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Steve Addazio Meets the Press Before Week 2 Matchup Against Richmond

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NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Boston College Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Following BC’s victory against Virginia Tech in the home opener, the Eagles are preparing to face Richmond in Chestnut Hill. Prior to that game, Steve Addazio met the press for his weekly press conference. The following is a transcript courtesy of BC athletics.

COACH ADDAZIO: All right, guys. Appreciate you being here. Week two college football, 2019. It’s great to walk in here 1-0. I felt last week’s game was a heck of a football game. We played a really, really outstanding opponent in Virginia Tech. We had a chance in that game to play a lot of players. We played a lot of players on defense. As many as eight different guys up front this week as we move forward we want to continue to increase the depth of our football team for the season.

But I thought that the learning experience and the curve from that game, coming out with that win was incredible for our team. And it was something we can really get back to work and coach off of this week so we can continue to improve.

As we face Richmond this week, we know a little something about Richmond. Jim Reid obviously was the head coach there for nine years. Frank Leonard was there for 10 years. And having known those guys for all that time when they were there and of course here now, I understand what Richmond football is all about.

It’s a very -- it’s a wonderful school. It’s a very prideful place, with the ability to attract and recruit really good student-athletes and they’ve had great success over the years, not just as a whole, as a season, but also in terms of playing Power 5 opponents.

You flip on the tape from last year when they played Virginia, and you watch that tape, and it makes you really uneasy, because they played an excellent, outstanding game last year against Virginia and looked really, really good.

And so here we go into week two. We’re playing a football team that’s got a lot of talent, is well-coached -- both sides of the ball on special teams, with a lot of tradition and pride.

They had an outstanding win last week, so they’re coming in 1-0 as well. So this will be a great challenge this week. And we need to make sure that we focus and continue to improve in our program. So we’re excited about it.

Q. Talk about these next three nonleague games. Is this something that you can get the engine up and running, get a look at a lot of players so when you make the turn into the ACC in October?

COACH ADDAZIO: I just think that our goal against Virginia Tech, you know, we wanted to play a lot of players on defense, and we did. And one of our goals is I think we want to have a little bit more of an offensive rotation -- really has nothing to do with conference or nonconference; it just totally has to do with the fact that we want to play as a fresh attack, aggressive program. And when you have more depth, you can do that.

And of course the wear and tear on the season, that becomes a necessity. And you don’t want to be halfway through, three-quarters of the way through the year and trying to put new faces in the game; they really haven’t played.

Now is the time, you’re coming off of training camp and they got a lot of reps in training camp. And we have some real talented guys on both sides of the ball and on special teams that we feel we need to have in the football game.

So that’s our goal. I thought, like I said, against Tech you saw it against defense. Now we’ve got to keep moving forward and continue to add to that point. But in the same breath, whoever we put in the game has got to be ready and be able to make plays. This is not just let’s-take-turns-and-go-on-the-field routine.

Q. When you prepare for an opponent, I know you mentioned back there in training camp switching and V Tech Wednesday, V Tech Thursday. Do you work with the second team, scout team? How do you get them ready for them to run an opponent’s scheme?

COACH ADDAZIO: Well, so we meet with them. Like tomorrow they’ll come in the morning and guys on the scout team will meet with the graduate assistants. So the defensive coaches will be meeting with the offensive scout team players, and the offensive coaches will meet with the defensive scout team players.

And we’ll prepare them within their scheme. And we do that for a lot of reasons, one of which is I’m not a big card guy. So I like -- I just think when you put cards up people have a tendency to read cards and kind of tune out. Well, an inside zone is an inside zone, an outside zone is an outside zone, a gap scheme is a gap scheme, six-man protection is six-man protection.

Put it in our terms so that our kids, whether they’re on offensive or defensive will play within our structure and get something out of it. We have to coach them formationally in some of the nuances so we meet with them. That’s critically important. And we did that last week and obviously we’ll continue to do it this week.

Q. Is that something that you do through film with your coaches? Is that something that the assistants are doing, the players are doing and they’re just reviewing film to learn about the opponent?

COACH ADDAZIO: Yes, every day they’ll meet. They’ll review film of the opponent and then review our practice. Any points like, for example, they want to make with the offensive scout team, like, hey, we need to do this better. Show the clip from practice. And then show a clip from last year’s tape from that opponent and say, this is really -- we’ve got to do a little better. This is how they did it on the tape.

You’re in a foot race. You had a little bonus with Tech because we started the process earlier. We had three Virginia Tech Tuesdays, if you will. We’re going to have, like, Richmond we’re going to have one. So you got to be accurate fast. You don’t have these multiple days to kind of work the kinks out. And that’s what happens in the season. You’re in a race against the clock. So sometimes when you play an opponent that’s very much like you, it becomes a lot easier.

And the other thing is the film evaluation early on is always hard. Like Richmond’s playing an option team last week. We don’t get a lot of out of that on offense looking at their defense against a wishbone team. So those are always the early season things that I think make it a little harder.

Q. (Inaudible)?

COACH ADDAZIO: Good. So far, I think we’re in good shape. For the physicality of that football game, the speed and physicalness of it, knock on wood we came out pretty good.

Q. What did you think of Joe (indiscernible)?

COACH ADDAZIO: Joe Sparacio had a great game. He graded out champion. He played fantastic. With McDuff, he’s making unbelievable strides. It’s really week-to-week right now because he’s come -- he looks good, really good and he’s coming back and it’s hard to know.

It’s going to -- we’re going to be having this conversation probably for the next couple of weeks. Maybe (indiscernible) will say, Coach, you said that two weeks ago, or all of a sudden he’ll just be there. I really can’t say for sure because I don’t think you know. But he’s certainly -- he’ll be back and he looks great. It’s just a question of timing.

Q. (Inaudible)?

COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah, lower body.

Q. The NCAA rules on immediate eligibility for transfers, what was your opinion of it in general and have you seen anything from it? Is it working out the way you thought, better or worse?

COACH ADDAZIO: Well, what I think about it is I think that I take the stance of the American Football Coaches Association that everybody should have to sit out two semesters and then gain that year of eligibility back again as long as they stay on course to graduate. And they should have a very, very tight, tight process for special exemptions for very unique deal. Now, that has, to me, gotten out of whack.

And so you can’t have free agency in college football. I’ve heard some things talked about, oh, we’ll have a one-time exemption. So what happens? All of a sudden in a program 15 guys could leave.

What does that do for a football program -- a one-time exemption? You can’t recover from that. Or other teams poaching players from your squadron for who knows what’s going on there. You have an elite player and one of these schools comes in and poaches them.

You can’t do that. That’s just ridiculous. That commentary is ridiculous. And I don’t have any problem saying that because I really believe that in my heart. They talk about coaches -- yeah, that’s fine, there’s contracts and there’s things in there too.

Everything in life has penalties and consequences and things, okay? And we’ve got to stop always comparing 18- and 19-year-olds to whatever. It’s not how life works either.

I think that you make a commitment, you make an obligation, whatever the consequences of that are is what they are. Well, the consequences are you should put two semesters in school you’re transferring to. And then there should be a very select -- and I believe this -- reasons for the exceptions to that. Because I think there are always exceptions, but the exceptions can’t go from here to here.

I mean, that’s kind of what’s happened right now. And I just look at that like there’s got to be some transparency and consistency and criteria for that exemption piece. Because right now what’s going on, to me, is bizarre.

I think they went through a process where they sort of opened up some gates. Then they tried to tighten those back down and lately it appears they’re kind of opening them again. And we’ve been here on both sides of that. We’ve got guys that have gone to other places, and we’ve taken some guys. And I’ve been on the double side of this thing.

So I don’t know if I answered your question. I think I did.

Q. Do you see anything in the ACC, any guys in the ACC who might be having an impact that might appreciate the conference --

COACH ADDAZIO: Tough question, because as fast as you’re asking me that, trying to recall exactly -- some teams I’m not “on” right now. So I’m sure there are. I mean, the simple answer would be, I’m sure there are.

I want everybody -- I believe in opportunity. I believe in people shouldn’t be penalized, but there are consequences. That’s why I really believe the football -- American Football Coaches’ stance is about right, where to me you sit the two semesters where you go; your APR should follow there and that school should absorb the APR; and then you should be able to earn that year back as long as you stay in good standing academically. So you don’t lose a year, you just have to sit out for a year.

And that’s a consequence. That stops it from becoming really chaotic, because that’s what happens. In the quarterback world that’s where you’re seeing this now.

And I would tell you, let’s be honest, that very few people are out there, they’re transferring because they’re not playing. That’s why they’re transferring. They’re not playing.

There are very few -- and there probably are a few where that’s not the case. But the vast majority are playing time issues. Well, okay, but then --

Q. Not a brain tumor or something. (Indiscernible).

COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah, there are real things that come up that are not right. And they have to be dealt with. But those are smaller in nature than larger.

Most of these cases, especially you read about these high-profile cases, right, it’s about playing time. If they’re the starting quarterback they wouldn’t have those conversations.

They’d be just fine where they were. So I mean, come on now. Just be careful. We’ve just got to be careful that we don’t ruin the playing field. This isn’t pro football. You can’t have free agency like that. It’s not going to work in the college setting. That’s just not life.

And, again, there’s contracts in pro football. There’s issues. So in college football what do you have for a contract is you sign and you made a commitment and you can break that commitment.

I do not think that we should hold anybody back. No, you can’t go to that school or -- I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe -- a problem if you transfer within the ACC. I don’t have a problem with that.

I just think it’s real simple: You want to leave, go sit out for two semesters then go play and get that year back, get it back. I don’t want to take anything away from anybody, but there’s a small penalty that you have to pay and you pay it and you move on.

Q. This being week one in the NFL coming up, BC has a number of guys that have made it in and out of camp. Have you been in contact with those guys?

COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah, not all of them. But I hear it all through the grapevine, through everybody. But I’m really, really excited. Obviously our four draft picks are on the active rosters and then we have right now Mike Walker, I believe, and Jeff Smith, I believe, are on practice squads. And I believe there are a couple others that will end up on practice squads over the next couple days to a week.

Right now we have six players from last year’s team that are on NFL rosters, be it two practice, four regular and possibly I think we could have another one to two here shortly.

So it’s really good. I’m really thrilled for those guys. They’re great, great guys and deserve it and obviously are doing a great job at the next level. So really, really thrilled about that.

And we’ve got over the last six, going on seven years, but right now six years, something like 13 of 15 players current in the NFL are coming out of here, which is a pretty cool deal.

Q. In terms of their legacy and development, I know you’ve touched on that a number of times, but the guys who are coming up now, the upperclassmen, where do you see their potential in some of those guys? With week one in the books I know it’s hard to determine.

COACH ADDAZIO: We’ve got some talented guys. And they’re going to have a lot of opportunity ahead of them in football, plain and simple. And I think I love their leadership. And I love their passion in the game. I think they’re about the right stuff. I keep saying it over and over and I say it because it doesn’t happen everywhere. But these guys are tremendous representatives of the university for all the right reasons. And on top of that they’re talented.

So it will be fun to see where this group will -- how this will pan out in the end and the opportunities that they’ll have to move forward.

Q. Tanner in particular, he said that he was on the edge on his interception there where, probably most athletic play all of us have seen. I know he’s on the edge and I know he played the interior next to (indiscernible), what determines if a guy can go play the edge versus the interior, and how does that line up for a guy like him?

COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean he’s mostly interior. But we still have packages where we want to put the best pass rushers on the field. And he’s really come a long way and is one of our best pass rushers.

So we rotate so many guys and there’s so many factors involved in this because you have your, let’s call it your first regular, your second regular, your first nickel, your second nickel, your first this, your second that. And those are based on what’s going on in the game -- fatigue, injury, whatever. But he’s a guy we’re going to plug along that defensive line in a lot of spots. And it was fun to watch him make such a critical play.

He’s such a great story, he and Benny Glines both. But Tanner, he didn’t play for the first couple of years. He wasn’t traveling with the team when he was here as a freshman. He paid his dues.

He came in as a linebacker. He had to put a whole bunch of weight on. Then he went to defensive end. Then he had to go inside. He just kept grinding and was a team guy. Here he is now, a captain making unbelievable plays, critical to our success. I love those stories.

And he’s a great student, a great human being. Is one of the highest character guys on the program and one of the toughest. And you can’t not like that story. It’s a good story.

Q. When you say he had to put on weight, that’s all in strength and conditioning and the program and it’s not just going out to Chipotle?

COACH ADDAZIO: No, that’s what I do. (Laughter).

It’s a nutritionist. It’s everything. But I forgot what Tanner came in here at, so I might misquote that. But I’m going to throw the number of around high two teens to maybe 220 -- to whatever he is right now, 290 or something like that, 285, 290. He’s come along way.

Let’s put it this way he’s put on at least 60 to 65 pounds here. And there’s not really any fat on him. Unlike me from that age to this age, he put it on the right way.

Q. (Inaudible)?

COACH ADDAZIO: If you had to ask me what excited me the most about Saturday’s game, there’s a lot of things, but I might start there. His leadership leading into the game. His leadership in the game, in the huddle, in the sideline huddle, on the sideline. He did an unbelievable job.

And my hope is that that’s something that he can hang on to and grasp on to and that continues because it was awesome and I was proud of him. He did a great job with it. Really did a great job. It was something that he knew he needed to work on and he did work on it. And week one that got accomplished.

Q. (Inaudible) where does that come from? (Inaudible)?

COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah, it’s something we’ve been focused on. I think that’s such a critical thing. We’ve worked on it with him. I don’t know who else has but I know we have.

I just think it’s a maturation process. It’s being specific and pointing out examples of where you need to have better leadership and paying attention to how you carry yourself.

And it’s like anything else: Like, I’m the head football coach here. Whether I’m crushed about something, I can’t let everybody know that. You know what I mean? It’s my job as a leader of the organization to be as upbeat and positive and strong and lock jawed as I can be.

It doesn’t mean there aren’t times where I’m taken aback or I’m down or something like that. Part of leadership is the ability you have to rise above that.

In other words, the “we” is bigger than “me.” The big picture is bigger -- that’s what’s important to me. You can’t be a leader and be self-absorbed. You’ve got to be worried about the guys on your right and the guys on your left. And that’s hard to do.

But Anthony is a great person. And I think young guys, especially when they’re young, they’re trying to be the very best player that they can be.

And within that sometimes there’s hard to be enough for somebody else. But when you’re the leader, you’re the quarterback, it’s not just about you; you’re the leader of the rest of those guys in that unit. And he’s done just a great job with that. Part of that he’s becoming more and more comfortable with his role and more confident in his role then he probably has the more capacity to pick you up as opposed to having to focus so hard on him. Know what I mean?

Q. Are there things with Zay Flowers you can do that we didn’t see in the Virginia Tech game where he can kind of grow his game?

COACH ADDAZIO: Oh, yeah, he can grow a lot. He’s just a young guy, scratching the surface right now. He has the combination of unbelievable speed, quickness and ball skills. And he has a real football savvy to him. It’s not too big for him.

Yeah, he’s going to continue to grow, and I would expect him to become more and more involved, more and more around the ball. Why not?

And we’ve got some really talented young receivers right now. That’s exciting. There’s going to be a group of very good, talented receivers who can do a lot. You’ve got a guy like CJ Lewis who is dealing with a little bit of a foot issue right now. He was having an exciting camp.

And another freshman Ethon Williams and Jehlani. Jehlani Galloway is a very talented guy. We have a lot of very talented young receivers that I think are going to be exciting to watch in the very near future.

Q. Richmond, they were part of the old Yankee Conference?

COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah.

Q. Do you remember the old Yankee Conference?

COACH ADDAZIO: Oh, yeah.

Q. When Jim Reid was coaching there?

COACH ADDAZIO: Of course. Frank Leonard and I were best friends. He was down there in Richmond part of that deal and Coach Reid was down there. Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I know a bunch of players that played at Richmond. That’s real good football now. It’s really good football.

The Midwest has the MAC and the Atlantic states, sort of the north has the old Yankee Conference, the new Atlantic 10. I think it’s the Atlantic 10. That’s the version of that level of ball. Really good ball. And a lot of good players that come out of there.

Maine has had a recent really great run. And New Hampshire, of course. And Richmond. And William and Mary has had their share in there, too. There’s a number of those teams that have really particularly had pretty good consistent years. And I would put the ones I just said up there as not just like a flash in the pan, they’ve had several years where they’re playing at a very high level of football.

I think this Richmond team has got some really talented players that really, really they could play a lot of places. They’re good. They’ve done a great job there. Got a lot of respect.

I’m a big “let me watch the tape” guy and then I’ll tell you what I think. I’ve been watching the tape nonstop. And the more I watch it -- like I said, do yourself a favor, flick on, go watch last year Virginia. I think it was opening day, Richmond versus Virginia. Watch that tape and you tell me what you think.

The eye in the sky does not lie. It is what it is. You watch it on the video. I watched the video. And that was one heck of a football game now. And Virginia had a good year last year. It wasn’t like they were playing a slouchy game or anything. And it wasn’t just, like, big plays here and there.

I’m talking about Virginia went on to win that game. I’m talking about watch the line of scrimmage. Watch what goes on there. You’re going to see a talented tough, hard-nosed football team playing really hard.