July 22, 2021
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Boston College Eagles
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Marcus.
Q. What does coach's NFL experience help this team?
MARCUS VALDEZ: I think it goes a long way, just from the tape we watch. I mean, even with my position coach, Coach Oghobaase, we're always watching NFL tape. It really shows you the techniques they're teaching us are taught at the next level. There's more buy-in from players. We know what they saw and what they're teaching was huge at the next level. I think it goes a long way.
Plus he has so much experience from the next level, the kind of defensive running is really different from what other colleges run. I think it's excellent.
Q. Last year Boston College forced 21 turnovers, I think 6th against the run, 10th in pass defense efficiency. As a unit, what are your goals this year defensively? What do you feel like you need to improve defensively this year?
MARCUS VALDEZ: I think we need to improve on taking the ball away. Also we had a couple good games that we took the ball away three or four times. That's great, but it has to be every game.
We really put an emphasis on that during practice. We're always doing takeaway circuits for each position. The secondary, linebackers and D-line, whoever gets the most takeaways at practice gets to wear black shirts at practice. Kind of incentive there to take the ball away.
I think we need to improve on, like Coach Haf said, getting off the field on third down, personally rushing the quarterback. We got to get there and get the quarterback on the ground, so...
Q. Can you talk about the player protection rules and how that's affected the defense maybe the last couple years, things like targeting. I've seen a couple of instances last year of calls that were made. Talk about how those player safety rules have affected your defense.
MARCUS VALDEZ: Yeah, I mean, we're always teaching how to tackle, how to tackle properly, not targeting for the head and stuff like that. So, I mean, we're always working on tackling correctly. I mean, it's something we work on.
It's obviously affected the game a lot with people getting out and being suspended and stuff like that. We're very aware by that. We probably had a couple people affected by it.
We're always teaching how to tackle safely and following the rules. I think it's good for the game, so...
Q. How would you describe on and off the field your head coach?
MARCUS VALDEZ: I really feel like he's the same guy on and off the field. He's always going to keep it real with you, tell you the truth. He's always going to motivate you. I love what Coach Haf preaches: tough love, compete, being for the team.
There's always sacrificing towards a bigger goal. Always good to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Really that belief. He's really instilled confidence and belief in everyone. I think that's gone a long way and it will show up this season, so...
Q. You talk about being bigger than yourself. BC is very involved with Team Impact in the Boston area. Speak to your experiences with Team Impact.
MARCUS VALDEZ: Yeah, so recently we just had a kid join us. It was amazing. The whole team showed out. You don't have to come, but everybody came. It was really overwhelming for him. He loved it. He comes around a lot. We were working with him on the field before, quarterback Dennis was throwing to him, Phil was throwing with him, too. It was really good.
I think it's for a really good cause. It goes a long way for him and for his family, and even for us, too.
Q. You used the word 'overwhelming'. Why was it overwhelming?
MARCUS VALDEZ: Just to see his expression. I don't think he was expecting that. I think he was expecting a little smaller get-together. Really the whole team showed up. We have great guys on the team. Everybody showed out and showed him love. He really felt part of the team.
THE MODERATOR: Marcus, thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports