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Steve Addazio Press Conference Transcript, October 3

Hear from the coach as preparations for Clemson begin.

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

Steve Addazio addressed the media on Monday, and as always was gracious enough to post a transcript. Here’s what the coach had to say:

Opening Statement

"We had a long day yesterday, trying to get through the film and celebrate that win but yet here we are. We've got to get ready to roll. Clemson's coming in Friday night and Monday is a Tuesday and today is a Tuesday and so it was a long night last night trying to get ready for practice this morning. So not really my usual routine.

"But it was great to get a win against Buffalo. Some real positive things occurred in that game. Obviously, some other things showed up that we need to get corrected. We've kind of hashed that all through.

My mind is completely already beyond that so far right now. We're way into Clemson. Clemson's a phenomenal football team. I'm making an understatement here. No. 3 team in the country, I believe, and deservedly so. It's hard to find any weakness when you look at them on either side of the ball. They have tremendous athletes at every position. And to watch them elevate their level of play on Saturday night in a marquee matchup at home was really impressive.

"I heard a lot of people say earlier, Clemson, they're not scoring -- well, you saw Clemson on Saturday night. They stepped up like a heavyweight contender. And it was a heck of a football game and unbelievable to watch. They're a balanced team. They have a great throw game. Great rushing attack. Their quarterback is arguably the best player in America right now. Arguably. Phenomenal. Not only is he an elite athlete, but he can flat throw the football.

The running back, Wayne Gallman, is a really good player. They've got a group of wide receivers that are well-documented with their speed and how good they are. And their tight end Jordan Leggett is a heck of a player.

"Defensively, I've always been impressed with them defensively. I think Brent Venables does a great job going against his defenses in the past and not just when he was at Clemson. They're 12th in total defense in the country. 14th against the pass. They're well put together. They've got some phenomenal players on defense. I mean, they're huge and athletic. So needless to say, we're playing an elite team in America and we get a chance to play them here on Friday night, our home site, which is fantastic.

"I saw them down at their place. Louisville, the crowd noise was a real factor for them, the atmosphere. But we have them here at home. We have a chance to come into a packed stadium, play an elite, marquee football team. And I just think that's why -- one of the great reasons you come to BC is to be able obviously get a great education but to play at the highest level of college football and have a chance to play against the best. And here's one of the top three very best in America coming off a national championship game.

"They're going to come into our backyard and for everybody in the Northeast to have a chance to come watch that game on a Friday night it will be a great atmosphere. It's a Red Bandana game, celebrating the life of Welles Crowther and his selflessness. And I think it will be a great atmosphere and obviously a tremendous challenge for us. Any questions?"

Do you have a report on Chris Garrison?

"Yeah, Garrison obviously you guys are aware he broke his leg in that game. He'll be out for an indefinite amount of time. I don't have any details on how long that will be. I saw him in the hospital yesterday and his spirits are great and he's doing great. And the good news is he's going to come back and be as good as new and have a great future ahead of him."

Any assumption he can come back this season?

"I couldn't even speculate on it right now."

What happens to the receiving group with that loss?

"Well, it shuffles us up a little bit because he was kind of a dual guy. But we'll compensate with other ways. He kind of was a half a tight end, half a receiver, and so we'll have to personnel that and pick up the slack there. He played a lot of snaps and was really doing a great job. Here was a redshirt freshman who was making a real impact on our football team. We hate to lose, obviously, lose anybody, but he's going to leave a real void now that we've got to account for, and that's some of the stuff we're working on right now exactly how we're going to personnel everything."

Everyone else fairly clean?

"To the best of my knowledge, at this point."

Just talk about the short week. Does having the concentrated game plan, getting them all together so quick, does that actually help in a way, you really can get their attention?:

"I think being home helps you, yeah. But, no, I mean, it's hard. We practice in the mornings. So it's compounded. We couldn't come in today and use the bulk of the day today continue game planning. We had to get it all done yesterday and last night. At least all done relative to having a good day today, which we did have a good day today. I thought the coaches did a great job. I thought we had a great practice and got some real great things accomplished. In fact, I'm looking forward to going back and watching the practice tape with the coaches and going through it right now. I felt a lot of good stuff happened. We had a hell of a day, but it was a grind. It was absolutely a flat grind. And it's different for the players. Traditionally this is the player's day off for us in our program. So we come in, we watch tape on Sunday. We go on the field. We work on fundamentals. Monday is the day off. And then Tuesday is the day we have -- this all got bounced up. But, I mean, it's the same thing for Clemson. It's no different, they've got the same issues. They played late at night."

Is there any concern with Jon Hilliman? So far he's had some flashes of good stuff but he hasn't gotten that consistent stride that he had in 2014?

"Yeah, I'd say that's -- I think you've seen glimpses of it. But I would say we haven't seen that consistency. And there's a lot of factors that go into that. As I explained to you guys, it's amazing. I went back and I watched the tape. We're just at that juncture. We're like we could have four guys just really, really rocking off the ball and just knocking people back. There's one error by one person, it's at the point of attack and what could -- a 15-yard run is now a 1-yard run or a minus-1 or a 2. And that's what's happening an incredible amount of time.

I guess five guys are getting their tail whooped you'd be a little concerned. It's never really that case. But in the same breath that inconsistency is hurting the productivity. And so I think that's been a bit of that: just the inconsistency in the run game right now that we're working really hard at correcting.

"Like today, we had a physical practice today. And I'll tell you, we look really good up front today. We really did. Against -- that was 1v1. Okay? 1s versus 1s. We look really good. And we're like number one in total defense in the country. So we're not a slouch, right? You'd think that could parlay in a more higher rate, but I just think that it's still a little big for some guys and they get into these games and it's a little big. And the anxiety, the pressure of it all, whatever people term like you use like the bright light, so to speak, and then the bigger the game, the more magnified. Obviously you're concerned with the magnitude of the hype and all that guys can play within themselves. Because but this is leading to the inconsistency, I think, for the running backs."

Can you talk about the magnitude, are you interested in seeing how your team responds considering the Tech environment, and obviously you've got them at home but it's a different stage?

"Yeah, it's different."

You saw they responded in Tech and now --

"They're going to be in a, let's call it like a hyped-up game. Right? Big crowd. But it's not like Tech because it's not on the road and you don't have communication issues and all those issues. The issue you're going to have is you're just playing against some of the finest players in the country. That's the issue you're going to have. There're no weaknesses. So mano-a-mano, those matchups are going to be – you're playing against big, fast guys, so the margin for error is like a speck.

And one of the things that concerns me the way our schedule was laid a little bit was you're starting out with (Georgia) Tech and down to Virginia Tech and then bump to Wagner, to Buffalo and now, just like this, right back up to Clemson. The good news here, the way we practice, we take – on a Tuesday – we take at least 15 snaps, 1 versus 1, just for that reason. Most places won't do that. We'll do that here. Just to keep the speed of the game alive. The intensity of the play, the speed of the play, because we're so young.

"If we were an older, veteran team, I wouldn't do that, because they know how to ramp that up. So I'd keep it less -- the risk you run is the physicality of the whole thing. You can't do that for a whole season – just we wear down after a while. So tomorrow we'll ramp that down. But I wanted to make sure we had a shot of the speed of the game. So it's not like this. Because that's what it would be like."

"When you watch the film from Saturday night, it's like is this thing -- is this sped up tape? That's how it looks. I mean, I went from watching our game Saturday on tape to that sped-up tape. It's fast. It's elite fast. I would say that … we've got several teams in our conference that could easily be – all of them – top 10 teams. And our conference, in my opinion, is without a doubt the best conference in the country right now, in my opinion. Now, people are going to argue that, and I get it. That's fine. I was in the SEC when the SEC was at the top. I think the ACC right now is at the tippity top. I really do. These teams are marquee. So it's great, though. You want to play against the best. Come on in -- but it's awesome. It's awesome. It's a great challenge. Phenomenal challenge.

On offense you've injected some of those new guys like Davon (Jones) now to really get them in. Do you expect to see that with guys like Ben Glines and Nolan Borgersen now that Garrison's out?

"Yeah, I would say that's probably a fair statement. Certainly those guys have been working really hard. Benny Glines. We've really liked Benny Glines a lot, and Nolan. They're young and they're still learning, but you'll probably see a bit more of those guys. Those guys are going to be really good football players, too. Everybody matures at a little different rate. I was having a conversation with, I forgot with whom, one of the things at our place here, we're -- I say this a lot -- we're a developmental place. We take guys in that, which is duly documented, that aren't five stars and all that.

"And when you come to BC you get those guys and you develop them. And you get them into their junior year and senior year and that's when they become -- that's been the history here. It's not something new. They develop into becoming really good players. As opposed to some places get some guys that might be more ready made early. Doesn't mean by the time you get a couple of years in, there isn't necessarily that much difference, so we're more developmental.

We've got some guys, like Benny and those guys, I think they're going to be really good players, but they're redshirt freshmen and they're just really young.

"There's so many guys we can talk about right now that are freshmen, redshirt freshmen, redshirt sophomores. And in places like BC, you want to be talking about redshirt juniors and redshirt seniors and fifth-year seniors. When you're doing that, that's when you're in line. And that's going to happen here. That will be the case. And so those guys are still young guys making their way and starting to make, I don't know if you notice, they're making plays on special teams and they're making their way.

"It's like Max Richardson, a true freshman. He's on the special teams. He's going to be one heck of a football player now, I'm telling you. You watch him on special teams. He's competing at a really high level. It's like we broke him in at the Virginia Tech game. He had the penalty there. It was rough and all that. But now we're getting that investment is starting to come forward.

And then we saw Hamp Cheevers last week, same kind of thing on the punt return. But he's going to be a heck of a player. So we're trying to invest in all of these young guys to build our annuity, so to speak.

On the topic of special teams, the return team has been drastic improvement from last year. You mentioned some of the kinks from the younger players. How has that come along in the first couple of days this week?

"Great. We get better each week on this deal. Now we're going to go against some elite speed athletes coming down the field. But think about where our numbers really could be had we not had two completely ridiculous, foolish penalties had no impact on the play. Imagine that. Imagine 95 yards added on to that kickoff return, and two punt returns of another, I don't know what it was, 60 yards worth of swing. Imagine where we would be. We'd be in the top five, I'm guessing. So we've been good at kickoff return here. But we're starting to become good at punt return.

"And it has a lot to do with the guys -- it's everybody. It's our hold-up techniques. These young guys, they're gaining experience and earning their stripes on these special teams. And my experience has been you get those guys there and that's the precursor step to getting on the field. And that's the way it should be. And that's what's happening. So we've got to – I think somebody asked me Saturday after the game about that's why we want to invest in – yes, sometimes when you invest in young guys the mistakes creep up, and it can be a step back to go forward. But ultimately it's all forward. And that's our goal. And to get as many guys as quickly to the point where they can have enough experience to compete on the field as we can. And so that's our goal. That's what we're doing."

In that vein, just talk about Tyler (Rouse)'s play on punt returns and just the way he makes that first guy miss every time.

"Well, you know, he's got good speed. Tyler Rouse has really good speed, deceptive speed. "He's a running back, so he has good moves. He's a little guy, can get lost in there a little bit. We feel with him, if we can just do a good job on the gunner controls and let him get started, he'll get vertical. That's the key to the thing. When you're able to catch the ball, he's getting more comfortable. There's a couple that he can still grab and take as opposed to fair catching. But that will come with a little bit more confidence. So, yeah, I mean, he gets vertical on that first step pretty quick and that's the key to punt return. That's what it's all about."

John Johnson said he thinks the game is going to come down to DBs. I'm not sure if that's a point of personal pride at his position or if that's something that you agree to?

"I'm sure there's a bit of personal pride there, unit pride. Well, Clemson is going to challenge them. Clemson's deal is they're going to throw the ball vertically down the field X number of times. We see it every year. That's not a new phenomenon. So it's going to happen. I thought we played them -- even as rough as it was for us on offense through the season last year, I thought we went down to Clemson on that stage and we played pretty competitively. And then the game got away from us in the second half with a couple of long balls. So I think the DBs know they're going to get challenged in this game. There's no doubt about that. It's a big part of what Clemson does. And they've got to rise up to that challenge. And we've got to help them, too. We can't just always put the corners into islands like that. So this year we've been able to mix that up a little bit and not constantly put them on islands. When you play man coverage all the time, like we saw it last year, I mean, these guys were on islands. And you've got to be tough mentally because you get beat deep or something in front of the world to see, it's not an easy thing.

So I think we've got to help them, and we are. And I think they've got to, in their mind, they know they have a great challenge coming and they take pride in the fact they want to take this challenge on. And it will be a great challenge, because this guy can throw it and they've got receivers that can go get it."