Just got off a teleconference with Frank Spaziani, the coach of Miami's first opponent, Boston College.
Spaziani knows Al Golden quite well. Golden was the linebackers coach at BC from 1997 to '99. Spaziani has been at BC since 1997. Spaziani was the running backs coach in 97 and 98, and the defensive coordinator from 1999 through 2008. He became the Eagles' head coach in 2009.
Here are some of his comments. He made sure not to talk about anyone specifically from Miami, except for a few comments on quarterback Stephen Morris.
On Stephen Morris:
"Stephen is a very big league quarterback with skills. All you do is have to go back and look at the Maryland game he started last year. He didn’t skip a beat as far as their offense. They moved the ball and scored very well. I know the situation that they had last year was obviously a new situation in handling everybody, but he has all the skills and I’m sure with a whole season with the system under his belt and now an offseason and a preseason, we’re expecting an accomplished quarterback in there, and somebody that albeit hasn’t played a lot of plays, but has been in games and been around and I’m sure he’s going to be well schooled."
Is it better to have the whole offseason to prepare for a team without having seen a lot of the opponents’ new faces, or having seen them on film in game action without as much time to prepare?
"The positive is some of our guys have had experience and been on the field with them; they’ve got that to carry over. In openers for everybody throughout the country the motto is expect the unexpected. We know they’re well coached, everybody is going to be enthusiastic on both sides of the field and they have got great athletes, so expect the unexpected and take care of our own business and see what we have."
How possible is it to put together any semblance of a real game plan for week 1. Is it more about you week 1 than opponent as opposed to other weeks where you can game plan more specifically?
"Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It’s just natural the more you’ve seen people going into the season, it’s a better beat you can get on them. But those guys on offense and defense over there do a good job of keeping you off balance. You have to draw from something that they’ve done in the past. Everybody has something they hang their hat on and they’re going to put some new wrinkles in."
"That’s where experience comes in and helps you get through those things. As I said, earlier, the best motto to go by is expect the unexpected. There is going to be things in that game that we haven’t seen on both sides of the ball and in special teams and certainly there is going to be stuff that they haven’t seen and it’s just a matter of who can adjust and who can handle it. That’s the excitement of a first game, really. It’s tremendous for everybody."
Playing Miami the last game of last season and first this season, does that present an interesting dynamic? Does that change things?
“You know, not really. I don’t think so. It looks like there should be some interesting dynamics in that they’re back to back games but they’re back to back nine months apart or 10 months apart or whatever it is. They’re two different teams. A lot of things have changed from that game. The atmosphere, the psychology, the teamwork. they’re just two different teams. I could speak for our team and I’m sure Al would say the same thing.’’
Is opening with a conference game a good thing?
“I don’t mind it, because it’s the same for both of us. Miami is the same as us. There is no game earlier or they didn’t have any extra practice time. So, you have to play the game so why not get them going? That’s the way I look at it. It’s one week. Every week is an individual season. Conference game or no conference let’s find out who we are.’’
Anybody in particular from Miami that stands out?
“I cannot identify them they’re so fast. They have some very good players on both sides of the ball. Obviously their skill people and their size and their quickness. That’s an athletic football team with some good players and they’re well coached.”
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN