For the full context of the Addazio press conference, head on over to the Boston College athletics website.
I know we made some progress against Clemson but I also know this is going to be a bit of a roller coaster ride with these young guys. It has a lot to do with what you're facing on defense and what they have a chunk of expertise with. We are also playing some really good defenses: three in the top 10, four in the top 20, five in the top 35, six in the top 45, and seven in the top 50.
Here are your rankings of Boston College opponents on defense in 2015:
Florida State - 27
Northern Illinois - 47
Duke - 9
Wake Forest - 35
Louisville - 19
This week's opponent, Virginia Tech, ranks 42nd overall but came into the season touted by many as having some of the best defensive players in the ACC.
Boston College, meanwhile, enters the game with the following people on the injured list:
QB1 - Darius Wade
QB2 - Jeff Smith
WR1 - Ben Glines
WR2 - Chris Garrison
TE1 - Michael Giacone
RB1 - Jon Hilliman
But you know what, that's okay, because playing with four freshmen offensive linemen, two sophomore wide receivers, two freshmen quarterbacks (maybe one), and running backs who were all injured at various points during the year should have gotten this team to an 8-0 record by now.
We are a football team right now that everyone wants to super hyper focus on offense, which is completely understandable, but in the same breath, we are eight points from being 6-2 right now. We've lost three games by eight points. This is a hard-fighting, battling football team, which is really the most important foundation you can have. As we get more experience and get players back—not this year but next year—we are building on a tough, physical foundation and investment that is going to pay a lot of dividends.
The pessimist is looking at this team and saying the coaching cost them victories, thereby hindering the performance of the players. In the very next breath, they'll say the coaching staff is playing with less than a full deck of players. I'm saying the coaching staff hasn't helped themselves at times this year, but they're doing the best they can with what amounts to a ridiculous amount of obstacles in front of them.
The majority of this team shouldn't be on the field right now. They should be practicing and improving behind some of the top flight guys. They're considered "depth players" for a reason—guys who can spot in for a play or two but should be sitting back and absorbing the flow of the game. Instead, they have to play and absorb on the fly, something that's nearly impossible to do.
As they continue to grow, this will pay off in the future. When you're young and inexperienced, you're more likely to have the one or two plays necessary to win games go against you. The margin for error remains razor thin, and BC hasn't built the database on how to win yet. They're taking their lumps, but they will continue to battle. Before this year is over, there will be a game where those plays go for them rather than against them.
I thought last week that we were seeing a lot of eight- and nine-man fronts. We decided to take some shots in play action. We had some unbelievable looks down the field but we couldn't get the ball out. We did not protect [the quarterback] well on those play action passes and one of them ended up for a stripped sack and a touchdown, which obviously ended up proving to be very critical in that football game. I keep coming back to the effort level and the intensity that our kids are playing with to this point and I keep coming back to the fact that we know what our deficiencies are, yet we are not that far off. We're eight points away in three games. You can look half empty or half full. In any one of those three games, we were right there in the end within 20 yards of striking position to either win the game or to kick it into overtime. I really tend to look at the positives that are there. I know what the negatives are and I can't necessarily change those immediately right now. Some of the things we are certainly working on to change but some of them take time, experience and healthy players. When you come into the year young and inexperienced and then you lose the bulk of your critical skill positions, this is what happens to you. What I have to deal with is each week getting our team to play at a high level. I am very proud of the fact that we have done that. Upfront, we missed some blocks that led to those sacks. It wasn't an effort issue and it wasn't a physicality issue. We had a couple of young guys getting flat-out beat. And that happened. We have to keep grinding and keep addressing that. That will be money in the bank. That will come back to us. It takes some time.
How many more times does it have to be said before fans continue to disagree with it? I'm going with six.
On John Fadule...
He was an unknown guy in training camp but he has been coming since then. He is a really hard working guy [who shows] great effort and intensity in terms of preparation. He'll get a bunch of snaps this week until we know the status of when we get Jeff back and available. This is what I said way back in the beginning when I said why we needed to play a couple guys and get some body of work because I had a bad feeling that these days would come. Troy [Flutie] has had a body of work. He has been in games. In the level of inexperience, he'd be the most experienced guy right now available.
What I find interesting is that people are already banging the John Fadule drum. From the coach, Troy Flutie is the next guy up if Jeff Smith can't go. Fadule is the fourth-string quarterback, so I can't wait for people to call for him to get in the game. He might be a great competitor and have been a great high school quarterback, but like Smith and Flutie, he's a freshman who hasn't played at the college level.
People are already talking themselves into another quarterback controversy because the most popular guy on the roster is always the guy on the sidelines. When Smith struggled, people called for Flutie. If Flutie has to play and struggles, people will call for Fadule.
For all I know Fadule could be a good quarterback and I'm not discouraging against his compete level. All I'm saying is that, based on experience right now, it sounds like it's Flutie. Addazio did say he's evaluating Fadule as a potential starting quarterback, but I don't read into that too much. Like he said a few weeks back, he's willing to do whatever it takes to win, and if Flutie isn't the guy, you have to go force a situation that you hope will work. If Fadule is that guy, the coach will put the team in the best possible position.
On the young quarterbacks' confidence levels...
In a perfect world, none of them would have been in the game this year. But that wasn't the perfect world. They're not quite ready. Everybody wants everybody to be ready right away. Everybody is different. They grow on different levels. What you see now doesn't mean what you will see a year or two from now. We were forced into this situation. I thought both Troy and Jeff made strides. Obviously, I thought Jeff put us in the best position. I think he made strides last week. He threw the ball real well last week. He was on the money last week. We dropped a couple balls but he put some balls on the money with real poor protection last week. Under all that duress, he made some play. Jeff has been improving.
I thought, last week, Smith didn't play poorly at times. I think he does some things well. He is starting to read defenses a little bit better and was able to get the ball to receivers. It didn't help that the ball popped out of receivers' hands.
That said, it's incredibly hard, as I outlined in the key play post on Monday, to be able to throw the ball when you have three guys in the backfield during the play fake of a play action pass.
For what it's worth, I thought the play action pass calls were great because the defense stacked eight and nine guys in the box. You show them run, then fake them out? Isn't that what people were hoping for all of last season and beyond?
On the team's mentality...
It's hard to get your heart ripped out three weeks in a row with these three- or two-point games when you have the ball at the end. It's literally down to the wire. That is very difficult emotionally. And we've come off two road trips and we haven't had a bye week. And there is no chance to regroup. That will test anybody, never mind a young team like this. I think they've been fantastic. I am really proud of them. We're a tough team. We practice hard. It's a hard program. And they keep responding.
If there's one thing about this Boston College team, it's that they continue to compete and play hard. The defense is still at an elite level. The offense hasn't rolled over despite its obvious issues this year. They're still coming out every day and working hard for the next week. Even though it's incredibly frustrating to watch them struggle—I don't think anyone really wants to watch the team lose games—you have to tip your hat to how they've fought in the face of adversity.
It used to be a theme at Boston College to overcome adversity. You do that by showing up every day and working hard. At some point, that will pay off. The next opportunity is this week, at home, against Virginia Tech, a team that's also within a possession or so each week of being 6-2 instead of 3-5.
We're on to Virginia Tech.