Charlotte, N.C. -- The long layoff between the end of the regular season and a bowl game is not something most college football players and coaches relish. Too much time for rust to develop. Too much time for a team to get sloppy.
Boston College has a different take. The Eagles have welcomed the chance to spend more time preparing for Navy's spread-option offense, given how unconventional it is, with its emphasis on cut-blocking and misdirection. Navy relies on triple-option principles that have mostly disappeared at the collegiate level.
"One day in practice, we had our [scout] team [on offense] without a football, just so we could play assignment football," said Boston College junior middle linebacker Jolonn Dunbar, noting how critical it is for defenders to read their offensive keys and not get caught guessing where the ball is. "The speed of the game is tough, and what [the Midshipmen] do to execute their offense with their misdirection is definitely tough to prepare for."
"We're fortunate to have more time than just one week [to prepare for the option]. That's helped," added Frank Spaziani, the Eagles' defensive coordinator and interim head coach. "You can't duplicate it in practice. It's not just the speed of it. It's the intensity. We have to catch up to the intensity of their blocks."
Last of the Persons
For Navy senior backup offensive tackle Joe Person, tomorrow's game will mark the end of an era for Navy football.
He is the last of six sons of Bill and Suzanne Person who have played Division I football, including four who have played for Navy. The Midshipmen have had at least one player named Person on 14 of their past 15 teams.
Andy Person played defensive end for the Mids from 1992 through 1995. Chris was a defensive end from 1994 through 1997. Dan also played defensive end for Navy from 1999 through 2002. Joe came onboard the following year.
In addition, Brian Person was a defensive end at Penn (1997-2001) and brother Fran played on the offensive line at South Carolina (2001-2004).
In all, the Persons have combined to earn seven bowl rings and two Ivy League championships.
Navy's defensive front seven knows it faces an uphill battle taking on such a large, mobile Boston College line. On the back end, the Mids' secondary has quite a task in figuring out junior quarterback Matt Ryan, who has spread the ball around consistently and accurately all year.
"[Ryan] is not one of those guys who drops back like he's going to throw it to this guy. He scans the entire field," Navy senior safety Jeremy McGown said. "He'll look to one side, then snap his head back to the other side and find somebody open. You just can't get a read on him."
Ticket sales for the Car Care Bowl have passed the 50,000 mark. Navy has sold nearly 22,000 tickets. ... Before joining the Boston College staff in 1997, Spaziani spent five years as a defensive coordinator in the Canadian Football League.