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September 16, 2017

Steve Addazio

Boston, Massachusetts

Notre Dame - 49, Boston College - 20

STEVE ADDAZIO: Came back with a beautiful drive, a couple series later got that thing within two scores. We had a season high offense over 400 yards of offense. Jon Hilliman had 122 yards rushing and 5.5-yard per average. Did a lot of good things in the game. We didn't stop the run. We did not stop the run. That was a huge deal in that game.

You know, too many -- we let up too many big runs. There was like three runs which comprised most of their offense in the first half. I thought the game was hard fought. I thought our kids played hard. I thought we competed. I thought we made a bunch of plays. I thought Anthony played really well. I thought Ben Petrula at center played a heck of a football game. We're running the ball well, we're throwing the ball pretty good.

You know, we had 30 minutes of possession to their 29, so I think the tail of the game came into inability to stop big runs, and then at the end of the game, we were still a two-score game, we're trying to get it back up the field, and we called a draw, we got a 1st down, we put the ball on the ground, and that unwound us right there, gave them a short field, and they scored right there, and then that just got silly.

So that's what it was. That's where it is. Any questions?

Q. Is there anything you can pinpoint about what allowed them to get so many chunk runs?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Got out of our gaps. We got out of our gaps, and we didn't tackle well at the second level. There was a couple times the safety should have fit the runs in there, and we missed tackles. Those were missed tackles, and a couple times we hopped out of our gaps, and they popped us for some big runs in there. You know, because they also made an awful lot of good plays on defense and on offense. There was a lot of good football plays in there, both sides of the ball. Like I said, it was a hell of a game, but at that point, you know, right around the midpoint of that third quarter, that series, that series that transpired there, we took a hit on it, and then we -- but then we came back on offense and ran one down the field. It was a beautiful however-many play and however-many yard drive for a touchdown which brought us back, and I'm going to tell you, at that point in time I felt like we still had a really good chance to win that football game right there, right, but we couldn't really -- our inability to stop the run, two 3rd down runs they popped for big ones on us, 3rd down, 3rd and 9, maybe 3rd and 11, somewhere in that range, and that hurt us.

Q. How did Connor Strachan being out affect the run defense?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, he's one of the top three players on our football team, so of course it had an effect, but I still thought we played really hard. Next man up. It's like last week, we had to regroup after losing our center, but I've got to tell you, we regrouped at the center position this week. We played a really good football team, and I felt like that kid played -- I didn't see the film yet, but he played his tail off. There wasn't a lot of issues there, okay. So now we had -- then the next week we're dealing with arguably one of our top three players on our team, so we've lost two of our top four players right now, and we dealt with that, and we'll keep dealing with it. That's life. That's where it is. Any team that loses two of their top four players it's probably going to take a toll on you a little bit. That and a dime will get me a cup of coffee. We've got to get going. We've got to go play, and I thought our guys did. I thought our guys played.

I've got to tell you something. I was enjoying that football game, okay, I really was. Just aggravated that we let that last seven minutes of the third quarter and then the first five of the fourth just let that get away right there, you know.

Q. The 515 rushing yards, that was by far the most you've been here. As a coach, how does that performance sit with you? It can't possibly sit well.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Our bell cow was defense, and we don't give up like that rushing yards like that, and we let it up on big plays. It wasn't like when you get ground pounded to death. Just let up big runs. That's what happened here. We don't do that, but we did.

Q. The way Anthony bounced back today and also the game Charlie Callinan had, a couple big plays there.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Charlie caught the ball, Anthony threw the ball, played with confidence. This is like the tale of two stories to me right now, and maybe you can see it on my face a little bit. I'm really proud of the way these guys played, and some of these guys that are in here, you can see like AJ and some of the unbelievable promise that we have with these players, okay. But it's equally frustrating that we couldn't stop the run today. We were out of our gaps a little bit there at the linebacker positions. We got new people in there, and then let up those big spots like that.

But yeah, I mean, to watch some of those guys play, yeah, you couldn't get excited watching Anthony Brown play today? Of course you could. He bounced right back against a marquee opponent in a big-time atmosphere and performed. Watch AJ Dillon; that guy is going to have a lot of future -- Jon Hilliman played his best football game here. He came back after that game, and he played like a monster today. Kobay White once again made some exciting catches, and in our return game Mike Walker about popped the punt return and about popped two kickoff returns, so I mean, there's -- and Charlie caught the ball so well.

I thought our offensive line played well today. I really did. I was like proud of them, man. They've been beat up, and we've lost three starters off that unit. They played against a very stout defense today, and I thought they played well. So got to go back, and we've got to look at the big plays we let up in the run game on defense, and our offense, we've just got to keep hammering away right now. We can throw it and we can run it, we've just got to do it with more consistency. We're playing good opponents -- heck, we opened up with Northern Illinois on the road at their place; they just beat Nebraska at Nebraska. We've played some good football teams now, and I can still see the growth in our football team.

But as you pointed out, letting 500 yards of rushing up, we don't do that. And we've got to get going. We've got to look at -- we're going to have to adjust a little bit to our personnel right now, okay, is the bottom line. We're going to have to make some adjustments to our personnel right now, simple as that. We did it on offense last week, and we're going to have to do it again now. We found out about Connor probably on -- I don't even know what day it was, maybe Thursday. I can't even remember what day it was. It was late in the week and there wasn't a whole lot we could do at that point, so we rolled.

Q. Three of those big run touchdown drives really happened with Harold Landry on the field. I know you've said your strategy with him. Is there frustration when you don't have Landry on the field?
STEVE ADDAZIO: You know, listen, I've got to go watch the tape, but I can just tell you this: I don't know which ends are in all the time, but it wasn't the ends that created those missed gaps right there. It was the linebacker safety issues in there. But I didn't answer your question because I really don't know, you know. I know that seems to be a topic of conversation. I mean, nobody is trying to hold Harold back. I can tell you that right now, okay. But I told you before what our plan was with him, and you know, that wasn't the problem with those runs hitting. That much I know.

Q. How odd was it for you to see so many chunk plays in the same sort of window of time? What does that do for the shape of the game?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, you saw what it did. You saw it. That's what happened. Like I said, when you go through this game, I mean, we've got 30 minutes of possession, they've got 29. Know what I mean? There's still over 400 yards of offense here. We did a lot of good things.

That answers that question, yes. And those chunks are what torqued this game right there because it was a close game.

Q. In terms of the way they played defense (indiscernible)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, it's back breaking. It's back breaking. But when you talk to these guys in the locker room, their morale is not down, they're mad. There's a lot of pride, and they're mad. We've got to go back, and we've got -- we're going to have to make -- we're going to have to make some adjustments personnel-wise right now. I keep saying that. We're going to have to do that because we're going to have to make some additions, changes, we're going to have to look for some more people to refit where we are right now, and that's a job that we've already -- are processing, but probably couldn't quite get done in two days.

Q. (Indiscernible).
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, at that position, no, I'm not comfortable with that depth right now, no. Just like I'm not comfortable at the center position's depth. You can't go -- we're through two of them now. I can't go through three of them. I don't know how many teams in the country could to be honest with you. It's hard. These are realities. They're just realities. I've got to deal with it. And I am. We are. I thought we dealt with the offensive piece of that pretty well today to be honest with you, and we'll deal with the other piece. We've got good players, good coaches. We'll get that fixed and move forward, okay.

Like I said, you watched the game I watched. I know there was big plays in there, but there was a point coming -- I came out of halftime, I felt like, wow, we really got a great opportunity here right now, and then in the third period, and then that critical series right there, like I said, tilted it. But for the half, you know, we ran that draw, we bobbled the snap, and we bobbled the handoff. And I said to myself, okay, I have two choices here: Call a time-out, try and take one shot at the end zone, and I chose that. With this young quarterback, I wanted to get into halftime at 14-13 and let him feel a surge and feel good about what took place there. I was worried that we could have an exchange problem and/or a sack fumble at that point, and I didn't want to take away the momentum and the fight and the confidence of that young quarterback at that point in time, which would have been maybe -- I could have maybe got one more shot off to the end zone.

But I just said to myself, all we need to do now is get a strip fumble here. We don't need that right now. We're playing really well, we're playing really hard, and this kid has got a great look in his eye, and that's a really important thing you've got to keep in mind with those young quarterbacks. You've got to keep that great look in their eye. So that was the decision making there with the offensive staff to be honest with you, okay.

That's the answer to that, why that took place at that point in time. But again, I'm not a smiley face sticker guy, but boy, there was an awful lot of good stuff that went down in that game and stuff that's real, and we've just got to keep building and keep developing it and handle the personnel issues that we have been thrown our way right now. Just got to handle them, and we'll get to work on that immediately.

Q. Right before half there was that a tough decision for you to let the clock run down and did part of you want to take a shot downfield?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, yeah, but responsible for the psyche of that quarterback right now, and at that point -- everything is risk-reward. We can talk about this ad nauseam, too. Is there a right or wrong answer? I don't know. Yeah, you take the shot and you score, it's the right answer. You throw a pick and you get a strip fumble and it's the wrong answer. But at that point in time, I felt he had a good look in his eye. Our team was playing really hard. We're in the middle of this game. The percentages of dropping back to about the 45-yard line and launching a ball to the end zone and everything happening clean, the ball is launched, it's gone, all that going well, it's not a very high percentage. You know, you play the percentages, and that's what we did. That was our whole mindset there. It's really not that complicated, agree or disagree. That's why there's many flavors of ice cream.

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