictability.

Dave Brock | Tight Ends

Brock has been an offensive coordinator in the past and has some big-program experience. North Carolina and K-State are two of the schools he can list on his resume, and his teams at K-State were good offensively. Now, he’s entering his third season as the tight ends coach at Boston College, and we’ve seen the kind of work he’s done developing Chris Pantale. Now he’s going to have Brian Miller, four-star and Massachusetts top recruit at his disposal, so it will be interesting to see how he develops this new player in years to come.

Jeff Comissiong | Defensive Line

Comissiong has been with the Eagles since the highly-successful 2007 season. Boston College got him from Harvard’s coaching staff and since coming here, his defensive lines have been good at stopping the run. Also notably, he’s an active recruiter: if you search some of the names of incoming freshmen BC has this year, past years, or future years, chances are you’ll see Comissiong’s name several times.

Mike Dawson | Special Teams

Special teams was a unit that, as laid out in Part XXIV, needs improvement. Dawson is a former defensive assistant who made the jump to special teams when coming to the Eagles in 2009, and though the punter and kickers he’s coached have done well, the return game has not. To refresh your memory, the Eagles had one of the weakest return games in FBS last season.  Dawson will have to get much more out of them in 2011.

Ryan Day | Wide Receivers

Day has been a part of the Boston College staff since Jeff Jagodzinski brought him here in 2007. He has coached as an assistant at UNH and as a graduate assistant at Florida and BC during the TOB days. Some had believed that upon Gary Tranquill’s retirement following last season that Day would be a leading candidate for the offensive coordinator position, but instead, Gene DeFilippo and Frank Spaziani elected to go out of the program and bring in Rogers. At only age 32, Day has a lot of coaching left in him, and he may yet serve a higher function on this staff (if someone else doesn’t beat us to it, that is).

Sean Devine | Offensive Line

Devine has coached the offensive line for the Eagles since 2009, and while 2009 saw decent enough results, the line in 2010 left much to be desired. It was easy to call out Gary Tranquill for the failure of the offense, but if we’re going to be fair, then Devine’s line (I did not intend to rhyme there, but I did) needed improvement and will have to produce in 2011. If I’m going to be even more fair, then I can’t entirely pin that on him, but the players as well. He will have the task of breaking in several new starters with the losses of Anthony Castonzo, Thomas Claiborne, and Rich Lapham.

Mike Siravo | Defensive Backs & Recruiting Coordinator

Siravo has been with the BC coaching staff since the Jags days, and though he coaches our defensive backs, his more important function (at least to me, anyway) is his serving as recruiting coordinator. We’ve seen in just the last year or two that BC is roping in good talent both locally and nationally. Boston College probably isn’t going to land the five-star guys who you’d find at USC, Texas, or Ohio State any time soon, but under Siravo, they’ve gone after and landed solid talent like

Shakim Phillips

(well, for a little while), Christian Suntrup, Kevin Pierre-Louis, and most recently, Albert Louis-Jean.

Ben Sirmans | Running Backs

Sirmans has also been with the BC coaching staff since the days of Jags, and has presumably played a large role in the development of Montel Harris into one of the top backs in the ACC. He has a nice resume which includes working for Michigan State football before coming to Boston College. He would not have had much to worry about with Montel, but his next job will be grooming the next starter who incidentally will get playing time this season (and his name begins with an “A” and ends with an “ndre Williams”).

The unknown quantity to Eagles fans is clearly Rogers. I think most of us have high hopes for him turning the offense around, but until we see what he can do (outside of a limited playbook for the spring game), the jury will be out. The others, for the most part, can just keep on doing what they’re doing.