On Monday, the head dude sat down with the media at his weekly press conference to talk about this week's game against N.C. State. Full transcript here. Here are some of the highlights:
"We are looking forward to playing again. It was great to have a bye week and get the team some rest and get a jump start on NC State, which we needed. We had a great practice this morning; the kids were flying around. It looked like their legs were a little fresher.
"The [NC State] quarterback Jacoby Brissett is a really talented guy, very hard to tackle. He reminds me of Jameis Winston. He's athletic; he's got good feet and agility. He's not a blazer, but he's a strong runner. He does a great job staying alive and looking to make plays down field. I really am impressed with him. I think [Shadrach] Thornton and [Matt] Dayes, the two running backs, are really good players. [Bo] Hines, who is a freshman, is really good and has made a bunch of plays. They're a good offense. This QB has been great for them. Clemson's defense is one of the elite ones in the country and it did a great job on Saturday against them, but [Brissett] still played pretty well.
"On defense they returned six starters. I really think their interior guys are really strong, like [Art] Norman and [Thomas] Teal. They run to the ball well and have a good scheme, so I think they're a strong football team.
"We have to go on the road for the first time this season with a young group. We have to handle the crowd and the noise and just everything that comes with being out of your comfort zone on the road. Our challenges are there for us, but we're looking forward to it and we are excited to play on Saturday."
Hopefully the team used the week off to heal and prepare for N.C. State. As a program, Boston College is 0-5 in their last five games coming off a bye week (and 0-8 if you include the last three bowl losses). That stat is a bit misleading, however, as the most common opponents over that stretch were Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Also, Spaz ball, so.
On playing the first game away from Massachusetts...
"I think our guys like to play at home. I don't think you ever look forward to going out of town. It's just what you have to do: You have to go on the road and win. It's part of it. When you're at home, you're in your routine and in your element. When you don't have a senior-laden team who has a lot of experience in that, it's hard. You saw us a year ago when we went out to USC, we looked like a deer in the headlights. We've got a lot of work with the crowd noise. There's a whole other element. [Tyler] Murphy is comfortable because he has played in those situations before, but you just have to deal with it."
Small sample size and all, but Addazio's right about the guys liking to play at home. BC is 7-3 at home under Addazio but just 3-4 in road/neutral contests (with wins over UMass ...w/e ... and last minute victories over New Mexico State and N.C. State). This team ran all over the Wolfpack defense last season, but also came off their second bye week last year only to turn in a dud of a performance at North Carolina. Despite the mounting injuries, I want to see the team come out focused, especially coming off the bye week.
This is a huge test but a very winnable game for BC.
On the offensive attack...
"We have to stay two dimensional. We have Tyler [Murphy] and we have Jon [Hilliman] getting more and more experience every day in power run. We also have to keep Tyler alive in the ability and the threat of the power run game, so you see a lot of pistol runs. That way, the defense has to worry about the quarterback and the tailback, not just the tailback. We're really working hard on our personnel and be more dynamic on our play-action game to really match everything. It's trying to find the right combinations. Last year, we kept our offensive line completely intact, so we have the right back and the right o-line and the right sets. We're not quite as focused in one area as we were a year ago, which has its benefits but also its downside. We were really good at what we did last year, now we have more breakdowns because we're more diverse in our run games; we're an elite running football team. A week ago we rushed for over 229 yards, we were moving the football well, but we're different than last year. Andre [Williams] gave us big play strikes, we're not there yet. Now, Tyler has given us big play strikes, but we're just a little different in how we're doing things."
/ BCI dead horse
On the team's game plan...
"We didn't get it done at the end of the game [against Colorado State] and we threw an interception on the previous drive, but we didn't have any real possessions in the second half. This is an offense predicated on getting possessions. We are a tied together team. Our plan to win works off of each other. If one side isn't handling their piece it's tough. We're wired to win on defense. That's the philosophy: Win on defense. When you go back a couple weeks, it worked really well - We were off the field, the offense got a couple cracks and we wore them out and broke the rock. I thought we had a chance to do that against Colorado State and we didn't do that. We didn't break that rock. We had a chance to do it and we didn't."
"Wired to win on defense" ... that was an interesting phrase. The defense has been the most Jekyll & Hyde phase of the game for BC this season. If the D looks like it did against Pitt and Colorado State, BC may be in for a long afternoon against N.C. State.
On the youth of the roster...
"We can't even keep an eight-to-nine offensive line together right now. That's because our roster is out of whack. We've got too many older linemen and nothing in between. There are a lot of voids in there. It will probably take me three full years to get the roster balanced out. It's hard. Next year we will feel the void of the offensive line. It's monumental. The resiliency of our kids is a credit to them that we are still in the winning mode even while we're doing this. It's difficult; I don't think people realize that. If you really evaluated it and looked at that roster you would see the holes.
"We'll get there. It's going great. My opinion: With the last game we played, we're a tired football team. They were fresh today, but we will be worn out again in a couple days. I come in here and say, `Well we had to pull back today, couldn't tackle and it shows up in the game.' I can't solve that. You can't keep banging a team that's all banged up. You can only hope that they'll tackle better but that's not the way to go. We just don't have the numbers to sustain the level of practice that we need to sustain to develop a young football team."
To date, Addazio has done an admirable job of plugging holes on the roster with graduate transfers (from Class Triple-A Gainesville) and impact freshmen. This is the first time I can recall him actually complaining about the Eagles' lack of depth. Depth on the offensive line will clearly be an issue going forward, but I don't particularly want to hear about it this year.
On the state of BC football...
"I don't think anybody can say that we're not looking at a really competitive football team right now that's not capable of playing really well at times. We've been that way even in that Pittsburgh game--the way we came ripping back in that game. There's a lot of exciting things going on. We're sitting here at 3-2 and we're a play away from 4-1. We're on the road playing NC State. Our guys are fired up; our staff is fired up, coaching like lunatics every day and loving it. They are just working at getting better and tweaking things here and there, finding the right combination of guys and continuing to grow the freshmen that we're playing, never mind the true sophomores that we're playing. It's exciting to watch. There's a lot of good football left to play."