HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: We're looking forward to playing another football game. It's great to have a bye week and we needed it. Really excited to be back home. We're playing a really good football team in North Carolina State. They've come off two tough weeks, two tough games. They play very physical. On both sides of the ball. They're really well coached. They have really outstanding players. And Dave has done an unbelievable job in that program. When you watch them on film, you come way being extremely impressed with them.
Starting on offense, Ryan Finley is playing great football. I think at one point in the game, he was like 16 for 16, making every play. Looked fantastic.
The running back combinations who touched the ball with Hines and Samuels, I think they're dynamic players, as good as there is in our conference.
Wide receivers, they've got big receivers. But I think go up and make plays. I think their skill is excellent. Good offensive line.
And on defense, their defensive front is probably as good as any defensive front or better than we've faced this year, period. Their big, strong physical guys, they have an elite pass rusher in Chubb. Linebackers are good, Fernandez is a heck of a player. I think they're well coached schematically on defense. It's hard to run the football on them. They're like 31st in rush defense and 57th in total defense in the country, and that's after playing an elite schedule. So that's meaningful to me. Sometimes I see things and against who. But this is against real good people. So those are meaningful numbers.
We're playing an outstanding football team. I think we all know that. And it will be a huge challenge for us. We've had a great two weeks in preparation, continuing or we will, by the time we play. We continued to have another good day today. And looking forward to another great day tomorrow. We've got a great attitude, great work ethic, and hopefully we'll keep our rhythm. And it will be an exciting day here on chestnut hill.
Q. Talk about the opportunity to win four straight and just the picture of that?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I mean, I think that it's been a season where we've played so many good football teams, honestly, that in our mind, just getting ready for another really good football team to get ready to play. One of the things I focused on with the team and focused on this week, I think you get to the end of the season like this, towards the end, and I think a lot of teams get really distracted and like my message is just -- we're just scrapping to play another football game. So I really don't pay much attention to that, in terms of that kind of stuff. I'm not going to say those are nice things, if you can pull them off and all that. But we're like roll our sleeves up, go to work, we've got a really good football team coming in here, and we've got to find a way to win this football game. And beyond that, you know, not real locked into any of that stuff. And that's kind of been our MO this year. And we'll just kind of keep swinging.
So really working hard. I told the team just let's put blinders on, we're in a one game season, here, period, end. So that's what I think. And I hope that's what our team thinks, you know. Because I think that's the trap this time of year, especially. I think the season always presents different traps, but a lot of teams start all of a sudden looking at what's next week or three weeks or what could happen here and what could happen there. That's just a trap to me.
Q. I was driving on Beacon Street coming up here, and saw the indoor practice facilities.
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: It's awesome.
Q. What that means on national TV Saturday, recruiting, seeing that, I'm sure they'll show that on TV. The whole big picture of recruiting?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: It's a big opportunity for us to increase our facility. We'll have a premier indoor facility with a brand-new premiere weight room in there. And for not just football, but for a whole lot of sports. People go about their business, but we fight the weather all the time around here. And to have a facility like that, as you said, for recruiting, for functionality, for development of our athletes, it's huge. We're probably in the most, if not the most, one of the most severe weather deals.
And so we desperately need that kind of elite facility. It will be beautiful. It will be at the very top of the line. And it will help us in every way you can imagine, most importantly, recruiting. But, again, development. Sometimes we have to prepare to get them up early and take maybe buses somewhere 40 minutes away and fight the weather elements and all the stress that goes along with all of that. It's hard to fathom.
But, wow, we never had one, I know, but a lot of things have changed in major college football all around the country. What was 12 years ago no longer is today. This is the largest facility in history of college football, college athletics, it's a huge deal, we're excited about it, grateful and thankful for all of those that have contributed to make this happen. It's a big deal.
Q. Coach, Jalan presents a whole host of problems with his speed and agility. How do you determine if you want to play him physically, if you want to play off of him with defensive backs, what goes into developing a game plan for a player like him?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: All of the above. He's an elite player in our conference. He's got tremendous athleticism and skill. So I think we'll do a host of things to try to have a game plan to contend with him. But they have really dynamic players. And a quarterback right now that's on fire. So that nucleus of guys is really impactful for them. That's why they're often having the season they're having, one of the many reasons. They're really good on defense, and they have electric play makers. And the quarterback is making a lot of plays. Put it all in a bag and shake it up and you've got a good football team. That's what we're playing.
Q. How do you feel the defense has progressed from the beginning of the year facing multitudes of types of quarterbacks?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, we certainly faced our share of dual threats. We're progressing. I think the linebacker position is really progressing, John Lamot has become more and more confident every week. That's been huge. So that's been a big deal.
I think we're getting more comfortable playing multiple coverages in the back end. That's been really big for us, as well.
I think our play up front has been great with Wyatt Ray and Zach Allen and Ray Smith, and Noa Merritt, we've had real consistent play up there. We're continuing to improve on defense and kind of really anchor in thereafter the disruption that we had earlier in the year. It's kind of a mirror on both sides of the ball, actually. We took a lot of hits early in the year and kind of rebounded and recovered, went back to work and developed. And we feel like we're making progress on both sides with some of the new faces that are in there, and they're getting more and more experience.
Q. How is Harold Landry doing, what's his status with the game?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: I'd say unknown. And we'll have to see where we're at here towards the end of the week. It's early.
Q. How is Anthony Brown injury wise?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: Great. Fantastic. Feels great.
Q. How did the bye week help?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: It helped us a lot. The bye week gave us a great opportunity to get some guys feeling better. And rested. Physically, but mentally, as well. And so I think it was great. I think it gave our guys a chance to really get back on top academically, which is huge. I mean that's a continual -- that's a grind. But our guys did a great job of that. And getting caught back up and making sure they're up to speed with all the assignments, tests and papers and readings.
So I think that whole with thing collectively was good for us. Now hopefully we'll go out there and still have good rhythm and everything when we play. You just don't know. But certainly if practice is any indication, I think we practiced really well today. And so that was good.
Q. Did Harold practice today?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: Harold did not practice today.
Q. Do you worry about losing any momentum during the bye week?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I'm hopeful that we'll be able to maintain momentum. And maybe come out and have a little bit more staying power out there, because maybe a little bit more rested, maybe the legs are a little bit better. It seemed that way today. We got an early start on the game week, obviously. Today is our Tuesday, we're treating it as such, which is a great advantage, I think. At the end of the day you've got to show up on Saturday, you've got to make your plays and you just never know. But hopefully we can continue down the path of having good momentum.
There's some good things that are happening like, for example, like just the fact that I think we're in the top two or three in the country in fewest penalties. We're in the top six in the fewest sacks allowed, top five, whatever it is. We went down because we had a bye week, but I think that some important statistical categories are good, which speaks to that.
We're doing a good job of getting the ball back, not giving the ball up, not creating penalties. And those are all pluses when you're playing a really talented football team like this football team that's coming in here right now. They're loaded. They're loaded. They've got a bunch of guys here that are fantastic players, that are older guys and they're playing at a high level. Playing at a high level.
Q. This senior class being senior day, I can't remember if this would have been your first recruiting class or not, but culturally, how much have they helped you set what you want for future classes and what you're setting the tone for on the recruiting trail?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: They've been awesome. And we don't have a very large class here right now. We've got maybe two red shirt seniors and then a handful of seniors that didn't have a chance to red shirt. That's not a huge class, but a great group of guys that have been -- just loved being around, loved coaching them. Really great people. And good football players. But when I go out on the field every day honestly like I'm not trying to be corny, I'm grateful that I got a chance to be around and coach these guys.
I've been in a lot of programs, now, it's not like this is my first rodeo, here, and I'm just really grateful to be around these kids. These guys are committed to football, they love football. They really value their education. They're fun to be around because they're great people. The parents are great people. And so, yeah, I mean that's culture of your program. And these guys have been fantastic.
So we're going to miss them greatly. They were kind of the glue of that early getting here, couple of them were in place, the fifth year guys. We had to -- they were already committed is here, but they are technically first class, even though they were committed. And the handful of other guys that didn't red shirt that were generally the first full recruiting class. And just fantastic guys. So have had a great impact. I would say that all alumni, our fan base, can be really proud that these guys represent this university on that football field. Because they represent all the things that are really great about being a student-athlete. And that's important here, as it should be. So I'm really proud of those guys.
Q. Last year you picked off Ryan Finley twice in your game. What development have you seen, this year?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, he's extremely accurate. And he's got total command, and it appears to me like everything else. I talk about our team, there's chemistry. They appear to have good chemistry. I think having a chance to have been with that program now for over a year, obviously two seasons, and I think he's got good chemistry, good leadership. He's accurate. He's smart with the football. He understands exactly what their offense is. I think he's playing at a really high level. And I think that's a piece of it. And of course they have the other talented players in the football team. And there's a chemistry there. That's obvious, you can see it.
Q. They have a strong running defense.
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: I think our goal is to be balanced. Our goal is to try to do what we do well. I think at this stage of the game for us it would be very difficult for us to be somebody we're not. We're probably not that team right now, yet, where we could do something like that. But we will for sure be balanced. We will for sure attack through the air and through the run game. And that will happen. But, again, when you look at statistics, always look at who people play. It makes a whole lot of difference. And I think everyone forgets that, all the time. I always bring it up, because that's the thing I look at. I'll watch who people play. You play teams that don't play very good defense or something, or, in some conferences I see out there. But this team, like our team, we play some really good football teams. They've played some really good football teams. And they're playing really good football against really good football teams.
But for me not to acknowledge the fact that they're outstanding run defense. Personnel and scheme. They're outstanding.
I'm saying they're if not the best, they're the very top of the line, Clemson, NC State, forest State, run defense-wise in terms of their personnel, I mean really talented, big, strong, physical athletic guys. So this is -- this defense is absolutely physically on tapes, statistically, I mean they're that -- how do you win? You play great defense, that's how you win, you have a good run game, that's how you win. This team plays good run defense; they've got a quarterback who is playing at a high level. We talk about this all the time. That's what you see with NC State right now. He's done a great job.
Q. Talk a little bit more about Chubb, his ability to get to the quarterback?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: We should talk about Chubb, because he's one of the elite players in America. They're big physical guys interiorly, and they have this guy on the edge. He's physically stout, explosive, but a dynamic player, as well. This guy is a difference maker. And he impacts the game. So he has our full attention because I think he's that good. So, that's what we're looking at there, first round draft pick right there.
Q. Talk about the baiting of the quarterback?
HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: That's a good question. We talk about it all the time. We'll talk about it again. We can never afford to get involved in any nonsense. We've got to keep our mouth shut, we've got to go play the game. If you're upset or bothering you or chirping in your ear, just play harder. But what we don't want to do is engage in nonsense, ever, with any team, ever. I think that's something that you have to put an emphasis on. I think it's discipline. But young guys get caught up in the moment and they get involved with stuff. And like I always say, get involved in something it's usually the guy that doesn't start it that gets it, it's the guy that retaliates. We just don't have -- it's not part of our program. And we certainly don't have the advantage or the luxury of losing a good player because he decided to engage in nonsense. Why would you need to? You've got a helmet on, full pads on. Keep your mouth closed. You earn respect with your play not with your mouth. And you earn it when you play as a physical, hard-nosed player. This guy is a physical, hard-nosed player. He has earned our respect because of the way he plays on the field with his power, his explosiveness and his technique. He is a heck of a football player.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports, Courtesy Jason Baum