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BOSTON COLLEGE FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE

September 11, 2017

Steve Addazio

Boston, Massachusetts

COACH ADDAZIO: Well, we got a big game here at Alumni Stadium, playing Notre Dame. As you guys all know, the time appears to have been moved to 3:30. Looking forward to the great environment and getting back at it. They got a really good football team. They've got some players that are real established. They're quarterback, Brandon Wimbush is a very big, athletic quarterback who looks fantastic. I've known him from when he was in high school. We recruited him. And thought it was just a great football player then.

They got two big backs in Josh Adams and Tony Jones. They've got good receivers. I think they have an outstanding offensive line. In fact, we recruited several of those guys, know them well.

On defense, they've got Mike Elko there as the coordinator. He was the coordinator at Wake. So it's a very similar scheme to what we've just seen. They've got some really fine players. They're big up front in the defensive line. They've got great size. They've got depth. They've got good size linebackers, 6'1", 6'2", 235, 245 pounds. I think this is a pretty good sized defense, and they've got some speed in the back end.

So I just think this is a good football team we're playing. And it'll be a great challenge, but I think the great thing is we're going into game three, and we have an opportunity to be at home and to be in a spotlight national game. So we're looking forward to it. We've already started our preparation yesterday with our team and look forward to a great week. Any questions?

Q. (No microphone)?
COACH ADDAZIO: He's great. Anthony's great. Anthony is ready to rock and roll. He's our quarterback and looking forward for him to get going. You go back and you watch the film, and Anthony went to the right place with that ball a lot. And he's a young guy. We've gotta help him a little bit. We volleyball- tapped up a couple of balls that didn't need to happen that led to interceptions. The ball was where it was supposed to be. Okay. And both catchable balls that needed to be caught.

The other play that he had, that's on me. You know, put him in a bad play. But beyond that, I really liked a lot of the things I saw in the film. And young guy, had to give him a chance to take a deep breath, press the pause button there for one minute. And we did that. And he's fantastic. He's got a great attitude. He's got a great mindset and he's off and running to a great week of preparation. We got a great future with Anthony. So I couldn't be more fired up about him.

Q. (No microphone)?
COACH ADDAZIO: Julian, that's a bigger question to ask right there. It's gotta be kind of a collective deal. You see, Jon was the most veteran player we had up front. Jon was the one that hadn't had the most career starts. Jon as the center runs the whole offensive line with all the calls and everything that we do. And the compounding problem we had, okay, was that Shane Leonard has been out for three weeks. And so our backup center was down as well. Okay. Now, what's happened is, you know, we talk about this offensive line, how excited I was about the offensive line, and I still am. But we've taken some hits. We lost Elijah in the spring for the year. He was a starter. Now we've lost Jon Baker for the year; he's a starter. We've had Shane Leonard gone for three weeks. He was one of the top six players and then Sam Schmal was out all week last week. So four of the top six players were out; three -- two for the year, and one will be over a month when it's all said and done.

So that has affected the chemistry that we have. Thank God we actually have some depth right now. We actually have some depth. Now, our depth is a little youthful, but we're so excited about a guy like Ben Petrula. Ben's going to be a really fine player. But as I said Saturday, that's a tall order. When you tell a guy, hey, you're going to start for the first time in your career, your first college game, and by the way, you're gonna play a position you've never played before; and by the way, that's the position on the offense that has to make all the protection calls. In any offense that's who does it.

So yes, I think I said this post game. I hadn't had a chance to address you guys about it because at that time I didn't know, okay, the extent of where Jon was going to be. That's going to, quite frankly, take a little bit of time. Okay. Do we have time? No, you don't. The season is on you. You're rolling. But the facts of the matter are he's going to get better each week. But it's going to be a process. And we're in that process. So there's a couple of things in there that are going to get distorted.

Now, we didn't give up a sack in that game. I thought that was pretty amazing. Gave us some TFLs and some things happened in there. But we had the long snap over the head, and after that, that settled down. And because I think he's -- not a good player; I think he's going to be a great player here, that will get better as time goes on, getting more comfortable, having less assignment problems, which throws off your run game a little bit. Okay?

But we gotta weather that, and that's what we're in the process of doing right now and getting better, and I love his approach. I love his approach. But you have a true freshman and a redshirt freshman, the apex of your offense right now. And we just gotta continue to develop and grow. I'm really excited about both of those guys and their future and what they're going to bring to this thing. Now we've gotta accelerate that growth as fast as we possibly can right now and hope we can also get Shane Leonard back as well, because our depth is depleted. We need to add back.

Sam appears to be ready to roll this week, which is a good thing. He played a little last week. He played, but he didn't practice. So we get him back. We hopefully start to add Shane back. We give Ben another week. And you know, we start to piece this. Now, we don't have that luxury of playing maybe somebody that you can roll through while you're doing that. We're playing Notre Dame on national TV here. So we've gotta have a great week and get ready to roll.

Q. Kobay had nine targets but didn't get his first one until the second quarter. Was that just kind of game plan or were you trying to look for an option?
COACH ADDAZIO: No. I mean, listen, we're trying to get everyone's targets here. In the first half, okay, don't count the two minute for a second. In the first half we had 28 runs and 23 passes. That's the most balanced that we've ever been here. In fact, maybe we need to run it just a hair more because we gotta get the run game going a little bit right now, take a little pressure off the quarterback. Okay? But we've worked on our throw game. That's without the two minute. So that was 28 and 23. It's been a long time around here to be able to get some balance, and we're still working at that. Within that balance is balance in the routes. Like we really like our tight ends, you know, and the receivers for the game had 27 targets. The tight ends had six targets, the running backs had five targets. We're trying to get those targets spread around a little bit. Okay?

In the process we can't dictate where the ball goes. Coverage will dictate that, you know. And so I mean, heck, man, we threw the ball. It wasn't like we didn't throw the ball. And I'm not talking about because the end of the game was what it was or the two minute. I'm talking non -- belly of the first and second period before that, 28-23 at BC with me. That's where we are right now. So that's going to grow and that's going to get better. It's going to continue to improve.

As I said, I think we probably need to hang in there a little bit more with a few more runs right now because the run game sometimes takes time. I think you saw that. I think as the game wore on and A.J. had some good strong runs in there. And they were same runs, but the line was getting a better feel for the twists and the stunts and the pressures, and that started getting picked up. So I think that's what we need to do. And we gotta keep working.

Kobay is also a talented guy who's a young guy. He's a redshirt freshman, a lot like Anthony. And as we say with all of our guys, we gotta make sure our detail is right. If your split's not exactly right, the ball placement won't be exactly right. And that leads sometimes to balls getting tipped up in the air because we have a timing passing game. And that passing game is hinged on a lot of things, the depth of the route and the alignment of the route. So we've gotta continue to work on the exactness of everybody in the throw game so that, you know, when that ball comes out on time and in the right location, we're where we're supposed to be so that that's a clean catch.

Q. When you look at the depth chart of Notre Dame, there's so many seniors and redshirt seniors on both offense and defense. Can you see that in their execution?
COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah. I mean this is a veteran team. The quarterback is a first-year starter, but the team has got a lot of veteran players on it. And I noticed that -- right now as I tell you, I start with early in the week with their defense. And they've got veteran players in there, you know, and they're physically mature looking. You know what I'm saying? They look like older guys. They don't look like younger guys. So this is a good-looking, big, physical-looking football team. No doubt.

Q. (Indiscernible) is not practicing this week?
COACH ADDAZIO: He will be in graduated fashion. This week he will start the -- he practiced with no contact last week at the very end of the week. I believe he was cleared, I believe, on Friday. Okay. Friday. So he practiced Sunday and we have to gradually start that comeback process now. So that's where we are with Shane, and we're not going to rush that. You'd like to rush that a little bit, but you can't. It's a graduated process and that's what we have set and we're going to stick to the plan.

Q. In the first two games you guys have kind of struggled stopping quarterback-designed runs. You're facing another dual-threat quarterback in Notre Dame. What adjustments need to be made?
COACH ADDAZIO: You know, I thought that -- I thought we did a pretty darn good job on defense, to be honest with you. I watched the tape with the whole defensive staff. And he made a few plays. They're going to make a few plays. I mean, you know, we gave them 21 points. I mean and we gave them a short field on a fourth turnover. So we gave them 21 points, and on the one they didn't get points on, they got the ball in the plus 40. So that's pretty significant. And I thought, you know, John Wolford is a senior quarterback, and I love that kid. I think he's a highly competitive guy. And he made a few plays. He's going to make a few plays. It's going to happen.

But overall, I thought defensively we did a pretty good job when you consider the four turnovers. I mean that's hard on any defense, you know. Our goal is to hold a team to 285 yards or less. They had 309. Now, that's our goal when you don't turn the ball over four times. So I would say to you that we gave up 309 total yards, and I know you're asking more about the quarterback runs, but that was a huge part of their offense. Their whole offense was a lot of quarterback runs. Okay. 309 yards. We want 285. And we turned it over four times on offense, and that's that. I'd say that's overall a pretty good deal.

I don't have his runs handy, but he squirted on a couple of plays, but I think all in all I thought we did a darn good job. I really did. And we really did the week before, too. When you have a quarterback-run offense, I've been a part of them -- the beautiful thing about those offenses is they can equate numbers. It's hard to get an extra hat sometimes on that style. But those guys are taking shot after shot after shot.

It's a long season. I've been involved with that. So we just gotta hang in there. We're going to be fine. I think we're playing well. I think we have a good understanding of how to defend quarterback-run offenses. And we just gotta keep grinding away at it.

Q. Before the season your special teams units play is much improved from last year. You have three different guys with three different jobs. What has that done for your team this year having three different guys?
COACH ADDAZIO: I think it takes the pressure off of one guy, as you said. I think it also -- you know, we've improved. I mean there's no doubt. We've always had good coverage. You know, when you play opposing teams those guys all know, we're pretty good on special teams. But the kicking pieces of it, the kickoff, the punt, the field goal, that's improved. And that's a really good thing. There's a lot of improvement, improvement all over the place. It's just -- that field position piece is critical. And the ability to have a guy kick it out of the end zone is critical. Now, we gotta get that consistency done. We had one out of bounds. And that'll get better each week.

Max is a beautiful guy to be around. He's a great kid, very competitive. I really like him a lot, really happy that Colton has come along, and Mike's just embraced the punting piece really well. So I think that's all good. I think that's all good. I really do. But it's a week to week deal. You feel good about that today and you hope you feel good about that post Saturday. I think the biggest thing is to eliminate the turnovers, continue to grow the young guys we have at certain positions and continue to develop our big picture, what we want to do offensively. And just keep grinding, man. That's what we need to do. But I think areas that we needed improve upon, not only can you see growth there, but you can see the potential there. And I'm excited about that. So we're going to head into a tough part of our schedule. We gotta take them one at a time right now and that one at a time is Notre Dame right here on our home turf.

I know everybody fans and everybody are excited about that and that team coming in here, and we sure are, too. So looking forward to it. All right, guys? Thank you.

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