Aug. 7, 2014
| Social Story
| Video: Players at Media Day
| Student-Athlete Quotes
Chestnut Hill, Mass. - After its fourth practice of the 2014 season, the Boston College football team participated in the school's annual media day in Conte Forum on Thursday afternoon. Before head coach Steve Addazio addressed the media in a press conference, he completed the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to raise awareness for ALS research and funding.
The "Ice Bucket Challenge" is aimed at raising awareness and funds for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Many in the BC community and beyond have taken to dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads to bring attention and much-needed resources for ALS research. Former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates was diagnosed with ALS in March 2012 at 27 years old. Longt-time BC sports information director Dick Kelley lost his fight with ALS in February 2014. Once completing the Ice Bucket Challenge, participants give a new group 24 hours to complete the feat.
Below are quotes from Addazio, as well as from select student-athletes.
Addazio led the Eagles to a 7-6 record in his first year at the helm and they returned to a bowl game for the first time in three years. BC will open the 2014 season against Massachusetts on Aug. 30 in Gillette Stadium at 3 p.m. Click here for tickets.
The Eagles will host Pittsburgh for the first time since the teams' days in the BIG EAST in the first home game of the season on Friday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. in Alumni Stadium. Click here for tickets.
On a serious note, really want to do our best to help this ALS fight. It's a terrible disease, as you all know, it's just really important that our players and everyone in the program and the university are behind doing whatever we can do to do our part in trying to find a cure for ALS.
From a football standpoint, we finished day four this morning. The guys have been working really hard. It's pretty typically at this point that you got a lot of stuff in at offense and it's not very efficient. You don't have great execution, which is normal. Usually it takes a while. The first scrimmage, which is this Saturday, is pretty sloppy and everybody walks away upset. Then you come back the next week and the following Saturday is usually a much better Saturday. The defense is usually ahead of the offense. So we just got to keep pushing along. I think the art in coaching preseason camp is really starting to become - with the rosters being lighter than they used to be - where we are is really getting outside the box and not always trying to put a round peg in a square hole. I'm going to go back look at our schedule. I want to tweak how long we are on the field. I told the team today, I want quality not quantity. I'm going to pull back the quantity to get better quality. Then we've all got to hold ourselves accountable for the quality. I really want to reshape it. Sometimes by the time we get to the end of practice, which is when you're trying to play the game, they're so gassed that there isn't a level of execution. They can only take so much along with all of the individual sessions. So I want to go back and look at restructuring, having some more competitive periods early in the practice, trimming down some of the unnecessary elongated deals and play the game more. We've got a young team. They need to learn how to play the game. This means you have to learn how to operate in a live setting. This is all part of managing your team and maximizing who you are.
Q: Is there anything that you're doing differently with this process?
I started when I was at Temple, messing with this schedule that it seems like we've all had for years. What I know even more now than I knew before is you got to continue to do that. Every group is different. You don't have to do things the way you always have done it. We can come right out of the gates after we stretch and go inside live for the first five min of practice, it's okay. We can come back and do something else later; I'm really into that. I'm trying to find ways to give the players the best opportunity they can to go as hard as they can so that we can have quality, as opposed to just quantity. It's harder to do with just 79 functioning scholarships. This isn't a huge walk-on population here at BC, the body count gets low. You have to be creative and innovative how you maximize your team with less people.
Q: You talked about having a young team this year, how important will your senior leadership be? Especially kids who have come from programs with success like Tyler?
I think that it's an eclectic group. We've got about four guys coming from different places. And then we have a collection of our guys, who whichever group they started with is not the same number of guys that we stand with now. It's a fraction of that, which is all a byproduct of when you take over a program that wasn't having success. It strikes you harder in year two and three. So you're trying to develop leadership. For me to sit here and say we've got this dynamic senior leadership would not be an accurate statement. We've got to develop it. We've got good kids and we're trying to create and develop that leadership, that's what training camp is for. But we're not coming in with that style right now because that's a byproduct of where the program was and where we're trying to get it to. Last year we had a unique group of seniors who had been through a lot. They were recruited here when they were winning. They got a little disillusioned. They were able to rally back together and they had a commonality among them, which was to get the program back to winning and bowl eligibility. I thought that altogether everyone maximized that. But now we have a group of guys who still were here for two, three, four years of the programs where they weren't winning. It's all about how you were mentored. We have a group of good guys who have to make this happen. It's a work in progress. I love our team; their work ethic, character and now we have to develop that leadership - that mentality of not giving in and not dropping your level of play when things get hard. These are all things that are important in our program. The infrastructure of taking over a program takes time. We're in that process, we all know that. But I want to be clear about this: I'm excited about this. I'm excited about the players we have and the ones we have brought in. And I know that we have a lot of young talented players in this program right now. It will get there. I can't say when it's going to happen. I'm optimistic it will happen, but I don't have a crystal ball to tell you when that will actually happen. It's hard to replicate game experience in the bright lights. We are trying to do that as fast and effectively as possible. How I manipulate and organize things to make that happen is really important in getting growth here as coaches. This is a formative time.
Q: When a guy makes a transition from one program to another it can be a bit of a jarring experience, but in what way did you feel like Tyler Murphy would be a perfect fit for this program?
Tyler is a Northeast guy. His academics and education are extremely important to him. His master's degree is extremely important to him. His family is an hour and half away. All of those pieces fit. There's familiarity with me, Ian Silberman, [graduate assistant] Phil Trautwein. There's common ground here. It was a good fit. Tyler has been in many of the styles of play we are implementing. He wanted the chance to have the reigns of his own program. He had it for a short while and a competitor likes that feel and he wanted that back.
Q: What made him a great fit for Florida back when you recruited him?
When we were recruiting Tyler, we were looking for a young athletic, dual-threat guy. At that time it was difficult to go out and recruit a high-profile guy because we already had a couple already. So it gets challenging to get the next guy. They all want the ball right away. Tyler was an athlete who had been recruited by a lot of schools, some as a receiver, some as a DB, very few as QB. We assessed him and thought that he threw a nice ball, he was really athletic, a high character kid. He had the characteristics that we were looking for and we could develop him over time. He was exactly that guy. At Florida, he had a tremendous amount of respect from his teammates and coaches. He is as billed; he's that kid. He doesn't have years of playing experience under the lights. He's got a few games, so even though he's a fifth-year player, he doesn't have tons of experience. So he's still relatively young in that regard.
Q: Do you have any players that are switching positions? Injuries?
Josh Bordner is continuing with his transition [to wide receiver]. Danny Crimmins is in the same position. Those are real big. They're real big bodied receivers. So their ability to be hybrid in the sense of their ability to play out there as a wide receiver but also come closer in the box and help with the run unit in the play action game. Those guys are following that pattern. Matt Milano will become essentially an outside linebacker. He has done a tremendous job with that. Jack Cottrell is going back to defensive end.
Guys are at various stages of rehabbing old injuries or taking care of recent strains. Harrison Jackson is ahead of schedule on his rehab. Bobby Wofford had some offseason foot surgery and he is progressing back but not full contact yet. Louie Addazio is rehabbing a tweak in his shoulder from the end of training camp. Harold Landry is coming off of minor knee surgery. He looks great and isn't quite rolling yet. Harrison Jackson will not be ready for the opening game. Bobby Swigert is on his comeback right now; he's doing great. I am excited to get him back. He is in position to come back and that is incredible.
Q: Mentioned the number 79, last year your team was healthy going in. If you had more numbers would you have a different approach?
Yes, I still have gotten to the point where I like shorter duration practices with a lot of intensity. We can't go quite as hard as I would like to go. Our whole trademark is be a tough physical team, so we probably go harder now than 99 percent of the teams, but we have to get the right formula so you can stay as healthy as you need to stay and not lose your physicality. You can't be physical team if you don't run inside drill. A lot of guys out there take the pads off, but you won't be a physical football team. Where do you draw that line? When is it too much? I think it's impossible to sustain high intensity for long practices. But Saturday, we're going live. Last year, I gave Andre [Williams] a couple of live snaps on this Saturday. And that was the last full contact he had until we played our first game. And from that point forward he didn't take a contact snap during the week the whole season. It was the right way to handle him. It's got a lot to do with case-by-case basis. Saturday has got to be live, tackle, cut and hope to God that we can come off the field and not sustain too much damage. From that point forward, how much will that happen? For the older guys probably not as much, for the younger guys they'll probably do another round. I feel like that's the only way you can be a good tackling team and that's something that we struggled with last year. We have to keep our "stop the run and be able to run" mentality. This is what I think about when I wake up and when I go to bed. I left the practice field and I want to go back up and look at the schedule for tomorrow and mess with it. So I can get more productivity at a higher level. I drive the coaches crazy because I change it all the time.
Q: How will you replace Nate Freese? And what about explosiveness?
You're not going to replace him right now. That can't happen that fast. We have a young freshman kicker who looks like he is pretty talented and Alex [Howell], a punter, who is talented but has no experience. So we've got to maximize that. In terms of offense and defense and special teams return game, I think it's going to come collectively. It needs to be collective explosives. It won't be one back and one receiver. It's going to be the quarterback or a couple of backs or three or four different receivers. It won't come from one person, I don't believe. If it does, zippity doo dah. But I don't think so. It can happen, but it's just not happening yet. We're dropping balls, but that's just a part of day four, it better not be happening on day eight. I want to put the players in game situations so that I can see who will make these plays when it's live.
Q: Talk about your schedule. You don't have a road games until mid-October?
It's going to help. Last year we went on the road to Southern Cal. We were a very immature team and we played like that on the road. We gathered momentum at home. So you're certainly glad you're home when you're developing this team. It doesn't guarantee anything, but the environment is not against you. In some stadiums, just the sheer crown noise alone creates a distraction for a young team. You no longer can communicate in your comfort zone. So hopefully we can have enough time between camp and in the season to get ourselves to the point where we can handle it.
Sophomore running back Myles Willis
On the goals of the 2014 team...
Definitely. There's more a sense of purpose. Last year the goal was, let's get to a bowl game. Now that's the minimum for us. Our plans are to get to Charlotte. So we have more of a sense of purpose. There is a little more excitement. We believe we can do it.
On replacing Andre Williams...
You can't replace Andre. He had a great season. Teams are seeing that now. That was one thing, I can't be Andre. I can only be Myles Willis and be me to the best that I can...Myles Willis is a Georgia kid who just had a knack for making plays and wants to help the team in whatever way he can.
On the strengths of his running game...
Agility, a little more quickness. Andre was more downhill, North-South runner. A lot of times when we came to the game a lot of teams were playing inside and I got in and said I'm going to get outside because of my quickness and I think that 1-2 punch is really dynamic. And this year they get to see it on a more consistent basis.
On what he learned from Andre Williams...
How he approached the game. By the time we got into our meetings with the game plan for the next team, he already knew each player on the defense, their tendencies and how they played. He was a professional in college. At a place like Boston College, that's our edge, being really smart in the meetings, having that edge over our opponent.
On his personal goals...
No statistical goals, but I just want to be the best player that I can be. I want to be the guy who the team looks towards and who they're confident that will do the job. When the game's on the line, he'll make the play to win the game.
Graduate defensive end Dominique Williams
On the first week of practice...
First week of practice is exciting. You train all summer. There's no shape like getting into football shape. It's a great feeling and I'm ready to keep building off each day.
On the defensive end core...
I think each DB is getting better each day. I know that for a fact. Together as a unit we are growing. And that's something that will make us better. We strive for that each day.
On his goals for the season...
Two goals that I have are: to be the best teammate and to play in the ACC Championship this year.
On participating in ACC Kickoff...
It was fun. It was a really great experience. Just to be able to meet those guys and talk to them off the football field was great. I really enjoyed it and I really appreciated having the opportunity to be there.
Junior linebacker Steven Daniels
On the BC linebackers...
We hold ourselves to the highest standard, especially as a group of linebackers, from the first guy to the last guy on the depth chart. We're working together. The guys on the sideline will give guys on the field a tip and we'll take it and keep working from there. We're a hard working group and we want to be the best.
On working with the younger linebackers...
The young guys are out there working, we pretty much as a group take all the young guys in and give them all the information we know. As a unit we want to grow together.
Graduate quarterback Tyler Murphy
On what he can bring to the program...
Hopefully I can bring what I learned down in Florida. Just help [the younger players] with the game of football. Teach them things that I've learned. If they have questions I want to make sure they're comfortable with me to come ask because we have a very young and talented team. These guys - once they get things going - are going to be exciting because they have a lot of potential and there's a lot of promise for the BC community.
On how he ended up at Boston College...
It was an opportunity that opened up. I'm really happy to be here. I knew Coach Addazio from before. I'm excited for this season to come. It's a great culture here. The team is really working hard and sacrificing for one another...I'm really thankful that this opportunity did open up and there was a chance for me to come here because I feel like I'm almost at home, it's not too far away from here. I can see my family and friends. I grew up watching BC as a kid so I know a little bit about the football program. I'm just really fortunate to be here.
On who he watched growing up a BC fan...
You always see the Flutie film and the Hasselback brothers. But I really grew up watching Matt Ryan. It's crazy because I remember watching the Virginia Tech comeback live and then to see the posters up in the locker room and all over the facilities is very cool to see. But if there was anybody I really remember most is definitely Matt Ryan.
On moving the program forward...
Anything I can do to help this program move forward. Last year's seniors did a great job. Chase [Rettig] did a great job of pushing the program in the right direction. It's up to this next senior class to keep building off of that and keep moving it forward. Hopefully we will do a great job and get BC back to where it used to be.