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October 19, 2016

Steve Addazio

Greensboro, North Carolina

STEVE ADDAZIO: Obviously we're playing an outstanding team, a rival game. The Syracuse-BC game has always been a rival game. I've been on both sides of it.

Having a chance to watch them play last week, they did a phenomenal job. They played a very, very good Virginia Tech team, and just played extremely well on all phases.

Offensively really impressed with Eric Dungey, their quarterback. I think he's a great player. I think he throws the ball well. He moves around. He's slippery. He operates the offense. Just really impressed with him.

The running back Dontae Strickland is an outstanding player. Of course their wide receiver, No. 7, I just think he has the great ability to go up and catch the ball and haul down those long, vertical routes.

Ervin Philips and Steve Ishmael are really quality receivers, so I think they're very potent on offense and have a real great down the field vertical game.

Defensively, I thought they played fantastic Saturday. Zaire Franklin I think is a heck of a football player. He seems to be the apex of that defense. Steve Clark, their nose guard, is a real physical guy, and their back end played really well. I thought they played in a dome, they played hard and physical and really out-competed Virginia Tech in that game.

So they're coming in here with that momentum and that confidence, which is powerful.

We've had a good bye week, we've had a good week of practice, good week of preparation, and we're looking forward to playing this game.

Q. I know you spoke on the offense here; just speaking on the 4th down efficiency, Syracuse is coming off of a game where they were 4 for 5, just what you can say about their efficiency on offense overall and what you've seen on 4th down from them.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I mean, I think they know who they are. They play to their scheme, and they're a tempo team, trying to put the ball down vertically. If you play too much coverage, then they're going to run the ball, and if you're soft in the coverage they're going to throw quick routes. That's who they are, and I think they do it very efficiently and very well so that on 4th down or in the goal line, in the red zone, they're not afraid to throw the ball. It's not like, hey, we're going to line up, we're going to go get a foot or go get a yard. They might throw it, they might run it, they might QB sneak it. There's all kinds of things going on there.

I think they have a good feel for who they are and where their talent is, and they play to it.

Q. And then as far as this being a rivalry game, obviously etched in history years ago, to have that back in the conference again, just what you can say about this type of game inside of the ACC and what it means to have that old Big East rivalry now inside of the ACC in this division, as well.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean, I think it's fantastic. I think having those rivalries are great. I wish Pitt was on this side. I think the old days -- I was at Syracuse at the time, and those were all big games, the Syracuse, BC, Pittsburgh, they were all big contests, and I think that's great within conference when you have some geographical proximity and some history and you can play those conference games. I think it adds, it helps the fan base, and I think it's a good thing.

Q. Just talk about having a smart veteran like John Johnson coordinating your secondary, and particularly against this kind of offense that you'll be facing on Saturday.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, it's a real challenge, and John is a veteran player, is our best player in the back end. The ability for him to be able to make the checks necessary versus the different sets and the style of game that they play I think is critically important. We've got to play well in the back end in this game. There's no doubt about that.

Q. Do you kind of see John on a similar career trajectory than Justin Simmons was on last year?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I think there's some similarities there. John came in as a corner and moved to safety. He can play kind of both. I think he's kind of the field general out there, and he's the veteran out there kind of like Justin was a year ago, so I think there are some definite similarities.

Q. As you watched the Syracuse win over Virginia Tech last week, what stood out to you about Syracuse's offense and defense that could explain that result?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I thought Syracuse came out on both sides of the ball and played at a high level, and then I think when they saw as that game went on, like any team or especially home team, advantaged team would do, they're like, hey, we've got a chance to go get this thing, and they elevated their play, and they certainly competed at a high, high level on both sides of the ball. You know, I'm certainly not here to comment on where anybody's issues are because we've had enough of our own, but in that particular game, Syracuse on both sides of the ball was playing at a high level and competing at a high level, and just their energy and their -- and watching it on TV, watching it on the coaches' copy of the tape, the energy and the intensity level certainly belonged to them in that game.

Q. What do you do to prepare for that Syracuse offense this week?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I mean, we're working on the tempo and the vertical balls and everything that they do, so we've been working on it for two weeks, and it comes down to being comfortable, and we have a plan. We've got to execute our plan. We've got to be able to make plays. I think on offense we've got to be able to control the ball and keep them off the field and then control it but then score with it.

So I think it's an offense that can control the ball. I think it's a defense that can not let up big plays and get off the field, just like any other time you play these tempo teams.

You know, I wouldn't mind a little rain and wind coming in here, but I don't control that, so that's a little out of my reach. If I could, I'd call it in.

Q. If there was a bright spot against Clemson defensively, Ty Schwab with 10 tackles, how has he been playing overall this year because your defense is one where no one guy seems to stand out particularly because everything is spread around, but how has he been doing, and was that game an indication of more to come?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, he's been playing really well. He's a tough kid. He's a hard-nosed guy. He's very, very physical. I think in that game there was actually a fair amount of positives. I mean, on defense -- on both sides, but on defense. I think the thing we did was we let up three quick plays in that game, which is a little uncharacteristic, but it happened. Those three plays came bang, bang, bang, just like that, and they accounted for 100 something yards. But aside from that, that first half, there wasn't really a lot of yardage or productivity against our defense.

I think there's a lot of good things, so when you look at it on tape, you're watching a lot of good things, but you watch three big plays, and I think our goal is to stop that -- one of them I'm not sure we could have stopped, but the other two we probably could have, and I think we've got to stop the big plays, but I think there's a lot of positives going on on defense, and I think with Ty, he's a part of that. He's a punishing run defender, and he's played a lot of football and his played well, and as you said, throughout the year, we've had some tremendous play on defense throughout the year, but we have, against Virginia Tech and Clemson, let up a couple of big shot plays, which is something that we can ill afford to do this week.

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