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BOSTON COLLEGE FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 7, 2016
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, we're getting ready to play a great football team this week. Florida State is a team full of talent. They're at their home field. Talking about them on offense, I think Jimbo Fisher does a great job. He's real plugged in with their offense. Jimbo does a great job managing the whole football team, and really have a lot of respect for him.
They're averaging 190 yards rushing, 279 passing. Their quarterback, Francois, is a redshirt freshman in there, 6'2", 205-pound guy. He's done a great job in there. He's 60 percent completion, thrown for 2,492 yards, 12 touchdowns, four interceptions, rushed for 75 yards.
Dalvin Cook I think is one of the better running backs in the country. We obviously know Dalvin well. He has 196 carries, for 1,134 yards, 5.8 average, 12 touchdowns, 25 catches. He's a real threat with the ball passing.
Wide receivers, Travis Rudolph, Jesus Wilson and Kermit Whitfield, outstanding football players, two seniors and a junior. I think they're very, very talented.
On defense they're 73rd in total defense, 53rd against the run. No. 44 DeMarcus Walker I think, defensive end, is a really good player. Tarvarus McFadden is outstanding. Defensive back, Trey Marshall is outstanding, Matthew Thomas. Very, very talented guys. So we've a lot of respect for Florida State.
This will mark the third consecutive season that we're going to face three ranked teams in a season. It's the first time since 2000, 2003 that Boston College has faced three or more ranked teams in a consecutive season. It speaks really well to where the ACC is and what we're playing against, so this will be a great challenge for us. We're looking forward to it, getting on the road, playing down on a Friday night. It's a short week this week. Today was our Tuesday. A lot of work had to be done to get ready for today, and I thought we had a really good day. I'm looking forward to the week.
Q. Just from your own coaching experience, when you look at Francois, how much did he benefit from that redshirt year playing behind Everett Golson, and did he kind of come into the season road ready?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think it's always best if you can redshirt a guy. That's the best thing to do. Look at Lamar Jackson. He's in his second year right now, and there's such maturity and growth. I think there's a big jump. I think if a guy redshirts and then plays or if a guy plays as a true freshman, especially at the quarterback position from year one to year two, you have growth.
I think that that's the case here. But they're still young. You know, they're still young. Some guys, we're talking about Lamar Jackson. He's a freak. He's going to probably win the Heisman Trophy. So that's going to be on the extreme end of that thing. But most guys are going to develop each other and each year they're going to get better and better and they're going to play their best football at the end. That's the way it rolls, especially at the quarterback position.
I think the quarterback position and the offensive line position are really very similar in a lot of ways because both positions require so much processing information and understanding of the game.
Q. Last time you faced one of these elite running backs like you did against North Carolina State with Matthew Dayes, the defensive line had a good time shutting him down. When you go up against Dalvin Cook, what's the strategy against a guy you know is going to get 35, 40 carries?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think obviously you go into each week and you take a look at their biggest weapons, and you go after their top weapons in terms of -- we've got to account for that guy or those guys. Dalvin is a guy that you've got to get an extra hat around the ball. You've got to be careful trying to give him too many unloaded boxes, but then again, they have the speed out in the perimeter. They have some really great wide receivers that if you do too much of that, you're going to expose yourself out there quite a bit.
It's like everything else, man. It's a mix. You're trying to find a fine line, but I would say clearly while they have outstanding receivers, but their marquee player is Dalvin Cook for sure. You can't let him run wild on you.
Q. You mentioned three ranked teams in the same season, first time since '03. One of the other things you can talk about is that this is a young and developing team, but how much of that is those games against ranked opponents a measuring stick for how much this team is progressing?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think everything is a measuring stick. I think the problem is you just have to look on the film. You've got to watch the film to find out what you're doing in the course of the game, like last week, for example, we played really well on the defensive line last week. It was a game of extremes, so to speak. You got a chunk of it, just so good. So much good tape, and then there's a segment that's not.
It's the wild inconsistencies that when you're playing an elite team with some elite players they can expose those inconsistencies on you very quickly. Obviously last week's -- I would say that's probably one of the most -- absolutely one of the most talented teams in America, okay. My personal opinion is that they're right there with Alabama. You know, but I feel like that's where we are in this conference right now. I mean, we're playing -- we have elite teams in this conference. I think more in our conference than in some of the other conferences. Every conference has got an elite team, but we have a series of them that I think are really -- they're dynamic, and it starts with those quarterback combinations. I mean, they're exceptional.
We're talking about two of them that are going to be in the finals for the Heisman Trophy right now. And it's an outstanding defensive league, which tells you something. They're very good defenses, okay. I mean, you just look at some of these things, like it's pretty amazing to me. It's like national averages. Clemson is up in passing offense, they were 23rd, now they're 13th. Louisville was 46th, now they're 12th. Virginia Tech was 64, now they're 47, up 17 spots. Syracuse was 117, now they're 11. They're up 106 spots. Those receiver-quarterback combinations, that's a direct result of the quarterback play and the receiver play. Clemson this year is playing with Williams every series. They didn't have him last year. He's an elite player.
I think that's what you're seeing right now. You know, it's evident throughout the country. A&M loses their quarterback, all of a sudden they're out against Mississippi State. Syracuse, Dungey, who I think is a phenomenal player, he missed most of the game, and we saw the result there. Deshaun Watson came out of the game for Clemson. Those guys are having huge impacts on their football teams right now, but they're elite. They're elite guys, right.
It's just where it is in college football right now.
Q. How is Anthony Brown absorbing everything in your offense right now, and kind of what Francois was doing, that's kind of what I'm getting at?
STEVE ADDAZIO: You know what, it's a good question. He is absorbing -- I think he's a really good football player. He doesn't have to see guys open, he can throw them open; know what I mean? He's got a rocket arm, comes out fast as heck. Even today, out there today, he made a move on our starting defense, put his foot on the ground, and he's got some really good athleticism, but his ability to throw the football is really fantastic.
He's got a bunch of ability, and he's getting better each week. Getting more and more comfortable each week. I mean, yeah, he's a talented guy, there's no doubt about it. He's a talented guy. He's big, too. He's getting big. It's amazing, he's getting thick and big. He's filling out. He's going to end up being a 230-pound guy that's pretty athletic and has got a freaking cannon for an arm. He can play. People say, well, play him. But we're at the point of the season right now where certainly nothing is out of the question, but it's getting late down in the year right now.
Q. So that's a possibility that he might see some time?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Everything is a possibility. You get people hurt, things happen in the course of a football game, things happen like that.
Q. You'd do that if you had to?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah. I mean, I don't want to categorize it would I want -- I think you certainly have a lot of thought into that, right; there's a lot that goes into that all the way around. But in the same breath, we're going to do what we need to do to win as many games as we can down the home stretch here right now, all right. But we've got -- he's a talented guy, and Darius is a talented guy, and Darius has had a chance to go into games and play some this year. So you know, who knows what'll happen.
We thought Pat would be out for that NC State game, and he was able to bounce back, and he played pretty well in that game. You just don't know what's going to happen. Like I said, I happen to flip it on TV Saturday afternoon, and all of a sudden Dungey is out. I don't know when he got hurt. It must have been early on, I think. You've got to be ready to go, and it's not just that position. There's other positions on the field that you're hanging on, you've got a guy, you feel like you play a guy, don't play the guy, you hang in, it's getting late in the year, you're trying to manage that. But if you have to play somebody, you do.
In a perfect world, probably not, but nothing is perfect. Things change so fast, so quick on you that you've got to be ready to rock and roll. The quarterback position is a toughest of all of them because there's one guy that plays. It's not like you can roll over receivers or something like that. One guy is going to have the ball, so it's hard.
Q. Just going backwards, I wanted to follow up on the second one, but the quality of the teams you're playing, the elite teams you're playing, just out-and-out scores don't make it look like --
STEVE ADDAZIO: Right.
Q. Is there a need for the Florida State game to just in terms of optics (indiscernible)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, I'm not into optics -- I know what you're asking me. I mean, what's an optic, Clemson took out Syracuse by 55 points? Louisville put 63 on Florida State? I mean, it is what it is. I mean, yeah, would we like to be more productive on offense and eliminate some of these plays on defense? Sure, we would, there's no question about that. But this is what happens when you play some elite teams. I mean, Louisville is averaging 50 points a game. That's their average; that's not their high, that's their average. We all saw what we saw. If you can't see that, then you don't understand football at all, and you guys do. That's just what it is, okay.
So I'm not really worried about optics, but I am worried about development. This Florida State team, pretty talented now. I mean, they're pretty talented now. When you start thinking Florida State is not talented, think again now. When you watch the tape, their defensive front is outstanding, okay. A lot like NC State's was an outstanding defensive front. That's what you play in this conference right now.
We just want to go out and play the best that we can play. See, the optics, what happens is as I tried to explain, and I don't know, I'm probably just not doing a great job of it, is the quarterback-receiver combinations that happen to be out there right now, that can happen quickly, and it's happening quickly on everybody, okay. Virginia a couple weeks ago would say, yeah, three dropped three touchdown passes in the first quarter, Louisville. Three, they just dropped them or they were overthrown. It wasn't like they weren't wide open by eight, nine yards. They were, and that has a lot to do with things.
This is the same for us. I've been around here now for a number of years, and we've had quite a few guys running free in the back end sometimes, but they're not necessarily getting hit. You know, we're seeing some tremendous throws and catches right now. I mean, if you watch them, you see them. Some of them are -- we've had a couple issues too. But some of these are fantastic -- by any evaluation, are fantastic, elite throws and catches. We've seen them. That have been contested and caught, and you're like, wow. That's a hell of a play. I mean, and I felt like I've seen more of that this year than I've seen in quite some time, and I think that's directly related, though, so what we're talking about here.
You know, who you play matters. I mean, it just matters, okay. If you're in this conference and you're not playing the likes of Louisville, Florida State, your crossover game, permanent, is Virginia Tech who's now found a quarterback and a veteran team here, you're not playing those teams, Louisville, Clemson, Florida State, that matters. Again, that's not an excuse, it's just the facts.
Now, will this make us better over time? Yes. Yeah, but it's a little painful right now. But yeah, it's going to make you better over time. The better you play against -- there's sometimes a fine line, sometimes people use this with quarterbacks, though; development and will you get -- yes, get better over time, yes, but it can rattle your confidence a little, too. I mean, you're a corner out there, and you're getting beat, that can rattle your confidence. That's all part of it, too, now. So that's why we try to mix and match what we're doing and not continually put them on islands because when you put those guys on islands, I mean, it's problematic, you know? Pitt plays a lot like that, right? I think Virginia Tech put 400 yards passing on them.
I mean, you play on those islands, if the quarterbacks are on and you've got good receivers, those percentages are going to shift on you dramatically, okay. And sometimes that's a little bit of the luck of the draw, a little bit, right? I mean, that's the way that goes, you know. And people are attacking that. That's why we're actually trying to mix that up a little bit to not constantly put our guys there because if you do, it's a percentage thing. You take X amount of vertical shots down the field on man coverage, you know, they're going to catch a couple, you're going to knock a couple down, they're going to get a couple of PIs. There's a percentage that goes there, and then if they're making great catches, sometimes those things are on sometimes they're not. On the flipside of it, people will tell you none of those teams have really won a championship yet, either, because consistently you can't count on that happening enough.
You've got to be able to really run the football really, really well, and obviously if you can have a little bit of both, that's great, and sometimes those offenses stretch their defenses and the defenses can't play at the same level.
It's all what your philosophy is how to win a game and the talent level that you have, the kind of players that you have, and where you want to shape this thing, okay, because everybody pays attention to all these stats and that's great, but at the end of the day, it's about winning. And how do you win as a team and how you win as a team with who you are as a team.
I always say, I think Stanford has a great identity of who they are, and they don't worry about it, they just roll, okay. And then I think that's where we want to be, okay, is have an identity, build our talent base, develop, coach, and bring that thing up to where we want to be. We're clearly not there yet, okay.
Q. On the basketball side, you always have four or five teams over there that you know (indiscernible) that's kind of what's happened in football, too. Does it make it that much more challenging to develop when you know you have those kind of challenges to deal with every --
STEVE ADDAZIO: Sure. I mean, you know, there's no question that when you get some of these elite teams that are all on one side of the division, if you have -- and it's all cyclical. It's cyclical. I mean, you know, there have been times in history, like when we first got in the ACC here, some of those teams were down. I was at Florida when Florida State was down in 2005, '06, '07, okay. Clemson wasn't where they were, okay. Notre Dame wasn't where they were, okay.
So my point is these things are cyclical. But right now the cycle we're in right now, we happen to be in a cycle where we are -- in our conference, on our side of the division, we have some elite teams, okay. So if you take -- right now Virginia Tech has got some fourth- and fifth-year players on there, and they're hitting their stride right now. But when Coach Beamer was struggling the last few years because he knew that that team was coming up the bubble, they were young and they were coming up, and that's where they are now. Permanent crossover game. They were down for a while. Even when I first got here, that wasn't the same Virginia Tech team, right.
And so you play 12 games. You know, if you start out, you've got 12 games and four of those are elite teams like that, just through the percentage numbers if that were the case. That means that if you said, okay, those four teams, they're elite, then there's eight more teams, you're 80 percent of eight, that's six.
Our job is to worry about getting where we need to be, okay. That's where we need to be. We had a chance in game one to beat Georgia Tech. We gave up a 4th and 20, okay. That was a great opportunity for that win right there, all right. We have to pay attention to ones we have to be able to win. We went down NC State, I thought played a really good football game. It was a really good game. I looked back on it and watched it, that was a good win. That's a pretty good team right there. We've got to go get another one. We've got an opportunity this week.
We've got to go down there and play a really good game. Obviously we're on the road on a Friday night at Florida State, but you know what, we've got to go play a really good game, and then we come back home and we have UConn and we have Wake Forest, and we have to keep our eye on the target each week and go after it, each week, okay, and develop our football team.
So I really don't pay a tremendous amount of attention to all of that stuff other than what's in front of me, what happened, what do we have to do to develop, where are the issues, how do we grow, how do we correct of some those issues, and how do we just keep moving forward and believe in what I know and what I see. We're going to have a fine football team here. We really are. And you can see the makings of it everywhere. We're not quite there yet, right, but we've seen it. You know, you can see bits and pieces of it all over the place, and we're trying to get that more consistent, and sometimes that gets a little skewed by who you're playing, and the momentum of the game.
And that's in there, but I can't worry about it. It just comes down to grinding and finding the things that you need to improve. So we evaluate that tape every week and look at the good things and look at the things that we need to improve on, and where were the mistakes, how do we correct those mistakes. But when you play really good teams, those mistakes, they'll take advantage of them really fast. Like you miss a gap or something against Lamar Jackson, and we didn't even -- there was one time he made a play that we were all gapped out, and it just was bizarre, he kind of got behind the back, and the next thing you know, like that. That's happening to everybody. Everybody.
That's why stats have a lot of impact on -- you go around counting stats all you want, but I'd like to see the stats of who you play has a matter of what your stats are going to look like. You don't play Louisville, you don't play Clemson, you don't play Virginia Tech, your stats are going to look a little better, depending on who you're playing instead of those teams, unless you're playing equal teams, and there ain't many equal to them right now, okay, so that's the problem with stats.
You know, believe what you see off the tape and correct it. Right now we've got to limit the big plays on defense, and we've got to stop the complete foolishness that we do on offense because they're drive killers. We limited that against NC State, and we kind of moved the ball kind of methodically down the field, had a few big plays, but still, look at last game, the ball is on -- two turnovers, two fumbles, an interception, some bizarre penalties that we inflicted on ourselves, okay, that were unbelievable drive and yardage killers. You've heard me say that now throughout the season. That's not real characteristic of where we're been, but that's where we are right now, and that's my responsibility to get that cleaned up and fixed, okay.
Q. You mentioned earlier about the cycle of how it's hard to get a quarterback in there, but what have you seen out of the development of Darius Wade from what you've seen this year with Anthony's quick development, what do you see as his future here in this program?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Darius has done well. He's practicing like everybody, and he's had a chance to go into the games. He's had a chance to play. You know, it's hard to judge. You can judge a little bit more off of live bullets with Darius obviously than you can with Anthony because Darius has been in there with some live bullets.
Darius has got ability. He throws the ball well. We like Darius a lot, and you know, I think we thought we were going to see Darius in that game against NC State, and we were ready to roll with Darius.
Right now obviously we feel right now that Pat gives us our best opportunity right now consistently, leadership, everything, to win, and so that's why Pat is in there, but we have faith in Darius, and we have faith in Anthony.
You know, if I thought that there was reason to make a change there, I'd make a change there. Does that mean that I think everything is perfect? No, I don't. I just have to look at it each week and say, what do I think gives us the best opportunity, and I think I addressed -- I did do a couple weeks ago a statistical analysis of the throwing game, and you know, we had a lot of drops, and it was really -- people say, well, immediately want to blame the quarterback sometimes for where your passing stats are, but when you really did the study and you took out the drops and you're right where you should be in the national norms and then, not that I'm right all the time, but it kind of bore out in the NC State game, okay.
Do I think would I hesitate to play anybody else? No. I'm into playing who I think gives us the best chance to win, and I think Pat gives us the best chance to win right now. That does not reflect that I don't believe Darius can play and I don't believe Anthony can. Quite the opposite. But I think where we are right now, what I see in practice every day and what I see in the whole picture, I think that Pat tolls has done everything we asked him to do, and I think he gives us our best opportunity to win, and if that changes on Friday night, then that changes and we'll adjust to it. But I think he's done a really good job, and I think all three guys are working really, really hard, and as I told you a year ago, even though a year ago we played the quarterback merry go round, that's not really what I like or want to be involved with, but last year was a unique and different kind of deal. So I'm not really into that now.
The only thing we do is put Jeff Smith back there because we want to make sure in our mind he's an explosive guy and we're trying to find ways for him to touch the football more, just not in the throw game, in other ways. That's the only reason why we're doing that right now.
You know, steadying the boat, keep developing our receivers right now. We go like this a little bit there, too, with the drops and things like that. I think the offensive line is getting better each week. I really do. I've seen great growth in them and they've stayed together. Knock on wood, we've been kind of healthy now for the last two weeks. It's not perfect, but it's getting better.
What I felt like we would see, I feel like we are seeing. Definite incremental growth with those guys right now, headed the way I think it should head.
I think the running backs, same thing. I want to see more productivity there. I think in spurts each guy has had their moments. Just got to keep moving. Offense is about timing. Offense is about consistency. Keeping the chains -- when you move the chains, in my opinion, not that this is a revelation, good things happen. You pick up momentum, you start making plays, you call more plays, and you start to get going. When you have a hard time getting going on offense, it makes it difficult. We're not a team built for coming from behind like that right out of the gate. That's not a great scenario for us, especially right now, although hopefully one day as we develop our throw game, we're going to be better there, too, and I think there's great evidence that our throw game may be -- when you watch it and you say, I see the promise in these young receivers and tight ends, you know, so -- I'm excited about that.
But hey, listen, we've got a big challenge ahead of us again this week. Friday night, on the road, in Tallahassee against a very talented Florida State team. You know, that's also in relative terms dealing with some youth, but they're talented. When you watch them, they're very explosive. I mean, just watch the game last week against NC State, and you can see it. It'll be a great challenge for us, but our guys really look forward to it.
Like I said, we had a heck of a day today. Our kids got a great attitude, a great demeanor, and the reason we feel that, people are like why -- because they know. When you're on a team and you don't see the promise and you don't see the potential, that can wear you down. But when you do, you just want to keep going because it's right -- you feel like it's kind of like right there. You know, and that's kind of where our guys are right now. That's why it's fun to coach the team.
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