As part of the ACC’s annual preseason media day, Boston College football players Harold Landry and Jon Baker met the press. The transcript is courtesy of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Q. Harold, there are 28 of you players here this week, a whole bunch of them are from North Carolina. Take us back to those Friday nights at Pine Forest High School and how playing in Fayetteville prepared you to be one of the elite pass rushers in the ACC and in the nation?
HAROLD LANDRY: Yeah, definitely playing back home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for Pine Forest, it was definitely a great experience. I loved high school football. I loved playing night games. I think they're so special. But playing for the coaching staff that I had in high school, it's almost similar to the coaching staff I have now. Obviously like I was one of the best players in high school, but my coaches, they kept me humble. They made sure that every day I was working like I wasn't, which has helped me out tremendously.
But yeah, I loved high school. It was great. I loved playing football there, too. It was awesome.
Q. I wanted to talk about your position coach, Paul Pasqualoni, one of the winningest coaches in Syracuse University history, and now he's there with you. Tell me about Coach P and how he motivates you guys.
HAROLD LANDRY: Coach P is like -- he's definitely one of the hardest, like, pushing coaches that I've ever been around. He expects you to give him your best and he'll give you his best. He's definitely an amazing coach. I've learned so much from him since he's been a part of the BC program. When he came in, I didn't know what to expect, but as soon as you go into that meeting room with him, he's definitely like an NFL coach, so we're so blessed to have him. He's helped me out tremendously over this past season and in the off-season. He's helped me prepare more than I ever have before. Like I said, I'm lucky to have him. We're lucky to have him. He's definitely one of the top coaches out there, and I can't wait to work with him more going into my senior season.
Q. Leading the nation in sacks, just what can you say about sky's the limit for this year, what you're putting on yourself for this year and putting on this defense for this year.
HAROLD LANDRY: I think we can have an amazing season this year on defense. The chemistry our defense has, specifically with like my senior class, leading the defense this year, we have so much chemistry, we all have one common goal, which is go out and dominate. We want to go three-and-out as much as we can to give the offense as many chances as they can -- as they want so they can get the rhythm going so they can start clicking in every game.
I think we have a chance for a special season. Like Coach said, we have a great schedule, ninth-ranked, hardest schedule in college football. We have an opportunity this year to showcase how good we really are, and I think our defense is more than prepared. Our coaches do a great job in the off-season, off-season training, and preparing us for each game when it comes to film and practices and stuff. Yeah, I think we have an opportunity to have a great season, and we're definitely working towards that.
Q. Obviously I know you came back this year because you had something to prove about going to the next level, but in terms of the team, how important is this year improving, whether it's making the next step or reinvigorating the fan base and any number of different things to kind of keep the momentum going?
HAROLD LANDRY: Yeah, like Coach said, I think we've done a great job carrying the momentum from the end of last season into off-season workouts, and we've just got to carry that into training camp and then on through each game starting with Northern Illinois Friday night at their place. But yeah, I think this season could be a great stepping-stone for our program. Last season we had a good season, but we know there's more meat on the bone. There`s so much potential for this team. You can just see it in the off-season workouts. Everybody is stepping their game up. I`ve never seen so many players put in so much extra work. I think this season is going to be something special, especially for me in my senior season, a lot of seniors out there on our team, and they're ready to lead.
We've just been working, we've been grinding, and like I said, our schedule is one of the top schedules in the country, and we're prepared for the opportunity that we have ahead of us. I look forward to it. We all look forward to it. We're all excited for the season, and I think a lot of great things are to come for this football program this season.
Q. Jon, 28 sacks given up last year, your offensive line let a couple of guys slip through. 28 is not a really high number, but what are your goals for this upcoming season when you talk about continuity and the guys you stand shoulder to shoulder with?
JON BAKER: In terms of goals, I think we just want to go out and play as good as we can every game, give the other guys on the team a chance to make the plays when the opportunity presents itself. That's why we're there, that's what we do, and all we can do is go out and do our job and let those guys succeed and excel.
Q. Obviously last year`S bowl game, was the first time you guys kind of experimented in a full game with pace and tempo, but now that you've had time to work on it, how comfortable are you guys with the system and what are the possibilities for it?
JON BAKER: You know, our coaches did a great job of getting us ready for that game, installing the system, making sure we knew it very well in and out so that we could -- I guess it was about a month of prep, so putting it all in in that time, they did a great job with that, and we got very comfortable with it, and going forward I think it'll be a tool in our toolbox, but it'll ultimately be a decision for the coaches whether it'll be used or not.
Q. Just what you can say about your time with Coach Addazio and what you've taken away from him, his leadership for this team?
JON BAKER: You know, in my coming up on four years at BC, I've learned a great deal from Coach Addazio and Coach Frye, kind of in tandem, both as a player and as a man. They've taught me a lot, how to handle myself on and off the field, and as a player I don't think you can find a better team of coaches that are going to develop you as an offensive lineman in the country.