Transcript of Steve Addazio’s weekly conference call, courtesy of TheACC.com
STEVE ADDAZIO: Obviously we're coming off a tough week last week. We played on the road again for the third straight week down in a tough environment in Virginia Tech. They did a great job and played really, really well. We didn't play as well, so we're really looking forward to being home this week, being in our home stadium, and having a chance -- we had a great week of practice, and having a chance to get back at it.
That's what football is all about.
Looking forward to it. Can't wait for Saturday.
Q. To look at the last game obviously against Virginia Tech offensively, just what you can take away from this game, what you were kind of focusing on in practice, obviously a tough game for the offense but just what your takeaways were.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, you know, we went down in a tough environment. We had the ball on the first series on the 30-yard line, 1st and 10, and we fumbled the ball. The ball got fumbled, knocked back across midfield and gave them a short field. They took advantage of a short field. We then answered with a 90-some-odd yard kickoff return and we got it called back with a penalty, so we had the ball on the 6.
The day kind of went that way.
The next series we had the ball on the 11, and on the very first play we went offsides at the right tackle. So we backed up again.
We just kind of -- it was one of those days where we had a hard time doing some of the easier things.
On the other side, we let up some big plays early. We really did a good job defensively except for a few big plays. We had a couple of pass interference penalties, and then we had just a great play made on the part of Virginia Tech, a long ball into double coverage before the half, and we had it covered, it was just one of those freak plays that just happened, so we got ourselves down 21-0, probably pressed a little too much, probably got out of sync. We're playing 11 freshmen and sophomores on offense, and in that environment under those conditions, that wasn't the best situation to be in.
And it just kind of rolled on us from there.
That's what happened. I believe in what we're doing, of course. You know, we've played some tough games to open the season. We opened up in Ireland against Georgia Tech. That was a tough game, a tough opener. I thought we played very, very well. I thought we played well offensively, and I thought we saw a real growth in our throw game. That's real. That was against an ACC opponent.
Then we played on the road again against UMass, who was pretty athletic, and it was like the Super Bowl for them, and I thought we showed signs of our passing game developing even more, and there was real signs of good things.
To go down this weekend, I just think we got behind a little bit here, got out of sync. I think the young guys in that environment got a little flustered, and it led to what it led to.
But I know what I saw in practice leading up to that game. I know what I saw this week, and we're a young team, we're going to make some mistakes, but we really do have some ability. This young offensive line has got to really come together. We're playing a couple of true freshmen and true sophomores who have a limited number of starts under their belts, and as each week goes by they're going to get more comfortable, they're going to get better, and as that happens, we'll get more consistency.
Q. What do you say to Patrick Towles after a game like that where you said the first couple games you thought the offense was running well with the pass. What do you say to him after a game like Virginia Tech?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I say to him, let's get back to work and have a great week of practice. We had some real breakdowns in protection up front. I don't know that he really had much of an opportunity. We had some -- we had a hard time with some of the young receivers in man coverage. We had some things that were a little uncharacteristic, and we've just got to get back to work.
Listen, we've played three games, okay. Three games. And we've played three pretty good, tough games. We haven't had that luxury of opening up with an easier situation. We didn't have that luxury. There's a lot of football left to play, and we're getting ready to play Wagner this week, and we're excited about that. And that's what it is.
You take a game like that, sometimes you learn what you can from it, you realize what happened, you move on from it. You move on. There's just too much football ahead, and I saw too many good things against good opponents early.
You know what, sometimes these tough games like this, they can go this way. I saw it on national TV with a few marquee teams, some teams ranked in the top 10. Saw the same thing kind of go down. It's a risk you run early when you're playing really tough opponents on the road early. It's risky. But I think you learn from it. I think it can make you better.
I think what happens is some things don't get disguised that might show up later. They showed up now, so you have an opportunity to fix them.
Q. I understand the young offense having things go wrong, but your defense for over a year has been so dominant, so strong. I don't think anybody has rushed for over 200 yards against you in a while. Can you talk about what happened on defense? What were they doing that was so effective?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, I just think it's a fact that the defense was on the field too long, and they made some big plays early, and they had great field -- we couldn't flip the field, and our defense was just on the field too long. We still played great run defense, we really did. But by the time we got down to the fourth quarter, that defense had been on the field too long, plain and simple.
Listen, we played phenomenal defense for two weeks prior to that. Give credit where credit is due; I thought Virginia Tech played exceptionally well, and they deserve that credit for that. They have very good players. They played well at home, and they did a great job.
But our issue lay with our inability to move the football, terrible field position, and really poor, negative momentum early, which led our defense to be on the field too long. That's what happened.
Q. I also wanted to ask you just about Jerod Evans, the Virginia Tech quarterback, his numbers. You've played against a number of Heisman-quality quarterbacks in this league the last few years. His numbers are very similar to Deshaun Watson, maybe even a little better this year. Can you talk about what he brings to the table?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, you know, I thought he played exceptionally well in our game. There's no doubt about it. You know, and give -- I give a lot of credit to him. I just really think he played exceptionally well, and if he can sustain that level of play, he's going to be an elite player in our league, and I have no reason to believe he won't. But he made a lot of phenomenal plays. He made some throws that were really, really good throws.
He's a big kid, and he's athletic and he's tough and he threw the ball well. You know, and to their credit, they didn't have -- they were able to correct their turnover issues they had early. I think they did a phenomenal job in coaching their team, and I thought he had a sensational day. I mean, a lot of things went really right, and that happens, and that's great for them. That happened in that game.
Q. Coach, the one at least bright spot for you was Kevin Kavalec with 10 tackles. What kind of player is he, and just talk about what he means to your defense.
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, Kevin is a high motor, high achiever, really smart guy. He's played a lot of football here. He's a senior. You know, he's very accountable.
I think what he brings to the defense is an accountability. He's one of those guys that you know he's going to do his job, and with his experience and his motor and with his athleticism, he's trained real hard to have a really good senior year.