Boston College Football Media Conference
Monday September 16, 2019
BC Football Press Conference
STEVE ADDAZIO: We had a chance, obviously, to go through the film and take a look at where our corrections need to be made, where some of the issues were. I was very, very excited about our team, their mindset, their approach. I thought they came in with the right look, really focused on fixing issues.
We had a heck of a day yesterday, took a real step forward, and I’m very, very excited about playing Rutgers, getting on the road, and really just getting back on the field.
I think the energy and the enthusiasm within our team, quite frankly, uplifted me yesterday. I was excited about it. So looking forward to a great week, and that’s what we need, to get right back at it and get going.
With that, I’m happy to answer any questions.
Q. Is there kind of a formula you use for your first road game?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, we have a schedule — what our Friday looks like, what our Saturday morning looks like, based on what time we play and what time we go on the road. So we follow that, and it’s pretty standard what everyone else does. Nothing different.
Q. Anthony Brown mentioned that one, you won’t see that team again that you saw Friday, but also that there was a lot more expected. With that loss, how do you take it and turn the page and look at what you’ve got left?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, there’s a whole lot of football to be played. That was game three of the season. You’re in this for the long haul. You know, we have a bunch of young guys on defense right now. We know that. It’s exciting to get to develop and mold those guys and to continue to grow. Sometimes there are peaks and valleys along the way. Without a doubt, there was a valley there on Friday night.
With guys like that, you’re also excited about making the corrections you need to make because we’ve seen the tale of two stories here. You saw opening week, where I thought we played at a very high level on that side and made a bunch of plays, and I thought you saw in week 3 we struggled a little bit and had some misfits and some real tackling issues that didn’t — you would think they’d show up in week one, but they didn’t. We tackled pretty well in week one.
We didn’t tackle very well on Friday night. That’s something we’ve got to get back on and continue to grow and continue to develop.
I just think that it’s a process and we’re in the middle of that process. There’s going to be some ups, and there’s going to be some downs, and we’ve got to manage it and continue to get better. The whole idea is to correct your mistakes and continue to grow and develop. Nothing is as good as it seems. Nothing is as bad as it seems. Somewhere in the middle, reality falls.
Q. A lot of guys — Tanner was one of them, Brandon, maybe Dillon — as soon as they wake up, I’m going straight to film and figure it out. Someone said, tonight I’m watching. What are some of the things you keyed on? How responsive were guys? What was the film like?
STEVE ADDAZIO: So as I said in my opening statement, the response of our team, I mean, phenomenal. Not good, phenomenal. From that night in the locker room to the next day to yesterday, if there’s such a way that you want to see a team after a devastating loss like that, I mean, we saw that with our team. They handled that, at least from that standpoint.
They’re competitors. They love ball. They love each other. They’re not happy. None of us are happy, and we’re going about the business of fixing it. That’s just plain and simple where that is.
In terms of some of the fixes, I mean, we got out of our gaps on defense. We blew some coverages. I mean, that wasn’t hard to see. And I don’t think we particularly tackled well. I don’t think — I know we didn’t tackle well. So those are the areas that we’ve targeted. We’re in the process of that.
Offensively, I thought we probably played — well, we played a darn good first half. Could you have found another touchdown in there? Sure. But at halftime, you know, you have 300-some yards offense, 16 minutes of possession, 24 points. But in the second half, we came out — never mind what was going out on the other side.
On offense, we came out, and we had two three and outs. We, quite frankly, tried to throw the ball a little bit in there, and we had some incompletions, and we got behind the sticks. I think on the second three and out we had a penalty and got behind the chains, and that’s where we’re really focused into, is why we had two three and outs and getting that corrected. We’ve got to throw and catch the ball better than we did. I said that after the game, and I would say that to you frankly now.
We threw and caught it very well at times, but the consistency level of that, which was brought to the front in the second half, as we started, by necessity, to get out of our style of play — I mean, I think in the third period we touched the ball a couple of times. That’s about it. Before you know it, you’re in the fourth period, and you’re just in a different game now. When you say the second half, you’re really talking about the third period in terms of staying within your structure, and in that period, that’s when we had our biggest issues on defense, and we followed it up on offense with two three and outs. The tailback touched the ball three or four times in the second half. That’s not who we are.
So we’ve got to address that, and we came out yesterday and put a lot of time into throwing the football yesterday, throwing and catching. Quite frankly, we’ve been throwing and catching the ball very, very well, but for me to look you in the eye and say we did it very well on Friday night, I wouldn’t say that. I think that we can improve there.
Q. What’s the difference for you between A.B. week 1 and A.B. last week?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I’d say that’s a complicated thing. On the surface, you’d say that — I thought Anthony has been an outstanding leader. I think he’s playing really hard. It’s super important to him right now. I just like his mindset a lot.
I think Anthony would probably tell you he’d like a few throws back, but I’m telling you as the head coach he made some incredible throws. So I guess we’re talking about consistency in the throw game. I think that’s fair enough. I think that would have addressed our couple three and outs in the second half.
And maybe in the first half, down in the red zone, the ability to continue to score another touchdown to stay ahead by two scores. We would have been ahead two scores at that point, and, of course, we dropped the last one with 40 seconds left in the half. But that’s what you needed to do on that night was to stay ahead on the score, and we kind of got behind on it.
Q. Kind of along those lines, when he’s having consistency issues or things aren’t going his way, how much do you look at the receivers and say, look, guys, you’ve got to get a little bit better open? Or is there something blocking that might help him out?
STEVE ADDAZIO: It’s always all of the above. It is. Everybody focuses on — we all do. You watch the quarterback, and everything goes on the quarterback’s back. Well, that’s the nature of that position, but yes. I mean, maybe what sometimes isn’t seen, the route was broken off three yards short than it should have been or a receiver lost footing. There’s a protection breakdown, which causes, instead of being able to step into the ball, you’ve got to sidestep and get your hips twisted around, and now you’re not throwing it out of a position of power. Nobody sees that. Nobody talks about that. That’s all part of it.
That’s why I like, hey, at every position as a coach, as a player, there are things that you’re constantly trying to do a better job at. As the Teddy Roosevelt quote goes, the man in the arena. Anthony Brown is in the arena, and he is very daring valiantly, and he’s playing his tail off right now.
I think he’s as competitive and tough and working at his trade as anybody I’ve been around right now. I’m very, very happy with him, and as a competitor, he’s going to be toughest on himself. But in terms of the throw game, there’s a lot of factors that go into it, and we can all help make that more consistent. That’s really all we’re talking about on offense right now.
If I had to pinpoint one thing, I would have said consistency in our throw game would have helped us in that situation.
Q. When a guy gets kind of that competitive edge, how do you manage in game the emotion of it where you know he wants to make all the plays but at the same time you want to keep him on track to —
STEVE ADDAZIO: For Anthony, he’s been that way. I think he’s been very well tracked. I’m probably the toughest critic of that stuff. I like his look. I like his mindset. I like his demeanor. I liked it yesterday. I liked it on the field last night. All business. That’s all you can ask for. I really believe that. And you go from there.
Q. How much did Kansas’ offensive personnel change affect what the secondary was looking for entirely? And then what do you do going forward to make sure they can make those adjustments a little bit quicker?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think that, obviously, just the ability to adapt to that smoother transition is practice. You’re in a foot race. I’ll use offense as an example. You don’t wait until you play a blitz team to work on blitzes. You have a steady — you’re constantly preparing your team for all kinds of stuff, and I feel the same on defense. I think early in the season, it’s like anything else — let me explain this the right way.
Early in the season, you get challenged by a lot of different stuff that comes at you, and I think that’s a little by-product of being sometimes young on that side of the ball. You don’t have a bank. So if something changes, changing to that is a little harder and slower than it is if you have a bank, meaning you’ve got a bunch of experience, you’ve been there before.
But I thought that the coaches made great adjustments at halftime with that, and you can see that on the film, but I still think that without a lot of bank reps there, it’s a slower process.
But I think that we can continue to get better and will continue to get better at handling those different things, simple as that.
Q. How do you balance the passing game when trailing and make sure that A.J. is involved? Because you’re battling the clock, you’re battling the score, and he’s a playmaker.
STEVE ADDAZIO: You’re right. You lost the fourth quarter, and when you’re in the fourth quarter, you can’t do that. When we’re down the scores we were down in the fourth quarter, it’s a simple amount of plays you’re going to get, amount of yardage you have to get, time left on the clock — you’ve got to be throwing the football, period, end.
It’s about the third quarter where is that fine line you still maintain, utilizing one of your great players, but yet you know you’re down three scores? I don’t think there’s an exact answer in there. Certainly, at that point, you got to start gravitating towards throwing the ball a little bit more or you’re just not going to get there, you know what I mean?
You know I’m not bashful about wanting to run the football, but I think within that you’re still trying to get enough touches in there to keep the run game alive because, really, that’s our strength. Are you utilizing the screens and the draws and the different things where you’re a little bit more off of a pass kind of opportunity? Those are the scenarios that you continue to talk about and where you want to go.
But at the end of the day, you got to get more at-bats. If you don’t get enough at-bats, there are only so many ways you can — you know, you run three plays and you run three plays, that’s only six plays. You’ve got to get some more at-bats.
Q. With Rutgers coming up, what are they offering you on the film so far?
STEVE ADDAZIO: For me, I’m on the offensive side right now, and I’m switching to the other side. Early in the week, I tell you that all the time, that’s where I am on film study.
On defense, they’re a very, very stout run defense. I’ve talked to several people about them. You can see it on the tape. I think they’re big, big, big thick guys that are powerful at the POA. They’re a run-stopping operation. That’s the strength of their team is their front seven on defense, and they’ll challenge you on the back end and play a lot of man coverage, a lot of quarters with press. I think they do a great job on defense.
I think Chris Ash is — I have a lot of respect for him as a defensive coordinator and as a head coach. By trade, he’s a defensive guy, and I think he does a great job on that defense. They’re well put together, and that front seven has been playing for a while, and they’re pretty mature.
I’ve seen very, very little of them offensively. I know they have two talented running backs. One of them is kind of a hybrid receiver, and they’re explosive. So I’m going to get ready to study them here, probably a little sooner than later. I’ve gotten ahead a little bit, so probably tonight.
But they do a good job with their offense in terms of how they want to attack you, and I think they want to run the ball. They’re a run the ball outfit. And defensively, they’re going to really make you earn it. They’re going to be one of the better defenses that we face, based on what I’m seeing on tape right now.
I said that last week, I thought that — I told you what my take was. I thought that offensive line was outstanding, and I thought those two backs were outstanding, and that proved to be correct. So I’m telling you we’re playing against a bona fide defensive front and really darn good at stopping the run. As we progress through this, I’ll have a little better feel as we go.
Q. Is McDuffie any closer to returning from injury?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Good question. Yes. I think that’s possible, and I’m not trying to play coy with anybody. I just really don’t know. That’s not my — the doctors are on top of that and the trainers, and we’re going to be very, very conservative to make sure that he is in the very, very best position he can be in. So I can’t definitively tell you one way or the other, but I think he’s making steady, steady gains.
Obviously, we miss him. You know, we miss him. He was an elite player on our defense and a very exciting young player who’s really explosive and can really run. We’re all hoping that we can get him back sooner than later.