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November 4, 2019

Steve Addazio

Boston, Massachusetts

STEVE ADDAZIO: All right, guys. Big weekend here in Chestnut Hill this weekend, Senior Day, Red Bandana Game, which is such a big game for us. A lot of different activities, players being honored, guys like Pete Mitchell. Big weekend in Chestnut Hill, big football weekend, which is exciting.

We came off last week's game, I thought we made some improvements, improvements in some critical areas. A bunch of players got a chance to contribute in that game. I thought Dennis Grosel played his best game to date, threw two touchdown passes over 50 yards, contributing to where we are explosive-wise in the pass game. I mean, we're eight passes of over 50 yards, which is putting us sixth in the country. So along with a powerful run game, we have an explosive throw game because people are selling out to the run.

So I think those are positives. We beat a rival, and we improved. I thought it was a great bounce back from the week before. We had to recapture momentum, which we had coming off of NC State, and I thought we had to go on the road and play a rival and play a real physical brand of football after a long travel. I thought we accomplished that and did quite well with that.

So we'll take that into this week. We need a great week of practice, playing Florida State, a talented team. Watching them on tape yesterday and today, got play makers on offense and certainly got really talented guys on defense. Big, big physical front, all over 315, 320 pounds. Tremendous in the back end. Great tailback, three great receivers. So a very talented team. It will be a real challenging game for us. But we're home, and we're excited about it, and we're looking forward to it. I think we can carry some momentum into it. Looking forward to continue to coach the team and improve in those areas.

Another great challenge for us. Our kids are jacked up. Obviously, playing with a lot of physicality, playing with a lot of confidence, which is super positive. With that, happy to answer any of your questions.

Q. We haven't generally gone over injuries throughout the season. Can you walk us through, with so many of them right now, but can you walk us through where everybody stands at this point.
STEVE ADDAZIO: I really can't walk you through it. I can just tell you, to the best of my knowledge from yesterday -- obviously, I was here and met with everybody. I thought everybody's improving, and I think we'll get a clear picture at the end of the week where we are. I'm pretty optimistic.

This time of year, you get dinged up this time of year. It's just the nature of football. I think Isaiah McDuffie dressed for the game last week. He's full steam ahead in practice this week, which is terrific. We'll evaluate that at the end of the week. But it's kind of an ongoing deal right now. I don't have any updates. I told you about Christian Garrison Saturday.

With these other guys, banged up from the game, but it's about appropriate for that kind of game. So we'll see if it has any residual, longer lasting effects. Like I said, I'll know more by the end of the week. I'm hopeful we'll be in good shape.

Q. Still optimistic about Idrizi for this week as well?
STEVE ADDAZIO: He's another classic example. He did a lot last week. I'm hopeful that, by the end of the week, he'll be in good shape. I don't know that. But all I can judge is by what I saw last week, and if he makes -- it's hard for me to judge how much progress a guy makes in a week, but if he makes the same amount of progress this week than he made last week, I would suspect that he'd be in good shape, but that's unknown.

What happens is we've still got -- there's a week. A lot happens in those five, six days. We bring it right up to game time, to tell you the truth. He's a veteran player. If he can get cleared, then we roll.

Q. And Hunter and Mehdi. Because you'd already made a switch with Mehdi and Connor. I was going to ask what went into that?
STEVE ADDAZIO: We need them all. I mean, it was evident in Saturday, you need them all. We'll need them all again. Hopefully, we'll have them all. Who knows? We'll go with what we have, with the hand we have. Get as much out as we can get out. Some guys are day to day. Some guys are a couple days probably. I'm speculating right now, and I don't like to do that.

I couldn't give you a really good answer right now. It just would be too premature for me. It's not like anybody is called out of the game right now. So we'll see what happens.

Q. What led into the decision with Connor?
STEVE ADDAZIO: We liked Connor in the game. We like the way he's been practicing. He's a terrific young talent. He's got a combination of length, size, speed, really good accelerator, really good tackler. We loved him in preseason camp. He dinged his leg up in front. When a freshman comes into camp and they miss a couple of weeks, it really gets hard on you because they get behind, and then it's really hard to get them back in that rotation again.

So it took him a while to get feeling good and get back in that rotation. So love what we saw on tape. Really has a lot of promise, really an exciting player, and made real plays in the last couple of weeks.

Q. And then you already were down Hunter. You were already down Idrizi and Miranda and Luchetti.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, Luchetti started out as a tight end. Really talented tight end. We didn't like him, we loved him. We moved him over to defense because we felt like we wanted to get more of a pool of guys on the defensive end. His natural position is a tight end, and he's excited to be playing tight end right now, 265-pound guy, very athletic, great hands, really good blocker.

And Isaiah Miranda got a chance to make some real plays for us. He did a great job. We've got Dennis playing at quarterback. Isaiah is a walk on, and Strader is a walk-on. I would say all three made really great contributions to the game the last couple weeks. Really proud of those guys. They did a great, great job.

It's fun to watch. We're getting a lot of guys that are -- to me, that are guys that are developed in our program, and they're making good plays. We need them all. You need them all. We've got three games left in the regular season, and there's a lot of football left to play. You need them all down the homestretch, man, especially the physical style of football we play, and we've got some real physical games ahead of us.

Q. What kind of wrinkle does that add to your planning when you play a team that just fired its coach?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I'm just kind of in that mindset of just coach the team. I don't pay attention to any of that stuff. It doesn't mean anything to me. We're going to roll through practice this week and roll in Saturday morning, and they're going to roll in, and two teams are going to scare off. Just don't waste any energy on it, to be honest with you.

I'm so focused right now -- I just walked out of game planning with the offense and run game. I try to just really stay laser focused on the things that I hope that I can help, have an impact on, and don't worry about the things that don't really -- I have no effect on. It is what it is.

Q. It's probably -- I mean, you wouldn't expect them to implement a whole new offense or anything like that, but they can have an emotional reaction. A team that can go either way, I guess, with those guys.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, sure. Who knows? That's why I don't waste any time thinking about it. I understand why you guys might, but I just don't have the time. It's just speculation. Not worried about it. I've got to work off what I see in the film and expect the very, very best Florida State team. We seem to -- I think, when people play us, I think they have a great deal of respect for our program, and I think they try to be at their very, very best, realizing that they're going to line up against a real physical, tough football team, and they have to be prepared.

I would assume that's what will happen. Everybody is a professional in this business. You've got a job to do. Go do your job.

Q. The Florida State defense, they usually get a bunch of guys that are very raw, very fast and have great measurables. Do you attack that as the sum of all the parts or is there something that sticks out on film where you see this scheme might work, where you have to figure out and attack where a hole might be in the game?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think we're trying to figure out where we can attack that defense, like we would do any week. I will tell you that, quite frankly, this is the biggest, most physical front we've played, and I thought we played a couple good ones, right? But this is the biggest and most physical front that we've played, beyond a doubt. They're big. I mean, they're big. Big, big defensive linemen, big backers, and the back end, they've got a couple safeties. They've got a corner and a safety that are lights out.

Not shocking. They've had top recruiting classes. I mean, they've got talent. Like the running back is a big time NFL prospect. The receivers are NFL players. It's not shocking. They've got talent. You've got to watch out. It only takes one guy to drop back and throw that ball deep to a guy and a guy pulls it down, and you can make a play real easy like that. You saw it happens. That back can hit a home run from anywhere on the field, anywhere. He's outstanding. They've got talent, and the defense is darn good.

Q. Saturday being the Red Bandana Game too, I know the last few years you've had a relationship with the Crowther family and they've come in and you've gotten to meet them. Just being able to have the game -- and we've never asked you when you come around -- what's that like for you to still be a part of in the wake of, I know Welles' father passed away this year?
STEVE ADDAZIO: It's a really special game. It represents the very best of what Boston College is about and college football is about. We're honoring a guy, Welles Crowther, who was a student here, and you know his story, his sacrifice here was the ultimate sacrifice. Being a northeast guy, most of the guys on our team being northeast guys, a lot from the New Jersey and New York area, they're still not too young that they don't know exactly what happened and what went down. So they can really certainly, as well as anybody could, can appreciate what this game is really all about and why we're honoring who we're honoring and who he represented.

So it's really one of the most special things to be a part of. It's an emotional deal. Every year we spend time with the new players that come in and really educate them and watch the ESPN features. It's a very compelling, gripping story. Of course, when we played in New York a couple years ago, we brought them to the World Trade Center and visited the site. So it's real. It's significant. We're honored to be able to honor Welles, and it's a big deal in our program.

So it's an emotional deal. It's also seniors' last home game this week. So almost every football player has a fair amount of emotion when you play your last home game for your university or for your high school. It's just a signal of how fast time goes by, the great times and experiences you had, and really just a reflection of, wow, this is coming to a close. So there's a lot of emotions there alone, and then you add the Red Bandana into it, it's quite a deal. So it's a big week. It's a big, big week.

Q. Just talk about your running game heating up with three cold weather games coming up. This is when you hit smash mouth football.
STEVE ADDAZIO: It can be a good thing. When it gets cold out there, it's harder and harder to take on those big backs and big linemen. It's just the way it is. I think people who throw the ball a lot like to be inside or be where it's a lot warmer. We're used to this, so it doesn't really impact us. We probably take a little bit of pride in it. You're a northeasterner, you grew up playing football in this weather. The late fall. It's crisp and cool, and you can see your breath. It's kind of a -- to me, it's like the way football was meant to be played. But I grew up like that. So I have that perspective on it. Not everybody did, right?

It's the very, very best. I just love college football in the fall, especially the late fall. It's fun. It's exciting. These seniors will have their last trip down the walk from mass, which is really an unbelievable deal. Kind of take it all in, and whatever foliage is left at this point, and see the stadium off in the distance walking down. It's some pretty significant memories for guys.

Q. (No microphone) you mentioned this a lot where sometimes you get behind, or if you don't get enough first downs, it's hard to stick to what you want to do offensively, but you turn the ball over a couple of times and still stick with it. What was the difference between that weekend and some others?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think our defense really stepped up last weekend and made some key plays and some stops. I think this speaks a lot to momentum, the momentum of those turnovers didn't swamp us. They scored off of them, obviously, but I just think it's a sense of confidence, a real determination. I thought that was big that we had overcome that. That was another important thing to be able to do.

Football is a fine line, but we were able to make the plays we needed to make to get the thing going and really respond. I thought, obviously, A.J. and David had a great game. Our offensive line played incredible. And I thought Dennis Grosel played great, and he managed that all really well.

Every week is a new week. We've got to grow and do a great job on defense this week, and we've got an offense, we've got to find a way to control the football, but we don't want to be a one-dimensional team now. I mean, it worked out that way in our last two wins. We just really overpowered the last two teams in the run game, but that was up until that point of the season, we have been very explosive in other ways, and we were last week explosive in the play action game. But we want to stay explosive that way.

But if we're able to run it like that, we're going to run it like that. We don't anticipate it's going to be that case week to week, and we certainly don't anticipate this week that will be the case. So we need to be much more balanced.

Q. I heard, at least, some people call the offensive line one of the best you guys have had. I don't know how you rank them or whatever, but just the quality of line that you have.
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think they're outstanding. I'd like to think that we're going to -- more years than not, we're going to have a really good offensive line here. I think that's something that BC has traditionally been, and I think we want to be a physical, tough, big team. I think this offensive line is excellent. I do. And the best part is we're going to be good for a while. I mean, this isn't going anywhere. We're going to have a really good offensive line as we move forward.

I think we've got some really good players, and they've been developed, and I think anxious to get on the field. So I'm excited about that. I think we've got a really talented young defensive line. So I really still believe it all starts up front, both sides of the ball. So I think that we have the right people in the right places there.

Q. How much of it, when you see either one of them, Bailey or Dillon, rip off 50 or 70 yards of untouched runs, how much of that is just the work of front runners like double-teaming the holes or those guys hitting them?
STEVE ADDAZIO: It's a combination of both, but there's a lot of big holes. The guys up front are getting blocked, and then it really comes down sometimes to the add-on safeties and their ability to make those tackles consistently in the hole. They're going to make some, but that's hard. I mean, you're 185, 195 pounds, 200 pounds and you've got a guy with momentum coming at you of 250 pounds, how many of those hits -- how many of those hits can you deliver? That's what happens.

It works both ways, but that's why we want to have a big offensive line and big backs, to have the ability to have that wear and tear in the run game, but you've got to -- it takes a while to get that to really start wearing. Then when you overcommit, we want to cross-check their eyes with really good play action, which is critically, critically important when they start loading these boxes.

We want to make them defend the whole field, vertically and horizontally. That's really the starting point. And if we get fortunate enough to get it rolling, then we're going to feed it, but we want to make them defend the whole field, and we have the tools to do that.

Q. In terms of Dennis, like it would have been easy to say like, all right, just manage games, and the first couple times out, he didn't have a lot of opportunities to make, but last week the play action pass -- not that -- he had two wide open receivers, but they were really good throws. How much do you think he's kind of got it down to not overdoing it in the role but also making the right plays at the right time?
STEVE ADDAZIO: He's an unselfish guy. He's a hard working guy. One of those throws he made, he got crushed, and he hung in there and threw a great ball. He took a pounding on that play. That tells you something.

He had a really good run. He's really strong in short yardage deals. He threw some great third down passes as well, a critical third down conversions.

I think -- obviously, what we're hoping for is we're going to see continued maturation, continued experience, and he's going to grow and continue to develop his game, and that's the hope. I think we've seen that. You've seen that in different pieces. I thought you saw a bigger chunk of that last week, and I think he can only grow from that.

So we're excited about that, and hopefully that will continue to grow, and we keep growing as a whole football team -- defense, offense, everything. That's the name of the game. You've got to be getting better. You're not going to stay the same. If you are, you're getting worse. So we want to continue to grow and develop and get better and improve.

Q. You mentioned -- I know Dennis was a walk-on. You mentioned a couple of other guys. How big of a role do the walk-ons play? I know not all of them get to work up to playing on Saturday.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I love it. I love guys that come in and they work really hard and they earn their roles. I just love that piece of it. You're thrilled to death for guys. And that will always be a big part of our program to get a couple of guys that can process that for one minute. To come to BC, A, you've got to get in the school. Then you've got to get the finances right because no one's paying for you, right? That's whatever that is, 70-something grand a year. And you've got to handle the workload as a student. Then you're coming into football because you love the game, and the only reason you're there is because you really have a deep love for the game.

So it's really the best part of collegiate football, right? I love it. Really super happy, and I love to see these guys make impacts. These guys we talked about, they've been in the program for quite some time. They've really paid their dues. They've been low, low maintenance guys. Whatever they can do to help the team. So it's very rewarding to watch them have some success right now. It's exciting.

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