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October 13, 2010

Frank Spaziani

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Boston College head football coach Frank Spaziani. We will ask Coach for a brief opening statement and then go to questions.
COACH SPAZIANI: Well, we got an interdivisional game, as Mike said, down in Tallahassee against Florida State, against a very good Florida State football team that has been putting it all together here. So we got our work cut out for us.
Any questions?

Q. I want to ask you about your two freshmen wide receivers. The last two weeks you have gotten great games from two true freshmen. I know you rather red shirt most of these guys. But can you talk about what they bring and why they are playing and why they are playing so well.
COACH SPAZIANI: Well, they are playing out of necessity, that's the first reason. And they certainly have potential. You know, we liked them when we recruited them and we certainly like them in camp.
You know, they have the qualities we're looking for and hopefully they can build on it and go forward. But they're playing out of necessity.

Q. Hopefully this whole quarterback situation, I know this hasn't helped you guys having to juggle these guys. But how do this look going into this week?
COACH SPAZIANI: Yeah, you put it mildly, it hasn't helped us. You know, when you have an unsettled QB situation, everything is unsettled.
It looks to be that Chase was able to practice, Rettig, that is, last week -- I mean, yesterday. Hopefully that will be where we are going forward. So he will be out there today; and we'll figure where we're going with backups after that, after the week.

Q. Are you surprised that Florida State has had the success it's had running its traditional, time has tended to lean a little more in the past? But offense this year has been pretty much led by their rushing offense.
COACH SPAZIANI: Not really, not really. I am never surprised at anything Florida State does. They are very talented, and they are very well-coached.
They have got a veteran offensive line. Think those guys have been together since they were freshmen. They have a veteran quarterback, if they can get him in the right place. Jimbo does a great job scheming things. They have got great receivers, and their backs are just exceptional. So I'm not surprised that they're doing it well.

Q. You have got a couple young defensive linemen from the Tampa Bay area who are seeing some time for you, Conner and Max. Can you just give me a sense on how they're doing beyond the numbers that I can see?
COACH SPAZIANI: Well, you know, Conner is a young man that, you know, we certainly would have liked to red shirt. You know, he had to play last year and he is improving and he is getting much better. As a matter of fact, he is making tremendous strides, he really is. But he's still a young pup. And that's one of the positions, line, offense or defense, where the physicality is of utmost importance. But he is getting better, and we're looking for tremendous things out of him as his career progresses.
And then Max has been with us for a while. And he is on the depth chart. And he's been playing and contributing, understands our system. And we would like for him to be a little bit bigger. But he just gives it all he has, and we are going to need both of those guys Saturday.

Q. Obviously the running game was the strength of your offense last year. Why not so much this year?
COACH SPAZIANI: Well, we've had -- it is a combination of things. You know, certainly starts at the quarterback position. And then, you know, although on paper, everybody looks at things on paper, we had a big change in the offensive line. We lost the NFL center. We took our guard and made him a center and we replaced him. So we had two key components.
And then we've also had a lot of -- once again, I'm not making any excuses. I'm just giving you the facts.
We have had guys in and out injury-wise. They miss practice and it just seems like every day you are playing with a different guy next to you. So it is a combination of things and none of which just is all the offensive line.

Q. Coach, in your experience, which position switch on the offensive line is hardest: Guard to center, center to guard, et cetera?
COACH SPAZIANI: Center is the toughest, going to center, because you just add that ball and that does -- it takes a special guy. And it takes a while. It takes a while. You just don't do it overnight.

Q. Five games into your season now, I just wondered how has Mark played so far? Is he still making the kind of impact that you would like? Just wonder how that's all worked out to this point.
COACH SPAZIANI: Well, it's -- you know, it's a miracle (laughter). That's the way I look at it. You know, he didn't have any preseason, as I've alluded to earlier when I have gotten similar questions. He basically started practice the first week and then we put him in, and he's played and he had a week off.
He's gotten better every week. He has played with a broken bone in his foot. He broke his wrist last week. He played with -- he is playing with that swollen in a cast. He will be the first to admit he's not back to where he was but, you know, he certainly is the best we have at that position. He's certainly contributing and making plays and doing really a fantastic job.
And under the circumstances, as you can imagine, not having preseason camp, breaking a bone in your foot, breaking your wrist, coming back from what he went through and playing and on this level against the type of caliber teams that we're facing is, it's miraculous really.

Q. Has his stamina been really good? Do you look to limit him to a certain number of plays each game from that standpoint, or is that an issue at all?
COACH SPAZIANI: No, not an issue at all. I think we -- last week we substituted for him a little bit. We always try to substitute for our guys and get him a bone, keep him fresh. And obviously that's our game plan. But -- our MO, rather.
But he was fresh off a broken wrist. And I think he broke it Wednesday or Thursday of game week and it was still swollen, had a cast. You know, we thought it was prudent to limit him a little bit.

Q. Coach, Montela (phonetic) has had a couple big games against these guys. He is a Florida kid. Looks like his numbers might be down a tad this year. Is he a victim of any particular thing? Has he been bothered by any injury? I'm just kind of curious.
COACH SPAZIANI: It hasn't been the injuries. I think it has been -- you know, their running back is -- relies a lot on a lot of parts of the offense to move. And we just haven't been very effective in some of those areas and giving him some of the room that he needs. And he doesn't need much room. But we haven't been able to get him what he needs to. To his credit, he's working and hasn't lost any appetite for playing.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks for being with us today.

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