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BOSTON COLLEGE FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
December 4, 2016
STEVE ADDAZIO: Okay, well, we're certainly all very excited to have an opportunity to go play the University of Maryland in Detroit and excited about the bowl game, excited to have an opportunity to extend our practices and to continue to develop our football team, and just to be together, because as I said many times, I really love our football team. I love being around these guys, and they love football, and it's a lot of fun to coach.
We have an opportunity to go get our seventh win and play in a tremendous venue in a bowl game where the hospitality is fantastic. Jason has been a part of being at that bowl game. I have some friends that have been at that bowl game. And Detroit is right downtown, such a great area, and there's some good things to see, museums.
So we're excited for our kids. It's another venue, another place that they've never been before, and as I said, we're going to be playing against Maryland, which is a team that's familiar to us from the ACC. They're now in the Big Ten.
DJ Durkin and I have known each other a long, long time. I was involved with hiring him when we were at the University of Florida. I've known DJ for a long time as a coach. He's a dynamic young football coach, heck of a guy, tremendous family. I know other coaches on their staff, and we know that they have a very talented team, and we're looking forward to playing them.
Couldn't be happier about our opportunity. Couldn't be happier about the chance to get to our seventh win and play in this bowl game and have a chance to be around our players and develop our team.
Q. What's it mean to have an opportunity to get that seventh win against a Power Five opponent?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, it's just great. I think as you head in, finish the season, it's a great springboard into the next season. You have a chance to have another, if you will, spring practice. I mean, it's really every bit as many practices as spring ball, so you have like spring ball one, and as you said, we play a Power Five team, play a Big Ten team, and with recognition to the BC fans, as a former ACC team, and get your seventh win. I think all that's real positive, springboarding to the future, and continuing to develop our team.
Q. Back a little bit with Coach Durkin, I didn't know that about that. What kind of stamp did he put on the Maryland program? What can you tell us about this guy?
STEVE ADDAZIO: DJ is a high-energy, high-octane guy. You know, when we were at Florida and I was the interim head coach, I had a chance to be a part of hiring him to get him to come to Florida from Stanford, and he was a great -- is a great special teams mind, and obviously a great defensive mind, becoming the defensive coordinator at Florida after I left, and then going on to be the defensive coordinator at Michigan, and then of course having this opportunity here at Maryland.
We've worked together. We're good friends, and I love DJ. I love the way he coaches, so I have a lot of respect for him, for his staff.
Dave Borbely is a guy, the offensive line coach for Maryland, we worked together at North Dakota. We go back, and I know that that's going to be a really well-coached football team, and they're going to have a lot of energy and a lot of juice because that's the mindset and that's the model that the head coach is going to set forward, DJ, at that program. So it will be a great challenge for us, but it'll also be a lot of fun to see those guys.
Q. Do you detect a sense of urgency from your seniors?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean, I think they feel just that way, that we've fought really hard down the home stretch to get bowl eligible, to get a chance to get to this bowl game, and with them, obviously they want to win the bowl game. We all do. But they feel that. They really feel strong about the legacy they want to leave as we move this thing forward, and that legacy is going to our third bowl in four years and a chance to win that bowl and get that seventh win and really push this program forward.
I think they feel real excited about that. I think it's important to them. I think it's driving to them, so I'm anxious to have a chance to prepare them and watch them play.
Q. Both you and DJ have led your programs to bowl berths in your first years. Is there any advice you'd give a first-year head coach like that in his first bowl game?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, I just think that one of the challenges sometimes if a team hasn't been to a bowl game is it's exciting to get there, but it's got to be more exciting to win when you get there. You know, I just -- I think that you want to work hard. You want to drive and push, but you also want to make sure it still remains a reward, a reward to have a chance to play again, to your team.
So there's a fine line there in terms of how hard you work, and you want to work real hard and you want to be super prepared, but you also don't want bowl season to become drudgery. You want it to be exciting, and while it's exciting, you're still in there developing, and in there is some fine line, and I think you have to have a feel like that.
Q. Kind of go with the fundamentals in this long stretch or can you kind of get a little creative with what you want to do?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think it's all of the above. I think you go in -- we've already got three practices going. I think you go in with fundamentals. I think you go in with the opportunity to develop the players on your roster that haven't had a chance to play. I think you look at some things that spring ball, I think you look at them now.
I think if that means some creativity, great. If that means something that you felt like you never quite were able to get to, now you can get to it. I think you use this time that way. One, fundamentally; two, players that haven't had a chance because week to week it's hard to look at guys, give them a chance to look at competing against each other; three, whether it be creative or whether it be some -- conceptionally some things on offense or defense or special teams that you really would have liked to have gotten to, but you didn't, you get to them now.
So I think all of that. I think any time you go to a bowl game you want to have some creativity, too. You want to be able to prepare a couple of specials, if you will. The players want to have a little fun with that, too. That's all part of it, I think.
Q. Has everybody come out of Wake Forest healthy?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, not yet. I mean, Tyler Rouse is still nursing back a shoulder injury. We've got some guys that got some dings, and nothing serious. Barring any future injuries in preparation, everyone will be at full strength. But we still have a couple guys nursing some deals that are not quite there. But with this time off, I mean, Tyler doesn't need -- he's been around the program long enough, he can take this time to recuperate a little bit and make sure he's ready.
So there's probably four or five guys that we'll probably reevaluate next weekend and see where they're at in terms of getting back at it. But I would assume, again, barring any further injuries in bowl prep which sometimes happens because you're going to compete against each other, we should hopefully be at full strength.
Q. Maryland, an old ACC team. Will you guys look back at any of the film from when you coached against them or because of their change in coaching staff --
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, we'll look at all current, all this year. It's all DJ's team, DJ's defense. They have a whole new offense, whole new defense, whole new special teams. We'll certainly look at this year's tape, game 1 all the way through 12. There's a lot of film, and study the ones that are applicable to us. Not everything is applicable based on -- and they're not going to play us the same way they may play a 10 or 11 personnel grouping team. But there's enough tape through the year that you certainly get a good sense of who people are.
Q. Do you get to play a team that you have seen before, that used to be in your conference?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think there's some good affiliation. I mean, you know, Maryland has got name recognition to our players, to BC, to BC fans, you know, as a former ACC team and now a Big Ten team. So yeah, I'm excited about playing them. I'm excited about playing a Big Ten team, an ACC team versus a Big Ten team, and I think it's great. I think it's awesome. This is a matchup that we're really excited to have a chance to play against.
Q. How is the shoulder?
TYLER ROUSE: I'm doing well. It's doing well. Getting better every day.
Q. You've been around this class for a long time. Was there a sense of seniority to you to close this thing out?
TYLER ROUSE: I think so. I think we're all excited that we're going to another bowl game, and I think as seniors and everybody in my class and I think even more the younger guys, we all just want to get our seventh win and getting to that bowl game and getting a chance to play again and get that next win is important to all of us. I think everyone has a little sense of urgency about them.
Q. Any ideas how you'd like to spend some of your off time in Detroit over the holidays?
TYLER ROUSE: I'm not too sure yet. Got to do some research. I know my friend, my teammate Rich Wilson is from that area, so I'm sure he has a bunch of stuff that he could tell us all about. But as I right now, I really don't know too much about the city. But I'm looking forward to going, and I'm really excited just to play another game.
Q. Are you looking forward to Ford Field --
TYLER ROUSE: Yeah, yeah, I can't wait. I'm really looking forward to it.
Q. How good did it feel as players after kind of all the stuff that's gone on the past few years to get that validation with a bowl game?
TYLER ROUSE: It feels great. I'm really looking forward to playing again. Getting to play in the last two bowl games when I was here my freshman and sophomore year and not going to one last year was kind of heart breaking, but just getting back to one feels great. And the team just feels so excited just to be back at one. And for the young guys who haven't been to one yet, it's really exciting for them, and they're kind of like, what are we going to do, what's going on. But it's really exciting and we're all looking forward to just getting out and playing and trying to get the seventh win.
Q. You mentioned your first two years here you went to bowl games. Obviously this is secondary to the actual game, but what were some of the bowl gifts that you got when you --
TYLER ROUSE: Some of the bowls gifts, we had like a gift suite. I think my freshman year, we had like seven points and different gifts were ranked different points and you got to pick whatever. I actually got a watch, and I got my mother a purse because it had women's products in there, as well, so I got my mother a purse for one of the gifts.
And my second year they had a bunch of New Era gear and a bunch of stuff like that, I think it was like a JBL speaker, just real cool gifts that the guys can really enjoy and we all enjoy. Some of them will be Christmas presents, and some of them you just take for yourself. Depends on how you feel, I guess.
But really looking forward to just getting there and seeing what the bowl has, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be exciting. I can't emphasize that enough. I'm really excited to go to this game.
Q. Talk about the sense of urgency right now, last chance to go out and get a bowl win.
JOHN JOHNSON: Oh, absolutely. We've got to find a way to win seven games. We've got to find a way to get to our seventh win. This is our last game together as a unit, so there's a ton of urgency, and we've got to get after it at these practices, these bowl practices.
Q. As far as the defense goes, when you have this much film to study and this much time to study a team, do you start to get into nuances and personnel groupings? Do you get to really know the opponent more than you would if you only had a week?
JOHN JOHNSON: Oh, absolutely. It goes back to Georgia Tech. We had so much time to prepare for Georgia Tech, and I think we played a decent game on defense against Georgia Tech. So hopefully we can do the same thing in preparation against Maryland and know their schemes and their players and get after them.
Q. How are you planning to spend some of the downtime in Detroit?
JOHN JOHNSON: Oh, I mean, downtown Detroit, I hear it's a great city. We'll move around, we'll check out the area, and just enjoy the time that we'll have with the best friends that we'll have for the rest of our lives, like I said in the last conference.
Q. Does it add some spice that it's Power Five against Power Five?
JOHN JOHNSON: Oh, absolutely, and on top of that, I'm from Maryland, and they didn't really offer me. They didn't really recruit me that much. It means a lot to me. It's not personal, but it's strictly business. So I mean, they'll get the best out of No. 9. That's all I can say.
Q. Talk about having all this extra time to prepare for one team. How much can you get yourself familiar with what Maryland is all about?
TRUMAN GUTAPFEL: We've got games from this year from the first week to the last week, so it's a lot of games, a lot of film to watch. So we can really narrow down tendencies and hopefully use that to have a better chance of beating these guys.
Q. Do you have any kind of scout on them yet or do you know anything about them?
TRUMAN GUTAPFEL: Just kind of looked at their wins and losses. Big Ten is a really, really strong conference this year, so going into a bowl game in that conference is impressive in itself.
Q. Truman, last memory from a bowl game wasn't a great one. Is there any sense of redemption, especially for you older guys for this bowl game?
TRUMAN GUTAPFEL: Yeah, definitely. That was a hard way to end the year. Definitely I think, as a senior class, we really want to really work and focus on winning this game. Because we went my freshman and my sophomore year and we lost them both. It's been a while since we've won a bowl game here, so it's pretty important to the senior class to leave a legacy, to go out with a winning record, 7-6.
Q. In recent years the Quick Lane Bowl has had some of the nicest gifts. Is it nice to get some sort of reward for all the hard work you've put in this season?
TRUMAN GUTAPFEL: Definitely. That's always a pretty exciting component of it. Shreveport had like the gift suite, that was pretty awesome. The Pinstripe, we had the New Era clothes, we had all kinds of gear and hats. This one, we've got a variety, like the Fathead, life-sized Fathead. So that'll be awesome. Then you've got Best Buy gift cards. It's definitely an exciting part of the whole bowl process.
Q. Did you Google Ford Field and kind of get a look around what the venue is going to be?
TRUMAN GUTAPFEL: Yeah, looks pretty cool. Pretty cool that it's a dome because Detroit in the winter is not the greatest weather. I know the skills players are pretty excited about playing in a dome. They don't like the cold or the snow.
Q. Does it speed the game up?
TRUMAN GUTAPFEL: Definitely. I think it's important for the skill players, the receivers. They don't like running around and catching footballs in the snow and the rain.
Q. Back to Ford Field, this is going to be the first time that a lot of guys have got to play inside in a dome. What does that do for you guys preparing as a defense? Does that change anything?
TRUMAN GUTAPFEL: Yeah, we've got a little bit of experience playing Syracuse. They have a dome. You know, it is different, though, playing in a dome. Syracuse, you kind of get tired, and it seems like you have less oxygen. I think the conditioning component is pretty important. It's exciting.
You know, just my time here, we've played at Fenway, we've played at Yankee stadium, we've played all over the place. This is another opportunity to play at a great venue in front of our fans. Just excited to go.
Q. Mentally is it tough for you guys to stay focused with prepping for one team the whole time?
TRUMAN GUTAPFEL: You know, it's a lot of time to focus on one team for sure, but like you mentioned, we're practicing for Georgia Tech all summer. I think it helps us a lot being able to focus. And a lot of the practices here are about developing the younger guys. It's good for the younger guys to keep honing their skills, keep working on the toolbox.
Q. What was the first reaction among you and your teammates when you found out you were going to spend Christmas in Detroit?
TRUMAN GUTAPFEL: We're just ecstatic to go to a bowl game. Just get to be with my guys a little bit longer, go out and try to leave with a winning record and win a bowl game. Just really excited.
Q. Are you going to test yourself on that fast turf in the dome?
MYLES WILLIS: Yeah, I'm excited. Getting to play in an NFL stadium in a city I've never been to, it's going to be an experience.
Q. Is there a sense of urgency among the seniors?
MYLES WILLIS: Oh, yeah, definitely. This will be my third bowl game, but I haven't won one yet, and it's definitely something that you want to have that accomplishment before you leave college and say you won a bowl game.
Q. At first glance what do you see out of the matchup with Maryland?
MYLES WILLIS: I haven't really been following them much this year, especially since they moved to a different conference, but it's a team we've played before. And we've got a lot of guys from the area, so it's going to be a fun game, great matchup, and I'm excited to play them.
Q. Any idea how you'll spend your free time in Detroit?
MYLES WILLIS: I don't know, we've got Richard Wilson, he's from Detroit, so maybe I'll stop by his place. He has a dog, I love dogs, so pet his dog and let him show me around the city.
Q. Truman mentioned that you guys might be getting life-sized Fatheads custom made for each player as a gift. What does it mean to get that kind of reward for all your hard work this season?
MYLES WILLIS: It's almost the perfect gift to get a senior, and that's something that I'm going give it to my dad. It's going to be something that he's going to cherish forever. He already has one from high school. He had a Fathead. We had like a painting for the seniors after we went to the playoffs, and he keeps it in the weight room of the house, and now he's going to have a high school one and a college one, so he's going to love that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports