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November 18, 2019

Steve Addazio

Boston, Massachusetts

STEVE ADDAZIO: I want to start off by saying congrats to The Goat. Jerry York goes into the Hockey Hall of Fame tonight. Great guy, great honor, really what a fabulous honor for Jerry and for his family and former players, current players, university. Just such a tremendous guy. What a BC man. So really, really thrilled for Coach York tonight.

Excited about our game. We have great respect for the rivalry, the Boston College-Notre Dame rivalry, two schools that do it the right way, two schools that demonstrate catholic values, catholic education, faith, academics, and how important those all play together. Having been there, coached there, and obviously here, very, very important, and I've had an inside look of, obviously, both programs. Just really appreciated my time when I was there and obviously very much appreciate my time here.

Watching student-athletes that come to get an elite education, come to be able to grow in their faith, I think is one of the coolest things that's in college athletics today.

This is a team that's very talented. They're a top 20 offense and defense. We've played two of those this year, Clemson and Notre Dame. I've watched certainly an extensive amount of tape on Notre Dame. I have a great deal of respect for Brian Kelly and what he's accomplished there. They have a great staff, and they have a very, very, very outstanding football team.

They've got star power on both sides of the ball. They've got a receiving corps that has got size and tremendous athleticism and speed and a veteran running back, an outstanding offensive line, and a quarterback that I think is extremely mobile, throws great deep ball, and looks like he has total command of their offense. So I'm very, very impressed, and, of course, an elite tight end. So I'm very, very impressed with Notre Dame on offense and their personnel.

On defense, they're 18th in scoring defense. They're 28th in total defense. They're 5th against the pass. I made the comment to several people that watching them on tape, they play great team defense. I mean, when you freeze the film upon contact of tackling a back, there's 9, 10, 11 hats at the ball. They rip off the blocks, and they pursue to the ball as good as I've seen to the very end. So I'm very, very impressed with them on defense. Number 95, one of their defensive tackles -- I always like to talk in numbers -- but very active, explosive player. Certainly, their free safety, Gilman, is an excellent player, and their linebacker 22, really, really impressed. But I just like the way they play team defense.

This is a very talented team. Certainly played at a high level last week against a really good Navy team and capitalized in every phase. So they're playing with great confidence. They're playing at home. It will be a great challenge for us, but our guys are so excited for this challenge.

We've had a week off, which we needed, and we had a great amount of preparation within that week. We closed the week last week with a tremendous practice on Friday that was very spirited, very good, and then followed up this morning with an outstanding full padded practice this morning with our guys really, really playing at a high level.

So excited about the continued preparation. Each day is very, very important in preparation for us to go to Notre Dame Stadium and to play a great game against an outstanding football team.

So happy to answer any questions.

Q. Is there kind of an ACC component to them? They play in the ACC Bowls. They play, what is it, six ACC teams in their schedule?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, there's a component. As you just stated, simply that.

Q. When you look at their history, Notre Dame, you talk about student teams and student-athletes, one of the coaches here years ago called them the mythological giants. Is there a sense that you can't let the kids get too caught up in the whole touchdown Jesus, Notre Dame, and all the history of that?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean -- as I told our kids, you've got to have great preparation because you've got to go into that stadium with great confidence, and you've got to have a warrior mentality. When you go out into that tunnel and get ready to go on the field, it's not easy to go beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame.

I just think that, in your preparation when you play a team like Notre Dame, you've got to have great respect for them, and then you've got to have great preparation so you can have that warrior mentality. You've got to go in there with great confidence and understand that you're going to have to go the distance, four quarters, to beat that team on their home field, which goes hand in hand with some of the things that you're talking about.

We're a very proud program here at Boston College, and we're going to go in there with great respect, and we're going to fight and go in there and play hard. Yeah, for sure.

Q. On top of that, I know it's not an every year, annual game anymore, but what does this kind of rank in the experience? Because it is Boston College-Notre Dame and the Holy War and all that that goes along with it.
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think it's great for college football. I was there and played against BC. I think there's a lot of similarities. I just think it lends itself to a natural rivalry kind of game. As I said in opening statement, these are two programs that do it the right way. You're talking about placing tremendous emphasis on academics and scholarship and faith and character and all those things that go into making these two Catholic institutions elite. Amongst in the wild, wild west of college football right now, these are two of the places that have completely got that perspective in hand. So I think that creates a great rivalry.

Q. They've won like 17 straight or whatever it is at home. What do you think about going in?
STEVE ADDAZIO: That's what we've been dealing with each day and talking about it. We talked about -- like I had Brian White get up and talk to the team today. He spent a number of years there, like myself and Bill Sheridan. We've got a number of guys on the staff, and within our own program, you've got Rich Gunnell and Ricky Brown and Josh Beekman. These are guys that this game was impactful.

I mean, I can remember when I was at Notre Dame and they beat us out there, Boston College beat us, and the guys came in and at that time it was still the grass field, and we're cutting out pieces of the turf and bringing it back.

But as you stated, in today's world, the history of these things isn't like the same as it used to be, you know what I mean? So you've got to bring it back to life because -- it's kind of like when you talk about the Syracuse rivalry, we've really worked hard to bring that back to life again. It wasn't that long ago that that was so intense, right? Then that period that it really didn't play -- wasn't in the same -- it lost something. Things happen quick nowadays, I think.

So we've been bringing it back to life and talking about it, and I'm going to do some other things as the week goes on to try to make sure they understand the intensity of this game and what it means because, yes, these guys, they have not been there. But we also deal with guys who are very bright guys, and they get it and understand it, and they feel it. You still are playing a national team, and they get that too, that this is still a grand stage, and if you're a competitor, you're playing a top 15 team on a grand stage, that's what you want to do.

Q. Have you had a chance to chat with A.J. about the importance of the game and his grandfather and that sort of thing?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Obviously, he's got a tie-in as well with his grandfather being a great player there. I think all of those are little subplots that go along with a lot of games, but especially in this game. There's a lot there. I love all that. I think that's what makes it great and fun, exciting.

Here you are going into your 11th game, and there's so much energy and excitement and so much to play for. It's fun.

Q. I don't want to call it serendipity, but there was a chain of events where he was considering going to Notre Dame. Do you ever think about, not that you're lucky to have him, but just how things work out?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think we are lucky to have him. I think it's awesome. I think he made a great decision to come here and to be able to be in a style of offense that would feature his talents and be at a university that would give him an elite degree, and as he would tell you in this unbelievable city of Boston, which is one of the great sports cities in America. All that factored in, you know. So he's made a tremendous decision to come here.

I think we've been great for A.J. and A.J.'s been great for us. He's having a fabulous year. Shoot, he's only a few yards shy of breaking the all time ACC rushing record, which what an incredible honor that would be to hold that distinction. He's not far off of that right now.

There's a lot of great things. Here we are, he's going out to play on the field where his grandfather was a great player. That's got a lot of energy and excitement to that. So there's a whole lot of great stuff going on. He's rested. We took care of A.J. last week and made sure he rested that body. I think we'll see a pretty energized two backs that will be healthy and energized. It should be good.

Q. How was having the week off health-wise? Bailey?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, it helped everybody. I think Dave's doing great. Everybody benefits from a nice two-week hiatus. Well needed at this time of the year. Grateful for that really, to tell you the truth. We were pretty banged up. Last week we were basically without another five starters. So there was a lot going on there.

Hopefully, we get most everybody back and continue to see Isaiah McDuffie continue to develop. Got himself in a dozen plays or so last week and having a great week of practice, and we'll increase that. That's awesome. That's real positive.

Q. Notre Dame tends to start really quickly with -- they've had really good first halves this year. Is there something they do -- I know you mentioned their defense. But does the defense set up the offense and the offense just gets cruising and pile up points? What has jumped out to you about that?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Good football team, you know. Good football team, and they play good team defense, and they're explosive on offense. I'm not surprised by any of that, to be honest with you. Veteran quarterback. I think, when you have a good offense, you like to get going early and get out of the blocks. We try to do the same thing. We win the toss, we're taking the ball. We feel like, hey, we're going to establish momentum right now and certainly do everything in our power to do that, right? Yeah, I'm not surprised.

Q. I know there's two games left in the season, but with Bowl eligibility still being a factor, is that something the guys are aware of, or is it just head down and focus on one thing, or is that in there for them at all?
STEVE ADDAZIO: That's in there, 100 percent, sure. They're well aware of that. That's a goal. It's a stated goal early in the season. So for all those reasons. I mean, there's a lot going on in this game, and it makes it -- stakes are high, and that's exciting.

Q. Is one of those reasons last year? That it was taken away from them?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, yeah. I mean, sure. That was a devastating deal. That was all done for the right reasons, which is player safety, but talking about investing a whole month into preparation and first time in college football history that happens. Yeah, that was -- you come out on fire, and yeah, all those things.

But right now, it is head down for Notre Dame, but to say that we're not aware of all those things, of course we are.

Q. (No microphone)?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, yeah. We got to do everything in our ability to be able to make sure that we don't allow him to become that factor in that game because he's an elite player. So there's a lot that goes into that statement. Obviously, I'm not going to discuss all the things that we're talking about doing, but we have to account for him for sure. He's an impact guy. The quarterback, to me, is a very mobile, play-making kind of guy. And you can't forget the other receiver they have has got legitimate track speed. You can't forget the tight end, who I think is a dynamic player, and I think their back is an outstanding player. And I wrap it all with a little ribbon and say, I think that's one of the best offensive lines we've played. They're up there certainly.

They're like us. We're a really good offensive line. This is a really good offensive line we're playing against. They're physical. They're big. I'm impressed with them. They've got weapons, and when you overload one thing, you leave something else a little vulnerable. So you've got to have a little bit of everything in there, and you've got to be right when you're making your calls because you're playing a little bit of chess, you know, in terms of those moves that you want to do to take away this and that, take away this on this. Every time you take something away, that means you're exposing something else.

But that's football, and we've got to do a great job of that. Every week you go in and say, okay, we've got to take this and this and this away to win the game, boom. Every team in America does that. To win a game, you've got to do this and this and this, whether it's offense, defense, or special teams. You have your one, two, three things that you set forward and say these things have to occur for us to have a chance to win this football game.

Q. What's Dennis' passing level of confidence after Syracuse?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I would say high. I think Dennis is getting better every week. You can see it on the field. He's gaining experience. He's a tough kid. He's a competitive kid. He's throwing the ball well. I think playing good football. Heading back to the Midwest, Catholic school kid out of the Midwest, I'd say that he's probably pretty fired up about this game.

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