Sept. 25, 2000
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -
Boston College Football
Coach Tom O'Brien
Teleconference from Sunday, September 24, 2000.
Just wanted to touch base on Ryan Burch and Scott Bradley. Has there been any word on their MRI's?
"No, I won't know until tomorrow."
What about any of the other guys that were banged up?
"No, they're all fine or supposed to be able to practice this week."
One of the players said last night that either Antonio Garay or Jerome Ledbetter may have a chance to play next week. Do you see any chance that either one of them could be back?
"I could see where both of them could be back and I could see where neither of them could be back. I don't know yet. We'll have to wait and see if they make it out onto the practice field. The timing's right for both of them to get back into it but now it comes down to a question of toughness. We'll have to see if they can handle a little pain and play."
When you're facing a defensive assignment like next week, is it a situation where all hands are on deck, particularly because of who you're playing?
"No, you don't want to play anybody whose not ready to play, but if they're ready to compete the will. As far as those two guys, they haven't practiced in a long time and it's so important that they get back to practicing and maybe they can contribute something this week. Most certainly they would not be starting this week, but if they can help and play than down the road it's better for the football team. The faster that they get back, in light of the fact that with Ledbetter out and the uncertainty but I think Romanowsky should be fine with his ankle, but you've got Burch and Bradley added to that and you have four linebackers who're banged up by the middle of the second quarter against Navy."
I know that you don't have MRI results, but the guys that did get hurt yesterday, you can't be optimistic at all about them, can you?
"No, I don't think that any of them can play this week. You just have to keep your fingers crossed that it's nothing season-ending and that it's just a sprain like they thought it was."
What about D.J. Sutton, do you expect him back this week?
"Yeah, he was out practicing earlier today."
Did he just get sick or what was it?
"He was sick, he just couldn't practice. The doctor said that he couldn't practice."
Was it the flu or something like that?
"A sore throat. I don't know if it was strep or anything like that."
It's not unusual for football teams to get banged up, but it is unusual for it to happen on that side of the ball. Doesn't that seem kind of strange?
"Well, it's almost like my first year here. We lost all those guys at one spot and that's what's frustrating about the whole deal. Bradley's injury could have happened to anyone, it wasn't anything unusual. He got caught sideways and the kid was cutting him and a lot of people play that now. Burch was just a crack back from the outside from a wingback that by the rules say is a legal block, but it's marginal as far as I'm concerned. I wouldn't teach anybody on my team to cut the way that they do it. It's perfectly legal within the rules but it's a tough block when you get chopped the way he did."
Were they both questionable in your eyes?
"No, I think that Bradley's was fine. Our guys block like that back-side and hit the linebacker level. They go and they cut block. I don't think that that one was unusual, but Burch's was the one that was tough."
Are you going to talk to (Navy head coach) Charlie Weatherbie about that?
"No, it's legal. It's perfectly within the rules of the game. They're doing what they need to do to execute their offense. They legislated some things this year as far as going back towards the ball and cracking, but they made a wing-back to the tight end legal, being able to go inside. I don't understand why he's legal and the other ones aren't."
It looks like Burch has really developed into a leader on defense, so does his loss make it particularly tough?
"Well it's tough for us because he finally stepped up and started playing like a middle linebacker. As you involve him in a position, then moving him and have him catch on. Actually, Chamberlain's first game at middle linebacker was against Navy, too, so maybe that's their style offense, but looking at the tape and looking at how Burch was playing, he was making great strides and he was looking like the kind of middle linebacker that you need on defense."
Do you go into this game now having to make J.D. Schmidt your starter or do you wait on Romanowsky?
"Romanowsky should be healthy and will start, with J.D. backing him up."
Is there any thought of moving somebody into the linebacker position that doesn't normally play there?
"We discussed it, but we won't make a decision on that until we get the MRI results from the other kids and we know how long they're projected to be out."
Brian Flores played a little linebacker against West Virginia, so will he be one of those candidates?
"He's seen time at linebacker, but he can't be a middle linebacker."
So the middle is the only place that you're looking?
"No, you have the middle and the sam linebacker. The advantage of the Navy game was that when Bradley went down, Martin Williams and Bolden for the way they play against an offense they were all playing basically the same position. We were playing almost left-and-right or field-and-boundary, it didn't make much of a difference. When you play against a tight end attack like Virginia Tech's, then you need a sam-backer and a mike and a will."
At this stage having re-righted the ship in the last couple of games, are you ready to face a Virginia Tech at this moment?
"I don't know if I have a defense to do it, but I'll find out in the next couple of days."
Is Virginia Tech as explosive as they were or more explosive than when they scored the 30-some on you last year?
"They're more explosive. They're much better than they were a year ago."
Because of experience?
"Yeah, they're all much more experienced. You're looking at a senior/junior offensive line that's played a lot, a wide-out, Davis, finally had a breakout year and he's been exceptional. The tailback has played well for them and Vick is playing better than he ever has."
He had an incredible game against you last year and maybe with some of the circumstances of that day with them trying to nail down that big bowl game contributed to their performance, but what do you see in him this year that's different?
"He's playing with much more confidence. Last year as a redshirt freshman he grew through the year and progressed, but I would think that his performance in the Sugar Bowl against Florida State, which has one of the best defenses in the country, if not the best, when you play like that against those guys I think you're something special. I think that he's come into this year with that feeling and he's done nothing to disprove the notion that he is the best."
Do you try to spy somebody like Vick or is that not possible?
"We don't have anybody who can run as fast as him so it doesn't make any difference. You think about it, but I don't have many 4.3 guys. What can I do, put Lenny Walls in at nose and try to spy him?"
Defensively, much was made and has been made about the losses that they've had, although many were backups that hadn't played some, but you rang up so many yards against Navy that maybe your offense has evolved to the point that maybe you can deal with them.
"We're much improved. They've always been a tough offense. They're scheme is a tough scheme to go against. Last year they had an exceptional defense, and that's been proven by the number of guys in the NFL from their team. Like many good defenses, they've had a lot of good young kids come up through their program. They've got redshirt kids that have been in the program three or four years, and now it's their turn to play. It's still a tough defense but it's not a senior defense like it was last year, it's more of a junior/sophomore defense that they're building for a junior/senior defense in another year."
How about Tim Hasselbeck, is he more equipped now with his maturity than last year?
"I hope so, we'll find out Saturday but he should be. The first time that you play against that defense which he did a year ago at the end of the year, you just have to be very precise when you play against them. Now he has a feel for it and he's had two exceptional games so far. He's been throwing accurately and making great reads, so we're very happy, and have our fingers crossed that he's prepared to play a fantastic game on Saturday because we're going to need one from him.
The fact that you've put a hundred or so points up on the board in the last two weeks, that could only help him. Maybe he's finally getting that feeling that 'I am good'?
"He's got more faith in Dewalt now. For the first time since I've been here we have a deep threat, we were talking Saturday that Dewalt caught a 90-yarder last year against Virginia Tech and he's worked hard through the spring and he's got a lot of confidence. A lot of those kids that we talked about coming in, there are about five of them that are all about even and they keep rotating and we've been able to go deep and I know that the opponent has had something to do with it, but we've made the throws and the catches and we haven't been able to do that in the past."