Brian: I'm as frustrated as the next Superfan at the Eagles performance through 5 games. You and I both didn't really like the Spaziani hire back in January 2009, but the Eagles won enough games in year one AJ (After Jags) that things seemed like they would be OK. This season, the source of frustration is more the way the Eagles are losing rather than the losses themselves. This team isn't very good and has a ton of issues, starting with the coaching staff and touching every unit on the field.
The Eagles were gifted a very favorable 2010 schedule. A schedule that didn't include North Carolina (probably better than people thought), Miami (decent, but vulnerable) and Georgia Tech (worse than people thought). Home games against Clemson and Virginia Tech. No 2009 bowl teams on the schedule in the month of November. Duke and Virginia from the Coastal side of the Division. The opportunity to win seemed to be this year. With a much less favorable schedule in 2011, and programs like Florida State, Miami and Notre Dame likely on the rise, the window seemed to be closing on the Eagles.
Now, ticket sales will be way down for the rest of the 2010 season with home games left against Maryland, Clemson and Virginia. Ticket sales will continue to be soft next season, with just six home games and a schedule that includes just one named ACC opponent (Florida State) and three largely uninteresting ones (Wake, Duke, N.C. State). Road games against Notre Dame, Miami, Virginia Tech and Clemson seem to be sure losses at this point.
There's no question in my mind that 2010 was a huge wasted opportunity for this program. It's a wasted opportunity and a huge disappointment for a fan base that had grown used to winning seasons and trips to the postseason.
But is Spaz's teams' performance and the missed opportunity in 2010 enough for fans to start calling for a head coaching change on the Heights? D1scourse's Patrick Stevens thinks calls for Spaziani to be fired might be a bit premature.
"Basically, the hole in the program has caught up with Spaziani and the Eagles, and there's not much he could have done. The "Fire Spaz" sentiment that popped up on Twitter yesterday is a bit unreasonable. But for a guy in his early 60s, he's still untested as a head coaching commodity, and BC fans have every right to wonder if the Eagles are going to settle into the bottom half of the ACC in the next couple years after coming close to maximizing their opportunities since joining the conference. It's a fair question, and no one knows the answer a dozen and a half games into Spaziani's stint."
Yesterday, the #FireSpaz hashtag took on a life of its own on Twitter. Supposedly, the website URL www.firespaz.com has been purchased and is currently being built. Are the calls for Spaziani's job fair? Or is this an overreaction from a fan base that has become used to 7, 8, 9 and 10 win seasons? Your thoughts?
Jeff: First let me address the schedule. So far, our schedule has not been easy. N.C. State and Virginia Tech have spent time in the top 25. Notre Dame is an overtime loss to Michigan State from being in the top 25 right now. Through five games, our schedule is probably more difficult than usual. It's starting with our Maryland home game that things get easy from then on. Playing Virginia Tech and Notre Dame at home was preferable but no sure wins there even if our team was performing up to our preseason expectations. Our first five games, in retrospect, were no easier than our schedule typically starts out.
On to firing Spaz. Like you said, neither of us were huge fans of hiring Spaz in the first place so I really would not mind if he did get fired and would actually be a little bit excited. My gut tells me that we were right about Spaz from the beginning. We can attract 7-8 win talent to BC. If the right group gets together, that can become a 10-win season. If the wrong group gets together then we have a 5-6 win season. If we have a great coaching staff, then we our ceiling goes up to 11 games and our floor is raised to something above bowl eligibility. Right now, we are being coached to to borderline bowl eligibility. Coaching is a huge issue at BC right now. If Spaz were still the defensive coordinator, then we'd at least have one side of the ball ready almost every Saturday. Now, we have a head coach figuring things out, an offensive coordinator who can't keep up with what is going on around him, and a defensive coordinator that is not being helped by injuries and isn't good enough to not get some help from the offense and special teams. It all results in no one making any plays wearing a BC uniform on the football field.
I think Momah's touchdown Saturday sums things up so far this season. Even our good plays and glimmers of hope are inches/seconds away from disaster.
I do not think firing Frank Spaziani is a good move right now, but I would support it. I think if we fired Spaz that we would take a bigger step back then we are already looking at. Spaz is currently suffering partially from incomplete recruiting classes during previous coaching changes -- all of which he was a part of, of course. But BC is very thin at many positions which is not helping anything. We are needing true freshman and sohpomores to step up in key roles, including, but not exclusive to, the quarterback position in order to be successful. Spaz is putting together a decent recruiting class it seems for next season after having a decent one this season. It may not result in a ton of wins next season but he is at least building something and not just relying on the previous guy's talent.
GDF has to make a move though. He should do something today but certainly after Saturday assuming BC drops to 2-4. Spaz or GDF need to get rid of Tranquill. Anyone could call a better game than him right now whether they have five minutes or five decades of football coaching experience. Everything he is trying is not working. If a move is made with one of the coordinators or the HC, that will keep the fans happy with just any bowl appearance this season which is still very doable with Duke, Virginia, Maryland and Wake Forest still being games that we might be favored in and Clemson coming to Chestnut Hill as a team that is also off to an 0-2 start in conference.
If Rettig doesn't provide a spark to this team when he comes back, I'm not exactly sure how this season will get better. But since BC had so much more success with basically the same group of guys last season, there must be a way.