So this is what a normal game week feels like huh?
After BC opened with a 26-6 win over Duke last Saturday, the Eagles are now in a routine in terms of game planning for the first time in a long time. Boston College is set to open its home slate at Alumni Stadium this Saturday with Texas State (6 P.M.), but, before that, coach Hafley and a few players met with the media on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, here are some of the more interesting nuggets that came from those meetings:
KOBAY WHITE OUT FOR THE YEAR AFTER ACL SURGERY
The star wide receiver will be out for the year, coach Hafley announced the news on Wednesday morning. It’s a tough blow both for Kobay and the skill group, but Hafley knows his receiver will be back stronger than ever.
“We’ll miss him, he’s not only a great player but a great leader,” Hafley said. “I think he’s going to handle it really well. I’ll give you an example that shows the type of person he is…
“Friday night before the game he knew he wasn’t playing last week. He knew what was going on. He called me up at night, probably about 10 o’clock and asked if he could go early with the equipment people to go help set up the locker room because he wanted to be connected to the team. So, you’re talking about a great act of leadership, just an incredible kid, and he’ll battle through it.”
DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE
That’s more or less been the message inside the Eagles locker room after the impressive win over Duke. Both Zay Flowers and Phil Jurkovec were given awards for their performances this week, and it was also announced that the BC-UNC game next Saturday October 3 would be on either ESPN or ABC.
Following the win on Saturday you could also hear some ACC Network analysts saying that BC is now “a team to watch out for in the conference”, so, the obvious question then becomes how do you stop the hype train if you’re coach Hafley before it even leaves the station?
“Just show them the film,” Hafley said. “Put on the tape, show them the mistakes they made. Yeah, they made some plays, but there’s a ton of other plays that they also should have made, and there’s some that could have cost us. Look, I’m happy these guys got the accolades, and I really appreciate every text and every phone call and every thing that’s positive right now because we won, and that’s what we need to do.
“But, at the end of the day, I don’t even know who we’re playing two weeks from now and I’m really not worried about it. We have so much work to do to get better. We didn’t have spring ball, we didn’t have a full length training camp. We have to get better and we have to get better fast.”
HOW GOOD CAN THIS DEFENSE BE?
After a five-turnover performance on Saturday, it would be understandable if the Eagles defense was feeling good about itself. Instead, it was the opposite. Players acknowledged that there is plenty of room for improvement and that expectations are too high to just be satisfied with the Duke performance.
“It’s definitely an attitude and you’ve got to be very intentional about it,” Marcus Valdez said of the five turnovers. “We made it a focus all through training camp since we got back to campus, so that was a big reward to see it pay off. We do a lot fo attack the ball drills, trying to strip it out, interceptions for returns, all that stuff.
“We know last year wasn’t good enough, so, we want to improve on that. But, we didn’t dwell on it too much. It’s a new year, a new staff, everything’s totally different. We definitely still have that as a chip on our shoulder we know last year wasn’t good enough – where we were ranked and all that stuff – we’re trying to be a top 10, No.1 defense. Last week was good but it’s on to Texas State.”
IT FELT LIKE A LIFETIME
In reality, the Boston College football season didn’t really start all that much later than it normally does. However, with all the uncertainty and pessimism regarding this particular year, it was quite a weight off of the players’ shoulder to be back out on the field in North Carolina last weekend.
“When we start getting strapped up for pregame, and looking around and enjoying each other’s company in our uniforms, it was a new feeling, like a breath of fresh air,” said Max Richardson. “It’s been a long offseason, so, being out there obviously seemed like a long lost cause, but, when we got out there it was natural and felt close to home.”
DESPITE FIRST CAREER WIN, HAFLEY DISAPPOINTED WITH HIS PERFORMANCE
Just like the players, the coaching staff isn’t immune to criticism. Jeff Hafley was very critical of his performance last Saturday even though he earned his first career win as a head coach and even got a Gatorade shower after it. Hafley also talked about opening up the playbook this week a bit more as well.
“I didn’t coach well enough,” Hafley said bluntly. “I have to coach the team better on game day. There’s some stuff that I’m very disappointed in myself with, some stuff I didn’t see well enough on defense because I was wrapped up in other things and some little things I did that I have to coach better.”
What were some specifics? How about every little detail, right down to when the Eagles took the field.
“I felt like I rushed us out of the locker room,” Hafley acknowledged. “I thought we were on the field for too long, I thought we were back in the locker room, I got anxious and wanted to get out on the field. On the field, there were some things I missed, some routes I missed, some things (Duke) repeated – I told the team I was kind of wrapped up in my first time being a head coach and trying to manage the game and being over on the offensive head set – and when I got back and watched the tape I was disappointed in myself.
“I missed some things I would’ve adjusted quicker, I missed some things I would’ve corrected better, so I need to do a better job of coaching. That’s the number one job I have to do on game day.”
READY TO OPEN UP ALUMNI STADIUM UNDER THE LIGHTS
Mistakes or no mistakes, Hafley and his new staff had quite a debut last week, but don’t tell them that. It’ll be interesting to see how much better this team looks on a week-to-week basis with such an NFL-like approach, and we get our first glimpse of this new Eagles team in the maroon and gold Saturday night at Alumni. It will be the first of three straight home games for BC.
“Oh, absolutely,” Richardson said when asked if there was still a “not in our house” mentality despite the stands being empty. “You love to get off to a good start with a win, however, we believe we still have a lot of work to do – as a defense especially. We’re looking to get better and now we have some chances to go do our thing at home.
“You never want to lose, but you never, ever want to lose at home.”