Boston College Head Coach Steve Addazio
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, it was an electric atmosphere out there today. So much fun to be at home in Chestnut Hill with the bandana game, all that it represents. Our team was proud and honored that we could represent the Crowther family here tonight. It means a lot to our team, our players. Very, very inspired game.
I thought our kids came out and played really physical, really hard, really tough. Had a demeanor and attitude about them. It was a very, very physical game.
We had a mindset as a program, as a team, in all three phases that we were going to attack with everything we had, empty the chamber. I thought you saw that in the first half. On offense in the first half, we were able to run several trick plays, have almost 50 plays run and 300 yards offense.
That’s the No. 1 defense in America. They’re rated the No. 1 defense in America. 416 yards, 200 rushing, 200 passing.
A thought AJ Dillon came out and played courageously. He is not even at full speed and he rushed for over 150 yards and had over 30 carries.
I thought Anthony Brown played exceptionally well. I thought our defense played with tremendous physicality and explosion. I thought our special teams did a great job. Grant Carlson took the number one punt returner and we held him to minus yards in that game. I was proud of that.
We beat a good football team at home. That’s a good football team. They’ve got some very, very talented players. We’re 6-2, bowl eligible right now for the fifth time in six years.
The best part about it was, nothing was mentioned down in the locker room about it. We didn’t go down there and say, ‘Hey. I’m mentioning it right now.’ As a team, we didn’t mention it. I think that’s significant to where we are right now.
Just had a bunch of guys that want to get on to Blacksburg. Want to celebrate this win, but excited to get down there. And we know the challenges that’s going to present. Another very, very good football team.
I’m proud of our football team. Proud of the fight and the character and the battle that they have. I’m proud of the way they represent this university as Boston College men.
Really, really excited for our team, for another opportunity to get on the field next week and continue to grow and develop.
This is a hungry football team right now. That’s what I like about it most. They’re hungry.
Q. It seemed like in the first half especially you were able to keep them off balance with your offense. How important is that with such an aggressive defense?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, they load the box. We knew that we were going to have to have a lot of balance in our run, our throws, then also have some trick plays to create explosives. That’s not the kind of defense you’re going to be able to go down the field with without creating explosives.
We went with great tempo in the first half of that game. We were going fast. We weren’t really allowing them to get their cleats screwed into the ground. That was our game plan. We were able to execute that. That went very, very well.
But, yes, that’s a talented defense. Yes, they were loading the box. There were about eight to nine guys around the line of scrimmage, within five yards of the line of scrimmage every snap. We needed to do the things we did to create those opportunities.
Q. How much did you expect to get out of AJ coming in? How much did you have to manage him throughout the game?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew that he looked good in practice on air. But I didn’t know what would happen when he got tackled. So I didn’t know if we were going to get three reps out of him, 15 reps out of him. I didn’t imagine we would have 30 carries out of him, to be totally frank with you.
We managed him through the game. There were a couple issues during the game. A couple sore and dinged up. A couple fatigue issues because he hasn’t really practiced to that level in four weeks. No matter what we try to do conditioning-wise, nothing simulates what happens in the game, especially for him because he’s such a physical runner that it’s hard to duplicate the exertion for him on every play.
He far exceeded our expectations today. Certainly gave us a great boost and catalyst to our team.
Q. On BC’s “trick plays” during the game
STEVE ADDAZIO: We have a Rolodex of let’s call them trick plays that we’ve been working on since the beginning of the year. We just keep a Rolodex of them going. It’s not just something we’re going to go to the week of the game. A lot of times on Sundays, we’ll come out Sunday, go through our Rolodex of different plays. We’ll have to add to that now.
But we were very, very confident in a series of those trick plays, felt great about them. We left one in the drawer, but we’ll save it. It’s just something that we work on each week because those are the kind of things to me, if you don’t start the process early with those, you never get the execution. The kids aren’t confident with everything off of them, so...
Q. How confident personally are you with Jeff Smith? He hits the throws on the trick plays.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Jeff came here as a quarterback, as you know. He was our starting quarterback at one point in time. Has the ability throwing the football.
We feel very good about it. Jeff is a veteran, a senior with great decision-making skills. He’s not going to just force the ball in there. He knows enough he might have to pull the ball down and run with it. I think that’s the part that I have the confidence with. I know the ball is in the hands of a guy that can make a good decision if the play is not there.
Q. A long way to go, granted, but how important was tonight for the building of the program this year?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Listen, every week seems like it’s monumental, to be honest with you, okay? The bandana game is a special game for us. We usually play a marquee opponent. It’s just a special atmosphere and a special game.
How big is this game? Well, we’re at home playing a great opponent. We win the bandana game. Able to get our sixth win of the year. I think, more importantly to me, our team is playing with tremendous confidence right now, playing at a high level physically.
I think all those things together are really, really positive. But every game in college football today to me, it’s not like some other sports you play so many, every one is precious, like a diamond in your hand you have to hold on for dear life. That’s the way it is in college football right now.
It’s big. But they’re all so big. Here we go, get ready to go down to Virginia Tech. That’s going to be another big, big game. For different reasons, each one is going to have significance. There’s a special place for the bandana game in our heart, right?
I had the great pleasure down in the locker room to hand the ball to Allison and Jeff Crowther. That’s a really emotional deal, to watch these two parents who lost their son, take tremendous joy in being a part of this BC community. It’s a really moving deal. It’s moving to our team, which is moving to me on top of it all.
To watch these scholarship players down here embrace those moments. I mean, our kids embrace it. That’s what’s special about being at BC, when you’re around a bunch of BC men like that. They can appreciate these special moments.
Of course, this game has a little more significance from that standpoint.
Q. Do you feel like you kind of won the game with two picks returned to the end zone, then the turnovers on downs inside the three?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Those are big plays. Those are huge plays. It’s hard for me to say what did it. I think what did it, honestly, was a collective effort of all three phases of our football team with a relentless will. That’s how I felt on the sideline. Like just this unbelievable surge from our team.
I never felt like that game was in jeopardy because our kids were going to find a way to win that game. So those are all big plays along the way. I wouldn’t argue with you. I don’t know. I think all three phases battled and kicked in and did some special things in that game. I think it was a really good team win for us against a really good team.
That’s a talented football team, Miami. Mark Richt is doing really great things with that football team. They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with. We really feel grateful we had an opportunity to go out there the way we did tonight and go and earn that victory.
Q. Between the play calling on offense, not just the trick plays, you had a lot of success off of misdirection, the overall execution of the game plan, the opponent. Do you feel like this was the best game the offense has played this season?
STEVE ADDAZIO: That’s a good question. Possibly yes. Possibly yes. If you put it all in a bag and shake it up, probably. I’d have to go watch the film to tell you that specifically. But that’s the number one defense in America right now, so probably I’d say yes.
Q. I know you said you didn’t talk about it after the game, it didn’t come up. Bowl eligible, first time since 2009 you’ve had six wins before November. At this point in the season, where are you at knowing what else is out there for you to go get? There’s still more ahead.
STEVE ADDAZIO: You know, I think being candid with you, the Purdue game brought to light you better make sure that every week you’re focused on one thing, the main thing. I think right now, and this isn’t coach speak, I’m completely convinced right now that our guys have got one focus, one mindset right now, and that’s getting ready to go down to Virginia Tech. Really locked into that.
Yes, the things you said are accurate and true. There’s a lot of firsts this year. The firsts are spread out all over the place. I had a sheet of them. I was wow. There’s a lot of good things that are going on.
At the end of the day, we got to go get win number seven. That’s really our focus, to go down to Blacksburg in one of the toughest environments in college football to win a football game, as we well know. To go down there and try to get our seventh win down there and beat them will be a monumental task.
I think what we want to try to do is grow from this game, get to work on the things we know we need to improve on from this game. I need to assess the health of our football team right now. Not real sure about that. We had guys go down tonight. I don’t know if seriously or not. I can’t comment on that.
We got to get to work and get ready because we have an opportunity to continue to do some more firsts here right now. All that goes through Blacksburg right now, finding a way to scratch and claw and get a seventh win. I know it’s not going to be easy.
That’s where our focus is right now. I know that’s where our team’s focus is, because that’s what we talked about down in that locker room, which is a good thing.
Q. You’ve been talking a lot about Miami’s defense. Tell us about your defense.
STEVE ADDAZIO: I thought that the coaches did a great job putting a plan together for them. I thought our kids played really hard. You saw Zach Allen and Wyatt Ray putting unbelievable pressure on the quarterback. I thought Connor Strachan was all over the field. I thought we played well and competed for balls in the back end. Obviously with the picks we had.
There were a lot of big plays in the back end that occurred. There were some big receivers. I mean, they went up and they made a big play for the touchdown that got reviewed down there. That was an unbelievable play that that receiver made. Those are big-time athletes. Our guys went up and competed for those balls.
I thought our defense played really, really well tonight, and with confidence, with an edge to them. So, yeah, that was good to see. That was really good to see, so...
Boston College sophomore running back AJ Dillon
Q: Can you talk about how your ankle feels with your first game action in a while?
DILLON: It hurt a little bit, definitely. But I’ve been crushing recovery, I’ve been there each day as much as I could. The training staff and the coaches have been really great to have supporting me and getting me back. I knew I was able to play and play safe, and make sure I was giving the team the best chance to win the game.
Q: With that said, when you get the ball the first time and break free for 25, is there almost a relaxing, “I’m back”?
DILLON: It definitely was a confidence booster. I looked over at Coach White and shook my head. I should have just trusted my speed, I was thinking about the ankle in the first run. It was definitely a great confidence booster, I was just happy to be back out there with my boys.
Q: It says Team Welles, can I ask you what you have on your wristband?
DILLON: I was talking to the running backs, primarily, and I extended it to the offensive unit during half time. We obviously played for Welles (Crowther) tonight, we watched the whole documentary. I just kind of told them, ‘I don’t know what I would do in that situation.’ He went up 17 flights of stairs, brought people back down to safety and then went back up. These were strangers. The whole question I kept asking myself on the ride over here and pregame, was ‘who would I do that for?’ I can’t 100 percent say I’d just go up there and try to save those people; it’s a courageous act, a fearless act. Right here I wrote down everybody, like my family and some of my friends, that I know no matter what, I’d go up there and help them. Obviously the people I am playing for today. I wanted to play fearless, I wasn’t worried about the ankle, I wasn’t worried about who was on the other side, who we were facing. I just wanted to make sure I played with confidence and courage and went out there and played fearless.
Boston College redshirt sophomore QB Anthony Brown
Q: You guys are heading into the back half of the season, just got your sixth win. Can you talk to us about how you guys are as a team in terms of confidence and camaraderie at this point in the season?
BROWN: An emotion win like this always brings a team closer together. I feel like we are as close as it has ever been since I’ve been here. Confidence is high, the energy is high. We just have to keep it going when we go down to Blacksburg because it’s a very hard place to play.
Q: You started off the game 7-for-9 and just kept it rolling from there. Between the execution and the opponent, do you feel like this was the best game the offense has played this season?
BROWN: I would say so, yes. Honestly. We played extremely well up front, we ran the ball really well. When plays needed to be made, they were made. It came together, special teams played wonderful. Our defense played lights out. It was a great team game.
Q: Can you talk about what the Red Bandana Game means to you personally and how much inspiration and motivation to gives to the team?
BROWN: This game is, it’s a very emotional game because Welles Crowther, he was a statue for Boston College’s motto of ‘Men and Women for Others.’ He pulled the ultimate sacrifice, he didn’t have to save those people that he did on that horrific day. He was fearless and it carries over. When we watch that film every year, it’s kind of hard to watch knowing that I lived 45 minutes from there and somebody in my family possibly could have been gone, taken away from that. I’m extremely grateful to have a person like Welles Crowther that came through this school and was raised by two wonderful parents. It’s amazing, this game is special.
Boston College senior linebacker Zach Allen
Q: Focusing on those three plays inside the five and forcing the turnover – was that kind of the key defensive play of the night?
ALLEN: Yeah, I definitely think so because if they scored it would have been 27-21. When you’re in it, you just want to stop them. When we came off the field, I looked at Tanner Karafa and was just like, “That was a big stop.” I think it really was the turning point.
Q: Following up on that, I think it was three batted balls from the D-line and it looked like both of those picks were pressure picks – was it just the case of getting on Rosier all night?
ALLEN: Yeah I mean he’s a dual-threat quarterback and we felt like the best way of getting to him was to get there as fast as we can. The coaches do a great job of making sure we always get our hands up if we aren’t necessarily there so we can still add pressure. When it came down to the game plan our focus was on technique. It’s easier to play football when you’re playing with your best friends, when you’re playing for the men to the left and right of you instead of playing for the turnover chain.
Q: Against Louisville obviously they challenged your speed with the comments. It seemed like tonight you were playing with a lot of swagger. Do you think you guys are playing now with the type of defense you expected to be playing at the beginning of the season?
ALLEN: Yeah I think there’s just a bit of a learning curve. We’ve just found our groove. It comes sometimes for some teams at the beginning of the season and for us it came with Louisville. The big thing for us is we just want to continue it. We really have to take it week by week cause if you look too far down the road you’re going to get beat. I know for us personally this Virginia Tech game is going to be a really big one. I remember my sophomore year they absolutely embarrassed us 49 to nothing. Virginia Tech is always a great team, no matter what. Especially watching them last night they definitely do some really good things so it’s going to be a challenge but we’re excited to play.
Q: This is about Hamp Cheevers. He had his fifth interception tonight. What’s it like playing with a guy like him who was only a two-star recruit, five receptions this season, just knowing he’s in the backend?
ALLEN: It gives you a lot of confidence for sure. It gives a lot of leeway to do some of the things that you wouldn’t necessarily do normally. You get to go full-go with a guy like that. Even if the ball gets off, even in the run too – I think that’s what’s really impressive for him. He’s physical no matter what it is. Having him on our defense, I absolutely love it. It helps the whole D-line, the whole back, everyone gets to play faster because of him. It’s great to see him doing what he’s doing.
Boston College senior wide receiver Jeff Smith
Q: At what point in the week did you know that that was part of the game plan, that you were going to be throwing passes tonight?
SMITH: I mean, I moved from quarterback to receiver as you know so we always run those things. We just have to be ready for it whenever coaches called.
Q: Did the bye-week give you a little extra time to go deeper into the playbook this week?
SMITH: It did. It gave us a chance to get our bodies back because it’s been a long season since camp. That was the main thing, just trying to get our bodies back to full.
Q: Are you surprised by Anthony’s hands?
SMITH: Not at all. Anthony always tells us how he can go play receiver now and things like that so no I wasn’t surprised.
Q: I know it’s by design, did you see him? There was a little cluster blocking the view
SMITH: Yeah I saw him. I threw him like that on purpose so he’d be away from the D-End. Kind of just the quarterback thinking in me.
Q: What do you think, going into it, the efficiency… it’s an efficient offense, 11 different guys had receptions, what did you think of the efficiency?
SMITH: I think it’s just us growing as an offense. We were young my freshman year but we’ve definitely grown through the tough times. We’ve gotten better and better since then and it’s what we’ve been focusing on day-in and day-out.