On Monday, Addazio sat down with the media at his weekly press conference to talk about this weekend's matchup against the mightly Florida State Seminoles.
Full transcript here. Here are some of the highlights:
On Florida State...
We've got a big week ahead of us. It was great to have a bye week and give our players a chance to rest. But we're all anxious to get back started again. We have a big challenge this week, playing Florida State, the defending National Champion, undefeated, 20-something game winning streak, and certainly great players all over the field. I have a lot of respect for their program; they find a way to win. They deserve to be number one; they're undefeated and in a Power-5 conference, the reigning national champs and they play like it. They really rise up and play extremely hard. I'm very, very impressed with their season and their play and their talent level.
On offense, we all know about Jameis Winston; he's a phenomenal quarterback. He makes an awful lot of big time plays during the course of the game, especially when those games are on the line. Dalvin Cook is a phenomenal running back; he's got great acceleration and can put his foot in the ground and change direction unbelievably. Karlos Williams is also equally a super talented back. Rashad Greene is dynamic, one of the better receivers that we've played. Nick O'Leary is a tight end who has great receiving skills and has good speed, he's tough and he plays really hard.
On defense, where ever you want to start. We'll start inside with Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards, Jr. - Goldman is an interior guy who is really thick and strong and powerful. Mario Edwards is a defensive end. Those two guys, for example, are both over 300-pound guys and you've got a defensive end who is 309 pounds. They are just phenomenal players. Jalen Ramsey is someone who we saw last week, but he's been playing like that all year long. I think they're great in the back end. I love their linebackers; they're active and run to the ball. Derrick Mitchell, Jr., another guy who is 6-4, 303 pounds. They have big, strong, fast guys on the inside.
There's a reason why they're undefeated and the defending National Champions. So, that's the challenge that's in front of us. We've got to have a great week. I thought we practiced well last week and this morning...I felt good about our preparation today. We have to keep preparing hard and utilize our jumpstart and bye week as an advantage. We have to go down there and play a really physically tough and strong football game. We have to keep our mistakes to a minimum: turnovers, penalties and just flat mistakes. We can't play that way and think we would have an opportunity to win this game. So the challenge for our team is to play a really hard, really physical brand of football and play a high execution level of football.
Addazio continues to impress with his knowledge of each week's opponent. Effusive in his praise for the 'Noles...no bulletin board material. All good.
On FSU's four seniors on their offensive line...
They have a bunch of really good football players, but I think their success is really generated around that quarterback. He's a great player; he's a Heisman Trophy winner and he should be. He's a heck of a talent. He's big, strong, physical, has a great arm, and he plays his best during the most competitive moments.
Do they have good offensive linemen? Yes, they are really good. They moved one of their guys to center this week and that seemed to help them out. They've got a good tight end, they've got good wide receivers, they've got good running backs, so the complementary players around that quarterback are outstanding.
They are the defending National Champions and they're undefeated. How anybody could rationalize it any other way is absolutely mind blowing to me. I see a really good football team. I was a part of two National Championship teams and there were some ugly wins along the way...that's just the nature of the beast. These guys find a way to win and they play the best at their most competitive moments. That's usually what great teams do.
Did you know that Florida State is the defending National Champion AND currently undefeated?
On why FSU could be falling behind early in recent games...
Having been in a situation like that myself when I was at Florida...you get everybody's best shot. You're doing it week in and week out and now year in and year out. We over-evaluate things too much, whether you jump out early or not. At the end of the day, when I put the tape on to watch them, I know that in the second half of those games, they are playing at a high, high level with unbelievable intensity. It jumps at you. I think that teams come out and give them their best shot early, but you have to sustain it when you play that team. You have to come out and play well and sustain it; get it to the fourth quarter and win it. No one's been able to do that. There's no luck involved there. They're playing and winning games because they're earning those wins.
On sticking to the Eagles' game plan...
You have to worry about you. The best thing you can do when you play this team is to figure out what your plan is—and it better be good—you have to be accurate, and you better stick to it and execute it at a high level. Your margin for error will be very small. And that's it. We all have a different idea and a different philosophy of what I think it takes to give yourself a chance to win. You have to hope the assumptions that you make are right. I'll look at our team and say, `Okay, what's our best chance to beat this team on this given day?' And we will go from there. We had a plan last year and we executed that plan. We will have one this year and we will try to execute that.
But do I think there is a pattern with them? Yes, I think they find a way to win and play really hard. But then again, they won the National Championship and they're undefeated and it's their second year running. They played Auburn last year in the national title game, found a way to win. I'm into giving credit where credit is due and they're an amazing football program.
Now, having said all of that, we have to take care of ourselves and we have to go down there and play our football. I feel great about our opportunity to go down there. I think that we have played a lot of really good football teams this year. We played a tough schedule this year. We played some of the better defenses in the country. We're not going to be shocked because we've playing another good football team. Louisville was extremely talented, USC was too and so was Virginia Tech, especially on defense. So that's the good news, I think we have played some really good teams. This is not like all of a sudden they're going to jump off the charts on us. You have to come out strong like we did on Louisville, a 13-3 lead against an equally-talented team but we squandered that; we made some mistakes that we could not recover from. It will be much the same here. We'll be physical and do all those things, but we can't make a bunch of mistakes that will not allow us to recover from those mistakes. You can't do that when you're playing this type of team. That's our challenge: To worry about us. Have a good plan, execute the plan, don't turn the ball over, and execute at a high level on both sides. If we do that, we'll put ourselves in a good position to win the game in the fourth quarter.
On facing quarterback Jameis Winston...
Tyler Murphy and Jameis are two different quarterbacks. Jameis is not really a runner, he's a thrower. He's a big, strong body who is going to hang in that pocket. He is certainly capable of running and occasionally he will, be he's not a runner. Jameis is a real big, big guy. They're really different quarterbacks, different styles. But I think we've done a good job of giving our defense a good look of what they're going to get. Our running backs, all of them, Tyler [Rouse] and Myles [Willis] and Marcus [Outlow] have all run against our one defense, simulating plays. We haven't put a scout team per se against our defense, we've been putting ones against ones and one-two-two-one. I thought today we gave our defense an outstanding look, with real speed, of what they're going to see. You have to be able to handle their really good backs and then you have to handle their wideouts and the quarterback down the field game. Tackling will be huge in this game. If we have a chance to get these guys on the ground, you have to put them on the ground. You can't be missing tackles. Last year we missed some tackles. We have to do a great job of tackling. It's hard to get Winston on the ground; he's a big strong guy.
On last season's solid matchup against FSU...
I thought we came out and we were very physical with them early. Of course, they were on the road. We had some plays that were available to be made early in the game, and we made them. We got momentum and we gave momentum back before the half, but clearly we had gained momentum in the first half of the game. I think that's important when you go against these teams, especially when you're on the road. I sure wish we were playing them up here and it was about 10 degrees, but we're not and we have to find a way to create momentum. How do you create it? You have to execute and do your job and make your plays. There will be some plays that will be available to be made, and we have to make them. If you think that you're going to go down, against this defense, and make just tons of plays, you're delusional; it's not going to happen. We didn't do that against Virginia Tech either, but we made enough. We made enough against Louisville early, but then we didn't.
On defense it's the same thing. You can't let them get third down. Get them off the field. You can't let them stay on the field when it's third-and-eight. The odds say you have to get off the field, you've got to get off the field. You give them too many cracks, we all know what's going to happen. Then it's the old deal of the field position flips. Now, go ahead and get your field position flipped on this team. You can't play this team and get your field flipped. In offense, when you get on the short field, you need to come away with points. If it's three, then it's three. Obviously you can't be missing extra points and turning the ball over or it's going to end poorly. That's just the way it is.
Anything else you wish Addazio had addressed? Anything else stand out to you this week?