Boston College Head Coach Steve Addazio
STEVE ADDAZIO: Just a great team win today. I thought our team came out really hitting on all cylinders. The tone was set from the first drive. I thought obviously AJ was running it well, and I thought that both sides of the ball played extremely well.
We had a chance to get an awful lot of young guys in the game today. Sometimes for the head coach it’s such a good thing when that can happen, but it’s stressful because it just becomes a little bit chaotic.
Especially in our special teams where we have a first team and a second team, sometimes the second team is some of your starters you’re not playing on your first team, you don’t want them in at that minute. It’s the shuffling of the decks.
By the time we got down kind of in our third punt team, we had some issues in there, have to get that straightened out. That’s pretty down the line.
I thought we played well early when it mattered. We got guys off the field. We got a very, very short week this week. The goal was as soon as we could get them off, we would get them off. Maybe got them off a little too early. But I wanted to err on that side as opposed to the other. So that’s what we did.
We wish Holy Cross the best. We’re off and running towards Wake Forest right now. That’s going to be our focus and is our focus right now.
I hope we grow, our young guys grow from the experiences we had today. We’re healthy. We didn’t get too many reps taken by our ones, which is a good thing. Some very few, some none, some a few more, but nobody over the top. We’re healthy rolling into week three - week one of conference play.
Q. Is this the perfect week to have this game with the short week, not a lot of time for the starters?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think it played out that way. I mean, in an ideal world, maybe would have played it a couple days ago. But certainly being able to get our players off the field early, you know, was a good thing.
Also wanting to respect Holy Cross. They’re building their program. That’s a proud program. He’s a fine young coach off and running trying to build his team. I totally understand that, too.
It was good for us to get our older players off, and I think good for them to be able to continue to grow as well. We are cheering for the Massachusetts and New England teams when we’re not playing them, for their success, their growth and their development.
Q. Holy Cross and UMass are well run, talented programs. Is there a part of you that takes a look at these games with Purdue, Temple, your ACC schedule in mind?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, we play in a very, very competitive conference. We play on the toughest side of it. There’s so many great games ahead of us.
To be able to play UMass is a great thing. I’ve said it many times. I think it’s a geographical game. I think it’s good for New England and Massachusetts football. I think playing Holy Cross, another Jesuit college, university, I think with the fan base and the history and the geographical ties, I think these are all good things.
I think when you wrap it up into the totality of our season, who we have to play, this is a good thing that’s going down.
Q. I saw you have an extended conference on the sidelines with A.J. Dillon after his last touchdown.
STEVE ADDAZIO: I just said to him, ‘Hey, what a heck of a job you just did. I’m pulling you out of the game (smiling). I want to keep you healthy.’ We got to get ready for what’s ahead.
That’s what I told him. That was it. He was great.
Q. He was accepting of that?
STEVE ADDAZIO: He’s a team guy. He was laughing. He knows. He knows I need him to have 300 as we roll forward, so he understood it. But I like to treat these guys like men and explain to them what we’re doing, why we’re doing it. I’m not going to say it beforehand because I don’t want to do that. Once I was ready I was to pull him, I wanted to explain why.
Young guys want to play, they want to do their thing, score touchdowns. I get that. He probably could have ran for quite a few yards today.
But it’s a team game for us, a team deal. He’s a team guy. We gave him a game ball downstairs. Gave them on offense and defense. We gave one to him. The only thing he said is, We need to get to 3-0.
These kids are unbelievable. These kids are unbelievable. What a tremendous group of guys. I’m so proud of this team. I mean, I say that because I’ve just been around a lot of guys. These guys, they’re BC men. They’re bright, they’re men of faith, character and toughness. They get it.
You can pull a guy aside, put your arm around him and have a conversation with him. You’re not having a selfish conversation, you’re having a man, all-about-the-team conversation. It’s pretty cool.
Q. Do you have to kind of emphasize getting a step up in class next week, or do you think they get that already?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, they get it. There’s no misunderstanding about it. I would say that would be the thing. You always worry about shock by level of play sometimes. But the one thing we do do around here is we go ones versus ones in practice a lot. Our ones are pretty good. As long as we go ones versus ones, we’re not going to get shocked. A lot of teams don’t do that, but we’ll do that this week so we can recalibrate the level of play, the speed, strength, things that will occur.
It’s a fine line. You’re always worried about momentum, all that kind of stuff. The one thing I will say, though, is I think we’re healthy and I hope we’ll feel fresh. That’s got to count for something, too. You’re just trying to balance all that.
Q. Do you think these reps for guys like E.J., Bailey, Jones, those are some things that not only they put in the bank, but you in the coaching staff put in the bank as you go on in the schedule?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I don’t think there’s any question. David had put the ball on the ground. We put him right back in again. EJ had some quality reps, Matt McDonald had some quality reps. CJ Lewis, a whole lot of guys.
When they go on the field, all of a sudden they’re out there on an island, the bright lights, so to speak, it’s different. You just got to feel, taste and smell that. Sometimes as a coach, ‘Wow, what did I just look at? I hadn’t seen that.’
That’s all part of it. With the long season we have, there are several guys that we’re going to need to draw upon. So these experiences, yeah, they clearly are going to help you.
I’ve always said in the past that when you’re rebuilding a program, sometimes early on you can’t get enough of these guys to get these young guys quality work because the games are too tight. A little bit of an off cycle.
Now we’re having a chance to see so many young players. With the new rules that you can play these guys out of four games, I think these first couple of games got guys a chance to really get a sense of that with no cost factor. Other guys, of course, they’re going to play so we need to get them reps because they’re going to play. Kind of a twofold thing.
But it’s a little stressful. It just is. This is the first year, like the organization of that is hard. First team ready to go, second team ready to go, key substitutions. First two weeks, so much quantity of that.
It’s a challenge to stay completely organized all the time, it really is. Especially when you get in those special teams situations, it’s challenging.
Q. E.J. was 9 of 12 today, looked poised in the pocket. What kind of development have you seen from your one to two?
STEVE ADDAZIO: He has total understanding of the offense. He’s got some really good athletic tools. It’s just experience. I thought he did a great job today. Then Matt McDonald went in, they brought 11 up heat, whatever it was, to nine up heat. He just kind of stood right in there, boom, he banged it for six. He’s a pretty composed guy himself.
I’m really excited about the fact that they’ve both gotten game reps in here because we’re going to need them. Gee, I think Anthony probably was out of there pretty quick. I think we were done with him by the end of the first quarter, right? So, yeah, that’s good.
These guys really took a ton of reps in there, which is really terrific.
Q. Was Jon Baker just maintenance? How did Alec Lindstrom play?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Alec played the whole game last week. Jon played eight snaps or something like that. Jon could have played today. I was going to play Jon today. I watched him in warmups. I said to myself, I’m going to just let him rest this ankle a little bit more. He’s fine, totally fine. He’ll absolutely be playing.
So Alec got two full games under his belt. Alec is going to play. He’s a real good football player. He’s going to continue to play. Jon Baker is fine, going to be ready to go for practice tomorrow.
Redshirt sophomore QB Anthony Brown
On facing BC’s first team defense in practice:
ANTHONY BROWN: It’s always great to go up against our defense. We have some very talented DB’s and it gives us the ACC look that we need. We’re going to play against some great DB’s coming up in this next long stretch. It helps us prepare.”
On playing in his first ACC game since a 2017 knee injury:
ANTHONY BROWN: I’m just ready to play. It’s been the best feeling the past two weeks, and I’m just really happy that my teammates are so ready to go for Thursday. We’re going to prepare this week, it starts tomorrow. Actually it starts tonight. We’ve got to sacrifice some things. If it means not going out and hanging out and watching film and watching them play this week, that’s just going to have to be it because this game means a lot right now. I can’t wait, honestly.”
Sophomore Running Back AJ Dillon
On facing a Wake Forest team that won in Chestnut Hill a year ago:
AJ DILLON: Yeah, especially for me. It was one of my first couple games, so obviously college football was brand new to me. I mean for anybody to come into our house and for us to have the end result that we did last year, there’s definitely motivation. Like I’ve been saying, we’re approaching this week like we would any other week.
On how many yards he could have ran for if he played the whole game:
AJ DILLON: I try not to focus too much on things that could’ve. Same to say, if I had a negative yardage play, I try not to think about what I could have done or if I’m having a positive edge I try not to think about what I’ve done. I try to focus on the present and I’m happy that we’re 2-0. The goal is to be 1-0 each week.
On turning around to face Wake on a short week:
AJ DILLON: My mindset is to be 1-0 next week and 3-0. Get our first conference win. Last year Wake Forest came here and they beat us, obviously that doesn’t really sit well with anybody on our team. I’m just focused and ready to get back out here tomorrow and watch some film and figure out what we did, what we can work on and how we can get better from this game and move forward. I know our coaches have a great plan in place even with the short week. It’s going to be a quick turnaround but I know we’re up to it.
On facing BC’s first team defense in practice:
AJ DILLON: I think our defense is one of the best, if not the best in the country. We’ve got guys like Zach Allen, whose wide right on the edge; Connor Strachan, I could list names off all day of guys who are going to be playing on Sundays. They’re high-character guys who do a good job on both sides, offense and defense, keeping people healthy and not taking cheap shots. Going up against them all camp, all winter, and all during practice I think you get a taste of what you’re going to get playing whatever other great defenses there are around the country. We’re all playing against some of the best. It’s pretty much what we do every day.
On gaining momentum after breaking tackles:
AJ DILLON: I don’t know about momentum. When people are on me I tend to slow down a little bit. I have to get back into the groove, accelerate again. I haven’t watched the play really, but I did watch CJ Lewis score his first touchdown, Noah Jordan-Williams score his first touchdown, Hunter Long. I mean, yeah, I came out of the game early but I got to see some of my best friends score for the first time. It’s all about being 2-0.
On the players buying in to a team-first mentality:
AJ DILLON: Yeah, we have great senior leadership. That trickled down from the coaches to the seniors to everyone else on the team. We all feel it and you can feel it around here, we all feel like we have the pieces to have something very special this year. Doing that isn’t going to be me coming in here saying I need five touchdowns today, 300 yards against Holy Cross or whoever it is we’re playing, or Anthony throwing a million touchdowns and trying to break records. That’s not what we’re set out to do. Like I said, the goal is to be 1-0 each week. It’s great to be a part of. I know a lot of people say ‘family this, family that’, but when you have selfless guys, guys who are in the limelight, who are going to get drafted next year saying that they aren’t really in it for the stats, but more-so about being 1-0 and getting that win and going inside and singing the fight song together as a team. That’s what really matters. I got the game ball today and I said that I’m just blessed to be a part of the team.
Junior DB Hamp Cheevers
On forcing a fumble vs. UMass and returning a pick-six vs. Holy Cross:
HAMP CHEEVERS: For the most part, since spring, we have been focusing on trying to get the ball back to the offense. The more they have the ball, the better chance we have to win.
On what he thought on the run-back:
HAMP CHEEVERS: I think I’m trying to go score, for the most part. Our team, as defense, we all want to score. I feel like all of our teammates are trying to make sure that the person who gets the ball will score, no matter if it’s a defensive lineman, a linebacker, we all just play as one.
On facing Wake next week:
HAMP CHEEVERS: I feel like our coaches get us prepared each week. This week is going to be challenging, but we have great coaches and they always get us prepared each week, I think it’ll be great.