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September 22, 2010

Frank Spaziani

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani. We'll bring on coach, ask for a brief opening statement, go to questions.
COACH SPAZIANI: Coming off our off week, early in the year, we got some work accomplished. We hope we're ready for our ACC opener against a very good, very good Virginia Tech team.
Any questions?

Q. Castonzo, guy comes with a big reputation, potential first-round draft pick. What makes him so unique other than he's 6'7", 295, looks athletic? Has he performed up to the expectations you had for him thus far?
COACH SPAZIANI: Well, I think first of all Anthony came to us four years ago, was plugged right in at left tackle, started as a freshman, and has improved every year. He's improved off the field. He's improved in the weight room. He's improved academically. He's improved athletically. Now he's a real big-time left tackle.

Q. I know he did the prep school thing back in 2006. I noticed that he wasn't the most highly recruited guy out there. Now he's developed into in some people's minds the best tackle in the country. How do you think he kind of slipped through the cracks recruiting-wise?
COACH SPAZIANI: You know, it's a product of what's happening in recruiting here where everybody has commitments early. It's all moved up. He's a perfect example of why not to do that.
Don't hold me to this, but maybe he was 6'5", 215 pounds. Most people weren't projecting him or giving him offers. He might have had some lesser schools offering him, non-BCS schools. Someone said to him, You can probably get yourself into a different level if you go to a prep school and grow. That's what he did. He grew. He developed.
That's what the prep school was about for him, not academics. It was about maturing physically.

Q. I wanted to ask you a couple questions about another Mark. Mark Herzlich. Since he's come back during this whole process from sarcoma, what does he add to your team outside of being the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year? What does he bring to your team that you didn't have last year?
COACH SPAZIANI: He brings a whole lot of experience, that's the first thing. We have a very young, inexperienced team in a lot of areas. Just having him out there, a guy that knows how to practice, a guy that knows how to prepare for games, understands what it takes at this level to be successful, and certainly just the fact that he has done what he's done to get back to where he's at now, you would have totally blind to not see that motivation. That has to rub off.
I don't think you could quantify what he brings to the table.

Q. Luke came in last year. How have they come together as a linebacker unit? What challenges are ahead of them in terms of the future or has it been one of those natural things where they're already working well together?
COACH SPAZIANI: Well, you know, Luke is a very instinctive football player, as is Mark. They have very similar early career patterns. Luke just stepped in with not a lot of coaching, much like Mark did when Mark was a freshman. We've moved Luke inside, for better or for worse.
They've adapted playing with each other. I think it's a good combination. We're going to find out how well pretty soon.

Q. If you could sum up Mark's recovery, just watching it as the coach over the past year, how would you describe it?
COACH SPAZIANI: Miraculous, miraculous. I said this before. Not many of us have experienced miracles. Mark experienced one. He's on the verge of trying to do the next one. It's just a joy, a pleasure to watch. I couldn't be more happy for him.

Q. Luke, how is he doing in the transition to the middle linebacker role?
COACH SPAZIANI: He's doing fine. He's doing fine. It's a little bit different obviously. The reads are a lot different. He's just an instinctive player. We try to get out of his way. Help him out, give him his basic reads, then let him go play.
He's making progress. Once again, we're going to find out here in the next few weeks how much further he needs to go.

Q. What made you think he was the guy when you were looking for a new middle linebacker?
COACH SPAZIANI: Well, you know, he's very instinctive and he's all over the place. So, you know, if you want him all over the place, why not put him in the middle?

Q. You're allowing 54 rushing yards a game thus far. How do you assess your defense against the run? How well do you think you'll do against a team that can throw three or four runningbacks at you?
COACH SPAZIANI: There's only one stat that I ever worry about when I was over there specifically on defense, and that was points allowed. That stat is a two-game stat. We'll see what it is at the end of the year.
Going on to the second part of your question, you know, this is a big-league running team. They've known how to run the ball ever since I've been coaching against them. They haven't skipped a beat. They have three runningbacks and probably a fourth one standing somewhere in the background over there. They know how to run the ball. They're tough, the backs are good.
We'll find out what that stat means.

Q. When you look at Virginia Tech on film, they were obviously struggling a little bit through the Madison game and halftime of the Carolina game, then something seemed to click. They obviously had a great second half. When you look at them, can you divine what turned around, what you have to do to get them back in their funk?
COACH SPAZIANI: Well, let me say this. When I look at them from afar, here is what I see. I see a team that's a national championship-caliber football team. I see them within 70 seconds of winning that opening game which a lot was built up for. Then I see them coming back. But for bad luck or the ball bouncing the other way, the other team executing, it was a helluva football game against two teams.
Then to come back and play a James Madison team that's obviously not very talented in a lot of ways, a very good football team, they're five minutes away from pounding that ball right in there and making a play. Once again, they got a bad break with a fumble.
What are we talking about here? Then they come out against East Carolina, they have a new defensive scheme. Carolina is moving the ball around. They do what Virginia Tech does. It's a 60-minute game. I don't know what kind of funk they were in. They handled them pretty well.
I don't break it down into a funk. I look at a real good football team that circumstances have led them to be 1-2.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks for being with us. Good luck this weekend. We'll talk to you next Wednesday.
COACH SPAZIANI: Beautiful. Thanks.
THE MODERATOR: That concludes today's ACC football coaches teleconference.

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