Oct. 24, 2005
Sophomore free safety Jamie Silva looks to extend the football team's four-game win streak this Thursday evening when No. 11 Boston College (6-1, 3-1) hits the road to face No. 3 Virginia Tech (7-0, 4-0). Silva, who hails from East Providence, R.I., leads the nation's fourth-best rushing defense with 46 tackles (37 solos).
Q: The football team's 6-1 start is the program's best since 1992. What have been the keys to the team's success?
A: Well, I think that the team's confidence has a lot to do with it. We came into this season knowing that we were a good team, knowing how good we could be. We were all hoping for a perfect season, and Florida State beat us. But, we never put our heads down after that game. We knew that we could win out the rest of our games, and that has been our goal - to take it week by week, and we've been doing that pretty well.
Q: You guys have had several close finishes - you led Florida State going into the fourth quarter, won at Clemson in overtime, 16-13, and engineered a 35-30 comeback victory over Wake Forest. Talk about the team's approach when the game is on the line.
A: It just goes back to our goals - to have the best season in BC history or as good as we can make it. I think that late in the game with Wake and Clemson, we knew that we weren't going to lose. We weren't playing to not lose. We were playing to win. We went into those late quarters really fighting and with one goal - to come out winning.
Q: Where do you see room for improvement as the season rolls on?
A: It's the little things that can be touched up. I'm working with the defensive backs, the DBs, so that's what I hear from the other guys. But I know that with the DBs, we have to work on our technique. It's about practice and getting the reps in at practice and studying the other teams every week. You can't let down any week. We have to learn it and know what we have to do when we are out there. That's what will put you in the right position to win.
Q: When Boston College last played Virginia Tech, the Eagles won in Blacksburg, 34-27. Playing before a nationally-televised ESPN audience this Thursday, what must your football team do to leave with a win?
A: We're going to go into it like every other game, and we're preparing the same way. But, we obviously know that this is a really big game. It is nationally-televised, which is good. We usually play well when we travel. We have got to come in, play our game and not make mistakes. We haven't been causing any turnovers this year, so I think that we've got to cause some turnovers on defense.
Q: What impresses you most about third-ranked Virginia Tech?
A: Marcus Vick is a really good athlete who can make plays through the air or on his feet. They have good running backs, good receivers, and just good athletes all the way around. Their defense flies around. Their defense lets up only nine points per game. But, they're just another team. So, we've got to just go out and play our ball. I know that we can come away with a win.
Q: How excited is this team to face the Hokies in a rather hostile environment (Lane Stadium), and what has the team's mindset been like as you prepare for Thursday's contest?
A: I think the mindset has been really positive. We know that we can go down there and win. Some teams might go down there and say, `Uh-oh,' because they're playing in Blacksburg, and they might get all nervous about it. Two years ago, we went down there and won. This is obviously a totally different team - for us and for them. But, we know that we have the capability and the talent to go beat them in front of their crowd. There's no doubt in our minds that we can go down there and do that.
Q: Talk about being able to play in the ACC this season and the challenges this new conference brings to your team.
A: The ACC is a little faster of a game at the skilled positions. That's what I have noticed from last year to this year. I think that these teams, week in and week out, are all good teams. You see that anybody can beat anybody any given week, just by looking at the outcomes of the ACC games on a weekly basis. All the teams have a great amount of skill. You can't have a letdown week in the conference and come out with a win, because all the teams are solid.
Q: Looking at your time thus far at Boston College, you earned three starts at strong safety last year and finished the season with 43 tackles (21 solos). What has it been like to be able to contribute so early in your career?
A: Well, I came in here on a football scholarship. So, I was here expecting to play football. We're out there practicing every day and in the weight room every day. During the off-season, we're dedicating so much of our time to football. So, you might as well work as hard as you can. I had in my mind that I was not going to be sitting on the bench here. If I'm going to be here spending so much time with football, then I tell myself that I have to be out there playing. That's what I did. I just worked really hard. The spring after my redshirt year was my time to show that I could play. In spring ball, that's when I tried to step it up, and I caught the coach's eye. That's when I was put into the mix of things.
Q: You have registered 27 tackles (23 solos) over the past two games, and earned ACC Player of the Week honors for your performance against Wake Forest. What have been the keys to your strong performance this season?
A: I just think that our defense has a lot of players who can make plays. I really don't know what it is. I've been playing the weak side, at free safety, the past few weeks. I think that the past few weeks, they have been running to the weak side a lot. I guess I've been coming up to make the plays. It seems like the gaps are being filled by the other defenders. So, if I don't come up and make the play, then I'm not doing my job. I'm just coming up to do my job, and I happen to be making a lot of tackles.
Q: Coming to the Heights from East Providence, R.I., what has it meant to you to play football at a top-25, Division I-A program so close to home?
A: That's just been great, being able to play here with my house just less than an hour away. Family and friends come up all the time, or as much as they can, to see me at the games. Even just people from my community who I know really well or who I barely know will be at the games. They'll yell `Hey Silva, what's going on?' and stuff like that. It's just so cool that I can play so close to my home at such a big program. Ever since I was little, this was the place that I wanted to play. And now it's a nationally-respected program. I'm just happy that I'm here.
Q: Talk a little about your older brother Steve, who is a senior tailback at Holy Cross. Steve currently ranks among the nation's 1-AA leaders in all-purpose yardage and he's now one of 16 players on the Walter Payton Award Watch List (top player in 1-AA). Do you share football experiences and offer advice to one another?
A: I have always looked up to him, and I still do look up to him. This past weekend, a bunch of us from BC went down to his game to watch him. It's just great - we have a great relationship. We're really supportive of each other. I feel as if he should be at a I-A school playing, but he's not. There was no jealousy whatsoever when I got an offer from Boston College, and he was at Holy Cross. He was nothing but happy for me. All the press and publicity that he is getting right now from being one of the top players in the country for I-AA, he deserves it a ton. I'm nothing but happy and proud of him. I'm his biggest fan.
Q: When you're away from Alumni Stadium and out of the weight room, how do you enjoy spending your free time (hobbies, sports, etc.).
A: Actually, I really like soccer. And sometimes, I'll go to the Plex in the off-season to play some racquetball, but not too much during the season. I don't want to risk rolling an ankle or anything like that. I hang out with the guys a lot and just have fun with them. We have a really good time together.
- interview conducted by senior Alex Timiraos