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July 22, 2016
Charlotte, North Carolina
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Boston College. We'll have Coach Addazio start with an opening comment.
COACH ADDAZIO: Welcome, everybody. Awfully excited to be here today. Awfully excited that the start of college football is going to be happening here. We're all in a buzz about it. You start to feel that thing heading into summer once the 4th of July is over. It's about football. That's the greatest thing there is. We're talking about the best sport in America.
I'm especially excited this season. This is arguably one of the best teams I've ever been around in terms of our players' commitment to football, their attitude, their passion for the game, and their relentless work ethic throughout the spring and throughout the winter and throughout the summer.
Very, very exciting team. We finally have our roster balanced. We have it to the point where we don't have glaring deficits at different positions. We're returning 15 starters this year as opposed to returning a total of eight. We have eight just on offense alone and seven on defense.
On defense we return 17 of the top 21 tacklers. In fact in the secondary we return eight of nine top tacklers after starting three true freshmen.
I think that as overall as our team, last year we had 35 players see their first action. That was fifth in FBS football, which tells you a little something about the youth of our football team.
We return a very talented defense, very talented. Full of passion. We have a new coordinator in Jim Reid. We have new coaches on defense in Paul Pasqualoni, Anthony Campanile, and Al Washington on defense. There's a great energy and atmosphere. These are guys that are unselfish, committed to one thing: winning.
People ask me all the time, Are you going to be a new scheme on defense? No, we're going to be in the Boston College defense. When I came to Boston College, I wanted our defense to be attack style. It was the spearhead of our team. I wanted to be a penetrating defense that created negative yardage plays. I wanted to be as aggressive as we possibly could be. That's not going to change.
Our scheme won't change, terminology won't change. The level of players we have on defense won't change. We recruited to it, have been committed to it putting our best players starting with defense.
Matt Milano is joining us here. Matt is a phenomenal football player. He is very symbolic of the guys on defense. Overall as a team we run really well. This might be one of the fastest, most athletic Boston College teams that have been here in quite some time. That's what Matt is.
Matt is one of our outside linebacker. He can run with the fastest wide receivers in man coverage, but he can play in the box and stop the run. He's a very, very talented, one of the finest players in the ACC.
We have several guys on defense, starting up front with Truman Gutapfel, Kevin Kavalec, who have a wealth experience on the defensive front. Harold Landry is coming back, Zach Allen. At the linebackers, we have Ty Schwab. We have Connor Strachan who was a starter last year who will take the spot Steven Daniels had at Mike linebacker. He's an elite player with elite speed.
Back end, John Johnson leads the secondary. Fantastic. We have a bunch of experience in the back end, great speed in the back end. Cut their teeth playing man coverage in the ACC. They tackle well. We are long and big in the secondary.
On offense, we also have some offensive staff changes. I hired Scot Loeffler as my offensive coordinator. I hired him at Florida when I was at offensive coordinator at Florida and I hired him at Temple as well. We have a great alignment as do the defensive coaches with our philosophy.
Scot is arguably one of the finest quarterback coaches I've ever been around. Fundamentally developed the quarterback position. I thought that was critically important for us. He's also an expert in the throw game, which is something we've spent a lot of time expanding.
I hired Rich Gunnell. He was a great player at Boston College, a great receiver, has a great rapport with our players.
This year we bring back several returning players on the offensive line. Last year we returned one player who had playing experience, that was it. This year we had two freshmen alone who had 14 starts last year. We're going to be a more experienced and a more talented and a bigger offensive line.
Chris Lindstrom is an example, 265-pound freshman playing at right guard in the ACC. He's now a 305-pound true sophomore playing right guard in the ACC. He'll probably become one of the finest linemen ever to come through the ACC. We'll have a much improved offensive line.
Our tight end Tom Sweeney I think is a very talented guy who has a bunch of playing experience. He's going to be a 260- to 265-pound tight end with excellent hands. We play with bigger receiver hybrid-type guys that can come close to the box or they can be mismatches out in the perimeter. Charlie Callinan is an example of that. I think an outstanding player that has great experience.
Our wide receivers can run. We have speed on offense. We run well. Offensive line, tight end and receivers. We moved Jeff Smith to receiver. He has elite speed in our conference. He was a quarterback for us last year. He's a dynamic player.
Ben Glines, Mike Walker, Elijah Robinson, a bunch of guys that were freshmen that are now becoming sophomores or redshirt freshmen. They can run and they're athletic. So I'm excited about our receivers.
In the backfield you have Myles Willis here. Myles is a four-year starter at Boston College. Electric player. Myles has been electric on kickoff return and has had some of our most explosive runs. He's a proven player along with Tyler Rouse, Jon Hilliman who we lost last year. We lost him in the fourth game, which was a critical blow. We lost Myles for three or four weeks during that stretch as well.
But they're back. They're back. Rich Wilson is in this group. Davon Jones. We feel we have one of the most talented runningbacks. We have a cross-section of talent. Big backs and extremely explosive, fast backs like Myles.
At quarterback, when I came to Boston College, we had a senior quarterback in Chase Rettig. Chase Rettig had an outstanding senior year. Then we were left with no experience at the quarterback position.
We brought Tyler Murphy in. We were a power running, pro style attack one year. With Tyler, we utilized his speed and feet, we were a spread option attack. Last year we decided we would go with Darius Wade, who was a very talented player. That was the youth of our program. We were going to start a young quarterback. He was hurt in Game 3 and we lost him for the year.
The unfortunate thing was behind him, we had freshmen and redshirt freshmen who had never taken a snap. Darius only had nine passing attempts in his career. We all know how that played out. It played out we were playing a walk-on true freshman quarterback which is not going to go against some of the elite defenses in the ACC.
Now we have an experienced Darius Wade. We have those young guys that got a bunch of experienced. We have a fifth-year transfer quarterback in Patrick Towles. Patrick is an elite athlete. He's 6'4 1/2", 255-pound kid who can run sub 4.6 and has a dynamic arm. Darius is a 4-6 athlete who has a dynamic arm. We feel we have the talent and more experience at the quarterback position.
So all in all, I think you're going to see a different Boston College football team on offense. I think you're going to see the same explosive team on defense. Our teams have always played hard. That didn't change last year. We lost five games by less than three points.
This will be a hard-fighting, tough, physical football team with a little bit more experience, a little bit more talent, a ton of character, a ton of work ethic. I love the team. I'm excited about the team. I can't wait to start training camp.
We open up in Ireland against Georgia Tech, which will be a great challenge for us, but a great experience for our football team to travel to Ireland and have some cultural opportunities to see a different country, as well as our fans and alumni.
We open up with Georgia Tech, which is a great opener. It's an ACC game, which I think is great for our conference and great for TV. It will be a great challenge for us. We're looking forward to it. We've been preparing. We're excited for the opportunity.
That was my opening remarks. I think I gave you as much as I could. At this point we'll introduce our players.
Myles, come up here. This guy here, Myles Willis, will never be redshirted, played as a true freshman. He is an elite player and elite man. You're talking about a high character, great student, leader in the community, leader nationwide in terms of college football for student-athletes. He's one of the toughest workers on our football team. So it's my pleasure to introduce our runningback Myles Willis.
THE MODERATOR: Myles, no pressure on you to have an opening statement. We'll get questions from the floor, unless you have a speech ready.
MYLES WILLIS: Oh, no.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Myles, please.
Q. How are you feeling physically? Is this an opportunity to kind of get sort of injury-free and have a clean year?
MYLES WILLIS: I feel great. Going into your senior year, you want to have all those feelings. I feel great. I'm excited. Something about Boston College where guys develop and get to the last year, they really reach their full potential. I put my faith in God I have a great year.
Q. You, Jon Hilliman, Tyler Rouse, what can you say about what the runningback room is like and how you've all made each other better as you head forward?
MYLES WILLIS: I think we're a very proud room with the runningbacks. We love each other. We have the most respect for each other. Last season adversity would be one of the best things that happened to us because it makes us closer as a unit. We're going to really find that extra edge which makes the difference between winning and losing.
Q. Another transition with OCs. How has that gone so far, the new OC?
MYLES WILLIS: As coach stated, Boston College philosophy never changes. We're hard-nosed, a tough team. Regardless of who the coach is, historically Boston College has been a hard-nosed, tough team. Hard working. The new offensive coordinator, he's bringing his own things. But at the end of the day, Boston College football will always be Boston College football.
THE MODERATOR: Myles, thank you. Coach, bring Matt on up.
COACH ADDAZIO: I want to introduce Matt Milano. He is our starting outside linebacker, an elite player in this conference, play-maker. Tremendous on the field, both in the pass game, in the run game. Again, like Myles, you're talking about an excellent student, a tremendous person and a great worker. We're excited to have Matt Milano.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Matt.
Q. You have seven guys coming back. You've lost some key pieces. As a leader on defense, how do you take responsibility for making sure the void isn't necessarily felt as much as it could be?
MATT MILANO: I take a lot of responsibility myself. But also as a whole defensive unit, I think we've really came together. Some guys have left, and a lot of guys have stepped up. As you said, Connor Strachan filling that linebacker position, John Johnson filling that safety position as well.
Q. What are your early impressions of Jim Reid? What kind of style does he bring? What do you like as a person working with him?
MATT MILANO: Coach Reid is definitely a great guy. His players love to play for him. I think that's one big thing. If your players don't like to play for you, they won't be very successful on Saturdays.
He brings passion to the game. He loves his players. He cares about me as a person and a football player. That differentiates himself from other coaches.
Q. Off the energy of your head coach, what can you say about equalizing that and showing that energy not only in practice, but in the games? Then defensively what can you say about the strength of the defense and how you feed off of that energy?
MATT MILANO: The energy is definitely something that brings a lot to the table. Every practice we try to go out there with that same intensity and replicate it on Saturdays. I think you can see that on Saturdays as it does roll over. It's definitely a big factor for us. Keeps us going, keeps us in the game. I think it's the one thing that makes us different from other defenses, is every play coming in with a lot of energy and a lot of passion.
Q. What was the first step in turning the page on last year, as difficult as it was, starting anew with this one?
MATT MILANO: It's a new year, 2016. Try not to think about last season. It's a new set of coaches, new set of players. I think just putting that behind us, learning from it, moving forward.
THE MODERATOR: We'll excuse our student-athletes and bring coach back up for his Q&A.
Questions for Coach Addazio.
Q. Speaking from a big picture standpoint, the entire scope of the university community, what does it take to have a winning football program these days? Talking about a team that can finish in the top 10 every two or three years.
COACH ADDAZIO: Well, I think obviously there's a lot of components that go into having a team that can finish in the top 10. I think it's total alignment from the top down. The commitment to the program, the commitment from the program back to the university.
At Boston College we totally understand the charge of the university. We're going to recruit student-athletes that are going to appreciate and embrace their education, and also want to excel on the football field.
I think we've shown in the past, and we will continue to show in the future. I think I heard Dave Clawson talk about it here a little bit earlier. In the past at BC, great players like Luke Kuechly, Matt Ryan, Matt brought them into the first ACC championship game, these were developmental guys. They were not highly recruited. They developed in the program. They had high character. They were smart, intelligent guys. They appreciated BC and they grew at BC, became elite players at the end of their careers.
I think when you can develop your players and you can hold them and keep them for four years, and at the end of that period of time in year three and four, when your program's healthy and right, you're reaping the benefits and rewards of guys that have soaked and saturated and matured. Then I think what you have is talented, bright young men that excel on the football field. They go on and have great careers post college.
For us to compete at a high level in terms of competing for championships, we have got to take our program and recruit it right and then develop it, which takes a full four years. Like Matt and Myles' class are seniors right now with no redshirt. I did not recruit Matt and Myles. They were already committed to BC before I took that job. My good fortune is they were there. I didn't recruit them. And they didn't redshirt.
When it's right, you have a number of redshirts so that they're there in year five. Then beyond that, you've filled your chamber, then you go compete for those championships. You don't have roster deficiencies, lopsidedness. If you've done that right, you have the right quarterbacks in your system, you have a chance to go compete for a championship.
Q. How do you feel with your new staff? What do you think are the new things they can add to the team?
COACH ADDAZIO: Well, I love our new staff. I'm very fortunate. To lose some of the quality coaches I lost this year tells me two things. One, I hired the right people. When you hire good coaches, people will try to poach your coaches, okay?
Number two, I was able to hire the kind of caliber guys I hired. Jim Reid and Paul Pasqualoni, those guys are two of the most respected guys in college football. They have won at every level both as a head coach and as a coordinator and as an assistant coach including in the NFL. They are selfless. They're not interested in their stats, they're interested in one thing, playing at a high level and winning.
On offense I've hired Rich Gunnell as a BC man. I hired Scot Loeffler. And on defense, I also hired Anthony Campanile who is a relentless coach and recruiter. I hired guys with no ego and are all aligned towards one purpose.
I feel so grateful I was able to get this done this off-season. We had a great spring and great off-season. Everybody all for one and one for all. They bring a lot of ideas to the program.
It's great when you can pull Jim or Paul aside and be able to sit down and say, When you were a head coach, how did you handle this situation? To have those kind of guys with their wealth of experience gives you a lot of security as a head coach.
Q. You had a lot of success on defense. You talked about losing coaches, but you're still going to play BC defense. Explain what that means, even though obviously the scheme changes, but there's something intrinsic about your program and what you want to do.
COACH ADDAZIO: I want to answer your question, okay? It starts in the strength and conditioning room. It starts with the philosophy of the program which is physicality and toughness. Our defense gets to work against our offense every day, which is a power, run game offense. They don't just see no spread, up-tempo. They see an offense that will run downhill at them. They will see an offense that will run spread offense at them. It helps really develop our defense.
Two years ago we had a great offense. For two years running we had one of the best offensive lines in the conference. We were very productive on offense. Then we lost a lot of good players. The kick-up effect is we're rebuilding the offense and the defense has the older players.
In terms of what we do on defense that makes us different, I think we play relentless. I think we're tough. We're prepared against a physical offense. I think our offense, because we're not a tempo offense, doesn't stress our defense.
For the most part, although this year for the first time in my career we struggled with it, our time of possession is off the charts on offense. That really helps the defense. Defensive coordinators want to play with an offense like ours, traditionally our offense, not last year, more than they want to play against a no-huddle offense that can be off the field like that and they're back on.
I think we complement each other is what I'm trying to tell you.
I think on defense we have just made a commitment to be a pressure defense, to being disruptive. We're not going to let you pec our way down the field. Our mindset is to disrupt it and create negative-yardage plays. I think we've recruited well to fit the system of defense we want to play with an example of Matt Milano is a perfect. Guy, even though we didn't initially recruit him, he's a perfect guy for the system we play. We don't have to use a nickel or a dime.
Q. You've got Clemson, one of the top teams in the nation, playing on a Friday night game this year. Folks down south are used to Friday night being high school not college. What are your thoughts playing that type of game?
COACH ADDAZIO: I told Dabo today, I really wish we could play at our place on Friday night the end of November when it got a little cold.
But I'll take a Friday night down there. I think it's great. Hey, those Friday night games, I understand. I love high school football. The last thing you want to do is get in the middle of that because it's such a great thing.
But it is also a primetime spot. There's a lot of viewers on a Friday night college game. It's a national broadcast. I think that's exciting. So we're obviously looking forward to them coming up to our place, playing that game. We'll have a great crowd for that game. It will be a great, exciting venue, great for college football.
Q. Tyler Rouse is from Syracuse. We've seen him make a lot of big plays against Syracuse. What are you hoping to see from him this season?
COACH ADDAZIO: I introduced Myles, I told you he was one of the elite players on our team in terms of his work ethic. When our strength coach ranks our guys, it's Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse, one and two, pick 'em. Tyler is so unique, you can't break him. He's physical, tough, relentless, he's got speed. He has the heart of a champion.
Obviously the Syracuse game brings out the best in him, no doubt about that. He's that player every day. I love him. I think we're the only power-five offer he had. I recruited him at Temple. I took the job at Boston College. I said, You know what, I'm taking this guy. This guy represents everything that's good in college football.
I'm looking forward to seeing him play his senior year right now.
Q. What do you think about Dino Babers' fit at Syracuse?
COACH ADDAZIO: I think Dino is an awesome guy. I've gotten to know him through the years. I think he's got a great personality. I think he'll do great things at Syracuse. Syracuse is a special place to me. It's a bitter rival game for us at Boston College. But I spent my first four years under Coach Pasqualoni at Syracuse.
When we play them, I always wish Syracuse well. I wish Dino well. He's going to bring his style of offense to Syracuse. We'll have to defend that. So I'm sure the great rivalry we have will continue, the heated passion between the two teams. I'm glad they have to come to Chestnut Hill this year.
Q. You brought up Paul Pasqualoni. Having an opportunity back with him in the past, having with you at Boston College right now, what can you say about bringing a coach like that that meant so much to your career, now the other way around, he's now working for you?
COACH ADDAZIO: Coach Pasqualoni is the best football coach I've ever been around, period, end, in my career. There aren't a lot of people that would argue with that. He can coach on either side of the ball in complete detail. His experience level is second to none. I have a great amount of confidence with Coach P because I started with him. I know exactly what he represents. When he says something, it's well thought out, it's detailed.
As I said earlier, with Jim Reid and Paul Pasqualoni, I can shut the door. Coach, you got a minute. With Coach Reid or Coach P. What do you think about this? What would be your thoughts about this? I always know I'm getting a great answer.
You're talking about a guy that just got done coaching J.J. Watt at the Houston Texans and now he's coaching our defensive line and our pass-rush. When I tell you he's the best football coach I've ever been around, I'm telling you that, and I think I've been around some pretty darn good ones.
What he did at Syracuse, I don't know that it can ever be replaced what he did. He was sensational there. It was one of the great decades or great periods of time in that program.
It's our great fortune to have him right now with us helping not only our kids develop, but helping our coaches and helping myself develop.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH ADDAZIO: Thanks, guys.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports