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Steve Addazio Pinstripe Bowl Presser

NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Addazio was upbeat and excited for his press conference for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Read the transcript below:

Head coach Steve Addazio

STEVE ADDAZIO: On offense, it's as good an offensive line as I've seen this year playing. Very talented, very explosive tight ends, excellent, dynamic players with speed. Really outstanding running back, quarterback has a big arm. Very well-coached, very good at attacking defenses schematically.

Their offense -- I'm sorry, their defense, really fundamentally sound. Couple of All-Americans on defense. Obviously, everybody knows Josey Jewell and Josh Jackson in the back end, and physical up front, play with great pad level. Very, very tough team, physical, tough team.

Special teams are very, very sound. This is a good football team. Well-coached team. They're going to play hard. It's going to be a physical game. I think both teams are fundamentally sound. Both teams are going to play with a physical edge and a mentality, and will make for a heck of a game down in New York in Yankee Stadium.

So we're excited about it. We have a great deal of respect for Coach Ferentz and for the whole Iowa program. There are a lot of connections in our staff to their staff, and certainly respect everything about them and what Coach has accomplished throughout his tenure, which has been one of the longest and most consistent tenures in Power Five football.

So great respect, great admiration for them, and really excited about an opportunity to play this level of Big Ten team down at Yankee Stadium. We're jacked about being in Yankee Stadium and playing in this bowl game.

We're jacked about the fact that this is like a home game for us and we've got a great fan base there. Our kids couldn't be more excited, and we're really honored to be able to represent the ACC in this bowl game. So looking forward to it. Any questions?

Q. Talk about their secondary. First, is this Josh Jackson there Lukas Denis?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, he's a super talented guy. He really does a great job anticipating the ball. I really think he's talented, yeah.

Q. They have 19 interceptions, that's more than you have. So is it just schematically are they sound?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, well, they're like experts at the covers that they play. They have all the adjustments off of their coverage. They know what they're doing and their system of defense. They're very good at it. I think the people make the mistake maybe sometimes watching them on tape and thinking they're kind of vanilla, but they're not. There is a lot that goes on within their back end, and they're coached well and they're talented.

Q. Can you talk about their quarterback too?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, talented guy with a big arm. I think he's a guy that can make all the throws. You've seen that on the tape. Has done some really good things throughout the year. So I think he's certainly a guy with a high ability level. I'm not just saying we're playing Iowa now so I'm going to give you all that coach speak. I'm telling you I'm watching the tape and I'm very impressed with them. I think they're outstanding. I do.

Q. 25 touchdowns (Inaudible)?

STEVE ADDAZIO: He's got a good arm. You can tell he's an intelligent player. Their whole team is like that though. They're not going to beat themselves. You better make sure you don't beat yourself playing them. People turn the ball over a fair amount against them, and I don't think that's a coincidence or an accident.

Q. How is Darius working with the receivers?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Great. Great bowl prep. He's done a fantastic job. I think this has been one of our best bowl preps in terms of development. Watching some of these guys that have vital roles in the game are getting better and better as they roll. So, from that standpoint, it's been very productive.

Q. Talk about A.J. and Jon Hilliman, and the fact they'll use them?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, we're going to use them both. And Travis, right, all three of those guys will be in the game and playing in vital roles. It's going to be a physical game and run oriented game too. So you're going to see a great dose of those guys.

Q. Coach, how important is it for you guys to establish your run game against a team that obviously, they kind of stack the box real tight?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I think we're very similar that way. We'll probably both be fighting to accomplish that. I will say this to you though, we've worked really hard. We'll be balanced in that game. But for us, it all starts with the ability to run that football. The offensive line and the backs to play and play well. From there, it really starts to set off our throw game, then from there we can do the things that we have planned for this game. But our plan in this game is to be quite balanced, but that run game needs to be strong.

Q. You mentioned in your opening that it's going to feel like a home game. How important is it for you to tell your players make sure you get as many people down there so we can continue this role? So this is, we get Iowa shows up and they have a corner strip of people, but you see our colors everywhere.

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I think that's so important. Our fan base, from what I understand from the Yankees has really come through. Selling our boxes and selling our tickets. I think that's going really well, which is really exciting. That's what makes a bowl game special when you can have a big travel contingency. Last time we played there, we had a great travel contingency, and so did Penn State. So it made for an in-demand ticket.

It made for an exciting, sold out venue, that's what makes these bowl games even more fun, you know? The playoff games and the top bowl games will be sold out. So when you get to the next rung of games and they have that kind of energy to them, I think it makes it all that much better.

So my anticipation in New York will be we'll have a great following from Boston College who will be there and be excited, and it will energize our team.

Q. Can you talk about Isaac a little bit? I'm interested in, first of all, his overall development and your thoughts on him winning the Jay McGillis Award?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, Isaac has great, physical size and fantastic speed. A lot of the guys at the next level are recognizing that. He's been selected to play in The Senior Bowl. So I think he's being recognized for his ability, a fantastic player, really. He's really come a long way and kept developing. Anthony Campanile's done a great job with him and continuing his development.

And what was the other piece to that? Yeah, winning the Jay McGillis Award is a prestigious award that our kids all recognize. It's got to a lot to do with an outstanding back, but it has a lot to do with who wins it carries himself. His leadership, his character, and Ike has been all of the above. He's been A-plus. So I would say I'm looking forward to Ike playing his best game and going on and having a great opportunity for a future in this game as well.

Q. One last thing, the position he plays, is it a double-edged sword, because if you're really good, you don't get a lot of opportunities to show you're really good? It seems like in the second half of the year maybe they didn't throw at him as much and is it hard for a player to establish when teams shy away from them?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I think there's probably some of that. But I think when you have guys that are playing out in the corner and they can play -- we play a combination -- I mean, when you're in zone, you're in zone. We play a lot more zone than we've played here since I've been here.

I think what you've seen in the back end for us, there's been great development in the ability to play zone coverage as well as man, which doesn't make us one-dimensional.

So I think in man, people have a tendency to target people in man coverage, right? In zone, people are trying to attack wherever they deem to be the soft spots in the zones. With us, we play quite a bit of mixture of both. So I think Ike gets both extremes of that.

Q. (Inaudible) have you seen how he's changed in his second year from his first year and what he's done?

STEVE ADDAZIO: I think it's been an evolution. I just think you're talking about an older group of guys. Ike being one, Kam Moore being the other. Both those guys are very talented. They're good players. So what's good in a room is when you have good coaching and good players and that thing merges together. Without good players though, it's hard to get anything done. So they're talented.

Of course, you're dealing with Will and Lukas back there, and then Taj, and of course, young Hamp Cheevers. So it's a vibrant, talented room. Also, understand that Justin Simmons and John John (John Johnson) also have a lot to do with establishing the culture of that room. I can remember when I was a position coach back in Florida, and I had both the Pounceys and Marcus Gilbert in there, those guys, pretty good room, pretty good culture in that room. Those are guys that bought into everything.

I think that's what's going on in that room right now. Anthony has a talented room. He's done a great job of being the leader of that room and developing a sense of pride in that room, you know, and unit pride. Those guys practiced at a high level, they hold their standard at a high level, and I think now the development and the recruiting has been good in that room. I mean, this whole team has been re-recruited. They establish -- there's a lot of speed and a lot of talent.

I looked back when I first arrived here and where it is today, we've got guys on this field on both sides of the ball that can run, they're athletic, they're long. So I think all of that goes together. It's all important. Not one more than the other. Of course, it does start with good ability. So there's a lot of positivity going on in that room. I think Anthony has done a fabulous job with them, and I think they've responded great and they were conditioned to do that because of the guys that went before them too.

Q. (Inaudible) that really teaches you a lot about that team?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, they play Wisconsin, Michigan State. Those teams are kind of alike. There are some similarities in those games. But they do what they do now. They're pretty consistent in what they do. They're really fundamentally sound. They're schematically sound. I mean, everybody has a flair here and there in a bowl game, but it won't be a problem understanding how they lineup.

The problem will be blocking them, and that's always the problem, because when you get against teams that are well-coached like that and disciplined like that, you've got to beat them. You've got to beat them physically, and that's hard to do.

Q. Ferentz teams, are they tough-nosed, gritty?

STEVE ADDAZIO: All of the above. This is a typical Iowa team. That's why I respect it so much. They're very fundamentally sound. Everything is fundamental sound and schematic sound. You're not going to catch them schematically or anything else. They play physical, hard, run to the football on defense, tough, offensive mindset is they want to establish the run as well.

This is a good, solid, strong football team. You've seen that through the years. You watch the tape of all the games. They've played some phenomenal football games. None short of the ones they played against Ohio State at home. It's a good team, very, very good team.

To answer your question, that's how Coach Ferentz has always had those teams. That's why he's been there so long in this volatile business, he's stood the test of time. I can remember visiting Coach back when he was with Baltimore, and it was the Colts -- wait a minute. No. Is that a right statement I just made? It was in Baltimore. I don't know if it was the Colts, but it was Baltimore.

Yeah, I think it was though. It was right before they moved. What year would that have been? That's what it was. Right before they moved. Date myself here.

But anyways, that wasn't the point of the story. The point of the story was I can remember going out and visiting him with Coach DeLeon and some other coaches, and we went out there and spent some time. I was just mesmerized then with the detail and everything about the way he presented everything. That was a long time ago now. This is going back.

So, yeah, coached at Maine, played at Connecticut. You know, he's a Pittsburgh guy, but he's had some northeast flair to him.

Q. Can you talk about A.J. and Ben getting Freshman All-American, and also, how much did Ben help A.J. and A.J. help Ben?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Probably all of the above, back and forth. What's nice when you see these young guys, you know you have good young players. Having good young players is good for everybody. That's a good thing.

We're talking about a lot of recognition on the All-conference teams by our players in every age bracket. All over the place, from the all ACC, to the Walter Camp Awards, to the ACC Rookie of the Year, to the All-Freshman whatever rookie team. I think what that means is you've got some talent. That means recruiting went well. Maybe all the stars didn't matter. There's a couple of them, but I think there's good development.

Speaking about Isaac, I mean, speaking about Kam, I mean, Kam came here with no scholarships. These weren't highly recruited guys, but yet they're going to go to the Senior Bowl and combine and all those other things.

How do you measure that? You measure it like that. That's how you measure it. How many guys have a chance to develop and then have a chance to go play at the next level speaks to, you know, what you've got going on. Not a bunch of five-stars, I can tell you that.

Q. Can you talk about Ben's transition from freshman to veteran, and where it happened and how it happened?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, you know, it was force fed. We lost John, we had already lost Shane, and we felt like Alec needed -- his brother needed to gain some more weight first, and we thought Ben was a guy that could make a contribution, but probably at tackle. Then in a week's time we made him a center, and he went and played his first college football game, and never played center and never played in a college football game. He got his crash course in learning and he handled it well.

To play a true freshman offensive line is very difficult to do, very difficult. Never mind making a position change and playing that position on top of everything else with all the identifications that have to go on, and starting all the run plays and pass protections. I think it's really unbelievable what he's able to get done as a true freshman, remarkable.

That's hard to do, especially he did that while we were playing the number two -- at that time, the number two schedule in America. I always say that because, you know me, I'll never stop saying that because I'm a huge guy in who you play matters. Everybody lumps all Division I football together. That's not accurate.

And all our conferences aren't. That's not accurate either. There is no defense going on in those conferences. All of a sudden like some of these places that score a gazillion points and all that because there is no defense that happens in this conference.

I played in the SEC when it was the best. What made it the best was unbelievable defense. It was just tough. If you couldn't play defense, you couldn't run the football, you were going to have a hard time.

So I guess my point is he did this against outstanding competition which makes it even harder, because that's where you see the differences. You talk about the level of competition. You see the differences in the trenches. Okay? The trenches are different now. Those big guys, those defensive linemen, they're real. Big, fast, powerful guys. So that's why I really have a lot of respect for it. He had to go do that. And Wake Forest front was really good when they first took that first --

Q. (Inaudible)?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, you know. So that's what I'm saying. I really have a lot of respect for that. It matters.

Q. Getting back to Ike for a second. You said he wasn't a very heavily recruited guy.


Q. So in recruiting him, what did you see?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, we had him in camp. See, we're big on camp. That's my philosophy. You get a guy in camp, you better be right. If you get a chance to coach the guy on the field -- I mean, film is a part of it, no doubt. But sometimes film on DBs and stuff is hard, especially in high school. But his high school coach was fantastic. His program, but we had him in camp, and we worked him out in camp and you get a real sense of a guy there. You could tell the intangibles as well as the skills.

What is his speed? We're going to time him and have empirical data on what his speed is, empirical data on his explosiveness and broad jump and vertical leap. That doesn't mean you can play football, but that's the fundamental starting point for measuring athleticism, speed and power. Then you go ahead and put him through all the DB drills, and then you watch him play man coverage, and how does he take to coaching and can he translate that to the field? So when you have a chance to do that in camp, you need to be right in your assessments.

So we saw real promise on film, we backed it up with what we felt was a great camp experience, and we felt terrific about Ike from day one. We wanted, at that time, we were really big into trying to get bigger corners, and here we had a tall corner who could run. Raw, very raw, but he was tough, and he could run. Every year Isaac developed, every year.

I mean, if you guys haven't spent any time around Ike, you should spend some time around Ike, man. He's a beautiful kid. I'm telling you, what a guy he is. Just fantastic. Great role model and representative of Boston College.

Q. This camp you talked about, that was while he was still in high school at Doherty High?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, yeah, summer camp. Yeah, all these high school kids have a chance to come to the different camps. It was a summer camp.

Q. It sounds like he got your attention right away?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Everybody's, yeah. Everybody's. So that was great. That's a vital thing for us. We're a developmental program. We need to be able to have guys in camp and we'll be able to make good decisions, because we have to have great vision on guys, not only what they are but what they'll become, and I think that's critically important to the ability to do that.

Q. (Inaudible)?

STEVE ADDAZIO: I would say a couple. I think you could see a guy like CJ Lewis a little bit more. I'm not going to make a guarantee on all that. But I think just to name a guy. You know, T.J. Rayam, you've seen, but you could see more. More day von, you know. With his position change, that's gotten better and better and better.

So, I don't know. You're catching me off guard, but those are a couple guys right there. I mean, you'd like to get a lot of these guys in there, but you want to get win eight too, so you're going to try to manage that. You're looking to get some guys some critical game experience, but we're going out there to try to win a football game. So sometimes when you get in those situations, what sounds good today isn't as easy to do come game time. All right. Guys. Thank you. Merry Christmas.