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New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Steve Addazio and Mark Holtzman Quotables

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"We're just passionate about wanting to be there. It's easy to do that when you feel it from the heart."

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Steve Addazio Opening Statement...

We're deep in preparation for Penn State, and we're excited about it. Mark (Holtzman, the Yankees executive director of non-baseball events) had the chance to speak with our team today and our kids came out of it all revved up. It's a great atmosphere, great environment, a lot of buzz surrounding the game. It's a sold out game, and we have a great opponent ahead in New York. We're a really excited football team.

Penn State is a very good football team. They're ranked second in total defense, 10th in passing defense and first in rushing defense. So they've got a bunch of good football players there. Mike Hull, who is their linebacker, is outstanding. They've got some great pass-rushers. On offense, Christian Hackenberg is really an outstanding quarterback. He throws the ball well. They have a really balanced offense. These two teams are going to clash on December 27th, and it's going to be a Northeast clash for the Lambert Trophy to see who is going to be the top team in the Northeast. There's a great history between the two teams playing each other, so we couldn't be more excited and more grateful to the Yankees, the Pinstripe Bowl, Mark Holtzman for this opportunity. it's the opportunity of a lifetime for our football program, and we're bound and determined to put a great product on the field and for everyone to be proud of the matchup they have selected.

Addazio on wanting to play in the Pinstripe Bowl...

We're just passionate about wanting to be there. It's easy to do that when you feel it from the heart. I know what our kids wanted. I know what our program needed. I've been to that bowl two times now. It's a big-time atmosphere handled in a big-time fashion. Players of other teams who have been there rave about their experience. I could go down the list of reasons why. For me to go in and be passionate about our genuine desire to be there wasn't very hard. It's a natural fit. It's a great game with the two teams that are playing each other. Our alumni base was so fired up, as well as our students. It works on every front. So we're honored to have the opportunity to represent there. You know when it feels good, and it's right. It fits. This is right, and that's why I think the response has been the way it's been. It still takes people like Mark and Randy and that committee to be able to see that and have that foresight. We're appreciative for it.

Addazio on the senior class...

They are a great group of guys. It's not a huge number. It's a resilient group that came here when things weren't so good. They stuck with it and hung in there. They rode through all the transition and bought in to the program. It's wonderful to see them experience success and they have a great deal of pride. BC guys they have a lot of pride in being here. There's a lot of tradition here in Boston College football. Being here when winning wasn't happening was not easy for them. NOw, they want to leave this program better for the future. Last year being able to get bowl eligibility was great; now this year going after that bowl win. It's a really important drive. Our practices are much more intense than they were a year ago at this time. What does all that mean? I guess we'll see. But these kids are loving practicing and the grind of preparation for this game, which I think tells you what you need to know. It's very important for them. We had a very emotional senior banquet on Sunday, a lot of guys spoke about their passion and feelings for Boston College: Where the program was, where it is, and where it's heading. I'm really happy and proud of those guys and we're grateful for what they've done.

Addazio on extending the season...

Good programs get better because they are able to extend their practices. When you think about it, spring football is 15 practices. Well, we have 15 practices preparing for the bowl game. So it's like another spring. You don't get to play the game enough in football. It's not like basketball where you play pick-up games. So you have 15 more practices then spring football and what you're doing is developing your football program. You're developing the culture of your team. Success breeds success. You're playing in a meaningful, big-time bowl game. The young players in our program right now are wide-eyed because they see the older guys getting all pumped up. That's a really important piece of it as well. You want them to understand the significance of playing these styles of games. It's all a positive. It's all good. It's an important and integral part of the program.

Addazio on the success the underclassmen experienced the past two years...

What we try to do is keep reminding them of that. We demand of them in practice as well. That's a good problem to have. It's like anything else. Someone gives you a car, you take the car for granted; you don't wash and wax it. Whereas when you work for that car and you grind for that car, you take care of it. It's our job to make sure they appreciate the great things that are happening on the backs of a lot of people. Hopefully they pay that forward to the future classes and you develop a culture that's built on success. That's the goal. We're in the middle of that.

Addazio on the activities during bowl week...

Mark does all that and he does an unbelievable job. That's a part of what makes the bowl special is the bowl experience. For these kids, it's a reward for having a great season. They get to experience a slice of New York. They have all kinds of things: from going to Little Italy, to the Radio City Rockettes on Christmas night, to the tour of Ground Zero on Christmas morning, to a welcoming dinner at Yankee Stadium on Christmas Eve—just so many great things. What's going to be more important to these kids than going to Ground Zero? What an unbelievable opportunity. Everything is so meticulously and professionally handled. The hospitality, the way they make you feel, the gifts—everything. It's first class. That's why people want to be in this bowl game.

Addazio on the Penn State offense...

Christian Hackenberg is a typical NFL quarterback. He's got a terrific arm; he's a big strong guy; he's pretty athletic. The quarterback has to make it happen for you and he does. They've got good players. We all know their depth can be problematic because of the reduction they've had in scholarships, but they have really good football players. I remember playing them a couple years back when I was at Temple and they were outstanding. They're real. They have a real strong powerful front and a great linebacker unit. Good coverage skills. They're one of the better defenses in America. Those numbers don't lie. There's talent and they're well-coached and highly motivated. We're talking about a team that hasn't been to a bowl game for a while. They're a very proud program, rightfully so.

Addazio on how the schedule prepared BC to play this defense...

We've played some really good defenses. The strength of the ACC has been its defenses. That's why when people start rattling off numbers and stats, they have to understand what goes behind them. We're a better, more sophisticated offense than we were a year ago, but maybe the numbers won't show that. That has a lot to do with who we have played. Their numbers will tell what they're all about defensively. Good news: we've played these styles of defenses. We played Florida State, Clemson, Wake Forest had a really good defense. We're not getting anything new. We're not getting anything we haven't seen all season long. But what we've seen has been outstanding, and we're going to get another outstanding defense. We're going to have to work. It's going to be a big defensive struggle.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl Executive Director Mark Holtzman opening statement...

On behalf of the New York Yankees and the Steinbrenner family, we are absolutely thrilled to be hosting Boston College at the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The bowl is now going into its fifth year, and it's now recognized as one of the premier bowl beneath the top bowls in the country. We have had some of the best television ratings every year, and this year promises to be the blockbuster of all. Once we announced these teams, Boston College and Penn State, we sold out in literally 36 hours, and Yankee Stadium is not a small place. That's a tribute to both the BC and the Penn State fans. It's going to be a great matchup. Talk about a classic, Northeast matchup: two renowned, historical programs playing in one of the great venues in America, Yankee Stadium. It's going to be a very special day. We looked at it very closely.

This is our first year with the Atlantic Coast Conference. We're thrilled to be associated with the ACC and the Big Ten. We believe those are the two right conferences for us. One of the major reasons we signed up to be with the ACC was the opportunity to have Boston College play at Yankee Stadium not only this year, but many years to come. We always root for Boston College to make one of the top bowls, we're right there. It's going to be a great opportunity for the kids. We have a week full of activities. Obviously the ultimate goal is to win the football game; we understand that. We know Coach and his team will be very focused. At the same time, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to sample some of the really unique parts of New York City during Christmas week, which is a very special week.

All in all, we're just thrilled. We wanted Boston College to play at Yankee Stadium for a long time, and now our wish has come true. I got to meet with Coach last week when came down with Brad Bates, and the enthusiasm and true sincerity of wanting to play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium came right through to myself and Randy Levine. Judging by how quickly this game sold out and the enthusiasm it has generated, it is clear we've made the right choice.

Holtzman on what factors went into the decision to include BC...

I looked at the number of alumni Boston College has within a 60-mile radius of New York City, and it's absolutely staggering. That and the amount of students who will be home for break. It meant a lot to us that both Brad Bates and Coach came down. He [Bates] didn't bring another marketing person down with him; he brought Coach Addazio with him. Because the best marketing person you have for Boston College football is sitting right next to me. That made a huge statement to us. The passion shined right through. It was clear—he even knocked over his cup of coffee when he was gesturing with his hands and you could see how passionate he was. I told people if he [Addazio] could have put on a Superman costume and jumped across the table and shook me and said, "You'd better sign up for BC to play here right now!" he would have. He wanted the commitment and he wanted to show that BC wanted to play at Yankee Stadium in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. It made the business decision very easy then.

Holtzman on what he shared with the team at practice...

First of all, when I spoke with them, they were so focused and their eyes were transfixed. I look at those little things, being in marketing and making presentations all the time. They were taking in every word I was saying to them. All I wanted to let them know was that they're all young men, and I'm sure they're going to go on and be very successful, but this is a very special moment for them. I want them to savor every moment of playing in this bowl. Obviously the ultimate objective is to win, but this is so much more than a football game. This is a celebration about everything that is good about football and this is also a celebration that is good about two great American cities here: Boston and New York. It's a rivalry, but it's a friendly rivalry. It's great that we're coming together for such a very special game. I just wanted the kids to take a step back for a second and really understand the magnitude of what's going to happen over the next few weeks, but also to enjoy it, because who knows when you get to have another opportunity like this. we have a great television audience; we have a great time slot on ESPN, 4:30 PM on Saturday. It has generated tremendous local interest because we have two schools that can drive, and two schools that have wanted to play in New York for a long time. It's going to be a special day. We've done a lot of events at Yankee STadium, but this going to be right at the top.

Holtzman on football games in Yankee Stadium...

What also makes it special is that some of the greatest football games ever played have been played at Yankee Stadium. Let's not forget those great Army vs. Notre Dame football games going back to the '20s. Those two teams were the top two college teams in the country. Of course professionally, the New York Football Giants played at Yankee Stadium for years and probably had the most famous game played there against the Colts that ushered in the modern era of professional football. There's a lot of football history there, and for those of you who are going to be at the game, there's a lot of pictures that commemorate that. Football, especially college football, is a major part of New York Yankee tradition. This is not something that we came up upon recently.

Holtzman on what he's looking forward to on December 27...

I'm looking forward to a great game. I'd like to see a few points put up on the board, that wouldn't hurt. But if it's a classic Northeast game and it's a defensive struggle, then so be it. I'm looking forward to the whole atmosphere really. We couldn't have two better opponents for us this year. I always put a few teams in a fortune cookie each year and hope it comes true. It came true this year. And it's pretty neat.

Transcript courtesy of BC Athletics.