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Boston College vs. Syracuse: Addazio Speaks!

"You don't feel great on Monday, and all of a sudden Tuesday, it's like time to roll. Today we went out there full pads and had a very physical, spirited practice, which leads me to believe that they understand what's at stake here."

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

STEVE ADDAZIO:  We're very much looking forward to playing this game on Saturday against Syracuse, which has been a traditional rival game. Excited about that rivalry growing again. I know our players are. I know our fans and alumni are. I'm sure they are up at Syracuse. 

Syracuse is an awfully good football team. They're tough. They're physical. They play a very downhill game both on defense and on offense. Very, very impressed by them, how they're coached, how they're prepared. They've got seven returning starters on defense, and they've just done a fantastic job with the quarterbacks, just trying to—they lost their starter and trying to get the best they can there. Those guys have performed really well, some good skill players, in Prince‑Tyson Gulley and Jarrod West

Strong opponent, rival game, records mean nothing. It's just going to be two team battling each other here in Chestnut Hill. Looking forward to it.

Q.  You talked about the fact that records and whatnot don't matter in this game, in the sense of playing a team that you respect and a team that's going to bring something to this game.  With Syracuse being out of Bowl opportunity, 3‑8, just go into what you respect, what you're seeing on film that you really feel does impress you, like you said, despite the team having struggled this season. 

STEVE ADDAZIO:  Well, they're ranked 34th in total defense, 33rd in rushing defense. They're physical, and people struggle moving the ball with consistency. So I see a team that's a lot like ourselves. They run it. They stop the run.  They play a physical game. And I know they're well coached. I know Scott Shafer's done a great job overcoming some of the adversity they've had with injuries and putting his kids in position to compete. 

So I've been in this game before as a coach, and I know what it's like. We used to call it back in the day, it was a black and blue game. It was a physical game. You were walking out of that place, and you knew you were in a real strong football game. That's what we anticipate. That's what we'll see. That's the way they play on film, and I expect nothing different.

Q.  When you look at Scott Shafer and what he's tried to build there—obviously, you have a connection to Syracuse as well as your son having played there before coming over to play for you.  What can you say about Scott and the program and what they've built and how it parallels you in certain areas where you and Scott both try to get the best out of your players and really look to build good men and not just good athletes? 

STEVE ADDAZIO:  Well, you said it. Scott's—you can see that, first of all, I believe his dad was a coach, and he's a guy that loves football. He's got a passion for football. You can see the footprint on their defense especially because he was the defensive coordinator there, and you can see what he's put together there. 

They are physical, tough. They play with energy and juice. You watch what he's doing right now with the offense.  They've had some injuries and some other things that have gone down, but yet you watch him play, and you can tell that kids are still playing really hard, and they've got good scheme, and they're well‑coached. That's all a tribute to what he's done there and will continue to do that. 

So we have a lot of respect for him. I do, and we do. Their staff and really the whole program and a lot of people up there, and I'm well aware of what this rivalry game means. So having had a son that was in that program. I know Scott, his players mean the world to him, and that's why—one of the reasons why I'm sure he's the head coach there right now. His players respected him, and rightfully so.

Q.  After a tough loss at Florida State this past weekend, how do you keep the guys focused this week? I know it's the last game of the season. It's a big rivalry. But how do you keep the guys focused mentally going into this game? 

STEVE ADDAZIO:  Well, that's what we're working on right now really hard. Obviously, it's the seniors' last home game, it's Senior Day, it's Syracuse, it's a rival game. I think our kids are pretty upset right now and really want to make sure that we go out and play hard. 

But you are coming off of—you've got to work extra hard because you're coming off of quite an emotional disappointment. We put a lot into that, but that's football. That's part of, when your program's right, you're hurting like hell on Sunday. You don't feel great on Monday, and all of a sudden Tuesday, it's like time to roll. Today we went out there full pads and had a very physical, spirited practice, which leads me to believe that they understand what's at stake here.

Q.  Steve, just wanted to ask you a little bit about the luxury of being able to start five graduates across your offensive line this year. What has this meant to the success of this offense? How important was it to have that for Tyler Murphy to assimilate into this offense? 

STEVE ADDAZIO:  Well, it certainly helped us, but I would say that, while we have a lot of fifth years, we don't have a lot of fifth years that played a lot of ball. We lost three starters on that line last year. When you count Harris Williams, we lost him the first game of the year this year. That's three dominant starters from five. So you got new faces in there. 

Now, those new faces are older guys. So you hope that there's more maturity and there's more bank in there and development, and I think there is. They've done a really good job for us. So I think that, when you have guys like that, it helps you do a lot of the things—obviously, as you said, it helps support the quarterback in protection, in the run game, and different things like that. But we still were somewhat inexperienced in terms of relative to playing time. Obviously, it's been a real help, and it will be a challenge next year to rebuild that.

Q.  I just wanted to ask you about two of those graduate students. Like what has Tyler Murphy and Ian Silberman's time at Florida and in the SEC meant to the team this season? 

STEVE ADDAZIO:  Well, they're guys that I've been around. I recruited/coached, and I know them. They come in here as fifth year players and bring some perspective, sometimes a different perspective, which is good, especially in a young program where we're just coming off our first year and trying to—it's always good sometimes when you've got good guys like those two coming in and talk about what's right here. 

I think it gives good perspective. Sometimes you're just in one place and you don't know anything else, and you take it for granted. So that's been positive. Of course the play on the field has been great.

Q.  And what was it like trying to get them to come to BC after they graduated from Florida? What was that process like? 

STEVE ADDAZIO:  Well, once they were released, they were courted by several schools. So you're kind of almost, to a small degree, recruiting again. The advantage that I had was that, with Tyler, I recruited him. He's from Connecticut, which is only an hour and 15 minutes, his home from here, and a strong relationship with Ian, and that was positive.
With Ian, I not only recruited Ian, but I coached Ian. I had a very strong relationship with his family. So I think trust is always really big in these things, so I think that all gave us a great opportunity. I'm just happy that we were able to get them.

Q.  And they've really excelled this season. What's it meant to the team so far? 

STEVE ADDAZIO:  Yeah, I think, when you're rebuilding a program, any time you can plug in guys that can have a real impact, it's obviously translated into performance and wins. I mean, both of those guys, for example, along with Shakim Phillips and Ty‑Meer Brown from Connecticut, all four of those guys had a major impact on that game on Saturday, which allowed us to play at a very, very high level. So it's been terrific.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports