Doug Flutie: Yes, he threw that one pass. But he also won the Heisman Trophy and every other major national award at Boston College before embarking on a two-decade pro career in the USFL, CFL and NFL, and now works to fight autism through the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation.
He was on the media rounds today to promote the Capital One Cup, a new award that will donate $200,00 to fund graduate-level scholarships for student-atheltes at the top men's and women's athletic programs in the country, based on final standings of NCAA Division I Championships and final official coaches' polls. He talked to the Doc this morning about Boston College's ongoing offensive struggles after a 20-13 loss to Nevada in Sunday night's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, stopping Cam Newton on tonight's BCS Championship Game and Oregon coach Chip Kelly as a young assistant at New Hampshire, eagerly picking brains in Canada.
Doc: We'll get to the BCS title game, of course, but your alma mater played last night, and had a rough offensive ending to a rough offensive year. What's your assessment of Boston College's season after that game?
Doug Flutie: Frank Spaziani has done a great job. He's been the defensive coordinator, he's now the head coach, and their defense has been amazing. And again, last night they played great on defense. The offensive side of the ball has been struggling. They've been fighting to find their quarterback. It resonated through the season. The second half of the year, they won some ball games and got back into position to get back into a bowl. But the bottom line is, the young freshman [quarterback Chase Rettig] started a bunch of games, they had a whole month to get ready for this game, and there was still no improvement. So that's frustrating. I'm sure it's frustrating for them, but it's frustrating as a fan of Boston College for them to not move the ball on offense.
Doc: Moving on to the game tonight, you've played in a lot of big games over your career. You always hear about player having butterflies. Do you feel like it's good to have some of that nervousness, an edge going in? Or do you want to go in, especially when you have two undefeated teams, feeling like, "Hey, nobody's stopped us, and it's not going to happen tonight"?
DF: I think the 37-day layoff adds to the butterflies. Because it's so long to build up to this game. If they just played the game the next week, they'd be excited about it. There'd be a little bit of butterflies. But they'd stay in their routine and get ready to play. Now, they haven't hit each other with live bullets for over a month. There are a lot of variables that come into it, and emotions are part of it.
I think what happens is you don't want to make the mistake early in the game because you're so geared up and fired up. You don't want to make that mistake that's going to cost you big time. Get through a couple of series and the game will settle down, and now you're just playing football. Everyone's emotions are in check, and hopefully you're just playing good, solid football from there on out.
Doc: If you're Oregon, how do you defend Cam Newton?
DF: Cam, he's an exception. He's an amazing , he's an efficient passer. I think what you do is you bring the safeties down tight. You get them involved in the run game. You make the decision that, "We've got to stop the run first and force him to throw the ball." If you're going to take something away, take away the guarantee of him running him with the football and hopefully create a variable in the passing game where he's got to make tight throws in man coverage.
And Cam's shown the ability to do it, don't get me wrong. You're taking a risk no matter what you do. But if they score a one play, 80-yard touchdown, so be it. It's just as well as them going 12 plays and 80 yards and scoring a touchdown. But you take a shot at maybe forcing a negative play that will get him off the field. I think you just have to be aggressive in that mindset that you're going to create a sack or a turnover, a negative play that's going to get him off the field.
Doc: You're a Northeastern guy. Does the SEC's supposed dominance mean anything to you? Have you bought into that over the years, now that they're playing for their fifth straight championship tonight?
DF: I buy into it. There's no doubt the SEC is dominant, and has the athletes, the number of guys who go pro out of the SEC, the whole bit. It's pretty amazing.
Now that doesn't mean, though, that you can't beat them. You know, Boise knocked off Oklahoma. Look what TCU did this year. So you've gotta play the game. You have to take the team that you have and you focus on what you do well. If you're facing a big and strong team, you do it. If you're undersized on the defensive line, if you're Oregon, compared to Auburn's offensive line, you're going to slant and you;re going to blitz, and do the things you gotta do to use your speed and quickness, or even a situation like Boise State where you're going to trick plays and things like that to find ways to compete and win games.
There's no guarantee when they step out on the field. But yeah, [SEC teams] do have the superior athletes, no doubt about it.
Doc: Speaking of Northeastern football, Chip Kelly rose out of obscurity in New Hampshire. How much have you seen of his offense? I don't know that he's necessarily revolutionized anything, because there's been plenty of spread running in college football over the last decade, but it seems like he's taken it to the next level and had more success than anyone else.
DF: Chip has done great. And I think you go back in his UNH days in New Hampshire, I remember talking to Chip when he came up to break down the CFL and watch what we were doing up there because there are a lot of spread offenses in the CFL. And Chip wasn't afraid to try anything, whether it was a shovel pass out of the gate or anything. And I love that approach to it. There are no parameters. It's a clean slate, and he just approached it that way and started from scratch, and he's wheeling and dealing. He created the up tempo stuff, the faster we can run consecutive plays, the more plays we can run, the more tired the defense will be, and the more plays we get run, the better we get off of it. So he's taken a new philosophy to it, and it's really worked for him.
Doc: I can't let you go without a prediction.
DF: I lean towards Auburn. They're big and strong up front, on their offensive line, and Cam rarely gets rattled in the pocket. He has plenty of time to throw the football, and that's why he's been so efficient throwing the football. I think their offensive line is key to it. Oregon has to try to offset that by slanting and moving and bringing some blitzers, but Cam is just very efficient in beating that. I'm leaning toward Auburn.
It should be a shootout. It should be a great, exciting game. If you have to pick a team, I'm picking Auburn.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.