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October 25, 2017

Steve Addazio

Greensboro, North Carolina

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, we're awfully excited to be back home and play in Alumni Stadium, as you said, on 8:00 on Friday night. We're playing Florida State, which I have so much respect for. Jimbo Fisher, truly one of the great coaches in the country right now, and his program, what he's done with that program, and the way they've recruited. They've got fantastic players on both sides of the ball. Very, very talented, very well-coached in every phase. So it will be an unbelievable challenge for us.

I know that James Blackman is getting better every week. You can see him improve. You can see the quality of Cam Akers, what an unbelievable running back he is with speed, and Ryan Izzo is playing great. The receivers are good-sized guys, Auden Tate, go up and catch the football. I mean, very talented.

On defense, just some tremendous players, big, strong guys up front, Brian Burns and Derwin James, and defensive back Tarvarus McFadden, fantastic players. Our program has all the respect in the world for Florida State, and we know very well that we have to have a great continued week of preparation to play them here on Friday night. It'll be a great challenge for our program, but it'll be a great night of college football. With that, I'll take any questions.

One thing I'd like to add before anybody asks a question, this is a red bandana game for us, which is in honor of Wells Crowther, who gave his life saving others in the towers of 9/11 and has great meaning not only for Boston College but I think for our country as a great representation of honoring someone who others were more important than himself. Has a great impact on us, and we're really excited to represent Wells and his family in this game. Thank you.

Q. Recent headline of an article says, suddenly BC is one of the most watchable teams in the nation. You were on our national radio broadcast this week; why in your opinion is that the case, and who should we watch for specifically?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think in the last couple of weeks, certainly offensively we've been able to make more plays. Our quarterback is settling in a little bit. Anthony Brown is getting more and more comfortable. We have a series of players that are young players right now, that we're going into week nine and they're starting to get a little bit more comfort. We're making a few more plays and it's giving us more explosive diversity on offense, and I think we play well on defense and are able to get more possessions. We're fourth in the country on amount of plays run right now, and our 3rd down conversion rate is getting better, and that's keeping us on the field. So some of those things are all factoring in. I think we've done it against good competition, as well. We're still growing, but we're a work in progress for sure, and we're going to go up against what I think is one of the very finest defenses in the country in Florida State, and that always makes it extremely difficult to move the football.

Q. Specifically your biggest challenge against Florida State is?
STEVE ADDAZIO: There's so many of them, honestly, but I think defensively we've got to be able to contain their playmakers. They run the ball well, they throw the ball well. I think Jimbo does just such an unbelievable job with the offense. They're very well-balanced, and then of course when we're on offense, we've got to be able to establish the run, but in the same breath against a formal defense like that, if you think you're just going to run the football all night long, that's not going to work. So we're going to have to have balance on our own right. We're going to have to play a very, very good football game, and we've got to come out winning the turnover battle.

Q. Can you talk about Michael Walker and what he means to your team?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean, Michael, he's a real versatile guy. Obviously is our punt returner and kickoff returner but also as a wide receiver. He's a leader on the team. This is a tremendous guy, a tough guy, loves football, works really, really, really hard, and the kind of guy that you love being around. I think very well-respected and liked on the football team, as well.

Q. Is there a play that sticks out this year on one of the returns he's made because he leads the country in combined yardage on punt and kickoffs.
STEVE ADDAZIO: You know, I think a couple things flash at me so far this year. One was against Central Michigan when he hit those punts on the dead run, and that's hard to do. And then I think the flea flicker pass that he caught last Saturday, he ran by two defenders and caught it over his shoulder, made an unbelievable catch. Those were two highlight reel tapes -- that was a highlight reel play, and of course those punt returns I thought were pretty special back a few weeks ago.

Q. The ACC has a bunch of guys that are up in the high rankings in return, small guys. Is that a trend? Do you think that's kind of a trend? They seem to have more than any of the other Power Five conferences.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think we've got some dynamic players in the conference right now. I think that when you have good programs, good programs realize the importance level of special teams and the work that goes into special teams, and I think that in our conference we've got really good programs, really good coaches, and I think special teams is a priority. You're going to see talented guys that are put in good schemes with an understanding of how important that role is, and I think that's why you see what you see.

Q. Your true freshman runner AJ Dillon has really come along lately. What did you like about him? Did you have any plans to redshirt him this year, or did he just earn a playing spot right off the bat, and how has he progressed during the season?
STEVE ADDAZIO: No, we knew we'd play him right away. AJ is an elite player. You're talking about tremendous size, tremendous speed and vision and hands. He is the whole package. He's an impact player, and so we knew that was a huge deal for us, that we'd get him on the field. I think what we've seen as the season has gone on is just a development and a comfort level and understanding different pieces of the offense, you know, like how to run -- you know, we're in shotgun, we're seven and a half yards deep in the eye formation, we're pretty multiple, and then learning how to also handle the repetitive amount of carries. Sometimes when a guy like -- every run for him is like unbelievable effort, so when you put a couple, three of those back to back, he can get pretty gassed.

I think learning how to extend your boundaries on how long you can sustain running at that level with multiple carries has gotten better each week. But he is going to truly be one of the great players in this conference, and that's a fact. I'm just glad that he plays for the Eagles.

Q. Since a lot of things have come together for you offensively, how much has the development of Anthony Brown, the quarterback, played a part in that?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Oh, I think that's paramount. I've said many times, in pro football, college football, high school, whatever, a quarterback is such a key piece of everything. With good play at the quarterback, it's like high tide, all the boats come up. The passing game is better, the running game is better, your 3rd down conversion is better, you stay on the field longer, better opportunity to make plays. You've got to have a quarterback, you've got to have a guy, and that guy comes in all different shapes and sizes and comes in the form of can be an unbelievable elite runner, can be an elite thrower, but when you've got that guy that's got a little it to him and can be at the epicenter of making plays, you've got a chance to have some success on offense. We've recruited and brought in some good pieces here, but what we're finally able to get, increased quarterback play right now, and that's really helped us all the way around.

The key is to keep consistency, and we're still young at a lot of those positions we're talking, center, freshman, tailback, freshman, quarterback, freshman, receiver, freshman, so the job ahead of us is -- we all know that the future is super, super bright, but the here and now, we've got to do the best we can and not be on a roller coaster ride and be up and then down and back up and then down because that's traditionally what happens with young players. It's hard to sustain consistency. That's the concern and that's the fight that we're in right now is to find that level of consistency and hang in there with it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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