Boston College Head Coach Steve Addazio
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, that was a beautiful win. I'm really proud of our kids. We played a really fine football program and the team that won the National Championship not that long ago. Our kids played with tremendous passion and energy, and this game meant a lot to our program for a whole lot of reasons.
Certainly one of the biggest is the Red Bandanna game means a lot. The ability and the honor we have to represent Welles Crowther on this night is a special thing for our university and for our football program. I just had an unbelievable honor to be able to give Welles' parents the game ball down in the locker room, and that was really quite special.
I think right from the start, we came out firing. We were going to empty the drawer, so to speak, and we went after them in all three phases. I thought we played a really good first half. The second half we kind of worked towards more managing the clock. After we scored and got up significantly and just trying to run that thing down. We rushed for over 200-something yards. I thought Anthony played really well, especially when he had to make some great plays in the first half. I thought AJ, I thought John, I thought the line played well. I thought we made some really great catches.
Kobay had a catch in the end zone. We missed one. But I thought we continued to play explosively. We continued to play aggressively going for fourth downs and continuing to do the things we could to be as aggressive as we could be. I thought we played really well on defense. I'm proud of the kids. Proud of the way they played. This was a great win for us to get. We have a bye week now, a much-needed bye week so our kids can regroup and put extra focus on their academics and mentally and physically get a little bit of a recharge as we go down the home stretch.
We have some big games here left to play. But I certainly want our kids to celebrate this great win and feel great about it. They're resilient, the faith that this team has in each other, coaching staff and players alike, is remarkable, and I'm very, very proud of that. Any questions?
Q. Could you imagine the weight that's shifted over the last 30 seconds?
STEVE ADDAZIO: You know, we felt from the beginning that we had something special here, you know. I think we got stung early with some injuries, and those key injuries really hurt us. They were really hard for us to overcome, especially given the fact that we had some young guys in critical positions. But I think we were able to regroup.
We're paper thin, as I say each week, but we regrouped and we're playing at a really good level right now and gaining confidence. There is like a resilience here. I think -- I told the team downstairs there is a chemistry in our team, a very strong chemistry, ands it a love for each other. I didn't want to sound corny then and I don't want to sound corny here. But there's a special chemistry, and that's a really cool thing, and that's what we have. These guys want to have each other's back, they want to play for each other and fight for each other. Coaches, players, administrators, and there is a great passion and love here.
Before I even forget, the stadium was electric tonight. The fans were unbelievable to come out and the support that they gave for this game and for our program, and it means a lot to our team.
The B.C. community has really done an unbelievable job, and that's exciting. So it's still a process for us. One day at a time, one week at a time, one game at a time. And we're in the infancy of this thing. But it's so exciting to know that the big picture is really going to be a great thing here. You know, as I say, to say there won't be rough spots along the way as we go here, I can't say that. But I know that if we keep working hard and sticking together, this team is going to emerge and grow, and the future of this team is going to be absolutely phenomenal.
So the work right now is to just keep trying to develop and grow and stay healthy and maximize each day and each week.
Q. Could you elaborate a little more on emptying the draw? Was that like the Jeff Smith throw, something like that?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, specials. We ran the reverse. We ran Jeff's throw. We had another wide high play. We had several things that we wanted to do tonight to keep it moving. We were in empty. We threw the ball. We did a lot of different things. Just to stay aggressive.
Then some fourth downs and early on I went for the field goal at the 30 there, and we missed that. But then later we went for the fourth down call. We converted. Then we went for another fourth down on the 30, which we weren't able to convert. But just kind of just keep going after it, just keep hammering away. We really wanted to go block a punt and worked really hard on that.
I didn't call that, you know, but that was in the mindset too to go after the punt. But sometimes that gets dictated by how the game flow is going. Of the.
So I think we're trying to stay aggressive. Trying to let the kids develop. The quarterback is gaining confidence and trust, which is a huge deal.
Q. Last three games you had the offensive breakout coincided with AJ Dillon breaking out. What have you seen with him that's reinvented the offense and had you guys rolling the last three games?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I wouldn't say we're reinventing anything. But I would say we're having more productivity. We're making some of the plays early in the season we weren't able to make. I think AJ is certainly becoming more and more comfortable. The as a young back just learning the nuances of the different styles of run game, gap schemes, zone schemes. There's a lot to that. The how to, you know, he runs very, very hard. How to maintain your physical composure after a series of runs, you know? The more you get used to that, the more comfortable you are, the more you can handle. That's where you start seeing those backs being able to handle 25, 30 reps - things like that.
So it's a process. He's a freshman. Anthony's a freshman. You know, Ben Petrula is the apex of the offense, the center of the quarterback and tailback right now. Then of course Kobay White is a freshman out there as a receiver, and those are really talented young guys. There are a lot more of those young guys too. The so I think it's a work in progress.
Q. How much of a difference maker tonight was the crowd?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, I always think that's a difference maker. That's what makes college football special. To come back to our home stadium, to have our crowd be there at night like this, and you saw the Red Bandanna ribbon around the stadium, it's college football at its very, very best. To think that that doesn't infuse into the team, it does in a big, big way. That called a home field advantage. It was an exciting night here in Chestnut Hill at Boston College, so I appreciate that. We appreciate that. The football program appreciates that support, and it was fun to be a part of.
Q. You talk about the home-field advantage. A lot of your other ACC wins have been on the road. You saw the fans obviously come on to the field. Do you have a sense to finally do this in front of the home crowd, I'm sure for many of the fans that's how they've done it?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean, I think it was great to be able to have the student body and the fans be able to be a part of this win. I think that makes college football special. You're on a college campus, and it just makes it kind of special and it's exciting. That's a really good thing. You know, that's something, for sure, that is very, very meaningful to the team.
Q. Coach, you lamented the late bye week in previous times. Bow now you've got a bye week with a lot of people hurt. And three teams perfectly winnable. What does it mean to have it right now and to have a shot at having the best season?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, you know, again, it just hits me, one week at a time here. I think the bye week does come at a really good time. I think Scott on the radio asked me after the game, and I did think about this, I mean, we're really hitting on all cylinders right now. You almost, you know, hate to get out of the rhythm you're in right now. But Harold needs another week, and Anthony Brown is going to need another week. So we need this week.
But I'd be lying if I didn't tell you it's hard to walk away from the rhythm we're in right now. It's a good rhythm.
Sometimes there is something to that. But we do need this bye week, and our kids need to be able to really have an extra dose of attention to their academics. This is a very, very competitive school here, and at this time of the year there is a lot going on. So to be able to have more free time right now to really, you know, catch back up so to speak, and to rest their bodies, and to do that with a very positive feeling, I think.
Sometimes you go into these bye weeks and you don't have a positive feeling, that can just grind on you a little bit. But I think it's a positive feeling, and that's a good thing. So we're going to take it for what it is. Needed rest, and hopefully we can come back and keep our rhythm, and we'll see. We'll see.
We have a great game against N.C. State, which they're playing at a very high level. They have a veteran team right now. But they've got a couple wars tomorrow and next Saturday before they get to us. So we're going to have a little extra time, and I'm looking forward to that.
Q. Was the common thread to these three wins points off turnovers?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Sure. Yep. I mean, I think we were able to create turnovers and we're not turning the ball over. That's a huge thing. We're playing. We're running the ball, we're able to make some explosive plays. We're playing well on defense, and our special teams continue to grow. But, yes, we're winning the turnover battle, and that's a big battle and that's a good thing. So, but we've got a lot of good football left to go. One week at a time, our focus will be clearly on N.C. State.
Q. Steve, so FSU coming into the game is one of two teams in the Atlantic Division you haven't beaten. So now after tonight, what's this win mean to you?
STEVE ADDAZIO: A win is a win. Every game is an important game. I mean, this was another important game to me. We're just about trying to get better each day, each week. It may sound boring to everybody, but that's the truth. We just look at it, like, hey, let's go have a great Tuesday. Then a great Wednesday. Let's play our tails off, man. Let's go out and play B.C. football with great passion and energy.
That's really how we look at things. I really don't look at it any other way. I knew we were playing a really good football program. They were very, very talented on defense. So we knew we had to have a good preparation for this game. We're just trying to find a way to win each week. That won't change as we move forward. We're in a very competitive league, and a very competitive division. We've got to fight and scratch for every inch we can get. That's kind of our mindset collectively. So every one of these games, we're going to go out and battle and let the chips fall where they fall and then keep plugging along.
Q. What do you know about A.B., so far as far as his shoulder?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think he tweaked it a little bit towards the goal line there. We had to bring him out. So, we'll see. We'll see. He came back in, so that's a good thing. I think this rest will be really good for him. Really good for him because he needs to get healthy there, and it will be really good for Harold.
Q. Can you talk about the job the defense did with Harold?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, those guys took every snap. Wyatt, and Zack and Ray Smith and Noa Merritt, they're doing a phenomenal job. How paper thin are we? You know, we took one of the best players in the conference, he didn't play today. But we're going to get him healthy and get him feeling good again. So that by itself will be a huge deal for us. Hopefully this will be enough time to make him feel better so that he can play at the level that he wants to play at and we all want him to play at.
Q. What is Harold Landry’s status?
STEVE ADDAZIO: He just really couldn't go today. Yet, obviously, yes. Realizing there's a bye week here and we just have to try to get him back. He couldn't play last week. Really couldn't play much the week before at any kind of level. So this was in the best interest for Harold to get healthy. It's just a rest thing. It's nothing major, but it's a rest thing. This hopefully will be really, really good for him. I'm sure it will be.
Q. The last three weeks you had taken the bulk of the carries. As a freshman, how have you adjusted to the big load carrying the offense and really being the catalyst for the breakout the last three weeks?
AJ DILLON: I mean, I made it my own personal goal just to work a lot harder in practice. After the Louisville game, I realized how taxing all those carries can be, and my stamina wasn't exactly where I would like it to be. So just the last couple weeks in practice, I just have really been trying to push myself to go as hard as I can, just so I can be there when the team needs me in any situation.
Q. First half of the season, the offense struggled to some degree. The last three weeks, obviously, things have flipped significantly. Just what do you think has happened to get to this point?
AJ DILLON: I feel like as a team we've just kind of really started to count on one another. That trust has grown. I know everybody always talks about family, but I genuinely feel that. As a freshman, coming here, this is my first year here. I genuinely feel the family connection. I feel like the last couple weeks it's really starting to click. The chemistry's really building, and everybody's pushing each other to get better. The offense wants the defense to get better, the special teams. The running backs want the linemen to get better, and vice versa. So we're all just eager to get better and work as hard as we can to win each game.
Q. AJ, for the season, you talked about how you came here to really help turn this program around. How does it feel to see that you're starting to help do that?
AJ DILLON: I mean, once again, it was a great team win the last three weeks were great team wins. I'm happy with the fact that the coaches are trusting me in these situations. But, once again, I can't really do anything by myself. Football is not a game where you can play by yourself. So those guys up front, that offensive line has just been making holes for me, and we've been doing great things with the offense. It's a really great opportunity to be around a bunch of great guys.
Q. Talk about the fans swarming the field.
AJ DILLON: Yeah, funny, last night I was actually talking to John Hellman, and I was just asking him about the USC game and what that felt like. He said, it's one of those things that you're never going to forget. He told me, we have a chance to do that today. That was on my mind all last night. I was just thinking about how cool that would be.
I feel like as a team, as a university, this was a really big win for us. Just to see the whole community of Boston College come together like that, after something we did great as a team, it felt really good. I don't think it's really sunken in yet. But I remember watching the USC game on TV. I wasn't here, but I remember seeing it like wow, that's really cool. That's really something special. I got a chance to be part of that today with my teammates. That was something like I'm really just looking forward to. It hasn't sunken in yet. I know looking back at it, it's going to be something I'm going to remember forever and I'm grateful for that.
Q. You have a lot of runs where you're in these big piles moving up the middle, turning your legs. How do you kind of balance keeping the pile moving when you maintain ball security so you don't get ripped when you're up for like four yards in the pile?
AJ DILLON: Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say it's a crazy secret. Just hold the ball with everything you've got. Our coaches talk a lot. The turnover battle is ridiculous. You have to win that to be a successful program. At the beginning of the season there are a lot of times when the ball did slip out.
I feel like I've made an effort to work on that and correct that. You know, as far as balance goes, it's just a lot of times you don't really see it, but there are linemen in there trying to keep you up. So it's, once again, a team effort. Lot of times when I'm in those piles, the linemen are the first to pick me up. The linemen are the ones that keep pushing helping me get those extra yards. So once again, it's really all just a team, a team thing.
Q. How's your shoulder?
ANTHONY BROWN: It's fine. I went back in the game. I landed on it a little weird and it felt a little weird. So I had to breathe for a second and then I went back in.
Q. Just in terms of the win tonight; what does it mean?
ANTHONY BROWN: It was a huge team win, but then again, it was just another game that we had to win. So we have to continue this ball and keep it rolling. In two weeks we have another huge opponent coming in here in N.C. State, and we've just got to keep going to them.
Q. The FSU head coach said you guys had some trick plays up your sleeve. What do you guys plan on doing or do you plan on having the same momentum going into next year to be able to beat such teams?
ANTHONY BROWN: Honestly, we started off strong, and we just attacked it. The trick play, the reverse to Jeff, it was huge. I mean, trick plays are trick plays. Everybody has them. It's just when you run them when they're effective, and you've got to keep going.
Q. As a senior, it's been a long time since this team has won an ACC game at home. To see the fans rushing the field obviously in a different context, what's that mean to you as someone who is a senior?
TY SCHWAB: Oh, yeah, it's definitely awesome seeing when the students get involved and really are excited for us. I mean, sometimes things aren't going the way everybody want it's to go, and you've got to stay steady with the ball. Even the fans need to do that. So them seeing us win these last three ACC games and coming home and beating FSU, they were excited and we were excited and them swarming the field. It's awesome to see that from our school. The stands were packed, and it was an awesome atmosphere to play in. It was exciting, and I'll definitely remember this game probably the rest of my life.
Q. Could you just talk about keeping Akers from getting to the edge all night? He was a pretty good back.
TY SCHWAB: So on film, we saw he constantly tries to get outside. He's a fast, athletic kid. So they constantly wanted him to get outside. So last year we had a problem with setting the edge. We were letting them get outside. We made a huge emphasis this week in practice. We practiced hard and got it done in practice. Practice how you play, and we got it done in the game.