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August 3, 2017

Steve Addazio

Boston, Massachusetts

STEVE ADDAZIO: All right, guys. Just want to thank everybody for coming out, exciting time of year. We're getting involved in football. It's been a long time to get back to it. We had a great off-season, a great winter, a great spring, recruiting has gone fantastic. Our players have had a tremendous amount of energy and juice about them throughout the whole off-season and summer, and we've gone into our training camp with that same momentum, that same energy, and it's been fun to be around.

It's also nice around here to see some of the unbelievable construction underway, so at the Boston College campus right now are a lot of good things. Fun to be around it.

We're headed into camp. We've got -- we've improved at all positions. Our team is maturing. We have some marquee players. We have some good team speed, and we're off to a good start in training camp. Enjoying watching that.

We'll continue to grind through training camp and watch this team develop and grow. It's a short amount of time before the opener, so we all know that there's a real sense of urgency, players and everybody, coaches, everybody.

With that, any questions you have?

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the different skill sets that each quarterback brings to the table, not necessarily the quarterback situation or who's going to play or anything like that, but just what each guy on the field can do?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, you know, you start with Darius and Anthony, they're both -- they both can throw the ball. They're accurate. They have good arm strength. They're athletic. All of our guys are athletic, can throw the ball right now, are pretty accurate.

I think knowledge of what we're doing, mastery of what we're doing is probably where the separations occur. I mean, John Fadule has great mastery of what we're doing, very bright guy, really on top of it, as obviously Anthony and Darius.

The younger guys, I mean, there's exceptional talent there, really. EJ is a fantastic athlete. I mean, he has measurables. He can throw the ball. He's very competitive. He's just absorbing it all right now trying to get it all down. He got here mid-semester. It gave him a little advantage. You know, but the rest of the guys are -- they're all bright. They're all good players. I mean, they can chuck it. It's a quarterback room now. There's a room of quarterbacks.

You know, three of them are extremely young, right; I mean, they're true freshmen. And then Anthony is just a redshirt freshman, and Darius is the older guy in the group. But the talent level is high. Watching it on the field, just the level of play every day gets better there. I'm really encouraged by what I see.

Q. Jon Baker is a guy who was kind of forced into a leadership role at a very young age due to the graduations of all the linemen the year before; just how important has he been to this program during his time here?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I mean, Jon is an A1A kid. He's a great student, a great human being. He's a really good football player, and he's had to absorb probably some of those roles when he really wasn't ready for that. But I think along with him now, Chris Lindstrom has really assumed a role like that, as well. I think those guys are kind of bonding with the leadership and the demands on the offensive line in terms of the bar that they want to have set for their room. So you know, as that group matures, which obviously Aaron now has played for two years, you know, and it helps to bring along some of the young guys and even some of the guys that really haven't played that much.

So Jon is a great role model. He has a fantastic work ethic, and he's really just a great human being, I mean, and a very bright guy, and carries himself the way you should. He's been a good role model for everybody, but certainly in the offensive line meeting room.

Q. Getting back to the QB situation, general question: When you have two guys who seem to be pretty close in a competition, what's the message you like to share with them about what you're looking for as a head coach when you're trying to determine who's going to lead that offense?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Leadership. Drive the football team. Drive the team. I mean, the intangible stuff is so important at that position. How you carry yourself, how do your teammates feel you carry yourself. Are they attracted to you in terms of being a leader. Can you drive them? Can you say the hard things? Can you push the team on the field? All those things are really, I think, very, very important.

When you have the right guy, that's happening. I've never been around a guy that doesn't possess that and really be a great player. You know, every day -- it's always about is a guy -- is it a youth thing, is it a maturity thing, because when you get here, you're young, you're a little intimidated. But after a while, it no longer would be that, right. So I mean, you're trying to evaluate the natural it factor and then how much of that can continue to grow with maturity, or is that maxed out where it is. So I mean, we really look a lot at that. That's really important.

When you are competing for championships, you don't often see that happen without one of those kind of marquee guys that has that uniqueness to him. There's not that many of them. I happen to have been around two in my career. I've seen more, but I've actually been around and coached two, and we had one -- we've had a few here. Certainly we all know who the most recent one was who's dominating in the NFL right now. But they're special. And when you have a special guy, it makes all the difference in the world to your whole football team. Make no mistake, we see that every day just going down the street to Foxboro, right? Don't think for one second -- that guy right there is a special, special guy.

Everybody in the country is in the hunt to find some degree of a special guy, you know, on that continuum. But if you don't have one even at the base of that continuum, it's hard. It's very, very hard.

And so since I've been here, our goal has been to get out there and just kind of re-recruit that whole room, and I think right now, we have re-recruited that room now. Now we've got to let that room blossom and grow. How right will you be? I don't know what that percentage is, but you'd better be right on one. I'm a big believer in grab as many guys as you can because err on numbers in that room. And that was something that when I got here, I didn't have, because you've got to have numbers in there to create that. It's got to foster. You don't know it necessarily in year one or two, witnessed by Matt. You guys no matter than that, I think it was redshirt freshman here where he started to blossom and became who he was, which was just a special, special guy.

Q. Harold Landry getting a lot of hype this preseason; I'm guessing coaches know that, as well, opposing coaches. He's going to be double teamed a lot this year. Who on defense should we look for who's going to emerge in that next class coming up behind him to focus on?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I've said this right along. We have three really good pass rushers here, okay, but Zach Allen is going to emerge on a breakout year this year. I promise you. He is an elite player. And that'll be a mistake if you turn him into a single block. Wyatt Ray is going to become an elite pass rusher in an elite conference. We're not playing in one of these lower level conferences. Those three guys are very talented. Buy at is really developing. You saw Zach at the end of last year. That's a big, athletic man, and of course Harold had his breakout year last year. So I think you're going to see three of those guys, which then makes it much more difficult to start scheming just Harold, because those other two guys, they're going to get home now. I mean, they're good. Zach Allen is almost 6'5", 285-pound athletic guy. I mean, he's the real deal. So that's a good thing. That's a good thing.

Now, we've got to work on our depth interiorly. We lost a good player in there in the middle.

Q. The early success came from the running game when you first got here.

Q. And the line has had to mature. How do you feel about the running game?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think you're going to see the running game really mature now because the line is maturing and the backs are maturing. When I got here, through some fifth-year transfers adding in and then of course Andre, but Andre wasn't -- really hadn't done anything yet, but we put that together and we had an elite running game. When Murph came in here we changed our style a little bit. We had some more spread principles in there and option principles, and with Murph and with John when he was healthy as a true freshman, really had a pretty elite running game, as we knocked off No. Whatever USC here in our stadium. Then we lost our offensive line, which has been well-chronicled, and there was a void in there because there was no middle class. So we played some guys in here quite frankly that really had no business playing. They were too young. But they did. That's been well-documented. But now Aaron Monteiro is now a veteran player. Chris Lindstrom -- I love to say this because actually I've been coaching the O-line in my career so this amazes me, so I say it for my own amusement. He was playing at 265 pounds as a true freshman against Florida State. He's now 310 pounds and he's a really good player right now. But when he played, he had no business being on the field, you know? We lost that redshirt with both of those guys. But that's life.

So now the line is maturing and the running backs are maturing, and Jon Hilliman had his best spring ever, and he's had an unbelievable off-season, and he's looked fantastic in camp.

Travis Levy, young freshman came in here. I think that kid is going to be a really good player. Davon Jones. Davon Jones is a strong back, and of course AJ Dillon is in here, and he's a different cat now. I mean, his ability -- his speed, power and ability to cut with his size is very unique. We've got a stable of backs. We can stay healthy up front -- for anybody, stay healthy up front. I wouldn't say we have unbelievable depth, but we're going to be able to be up front with enough experience and enough size to be able to play in the level of defensive fronts that we play against, and we will run the football. We'll be able to run the football.

Now, our goal is we also -- I mean, our tight end room is phenomenal right now, and our wide receiver room. This is the fastest -- Rich Gunnell, he was a great player here. He's been here a long time as a player, as a GA and now as a coach. He said he's never seen this much speed in a BC wide receiver room ever. So we've got some fast guys that have been around a little bit. We've got the tight ends that are very multidimensional, are very good players. The offensive line has improved. The running back room has improved. Now, let's go document how much the quarterback play improves. That coupled together should spark for a much-needed and much better offensive output.

Q. Just on the topic of offense, Coach Loeffler has a track record for going places and having a lot of turnaround. I was wondering what you saw in his first year and what you see going forward this year.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yep. I mean, he's always had to go into tough situations. It's amazing. Some people walk into great situations. He's walked into tough ones where he's really had to be a part of rebuilding it. That's painful sometimes. But he's done a fabulous job.

Last stop he was at, he did an unbelievable job rebuilding that offense. Wasn't there, though, to reap the final rewards of that, but he's done a fabulous job revamping here and helping us to develop what we're trying to develop right now. We were together at Temple when I went in there and he did a great job of that. He's a really outstanding quarterback developer, really, and really bright guy, and a task master, and he's done a really good job.

This has been quite a big project on offense right now to mature our football team, to recruit it and mature it, and we feel like we're really heading down a great road right now with that. But it's been a process.

Q. (Indiscernible).
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, when I went to Temple, you know, there really wasn't an established quarterback there. I mean, those themes sometimes are -- so we had to really work at trying to find out who would play quarterback there, and that's why when I was there, we went out and recruited and committed one of the best quarterbacks ever to play there was PJ Walker, but I left there to come here before we had a chance to really see the fruit of that labor.

But I think it goes back to someone else's question here sometimes: When you go into these places that have established depth at quarterback, it makes that process a little better. When you don't have that, it's a tough process. It can create havoc for many a guy. You know, at Temple, we had an older offensive line. We had a really good running back but an unproven quarterback room. That's what happened there. We ran the ball extremely well there, played great defense. My deal is come in, get the defense right. Play great defense. Start it there. Try and get the running game right, and then go from there. That's kind of what we did there, kind of what we did here.

Q. (Indiscernible).
STEVE ADDAZIO: You'd love it to be immediate, but we all know certain things take time for certain reasons. But I think we knew this would be a work in progress, and most important thing was getting to the right quarterback. You know, and getting a system established, kind of who we wanted to be, big picture. Year one was a maximize who we had. That's what we had to do year one. We did it. We maximized that. Year two with Murphy, that was -- I knew exactly what his strengths and weaknesses were. We had to maximize Murphy. We did that. Year three we never had a chance to do anything, and last year we put the system together, and we plugged in a fifth-year guy and we managed it the best we could there, and now we're trying to refine that system because we've got the system we want and get that triggered exactly the right way. That's the long or short version, however you look at it.

Q. Are there any speed guys out there that can replace Miles and Tyler in the return game right now?
STEVE ADDAZIO: A whole host of them. Honestly, a whole host. We're fast right now. We have speed. I mean, Jeff Smith is really fast. I mean, you saw that in our conference he was really fast. You saw that against Notre Dame two years ago, he was really fast. I mean, he's a documented fast guy. Mike Walker is a documented fast guy. Taj Torres is a documented fast guy. Oh, gosh. Oh, Hamp Cheevers is a documented fast guy. Those guys can all run. Shoot, Jon Hilliman is a fast guy. Jon Hilliman this summer clocked out pretty darned fast now. He's got some wheels. He can go.

Ben Glines can run. Kobay White can run. Christian Mc -- he's not a return guy, but Christian McStravick, he's a big guy, but he can fly. He can fly. I mean, he can go. There's a lot of guys that -- I'm probably missing somebody really quickly ratcheting through my head here. AJ Dillon can fly. He may be 247 pounds, but he can fly. I believe he's a 10.7100 meter documented. That's moving now.

We've got some guys that can run. Isaac Yiadom, he might -- Isaac is a debate whether Isaac or Jeff are the two fastest guys on the football team. I mean, you know, and Will Harris is not very far behind them, and Cam Moore. They all run. It took a while to get there. They can run.

But everybody we play against can run. I mean, they run. This is a fast, a really heavy defensive conference with great speed, and what makes it elite the last couple years is they've had some elite quarterbacks. You mix that together, that's why there's been three national titles in the last, what, five years or whatever it is. That's why. It's not a great mystery. I mean, I've seen it in other places and other conferences. It's kind of what it is.

Q. You've been talking some big picture stuff. No coach ever wants to inhibit a guy from going on to the next level, and Harold certainly could have, but how critical was it to get a player like that back as you're continuing to build this?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, he's a marquee player. First of all, here's what's really interesting about all that to me. He didn't redshirt, so he was going to leave after three, okay. Here's a marquee player. Our goal here is to get them into their fourth and fifth years, but he popped in a year, and then it was going to be, boom; know what I mean? He made the right decision big picture for him, and that's what I told him. I said, you've got to look at this big picture what's right. I can't look at it selfishly through our eyes. It's all based on getting your degree, where you're projected, can you lift your projection, and so thorough research was done. He happens to play for a guy that's one of the most respected guys in pro and college football. He couldn't have got a better source, who's more connected at the next level to give you real information, not the fake information, okay.

So he made a really good, smart, well-thought-out, educated decision. No one has a perfect crystal ball. We all know that. You just take all the facts that you can, you make the best -- I've already seen improvement. Why? I think because -- two factors: One, he has an elite position coach, and two, he was only a -- he'd only been here three years. He was young. He was really young. When he got here, he was young and immature. So just being a -- never mind a fifth year player, just being a fourth year player for him I can see already is making a world of difference.

Now, does that ever equate out with your stats in the end? Who knows, there's so many factors that go into affecting those things, and nobody cares. They're all going to look at the film, press play, and look at what they want to go see to make their determinations, and right now I'm telling you that play has increased.

So we all keep our fingers crossed, we do the best we can. We try to keep everybody as healthy as we can, and you look back one day and you hope, well, that was a great decision for everybody, you know. But no guarantees for anybody.

Q. You talked a bunch about the guys up front on defense so far; can you just talk a little bit about Connor Strachan, his role on the team, what you see for him this coming year?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Again, he is an elite player. Connor Strachan is a marquee player. You look and you say, without trying to like leave somebody out, but Connor is an elite player. I mean, he is a guy that -- what makes him different? He's big, strong, and extremely fast. He really can run, okay, and he's a four-year starter. So Connor is set to have just a phenomenal football year. But he's at the apex of our defense, right, so here's a guy that is a veteran player, who's really, really good. He's at the apex -- he and Ty Schwab have played a lot of football here together, right, so he's a violent player, he's a competitive, tough-ass player, okay, and you just like being around him. I mean, he loves the game -- this is coaching stuff, but like what do you love about marquee, great players? They usually have very similar things in common. Like Harold is relentless in his preparation and taking care of his body and how he approaches -- Connor Strachan is relentless -- I've been around those guys, and those guys all possess that kind of common -- they're self-driven. You don't have to coach them on effort, nothing. They want greatness every day, and they push themselves for it every day, and they can't get enough. Connor is like that. So is Ty Schwab. So is Will Harris in the back end. He's another apex, right. Safety, linebacker, Ray Smith knows, rush ends. That's how you build it. Connor is an integral part of this whole thing, right. Why? Another reason, tangible reason why: People want to take a big strong guy like that and they want to say, okay, we want to get him out of the game, we want to put a spread fast set in and make him match up. Good. He can match up. He can run with them all.

Sometimes we've had guys in the past that you got nervous where someone would pick on them by getting them in 3rd down and man coverage, isolating him and putting a fast guy on him and beating him. They were good against the run, but they were a liability against the throw. This guy does it all.

Q. You mentioned earlier you drive around campus, a lot of construction, football facility. Just talk about generally how has that helped you recruiting the last couple months knowing that's going to be built?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, the obvious, but it all goes together, you know. Everything is momentum. Like football is momentum, everything is momentum. We finish strong, we got the first bowl win in nine or ten years. We had a great off-season. There's building going on, commitment to athletics, $200 million going into athletic facilities, brand-new indoor weight room. Just creates an energy and a buzz and just speaks to the commitment level of Boston College to build its athletic program.

It all -- recruiting is sales. It's business. You're trying to create energy and a buzz and momentum, and kids in recruiting pay attention to facilities.

Now, you don't have to win the -- you don't have to have the biggest, the baddest. We don't need a bowling alley and a barber shop and all that because we've got so many other great things that other people don't have, but what we have has to be good and nice and the ability to help us develop our athletes, which is what we're doing. So it's exciting. It's very, very exciting. It's an exciting time at Boston College right now athletically, academically, as well, but we're talking about athletics. It's a very exciting time.

You talk about BC has a great buzz nationally for everybody. The person who just wants to come and go to school here. Shoot, how many percent of our students here come from California, all the way across the country because of the reputation of the place. So there's a good, positive vibe, a good, positive buzz about everything, and tangibly seeing the actual work being done, because some guys always used to come back and say, yeah, I heard about that thing back when I was here 15 years ago. Well, it's going on right now. It's going on in a big way. I haven't seen this many trucks and shovels in my life. I can't even park my car anywhere for crying out loud; I've had about enough. I've got to walk about a half a mile. But it's worth it. I'd walk three miles just to get all these facilities done and really make this happen because I think it's going to be big, and for the future of BC athletics.

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