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Quick Lane Bowl Press Conference Transcript

Thoughts from the coaches and ADs on the upcoming bowl game...

NCAA Football: Wagner at Boston College Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports


Opening statement: “We, at Boston College, are very, very thrilled to be here. And on a personal note, I’m from Michigan, so it’s great to be back in Michigan as well. The staff here has been unbelievable. For two years we’ve been talking about the possibility of Boston College coming to Detroit and so it’s really exciting for us to be here. Nothing I’ll say today will be so profound that it’s memorable, but what will be memorable to you will be the quality and dignity and character of our students, so I really look forward to introducing them to you and I also look forward to introducing them to a good Coney, washed down with some Vernors and maybe some ice cream with some Sanders hot fudge on top of it, so we’re honored to be here. Thank you.”


On Boston College’s season: “Yeah, I don’t think there’s any doubt, I mean, you know, the measuring stick in college football is you start out the year, you want to become bowl eligible. You want get a chance to get to the postseason as D.J. said, for your seniors, but for your whole program. No matter what year you’re in, it’s really important to get there and to get these extra practices and to be able to essentially have a second spring practice, you know, there’s no limit on them. Whatever you get 14, 16, 17 practices, you get 15 in normal spring ball, so it helps the development of your team. It’s a measuring stick for a level of success on a year and, you know, gives you a chance to continue to develop and grow and be with your kids. You’re a coach, you love coaching, you love teaching, you love being around young people and to have a chance to come to Detroit, I flew in here last night with Brad and he was so proud coming down saying, “Oh my god, look how this is changed, this is beautiful,” and I really had never been here before. I said, “What a beautiful downtown area,” and really excited to come in here and be a part of this thing and to play a great team and to play against D.J., who I think is one of the best coaches in college football. So it’s all-around exciting and we’re looking forward to it.”

On if they played an opponent this year that prepared them for Maryland: “You know, I haven’t had a chance to watch a ton of film yet, right? This just got announced on Sunday and we’ve been on the road, I’m sure D.J. has too. But I do follow D.J., so I’ve had a chance to watch a little bit and I know they’re a spread team, they’re a tempo team, we’ve played some spread tempo teams in our conference like Clemson, so that helps. Our league is kind of a spread league, you know, pro-style offense like ours is not as readily found. Maybe a couple more in the Big Ten. Defensively, I know on both sides of the ball, defensively D.J. is really, I thought, one of the finest defensive coordinators in the country. So you know, I know on defense they’re going to be really well put together, really well coached fundamentally and then of course, not just saying it because he’s standing here, but he’s also one of the best special teams guys in America. Really, we modeled our special teams a lot after what D.J. did at Florida and in his history, so in two evenly, you know, we would say evenly-matched teams that special teams is going to become probably a big factor in this game as well. So I think there’s pieces that we’ve had in our conferences to pick off of each other, we’ve both worked together, I think we both know what our mindset will be as we enter those practice arenas, but it’ll be a heck of a game and I’m really looking forward to it.”

On what playing in a bowl game means for the young players: “Well really, it is about the young guys. The seniors probably aren’t looking so forward to all of the extra practices, they’re looking for leaving their legacy and having a chance to go to a bowl game, compete, win and get the seventh win of the season. The young guys, it’s about building your team for the future and fundamentally developing them, looking at things you haven’t had a chance to look at, changing some things you wish you had changed differently in training camp, but once you get into the season you can’t do and just sort of really setting the stage for as you move forward. It’s critically important, and I can speak for us, we’ve had three practices already and what we’re doing right now in these practices is really working hard on the fundamental growth and development of the young players, not as many repetitions for the older guys just yet. That’ll come, they’re out there, but really more young-based. Especially, we had three before we knew who we were playing, so now has we move forward, we’ll start to integrate our Maryland plan and still early, young player development.”

On both teams being involved in a lot of high-scoring games this season and if he expects that in the Quick Lane Bowl: “I mean, I hope not. Our program is built on playing defense, running the football, scoring in the red zone, you know, don’t turn the ball over, time of possession. I mean, these guys, they’re a high-flying, fast-tempo, you know, I’m just hoping they don’t score 9,000 points. That wouldn’t be good for the old BC Eagles. You know, I think both head coaches here have a defensive mindset of how you win football games and hopefully, I think on both of our ends, well, you know, we think we can play well on that side of the ball. But I’m sure it’ll be a really intense, really close football game and I think that’s what make these bowl games exciting. You know, I have not really been a part of too many 62 point games, but you know, I think it’s more about the competition on the field, the physicality, the execution and whether that ends up, you know, 17-14 or 21-20 or however it gets there, it’ll be guys competing like crazy on the field.”

On how he accounts for his defense remaining intact with the loss of former Defensive Coordinator Don Brown to Michigan:“Don did a fabulous job at Boston College. I love Don and happy for Don as he moves forward, but it’s the Boston College program and the Boston College defense. That’s the way we preach it. We probably share this philosophy. Our program philosophy starts with defense. You can’t win if you don’t play great defense. That was the mantra coming in as I took the job at Boston College, I met with Brad Bates. Play great defense, run the football, special teams, don’t turn it over, score in the red zone. I think Don did a fabulous job while he was here, but that priority was in place and has not changed. Therefore, we’re still I think a pretty strong defensive football team because that’s the philosophy of the Boston College football program. That’s not based on an assistant coach coming in or not. But given the fact that I think he’s a fabulous coach and he’s done great things for us and he’s doing great things at Michigan, he’s fantastic, but that philosophy is set forward by the program and it won’t change.”

On nearly crossing paths with Durkin on staff at Florida: “Well, we did cross paths at Florida. We worked together. Our families are friends. Listen, D.J. was one of my favorite guys to ever work with. He’s intense. He’s a heck of a football coach. I think the world of him. When he came to Florida, we wanted him so desperately to come and I was the Interim Head Coach at that time. We wanted him there because he had worked with Greg Mattison in the past. He had worked with Urban Meyer in the past and had a chance to be around D.J., his passion, his energy, so his career path hasn’t surprised me in the least. I always said to myself, this is a guy that’s going to be destined to be a great head football coach. I feel great you asked me that and I can say that. This isn’t like, “Oh, we’re playing Maryland and now each coach is going to, you know, say good things about the other guy.” I’m telling you, I genuinely love D.J., and I genuinely think he’s one of the finest coaches out there and I think Maryland is extremely lucky and smart to have hired him, OK? I just hope on the 26th, maybe he’s not at his best. I don’t know, but I love this guy and I want nothing but success for him and what he did his first year, phenomenal. To be able to get your team to a bowl game in the first year is just fantastic, but not surprising.”

On what Boston College Quarterbacks Coach Scot Loeffler brings to his offense: “Well, Scot was with us at Florida and then Scot came with me to Temple as my coordinator when I went to Temple. And then had a chance to bring Scot back here obviously this season. Scot’s a really bright guy. Understands the passing game extremely well, the run game and maybe one of the best fundamental quarterback teachers I’ve ever been around. He’s just outstanding. Kevin Rogers was outstanding when I was around Kevin and young in my career. He’s like a phenomenal quarterback coach and Scot’s fundamentally sensational. And I think Scot, we understand each other, I trust Scot. Like D.J. was talking about, you’re only as good as the people around you, not only their ability as coaching, but also their loyalty. He’s an unbelievably loyal guy who just is a great person and wants to do great things. Really helping us develop our throw game right now, which we really needed to develop and we’re not there yet, but we’re a work in progress. His ability to develop that has been phenomenal. I know he’s jacked up as a Michigan guy to get back here to Michigan. He’s excited as heck to get out here, coached here with the Lions.”

On which Boston College players the fans in the Detroit area should watch for: “We have Rich Wilson, one of our running backs is from Detroit. He’s seen some action. He’s a young guy, but we really think that Rich has a great future with us. You’ll see him on the field for us from the area. I think our players on defense, Matt Milano, our outside linebacker is one of the outstanding players in the country. Certainly John Johnson in the back end, another one of our seniors, Harold Landry coming off the edge as a pass rusher. Kevin Kavalec, who is from St. Ignatius in Ohio, coming off the edge and Truman Gutapfel from Ohio on defense and our middle linebacker, Connor Strachan. They’re very active players. On offense I think it’ll be critical. One of our best players, our tight end, Tom Sweeney, critical how Patrick Towles comes out and plays in this game, obviously. The ability for us to get the ball down the field a little bit.”


December 7, 2016


Opening statement: “Well, first I want to thank the Quick Lane folks for having us, we’re very excited. Coach (D.J.) Durkin and I, this is the culmination of everything we’ve worked for and particularly for our seniors, to have them come in here and be able to participate in such a great bowl, great facilities at Ford Field, we’re very excited. But I want to congratulate the Detroit Lions and Coach (Jim) Caldwell for the great year they’re having so far. Jim’s a good friend of mine and I’m so happy for him to have the season that he’s having so far. You know, this year started off for us very quickly, we got off to a great start and then with our conference, as Brad said, we ran into some very difficult competition. Our kids were up for it, you know, we had a couple injuries that kind of sidetracked us for a while, but we got right back on track. We got bowl qualified and it’s very important, particularly for a first-year coach to be able to establish himself and D.J. Durkin has done that and we’re quite proud of him. So coming to a bowl game this year and particularly this bowl, this is very good for the Terp nation and we’re happy to be here.”


On what he was able to accomplish in his first year as Maryland Head Coach: “You know, the biggest thing when you’re coming in, trying to establish, the word ‘culture’ is used a lot. There’s a lot that goes into that, but it was very important, I think just trying to establish it with our guys of how we do things, the type of mindset, how we practice, how we train, how we play. I’m very pleased with the amount of buy-in we had from our seniors and our team and this is a great reward for them. They deserve it because they’ve been put through a lot, they’ve gone through a lot of adversity throughout their career and so, to be able to play in the postseason, you know, that’s one of the great things about college football, when you get to go to a bowl game and all the rewards that they come with, It’s one of the cool parts about the sport we get to coach, and so I’m excited for our guys, for our seniors in particular that they stayed the course with us and bought into what we were doing and really became leaders of that. So I’m very grateful of them for that and happy they’re able to play in this game.”

On beating Michigan State this year: “Yeah, that was a great home win for us. It was a great atmosphere, night game, we played Michigan State at our place and, you know, that was a big win for us. We needed it at the time, we had taken a couple losses before that and it was great to see our guys bounce back. That was a big game for us. You know, just obviously me being in this area just a year ago and living right down the road, Detroit’s such a neat sports town. Like, there’s great pride taken in all sports teams, there’s great following, great backing, everyone loves the teams. I think it makes it such a great city and so, with football in particular I know that there’s a tremendous amount of excitement around this area just with any football going on. It’s great for our guys, great for our team, they understand that and I’ll continue to educate them on that as we come in here and obviously being able to play a program like Boston College. There’s not a guy I have more respect for in the country than Steve, in terms of coaching. You know, he and I have worked together. He’s a guy I look up to in the profession, you know, so we know we have a big test ahead of us in that game. They’re a tough, physical team that does things the right way, and so it’s a great test for our guys and that’s the beauty of what we get to do in this sport, you know. We have a lot of tests and challenges throughout the year and as a competitor, that’s what you want. So we embrace that and we’ll work hard to get ourselves prepared.”

On if they played an opponent this year that prepared them for Boston College: “You know, I think really when you look at the teams we’ve played in our conference, for instance, Michigan was a team at the line of scrimmage that I thought was very, very good this year. I don’t know, it’s always hard to draw comparisons and what not. I just know that playing these guys, they’re very well coached and they’re very sound and they’re physical at the line of scrimmage. I think really, the story of football is that. You’ve got to win at the line of scrimmage. If you can be effective there on either side of the ball, you’ve got a chance and if not it’s an up-hill battle.”

On if Michigan’s defense stopped Ohio State on fourth-and-one: “Wow. I don’t know. Honestly, we were playing at the same time. I’ve seen the replay, obviously I didn’t see the game at the time. Those are two really good football teams. I think more than anything you saw two teams really battling and competing at a high level. It obviously was a great football game. I didn’t get a chance to watch it and see it, but for it to come down to the way it did, that’s what you want. Obviously familiar with both programs having played both and worked for both coaches involved in that and those are competitors there for sure.”

On his relationship with Coach Addazio: “Obviously, sitting here now it seems like, “OK we’re playing each other so you’re going to build up the other coach or team or whatever,” but I couldn’t agree with Steve more. A lot of our program, what we do and what is based on is right in line with Steve and to be honest with you, the things I learned from Steve. I can’t say enough. I said earlier, Steve’s a guy I look up to in the profession. It’s probably true in life, too. There’s certain people that you know don’t give you BS and he’s one of them and there’s few of those people in the world. It’s hard to find those, have conversations and be around someone that’s not giving you BS and I can say with 100 percent certainty, Steve is not one of those people. He’s a guy I’ve counted on for advice in my career and like I said, learned a lot from, look up to and I know how he coaches his team, runs his program. I follow BC or wherever he’s at, want them to do well. Same thing, when we get to the 26th, obviously one of the hard parts of our profession is sometimes you’ve got to play people that are your friends and that’s not an easy thing. The good thing is that the players (are) playing the game and we’re going to prepare our team like crazy like I know he will and have our guys go out there and they’ll compete for it.”

On if anything surprised him in his first season as a head coach: “The word surprise takes on different definitions. No, there’s nothing shocking or surprising. The longer you’re around coaching, you have those moments where you say, “That’s a first,” not ever quite surprised. I think the biggest thing for me going through this is we’ve been able to acquire a great staff with Kevin’s (Anderson) assistance and allow me to do some things to get quality staff. We have some great coaches on our staff that have really helped in a lot of ways. I think as a head coach you’re only as good as the people that are around you and I can’t say enough about our staff. Just tremendous men and coaches and they’ve been very helpful in a lot of circumstances and a lot of ways. We have guys on the staff that have head coaching experience as well and that’s been helpful to me. One of the great parts about our job, I think, is every day is different. There’s no two days that are the same and I think you just have to enjoy that and embrace that. Sometimes a lot of things are flying at you and you just keep taking them one by one. It’s been enjoyable. There’s great people at the University of Maryland, that’s for sure. From our administration to Kevin and Damon (Evans) on down, there’s great people that provide support. That’s the best part about it for me.”

On his biggest takeaway of Lions Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin when he worked with him on staff at Florida: “It was a great year of working with TA. I think he’s outstanding, one of the best coaches in the country, obviously. I think his track record speaks for that. He’s doing a great job here. He’s got a great mind for football, defense in particular. He’s got good energy about him. I mean, TA’s a positive guy. Every day he’s got a smile on his face and has great enthusiasm. He had really good rapport with the players and the coaching staff. It’s fun to watch him and how his career’s taken off and doing really well here.”

On if he is surprised with the success of Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers as a Heisman finalist: “No, I think everyone probably sees how talented he is and he’s dynamic on the football field. I think the reason I’m not surprised is being around him every day, his work ethic. When you take a player with that much ability and he’s if not the, one of the hardest workers on the team, great things are going to happen. That’s what he is. That guy comes to practice every day, prepares. He wants to be great. He’s a self-motivated guy. It’s fun to watch. Obviously, except for the time when he’s on the opposing sideline, I’m excited for him and hopefully that turns out well for him this weekend.”

On which Maryland players Detroiters should watch in this game: “I think for us it probably all starts with our quarterback, Perry Hills. He’s a guy that’s a senior. We think he’s been a really good player for us this year when he’s been healthy. We’ve had some ups and downs based on his health. He was back for us the last game of the year. He’s back healthy now. That’s where it starts I think. Our receiving corps, D.J. Moore is a guy that’s been very productive for us, as well as Levern Jacobs. Those are guys when we’ve been healthy and we’ve been able to stretch the field and get the ball to them downfield, that’s helped us in our run game. Both teams I think want to establish and run the ball. That’s our backbone. We go about it, I think, different ways, but we want the same outcome in terms of being able to be physical and move the ball on the ground upfront. Then on defense, Jermaine Carter is our inside linebacker, our leader, been very productive for us. He’s a guy that’s an experienced player, that’s done well in leading our team and leading our defense. It’ll be big for us, again, at the line of scrimmage to be able to establish the run game and/or handle their physicality in their run game as well.”

(Transcript provided by Boston College)