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Midweek Press Conference: Steve Addazio Meets the Press

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BC heads into the meat of ACC schedule and hosts Jamie Newman and Wake Forest

NCAA Football: Boston College at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

STEVE ADDAZIO: Seems like the weeks keep rolling. We’re already going into week 5. Season moves fast. Brief comment. Last week it was great to get a road win against a Big Ten team. Thought that our kids -- as we said after the game, I thought they played hard. I thought they came out with a great mindset, a great work ethic, took their positive week they had and put it forward on the field.

Had a chance to get some more people in the game, got some guys to get more reps and evaluate some young players, and they did a good job. I thought that was positive.

We’re coming home this week. Excited about the fact it’s parents weekend, the Pops. There’s a lot of activity here on campus. I think the campus will be alive and buzz, and I think we’re going to have a great crowd and a great home atmosphere here in Chestnut Hill.

Playing Wake Forest, obviously, Dave and I have known each other for a long time. Played against each other here at Boston College and Wake Forest for a number of years. I’ve got a lot of respect for Dave Clawson. Dave is a classy guy in our business, sharp guy. He’s done a great job. I think he’s done a fabulous job with their program, and I think that they’re well put together.

I think their team is a talented team. They’ve always been a very good defensive football team, at least since I’ve been here. Defenses have been very, very highly regarded, and I see them as a talented defense still. On offense, they’ve got some really good play makers.

I think their quarterback, Jamie Newman, I think is playing great football right now, dual threat guy, can run it, can throw it. One of their leaders, Cade Carney, the running back, I love him. I think he’s a tough kid, very, very explosive kid. Obviously, very well respected on their football team. And they’ve added two receivers, two big, tall kids in Surratt and Washington that have had the ability to go up and make plays, and the quarterback is doing a great job of getting the ball to them.

I think they have an explosive offense. I think they’re well put together on defense. I think they’re a very good football team, and that presents, obviously, a great challenge for us in our preparation this week. We’ve had great contests with Wake over the years, and I’m looking forward to another great game here.

So with that, I’m happy to answer any questions.

Q. You faced four opponents really for the first time that you’ve ever seen in the first three, four weeks of the season. Is there a difference when you get into a game against like a Wake Forest that you have annual experience against and a coach that you know well?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I think you certainly have enough film and video evidence of who they are. That doesn’t mean there’s not tweaks and changes and things that happen, but unlike week 1 or 2 or 3, where potentially you’re seeing -- you know, I guess for us even in week 4, where we had really essentially two games this season on Rutgers, because they had a bye week. We had two games on Kansas, which was totally the opposite of what they were in those two games.

So I think you’re starting to head down the point of the season now where your information is usually more accurate, and then you do have some history to validate some things, realizing that all of us will tweak along the way, but, yes, to answer your question, I think we’re heading into Game 5 now. You’ve got, at least in Wake’s case and our case, you’ve got four games already in, and you’re able to evaluate it better.

Q. And does Newman present anything different as a dual threat than maybe you’ve seen from other quarterbacks that they’ve had down there?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, they’ve always had dual threat now. This kid is a big kid. He’s got good size. He’s throwing the ball pretty accurately, and he’s a very physical runner, especially in short yardage, goal line, down in those areas. I think he’s playing a high level. I like him a lot. I think he’s a heck of a football player.

Those guys always pose challenges, you know. Any time a quarterback can throw it and starts running with it, it can certainly be problematic. Of course, they’re also taking a lot of shots too.

Q. It was amazing to me how far the two offenses got in four years? You go from -- you know.

(Laughter)?

Seriously, like from that game to you guys put up like 70 points combined. Can you wrap your head around it?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I think it’s just recruiting. I mean, honestly, it’s coming in -- Dave came in. I came in a year before Dave. He and I have talked about this. We’re not rebuilding our programs in junior colleges and things like that. It’s a total rebooting and re-recruiting. Then you’re in that process of re-recruiting your program, and even when you get it to the point where he is and I am right now, where we’ve got a pretty good pipeline of players, it’s still hard to always make them come together at the same time, meaning you’re veteran on offense, veteran on defense. It doesn’t always work that way.

But I think both teams have raised the athletic -- athleticism of our teams. I mean, that’s clear on the tape. So, yeah, and then each year it tweaks a little bit. Is it an old defense or a young defense? An old offense or a younger offense? But you still have athleticism in the program. We all remember a few years ago when the quarterback debacle was tough and it was just a different age.

We were fairly explosive year 2 when (Tyler Murphy) Murph was here at quarterback. We had a pretty darn good football team that year, but from that standpoint, I think programs are fairly similar in terms of re-recruiting and recruiting student-athletes, developing your student-athletes, et cetera.

Q. Do you mirror programs in some way?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, there are similarities. Philosophically maybe a little different, just how we go about things. Some ways, some ways not. You can get into the -- we’re more of a pro style set. They might be more of a spread set kind of. But we’ve had great games over the years.

Q. You mentioned Newman obviously, but what kind of challenges does that receiver tandem pose?

STEVE ADDAZIO: They’re big, tall guys. They go up and catch the ball. I mean, he throws it well, and they go up and catch it. It gives them another dimension. I think it’s a good one. It matches up a little bit to what they want to do.

Q. What was your vision for David Bailey, knowing that obviously A.J. is going to be in there? How have you seen him sort of -- I don’t want to say complement, but kind of fill that role?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Like, in the game, when A.J. was getting tired, David was in, and he was fresh legged. He hit that big run. They are truly a one-two punch to me. You put David in the game, there’s another 250-pound guy coming at you. So I think there’s -- what happens is they get gassed and want to come out of the game. I mean, especially the way that we play.

I thought that was really evident -- one of the things we noticed on tape yesterday that was really evident, at the end of the game, we had that 18-play drive. I mean, an 18-play drive. And at the end of that drive, when we were punching it in the end zone, we were surging off the ball. I mean, I didn’t realize it on the field as much as when I saw it on the tape. I mean, Boom, they were getting knocked back, and we were surging, and there was no sign of anybody being gassed after 18 plays. That’s a lot of plays in college football.

We had a couple of those big time drives in the second half then, and then, of course, the four-minute drive at the end was -- why in the four-minute drive can we look so powerful like that? Because we’ve got two tailbacks that are still relatively fresh, and they’ve still got some juice left in them, and the defenders are getting worn down. And that’s the beauty of getting to the fourth quarter like that.

The problem is you don’t want to get out of whack before you get there, then part of that game doesn’t become the hammer that you’d love it to be. So that’s where we’ve got to play well on both sides of the ball and complement each other.

Q. Max had, what, 10, 12 -- 14 tackles the last week. After the game, he also mentioned the explosive play that Blackshear had where he over pursued and missed. What has he done for the defense in the linebacker position? What has he led with that type of attitude, where if he makes a mistake, he can admit it, and then rally himself and have a day?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Max is a man. He’s really confident. He’s a good athlete. He’s a real student of the game. He’s a take charge guy, take responsibility guy. He played his tail off in that game, made plays all over the field. He’s been dinged up. He’s rolled both ankles. He’s had to miss a couple days of practice here and there, and he played like a warrior, and that’s the mentality that he has. That’s why he’s really one of the big, top leaders on our defense, and he played like that. I mean, he played at a high level in Saturday’s game for sure.

Q. Has he been like that through his entire career?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yes, he’s a different guy. I mean, he’s always been that way. Max is a very -- he’s going to look you in the eye, shake your hand kind of guy. He is a leader. He’s a charger.

Q. When you have a guy like that on defense, how does that kind of help around with --

STEVE ADDAZIO: Like 11. You need 11 of those guys. We’re an immature -- we’re still a young, immature defense. We’ve got a lot of guys that haven’t played a lot of football. When I say immature, that’s what I mean, haven’t played a lot of football. Max has played a fair amount of football, and he has those personality traits. That’s when you have a group of veterans that have more of that kind of mindset and attitude makes a difference, right?

We’ve got some young pups, whether they’re young in age or just young the amount of time they’ve been on the field, we only have two guys that are really like that. One is Tanner Karafa, and one is Max Richardson.

Q. Along the lines of the 75 yards allowed coming after the Kansas game, where you had 300-plus allowed. Was it just improvement? Was it just a change in attitude to what they reviewed the week before? What was that?

STEVE ADDAZIO: I think it’s everything. Everything. We had a really great week last week. We had to make sure that -- we had to continue to grow. We had some inexperienced guys that got hit in the face a little bit, and we didn’t react so well. We got them -- it’s our job to make sure that we limit that kind of thing from happening. And part of it is just the emphasis and the continued emphasis on simple characteristics like effort and finish and not letting it get too big for you. Sometimes you get stunned when you’re a young guy. It’s like how do I react? How do I -- and that’s important.

I think we try to re-rally on that and get back to square one on that a little bit. We got distorted a little bit too much. I always say somewhere in the middle reality falls. We just got out of whack a little too much. I think we pulled that right back in again last week, and we want to continue to grow from here.

There are still things that we’re developing on that side and trying to -- you’re trying to realize your personnel even better in terms of where your strengths and weaknesses are and how you can shore up your weaknesses and accentuate your strengths, which can be a lot of different things, but trying to get that persona, whereas on offense, I think we kind of know what our persona is. It doesn’t mean that there’s not things we need to grow and work on there as well, but we’re not fighting that same battle.

We’ve got a lot of guys that have long whiskers on that side of the ball, and there’s no shortage of them. I mean, go to whatever position group you want to now. Is it receiver with Kobay White? Is it the offensive line with John Phillips and Ben Petrula? Is it the tight ends with Garrison and Korab and Burt. Even Hunter, for that matter, has played a fair amount of ball. Is it Anthony who’s been a three-year starter now, in the third year? We’ve got that there.

Q. You mentioned with Anthony after the Rutgers game, just getting more consistent this week. What are some of the things that you focus on with him to help improve that consistency?

STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I think we have really evaluated some of the things that we’re trying to do, and I think we’re evaluating that and looking to make some tweaks and changes to help. I think it’s not just one thing. We do some things extremely well right now in the throw game, and we are a real threat down the field for people.

However, to help our consistency, we think there’s some things that we can do a little bit to adjust to help in that regard. I don’t ever think it’s -- to put that on Anthony isn’t right or fair. I’m not going to do that. I think we are looking at things we can help with on that front.

Q. Are there guys who may not be on the same page? I remember one play with Korab and Anthony kind of had their signals crossed (no microphone).

STEVE ADDAZIO: No, I know what play you’re talking about. No, there’s no cross-up signal-wise. I think Anthony was trying to make a back shoulder throw on one play, and that didn’t happen. For the most part, I think we’ve been pretty tight on what we’re trying to do. I think there’s some things that people do better than others. I want to make sure we’re doing the best things for our guys, you know what I mean, for what their skill set is.

Although we’ve been pretty good on third and long here, our percentages are pretty high, but the preciseness of our routes and the exactness might help a little bit. You see a ball on the back hip sometimes and you think the quarterback needs to be more accurate, but sometimes maybe the route might be a little short or it might drift as opposed to a tighter turn. So we need to tighten some of that up.

Our first and second down throw game, really we’re a play short in third and medium right now, and that’s about it in our percentages. If we had one more completion through medium, we’re hitting our percentages. I think first and second down throws, I think there’s an area we can help out a little bit there, and that’s kind of what we’re focused on.

Q. The last one is (indiscernible) hasn’t been under a ton of duress?

STEVE ADDAZIO: No, we’re one of the tops in the country as far as protection right now.

Q. (No microphone). How interested are you in that matchup?

STEVE ADDAZIO: I’m always interested in that matchup. We’re pretty good up front. There’s a few areas that we’re pretty good at. One is up front in terms of protecting the quarterback. The other is turnovers. I think we had one turnover, and it was on a trick play. We’re pretty good on takeaways. I think we’re up in the top 10 or 15 in the country.

We’re, I think, third in the conference on explosive offensive plays. I mean, there’s a lot of good things that are going on within what we’re doing, but one of them is protection. So I think they’ve got one of their defensive ends there that’s a pretty talented guy, and they’re going to pose some more athleticism on the edge for sure. But I think we’re pretty veteran and we’re pretty strong.

We’re also a big play action team. It’s hard to transition from run stop to pass rush that quickly, but for sure, for sure, Wake has got our full attention with their ability to get home to the quarterback, for sure.