Boston College looks to make some noise at Syracuse

The Fish Fieldhouse was more than just a warm dry place for the Boston College football team to hold practice on a miserably cold and wet Monday morning.

BC coach Jeff Hafley cranked up the audio inside the facility to deafening decibels to prepare his team for the dome noise they will encounter in Western New York.

The Eagles (5-3, 2-2) resume ACC play when they engage the last-place Orangemen of Syracuse (4-4, 0-4) on Friday (7:30 p.m.) inside the JMA Wireless Dome. BC extended its win streak to four games with a 21-14 non-league victory over UConn at Alumni Stadium on Saturday while Syracuse was pelted 38-10 at Virginia Tech.

“We turned on the music as loud as you can make it so you can’t hear anything,” said Hafley. “It won’t sound exactly the same but we can make it so you really can’t hear.

“This is their homecoming I believe and I’ve been in domes over the years where it gets really loud so I’m expecting it. We simulated it and we were trying to make them uncomfortable. I’m sure the game will be loud, I’m sure there will be a great crowd and a great atmosphere. It usually is there and it’s a Friday night game.”

Hafley included non-verbal lines of communication within the game plan to account for the cacophony of sounds and oral brickbats that have nowhere to go. The volume tends to peak when the opposing offense is facing third and long.

BC quarterback Thomas Castellanos has enough to deal with just managing the Eagles multiple offense and the noise is another challenge to overcome. Hafley and his staff had Castellanos working on methods to get around the partisan clamor that will be hurled in his direction.

“You work different cadences, you work slap counts and you work a silent count,” said Hafley. “You use hand signals and that’s what you have to do in places like that on third down.

“We simulated it the way we did so the defense also had to learn how to communicate with their hands, which they did. I thought it was a really good day and for us it us a short week.”

The informational flow in the BC secondary is dispensed by free safety Cole Batson, a 6-4, 208-pound redshirt sophomore from San Clemente, Calif. Batson appeared in 11 games with two starts in 2022 but has become a fixture in the back end of the BC defense this season.

“We bumped up the crowd noise in practice super loud and we tried to simulate a super loud environment,” said Batson. “When it gets too loud, we basically go straight to all hand signals because you can’t hear each other on the field. As defense we have been practicing our hand signals a lot.”

Selling short

The condensed week of practice for Friday night’s game at Syracuse is a dress rehearsal for an even shorter week of preparation facing the Eagles in another away match down the road. BC returns home to play Virginia Tech at noon on Saturday, Nov. 11, before playing a night road contest at Pittsburgh on Thursday, Nov. 16.

“That will be even more accelerated so it will be a little bit different,” said Hafley. “It’s good work to get it in because we are one day short and then we will be two days short when we play at Pitt. This will be kind of a good way to ease into playing on a non-regular week and the guys have handled it well.”

Passing fancy

Castellanos had two receivers unexpectedly joined his list of pass catchers who had a reception of 30 or more yards against the Huskies.

Castellanos bumped the group to nine with a 30-yard toss to redshirt junior tight end Charlie Gordinier and a game long 34-yard throw to freshman wide receiver Jaedn Skeete.

Gordinier is listed third on depth chart and is used exclusively as a special teams’ player. The catch inside the UConn red zone was the first of his career.

“He finally gets a moment and he makes a play,” said Hafley. “You suddenly look over and everybody is going crazy for him and he is going to have to continue to step up.”

Skeete was added to the depth chart in place of injured starter Ryan O’Keefe. Sheete’s first career reception went for seven yards and the second was his big gain. He finished with team-high 61 yards on four catches.

“He is very talented and he is young but he is not scared of the moment,” said redshirt senior wide receiver Dino Tomlin, who tops the group with a 54-yard reception.

“He went pretty crazy and hopefully he can capitalize on that looking forward. I hope he gets more opportunities.


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