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September 30, 2017

Steve Addazio

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston College - 28, Central Michigan - 8

STEVE ADDAZIO: We've had some interceptions that have been fantastic, some knock-downs on the quarterback on defense have been great. We ran the ball pretty well today. Considering our quarterback didn't practice this week, I felt that -- you're asking a lot with a freshman throwing the ball with him when he didn't have any of those practice reps. I don't think -- we certainly didn't take a step forward in that category, and I didn't think we would.

A lot of good yardage, hidden yardage in the stats with Mike Walker's returns on punts, which was great for us. I think we were able to put enough on Tate for them to see that ability for us to get after that punter, and so they sacrificed punting distance for getting the ball out, which put us in great opportunity for Mike to return the kicks.

All in all, coming off a week where we were pretty banged up, a lot of guys missed practice, including the quarterback, and so I think the ability to come out here and play with some physicality on both sides of the lines, offense and defensive lines, get a win, get that great feeling get, pleased with that, and looking forward to getting to conference play next week.

Q. You talk about Michael Walker; how much of a spark is he where he can just turn a game like that?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, he's certainly been a spark for us on special teams, without a doubt. He's done a great job on our kickoff returns. He's continuing to do a great job on our punt returns. So those are valuable plays, valuable yardage, valuable plays. And so I'm very, very pleased with that.

You know, I'm very, very pleased with our punt coverage. You know, we had that one mishap last week at the very end of the game, but otherwise it's been outstanding. Our kickoffs between Max kicking it out, even against a strong headwind today at times based on what side of the field we were going to. I've been very, very pleased with that.

I think, you know, I'm a little disappointed in missing our field goal today. We had a really beautiful kind of 12:00, wind it down, grind it down the field, and then we missed the field goal, and you come away with no points. That's something that I'd like to think we're beyond that, and that showed up today, which I'm disappointed in. But we'll get that right. We'll continue to grow there, as well.

Q. How do you manage just coming off of games like last week and the week before, Clemson, Notre Dame, then a MAC team, then you have Tech? It's a different swing, but these are games that you have to win.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, you're right, every game is really important, but those are pretty good sizable emotional roller coasters, and what's hidden in there is not only the emotional roller coasters, but there's physical tolls taken in those games. We lost Max Richardson, and that was a physical toll taken on us, so now we're putting another young player plugged into our defense. We're playing some high-level teams, so at this stage of the game, you're looking at a lot of teams in the country that are 4-0 and whatever some of that reality is coming into focus again. We saw a couple games last night, so that starts -- we haven't had that. But to think, though, that we opened up with a MAC team, that MAC team beat Nebraska, okay, and we were on the road. To think that that stuff doesn't add up, it does. To think that positive confidence and momentum doesn't matter, it does.

And so, you know, we're doing this the long hard way right now, which is front-ending some really tough teams, although we've still got many tough teams to go. That's the nature of where we are in this conference and the division and the side that we play on. I've been doing this a long time; it's powerful -- I was in the SEC when it was powerful. This is powerful.

And so -- and we're doing it with a bunch of guys, some of which have some experience, a bunch don't because of injuries, only because of injuries, but here's the beautiful thing: These young guys, this is like so valuable right now. The learning lessons here are so valuable. And these other guys that are gone now for the year, they're all coming back. They'll be back. We should be a fourth- or fifth-year team.

So I keep looking at that. You're watching Jon and AJ running the ball and the offensive line. They're down four starters up front, but they kind of rallied back. So for me I have to keep that in focus and then realize who we're playing.

I want to tell you guys something that's really cool, okay. The attitude in that locker room and the mindset and the joy and the passion, you know, this is a tough group of guys that take some punches and keep grinding. You know why, because I think they know and believe in their heart that everything we do is an investment that's just going to come back. And if anybody can't see that, then they don't really understand football, don't really get it. And that's life.

Q. Kind of to your point about the heart that your running game showed, the way the game started, you kind of get stuffed, and then the first drive of the first half, I think you guys had 10 runs out of the 12 plays and kind of dominated. How did that come about, I guess?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, you know, we opened the game, and we went for the 4th down. I'm not going to get into what happened. But it is what it is. We went for it, and then we got the punt right down the 1 and then we had a miscue up front and hit us in the backfield. But you know, those things are going to happen right now. You're talking about the apex of your offense has got first-year players in there right now. So you've just got to be steadying the boat, and I just kind of said, don't worry about it, we're going to be fine. Just keep grinding, guys. Build that confidence a little bit. Just overcome -- weather it and come out of it, and it was kind of that mindset at halftime.

Our guys knew that -- we were kind of blocking them, but we just have this mechanism right now because we have some interchangeable parts in here that aren't quite grooved in right, and they will. They're going to get better and better and better and better, but that's what happens. Because offense is such a precision thing that everyone has got to kind of fire right, and when you don't and they're at the POA, some not-so-good things can happen. So early on, it was just kind of like steadying the boat. We're fine. We'll be fine. And I want them to know that total belief and confidence in them. That's why I went for a couple other 4th down calls. We'll be fine. And we've got to grow through this.

And this is all part of it. It's part of it. And there's going to be some rough spots along the way with that. But that's just the way it is. I'm really pleased with their approach, their demeanor, their resiliency, and they came back and showed that, and that's very valuable to me to see when I watch it from the side.

Q. At the beginning of the season you had mentioned that vertically and horizontally you thought the offense was doing well, but between the tackles there was still some trouble. Now today a lot of Hilliman and Dillon's yards did come between the tackles. How have you seen the line develop, particularly on those tackles with Aaron Monteiro and Marcell Lazard?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think our development is herky-jerky a little bit, and I think a lot of that has to do with who's healthy, who's practicing, who's not. It took us a while today to kind of groove in a little bit, you know, because Aaron was pretty banged up this week, okay. I mean, he had a pretty sizable injury last Saturday. You know, and so those are some of the things I think that are happening. Like it's kind of like that -- just needs a little work, we get going here and kind of get back. Then all of a sudden this needs a little work, it kind of feels like that, you know, and quite frankly, I think our 1st and 2nd down play action game, we've got to get it going. It was the strength of our team in preseason camp, the absolute strength, and right now, it hasn't been. We've got to get that going. Just got to get going, simple as that.

Q. Defensively, too, we saw a little bit -- looks like Harold Landry was playing some outside linebacker today. Why that decision?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Just schematically we're growing. We're continuing to grow. We're trying to adapt based on some of the personnel hits that we've taken, to be honest with you. We're taking a lot of hits, right. You talk about Sharrieff Grice, we started and we lost him, and then we lost Connor and then we lost Max, and we're getting to the point where we have to account for future issues, right. There's a lot of football left to play. So we're trying to do some things to give us a little bit more versatility, if you will, okay. So we're looking at a couple of different things right now, trying to get absolutely to squeeze out the best we can out of everybody to give us a little bit more depth, so to speak.

Q. You've been talking about wanting to feature Dillon for a while now, but how have you seen him and Jon work off of each other?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Great. I'm really pleased with that. Now, we've seen that against really good opponents right now. I think Jon has really elevated his play, and I think AJ continues to elevate his play, get more experience, and he's getting more comfortable as we go. And so the two of those -- those two guys combining together, I think there's a really nice kind of flow there right now.

And then I like watching it. Jon does a great job as an older guy leading, and these are really good guys, and they have talent, and so I'm enjoying that piece of it right now, watching that develop.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
STEVE ADDAZIO: You know, he's got like five picks, I think. Yeah, five picks on the year. He's doing a great job. He's another guy, he's a first-year player. He's never really played. He played a little bit, bits and pieces, but he's starting to gain some confidence, starting to gain some experience, and so I think he's more comfortable in the different coverage schemes. We play a little bit more zone, and you know, there was a time all we played here really was man, and we have to play a little bit more zone, and so we're playing a little bit more zone.

I think he's growing with that, as are the other guys. They're learning how to play a little more zone. We play both now, man and zone, as opposed to just man.

Q. Last week the defense and special teams did a lot of work and put the offense in a good spot. This week was it good to see some of the work paid off on the scoreboard.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, yeah, I really think it's just trying to play better team football. I mean, last week we were just playing against some really elite talent out there. We had some really good -- we knew we'd have about four or five opportunities on offense last week. We were able to capitalize on a couple, but we missed a few, and you can't do that on the road against a team like that but we've played them so nose up, you know.

And this week, I think, like I said, we took advantage of good field position from our special teams and from defense, and we were able to really insert the running game, and that was a good thing.

So I think it's just good collection team football. It's got to grow. It's got to continue to get better. It's not where it needs to be yet, and it needs to continue to get there, and we need to keep developing each phase, and what happens is we get a little -- why is that? Some say, well, why? Because each week we're losing key pieces, and we're starting to run out of some of those key pieces. You just can't take a guy that hasn't played really much before, put him in and think you're going to have this unbelievable level of play. That's not going to happen. It's going to take some time. So we've had to juggle that along the way. You know, we're down seven starters, and I thought -- quite frankly I didn't know if Anthony would play in this game, and that would have been eight, and that would be like, whoa, and he did, which I give him a lot of credit, and I give Aaron Monteiro, I give him a lot of credit, because it's really important to these guys, and they know that their teammates really need them and they know it, so they're doing everything as fast as possible. But to say either one of them were at maximum level ability today? No, no, not really, not even close.

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