Coach Addazio discusses the USC defense, Rettig's homecoming, and what it will take to take down the Trojans in this weeks ACC Media Conference Call.
COACH ADDAZIO: Okay, guys, well, listen, obviously in the beginning of the season it's so important that you grow and you get better and you improve in a lot of areas. I thought from week one to week two we improved. We improved on both sides of the ball, and I thought I saw good growth.
I think we have a ways to go on special teams right now. It's great to be 2-0, but the only thing that matters right now is a chance to be 3-0. And we're playing an outstanding USC team. It's as talented a team as I've seen in a long time. As I look at them across the board on film, you talk about on defense, I think it's one of the best defenses in the country, to tell you the truth. They've got six returning starters and a bunch of great players. Guys that can rush the quarterback. Guys that can sack the quarterback. Guys that can run you down. Aggressive in the secondary physical linebackers and they make interceptions.
Obviously, last week Washington State didn't score a touchdown on them, on offense. So we're going against a great defense. Marqise Lee is a punt returner for them. He's a very dynamic athlete. Obviously, on the offensive side of the ball, he's a difference maker.
They've got two quarterbacks, both are talented and capable guys. They've got a good running back, a really good offensive line. They've got great coaches. I just think we're playing a fantastic football team with a lot of talented athletes and our football program has a lot of respect.
So we know we have our work cut out for us. This is going to be a really, really tough game. We're looking for an opportunity just to go out there and compete, and our guys have worked hard this week.
Q. Good morning, Steve. You're off to a 2-0 start. What, if anything, are you ahead of schedule on or pleasantly surprised by that's helped contribute to this 2-0 start?
COACH ADDAZIO: I just think we're scrapping. We're scrapping, we're playing physical. We're trying to be true to the core values that we want within our program. Play great defense and be physically tough. But two games makes no season. It's just nice to be 2-0; it's nice to get that start. But certainly totally understand that we are very much a work in progress.
I would say the thing that I'm most pleased with is just our guys have worked really hard with great effort in practice to have that kind of identity. But here we are in week three, and we're traveling to California and playing an extremely talented football team. This will be a large task for us.
Q. USC's coming off a 10-7 loss to Washington State at home. Do you look at this and say I think our defense can keep us in this game?
COACH ADDAZIO: I think our defense has to keep us in this game. That's just the nature of who we are. We want to play great defense. Honestly, when I watch the film, I see a super talented football team. Every day I'm just following this football team, and they have a lot of really good football players, man. I mean, I've seen it before where I've been. This is a talented outfit that has a bunch of number one recruiting classes and you can see why.
So what we are doing is going in to play probably a ticked off football team who is going to come out swinging.
Q. Did Washington State expose things that you can take advantage of there?
COACH ADDAZIO: Well, Washington State did a good job on defense, and Washington State intercepted a ball for a touchdown, and they kicked a field goal and more power to them. It's tough to go on the road and beat a top-tier team. So, I mean, I just think that right now when I watch the tape, I'm just trying to figure out what BC can do. What we've got to do is really take care of the football. We've got to be really aggressive on defense, and we've got to get this game into the fourth quarter and just keep swinging away with them. That's what we need to do. That is all my focus is on.
Q. I know you talked about being a more physical team, and that is something that BC wasn't last year. How do you as a coach go about changing that mindset and making a team more physical? Obviously, you've gotten the results out of that the first two weeks.
COACH ADDAZIO: I just think you get here, and you start it in your off-season program. You set a standard and you hold everybody to that standard. And I think to the credit of our kids we've got a bunch of kids that want to be that. They realize here we have to be a physical team, a tough team, not a high-turnover, a low-mistake team.
We've got to play like a team. You've heard me say that. They've bought into that, and that's a good starting point. But also realize, too, that we're playing now a highly, highly talented team full of play makers and we have a hard time giving ourselves that type of look because we're not overstocked with play makers. We have to go in there and just be true to ourselves. We have to be a more balanced football team because we're not going to be able to go in and impose our will. We've been able to do that a little bit. So we need to be conscious of that.
But I think the most important thing as I told our team is let's go out, compete really hard, and get this thing in the fourth quarter and swing away.
So to answer your question, I think our team has enjoyed taking on that kind of identity, but we realize every week, every week it's fragile, and every week it's coming right at you. Now we've got to take this team on the road and play a very talented team. Maybe one of the more talented teams in the country, so it's a huge task for us.
Q. Last Saturday night Southern Cal played two quarterbacks each for a half. Does it matter which one is in? Are you prepared for both of them? Are they different? Are they similar?
COACH ADDAZIO: In our opinion, neither one of them changed their scheme. They are who they are. They're both talented guys obviously they're trying to figure out who is the right guy from whatever standpoint, chemistry or whatever it is. But, no affect our preparation, no. They're both guys that have ability and are capable to strike us deep, and they're going to try to run the ball.
So that doesn't really -- I don't waste a lot of energy on that right now. I tell you what I waste a lot of energy on is the talent of the playmakers on both sides of the ball. They've got an abundance of them, and they're good. So that's got my attention in every way you can imagine.
Q. Marqise Lee is the returning Biletnikoff winner, best wide receiver in the country. Has not been really effective yet this year. Can you see anything on film what is holding him back a little bit?
COACH ADDAZIO: You know, receiver-quarterback chemistry is critically important. I'm guessing just listening and watching that right now they're trying to find that but you're not going to hold down a receiver like Lee. He's so talented and he really is that talented. He's going to get his hands on that football, and when he does, that's going to keep you up at night now, because I think he is legit.
I'm sure these are really good football coaches out there. They're very good at what they do, and they're going to get that ball to him, and he's a real threat. You've got your eyes on the right guy there. That guy is a next level player.
Q. Have you detected any kind of smoldering intensity on his part knowing that he's going back to Southern California to play a team that he grew up watching, or has he kind of been low key the whole week in practice? What's been your take on that?
COACH ADDAZIO: There's no doubt that kid has a burn inside. Who wouldn't? You're going home to play. I think any competitor has that feeling. So I know he does, and, yes, I can see it in his eyes. He's still going to keep his personality, but he's not over the top. But I can't imagine there is a more excited guy getting on that plane tomorrow.
Q. In terms of just what he brings to this offense now? He's leading a team that is 2-0. How much more pressure is on him to be good in this offense?
COACH ADDAZIO: Obviously he has to play a great game on Saturday. He knows it. Your quarterback is the guy. He's got to play a great game. He's got to get the ball out of his hands and be efficient, and on top of what he's doing and be a leader. I think he'll be all of those things. He doesn't need to do more than he needs to do, but he needs to be good at what he has to do. He doesn't need to press, but he needs to be sharp and play a great game, and I believe he will.
Q. You got great complimentary play against Wake on both sides of the ball, but obviously, running and passing the ball as well. What kind of added dimension does Andre Williams give you going into this game?
COACH ADDAZIO: He's a legitimate, powerful, fast running back. He's got great speed now. So that puts a lot of pressure to defend the run. But then, we need to have balance and we need to find a way to get the throw game going and be able to get open against really good man coverage players.
So the challenge for us will be to strike some balance. In order to do that, our receivers are going to have to get open and we're going to have to throw and catch well. The power run game is going to be our power run game. So I think it's the balance of it that we're really, really going to need against this outstanding defense. But people don't move the ball real well against this defense now. They're a very stingy defense, so you have to play great defense. You have to play the field position game, and you have to be able to when you have a chance to get the shot, you have to take it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports