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Boston College Football: Steve Addazio's Press Conference Transcript

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Opening statement ...
"Well just summarizing the game, offensively we ended up having (320) yards of offense: (144) throwing, 176 rushing. We ran the ball for over 4.0 yards per carry, had five explosives in the throw game, which was great. Our time of possession was 29:42, which was really a high time of possession against a wishbone team. The tale in there is we ran the ball well. We did some really good things: we ran the ball well at times, but we got in the red zone and had some real missed opportunities. Obviously we missed two field goals and we turned the ball over on a third attempt. Those are three scoring opportunities that we came away with no points, which in a nine-possession game - you usually have 12 possessions - if you score on those three trips in the red zone and have the offensive stats that we had right there, you're having a pretty good day - and an opening day - against a really good ACC opponent.

"On defense, we held them to 238 yards. Last year, they averaged 378 yards per game. We held them to 2.7 yards a carry on offense in the run game, which is really unheard of. I thought we had a great plan and did a great job. But we let up three third-and-longs, two of which in the first half led to a score. And then, of course, we had a third-and-long and a fourth-and-20 at the end of the game to seal the game to put it away. And we couldn't get that done, which is a shame because we had a really strong, strong defensive performance - probably as good as anyone's had against that team in a long time or ever. So both side of the ball, opening day against a really good opponent, made a lot of progress and did a lot of great things. The problem is we didn't get off the field and didn't convert in the red zone, which would've given us an opportunity to win that game. There's improvement - a lot of improvement. A lot of great things going on there. But we've got to get back this week, get ready to play UMass.

"UMass had a showing against Florida. Went down there, it's a tough place to play in The Swamp, and they got that thing into a 10-7 game into the fourth quarter. They've got some good players. On defense, they're fast. I think they run really, really well on defense. On offense, the quarterback makes a lot of plays. The running back is electric. They've got a couple of good receivers. They look like they've got some real talent. You don't go down to Florida, in The Swamp like that, in a sold-out environment, and play nose-up unless you have some ability. And they have ability. Mark Whipple does a great job there. So it'll be a real challenge for us. We'll have a great week of practice and get ready to go on the road. Not too long a road trip - thank God. A little different than Ireland - go on the road and play at Gillette and continue to grow, continue to get better as a football team, which we, without question, did last week, and get going.

"I think by playing a quality opponent early, we all know what the downside is for all the teams that opened up with quality opponents. But the upside is that it really gives you an opportunity to see where your corrections need to be made, and you don't get fooled. Whereas with some lesser opponents you can and then you get shocked later. But it's all about improvement right now. It's all about taking care of the little things we had to do on both side of the ball that were really not far off of really having a fine game on both sides. That's what's frustrating. But the positives were easy to see - it wasn't complicated - as were the negatives. But the positives out-weigh the negatives. And the growth of the football team was very obvious. So we've got to continue to grow and learn how to close out a game like that."

If there were lessons in closing out games ...
"I just think, as I said all along, we're playing to win. If you get in the red zone, you've got to be able to get points. You can't miss two field goals, one from the 18 and one from the 26. Those are six valid points. The turnover we had down there, the tackle got collapsed and his arm got hit in the motion. That happened. It's a shame. We also had another opportunity to get down there and Tom Sweeney got hit down there before he caught the ball. But you've got to score in those opportunities. And the obvious (one) is getting off the field, 4th-and-20 against a wishbone team - we've got to get underneath. We're playing two deep, a four-man rush, which is the right thing to do. The underneath coverage has got to get underneath and get depth underneath - that's why they call it five-under, two-deep. So, we've got to do a better job with that. Situationally, realizing we'll break up on everything short, man. Twenty yards is a long way to go. You see what happens, when you have the threat of that quarterback - he's a 4.5 guy - everybody is deathly afraid he'll break containment and scat himself for that first down. But 20 is a long way to go. The shame of it is just a play or two before that, we had him for about a 30-yard loss and to that kid's credit he came out of that thing. But that would've made it virtually impossible. But, we've been in those games before the last couple of years and we have to close them out at the end like that. But we played really well on defense. Really well. And we really played really well on offense. It's the most balanced we've been in our ability to run and throw the football, and move the football. Like I said, you're playing Georgia Tech and you basically have a mirrored time of possession, but when you get to the red zone you have to capitalize. You've got to come away with points. You can't drive the field like that and give away three points here and give away three points here, or seven points, preferably. But you need the momentum of at least the threes, which amount to six, which in a game makes a difference. Early game, bad weather on the road like that - raining - I thought the game was played pretty well. Pretty well. Obviously there's a lot of room to improve, but we played pretty well. What happens is you play someone else and get away with some of those things early. But, that was a challenging team given their style of offense and everything else."

On his impressions of the special teams unit ...
"I think Tyler (Rouse) has done a good job all camp as a punt returner. He's going to field the ball. He's a confident, veteran guy. I thought (Mike) Knoll did a decent job (punting). We've got to get a little more hang time, a little more distance. But certainly, first time out of the chute, I though did a pretty good job. As typical early games, sometimes it's hard on kickoff coverages to get used to ... what you don't practice is firing your gun, so to speak, when you're covering. You're not going to take out your returners. It's a very dangerous thing to work on. So what happened is sometimes is that you get into this habit during training camp of breaking down on the returners. A lot of times that has to be a low tackle. And I thought that showed up both on our punt team - we were in good position a couple of times and missed a couple of tackles there. The first kickoff wasn't good. We anticipated a certain return and got something different and we let it out to the field. Those are all real, real correctable things. They usually happen early and then you can get that thing corralled. I think there were some really good pieces of the special teams, but, once again, you've got to be able to make 18-yard field goals. You've have to be able to do it. At that point in time, it was 4th-and-2 and it was the right thing to do to go kick a field goal. It ended up being the wrong decision, but it would've given us the chance to go up by three. Our defense was stoning that attack. We wanted the points, guaranteed - what you would think would be guaranteed points -you wanted the points. But as it played out, obviously we weren't able to get that field goal and we lost that red-zone opportunity. You have to go through those things and really learn where you're at. It helps you make those decisions moving forward."

On the defense adjusting back away from defending the wishbone ...
"Here's the good news: the good news is we practice against each other most of camp. And we're a traditional-style offense right now. So we spent a vast majority of camp - we had Georgia Tech offense all camp long at periods, but we also went against each other good-good. Now for the last week, we didn't. For the last week, there was no seven-on so to speak because they're so wildly different, obviously. So we've got to get back into coverage: into coverage and the run fits. I think we'll do that really well. Now we're going back to what our comfort level on defense is. But there is an adjustment, for sure. We've been away from it for at least a solid week and the emphasis point has been away from it more than that, darn near two weeks. So we've got to have a great day tomorrow. We were out yesterday and ran some seven-on and did some things. It was interesting: Ireland one minute and the next minute we're home and seven-on-seven on a Sunday. But we got some good things done there and got a jumpstart, which is good. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this week so we can have productive practices."

On his satisfaction with the defensive pressure from the edge ...
"I would say no, but you're were defending a wishbone. It's really different. In third down, you're trying to contain, enforce that throw from a contained (space), as opposed to more of a go-get-the-passer kind of deal. He takes off out of that pocket, it's really dangerous. So it's different. It's really a little different than what we'll see this week where you'll pin your ears back and go on third down now, more pressure and things like that. It's a totally different style defensive approach. Obviously, we'd have wished we'd gotten a little more pressure with a four-man rush at the end, but again it was really trying to keep that guy in there. And that happens when you try to keep him in there and force him to throw that ball, not allow him to be a runner in space. So that's reflective of that, so it's hard to really gauge that kind of game and say how was your pass rush. It's not a real pass rush, per se, game. And that's the advantage sometimes they get. They're not traditionally a big throwing team. But in that game, we allowed them, on three different occasions, to convert downs that even for throwing teams are very, very small percentage to be able to covert. And our strength is in our back end; we're pretty good back there. I think we fell down on one play. Just a shame. Just a shame."

On Jon Hilliman and the running game ...
"He was healthy right from the get-go. We've got a bunch of backs, so we rotate them. We didn't rotate them as much in the game. But in training camp we were able to rotate backs, which kept Jon's legs, I thought, pretty good. All of their legs are good. We've got a lot of confidence in the stable of backs. Davon (Jones) only got a couple of carries and Rich (Wilson) didn't really get in the game as a running back, and those guys are really talented and really capable. But there's only so many touches out there. It's one of those deals where we don't want to start rolling backs. A good back has got to get a feel for the game, and I thought Jon did that. I think that's what you saw with that big chunk run. He started to get a little feel for the tempo of everything in there. There was probably another 100 yards worth of runs in there, but we just mis-fit a couple of things in there . You'd like to think each week you're going to get a little better in there because we really had some opportunities in there. That's something that bothers me right there. But that's pretty typical of an opening day. But when a game comes down to the wire like that, you're looking back for every piece you could recapture. It's frustrating, but they certainly were there. They were there for us, we've got to capitalize. We're just inches away a couple of things. The slip screen to Mike Walker: I thought he was coming right out of that thing. There's a couple of things like that, just ugh. They all add up and make a difference in a tight game like that because we had momentum really rolling at that point in the game. You could really feel our team surging. Which is really good to see, but we didn't close it.

"(Jon Hilliman's) got speed. What makes Jon unique is he's a big back who's got speed. And that's when you're dangerous. He's talented. We missed him last year. You felt it right away in game one. You felt the presence of the quarterback play in game one - all those things we didn't have a year ago. This team has got to grow, mature. The margin for error is not great. These games are all - especially early on and who you're playing - the margin for error is not big. When you start out like that and you're playing a match-up team, it all comes down to your preparation. I really feel our preparation was outstanding. I think our kids would tell you they felt really prepared for that football game. We needed to make handful more plays on offense and a handful more plays on defense, and they were there to be made."