The following is the weekly ACC press conference call with Boston College head coach Steve Addazio:
STEVE ADDAZIO: Obviously we have a very, very big week and a big game ahead of us here, playing USC, which as you stated is the ninth ranked team in America, and deservedly so. One of the finer football teams that I've seen in my years coaching. You're talking about a defense that I think is full of great players, extremely strong in‑the‑box players, defensive linemen like Leonard Williams, who's just one of the top defensive tackles in college football today. Other guys interiorly along with their linebackers, Hayes Pullard, just sensational players. They were a great defense a year ago. They were in the top 20 in just about every category that existed and really formidable on defense. It will be a great, great challenge for us.
On offense their quarterback Cody Kessler just does a great job of managing that team. He's got a tremendous arm. He's a tough guy. He's been in a lot of big games. They're averaging 260 yards rushing, almost 280 yards passing, almost 500 yards per game in 32.5 points per game, so the quarterback is doing some great things.
They've got tremendous tailbacks, and obviously the wide receivers are some of the best in America with Nelson, Aguilar, George Farmer and JuJu Smith.
They're dynamic, and obviously those receivers, and they're also dynamic on their kick returners, their punt returners, so it's a formidable challenge, one of the best teams in the country. They're coming here to Boston. We had a great practice today, a spirited practice, a tough practice, a full‑padded practice, just like we had yesterday. We went back old school this week, and I think it's what we needed to do in the development of our team, so I'm excited about the day. Our goal today was win the day, just win the day, and then try to go out and win tomorrow. That's where we're at.
Q. The tempo, the pace of your offense, what kind of challenges does that pose for your defense?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, they're really talented. They go really, really fast, and if they get you rolling, it's tough to get off the field because then all of a sudden you start to fatigue and they control the ball. The tempo thing is a great thing if you can convert on 3rd downs, and if you don't, you put your defense back on the field quick. They're talented, they're super talented on offense, and we've got to do a great job of getting off the field on defense and not allowing them to gain momentum.
Q. They held Stanford to like 10 points last week. What do you need to do better as far as your offense to have some success against their defense?
STEVE ADDAZIO: We've got to make the plays that are available. I mean, you're not going to be able to take the ball and just run it down the field. It's not going to happen. You're going to have to make some plays in the throw game. You've got to have some different things within your offense. There's going to be a lot of three‑and‑outs. When you play that kind of defense, it's unrealistic to think that your defense has got to play really well and keep you in the game and keep giving you cracks and try to make your plays where you can make them, move the chains where you can, try to create a field position advantage, and that's the kind of game we're in. We're playing against one of the elite defenses in the country. You're not just going go up there and roll down the field on that kind of defense. You're going to have to take your shots, get your cracks, and you've got to be at competitive excellence so when you have your opportunities, you've got to take advantage of them.
Q. You're obviously coming off a game where you had a tough time with a big running back from Pitt. You're facing a different kind of running back this time. Can you talk about Javorius Allen and what type of problems he presents as opposed to Conner?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, obviously I thought Conner was a really tremendous back, but our problems were we didn't tackle. It doesn't matter what back you're playing if you don't tackle. We didn't tackle, and we spent a lot of time this week‑‑ that's why we're in full pads so much. We're just tackling and tackling. What happens is you get‑‑ we're very young and we really have a lack of depth right now, and we came off a short week last week, and I made a decision that we couldn't have that physical a practice, and I don't think that paid off for us because we didn't tackle well. All you can do is look at the film and say, okay, that didn't work, we've got to fix that. We've got to go back and keep developing our team.
I think with these backs, these guys are explosive, they're different style, they're really, really quick on a dime, jump, bite you. I've watched them beat unblocked players in the hole against Stanford and against Fresno and getting great yardage when guys are right there to make a play and they don't make the play. That's the kind of dynamic runner we're facing this week.
Q. Obviously they have great personnel back from last year, but how much of their scheme has changed with Steve Sarkisian now?
STEVE ADDAZIO: You know, a fair amount. They're different defensively. They were a little bit more of an under team last year, now they're a little bit more of a 3‑4 team. On offense they run a bunch of read zone, a bunch of shotgun stretch zone, a bunch of power reads. They're definitely a different style of team schematically on both sides.
But what hasn't changed is, what an arsenal of players. I mean, holy cow. There's a lot of pro players on that roster right now.
Now, maybe depth, maybe the roster's restrictions creates some depth issues, but when they line up, I've seen a lot of good football teams. That's a really good football team. It's hard to watch the tape and find too many weaknesses. Their offensive line is young, but they're big and athletic. I mean, I call it like I see it now. That defensive front, that's a formidable front now. They're big, 300‑pound, athletic guys that will knock you back.
Q. What you're saying is that the scheme doesn't make the difference so much as who they can put out there that can execute just about any kind of scheme that they're in?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Oh, yeah. Come on, man. Scheme? That's so overrated. You've got great players, you've got players, all the schemes work. What do you want to run? What do you want to run? When a back makes a guy miss in a hole and can convert for 60 yards, it doesn't matter what kind of plays you run. I've always known that and believed that, but you've got to be‑‑ you've got to have a sound scheme and you've got to coach fundamentals, but you need good players, and there's a lot of really good players. They did a great job there in the past recruiting top‑notch players. That's a heck of a roster they've got.
Q. I just wanted to ask you about the dynamic of playing a team that's coming off a monumental win like they had last week against Stanford. In your experience does that usually make it tougher, or maybe you catch them feeling a little happy with themselves? I'm just curious what your experience is in that regard.
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, I guess if they can work either way, but you want to know what my real sense of this one is? I think this is a hungry team. I think this is a team that's been through a lot, and I think they're hungry, and I think they're gaining a lot of confidence, and justifiably so. Obviously they've got to take a long road trip, and that's not easy. That's challenging. But to me I think Coach Sarkisian has done an unbelievable job. That program looks like it's energized, and they've got a bunch of good players. I think they're on a mission, and that's what I see. Sometimes when your program has been beaten up and you've taken a lot of hits, and I call it scars, you get enough players and coaches alike with a few scars and you get a little hungry and you want something real bad, they look like that's how they play to me.
Q. You mentioned the long road trip. Usually in experience when a team travels from the West Coast to the East Coast, it's a tough trip, tougher than going east to west, but the fact that it's an evening game, an 8:00 game, does that, do you think, make it easier for the West Coast team?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, probably it's a little better, I guess. You know, not getting so out of whack with the time.
But at the end of the day, I think really what happens is when you've got strong leadership within your team and you're hungry, it doesn't matter when, where, what time; you're going to go out and you're going to play football. So our challenge is really the same thing. I mean, so our team, our young team right here, this is a great opportunity. It's a great opportunity to go out, practice, prepare as hard as you can, play as physical as you can, and just be relentless in your preparation, relentless in your play, and go out there and take a shot at this team. Great challenge. What I'm anxious to see is the most competitive games bring out the most competitive people. I want to see our guys compete.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports