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August 29, 2017

Steve Addazio

Boston, Massachusetts

STEVE ADDAZIO: Okay, guys. Time to start the 2017 football season. We're excited about it. We've all been working the whole year getting ready, everybody across the country, and we're particularly excited about our football season, which opens up here, as you all know, on Friday night in DeKalb, against Northern Illinois.

It's a good football team. They've historically had great teams there. They've won some mighty big games. They have an offense that was averaging over 460 yards of offense last year, pretty evenly split run/pass.

I think they have a great program. I've always been an admirer of their program. I coached in the MAC. I have a good familiarity with the MAC. And that was really the pinnacle. So the job that's been done there has been incredible. We know the kind of team that we're going to face. We understand the challenges of being on the road, playing a quality Division I opponent. We understand the fact that this will become, obviously, a big, big game for everybody and specifically for them.

So we've had a preseason full of getting prepared and getting ready for our team to play at a high, high level. Any questions?

Q. The obvious here, are you announcing your starting quarterback?
STEVE ADDAZIO: So we have a plan in place right now, and I'm going to keep that plan with us right now and act upon it according to what we've laid out for ourselves. There's no competitive advantage for me in any way, shape, or form, to show everything what we want to do, why we want to do it.

Q. Fair enough, can we just report that it will be a game day decision?
STEVE ADDAZIO: You can report that. I didn't say that, but you can report that.

Q. All right. Two-Pointer, what would Darius have done to win the job, and what would Anthony have done to win the job?
STEVE ADDAZIO: These guys, honestly, they both had a really good preseason camp. They had a great spring, a great off-season. They've done a fantastic job. Both these guys have played at a high level, and we really have confidence in both of them, that's a fact.

I think, when you look at these things, you look at the entire body of work. You don't ride the roller coaster day in, day out. I promised myself that we would do that, and that's what we're about the business of doing is evaluating the whole thing.

The good news is, like I said, some people will spin it different ways, but I feel like I'm telling you it's great to feel like you have two quality guys in your room. Really we have more than that. We have some really quality young guys as well, and that's a good feeling. I haven't been able to say that here in five years, right? So that's the way it should be. There should be a really good competition in there, and I'm excited about that.

Q. Another change on the depth chart is Connor Strachan for middle linebacker. I know you've been talking about that for a while. Why do you like him at that position? And then what do you see out of Max Richardson who's in that starting middle linebacker role?
STEVE ADDAZIO: First of all, yes, there's great flexibility with Connor. That doesn't mean that he won't play mike backer. What we like about him is he's got great speed. In that position out there, you've got to be able to be involved in man coverage and guys that can run. And the fact that a guy like Max, we have tremendous confidence in him. So that all kind of goes together.

I think Kevin Bletzer's had a great camp too. So we're trying to build our pool of guys we feel can play out there. But to say that Connor can't play inside, we say that, but we've trained him in both. We try to cross-train a lot of these -- a lot of positions, to tell you the truth. We try to cross-train linebackers, but Connor has the best skill set to be able to handle the job description of playing that -- what we call that Sam outside linebacker position, and one of the biggest deals with that is the ability to cover and play man coverage.

Q. Coach, BC 12-5 in season openers since 2000. Just talk about how important it is to get that first win to get rolling, especially after Georgia Tech last year, to kind of get positive vibes.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, our goal as a team is to win the opener. That's the first goal you have. I mean, that's elementary school, you want to win the opener. Everybody wants to win the opener. Not everybody's going to win the opener, but that's your goal. That's what you train for, and that's what you prep for.

Obviously, all those things, stats and everything, have to do with just who the hell you open with. Traditionally, people open with smaller FCS opponents. Of course, that's not the case all the time. I mean, there are some grand games being played. We're opening with a very competitive Division I football team with history on the road at their place on Friday night. So that's a fair challenge there.

If you watched college football last week -- and I know you guys did -- you saw a lot of teams on the road struggling opening day. It happens. You've got to -- your job and what you're trying to do is avoid that and make sure your team is as prepared as they can possibly be. I just think it comes down to taking care of the football. Don't turn the ball over. I think, if you have a lot of penalties and you turn the ball over, I don't care who you are, you put yourself in harm's way. When teams get in trouble opening day, it usually has something to do with those two things.

Q. Coach, how do you prepare a team for what's an unusually late start time?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I don't know there's a great answer for that. You can try to practice late at night and all that other kind of stuff. I just think there's so much energy and so much juice and excitement around a game that -- you know, you're probably going to struggle with too much anxiety and angst on it. So I just think that I'm more -- I'm not not concerned with that, but I'm more concerned with yesterday, today, tomorrow.

Because, you know, we've been in camp a long time, and just that transition from practice 25 -- no, no, NIU game week two, that's the piece to me that everyone is trying to figure out, okay, spiders, no spiders, how much running, how much contact, how do you get the max performance.

Once you get in game week, everybody's fairly standard in the season, but leading in from preseason, that's sometimes a little bit different, and you're just trying to get your hand on a pulse. I got a lot more going into that thought process than I do 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, whatever, 9:00, 9:30 our time. I'm not concerned with it, but just going to have to deal with it.

Q. Coach, you recently announced your captains. What is it about those guys that you've seem in your time here that lets you know they're the perfect leaders for this weekend?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I don't vote for the captains. The team votes for the captains.

Q. What about those guys in particular that --
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think, what I see is apparently what the team saw. These are really high character guys. They have great work ethic. They've played a lot of football here. So you're talking about good players, veteran players, that are about the right stuff, and the players know. They know what goes on. So they have chose those two guys as their leaders, and I think those are really great choices.

I think we have a lot of good choices in the senior class, but I think those two guys are great choices. I'm excited about them. You couldn't find two better guys. They approach things the way you should approach them. So really, really well done by our team.

Q. Steve, just according to the depth chart, they're going with Ryan Graham at quarterback. Do you have any kind of sample on him?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I'm not sure who they're going with, to be honest with you, because they're not announcing it. I think you take a look at --

Q. What are their tendencies? What do they like to do?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, they're really -- they want to run the football. This team wants to run the football, and I don't think there's any doubt that we've got to stop the run. I think that's the biggest thing that we're looking at right now. They have a lot of different stuff on offense in terms of speed sweeps on the perimeter and a lot of different read zone options. So they're trying to stretch you horizontally quite a bit, and they have some gap schemes interiorally and then some play action passes off of that.

I think it's just about preparing for what they do in its entirety. And what the percentages are, God only knows. I think with them it really does start with establishing the run. So I think we've got to do a great job of taking the run away, whether it's inside or outside run.

Okay, guys. Thank you.

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