Lunch With The Players

On Wednesday of each week, Boston College holds a luncheon for the media to mingle with some of the players. This week, Matt Tennant and Montel Harris were on hand and Eagle Insider was there.

No, Virginia is not Clemson, Virginia Tech, or Notre Dame.

No, Virginia's Scott Stadium does not have the hostile atmosphere of Notre Dame Stadium, Lane Stadium, or Death Valley.

And Dave Shinskie and the Eagles have come a long way from the team that couldn't move the ball at all against Clemson.

But no matter how you slice it, BC has yet to win this year on the road. Three straight losses on the road – and five losses in a row away from Alumni Stadium dating back to last year – is a trend. And it's a trend the Eagles will have to reverse if they harbor realistic hopes of returning to Tampa for this year's ACC Championship Game.

"You've gotta get out of the confines of Alumni at some point. We're not always going to be playing here," said Matt Tennant at the weekly media luncheon. "So we definitely need to go get a win."

"This is a road game and we've got to get a win," added Dave Shinskie. "We need to bring the enthusiasm we play with at home to the road."

Tennant said that he would make no excuses for the team's road performance so far, and added that with trips to Maryland and, hopefully, a bowl game still to come, the Eagles will have to learn to get Ws away from Alumni Stadium.

But he was quick to point out that BC– and, specifically Dave Shinskie – have developed greatly over the course of the year, and is in better position to pick up a victory this weekend.

"Shinskie's a completely different person than he was at the beginning of the season," Tennant said. "He still makes mistakes like anyone else does, but not as many of them. He does a good job listening to [Coach Tranquill]. He's come a long way."

Tennant then cracked a joke at the expense of the offense's 25-year-old leader. "He's still the same guy in the huddle, though. Sometimes he calls out the wrong [play] and people have to correct him," he said, laughing.

Tennant said that the experience of making big plays and winning games has helped Shinskie in his development.

He also believes that the offensive line's development has helped Shinskie and the offense.

"I think we're a lot more confident, and we all have a better understanding of the offense now," he said. "In the first couple games, not everybody was firing on the same cylinder. Now there's more understanding about what to do on each play."

"With Coach Jags it was more of a zone scheme, this is more of a man scheme. We've got some different plays that some guys weren't used to running before," he continued, adding that the offensive line seems to be fully on board and prepared to execute coach Spaziani's scheme.

"As the season's coming to an end, we need to bring all the pieces together," he said. "Sometimes Dave's playing well and the offensive line hasn't done a good job, or maybe we've got the running game going but aren't throwing the ball well. It's about putting all the pieces together now."

First Trip To UVA

This weekend will mark BC's first visit to the University of Virginia since joining the ACC. The last time these two teams played was in 2005, during BC's inaugural season in the conference, when the Cavaliers travelled to Alumni. BC won that game 28-17, in a game best remembered for UVA player Bill Butler's cheap shot on Mathias Kiwanuka.

"I was there, my redshirt year when we played UVA," said Tennant. "When Mathias got cut-blocked… the sidelines just erupted. We were down big, and we came back after that… there was a lot of emotion."

That year's UVA team finished 7-5. This year's edition, however, does not seem likely to make a bowl. The 3-6 Cavaliers are riding a three game losing streak, with games upcoming against BC, Clemson, and Virginia Tech.

They are coming off a 52-17 loss to Miami, and also have losses to Duke, William and Mary, and Southern Mississippi. But the Eagles will not take this game lightly.

"We've got a chance to go on the road and play a good team," said Tennant.

"In the ACC, every game's a tough game and you've got to be ready," said Montel Harris.

UNC and Maryland can attest to that – UVA's defense shut down each team en route to the Cavs' two ACC victories, 16-3 over UNC on Oct. 3 and 20-9 over Maryland on Oct. 17.


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