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Talking Boston College With BC Interruption

My answers to their questions are here. Thanks to Brian and Jeff for taking the time.

1.) Has the quarterback situation changed in the aftermath of David Shinskie's unfortunate outing against Virginia Tech? Will he have a short leash on Saturday, and can we expect to see anyone else under center?

Jeff: Yes, you can expect to see someone other than Shinskie under center at some point in the game. Reason is because Spaziani is of the same mentality as Tom O'Brien where he is determined to find some playing time for the second team. In the situation we have here where our starter is just as inexperienced as our backup, we don't really agree with that philosophy but we know it's coming. Shinskie's performance at Virginia Tech was equally poor as his performance at Clemson. However that will not have much, if anything, to do with his playing time on Saturday when the Eagles return to the friendly confines of Alumni Stadium. We expect him to have a performance more similar to what he managed to do against Wake Forest and Florida State.

2.) Are you happy with Frank Spaziani so far?

Brian: I think the jury is still out on Spaz's performance this season as there is still a lot of football to be played. The Eagles turned in four solid performances at home and two absolute stinkers on the road. Looking purely at the Eagles record, you have to be happy with a 4-2 (2-2 ACC) record at the season's halfway point. That record at face value looks pretty good given all the offseason turmoil this team faced. This team is in a position to make their third straight ACC Championship Game appearance (assuming both Wake Forest and Clemson will lose in ACC play again this season) and you probably couldn't ask for much more from a first year, first time head coach.

However, if you dig a little deeper, what does have me concerned is how flat Boston College came out in their only two road tests on the season. Those losses were embarrassingly, jaw-droppingly bad and the first place you start to look for answers has to be the coaching staff. Spaz & co. have to have this team better prepared to play on the road. While this Eagles team is young, there are enough pieces in place where those losses shouldn't have been that lopsided. This Eagles team is much more talented than the games in Clemson and Blacksburg would indicate.

3.) What did Clemson and Virginia Tech do to stall BC's offense that Wake Forest and Florida State could not?

Jeff: They played aggressive and fast but beyond that it was more about BC not being ready for the road games and getting the wind taken out of them by big plays early in the game. In the Clemson game, the C.J. Spiller kick return was deflating for the team. Last weekend at Virginia Tech, the failure to make a stop on 3rd and 17 and giving up a touchdown was essentially the end of the game against Virginia Tech. BC seems to lack a little leadership this year in possibly every area and that is really showing in their play on the field.

4.) BC decided to air it out in Raleigh last season, and Chris Crane rewarded that decision with his best performance of the season. NC State's secondary is as vulnerable as ever, so do you expect a similar game plan this time around?

Brian: While David Shinskie hasn't yet developed into a quarterback that has the skill or experience of a Thaddeus Lewis, I'd expect the Eagles to again air it out again against NC State, Chris Crane style. I don't think Shinskie will throw 40 or 50 passes on Saturday, but just enough so that the Wolfpack defense has to respect the threat of the deep ball. This should open up the running game a bit more for the Eagles who will face a pretty stout defense against the run.

My only problem with this is everyone sees this type of game plan coming. After NC State's loss to Duke, all anyone could talk about was the poor play of the secondary. With their back against the wall, are they poised for a breakout performance? Who knows. This point will be moot, however, if the road version of Dave Shinskie shows up on Saturday.

5.) The Eagles defense has held together better than I would have guessed. Who are the impact guys on that side of the football? Any new wrinkles in the defensive scheme, or is it business as usual for a Spaz defense?

Jeff: The impact player you may not have heard of yet is linebacker Luke Kuechly. As a true freshman, he currently leads the team with 55 tackles. He is certainly one of the guys that has stepped up and made the loss of Mark Herzlich slightly less noticeable. On the defensive line we are still feeling the loss of BJ Raji and Ron Brace. The Eagles' secondary is probably the strongest it has been in several years which also helps lessen the blow of the weaknesses on the defensive line. Even though Spaz is now the HC, you'll notice our standard prevent defense comes back out once we get a second half lead which almost came back to bite us against Wake Forest. Should BC get a decent second half lead, don't count your Wolfpack out until all time has ticked off the clock.