For the full transcript of the press conference, head on over to the BC Eagles website. Kudos to them again for a great job compiling these quotes.
As I start out this week, I want to begin by saying that I normally would give a run down of quotes by Steve Addazio, and I would try to interpret them. I'm not going to be doing that this week. I urge all of you to go and read the transcript of the press conference over at the BC website, and I equally urge all of you to click here to listen to the audio courtesy of Eagle Action.
There's a ton of material in this week's press conference, and there's a lot to digest, which is why I'm not going to go quote by quote or pick out highlights. I was unable to attend the Monday press conference, but judging from what I read and listened, there was a decidedly different tone to what the coach had to say. He came across almost as defiant, and he stood behind his team and his decisions after what was a rocky day on Friday against Florida State.
There are several key points to address, though, so I'll try to handle them as best as I can.
For starters, the starting position of the team was unacceptable. We missed this because of several other areas, but Boston College started only around the 19 yard line. As Coach Addazio said, that tilts the field and creates a long field. You have to get a first down or two before you can even be in decent field position within your own territory. Against a defense like Florida State's, given the experience and exposure of the Boston College offense (as well as how it was playing as a collective unit), that's not something that's relatively easy to do. I never actually thought of that, but as soon as he mentioned it, I completely forgot about that fact. Color me stupid; for all the football and coaches I've watched and spoken to, you'd think I would've remembered that one. So I offer a mea culpa there.
If you go and read Coach Addazio's comments, he talked specifically about the offensive line and people calling them "terrible." He said that the O-line has been inconsistent, but there are other issues. He outright said the running backs position, which was supposed to be the strength of the team, hasn't been to start the season. In regards to the line, however, the team has done a good job of playing at times with times that the plays are blocked perfectly.
It's really hard to fathom how deep the term "work in progress" really goes and how hard it is to understand it. In the modern era of football, people expect results almost immediately. If the stats aren't there or if the game isn't executed to their liking, they have a tendency to start handing out blame and undercutting any progress. I know I'm guilty of this.
In regards to the passing game, Steve Addazio flat out said the following:
We had a hard time getting the ball to our wide receivers. No kidding, Coach. It starts with trying to throw the forward pass. I got it, okay.
But understand this. We were playing Florida State. We were playing exceptional defense. We are not going from a minus-19 field position and going to start chucking the ball around with an inexperienced quarterback to inexperienced wide receivers and give the game away. We don't have Tom Brady. That's not where we are right now. So we are going to play it close to the vest and try and get that game into the fourth quarter. By all rights, we had the game into the fourth quarter with a seven-point deficit. In fact, when we fumbled the ball, we started on the minus-whatever yard line and we are working our way towards midfield at that point and time. I really felt it was only a matter of time where we would conservatively pop a couple of runs that would put us in a position to tie that football game up. That's kind of what I thought. Now, that didn't work out. But that's what I thought.
Straight up - from the beginning of the season, I said BC is never going to start spreading the receivers out and going for it as a passing team. Addazio here is saying what we said at the beginning of the year. While it's frustrating to see them go out and run the ball into a wall of blockers, it's what they were setting out to do. They were succeeding.
If you go back to my comments since the end of the game, I admit that I would've abandoned the run on a couple of plays and thrown the pass. I also said that I didn't think that's what was going to happen. So my philosophy in some regards differs from Coach Addazio. Hey, it happens. But I know enough to know that he isn't going to all of a sudden start throwing the ball all over the place. I respect that, even though, again, I never said that BC would open up the passing game when your starter is 4-12 when he gets injured.
But here's the thing - I'm not offering my opinion on this. I'm offering a breakdown. The coach outright said, later in the press conference, that they were hoping to be a more balanced team by the end of the year by bringing Darius along slowly. Now they're back to square one with a quarterback (whoever it is) that will have to run an offense that will be tailored for the moment.
In regards to the plays before halftime, let's just get this out there - yes, Addazio was content to go into the locker room at 7-0. The offense wasn't playing well enough in his eyes to go out there and potentially kill a sterling defensive effort by making a stupid mistake. Yes, he played it conservatively. Yes, he wanted to get into the locker room to reorganize and change the game plan. That should be the end of that. You do with that what you will.
Besides all of this, there's also the matter of who will be playing QB with Wade sidelined for the season. Nobody in the BC locker room, per the coach, is "complaining" about losing their quarterback. They just have to go back to the drawing board. They have two young guys in Troy Flutie and Jeff Smith that they'll need to create a game plan with. How that happens is unknown. We can't predict what BC is going to do because they're going to go back and build around what the strengths are. We won't know that until midweek, most likely, if at all.
Addazio mentioend that Elijah Robinson may return to quarterback if the situation calls for it. If he has to, he will. I don't read too much into that. This is a coach who is clearly out to prove a point - he's going to do whatever it takes. As he said in his comments, "we are going to carve out a game plan that we think will best suit the talents of the guys that we have. That's what I'm completely engrossed in right now. That's what my mandate to the coaches is. That's what I'm personally engrossed in...Whatever it is - it can be radical, I don't care. That's the way it's going to go right now. It's all about one thing: win on Saturday. I don't care what it takes; it doesn't take a lick of difference to me how we get it done. We can stand on our heads for all I care."
All in all, it was a press conference unlike anything we've ever seen out of Addazio. He is clearly supportive of his team, and he took the moment to address the critics by saying that he's going to stick to his guns and he's going to do what's best for the team. We knew he was a fiery coach, but this was a much different tone. This is like the anti-Spaz. Long gone are the days of "middle schmiddle."
If the team in the locker room is as fired up as their coach is, social media critics and arm chair quarterbacks are all going to eat a big fat steaming bowl of humble pie. And like I said in the weekly kickoff, what doesn't work one week may work this week and vice-versa.
People called out the play calling under fire, and there's been comments on our message board and social media about the offense. As soon as the weekend ended and Monday rolled around, though, I stopped worrying as much about what happened against FSU and instead started to turn the focus back towards what BC will need to do to be successful against NIU.
So like I said, you have to make them believe. Like what Coach Addazio said last year, they need to play on the edge of the coin. There's doubters, but at some point someone will need to step up. I said there needed to be some kind of emotional leader, and it's looking like that man is the head coach.
We're onto NIU.