BOSTON COLLEGE FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 13, 2017
STEVE ADDAZIO: We've lost Anthony Brown for the season. Anthony has a lower leg injury that will require surgery. So we'll be moving forward. Obviously, our heart goes out to Anthony. He's a big part of the future of our program, and he's a great competitor. He'll be back ready to roll next year, and we'll have had a great year behind his belt to prepare for another great year from now.
But as we've had to do all year long, we've got to pick it up and keep going, keep rolling. So that's what we've done since Game 1, and that's not going to change as we move forward.
We're excited about the opportunity to play UConn here in Fenway. Haven't played in that game before. It's always a great venue, an exciting venue. We've got a great week of practice ahead of us here. We're looking forward to that. Our team has got a tremendous mindset, had a great day yesterday together, went back and really got to work on the field in the afternoon. And all of our thoughts, all of our preparation, everything, our mindset, every ounce of energy that we have, as a program and as a team, will be focused on playing University of Connecticut.
This is a team that's getting better as the season's gone on. They're continuing to improve. They've got a couple of real dominators on defense. Starting on defense, the nose guard, Fatukasi is an outstanding player, can play anywhere in the country. Junior Joseph, their linebacker, is a big, strong, physical guy, 6'1", 232-pound linebacker. Cole Ormsby is a talented rush end off the edge, very, very impressed with him. Arkeel Newsome and Kevin Mensah on offense, two running backs, I know both of them. We're involved with both of them, both very, very, very good players. And David Pindell is playing at quarterback, athletic guy. Tyler Davis at tight end, and, of course, their wide receivers. They keep evolving on offense.
I think Randy Edsel has had a history of developing strong programs, obviously, starting with UConn, and has done an outstanding job with this football team. They'll be tough. They'll be hard-nosed. They'll be well prepared.
They'll be highly motivated. It will be require us to have a great game plan, a great week of preparation, and we're looking forward to it.
So any questions?
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I'm not going to go into the details of everything there yet. I think that's kind of his personal business. But suffice to say, like I say, he'll be gone for the year, and he'll be having surgery here.
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: He'll have rehab and be ready to roll. He'll be 100 percent. He'll be fine. Just like a cast of hundreds of others. He'll -- as I said, this is a bump in the road. This is nothing more than that. He will -- he's going to be a great player with a great future, and we couldn't be more excited about what he's gotten done, what he's gotten accomplished, and what he'll do in the future.
He's got a great attitude, great mindset. He's a tough competitor, just like you think he would be. Just a brief bump in the road.
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, obviously, Darius has been preparing hard and preparing well. E.J. Perry is completely on board and ready to play. So that's already been discussed early with he and his family, and he has a tremendous, competitive mindset. As he said, I came here to be part of this team. I came here because it's a privilege, not a right. I'm going to do everything I can to help this football team win, whether you need me for one snap or 50. You've got to appreciate that kind of mindset from a competitor. He's ready to roll. Darius is ready to roll.
We'll get Jeff Smith some snaps because John Fadule is out for the year as well. Jeff worked yesterday and took some snaps like he hadn't missed a beat. So we're good to go. We're going to get ready to rock and roll and looking forward to it.
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: All things are on the table. Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to be -- to play at the highest level that we need to play at over the course of this week and leading up to Saturday. Simple as that. Whether that means E.J. plays zero reps or 100, or whether Jeff Smith ends up with 65, however that rolls out.
We're going to have a great week of practice. We're going to go as hard as we can every day and see where that brings us, and we'll play that game and be totally confident in it.
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, it is what it is. Every week you're confronted with a bunch of different challenges. Obviously, that position, we're playing at -- I think starting to play at a very high level. But this is what happens, and you've got to deal with it. None of us would write the script. None of us would want this to be the case, but it is the case.
I kind of look at it like this. We've had a great year with Anthony. Tremendous development for him, for us. Got an unbelievable look into what the beautiful future is with us and Anthony, and now we have another opportunity. With this opportunity, we have some really good football players, starting with Darius Wade, and we're going to go down that path, and that will be fantastic. That's the way it is.
If you stop in this business and you spend too much time wallowing on woe is me or what could be or anything else, this freight train's moving, man. Tomorrow is Tuesday, and we've got to have a great Tuesday, and we will. Everybody else on this team, you've got to pick it up. Everybody's got to do their part, but we have talented players, and those talented players are the same guys, and they're going to play really well on Saturday.
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, like I told you before, we had to wait and visit with the doctor on Sunday afternoon and get all the tests back. That's when we knew. Sometimes it's Sunday. Sometimes it's Monday. We knew on Sunday. I think the most important thing is, for Anthony -- and that's all I care about right now -- is for him to have a course that he's going to be on, and we're rolling forward.
I think it's really important in the mind of a champion like Anthony, this is what I'm dealing with. This is what I'm going to do. I'm going to be 100 percent. I'm going to be back ready to roll, and I'm going to be grateful for the year that I had, grateful for the unbelievable experience I had. It's going to make me a better player. In his mind, he's going to have an unbelievable year next year.
His mindset is absolutely -- he and his parents are grateful for the great things that have happened and are looking forward to a really bright future, and that is an unbelievable mindset to have, and that's the way you have to have it. I've been around a lot of people. For this guy, this guy tells you why he is who he is. Because that's how competitors and champions react. Not over there wallowing, just let's roll.
Just like Connor Strachan, just like Max Richardson, just like Jon Baker, just like Elijah Johnson -- those guys are unbelievable competitors. When you play this game, when you sign up for this, you know there's going to be bumps in the road. There's going to be hurdles and good times and bad times. You've got to manage them. It's all part of the sport, part of the deal. Some guys are better at that than others. We happen to have a bunch of guys who are pretty strong.
When you talk to Connor Strachan sometime, feel his intensity, Jon Baker, feel it with those guys. It's unbelievable.
Q. Just talk about Darius' game management the second half against Louisville. Is that kind of what you're going to need from him, that kind of game management?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think we need play making. We're going to attack, just like we have been. Not really looking for a game manager, to be honest with you, Rich. We got out of that mode. We got out of that mode and grew and got to the point where we're attacking defenses. You saw that last week in the first half. We're attacking that defense. We've got to just get our game plan right, make sure that we're doing everything that everyone can do, and then go.
That's what we'll do. I do not have a mindset that all of a sudden now we're going to manage it. We're going to put the pedal and attack it.
Q. What about Cam Moore? Is he doing okay?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Unknown yet where his status is. I think that's just a day-to-day deal. We'll keep our fingers crossed there and hope we have Cam ready to go.
Q. Going to UConn, just looking at their stats, they have nine guys with ten or more catches. What does that say about their offense?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think they are looking -- developing their identity. So they've been in and out of the quarterback situation a little bit, changing guys. So I think they're certainly a work in progress there. They're talented. They have ability. They've got the receivers that catch the ball well and two running backs. I know those running backs well. They're both talented guys.
So they're getting better. They're improving. I saw last week they scored pretty well against UCF down at UCF and played well. So I think they're gaining confidence, and this is obviously a big game.
Q. Coach, obviously, you're from (no microphone), Cheshire High School, longest winning streak. Is there a time where you're playing Connecticut at Fenway and you'll be reflective about, wow, my career, where it's gone. Have you thought about that at all?
STEVE ADDAZIO: No, I'm a little consumed with everything that's going on with us right now. Honestly, I'm proud that I'm a Northeast guy. I'm proud that I'm from the state of Connecticut. I'm thrilled for the state of Connecticut that they have a Division I football program, but my career, I aspire to get to where I am right now at Boston College and am grateful to be here.
Happy for them that they're moving that thing forward. Yeah, my dad has six or seven degrees from the University of Connecticut. I've known Randy Edsel for a long time. Truly, I think, one of the great coaches that are out there in the country. He's a first class guy and does everything right, high integrity. So I think what he's doing there is fantastic.
But for me, I've got one thing on my mind right now and one thing only, and that's winning Saturday. Getting our sixth win here Saturday and getting our football team to continue to develop and grow and kind of pick up where we left off in the first half of that game last week.
Q. Talking about the game, E.J. Perry, is there some -- was it a tough decision for you, game 11, I think it is, to kind of burn that if you have to? Or was it an easy decision?
STEVE ADDAZIO: My philosophy on that is I met with E.J. and his family. I don't put that on anybody. So that's what I've done in my history is sit down with the family and with the player and get a feel for where they're at. That doesn't mean that I can necessarily always go exactly where they want to go, but in this case, I'll tell you, this wasn't even a real conversation. It makes you really appreciate. It tells you the kind of people you're dealing with here. That whole family is highly -- they're very loyal. They're very passionate, and they're highly competitive. That's when you know you're dealing with guys that are wired right. But that's the way I approach everything.
Like I said, that conversation's been had. We're all on the same page. Now we're going to move the way we move based on a lot of factors, one of which is we've got to have a great week of practice here and see where we're at.
Q. NC State defensive line had some success, especially the second half, containing Darius Wade and put some pressure on him. Are you focusing on your offensive line to secure that against UConn and give Wade plenty of time in the pocket to make plays?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, it's the same thing every week. We put a lot of time into preparation of our protection. I thought our line did a really fine job during that game. We did a lot of great things in that game. They had maybe one of the elite pass rushers in America, so we had a couple of issues in there. We were also in some situations where the whole stadium knows you've got to drop back and throw the football. That adds to it a little bit.
But, yeah, there will be -- regardless of whether it was Anthony Brown or anybody else, we're going to protect our quarterback, keep people off of him, and give ourselves an opportunity. There's a lot of things that go into that. It's receivers getting open. It's the ball coming out in timing and rhythm.
Don't equate sacks to the offensive line all the time. We run a quick game. Ball's got to be out. So everyone -- we call that ball security. Everybody's responsible. There's a lot of ways to account for ball security. Running back's got to carry it high and tight. Line's got to do a great job protecting. Quarterback's got to get the ball out. Receiver's got to run precise routes and get open. Those all go into ball security. And there's a lot of factors that go in here.
I think our emphasis will be on making sure that we have great timing this week and the ball's out in rhythm on time. That helps everybody. And then, of course, whether it's the backs, the line, or the tight ends, whoever's involved in protection, doing a great job with that as well. That's a work in progress, and working really hard on that, and we'll continue to do that.
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, play calls are play calls. Whether you're in five-step drop, three-step drop, whether you're in waggle protection, sprint protection -- I mean, those are game plans, situational, based on down and distance, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
But the timing of things has a lot to do with spacing of receivers and routes, timing of coming out of breaks, quarterback's rhythm of getting the ball out, being able to get from your first to second read in timing. They're all important, and they all work hand in hand with each other. When you look at the success that Tom Brady's had, I mean, one of the things that he's as good as anybody in the country -- or in the world, I guess you'd say -- is ball out. Sometimes that's as important as anything in discouraging a rush.
So we've got to work on all of our timing. But that has a lot -- that's just not a one-dimensional thing. I mean, again, if the receiver's spacing is off, that affects it. If their break point's off, that affects It. If in a three-step game, if you don't get defensive lineman's hands down, that affects it. If a quarterback doesn't get to his reads quick enough or anticipate quicker, that affects it. All those things play a factor and play a role in third down.
That's why third down is pretty complex. We felt really good about where we were heading in the third down. We kind of had that thing -- we were kind of humming along with that pretty good. Not to say there weren't issues, because there were, but I like where we're going. I love where we're heading in our pass game.
So in terms of protections, in terms of things we're going to do now, might we tweak them? Yeah, we might. You still get yourself in third and long. Third and long is third and long. You've got to drop back. You've got to protect it. And you've got to give yourself a chance to let the routes come open, and you've got to be able to strike them. And you've got to have good reading route progression -- first read, second read, third read. And you've got to be able to get down the thing pretty quickly and still be able to get it out.
It's all in there. It's timing, and it's practice, and it's repetition. That's the intricacies of the throw game.
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Harold?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Harold is day to day, week to week. I mean, it hasn't changed really for -- I don't know. I'm losing track of time now. Maybe a month?
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, since Louisville, right? Yeah, since Virginia Tech. I can't even tell you how long that is now. So it kind of is what it is. I can't tell you honestly that I've got a lot of thought on that right now. It's out of -- control the controllables. I've got no input here.
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah. I mean, I don't know that. I don't know that he won't play Saturday. I just don't know that. I think he's -- honestly, I think he's day to day, week to week. That's up to our medical team. So that's where he's at. I don't have a much better answer than that right now because that's what I get. Just go about our business.
I think Wyatt and Zach are playing at a pretty high level off the edge right now. We just got to continue to grow and develop. Hopeful that we'll get Harold back at some point, whether it's this Saturday, the following Saturday. I mean, I'm hopeful that that will happen, but I don't know that.
Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, kind of the same way that I do everybody. Hey, we've got to get you healthy. You've got to feel great. This is football. These are bumps in the road. Nothing's dramatic one way or the other. You've got to get back and get on the field, and that's what he wants to do. It's all body work.
I think his focus and his concern is where it should be right now, beating UConn. One thing I love about our team right now is our team is locked into our team, and they're locked into our team goals and our team -- it's really fun to be around. I don't believe we have a bunch of guys that are overly concerned about their individual deal.
Not to say that -- people, obviously, have goals, but I think we're in a situation where our team goals are the most important goals, and with team success comes individual honors. I think we have a good group of guys that really buy into that, whether they're on the injury protocol or whether they're out for the year or whether they're grinding. It's kind of like -- I mean, like Jon Baker, Connor Strachan, Charlie before he came back, Max, they travel with us. They're encouraging. They're helping drive meetings. And Anthony will be the same way. It's a great group of guys to be around.
So I don't see a lot of guys sucking their thumb. I don't see that. Which usually means you have some real -- you know, we don't have a lot of selfishness. We've just got a lot of guys locked into what can I do? And whatever capacity I have to help our team win. That's why I've been so excited about this team, and I continue to be.
Even weathering through some of the difficulties that we're weathering through right now with injuries, I think we're on the mark of nine starters out right now, you know, seven of which are impact players. You come to our practice tomorrow, you wouldn't notice that, from the standpoint of attitude. You just wouldn't notice it. I think that's remarkable, and I think that's the foundation of what this is going to be because you can't make that up. You can't make that happen.
Q. Coach, logistically, will you be more involved in offense this week with play selection, calling plays, with the transition of the offense? Or will it be as normal
STEVE ADDAZIO: It's not really any transition in the offense. There's transition in personnel, but not in the offense. I'm always in the meetings. I'm always in the offensive meetings. I'm always very, very involved in game planning. I do not call the plays, have not since I've been here.
Really for a lot of reasons, one of which is I'm involved in the whole game. I'm very involved in special teams, and when the defense is on the field, I'm very involved in trying to make sure that, if a time-out's got to be called, trying to help manage. By no means am I calling defenses, but just the management of what's going on while the coaches are doing their thing.
So I will not be more involved. I'm pretty heavily involved in a lot of phases, most specifically, offense and special teams. So that's kind of how we kind of operate around here. But Scott calls the games. He's done a fabulous job. Justin Fry does an unbelievable job in the run game. I think the coaches have done a remarkable job handling the adversities on both sides of the ball that have been thrown at him.
And sometimes in game there are certain things -- injuries that can happen that affect you, but any time in game you lose your quarterback, that can be extremely damaging. From the simple fact that nobody in America is given equal reps out in practice to starters and backups. So if you're dealing with a rep problem, you're dealing with a lot of things there. Sometimes in game, that's when I think you start getting in the mindset of, okay, how do we manage this to win the game right now? Realizing that you've got to be a little bit careful.
But now we know where we are. We've got a whole week. We're going to run our offense.
Q. These last two weeks, just talk about the difference between (no microphone).
STEVE ADDAZIO: I'm just worried about beating UConn on Saturday. All on our mind that's ever been week to week, that's not going to change, that's not ever going to change. As far as I'm concerned, we're playing the Super Bowl here on Saturday. That's the way I view this right now.
This is a big time game, like they all are. They all carry the same weight. They all mean the same. A win's a win, and a loss is a loss. Our focus is completely on Saturday to play a very good Connecticut team here in Fenway Park, and we will need every oar in the water rowing, coaches and players alike. That's the cool thing. That's what we're involved with right now, and that's what we're doing. That's just our mindset.
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