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Steve Addazio Talks Team Rhythm, a Well Timed Bye Week, and National Recruitment

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“There’s a great buzz about the program right now”

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, it's great to be in a bye week. What a great opportunity for our players to really have extra time to focus on their academics, an opportunity for them to rest, get our bodies rested after nine straight games in the season, some guys that have been dinged up and either played that way or haven't been playing have an extra opportunity now to heal. I think that is a great thing.

Also a good thing for us, there's so much great buzz and juice around the program, and recruiting has gone really well, and it gives our coaches a chance to be out doing a little bit of recruiting right now. That along with getting ahead on NC State right now.

I think all in all, people have asked me a bunch of questions about we're playing in a good rhythm right now. I agree 100 percent with that. But I think with the positive vibe coming off a good win, I think this is a week that we needed, and hopefully we'll be able to maintain our rhythm and our confidence and come back and play a week from Saturday against a really good NC State football team here at home at Alumni Field.

The atmosphere last Friday night was fantastic. It was a great moment for us to be able to be a part of the Red Bandanna game, to be able to honor the Crowther family, Welles Crowther. It was great, as I mentioned postgame. So excited to see our stadium on fire like it was, and certainly appreciate all those loyal fans that have supported us and were there in force and created a great atmosphere. We're excited about that, as well.

So now it's all about going back, getting into the grind here. We'll practice on Wednesday and get going, and we're excited to have that opportunity to do that right now. Any questions?

Q. You kind of touched on it, but just talk about the recruitment value of playing Florida State on national TV.

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, it's certainly a really watched slot, you know, that Friday night primetime. Seems like a lot of people see that game. So it gives you great national exposure, and then you're playing a national team, and then of course the way that we played. I think that there's certainly -- it adds to a great buzz about the program right now. That's a good thing.

Just got to keep going. You know, I've said it before, we were playing with so many guys at critical positions that are very, very young players that what we need to do is just keep growing, getting better. For me to stand up here as I think I say each week and think like we're done with roller coaster rides, I would say that's probably not an accurate statement.

But there's a clear vision, and there's clear evidence on the field of really the excitement of the future with our football program. When I say future, I don't just mean like next year. I mean two weeks. But when you have guys at those critical positions sometimes -- everything is new, everything is first. Like okay, the bye week I think is a great thing for us right now, but as everybody has pointed out, see how we handle that with guys that have never had a bye week, right, honestly. They're all firsts.

That's why I kind of just kind of focus on let's have the best Wednesday we can have when we get back on the field on Wednesday, and let's not worry about anything else. Too many unknowns.

The thing that's not unknown is the quality of the players that we have on this football team, the energy, the juice, the attitude, the chemistry. Those are known. And the opportunity to see excitement in some of the playmakers that we have in all three phases.

The other thing is I'm just really proud of the way we've played as a team. We're playing good team football right now. That was evident after watching the tape. It's the Boston College football program. It's not broken down into three segments. I mean, we're one team, we play like one team, we feed off each other like one team, and that's really the thing that I really wanted most here to have happen, and that's something that's actively happening.

Q. Can you comment on Ty Schwab's game? He kind of spilled the beans that Florida State gave him a sniff --

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, it's probably a common story for a lot of guys on our team, you know, common theme. Ty is playing his best football right now. Ty is an emotional guy, playing really hard, making plays all over the field, playing really physical. He's doing an unbelievable job because he's the guy that kind of connects the front and the back end there at the linebacker position, the only linebacker that has any real experience, right, but he's really just done a great job with that. He's having a fantastic year, and certainly happy for him, and he's just thrilled -- he's been here for a long time, and watching this thing come together, I think he's just really enjoying being part of a real team-team. That's been an added -- real added bonus to watch. I'm enjoying seeing him mature and grow.

Q. You enjoyed watching NC State getting Notre Dame, then Clemson?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, they've got some ball. They had a tough go-around. Listen, we played those same teams, right? The teams we've played have a combined record of 26-6. That's what we came off of, okay, and so as we've -- as has been duly documented, this conference is rough. This side of the division is rough. And they've got -- they came off a tough came with Notre Dame, they've got another tough one against Clemson, and it's not easy.

You know, so they're in that grind just like we have been and will continue to be.

You watch wake played Louisville, and just a lot of good football in the ACC right now, and you've got to bring it every week. Doesn't matter who you are. So we're grateful to have a chance to try to get healthy and rest, and they're in that swing right now, and then we're home again, which is a good thing.

Q. You mentioned the Boston College team, the three phases. From a chemistry standpoint, how can you kind of predict that from the beginning or how do you see that? Is that something that when you bring in players and recruit them, is that kind of something that you take into account and kind of how do you go about that as a coach?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, you're trying to bring guys in here that show high character and leadership and the ability to bring others up. You know, it's funny, we were watching a documentary on Welles Crowther, and they're talking about Welles growing up and his mindset of how he got so much enjoyment from trying to do whatever he could to promote others, and I remember watching that, like wow, how do you figure that out, how do you evaluate that because that's a key thing.

And the world we're in today, it's even harder sometimes to find that.

But I think it's a key component. I think we talk about it all the time. It's really important here. We all try to work real hard at making sure that we're one family. In college football today you notice that even in the media, people want to be like this coordinator's offense or this coordinator's defense or this -- like this head coach's -- I'm not really into any of that. I mean, I feel like it's not me, it's us, it's we. It's Boston College, you know? And I've always believed that. You win with great players that play together, okay, and have a sense of accountability to each other. And it's really hard to get that done, you know, because probably of the social media and everything, internet and all the stuff that goes on today, it's even more challenging than it ever has been.

But when you can find that, it's cool. And I think -- you know, I'm not naïve enough to think that there's -- human nature is human nature, but I think we've got a good group of guys right now that really believe and understand the importance of team chemistry and the guy to your right, the guy to your left, and finding the best out of each other.

And I think the other thing we talk about is faithfulness and loyalty will always be rewarded, and our team has been incredibly loyal and faithful, players to coaches, coaches to players, and there's a love in our program, and that gives you an ability to conquer the ups and downs of college football.

I mean, you know, we went through it in the beginning of the season, too, and who knows what's ahead of you. But it's the glue that lets you handle that stuff. And I know like sometimes I'll talk about this, people want to talk about something else. That's fine, but that glue and that chemistry within your program I think is critically important, and you can see it in other programs that when things don't go exactly right, it can crumble really quickly, and that sometimes has a lot to do with that glue and that chemistry.

So anyways, this is a good foundation, whatever word you want to use.

Q. Kind of your younger players, I know that injuries have kind of been an ongoing story line for you through the season, but the younger players stepping up, is this kind of what you hoped to project to them when you recruit them a little bit earlier? How do you evaluate either on the trail or when they come in that they might project to a certain area and a certain type of performance?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think you're always trying to do that, but to be honest with you, I've been wrong as much as you've been right. Sometimes it's just hard to know, you know? But I think the opportunity for these guys to come out and gain this experience and shine out there is fantastic. And the knowledge of knowing that some of the guys we've lost are all going to come back so that we're going to have so much more depth next year and veteran leadership. You know, a lot of times I stop to think about it, a guy like Jon Baker coming back with that leadership now with that offensive line and Elijah Johnson coming back to that offensive line and Shane Johnson coming back to the offensive line and Connor Strachan coming back to the linebackers and Max Richardson, who's all ball, coming back to the linebackers. That stuff is really, really exciting, and then of course the freshmen you're seeing playing right now and then there's more who have played very little or some that haven't played at all that you look at them and you say, wow -- you've seen enough already to know that there's really good top end, and all these other guys in between that are starting to blossom. I mean, Mike Walker is playing some really good football right now, Jeff Smith making some critical plays for us. And then you see the guys like Charlie Callinan, who's overcame the injury. He was playing his best ball and now he's coming back and he's going to do a great job down the home stretch, and Thaddeus Smith, who's doing an unbelievable job this year. Those are all good deals.

It's exciting, and you know, but we're one game at a time right now, and we've just got to do the best we can to come through this week and get ready to play -- I know it's going to be a real war here.

Q. AJ and John are obviously the beneficiaries of the rushing yards, but how much of that is them being able to work with the offensive line, and how have you seen the development of the offensive line?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, the offensive line has really developed. Right now we're in the top 10 in the country in fewest sacks given up. We're No. 2 in the country in most plays being run. There's all kinds of stuff out there right now.

But the offensive line is gelling. If you said to me -- my biggest angst is the fact that I know we're paper thin on both sides of the ball, so we've just got to stay healthy. Like that offensive line has had a chance to gel now for a few weeks and we've seen some value from that, but we can't take too many hits there because we've got guys that are out right now. But they're coming together, and I think that combined with the running backs coming together, and then let's not forget, and we all don't, when the quarterback plays well, all the votes come up with the tied. And the quarterback is playing well right now.

So all of a sudden we're seeing better receiver play, better running back play, better offensive line play, tight end play, and I think it all goes hand in hand. But that quarterback position is pretty darned important because he controls so much with every decision, he touches the ball so many times.

Q. (No microphone.) Anthony or Harold, do they practice all the time? Do they sit? How do you manage that?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, well, I think everybody is in a different situation. I wouldn't say Harold taking any practice reps this week. You know, Anthony will be limited in what he does. There's a lot of guys across the board, we'll adjust. This is a week to me where you evaluate your team, tremendous opportunity for the young players to get a bunch of work in here in practice, but we'll get a -- you've got to throw and catch because if you don't throw and catch for more than a few days, that's where you can really -- it will show up really quick on you, so we're going to throw and catch. We're going to do some real fundamentals, individual fundamentals, special teams fundamentals. We're going to do a bunch of that on Wednesday. We're going to get introduction to NC State on Wednesday and short yardage and goal line and base fronts and base plays both sides of the ball, so we'll do some of that.

But the duration will be cut down, and some guys will have graduated work, maybe minimal to none early and maybe towards the end of the week a little bit more, and the young players will get a bunch of work. We'll scrimmage them and really, really coach them. Should be a great week to me when you're a young player to get a lot of attention, a lot of focus, especially -- I'm talking about the ones that aren't in vital roles right now. But this is part of that development for the future.

So it's a mixture of both, and really keeping in mind keeping things short, not making them long, but getting ahead. You know, little salt, little pepper, kind of take a look at it, feel it a little bit and make some decisions. But the guys that are dinged up, this is your one opportunity to get them healthy. Don't blow it now. I mean, in terms of that stuff.

And then overall, you've got that fine line between, okay, say on Thursday and Friday you want to make sure you don't lose your rhythm and how much physicality do you want, don't want. We'll probably have a fair amount, which has a little bit of risk, but I think that's what we've done. I think we've got to be true to that and just pray and hope that you stay healthy through that because if you don't do it, by the time you get back to it, you might lose -- I think you can lose that rhythm really easily, and that's where all that stuff is that I can't give you a -- I can't define it right now. We'll go Wednesday and feel it for Thursday and feel it for Friday. Those are all calls that kind of I've got to make to be honest with you, and I'll make them as we go.

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think the thing is this: You have a plan, and you drive towards your plan. You know, in college football, I'll speak to that because I'm not involved in any other sport. You know, the fans have -- here's the good news. There's so much interest in college football right now, and we all want that. And so fans are passionate, your fan base is passionate, and you kind of get that, you know? In terms of what we've done, we've been to three bowl games in four years, and that's not where we want to end. I mean, but I think the most important thing is we're continuing to grow and develop our football program, and I think that's been evident.

We've got to keep doing that. And I think as a coach what you want to do is just every day building towards that.

I don't think you can ride the roller coaster of the ups and downs of are you in favor, out of favor. I just think you lump it in a basket and say, we've got great fans, everybody is passionate, all everybody wants to do is win, and that's all we want to do. And I think we're just trying to build and develop and grow. I'll tell you one thing; can I say this to you? I'm going to brag about something that I'm pretty proud of. We have a bunch of -- we have recruited and have a bunch of really high-character, great kids in our program that are talented. You know, recruiting is going fantastic. There's a bright future. But you know what I'm really proud of? That we love Boston College and we represent Boston College the way that the BC fans and alumni would want Boston College to be represented as being. We play hard, we play physical, we play tough, and we've got some really great people in our program. They respect the academic component of BC, they value their degree. They carry themselves with integrity, and I'm proud of that.

So I think while we're building our program, while we're developing, I think we're doing it the right way, and that's very important to all of us, that we represent this great University the right way, and integrity is really important here.

And so I'm proud of the fact that we've accomplished what we have accomplished, and more importantly, we're continuing to work towards building a championship-level team here. I didn't mean to go on, and I'm not trying to do an infomercial. You asked me, and that's really what I felt in my heart.

In terms of the other stuff, you know, just keep going, and next week is another week. You don't know what that's going to bring, and you just want to grind. But I'm proud of the kids, and I'm proud of all of those things. The rest of it's -- you know, keep moving.

Q. Jimbo Fisher stood at this podium on Friday night said you guys dominated him all three aspects of the game. Talk a little bit about what that means to you coming off a team that was preseason leader in the division and has a lot of injuries, but you guys came in there and won all three aspects.

STEVE ADDAZIO: You know, I have a lot of respect for Jimbo. I think he's one of the best coaches in the country, and he's at an elite program. We respect Florida State's program and the talent level that they have.

I think it speaks to -- they lost their starting quarterback, and even Florida State is going to have a hard time when they don't have the right guy -- I shouldn't say it like that, but when they have a young guy, because he's very talented. And for any team, when you have to replace your guy and you have to replace him with a young guy, there's a maturation process there.

You know, I think Jimbo called it the way he saw it, and you can always appreciate a guy that says, hey, this is how it went down, you know, and not try to dance with it. That's why I have a lot of respect for him. I mean, they'll rally back and get that thing back to exactly where they want to be.

But no one is immune, not in this conference. It's not like -- there's no -- you're not showing up and playing some team that's not going to line up and play. I don't see it in our conference.

But I think Jimbo is a very matter-of-fact, straightforward guy. That's been my experience with him, and I can appreciate that.

Q. Was there a point when your offense -- something triggered that set the tone for the rest of the season? I know against Virginia Tech and against Louisville, something happened in that stretch where -- I'm just trying to rationalize --

STEVE ADDAZIO: That's a fair enough question. Listen, I think the reason I would say what I said early on was on the film you can see that we were -- we had some opportunities to make plays all along, right? Every single game we played, and the ones that we lost. You mentioned Virginia Tech. Let's mention Virginia Tech. We had the dropped touchdown pass, we had the dropped ball on the 1.

I guess so you see that we have that capability to do it, but we just weren't making those plays. Why? Well, some of that's probably -- I'm not a psychiatrist, but some of that is confidence, you know, and I think the interesting thing like, for example, against Florida State was that first play or first series we had that touchdown pass to Tommy, and we didn't make it. But we came right back. We probably -- we didn't do that a couple weeks earlier, and this is that maturation process and it's the confidence. I think our kids just kind of are starting to get more of that, you know, and not living and dying on every play. There will be another play, let's get to the next play.

And that stuff has a way of igniting. So I think there's probably some intangible things that happen along the way, but I also think that because you still have guys that haven't played a lot of ball at some of those critical positions that those things can show up again.

But ultimately, I think experience and confidence overrides all of that. So we're starting to make those plays, and we're sparking. And then you see on defense we're sparking. We're making plays, and all of a sudden there's more picks and there's more -- we're doing an unbelievable job with turnovers. We're not turning the ball over on offense, and we're getting turnovers on defense, and that starts to ignite.

You know, I can't definitively tell you, like -- it wasn't like there was any pixie dust that we sprinkled after that. But we did -- I think you know based on my comments, we did believe that this was there, so now we've got to keep nurturing it and watering it and fertilizing it and trying to maintain it, and that's while playing really good football teams, and not only that; in this conference, really good defenses, you know? That stuff comes a lot easier when you're not playing against the same quality of defenses, but we're playing against really quality defenses, and we're doing it against good personnel. So that's a good thing.

Q. Getting off to 20-point leads, how has that helped really your team?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, that goes hand-in-hand with that last question right there. That helps. You jump out, you gain a little bit of confidence. All those things help. Sometimes you get behind and you get a little stunned. So they're all kind of going hand in hand, you know. Although Louisville we were behind and we were able to get that going.

But certainly coming out like that, we had a good kickoff return and we hit some big plays, and we came right back. I just think that energy and vibe is there.

But I've been seeing that in practice, too. Anthony has been throwing the ball really confidently in practice with a lot of zip, so I've seen that. Hopefully we can continue to grow with that, and a big part of that will be staying healthy. That's a huge component here. For anybody, though. Week 10, going into week 10, I mean, it's that way across the board. Everyone is in that -- we saw that, right? We saw Clemson go on the road and play Syracuse with their quarterback hobbled, lost their quarterback, saw what that did to them. These injuries are huge, especially at vital positions and especially if your offense or your defense has got a heavy involvement with that particular position. It can really be accentuated even more.

Q. As far as Anthony goes, first four games I think he threw seven interceptions but last five (indiscernible) what kind of decision making have you seen from him?

STEVE ADDAZIO: You know, confidence. I thought when we had that game against Wake was one that really stumbled all that, and I think that was a real byproduct -- I think for me to look you in the eye and tell you when we lost Jon Baker, that didn't affect Anthony Brown, it just did. That was like a security blanket, know what I mean? He made all the calls and all the -- that's what he worked with. All of a sudden everything was completely different. I think it affected him. And then he got hurt, and then got in a little bit of that cycle. But we're out of that now, and that's been such a great thing, you know.

So that's why I said that position is critical because it brings all the other boats up with the tide, and I believe that, and I think most people do believe that in any level of football. It wouldn't matter what level we were talking about.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports, Courtesy Jason Baum and BC Athletic Communications