STEVE ADDAZIO: All right, guys, appreciate you being here today. Get ready to kickoff game week for Boston College and a whole host of other teams throughout the country.
I’m sure you guys, like me, were exciting this weekend to see college football open. It was exciting to see the launch of the ACC Network. I found myself kind of glued throughout the weekend. They had so many great things on the network, and what that’s going to do for the conference, certainly I hope our fans are signing up for the ACC Network.
I think it’s great for our conference. If you’re not just a football fan, but a sports fan, the amount, quantities, and quality of things that they have on that network is just unbelievable. Don’t miss out on that. Sign up and get the ACC Network.
We’re excited about Virginia Tech. It’s a big opener. The tradition of Virginia Tech is phenomenal. They’ve won a lot of football games; it’s a great organization. They’re coming into our stadium. We have a chance to play an elite team within our conference and have a great deal of respect for Justin Fuente and their whole program. It will be a challenge and we’re looking forward to it. We’re excited.
We had a great preseason. Got a lot of work done. Feel like we’re on schedule in terms of preparation. Looking forward to the 4:00 contest. So I think without me rambling on too much, just open up for some questions from you guys.
Q. Long history with Bud Foster; looks like he has 11 returning starters coming back. What’s the challenge?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean, I’ve had the — I guess good fortune; I’m not sure — about Coach Foster for a lot of years different places I’ve been. He is a phenomenal defensive coordinator, and he has a good group of returning players back. They played a lot of young players last year. We anticipate that there will be a great defense. That’s their trademark for years, and I wouldn’t suspect that would disappoint.
Q. You’ve done this before in terms of opening up with the conference opponent; it was in another country. Doing it at home and just the impact, does it set a tone? What’s been the message leading up?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, our message has really been this: we’re excited to have an opportunity to play an elite team opening day. That’s had our attention of our team throughout the winter, spring, and certainly preseason camp.
The things that we need to focus on in this game clearly are making sure that we win the turnover battle, penalty battle — we want zero penalties — and so taking care of the football or getting the football on defense; not having penalties, which is a no-talent issue; and high level of execution; of course we feel we have to win the special teams battle.
Those things are very, very important opening day. You have to play defense. You have to play defense. So I think we focused on those things throughout camp. After each scrimmage, after each real practice we evaluate how many mental mistakes occurred, turnovers occurred. We have officials here a ton, probably two times as much as in the past.
So a high emphasis on penalties and a high emphasis on the team on how you carry the football. We have had an unbelievable emphasis on both sides of the ball. If we intercept the ball, how do we carry the football? We talk about it as high and tight. How do we do that?
Of course, we’ve spent an awful a lot of time this year, more than ever before, in situational football. So those have been great, great tools for us, and huge factors in this game.
Q. I know emphasis has to be — you use the word “urgency” a lot last few weeks; attention to detail. Also, it’s still on opener. You got to shake some things out and figure out things out and be sharp. Talk about that balance.
STEVE ADDAZIO: The thing about it is this: it is a balance. You know, years ago you tackled a ton. Most teams don’t tackle very much. So you’re trying to find out, Okay, well you got to be prepared to tackle, but yet can’t afford the injuries that come with too much tackling. That’s a balance you’re trying to navigate. That’s a real thing I think for every team in the country.
Trying to have the speed of the game. Making sure that you’re playing at that level. You don’t go from a practice level and then the speed of the game hits you right in the face. The speed of the game can cause turnovers.
So I think there is a real balance here of trying to handle all those situations that come with opening day. Is your conditioning right? I don’t mean running per se like distance or whatever. No. Football conditioning. Is your football conditioning right?
What happens is when you’re not football conditioned — I equate it to I used to play basketball in high school. You’d come off the football season and thought you were in pretty good shape and go on the basketball court and you die as a football player. You be instantly gassed.
In football, a lot of times it’s a different level of conditioning, game conditioning. When you get gassed, that’s when things happen with the ball. You get loose, you make mental mistakes. These are the things we’re trying to address and manufacture in practice right now so that we can have a clean opening day.
As you said, opening day sometimes you don’t know who you’re going to exactly get. No matter what you do you’re never going to manufacture the bright lights and pressure of the day. It’s amazing to me what happens. Things just happen.
You say, How did that happen? It happened.
Q. This is the first time in your tenure I believe you had a conference at home. Just the magnitude of it.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Uh-huh.
Q. Cross-conference rival.
STEVE ADDAZIO: You’re ruining my day now. I mean, really. What happens is the anxiety starts to mount on you. To me it’s like — so, it is. It’s real.
But it’s fun. It’s exciting. Sometimes when you play an opener that you’re supposed to really — you’re a heavy favorite to win in, it can get equally frustrating and get sloppy. This has your full attention. There is an energy level that comes with this.
We are very fortunate we’re home. Traveling on the road adds another element to that whole thing. I think, you know, offensively we have some older guys on the offensive and a veteran quarterback, and those things help you a little bit.
Q. How much training camp did Isaiah McDuffie have and is he ready to start?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I would say that’s to be determined. He hasn’t had a lot of reps in training camp. We’re trying to figure that out right now. So I can’t really give you a great answer on that right now in terms of will he won’t he, how many, where is he exactly at?
I think we’re in the process of trying to figure that out ourselves right now.
Q. The four tight ends, are they contrasting? Different style tight ends? Do they meet the standard of what you’re looking for?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think they could meet the standard of playing any specific wide position, but we do have some mindset with them. I mean, I think Jake and Hunter are kind of your traditional Ys, and Christian and Korab are more movement guys, and Danny Dalton.
But they all can play anywhere as a Y. But we play with two on every snap for the most part. We are lucky we have a pretty deep room there. That’s been a good thing.
Q. Coach, I know Virginia Tech runs the spread in their offense and three wide outside. From a defensive standpoint, I know spread is a predominant offense now. How do you determine what personnel and what situation you’re going to counteract, especially with the quarterback who has some experience back there that they have?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean, most teams are 11 personnel; they have a capability of being 12 too, but most are 11. I just think the spread is a very general term.
What is their shtick within their spread? What are they trying to do? How much quarterback run is there? How much play-action is there, et cetera, et cetera? So I just think for us, we run some spread in our own offense, and I’ve got a pretty good background in a spread offense. We try to give a really good facsimile to them using our second offense at a high-speed rate.
Obviously looking at the previous film and seeing what they’ve done. They’ll probably have some new wrinkles that will show up in the game like everybody else does.
Q. When you have a particular speed guy or I know with the running 4 and 3, linebacker, switched to five defensive backs, how much does that border with the communication between them to switch on the fly or just in the huddle?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, I think down and distance has a big factor, as well as personnel. They could be managing a ten grouping. On third down, like everybody else, we have a nickel/dime package, and we will adjust to match the personnel or the situation.
You know, it’s 3rd and 8. You’re probably pretty likely to be in some form of nickel or dime defense where there are more DBs on the field. You know, you’re going to defend that down as a passing down, so we have some of that in there. We have the ability to play within our base group any down and have the ability to substitute in our nickel deal and kind of play that any down.
But that’s kind of what football has become. There is not a lot of straight 21 teams that you’re in and out of different groupings. As I said, we’re different because we’ll play every down in 12. They’ll play a lot of downs in 11.
Q. The end of training camp you mentioned the timetable of getting shifted out of preseason to Virginia Tech. How did that timetable go? Hiccups along the way? Anything that got ahead of schedule?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean, the first day we shifted. It was different, and different create rough spots.
But I thought last Thursday we shifted into high gear V-Tech. Only difference was we are really dead legged. That was we were fighting, fatigue.
We were able to get through to Friday and then give them Friday afternoon and the weekend off. I thought that was the best thing we did this year, that we gave them a couple of days, not one.
They came back in today and had some zip and some legs and some energy, and I really thought — you know, like everything else, right? You make decisions and you go back and evaluate those decisions. Sometimes you’re really excited about the decision you made and sometimes you’re not.
When practice closed today I was pretty excited about the decision we made. We looked like a good football team today that had their legs back. Looked totally different than on Friday when we were hanging on for dear life a little bit because we had camp legs.
So the process now during the week is to get our work done, and each day try to get more and more refreshed so that we’re at full speed on Saturday obviously and feeling terrific. I think we’re on schedule to do that.
Q. Just with the game on Saturday and the buildup and run-up over the last month, too, anything, in particular, you’ll say to the team ahead of time to get them fired up, or for the older guys to the younger guys, something to tell them?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I’ll have a message for them. Not sure exactly yet what I want to say. I like to watch the week pan out a little bit.
But I can tell you this: my mindset right now is just cut it loose. Just cut it loose. Go. We’re going to have a mindset of cutting it loose. We’ll play very aggressively in all three phases and have some fun and let it go. Play hard. Believe in your preparation, believe in your training.
It’ll be something along those lines. We’re not going to go into that game jockeying. We’re going to go in there and run our offense. We were third in the league in explosive plays last year and we want to be explosive again. You can rest assured that everything that we’ve prepared for will get used.
Q. There is a buzz around the freshman class.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah.
Q. What’s the potential you see for that class? Also, at the same time, what can they contribute?
STEVE ADDAZIO: It’s funny you asked me that question. Martin and I were just talking about this 15 minutes ago. Zay Flowers is a dynamic guy, right? He’s electric. You’ll see a lot of him on Saturday. He’s got legitimate, bona fide flat go-by-you speed. His stop-start and tight turn out of cuts is pretty unique. He’s got maturity and real ball savvy to him. You’ll see a lot of Zay Flowers. I think Shitta is a marvelous young prospect. His athletic numbers are kind of eye-popping. He’s a young guy. He’s not even scratching at it right now. But he’s going to be a force to contend with here at BC in the future.
As I said, Martin and I discussed, I’m just ecstatic. You always say to you guys; how do you really know with a class you recruit? Having had a summer camp with them, this is a really like — like Ethon Williams, you’ll see him play a lot of football, and he missed two weeks of training camp. He was dinged up and came back and didn’t miss a beat like an older player. He’s a powerful receiver.
So there is a lot of these guys that we’re excited about. Our young defensive front, there is a bunch of talented guys. Are all those guys going to be ready to play this year? Probably not. But they’re a very talented front. We have two young corners. Brandon Sebastian was a freshman last year. Tate Haynes. Those guys are 6′ 195, 200-pound corners that can flat run.
I mean, you know, I think Pat Garwo, the running back, is a super, super talented guy. Christian Mahogany on the offensive line. I don’t want to go through everybody. I will forget people as I go. There is a lot of talent in this class right now and it’s very, very exciting.
Is all that talent ready this year? No. Some of it will be. Some now, some may be a couple three, four weeks from now. But walking away from training camp, legitimate class.
Especially even though I mentioned some really eye-popping offensive guys, almost kind of especially on defense. A lot of guys we had on defense you’ll see them play in the NFL this year. Over the last few years, we’ve had a fair amount of players that have gone on to the NFL.
The defensive side of the ball as absorbed some losses. That’s duly documented. So to have this many? Young players that we’re looking ahead to the future with right now, that’s exciting. It’s very, very exciting.
Even guys that you think like, Oh, they’re not really young, but they are. I mean, McDuffie is a young guy. Sparacio is a young guy. Two corners are young guys. Joe Luchetti is a young guy. All of our interior defense alignment. We’re really excited about them, like Ryan Betro and Kyiev Bennermon. Young guys but talented.
They look the way they’re supposed to. They’re athletic, they’re tough. So those are really — so I appreciate your question. I’ve had a lot of fun. We have had a lot of fun coaching them. Again, hopefully, we can get a few of them super ready, and we mentioned the ones I think will be ready game one.
Q. (Regarding Richard Yeargin.)
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, he really has. Richard has — he’s a wonderful guy, by the way. If you get a chance to spend some time around him, really fantastic story of a comeback. He’s a super guy. Super, super-bright guy; super mature guy. He has had a remarkable camp.
Like you said, talk about some of the old guys. Guy coming from a different place, fifth-year player, had a great camp. Dwayne Scott, the offensive guard, center from Rhode Island. He’s going to be a player for us. He is a legitimate player. We’re excited about him. Hayden Mahoney from Miami, offensive lineman; great camp.
Boomer, our kicker; got a bunch of talent; from Temple. Danny Dalton made just a ton of players all camp long. He runs, athletic. He catches the ball really, really well. You know, just all over the place. He’s making plays in training camp.
Did I miss anybody?
Then of course Zion. He came became eligible from Davidson. He can be as high-level player as Chris Lindstrom. He is a phenomenal player, and what a guy. Kind of a real BC guy. Super bright, super wonderful guy to be around, and really, really, really good football player.
So I think just rattled off a bunch of them. Oh, yeah, I wanted to t mention the captains. Yeah, Tanner Karafa Ben Glines were named captains for the 2019 team. It was really cool when we announced them. You know, the team just erupted. You can tell when it’s really meaningful to them. It was really meaningful with these guys.
You know what’s beautiful? Even though it’s not a very big senior class at all, there is really good leadership in that class in small numbers. These two captains are going to be fabulous representative of Boston College. In addition to them, they have a bunch of other seniors, guys that are tremendous leaders, guys like John Phillips and Ben — and Jake Burton, Christian Garrison, and Korab Idrizi. They’re tremendous guys, so I’m looking forward to it.
I think there will be a strong nucleus of leadership in this football team. These guys take great pride. Last year’s class did an unbelievable job of really setting the culture. Like it’s something we been working on for years, right? I thought it was phenomenal last year. These guys have picked that up and it’s so important to them, so they are running with that.
Once again, we have a really good culture. That’s a credit to the older guys in our program. There is a certain standard that’s been set of how you’re going to conduct yourself to be a BC man and what that means. There is a standard. These guys are holding the young guys to it, and they’re appreciating that and falling in line. So that’s been a good thing.
Q. I want to ask about Ben Glines because he’s been both running back receiver.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yep.
Q. Is that because of his skill set? Attitude? What is it about him? Seems like one of the old-school football players.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Right. You got it. All of the above. He’s a talented receiver, talented running back. He gives us tremendous flexibility. We can be in a two-back set in no time with him in him at receiver and motioning in the backfield. If we have injury issues, he’s a legitimate back that people would love to have in this conference playing with.
So all the above. Travis Levy is in the same mold.
Q. Seems like the kind of guy that loves playing football.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Loves ball. Coming out this morning from practice high fiving me, jacked up. You know, as Frank who was our strength coach before and Scott McLafferty says this year, if you had to pick probably there is a very few guys that — talk about ultimate warriors. He’s one of them. He is a highly trained, conditioned athlete.
He loves it. Just loves it. Yeah.
Q. (Regarding Anthony Brown.) What kind of difference does that make?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, a lot. He’s had a great camp. Anthony Brown has had a great camp. He’s made a lot of plays. He’s got really total command of the offense. He is pushing players on the field. We feel very good that Anthony is headed right now to have a heck of a year. Like you said, I mean, talking about a guy now who has been a two-year starter. He’s been through it, whether it be through injury and up and downs in different games.
That’s what we call being a veteran guy, a grizzled-up guy, having been through some adversity. So we’re at the point we’re looking for big things out of him this year. That’s a huge deal. Duly documented. I’ve said it and people say it all over the country: that quarterback position is so critical. How do you take another step? One way is to have a veteran quarterback that plays at a high level. We’ve got some other things we need to get done, but he’s in position and we’re excited about him.
His camp has been very reflective of a guy that’s been ready to continue to grow and develop.
Q. How have you seen AJ? I know last year didn’t play the way you want to in terms of injuries. (Indiscernible.) How do he accept or deal with some of the challenges?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think he took them on. He knew he had to develop in third down, pass protection. He’s really taking his body to another level. I’m almost scared to say it because it’s only Monday, but he’s super healthy. I mean, he looks game ready, strong, fast, really on top of his game.
You have a conversation about what took place on the field and he can spit it back to you. No, it’s very matter of fact. This is what I saw. This is what happened, boom, boom, boom. He is at a preseason camp like Anthony of a veteran player who is on top of his game.
He too had to deal with the whole roller coaster ride of having success and what that can bring to you. He had to learn how to handle that better. We all have to learn how to handle that better, the ups and downs of notoriety.
So I think it’s all been an evolution. You would like to think — all signs certainly indicate that he’s poised and ready to have – knock on wood – a real healthy but a great year. Excited myself to watch him.