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October 4, 2017

Steve Addazio

Greensboro, North Carolina

STEVE ADDAZIO: We're excited to be home. Great Saturday night venue game against Virginia Tech, which is truly an outstanding football team, and you know, Justin has done a great job there. His coordinators have done a great job.

They have got players all over the place. Quarterback Josh Jackson is doing a fantastic job for a red-shirt freshman and their running backs, Cam Phillips, outstanding.

Defense, just relentless and just really, really powerful, talented players in Edmunds and Motuapuaka and Tim Settle. What a challenge they pose. Obviously very well-coached and obviously put together very well.

So it will be a great challenge for us, and we are really having a great week of preparation and very, very excited for this football game. So should be a heck of a great night of college football.

Q. Curious with Harold Landry and how well everyone is of his abilities, how creative has Coach Reid had to be about moving him around and hiding him and making it harder for opposing blockers to find him?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think Coach Reid and Coach Pasqualoni have done a great job of mixing our fronts and our pressures but in the same breath, I think the best thing you can do is have complementary guys on the other side. Zach Allen is a very, very talented guy as is Wyatt Ray. We have very strong inside players, as well.

Harold is certainly a great player and has a lot of notoriety and justifiably so, but those other two guys I talk about in my opinion are as good as there is in the ACC.

So I think that helps as much as anything. You start directing your protections towards Harold, those other guys are going to come after you pretty good, too. So I think that's helped us.

Q. If you would indulge me with a back-in-time moment/, what do you remember about recruiting Harold, because Bud Foster said he's just a guy that Tech missed on; that didn't realize how good he was going to become?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I would say that he was not highly-recruited. I think he was -- we saw him as a quick-twitch guy. He had great explosiveness, great quickness and we're looking for that kind of player to help us in the pass rush mode. We pride here that we are going to bring players in and develop them and be able to do that.

So I think he got -- his recruiting picked up late, I remember, and at the end there, he had several covers in our conference but at that point, I think Washington had done an unbelievable job of building a great relationship with him and I think that in recruiting, relationships are everything, and I think that brought us home.

So we were able to go into a place like North Carolina, and with our academic background here at the university and the relationship that he built, and the fact that we were a bit in there strong, early, we were able to overcome the North Carolina schools and other ACC schools at the end.

Q. You were a little more beefy like in defending the run last week. Why was it better and maybe why hasn't it been as good as it's been in the past, just overall this season? Has it been Connor's injury? Has that been very impactful?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I'd say this to you: I'd say we defended Clemson probably as good as anybody has, period, the end. That was a 7-7 game in the fourth period and 14-7 all the way to five minutes late in the fourth period. Down there we played about as about a defense as I've seen played against them, certainly since I've been here, at least by BC. I would say that.

The game before that, we played a really good Notre Dame team, and we played great defense in that game but what happened was we've lost all three of our starting linebackers right now. Each week we've been confronted with breaking somebody new in, and what happens is we're playing great defense, but against Notre Dame, we had six plays where we were out of a gap. It wasn't like, oh, we got mauled up front and they just rammed the ball down our throats. That didn't happen at all. In fact, they couldn't throw the ball but they hit about six plays where some of our young linebackers got out of their gaps.

So I think what changed from Notre Dame week to the Clemson week was that we tried to settle that down, and again, in the first half of Clemson, we lost our starting Mike for the year. We had to put a red shirt freshman in, John Lamont and he did a pretty darned good job and he's getting better every week.

But we've had to deal with two things: Biggest thing is we placing three linebackers, before we even blinked. But we're playing strong. We're playing strong up front, and we've done that against really good football teams. Against Wake, we turned the ball over three times on offense and we had to put a center in that never played center before.

It's not hard to figure out -- if you watch the tape, I would say that opposing coaches probably watch that tape and are going to tell that you we're playing really strong defense right now because that's what's on the film.

Q. I asked Coach Fuente about this. What makes Michael so effective returning punts? He was talking about just the bravery he shows in being able to catch it while moving downhill.
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think, yeah, some guys catch the ball stationary and then there are exceptional darters; quick change of direction. Mike on kickoff returns and on punt returns rocks into them, runs into them. And so when he catches them, he hits them with whatever speed you're at, three quarter, full speed, which is different.

A lot of guys don't do that. They can't rock into kickoff returns. They can't rock into punts. If you see that, you watch, some guys catch it stationary and go. This guy rocks into them. So it gives them that burst and momentum and that's a little risky. You have to catch that thing pretty clean when you do that or it can ricochet off your chest. I'd say there's a little bit of courage there, and I'd say -- and that's the technique that he has that maybe gives him a little edge.

Q. Quick evaluation of their quarterback, Josh Jackson and what he's shown you on tape so far.
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think he's really talented. He's athletic. He obviously shows leadership. He has good -- from what I can see on film, he's got good presence and he does not carry himself on tape, however that would look to me, like a red-shirt freshman. He carries himself like an older player. I'm very impressed with him. Scott Loeffler is our recruiter and knows the family really well and has a little backdrop on him. This kid is a coach's son. He's been around football his whole life. He's very talented and he's tough, and I think you see all those things on the film. I think it's very evident.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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