Thoughts from Coach Addazio on the shutout against UConn...
COACH ADDAZIO: It was great to get a win for the seniors on Saturday, and to build some confidence. On to Wake Forest right now. Wake Forest is having a really good football year. We've got to play them at home. I'm sure it's their Senior Day as well. They've got a good football team.
On offense, John Wolford has been their quarterback as of late. Obviously not this past sat Saturday, but we anticipate we'll face him.
Cade Carney, freshman running back; has done a really nice job for them.
Cam Serigne, their tight end.
And they got two receivers, Hines and Lewis, that I think are really good football players.
Defense, they've always been very, very sound on defense. Really impressed. Dave Clawson, to me, is an outstanding coach. Everything they do is sound fundamentally and schematically.
On defense, I think they've always done a great job defensively. Their players player their scheme very well and they're confident in it.
This is no exception. I can't pronounce Duke's last name, No 53. Heck of a football player. Big kid: 6'4", 270.
And I think Marquel Lee, their linebacker, I think he's the best player on their defense. I think he's fantastic.
Their safety, Jessie Bates; corners are outstanding. I think they're really good in the back end. They are a really good, sound football team. Very opportunistic football team.
They have played a lot of games this year where people have had four and five turnovers on them. I think they play really sound. They're sound in the coverage. They had five picks I think it was against Indiana.
So they're playing really good football. They're coming off a tough two-week run like we had. I think these are two teams that are going to meet each other. They're bowl eligible and we're trying to get bowl eligible. Should be a heck of a game down in North Carolina.
Q. Last two years Wake Forest has really struggled. Based on the tapes, what's the biggest change you've seen?
COACH ADDAZIO: You know, I think they're a fairly similar team. You know, I would say that one of the things you see on tape is I used the word opportunistic. Give credit. People turn the ball over against them and they've capitalized on those. They've created some turnovers and they've got some of those turnovers.
I don't know, I'm not studying their turnover ratios, but that's been really good to them. I think they're an older team, a maturing team. I think they've been able to capitalize on those games where -- go back where they played out-of-conference Indiana. They were able to get five turnovers on Indiana.
You know, forgot how many turnovers Duke had, but they played them really well.
Played Army, but Army won that game.
I just think that they have had a nice steady climb. This is a good football team. This is a sound football team, both sides of the ball, fundamentally.
I think Dave has just done a great job. I have a lot of respect for Dave. I have known Dave a long time, and so I really have a lot of respect for him and for his staff.
He does a lot with developing the players that he has. I mean, I think we're probably -- we're matchup teams. That's where we are.
You know, each one of us, each team, has their strengths and weaknesses, obviously. But we're kind of a matchup. Kind of heading down the home stretch within a game of each other. That's where it is.
Hopefully we're going to play our best ball this week, this one game-season. I'm sure they're saying the same thing down there. You know, we've got to over being on the road, and that's our mindset.
Q. Wouldn't be a conversation unless you beat UCONN, bowl eligibility. With that in mind, how important or what would it mean in the scope of the season to return to a bowl game?
COACH ADDAZIO: First off, it's however many more weeks of practice with a young football team, which is so important to us. It's the continued development. We have 21 some-odd players coming back on offense that have had meaningful playing experience this year; 19 coming back on defense, even though we are losing four.
There is a lot of young football here to mature. That's the beauty of bowl season. You're dying for that, right? Of course the obvious is you continue to play one more game. It's kind of a marker, you know, going to a bowl. It's a goal you set in the beginning of the year.
It's one that's still alive, and it's a marker because it's a marker for success and then it's a marker for growth and development. I think it's huge. All college football players, I mean, coaches, everybody, that's what we talk about: Get to a bowl; get to a bowl.
So I think it's huge.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH ADDAZIO: Well, you know, I think this: I think it speaks to the fact that we took over a program that when I came here we knew this would be up to a five-year rebuild. If we can do that, that sets a marker for getting there, you know, three out of four years. So that's important.
I mean, that doesn't define where we are and what we're trying to get to, but it gives you that extra time. I mean, I can't sit here and tell you that -- it's a major deal for us. This is something that's for our team very important. Let's say it like that for us. Every player and every coach feels that way right now.
Not that we're not every week. We come in here every week and we talk about this. We are pedal to the metal, and there is a great energy and a great focus and a great vibe on our team. There was last week.
Like I said, I came in here last week and I said we had the best Tuesday we ever had. I didn't just day that. I'm not one of those guys that just says things just for effect. - I'm anticipating we're going to have a great week this week. I mean, guys are jacked up.
It's awesome. That's where you want to be. At the end of year as you're developing your team, you want to see that. Those are the real markers of the mindset of a football team.
Q. Has it been difficult to keep that goal in mind with the ups and downs?
COACH ADDAZIO: You know, this team has had a lot of resolve. I mean, I think they love football and have seen growth on the tape. There have been disappointments now, we all know that.
But never did I ever one time feel like, We got to pump this thing up. Because I think that they feel good -- this isn't coach talk now -- they feel good about where we're headed, okay? When they don't, that's when you get that kind of look sometimes.
But that's not the case here. There have been major disappointments. The hardest thing -- we had a couple hard points in the season. Early on, you know, down in Virginia Tech was hard.
We knew we had that three-game run and we were able to get one and missed on two. Those two back-to-backs were hard, but it certainly wasn't deflating. It was disappointing.
That's what I think you saw last week, was, you know, a real energy going into that week. Like, We're going to play our best game. We kind of did play our most complete game, okay? I think that tells you a lot really.
Now we're going into this big game on the road, and we got to handle going on the road. We've done that before. We did it at NC State. We've got to go on the road and play well.
When you get to the last game of the season, you know, you either see the finish line in 50 yards and no matter how or tired you are physically you're kicking it into overdrive, right? Sometimes some teams are beat up and tired and have a hard time doing that that.
Right now I like the vibe on our team, and I'm looking forward to practice tomorrow. That's a good barometer for me. We practiced yesterday and there was a lot of energy. They day after we played.
And it was like 30 degrees out there last night with the wind cutting through. It wasn't anyplace anybody was all jacked up to be, but they were hooting and hollering and having a good ole time last night.
Getting our Sunday style of practice in there, which is a lot of fundamental work and stuff like that. It's really encouraging and really great. I'm happy about that.
Q. Has Mike Knoll become a reliable, confident kicker?
COACH ADDAZIO: I think, Rich, he's absolutely more confident. There is no doubt about that. He's got a smile on his face. You know, he's gotten honored in front of the team for a couple performances. You know, it boosts anybody's self-confidence.
Mike has given us everything he's got really. He has been very resilient. You got to admire that. I do. I admire things like that. When you see a guy take a beating and keep ticking and then go on to play what is his best ball right now, right, you know, I admire that.
It's a sign of toughness, mental toughness. When do you measure people? When it's all great? No. You measure people when it's hard. He's been in some tough situations.
Is he a finished project? No. You Mike Knoll is absolutely giving us, at this stage, up through today, that guy has given us everything he has. I appreciate and admire that.
Q. You do think giving him both jobs has made him better in both, keeping him sharper?
COACH ADDAZIO: You know, I can't look you in the eye and tell you that.
Q. Seems like it though.
COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah, I wouldn't argue with that. I'm just saying -- I just think he's had the ability to grow with some confidence. It's not all been perfect, but he is maturing in confidence. You can see it in the way he carries himself. Forget about on the field, just everywhere.
Sometimes adversity can really rattle guys and knock them to the ground. Sometimes it can harden them a little bit. I think it's kind of solidified him a little bit. We just keep rolling. You never know what's behind door No. 2. You just keep rolling. That's kind of what we're doing. We just keep rolling. We've all hit adversity.
The old saying, What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, you know what I mean?
Q. A lot of times coaches will say that they see improvements but the results aren't necessarily there. Maybe that was the case last year; I don't know if you felt that way or not. How important is it to actually have the results, either a bowl game or just a lot more wins so that the players see there is success?
COACH ADDAZIO: That's why they have a good vibe right now. That's question you're asking, which is a good question, is kind of answered in what we talked about. That's why there is a great vibe on our team right now, just for what you just said.
Last year was just tough. I mean, I don't want to go back. It was just tough. We played great on defense and struggled on offense. You couldn't really move it in any direction you wanted to because of the quarterback situation and a lot of other things.
Now we're building. We feel great about our young quarterbacks and everything. So the vibe is outstanding, and nothing is going to kill that vibe right now. No outcome is going to kill that vibe.
Obviously to go win this game and get to a bowl game buys us more time, buys us continued momentum, but nothing is going to stop that from growing right now. They've seen that and tasted that. Now they know it.
That's all part of it. It's the important piece of this. We're only going to continue to grow and have now more experienced guys all over the field. That's only going to continue to grow now.
Now the question is, is -- you know, we got to go fight to buy those weeks. Those works are so important right now. Doesn't seem like much, but when you talk about -- I forgot the number of practices it is right because I don't have my mind on that right now; I got my mind on what's in front of us -- but those weeks mean a lot to every single program. Every head coach will tell that you.
So we would love nothing more that to do that, and it all happens with this week. That's why there is a lot riding on this right now. We haven't had a great opportunity this year to be able to take some success and have a chance to keep building it week to week.
The way it's fallen, it just hasn't happened like that really. This is an opportunity for that to happen. That's important, so we would like to get that done.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah, well, we felt really great all pre-season camp with both of those guys. They kind of play different spots, really. The development of those guys was fantastic.
That's why when we lost Garrison this year, it really hurt us. We have a mindset on the way we were going to play and the groupings we were going to play with. We didn't really have a replacement for Garrison, his style, which I call like a hybrid tight end.
So that kind of stunned us just a little bit. We didn't have, at that point, anybody younger that was really getting ready to take that step at that point in time.
Since then we've activated Ray Marten and Korab Idrizi, right? Korab and Garrison are very similar, okay, but he wasn't ready to play yet then.
But the growth of those guys has been phenomenal. We knew Tommy was getting ready to have a great year. He's into his third year right now. Tommy had a chance to redshirt, and so physically and mentally he's playing his best football right now. Clearly.
Chris had redshirted and was a redshirt freshman. His growth was so fast. It was coming so quickly, you know. That was crushing. It really was?
He's going to be great and he's going to be back. Then we've developed Ray and Idrizi, and those guys are going to be really good football players.
Not to get away from your question, I don't know if you saw on the field, but on the film -- I'm assuming you watch the TV copy or whatever -- Ray hit a couple guys and they were hit. I mean, that is meaningful, because in that style of runs, that's punishing.
That, over time, really has an impact. You saw Korab with a great catch. We were using him earlier, couple weeks, coming in and cracking defensive ends. Those guys are physical and really good football players.
So the emergence of Tommy, you know, we have had Mike Giacone back after he had that season-ending injury. He's been here a while and he's been a great influence on these guys.
I think these young guys are really starting to come on. Tommy is obviously the oldest one of them who has played some football. Now he's playing his best football and he's got great football ahead of him right now. Really good football ahead of him.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH ADDAZIO: It matters. I mean, on defense, like on offense, you need to be explosive. Harold creates explosive plays. He missed training camp. Had to play himself over the first few weeks back into form. He missed the whole camp. He did that. He's an explosive guy off the edge.
Again, whether you're pressuring or coming in four-man or even a three-man, if he can gets isolated one-on-one, he really can get home. You're seeing that emergence.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah. I mean, his fundamental growth has been phenomenal, and I credit that to Coach Pasqualoni, what he's done with that whole D-line. If you look at that whole D-line the whole D-line's growth phenomenal.
You know, you see Zach Allen out there, too. Zach is really coming on.
Of course Ray was out the last couple weeks. Or was it one week at this point? I lose track of time here.
Ray was having great development, and then Kav is playing well. He's just done a great job.
Truman, he's playing elite football right now. Our defensive front is playing outstanding.
Connor Strachan and Ty Schwab and Matt Milano, the three linebackers, are playing their best football right now. Missed Connor -- he didn't play in the Syracuse game, and then he was kind of really dinged up for about four weeks in there with the shoulders. So we lost a little bit in there, because he was dominant in training camp.
Then he got hurt against Georgia Tech. Went in from Georgia Tech right probably through like five games. He didn't play in one and was dinged up. Those guys right now are playing really, really well. Our front is playing really, really well.
So we need that play. I mean, that's the kind of play you need. You need a defensive end that can get home. I mean, those are explosive plays on the defensive side of the ball kind of like perimeter people are sometimes or a tailback is homerun hitting on the offensive side of the ball. They kind of go hand in hand.
Harold has the chance to become one of our better pass rushers here in a long time I would say. I don't have the history handy in front of me. I know we've had some really good ones. He can be one of those.
(Transcript provided by Boston College)