STEVE ADDAZIO: We're excited to be playing Saturday night on national TV against a great Louisville team. It's good to be home. We're playing a Louisville team whose offense is averaging over 30 points a game and has got all kinds of playmakers all over the field, starting with DeVante Parker and Michael Dyer and Will Gardner, and they have a bunch of skill players and are very, very dynamic.
On defense, statistically one of the top defenses in the country with just some great players in Lorenzo Mauldin and Sheldon Rankins and Gerod Holliman. Just a very, very good team, very physical on defense, very explosive on offense, probably one of the top talented teams in our conference. A great challenge for us. We're looking forward to it, and it will be an exciting game.
Q. Looking a little deeper into this matchup, I know you said a lot of things about Louisville, but as far as your defense and what you've been able to do this season, have you seen anyone that is similar to Louisville, or is this kind of new to you with some of the talent they have and some of the looks they give you?
STEVE ADDAZIO: They run a lot of isos, which is‑‑I love the iso play, but you don't see it a lot anymore. We run some of it here, but they ran a fair amount of isos, stretch plays. I think their back is outstanding, two backs, but a really skilled wide receiver, and the quarterback does a great job throwing it. They really can have great balance. They have a power run game, and they have great balance off of that game with their play action and their drop back.
So I think they're a real challenging football team that is explosive.
Q. And then as far as your team, when you look at some of the growth that you've been able to have, what are some of those areas that you've been able to take away so far? Obviously, on the road, you've been successful all throughout the season at home back and forth. Overall, when you look at three phases of the game, what are some of those areas that jump out at you, or maybe some of the players that have really stood out to you this year?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think we're tackling better on defense as the year went on. I think we're playing better in the back end in the secondary on defense. I think Tyler Murphy on offense is really developing every week. Our throw game, our play action pass game is developing each and every week, along with our run game. So I think we're a team that continues to grow, which is important. Sometimes teams get stagnant this time of year.
In terms of on the road, it's terrific that we've been able to win on the road, and we've won at home. We've played some real challenging games. We play a tough schedule. We had USC at home. We were able to get that game. We played a really good Pitt team. We played Colorado State that I thought was really a very explosive team on offense. I think they're 8‑1, 9‑1, whatever they are. And we're playing Clemson and Florida State and Louisville. So our schedule is challenging.
We're 6‑3. We're Bowl eligible right now. Obviously, just grinding like everybody right now, trying to get the next win, and it will be a challenge because I think this team we're playing is one of the most skilled teams in our conference.
Q. I was wondering big picture, what do you think it means in your first two years there with the program to be Bowl eligible, especially this early in the first two years?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think we came into a job that was going to be a four to five‑year rebuilding job, and obviously to be able to be Bowl eligible and stay Bowl eligible, I think is really, really important because, just first and foremost, you get those extra playing and practicing opportunities, and that's a huge thing in the development of your program. Then, of course, it's the momentum and the ability to carry that through recruiting and show such positive growth. Those are all important things when you're in the beginning stages of rebuilding.
When you're winning, the food tastes better, the sky's bluer. It's just‑‑and it validates some of the things you're doing. So from that standpoint, that's been terrific. But our goal right now, we always want to win the open or we want to be Bowl eligible, but right now that can't define us. We've got to continue to take the next step and grow beyond being Bowl eligible, and that's the challenge that's in front of our team.
Q. You just said a four or five‑year rebuilding job. Some people, at least when you took that job, probably thought four or five years until you get to the point you're at now. It seems people make excuses for others when they struggle in years one or two. How have you pushed past that? How have you instilled the culture and the mindset that six wins isn't good enough no matter what your deficits may be.
STEVE ADDAZIO: The basis of our program when we came in here was about setting a high standard because BC had a high standard, number one, to be a physical team, to be a tough team, to be a team that plays like a team, and I think, when you establish that mindset, that competitive mindset that's throughout the program, that we're not going to stand for‑‑or accept losing. I think, when you come in‑‑that's the hardest thing, when a team has been losing, is you sort of get used to losing. So you're trying to put paddles out and shock that whole thing.
So this has been great that we can start this way. I always say that the work's the work in terms of it's still ahead of us. We've got one recruiting class in the chamber, that's it, and they're on the field, 16 of them. So there's a lot of work ahead. We're excited about where we are, but we're not delusional about the amount of work that's got to be done here recruiting, developing, et cetera. But it's exciting, and we've got a good group of guys and a great administration and a lot of people that are tied together on this thing. So coming to work every day and being around these kids is just really a joy.
Q. Could you talk about the importance of recruiting numbers in building an offensive line? How many offensive linemen do you want in your program at a given time, and how many do you recruit in a normal year?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think you want‑‑everyone's got a little different formula here, but I would say you want to be around 17 offensive linemen. Some would say less, some maybe a little bit more. We're in a difficult situation. Our numbers were really skewed when we got here, so I'm trying to get this thing balanced again. We're going to have a large number of linemen graduate.
In a perfect world, you'd like to recruit three to four offensive linemen in each class, and I think you have the same‑‑to me, you have a philosophy on defense, it all starts up front. You've got to bring in quality big guys because when you don't have that‑‑like right now we're down in numbers on the offensive line overall, and it's hard to practice. You don't have the depth, and you can't practice the way you want to practice if on the D‑line or the O‑line you lack depth. It's very, very difficult.
So I think you want to keep your numbers consistent, and you want to keep them on the higher level. That's my experience, and that's the way we build this program.
Q. Speaking of numbers, is it any harder to project offensive linemen than some other positions?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I think it is. Obviously, I made my career as an offensive line coach. So I feel pretty comfortable in evaluating offensive linemen. That was my expertise. But I think that that's a hard position to evaluate for a lot of people, and you got to be careful.
If you take an offensive lineman and you miss, where does that guy go? Sometimes if you take a defensive lineman and they're not quite a defensive lineman, you can make him an offensive lineman. If it you take a tight end that's a big guy and he's a little undersized to be a lineman, eventually, he can grow into a lineman sometimes. So you've got to be accurate in your evaluation, and I think, when it comes to O‑linemen, you really need to have the linemen that you take in camp. I think, if you don't do that, it gets risky because, when you watch tape on an O‑lineman, the level of football they're playing and who they're playing against really matters.
Big guys can push around smaller guys, and you can't tell if they have a lot of hip snap to them because they're just bigger and they move them where, if they're playing against stout competition, you can tell whether he can hip snap, accelerate his legs, and you can find out‑‑this is me talking now‑‑what kind of power and acceleration they have. I think that's huge when you want to evaluate an offensive lineman. That was probably more information than you really wanted.
Q. It terms of the Louisville defense, is that a different challenge for your run game than Virginia Tech was last week?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yes. Obviously, Virginia Tech played a lot of bare zero, zero coverage bare. Louisville is more of a three‑four, four‑three base team. They're a little different in terms of the structure from their outside backers are big guys, mount at 6'5", 240 and Mauldin at 6'4", 250 pounds. Their interior‑‑three interior guys are two ends and nose tackles, they're 300 pounders. So it's a little different setup, but it seems like a lot of teams, whatever their scheme is, the bottom line with us is to really load the box. I'm sure we're going to get that. But their structure's a little bit different.
Q. What's the key for you guys to have your usual running success against this good of a defense?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Be able to excel in the play action game as well as the run game and keep diversity in our run game. But it will be tough sledding against this defense. This is statistically and on tape one of the finer defenses in the country.
One thing I notice is I think the defenses in the ACC this year are outstanding, to tell you the truth. We've played against a bunch of them. Whether you're talking about Louisville or Virginia Tech, they're all really good defenses. It's been a staple in the ACC in year.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports