CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- The difficulty of recruiting usually focuses on the ability to project college-level talent out of a 17-year-old’s performance. But it’s doubly hard to figure out what Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani refers to as “spacing.” He means crunching the numbers on the depth chart so that every season, you have players in every class at every position.
It’s about as hard as a college Statistics class, especially when you toss in injuries, missed projections and transfers.
Then there’s the defensive line, which is so thin it belongs on a Hollywood red carpet. On paper, the Eagles have spacing. But Spaziani indicated that his older players have yet to measure up to what Boston College must replace -- fifth-year seniors Austin Giles, Jim Ramella and Nick Rossi.
“We have guys who have played tackle,” Spaziani said, “but they don’t have the experience and work ethic and understanding of what it takes. ... It’s more in leadership and seniority issues. That’s where the difficulty is.”
There’s always the chance that senior end Alex Albright will be able to remain healthy, or that senior tackle Damik Scafe will blossom. But Spaziani used his defensive line and quarterbacks to preface a solution that he believes would ameliorate the problems of spacing and benefit every scholarship football player. He wants to do away with redshirts and grant every player a fifth year of eligibility.
“You need all 85 guys,” he said. “The NFL did a study and, with their 53-man roster, they end up playing about 80 guys a season.”
Spaziani points out that many players already take five years to graduate, so there would be little additional cost. He believes that playing the young guys on special teams or in spot duty would reduce injuries by spreading out the workload. It would help young players develop and increase the enjoyment. There’s nothing like a redshirt year to make a freshman feel homesick.
The idea has been kicking around college football for years. University presidents have not embraced it. Spaziani made it sound simple and logical.