CHESTNUT HILL – One of the major faults of Frank Spaziani during his tenure at Boston College was that he was never able to build enough depth on the roster.
Once a few injuries built up during the course of summer camp and the season, Spaziani was forced to play young and inexperienced players who really weren’t ready to contribute on an ACC level. The easy blame for that situation was on Spaziani for not recruiting enough talent that was ready to come in and contribute from Day One.
The other part of the blame – and one that was voiced by fans at the time – could be placed on Spaziani for going too hard on the players during summer camp.
There were a lot of rumors flying around that some of the veteran leadership was upset that the staff wasn’t going easier on key players on the team who had prior injury issues. The players weren’t looking for their injured teammates to get summer camp off, but they were looking for them to get a break from having to go full tilt in every practice and scrimmage.
During the past several seasons, key offensive players such as Chris Pantale, Montel Harris and Colin Larmond Jr. found themselves on the injury report before the season started because of injuries sustained in summer camp. Fair or not, some people felt like those injuries could have been avoided with a lesser workload.
New coach Steve Addazio has taken a different approach to camp when it comes to the workload of key starters with a history of injury. The players aren’t excused from practice or anything like that, but they are taking fewer reps than some of the other starters.
One player that Addazio is limiting is running back Andre Williams. The senior has shown flashes in the past that he can be an effective go-to back, like his 191-yard performance against Army or his 104-yard performance against Florida State last year. Unfortunately, various nagging injuries have cost Williams playing time and moved him down on the depth chart.
This summer, Addazio has chosen to keep Williams limited in practices and virtually off the field in scrimmages to limit his risk of injury.
“I want to keep him healthy more than I want to keep him fresh,” Addazio said. “He takes his share of contact reps each day, but it’s just a measured number.”
Addazio was pressed by a reporter recently about Williams and was asked what Williams has shown in camp to prove he is ready for the starting job. The reporter hinted at Williams’ injury history and his inability to keep the starting job once it was handed to him in the past.
“I’ve seen him in spring ball, and I saw him in camp. He’s clearly the best back on the field so far,” said Addazio, who later added: “The No. 2 is not close to the No. 1 right now. The No. 1 a little rusty is still the No. 1.”
It was his way of saying that Williams is clearly the most talented back on the roster right now.
“Everybody is different, and we try to manage them,” Addazio said. “I think the guys here, you have to do a great job of explaining it to your team. (Williams) is not the only one, there are a lot of guys. Everyone has a different scenario on them for different reasons. It could be injury reasons; there are a whole lot of reasons why different guys have difference scenarios. I think when you explain to your team they buy into – my whole message is we are going to do right by you. Just trust in the fact that we are going to manage the team the right way.”
As Addazio said, Williams isn’t the only player who saw a lesser workload in scrimmages. Projected starters Alex Amidon, Matt Patchan, Kaleb Ramsey, Sean Sylvia, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Manny Asprilla all saw limited or no action in the second scrimmage of the summer. Addazio actually canceled the scheduled third scrimmage of the summer all together after a very physical practice the day before.
Addazio admits that the new routine has the chance of blowing up in his face once the season starts. For now, though, the Eagles are as healthy as they’ve been in years heading into the regular season.
Clifford Opts For Surgery
As previously reported, BC basketball center Dennis Clifford was considering surgery on his knee if it didn’t start getting closer to 100 percent. Clifford’s knee continued its slow healing process, and in mid-August, he decided on getting surgery.
The surgery Clifford had done moved his knee cap and took some of the pressure off his knee. Also, the doctors scraped some arthritis while they were doing the procedure. Clifford (7-1, 250) will go back to the doctors in September to be re-evaluated and possibly have the procedure done on his other knee.
After having the surgery done, Clifford is in jeopardy of not being ready when camp opens. Also, if everything doesn’t heal as scheduled, Clifford might not even be able to go when the basketball season opens. A redshirt year isn’t out of the question.
The injury is obviously troublesome to the BC coaching staff, not only for this season but for the future, too. If you take a quick look at BC’s recruiting targets for 2014, you will find nothing except a list of power forwards and centers. It seems fairly obvious that there is huge importance being placed on finding a serviceable big man not only for the future but also for sharing time with Clifford in what is projected to be his senior season.
Clifford’s injury is the biggest story for the BC hoops team going into the season as coach Steve Donahue goes into his fourth year on the job.